Aboard the prototype Romulan drone ship, Tucker and Reed struggle to regain their footing as the ship is violently shaken.
On Romulus, the drone ship’s pilot works on erratically maneuvering the vessel. Admiral Valdore informs Nijil that the drone ship is approaching its next target; as Nijil activates the vessel’s holographic “skin”, Valdore tells him to use a specific design.
On board the drone ship, Tucker asks Reed if he has recovered from the effects of the vessel’s instability but the lieutenant answers that he is still dizzy. Tucker notes that the ship’s warp drive is being deactivated.
Meanwhile, the drone ship has acquired its next target, a Rigellian scoutship. When the Rigellian crew hails the drone ship, Valdore orders Nijil to respond.
On the bridge of the drone, Tucker notes that they are firing at something. Reed comments that the target will fire back… just before it does!
The Rigellian ship is causing damage to the drone ship, although Nijil is allowing them time to transmit a distress call. Once they do, Valdore tells Nijil to destroy the Rigellian vessel.
In the dark vacuum of space, the drone ship swoops down on its prey, disguised as Enterprise.
“Captain‘s starlog, supplemental. For now, the truce between the Andorians and Tellarites on Enterprise is holding. But Starfleet has informed me of a new diplomatic crisis.“
Gathered around the situation table on the bridge of Enterprise, Archer tells Mayweather and T’Pol that the Rigellian vessel was a heavily-armed scoutship with a crew of seventeen, none of whom survived. A visual record from the Rigellian ship shows Enterprise firing at the vessel. The Rigellian Trade Commission is demanding compensation from Starfleet and Archer’s arrest. Archer encourages Mayweather and T’Pol to search for the Romulan drone ship. T’Pol has has discovered a method to detect the stealth vessel’s warp signature, while Mayweather has designed a sensor grid which will extend Enterprise‘s range. Although the grid will require 128 vessels, it should prove to be effective.
In sickbay, Shran jokes that Phlox must be in love with Talas, as the doctor is treating her for more than a superficial wound, but the phase-pistol that Naarg shot her with was set to kill. Shran tries to reassure Talas that she will be well again and that they will soon be back on Andoria. When Talas asks, Shran promises not to let her die unavenged. Phlox enters and apologetically asks Shran to leave. Before he does so, however, Archer enters and offers him a proposal. Shran doesn’t listen to the captain’s suggestion but answers that he will take part if the plan includes killing Tellarites. As he leaves, Archer realizes that uniting the Andorians, Tellarites, Vulcans and Humans to provide the ships needed for the sensor grid will prove much more difficult than he thought.
On Romulus, Senator Vrax complains to Valdore that the drone ship is damaged, defenseless and adrift in enemy space, following its battle. Valdore reminds him that the drone has automated repair systems, but Vrax is concerned that it could be discovered. He says that the prototype drone ship, is simply a modified Romulan warbird, a fact that the Vulcans would discover if they scanned the ship’s propulsion matrix. He orders Valdore to return the ship to Romulus, where he plans to tell the Romulan Senate that Valdore’s test was a success. If the admiral doesn’t carry out Vrax’s orders, Valdore will be held responsible for the loss of the prototype drone ship.
In his ready room, Archer tells T’Pol that he was just contacted by Admiral Gardner, who told him that Starfleet is sending every available starship to assist them, but even at maximum velocity, it’l take three weeks. T’Pol asks about Columbia NX-02, but Archer tells her that it’s currently down for repairs. T’Pol reports that Minister T’Pau dispatched only 23 vessels, as the Vulcan High Command has been disbanded and many Vulcan ships are currently not fully crewed. T’Pol notices Andorian and Tellarite fleet deployments on a monitor on the captain’s desk but Archer explains that more ships will be necessary if the sensor grid is to be successful. T’Pol suggests that a command hierarchy be organized, due to the difficult relations between most of the members of the alliance. Archer comments that Humans are the only species that are allies of the Andorians and Tellarites and that Enterprise could relay all orders to the armada of vessels. T’Pol isn’t convinced, however, due to the fact that Humans, Andorians, Vulcans and Tellarites have never cooperated on a mutual endeavor before. Archer believes that if action against the Romulans isn’t taken now, they may later return in greater force.
