One Little ShipBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 12:30 PM GMT
See Also: 'What You Leave Behind' Episode Guide
The Defiant embarks on a scientific investigation of a compression phenomenon, which shrinks the runabout Rubicon and its crew of Dax, Bashir, and O'Brien. But during the mission, a Jem'Hadar contingent attacks and takes the Defiant. There is conflict between the First, an Alpha Quadrant-bred Jem'Hadar who wants to make Sisko repair the warp drive, and the Second, a Gamma Quadrant "Elder" who thinks this is an invitation to sabotage. Sisko tells the First that he must have assistance from his crew, so Kira, Worf, and Nog are sent to engineering with him.
As Kira tries to stall the repairs, Sisko and Nog attempt to reroute control of the ship to engineering and Worf implants a virus which will self-destruct the ship if they fail. Meanwhile, the shrunken runabout with the shrunken crew enters the Defiant via a conduit and sneaks into engineering, where Dax and O'Brien realize that Sisko's attempts to retake the ship will fail unless someone diverts the command codes from the bridge. The runabout sneaks through doors on the heels of Jem'Hadar and beams O'Brien and Bashir into a junction to reroute those commands, while Kira works at a snail's pace on the warp core and Sisko encourages the disagreement between the First and Second.
With the Rubicon crew's help, Nog completes the command transfer just as the First orders the Defiant crew away from their consoles in engineering, telling the Second that they've been diverting him from their successful work. He orders the ship to go to warp without checking the systems, which should destroy it when Worf's virus kicks in. Dax concludes that a diversion is necessary, and flies the Rubicon directly into the Jem'Hadar's path. A firefight breaks out as they shoot first at it, then at Sisko and crew who retake control of the ship from the engineering consoles.
Once the Jem'Hadar in engineering have been neutralized with the help of a Rubicon miniature torpedo, Sisko gasses the other decks of the Defiant, tells the Second that he should have followed his instincts rather than his orders, and has Kira remove the deadly virus. Worf winks hello to his tiny wife on the Rubicon, which is later restored to original size, though Odo and Quark joke that O'Brien and Bashir still seem smaller than usual. The two go off to measure.
Other than the fact that this episode was INCREDIBLY stupid from a scientific standpoint, it was a lot of fun. Allan Kroeker's directing was terrific, from the shots of the mini-Defiant flying around Jem'Hadar legs to the lilliputian O'Brien and Bashir crawling around computer circuits trying to reroute the commands. It was a strong showing for nearly all the major characters - I enjoyed seeing Dax in command of the scientific mission and demonstrating such skills as a pilot, and Sisko and Kira worked very well together on the Defiant as we learned that Kira is really a top of the line engineer. Makes one wonder why Worf always ends up in command of the Starfleet vessel, instead of Kira, who obviously has the appropriate training.
A moment to dismiss the science in this fiction: As I understand it, the logic behind the shrinking is that the space between the nucleus and electrons gets reduced in every atom, so elements keep the same atomic structure while diminishing in size. But the laws of thermodynamics suggest that this isn't really possible - if the atoms shrink without the particles that comprise them also shrinking, their properties are going to change as their charged particles come together. So the whole notion is a crock, and the "compression phenomenon" should simply have crushed the runabout. Moreover, if O'Brien and Bashir couldn't breathe the air on the Defiant once they shrunk because the molecules would be too big, tiny dust particles should have wreaked havoc on the runabout once it got inside the Defiant. I am probably not explaining this very well, but if a dedicated non-scientist like myself was cringing, I can only imagine what high school physics students were saying.
Fortunately, the writing kept the tone of this episode light, so one didn't have to agonize over the silliness of the premise. There were lots of jokes about size not mattering, a running gag about Worf writing a poem for Dax, and a cute exchange between Julian and Jadzia where she assured him in the process of bumping the runabout into a control panel, that she has a light touch - and he riposted that that's not what Worf says. I like this building struggle between the Gamma Jem'Hadar and the "Alphas," as they call themselves, who don't even bother to acknowledge the Founders when they get their White. Good combination of ongoing plot threads with an amusing, engaging story - very Classic Trekkish.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.