Vulcan – Seventeen years ago
In 2137, a young Vulcan male wanders alone through a subterranean tunnel on the planet Vulcan. He finds a sculptured casing that is completely covered in dust. Using a brush, the young Vulcan wipes away the dust from the casing to reveal a symbol. He mutters a single word: “Surak“.
Seventeen years later, in 2154, Admiral Forrest has traveled to Vulcan to learn of the Vulcan High Command’s decision on whether to start conducting joint missions with Starfleet. At the embassy, Forrest discusses the matter with Ambassador Soval and is surprised to learn that Soval was not consulted by the council. Regarding the Vulcan reluctance to share technologies, Soval explains that Humans are confusing to them and that the fast progress of Human development in recent years greatly concerns the Vulcans.
Suddenly an explosion is heard by the two men and Forrest quickly pushes Soval to the ground as the embassy is engulfed in flames.
On the Enterprise, the senior officers are enjoying a spirited game of basketball in launch bay two. Phlox, who is exceptionally good and has to keep switching teams, likens the game to Octran fertility contests but with more clothing. T’Pol then summons Archer away from the game to give him the bad news.
“Captain’s starlog: supplemental. Enterprise has arrived at Vulcan as ordered. Three days after the bombing of Earth’s embassy, the death toll stands at 43 and I have lost my friend, Admiral Forrest. Vulcan authorities still have no lead on who’s responsible.“
Archer is met by Administrator V’Las at Enterprise‘s airlock. V’Las is the head of the Vulcan High Command. He is joined by Ambassador Soval and Stel, chief investigator of the Security Directorate. After Archer rejects the suggestion that the bomb was planted by Andorians, Stel reluctantly reveals that Syrrannites are also under suspicion. Archer mistakes this as the name of another species but T’Pol corrects him, explaining that they are a small group of Vulcans who follow a “corrupted” form of Surak’s teachings. The Syrranites’ logical and peaceful nature make them unlikely candidates. When Archer asks if there is any evidence, Soval points out that the embassy is officially considered to be on Earth soil therefore placing any investigation of the crime scene under Starfleet jurisdiction.
Archer sends Lieutenant Reed and Ensign Mayweather transport down to investigate the blast site where Mayweather uncovers an undetonated bomb. Reed scans the device and discovers Vulcan DNA on the controls. A closer scan triggers the device but the two officers manage to transport back to Enterprise, seconds before it explodes.
Phlox’s investigation matches the recovered DNA to T’Pau, a well known Syrrannite. The Captain asks if she has a previous criminal record, but T’Pol explains that the DNA of every Vulcan is recorded at birth. When Archer attempts to pursue the leads further, however, Stel says that since T’Pau is Vulcan, the overall investigation consequently now falls under Vulcan jurisdiction and that Starfleet assistance is not required. He will have Soval inform them of anything they need to know, much to Archer’s chagrin.
Archer enters Enterprise‘s cargo bay, where the bodies of the Humans lost in the bombing are being held for transport back to Earth. While quietly reflecting over the coffin of Admiral Forrest, the captain is joined by Soval who notes that the Admiral died saving his life when he could have saved his own instead.
Soval makes clear there is no reason or evidence to suggest the Syrranites are responsible for the bombing, and does not understand why they are being accused. He urges Archer not to leave the investigation in the hands of the Vulcan High Command but to question everything and go down to Vulcan, while also promising the captain his full support.
Meanwhile, Koss visits his wife T’Pol in her quarters. T’Pol is not particularly pleased to see her husband but he insists that a face-to-face meeting was necessary. He gives T’Pol an IDIC that T’Les, her mother, wanted passed along claiming it was a family heirloom. Koss explains that the new security conditions on Vulcan, following the bombing, have forced T’Les into hiding because she is actually a Syrranite.
T’Pol (having never seen the supposed heirloom before) presents the IDIC to Archer, explaining that it has been modified, and activates it. The IDIC displays a holographic topographical map of Vulcan’s Forge.
Against Tucker‘s warnings that the Forge is a “hell hole” with electrical sandstorms and geomagnetic instabilities that prevent the use of any technology, Archer decides to transport down to Vulcan with T’Pol in search of the Syrranites. Soval provides data on the gaps in Vulcan satellite surveillance, so that Archer and T’Pol’s beam-in won’t be monitored, but he remains aboard to assist Tucker with the investigation from orbit.
