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Itching for first contact, the Enterprise crew come across a alien vessel that's been attacked, and the crew murdered. When the attackers return, Enterprise becomes their next target.
In sickbay Hoshi has Doctor Phlox scan her sick pet, Sluggo, who isn't faring so well. Trip enters and informs the Doctor that more power has been routed to him which Phlox is appreciative of, the engineer then inspects the patient where Hoshi tells him that hopefully an argon lamp will help. Trip laments the fact that after two weeks the only lifeform they've made contact with is a dying worm.

In Archer's ready room, the Captain hears a noise as T'Pol enters. The Vulcan can't hear anything, but Archer is adamant that a squeaking noise is coming from under the deck plating. Returning to the reason she came to see him, T'Pol says that the scans of the space ahead indicate a limited chance of finding inhabited planets, even the Vulcan database isn't able to shed any light as there is little data on this region because, as T'Pol points out, Vulcans don't set their course by what piques their interest.

Hoshi enters as T'Pol leaves, she updates Archer on Sluggo's progress but quickly gets to the reason for her visit - the stars are going to wrong way outside her quarters on the starboard side of E deck. The communications expert points out that both her training tours were in portside quarters and she's now having trouble sleeping. She has a solution and wants the Captain's permission to switch with a crewmate, which Archer approves.

In the armory, Reed and Mayweather are running weapons simulations with no luck - the torpedoes keep missing their intended target. Reed is frustrated by this, convinced that it all should've been taken care of back at drydock. Mayweather insists his parent's cargo ship hardly ever ran into any problems, the armory officer believes that being further out than any other Earth vessel makes a big difference.

Archer enters and asks for a status update and after Malcolm relays the bad news Archer orders T'Pol on the bridge to drop out of warp and prepare for some target practice.

A short time later, Enterprise holds short of an asteroid field where the first torpedo fired misses it's target and explodes. After rotating the targeting axis they fire another torpedo which skims the edge of an asteroid and comes around - locking on to the Enterprise in the process. Reed manages to self destruct the warhead with only a minor shockwave impacting the ship. Reed explains to Archer that some more modifications are required which will take the better part of the day. Unimpressed, Archer orders Travis to resume course.

In the mess hall, Trip sits down with Phlox for a meal who seems to be excited about all the food available to eat on the ship while the engineer is less than impressed about wasting time, they've been out here for two weeks and haven't seen a thing. Phlox explains that he's seen plenty of things to keep him fascinated, including the coupling of two crewmen much to Trip's embarrassment.

Back on the bridge, T'Pol has spotted an object that may just serve the human's curiosity. Coming alongside the vessel Enterprise receives no response to hails and Trip spots possible hull breaches. Moving in closer, T'Pol runs more detailed scans and finds lifesigns aboard. Having received no response, the Vulcan interprets that as a sign that they don't want to be disturbed. Archer, however, is not convinced and orders a shuttlepod be prepped for departure.

On the way to his quarters, Archer is caught by Trip who asks to join the mission to the alien ship... he's itching for first contact, but Archer explains that Enterprise is too young to be without her chief engineer. In his quarters, Archer dictates a personal log to the computer, exacerbated by the Vulcan on the bridge sucking the air out of the room. He doubts his reasons for boarding the ship just as the door chimes. Hoshi enters and questions her being on the mission but the Captain's reassurances do little to persuade her.

Once the shuttle docks with the alien ship, Reed is ready to use microcharges to blow open the airlock but Archer finds a control and releases the seal without any explosions. Walking through the corridors, Hoshi notes that they are likely bipeds given the use of ladders while Reed identifies blood on the bulkhead.

Entering a compartment, a loud hydraulic pump draws Reed, Hoshi and Archer's attention but when Hoshi scans the room she screams in terror - the crew of this alien ship are strung up like vampires with tubes connecting their bodies together and leading into the pump.

Back in decon, T'Pol and Archer confer about their next course of action - T'Pol thinks they should leave, now, especially if the perpetrators return which seems likely. Archer begrudgingly agrees and orders Mayweather on the bridge to resume course at warp 3.

In sickbay, Hoshi is confiding in Phlox about her reaction to the corpses on the alien ship. The Doctor suggests she might be happier back at the university teaching as he gives Sluggo a protein compound that hopefully will get the worm eating again. Hoshi identifies with the worm, saying that Sluggo needs to get back to an environment suited to her - much like Hoshi.