Aboard the drone ship, Reed and Tucker are inspecting the systems on the bridge. Tucker finds an environmental system, and activates it which releases air and heat into the room. Reed wonders if the ship could be deserted – perhaps it is a prototype, which would explain the design of its bridge. The vessel may have been an existing ship, modified with the latest technological advancements available to its designers. If Reed is correct, and the ship is run by computers, all that he and Tucker will have to do is to find the off switch. They start looking.
On Enterprise, Shran and Ambassador Gral argue. When it seems as though their quarreling is about to erupt into physical violence, Archer refuses to intervene. He asks them to put aside their differences and try to cooperate. To do otherwise would be to allow the Romulans what they want to achieve – the destabilizing of relations between political powers in the region.
Aboard the drone ship, Reed senses that the vessel has resumed warp speed, a perception that is substantiated when Trip detects a power spike. He says that all of the ship’s controls should connect to the bridge if the ship was originally built for a crew. Reed watches the bridge consoles, and soon the propulsion controls appear.
On Romulus, Nijil tells Valdore that he isn’t certain what Reed and Tucker are doing aboard the drone ship, as the vessel’s visual surveillance system is off-line. He exclaims that the drone ship is no longer traveling at warp speed.
Meanwhile, Reed hears vessel drop out of warp. Modestly, Tucker tells the him that he simply interrupted the power to the warp controls, bu a backup system will probably kick in soon. They look at a computer monitor displaying their location on the ship. Reed believes that an area of the map could represent the power coupling for the entire warp control system but the area is separated from the bridge. Touching the section of the map that corresponds to the dividing wall, a door opens, leading to the area that Reed and Tucker want to reach.
On Romulus, Nijil reports that one of the intruders has left the bridge of the drone ship and is in the service junction, having located the main coupling for the warp matrix. He tells Valdore that they have what they need to kill him in the service junction.
On board the drone ship, Tucker tells Reed to monitor a diagram as he flips through some alien equipment as if they were circuit breakers. After Tucker calls that he’s cut the first one, Reed comments that a section of the map dimmed.
Meanwhile, Nijil reports to Valdore that the intruder they are monitoring is disabling the warp system and that the ship’s automated self-repair systems will take more than a day to restore its warp capability, more time than they have. When they notice that Tucker is still in the service junction, they seal him in.
Tucker is about to look for a communications circuit when the door to the service junction closes. He contacts Reed using his communicator and asks if he touched anything. Reed tells him that he didn’t and that the hatch controls on his side aren’t responding. They both try to force the hatch open, until they hear the transmitted voice of Admiral Valdore. The Romulan reveals that he is in command of the vessel. When reactor coolant begins to fill the service junction, Tucker lets Reed know, mentioning that the radiation level is at one hundred roentgens and increasing. Valdore warns Tucker that if he doesn’t reestablish the drone ship’s warp matrix in the next seven minutes, he will ultimately die.
On Enterprise, Shran hands Captain Archer an Andorian PADD. It displays the communication codes that the Andorian fleet will use during the operation. Archer informs him that the Tellarites have also agreed to participate and that they, too, will require the communication codes. Distracted by the pictures of craft named Enterprise on Archer’s ready room wall, Shran asks the captain if he has served on all those ships. Archer explains that although he wasn’t even born when some of them were on active duty, every craft on the wall was called Enterprise. He tells Shran that one of the vessels sailed Earth’s oceans almost four hundred years ago. Shran reveals that the ship he recently captained, the Kumari, was named after the first ice-cutter to circle Andoria. He speculates that perhaps future ships will be named after his and Archer’s ships, if they achieve something historic together. Seeing no reason why Andorians and Humans can’t become allies, he shakes Archer’s hand.
