Star Trek: The Next Generation (1992): S06E04 – Relics


Introduction

“Relics” is the 130th episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the fourth episode of the sixth season.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-D. In this episode, while investigating the 75-year-old wreck of a Federation transport vessel, the Enterprise crew discovers Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), the former Chief Engineer of Captain James T. Kirk’s Enterprise, alive in a transporter buffer.

Outline

The starship Enterprise, responding to a distress call, discovers a nearby Dyson sphere. They trace the distress call to the USS Jenolan, a Federation transport ship that has been missing for 75 years, which they find crashed on the sphere’s outer shell. Commander William Riker, Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge, and Lieutenant Worf transport to the Jenolan while the Enterprise investigates the sphere. La Forge discovers that the Jenolan’s transporter has been jury-rigged to sustain two life signals within its pattern buffer indefinitely, though one has degraded too far to be recovered. La Forge reverses the process and restores the remaining signal, which turns out to be former Starfleet officer Captain Montgomery Scott.

Back aboard the Enterprise, Scott explains that he was only a passenger aboard the Jenolan during his retirement, but when the ship was caught in the Dyson sphere’s gravity field, only he and one other officer survived the crash, and Scott had rigged the transporter to try to keep them “alive” until a rescue vessel could arrive. After being cleared by Dr. Beverly Crusher, Scott is eager to see the ship’s modern technology, but quickly finds that his old knowledge has long been surpassed and his efforts to help are instead getting in the way of normal operations. Ordered to leave Engineering by La Forge, Scott heads to Ten Forward, and is dismayed to learn that real alcohol is no longer served on Starfleet ships (having been replaced by ‘synthehol’, which Scott refuses to drink). Lt. Commander Data offers him a potent unknown green beverage from Guinan’s private stock, which he takes to one of the Enterprise’s holodecks to recreate the bridge of his old Enterprise. Captain Jean-Luc Picard joins Scott to offer encouragement after hearing of his difficulties in adjusting to the 24th century, to which Scott declares himself a relic of the past. Picard reveals that the green drink is Aldebaran whiskey that he provided to Guinan, and the two share the bottle.

The next day, at Picard’s suggestion, La Forge enlists Scott’s help in recovering survey data from the Jenolan’s systems, utilising his knowledge of period Starfleet technology. Meanwhile, the Enterprise discovers a port on the side of the Dyson sphere, but when they try to communicate with the systems, the ship is pulled into the Dyson sphere by automated controls, temporarily disabling their systems. Though they are able to recover control before the ship impacts with the star inside the sphere, they find the star is unstable and emitting large amounts of radiation which will be lethal to the crew, and surmise that the sphere was long abandoned by its creators due to this. The Enterprise quickly realises the only exit from the interior of the sphere is the port they used but cannot figure out how to open it from their side. When La Forge tries to make contact with the Enterprise, he discovers it missing, and works with Scott to make the Jenolan flight-worthy. They discover the same port the Enterprise found and surmise the Enterprise is trapped inside. La Forge and Scott manage to open the port without being pulled in and then wedge the Jenolan in the open port, using its shields to keep it open while the Enterprise escapes, rescuing the two engineers from the Jenolan just before destroying it with photon torpedoes.

As the Enterprise returns to its mission, the crew of the ship give Scott a shuttlecraft “on extended loan” to either continue to his retirement or to explore the galaxy. Scott thanks the crew and reminds La Forge to make the most of his time as the Chief Engineer of the Enterprise before he departs.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Alexander Singer.
  • Writer(s): Ronald D. Moore.
  • Release Date: 12 October 1992.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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