Archer and T’Pol beam down to Gateway. T’Pol explains to the captain that it was here that Surak supposedly began his journey into the Forge. Archer questions T’Pol about her apparent lack of belief in some of the stories of Surak. She answers by telling him that Surak’s writings from that period were lost and that the current copies of his teaching are open to interpretation – a fact Archer finds familiarly amusing. Later, at night, their conversation is abruptly interrupted by a Sehlat screech. Fortunately, they are able to get to high ground before the creature reaches them. T’Pol tells him about the domesticated sehlat Vulcan children keep as pets, and says that the wild one may keep them trapped there for several days.
On Enterprise, Phlox is examining the bomb to find other DNA traces. He discovers that the telomeres from T’Pau’s DNA are too long to belong to the thirty-two year-old Vulcan, and concludes that someone has falsified the evidence. They must have been taken from her infant DNA in the Vulcan database. From a recording Reed recovered from the embassy, they are able to pinpoint the moment at which T’Pau’s DNA signature was recorded. They are not able to identify the suspect, but the guard on the recording seems to recognize the person. Coincidentally, that same guard, Corporal Askwith, is currently in the Enterprise‘s sickbay – in a coma.
On Vulcan, the Sehlat is driven away by a person named Arev, who claims to be on a pilgrimage. Archer pretends that he is also on a pilgrimage and asks if the three of them can walk together. Arev agrees, but not without saying that the Forge will be hard on the Human.
As they walk through the desert, Arev asks some questions of the captain and comes to the conclusion that Archer and T’Pol are not really on a pilgrimage. Their discussion is interrupted by a sandfire storm.
- Who said: “Logic is the cement of our civilization, with which we ascend from chaos, using reason as our guide.“? T’Plana-Hath, matron of Vulcan philosophy.
- What is Kiri-Kin-Tha’s first law of metaphysics? “Nothing unreal exists.“”Nothing unreal exists.“”Nothing unreal exists.“These were two of the questions that Spock answered in his Memory Test in The Search for Spock.
Aboard Enterprise, Tucker and Phlox speak to Soval, hoping he could find someone capable of melding with Askwith, the comatose guard. Given the taboo nature of the practice, Soval won’t even consider their request – but as he turns to leave, Tucker reveals that the DNA evidence implicating T’Pau had been planted on the bomb. Assured by Phlox that the forgery could be proven, Soval, realizing that the tampering with the DNA records suggests a high-level conspiracy, offers to meld with the guard himself.
In the Forge, the three “pilgrims” find a shelter from the sandfire storm in a cave. After seeing T’Pol’s IDIC, he realizes who she is. Arev says that he has respect for the captain’s actions (regarding the P’Jem sanctuary, in particular) and agrees to bring them to the T’Karath Sanctuary when the storm is over. T’Pol’s mother is hiding there with the other Syrannites.
The mind meld, Soval and Askwith. Following through the events of “T’Pau” scanning through the Embassy security, Soval sees a figure go through holding a package. He (and we) briefly see a face (although to us it’s obscured) and it’s clear he recognises them.
Archer then tells him the real reason they are there. Archer explains that the High Command claim the Syrannites believe in a corrupted version of Surak’s teachings. To that, Arev answers that some say Surak’s katra was found and is now carried by a Syrannite. According to the rumor, all who mind meld with him may touch Surak’s mind. Looking at T’Pol, Arev says that Surak said the mind meld was the heritage of all Vulcans, whether they believe in it or not.
On Enterprise, Soval, Phlox and Trip meet with V’Las and Stel. When they ask who the real culprit is, Soval reveals the truth – it is Stel. They claim to have an eyewitness who identified him as the one who planted the bomb in the embassy. When Stel and V’Las ask to speak with the witness, Phlox says that his patient is in a coma. After Soval admits to performing a mind meld, Stel protests, noting that telepathic evidence is inadmissible. V’Las informs the ambassador that he will be summoned to appear before the High Command to account for his actions.
In the Forge, the storm is gaining in strength. T’Pol is hit by an electric discharge while trying to reseal the cavern entrance. Another discharge hits Arev, deadly this time. Just before dying, Arev mind melds with the captain saying that he must carry “it” to the sanctuary.
On Enterprise, Soval is going to turn himself in to the Vulcan High Command. When Tucker protests and accuses the ambassador of not trusting Humans, Soval responds “Peace and Long Life”, suggesting that he has more respect for Tucker than the engineer realizes.
Archer is awakened by T’Pol. He says Arev said something to him, which turns out to be the Vulcan word for “Remember,” but neither Archer nor T’Pol understand what it means.
They agree to continue searching for the sanctuary, which is supposed to be nearby, after burying Arev. Archer has strange intuitions and finds the sanctuary easily. As they enter through a disguised portal, Archer tells T’Pol not to resist. Inside, they are seized by a group of armed Vulcans.