“Hatchery” is the seventeenth episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the 69th overall.
In this episode, Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) discovers an Insectoid egg hatchery on a downed Xindi ship and becomes obsessed with protecting the eggs.
In response to his increasingly erratic behaviour, Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker III (Connor Trinneer) leads a mutiny to relieve Archer of his command.
Despite intense time pressure to reach Azati Prime in search of the Xindi weapon (“Doctor’s Orders” – S)3E16), Captain Archer has the Enterprise stop to investigate a lifeless Insectoid vessel crashed on a barren planet. He leads an away team to explore the wreckage and discovers an Insectoid hatchery with several dozen surviving eggs, but a failing bio-support system. Archer is suddenly sprayed in the face by one of the eggs, but Doctor Phlox concludes it was a defence mechanism and merely treats him with an analgesic. Dead Insectoids and one of their shuttles are then taken aboard for analysis, and computer logs reveal the survivors cut off their own life support in order to save the ship’s hatchery.
Despite objections, Archer keeps Enterprise at the planet and orders Commander Tucker to repair the hatchery’s bio-support. Incompatibilities with Starfleet portable power generators cause an overload, prematurely hatching one of the eggs, but Phlox cannot save it. Increasingly obsessive, Archer soon orders the transfer of one-third of Enterprise’s antimatter supply to the Xindi ship so that full power can be restored. With the success of the mission in mind, Sub-Commander T’Pol refuses to carry out his order, so he relieves her of duty and confines her to quarters. Soon after, Lieutenant Reed, in control of the bridge, destroys an escaping Xindi ship. Archer relieves him as well, saying that the alien crew could have been used to save the eggs.
Archer then promotes Major Hayes, non-Starfleet leader of the MACOs, to First Officer. Hayes questions nothing about Archer’s behaviour, and has his MACOs man a number of critical positions on the ship. Archer orders Ensign Sato to prepare an Insectoid-language distress signal. With time running out, Tucker concludes that a mutiny is in order, and they free T’Pol and Reed to assist. After a tense standoff and shootout with the MACOs, the Enterprise crew capture the bridge. Meanwhile, Tucker beams down to the hatchery and stuns Archer. Back on Enterprise, a thorough medical scan by Phlox reveals that the egg had sprayed Archer with a “nurturing hormone”, making him focus on preserving them. In the end, Archer is fully treated, Hayes confirms that he would never question an order, and the ship resumes at full warp-speed towards Azati Prime.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Michael Grossman.
- Writer(s): Andre Bormanis and Michael Sussman.
- Release Date: 25 February 2004.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.