On the drone ship, Tucker plans to deactivate the reactor which will stop the release of reactor coolant but Reed has thought of a better plan. Reed shoots the door but the phase-pistol has no effect. Tucker deactivates the reactor but the backup sequencer comes on-line, causing reactor coolant flow back into the service junction. Valdore attempts to persuade Reed and Tucker to follow his instructions.
In Enterprise‘s situation room, T’Pol reports that all 128 ships that are needed for the sensor grid have moved into position. Phlox contacts Archer and urgently asks him to come to sickbay.
Later, Shran storms into sickbay, where he finds Archer and Phlox. The doctor apologizes to Shran and says he did everything that he could have. The Andorian is furious – his beloved, Talas, is dead. Archer convinces Shran that this is the wrong time for anger and, over her dead body, Shran breaks down and mourns Talas.
Aboard the drone ship, Tucker notifies Reed that the radiation level is at 180 roentgens and continuing to increase and that his attempts to shut down the backup reactor sequencer have been unsuccessful. Reed tells Valdore that he will reestablish the warp matrix to save Commander Tucker but Tucker orders him not to, before passing out. Reed sets to work to try to save Tucker’s life.
On Enterprise, Ambassador Gral indicates that all the Tellarite ships have joined the sensor grid. All that will be required now is patience, which Archer and Naarg agree will be hard for the Tellarites. Shran interrupts proceedings outside the conference room when two MACOs stop him from entering. Archer orders them to let him in, once Shran convinces the captain and the MACOs that his intentions are peaceful. Inside, he talks about Talas and shows Naarg a leather pouch full of her blood. He explains that when a guardsman dies far from Andoria, his, or her, companions carry a part of him, or her, back to the ice of their homeworld. In a furious rage, he empties Talas’ blue blood onto Naarg. Archer pulls him back, where Shran warns that if Naarg doesn’t face him in combat, the Andorian Imperial Guard will withdraw its ships from the sensor grid.
Tucker is still unconscious aboard the drone ship. Reed demands that Valdore stops the release of reactor coolant now that the lieutenant has reconnected the warp matrix. The Romulan opens the hatch to the service junction and Reed enters the area, as the hatch closes behind him. He reveals that he and Tucker are in a better location than on the bridge, where he has set a phase-pistol to overload.
Meanwhile, Valdore instructs Nijil to take the drone ship back to Romulus at warp speed.
Aboard the ship, Tucker senses that the vessel has resumed warp propulsion and reminds Reed that he disobeyed a direct order. Reed sarcastically retorts that he’s sorry for saving Tucker’s life and promises that he won’t do it again. Grateful to still be alive, the engineer apologizes. Reed works on opening an access panel which leads away from the bridge and, aware that the Romulans may be monitoring his and Tucker’s conversation, indicates his plan to Tucker. He and the engineer have only a minute before the phase-pistol explodes, so they work together to escape the service junction.
On board the vessel, Reed and Tucker climb through the access panel. Tucker believes they are a safe distance away from the overloading phase-pistol, but Reed replies that he wired the weapon directly into the power conduit on the bridge. Valdore hears this and discovers Reed’s plan, seconds before the phase-pistol explodes, disrupting the Romulans’ control of the drone ship.
On board Enterprise, Hoshi Sato and T’Pol tell Captain Archer about the Ushaan – a fight to the death using a weapon called a ushaan-tor, an ice-miner’s tool. Hoshi is certain that Naarg wouldn’t stand a chance using one against Shran, as Andorians play with the ushaan-tor as children. Archer tells Sato and T’Pol that Ambassador Gral is refusing to let Naarg fight, although T’Pol remarks that the Andorians will consider that a further insult.
In his quarters, Shran sharpens the blade of his ushaan-tor. Archer enters and recalls that he and the Andorian spoke about an alliance between their species two hours ago. Would he risk that alliance for his own personal vengeance? Shran explains that he has lost more than Talas; he has also lost his ship and most of his crew. Now, he fears that he would lose his crew’s loyalty and the respect of the Imperial Guard if he doesn’t go ahead with the fight. He also thinks that Archer should be supporting him – as he speaks for the Humans at the Imperial Guard. Archer notifies him that, in accordance with the rules of the Ushaan, the captain will act as substitute for Naarg. Shran doesn’t want to fight his friend but, after a long pause, he refuses to call off the match.
