“Desert Crossing” is the twenty-fourth episode (production #124) of the television series Star Trek: Enterprise.
Captain Archer and Commander Tucker are invited to a desert planet by a man named Zobral to discover that he is a “terrorist” with ulterior motives.
Enterprise is on a course for Risa to take shore leave when they respond to a distress call from a ship experiencing engine problems. Its leader, Zobral, invites Captain Archer and Commander Tucker to his home planet. Later, Enterprise is hailed from the planet by Chancellor Trellit of the Torothan government, who tells Sub-Commander T’Pol that Zobral and his men are terrorists, and they will probably never see Archer and Trip again. She hails Archer to warn him, and he makes an excuse to leave. Zobral entreats them to stay, so he may explain the real reason for inviting Archer to the planet.
In his home he tells Archer that after years of suffering abuse by the oppressive Torothan government, and steadily failing attempts of resistance against it, his people are in dire need, and have been searching for outside help. He then very respectfully begs Archer’s assistance and use of Enterprise’s resources to defeat his people’s oppressors. Archer tells Zobral that he does not know what he can do, Zobral thinks he is only being humble, and tells Archer he had recently been told by a Suliban transport captain of Archer’s outstanding bravery, exceptional abilities, and recent liberation of “thousands” of Suliban prisoners from a detention camp, defeating an entire army in the process (as seen in episode Detained – S01E21).
Before Archer and Trip are able to correct the story Zobral has related to them, the Torothan government begins bombarding the village. Archer and Tucker are reluctantly but quickly led to a shelter, where they remain until the house above them is destroyed. They then exit the shelter, grab survival packs from their shuttlepod and leave on foot, heading east across the desert to escape to another encampment. Eventually they take shelter from the heat in a deserted building, and Archer tends to Tucker, who is now suffering from heatstroke. Meanwhile, on Enterprise, Lieutenant Reed detects weapons fire on the surface, and Ensign Sato can not hail Archer as the region is being jammed. Trellit informs T’Pol that any shuttlepod entering the area will be considered an enemy vessel and fired upon. The Torothans also erect a dispersion field to prevent Enterprise from scanning the surface.
Zobral rendezvous with Enterprise and is met by T’Pol and Reed, who inform him that although the account he received from the passing trader of Archer’s liberation of the Suliban prisoners was indeed true, it was nonetheless wildly exaggerated, and that Archer was not such an invincible warrior as he was led to believe. Initially angered and disappointed, Zobral turns to leave, but is eventually persuaded to help T’Pol and Reed sneak a shuttlepod past the Torothan defences in order to locate Archer and Trip.
While searching for bio-signs, T’Pol observes a bombardment of the ruined encampment from a distant battery, and orders that a new course be set, believing the Torothans to have located them. After destroying the Torothan mortar, they land and collect the pair. Aboard Enterprise, Zobral prepares to leave, and Archer tells him that becoming involved in planetary conflicts is not the reason why Starfleet is exploring the galaxy. As they walk away, T’Pol tells Archer that he did the right thing, but Archer replies that he has a feeling that Zobral’s cause is a cause worth fighting for.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): David Straiton.
- Writer(s): Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, and Andre Bormanis.
- Release Date: 08 May 2002.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.