Bridge. Quantum enters and asks T'Pol if she's got any news. "We've received twenty-nine hails in the past two hours," T'Pol says. Quantum asks who could be calling them at this hour, and T'Pol tells them it's all hospitals who want their help. "Two orbital spacecrafts approached us while you were on the planet. They mistakenly believed that we already had a cure, we had to turn them away," T'Pol finishes. What kind of PR does this "advanced" species have if they can't control the information they let out? It's like a planet of FOX News reports. Quantum asks to speak with T'Pol in confidence. They adjourn to his Ready Room, where the Captain prepares to snack on a piece of humble cheesecake. He explains that the Valakians want warp drive technology from them. "What did you tell them?" T'Pol asks. Quantum says, "That I'd think about it." "And?" Quantum says he knows where she stands on the matter. "Even if you give them our reactor schematics, they don't have the technical expertise to build a warp engine," T'Pol says. Quantum comments, "They don't have any experience working with anti-matter. I doubt they realize how dangerous it is." He shakes his head and turns to his sub-commander, saying, "They're not ready." T'Pol says he just made his decision a whole lot easier. "We could stay and help them," Quantum says. T'Pol reminds him that the Vulcans stayed on Earth to help the humans ninety years ago. "We're still there," she finishes. Touché, T'Pol. Quantum puts his face full in his humble cheesecake and says, "I never thought I'd say this, but I'm beginning to understand how the Vulcans must have felt." The heavens open up and seraphim sing as the holy light beams down on Enterprise.
Sick bay. Phlox examines some more DNA strands and looks mightily troubled by what he sees. I have a feeling the Valakian end is nigh.
Heh. The Sprint guy was on West Wing last week. He'll never have a real career now -- commercial actors are supposed to be forgettable, but even Deborah's posters are calling him "Congressman Sprint."
Mess hall. Phlox enters and spies Quantum togged out in a white Hanes Beefy Tee. Boy, he’s really giving us the sartorial works this episode. "Trouble sleeping, Captain?" Phlox asks. Quantum comments he's not the only one, to which the good doctor replies, "Actually, Denobulans require very little rest unless you count our annual hibernation cycle." "Am I going to be without my doctor this winter?" Quantum asks. "Only for six days," Phlox tells him. Cool. I really hope they do an episode surrounding that period. It could be very interesting and ORIGINAL. Quantum chuckles that he might have to join him, and you want to know something weird? I'm not hating Bakula in this scene yet. Usually, he opens his mouth and I reach for a Post Road life-preserver, but he's actually being genuine and less of a pompous chucklehead than usual. Phlox grabs a plate of something from the refrigerated section, and Quantum asks, "Any progress?" Phlox pauses and looks very disturbed. "The research has been challenging, to say the least," he says. "A cure, Doctor, have you found a cure?" Quantum asks, and I'm back to hating him again. Phlox says, carefully, "Even if I could find one, I'm not sure it would be ethical." "Ethical?" Quantum queries, clearly needing a Merriam-Webster for that concept. Phlox states they'd be messing around with a process of evolution that has been taking place for thousands of years. Quantum slaps his thigh and gets up, saying, "Every time you treat an illness, you're interfering. That's what doctors do." It's only Episode Thirteen and they're already resorting to a tight-white-t-shirt-wearing macho-ism that Kirk didn't need until Star Trek V (and that Picard didn't ever need -- the nakedness in "Chain of Command" notwithstanding). "At least it's not a wife-beater," Mathra comments. And granted, Bakula looks to be in much better shape than Shatner ever was -- even in TOS's earliest days.
Phlox tells His Studliness that he's forgetting about the Menk. "What about the Menk?" Quantum asks, as he saunters to refill his glass of iced tea. You know, his poses are almost identical to Blalock's, and it's making me think this scene is all about showing off Bakula's body. Tight pants, tight white t-shirt, poses being struck…well, at the very least, we can say they're egalitarian in their exploitation. "I've been studying their genome as well and I've seen evidence of increasing intelligence -- motor skills, linguistic abilities -- unlike the Valakians, they seem to be in the process of an evolutionary awakening. It may take millennia, but the Menk have the potential to become the dominant species on this planet," Phlox says. Quantum supposes that the Menk will not become the dominant species if the Valakians are still around. Phlox tells him that the Menk need to be able to live on their own in order to flourish as a species. Quantum asks, "Now, just what are you suggesting? We choose one species over the other?" I don't think it's Enterprise's choice to make. Mother Nature has clearly already laid bets on her favorites; these humans have absolutely no power in this matter. Phlox elucidates my rantings much better by saying, "All I'm saying is that we let Nature make the choice." "The hell with Nature! You're a doctor. You have a moral obligation to help people who are suffering," Quantum insists. First of all, "the hell with Nature"? You are a putz, aren't you? And second of all, "moral obligation"? I don't believe we've heard anything about a Denobulan equivalent to the Hippocratic oath, so let's not throw the word "morals" around. Phlox tells Quantum that, as a scientist, he has to consider "the larger issues." Phlox continues, "Thirty-five thousand years ago, your species co-existed with other humanoids, is that correct?" Quantum closes his slacking jaw and says, "Go ahead." "What if an alien race had interfered, and given the Neanderthals an evolutionary advantage?" Phlox asks, pronouncing "Neanderthals" like "Neander-dolls. "Fortunately for you, they didn't," Phlox finishes. "I appreciate your perspective on all of this," Quantum says, "but I am living proof that a few Neanderthals squeezed through." Come to think of it, I could have been distracted by his hulking brow; what he really said was: "But we're talking about something that might happen. Might happen, thousands of years from now. They've asked for our help. I am not prepared to walk away based on a theory." Phlox gets frustrated and tells Quantum that evolution is "more than a theory, it's a scientific principle!" Phlox kicks all variants of butt in this scene. "Forgive me for saying so," he continues, "but I believe your compassion for these people is affecting your judgment." "My compassion guides my judgment!" Quantum thunders. He asks the doctor if he can find a cure. Phlox is silent. "Doctor?" he prompts him. Phlox tells him he's already found a cure. Quantum goes to pose by the window. Phlox VOs that when they found the alien vessel, he had no idea he'd be immersed in such a conflict with his captain.
Sick bay. Phlox VOs that Quantum is his captain and that Quantum has placed a "great deal of trust in [him]," so he thinks he owes Quantum the same. "I only hope he's willing to look beyond his sympathy for these poor people," Phlox's VO finishes as he fiddles with medical tubes. Quantum walks into sick bay, fully dressed this time, and says, "Doctor." Phlox squares his shoulders and says, "Captain." It's just like an old Western standoff at high noon outside the O.K. Corral. Quantum tells Phlox that he's on his way down to the Valakian hospital, and Phlox interrupts him to say, "It would go against all my principles if I didn't ask you to reconsider." Quantum tells him he spent the whole night reconsidering. "And what I've decided goes against all my principles," he says. Phlox gives him a steady look. "Someday, my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine -- something that tells us what we can and can't do out here, should and shouldn't do. But until someone tells me that they've drafted that directive [we are now entering Anvil City, population: two humans and two cats. I cannot believe he actually said it!] I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God." Ship's Log, Stardate October 12, 2151: At 0700, Captain Quantum looks in the mirror and chants, "You're not God. You may have pecs and tight buns, but you're not God." Phlox's audio letter to Dr. Lucas continues with him telling him that he'd like to hope that if Dr. Lucas had been with him, he'd never have let Phlox even consider withholding his findings from Quantum, "but I'm ashamed to say that I almost did just that."