Aboard the drone ship, Tucker is surprised at the extent of the damage which Reed caused with only one phase-pistol. They decide to head for the vessel’s outer hull, where Commander Tucker may be able to link their communicators to the subspace transceivers on the hull, in order to contact Enterprise.
In the Romulan Command Center, Nijil reports that they have restored contact with the drone ship and that the vessel’s repair systems are starting to function again. Valdore asks to be notified when the ship has reestablished its self-destruct capability.
Aboard Enterprise, T’Pol enters Archer’s quarters with the belief that the captain will lose the fight against Shran. She states that the Andorian has much more combat experience and won’t yield to the captain. Archer is the only one who can be killed in the fight, since Starfleet insists on locating and destroying the Romulan drone ship, which won’t happen if an Andorian or a Tellarite is killed in the Ushaan. T’Pol reveals that she is worried about what might happen to Archer in the fight.
On the bridge, Sato tells Mayweather that she is studying the Code of the Ushaan. T’Pol hopes that Sato will be able to uncover a loophole in the code – some way to forfeit the match without insulting the Andorians. Mayweather offers to help her with the research.
In the briefing room, Sato and Mayweather discuss several possible loopholes, without success. Eventually, Mayweather suggests that perhaps they should be looking for a way for the captain to win, not a way out of the fight. Sato reminds him that the Andorians will withdraw their vessels if Shran dies. When Mayweather tells her that his father was challenged to a duel on Neubilia Prime for looking at the native tribal elders in the wrong way, Sato asks him how his father withdrew from the fight. Cued by Sato’s question, he searches for the combat rules.
Later, in launch bay two, Sato, Gral and Phlox advise Archer on how to fight Shran. T’Pol calls the two combatants to take their positions where they briefly talk, each one certain that the other will lose. Soon, they begin their duel and, midway through the fight, Archer claims that he is trying to help Shran impress the Andorian soldiers. Eventually, the captain grips around Shran’s neck and asks him to yield. The Andorian refuses to give up, so Archer swings the blade of his ushaan-tor towards Shran.
Later, Shran lies in sickbay with an amputated antenna. He tells Archer that he deserved to be decapitated by the captain, and, walking to a monitor, reacts to the severity of his injury. He states that Andorian antennae can take up to nine months to regrow, although Phlox answers that with electrical stimulation and cranial massage therapy, it could take half that time.. When Archer recalls being told that Andorian antennae aren’t vital, Shran retorts that his loss was a humiliating experience. But, as the captain respected Andorian tradition, the Andorians will continue to assist.
On the bridge, T’Pol reports that the drone ship’s power signature has been detected by four of the allied vessels. Enterprise is too far from the suspected ship to scan for bio-signs, so Archer orders an intercept course. Although even at maximum warp, the starship will still take 47 minutes to intercept the craft. Archer orders Sato to inform the allied fleet of Enterprise‘s situation and anxiously settles into his chair.
Meanwhile, the Romulans realize that Enterprise is closing on the drone ship. Valdore commands Nijil to activate the vessel’s holographic skin.
In space, the Romulan ship seems to be changing form, an illusion created by its multispectral emitters. On board, several lights fail, shortly before Tucker explains that all the ship’s systems that were damaged in the explosion are restoring power, draining the vessel’s other systems. Power hasn’t been restored yet to the drone ship’s warp matrix, although Tucker suggests that they hurry if they wish to contact Enterprise.
As Enterprise nears its target, T’Pol announces that the starship is approaching visual range of the supposed drone ship. When Archer directs T’Pol to display the vessel on the main viewscreen, it appears that the craft is a Vulcan starship. Checking the vessel’s power signature, T’Pol clarifies that the ship is not of Vulcan design. Archer gives the order to raise tactical alert, charge weapons and prepare to engage the enemy.