In the Captain's dining room, Archer, Trip and T'Pol discuss the mission over dinner. It's not sitting well with Archer that they just left the crewmen behind. After working through his frustration he decides that the right course of action is to reverse course and try and identify what happened to them.

In a briefing with the senior staff on the bridge Archer requests Dr Phlox join them to identify what's being done to the crewmen, Trip needs to get the comm system up and running to be able to identify the aliens place of origin and Hoshi will compose the message. Malcolm needs to stay on the Enterprise to work on the targeting scanners. With their assignments they are dismissed.

A few hours later, back on the alien vessel, the away team carry out their assignments. Trip and Hoshi work on the communications, where she's so far having no luck with the universal translator. Phlox is carrying out a post mortem on one of the bodies and discovers that whoever the attackers are, they're collecting triglobulin.

Meanwhile, Hoshi opens up to Trip about being unhappy on this assignment, she's embarrassed at how she fell apart yesterday and that she wants to return to Earth. Trip tries to convince her to stick with it, to no avail. At that moment, the universal translator finishes processing the language and Hoshi begins to compile the message.

On the Enterprise, T'Pol reacts to an alarm and informs Archer that the attackers have returned. The Captain orders the away team back to the shuttlepod as the attackers get closer. Reed informs T'Pol that he wont be ready to defend the ship as the shuttlepod docks. The Subcommander informs Archer that there has been no response to hails, and scans cant penetrate the shielding of the incoming vessel.

Trip works hard to stay attached to the docking arm as it retracts back into the ship while the aliens continue firing. One of the shots hits the port nacelle and damages it, retreat is not an option now. Racing back to the bridge, Archer realises that the aliens have stopped their attack. Firing the torpedoes at the alien has no effect, they just bounce off the shields.

Trip reports that the nacelle has been depolarised and it'll take time to get it back up and running. At that moment a scanning beam crosses over the bridge, Phlox - standing next to Reed - reports that it was a submolecular bioscan and they most likely now know that the Human lymphatic systems are very tasty to their needs.

Archer orders Reed to the armory to begin dispersing hand weapons to defend the ship, but an alarm interrupts them - someone else has arrived, it looks very similar to the damaged ship. They hail Enterprise and after working on the translator, a frustrated Hoshi confesses that she is having trouble communicating with the alien.

The attackers lock onto Enterprise with a tractor beam as the misunderstanding continues, Hoshi is freezing and unable to communicate effectively as the attacker gets closer, realising he's down to his last chance Archer tells Hoshi to get the aliens to scan the biopumps hooked up to the corpses. The universal translator cant interpret the word pump and just as the attackers are about to cut into the hull Archer insists Hoshi talk to the aliens herself.

She struggles to come to terms with it all coming down to her, but she musters the confidence, stands and addresses the alien captain herself in a very broken sentence. As the alien Captain begins to understand what's going on, Hoshi gains more confidence and finally breaks the barrier... the alien ship fires on the attackers who retreat.

Gaining clearance, Reed confirms he's got the targeting scanners aligned and fires a torpedo which strikes the attackers much to the armory officer's relief. The aliens continue firing on the attacking ship which is destroyed.

A while later, Archer dictates a starlog where he notes that they spent time with the Axanar after helping rescue their murdered crew. We learn that they are androgynous and live over four hundred years. Enterprise is on a detour to an alien planet.

On the surface, Hoshi leaves Sluggo behind on a rock - in an environment better suited to the worm. Saying goodbye, Hoshi tells Sluggo (and herself) that it's not hard to adapt, and she'll do just fine here. After a warm moment her and Phlox leave.
Our first proper episode of Enterprise begins with Hoshi in sickbay watching the only creature they've made contact with so far... a slug that isn't fairing so well. Trip enters and informs Doctor Phlox that he's routed additional power... he then turns to Sluggo - the name they've affectionately given to the creature. Trip admits he's itching for first contact with more than a slug.

As with any second episode of a first season, we learn more about our characters and what they're trying to do... and watching these episodes the second time around - yeap, only the second for me! - I'm feeling a greater appreciation for them. I'm looking forward to the episodes I know are to come, and I'm glad Hoshi settles down towards the end of the ep and gets her space legs.
Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathon Archer
Jolene Blalock as Subcommander T'Pol
Connor Trinneer as Cmdr Charles Tucker III
Dominic Keating as Lt Malcolm Reed
John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
Anthony Montgomery as Ens Travis Mayweather
Linda Park as Ens Hoshi Sato
Written By:
Rick Berman and
Brannon Braga
Directed By:
Allan Kroeker
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