In the Romulan Command Center, Nijil is annoyed that Enterprise will intercept the drone ship before the vessel restores its warp matrix. Senator Vrax enters with his bodyguards, startling Valdore. When Vrax disapproves of the admiral’s inability to stop intruders aboard the drone ship from boarding and disabling the vessel, Valdore realizes that the senator must have a spy in the command center. Vrax reveals that he has come to witness Enterprise‘s destruction.
On the bridge of Enterprise, T’Pol identifies two Human bio-signs on board the Romulan vessel. However, they will need to get closer to the drone ship to get a transporter lock on Tucker and Reed. Archer attempts to hail his officers and is relieved when they eventually answer.
Soon, Enterprise and the drone ship engage in combat. The Romulan craft is causing severe damage to the Starfleet vessel when Enterprise finally manages to eliminate the drone ship’s disguise.
Aboard the Romulan craft, Reed wonders why the crew of Enterprise are firing at the drone ship when they know that he and Tucker are aboard, although Tucker assumes that they are only aiming at the drone ship’s weapon systems. Contacting Enterprise, the engineer asks Archer if the starship is able to establish a transporter lock on his and Malcolm’s positions. The captain replies negatively and instructs them to move closer to the drone ship’s hull.
Meanwhile, Nijil reports that the Romulan ship has lost its holographic ability and will reestablish its warp capacity in two minutes. He calls that more enemy vessels are nearing the drone ship and worries that the ship will lose its self-repair systems again. Vrax is certain, however, that the ship will escape the allied fleet.
As Enterprise continues to fight the enemy vessel, Tucker shouts that he and Reed have reached the vessel’s hull.
T’Pol still fails to get a transporter lock on Tucker and Reed, as the Romulan ship’s movement is too erratic. The drone ship targets Enterprise‘s warp core so Archer orders T’Pol to take the weapons off-line and boost power to the hull plating. Telling Mayweather to turn the ship around, he contacts Tucker and Reed and demands that they leave the drone ship.
Meanwhile, Vrax sees that the Starfleet vessel doesn’t have weapons – a vulnerability which the Romulans can take advantage of.
Tucker and Reed jump out of the drone ship and hurtle through open space at an incredible rate of acceleration.
Just when T’Pol is about to engage a transporter lock on them, Enterprise is hit again, this time taking damage to its sensor assembly – she still can’t get a lock.
The Romulans discover six more enemy vessels heading toward the drone ship, which will be able to engage warp in twenty seconds.
When Sato reports their arrival, Archer tells her to ask the allied vessels to hold their fire – he doesn’t want his officers to be injured.
Meanwhile, Tucker and Reed swim through space, watching as the allied ships approach and the drone ship, which has regained its warp capacity, darts past them.
On Romulus, Vrax orders the pilot, wearing the synaptic interface helmet which covers most of his features, to withdraw the drone ship from the battle.
In the vacuum of space, the six allied ships race after the Romulan craft. Alone, Reed pessimistically believes that he and Tucker are doomed to spend the rest of eternity spinning endlessly through space when, above their heads, the massive Enterprise appears and beams them aboard.
Later, Tucker and Reed remove their environmental suits, which they have been wearing for three days. Tucker thanks Reed for saving his life aboard the drone ship but says that he is putting the lieutenant on report. Eventually though, Reed determines that Tucker is only joking.
In the briefing room, Archer notifies T’Pol, Shran, and Gral that the drone ship escaped. He also tells them that the crew of an attacked Tellarite vessel was rescued by an Andorian warship. Shran and Gral agree that the drone ship is a menace to both their species and sit down to discuss a potential alliance between Andoria and Tellar.
Meanwhile, Nijil states that the drone ship has returned to Romulan space. Valdore orders the pilot to be disconnected from the equipment that surrounds him. As Romulan officers remove the helmet from his head, they reveal that the pilot is a blind white-skinned Andorian.