Aboard Enterprise, Reed reports that one of the Nausicaan ships has locked their weapons on them. "This has gone on long enough," Quantum tells Ryan. "Now you're putting my crew in danger. Release that hostage." Phaser fire in the cargo module. Ryan shouts back that it's his prisoner and he's going to do what he wants. Time for Mayberry to step up to the plate and deliver a long and sanctimonious speech. "What are you going to do -- kill him?" he asks. "It's you again," Ryan growls back, which makes me laugh for some reason. Maybe it's because that's exactly how I felt every time Mayberry opened his mouth in this episode. Mayberry asks Quantum's permission to deliver his scheduled long and sanctimonious speech. Paraphrased, Mayberry tells him that killing anyone isn't going to solve anything, especially because it would mean that other freighters who run into the Nausicaans will have to pay for Ryan's "stubborn stupidity." Ryan tries to argue that his M.O. is all about trying to protect other freighters, but Mayberry gives a lukewarm "the hell it is" to that, and tells him it's all about revenge. Reed announces that the Nausicaan ships are firing, and Enterprise is hit. Quantum orders that they return fire with torpedoes. Mayberry keeps on with his annoying speech until FINALLY, Ryan gives in and returns the Nausicaan hostage. The Nausicaans leave the ship. Well, I don't know about you, but I'm relieved. Relieved that Mayberry's done talking. Aboard Enterprise, there's a few tense seconds of tension-building music before Reed reports that the Nausicaans have powered down their weapons, and are preparing to leave. Under Quantum's gaze, Mayberry huffs emotionally, clenches his jaw, and returns to his ensign's seat. I'll bet he gets to write up the report for this one as well. Now go crawl back to obscurity, Harry Kim.
Fortunate. Quantum and the recovered Cpt. Keene have a little chin-wag about the recent events. "I've got a little Dralaxian whisky stashed away -- if you'd like to join me," Cpt. Keene offers. Quantum declines, saying he's on duty. "Too bad," Keene says. "If you've never had it, you're missing one of the galaxy's real pleasures. [Hey, dude, can I have some?] I'm reducing Mr. Ryan's rank to Able Crewman. He gets to spend the rest of the trip purging hydraulic pumps." Quantum says, "If you think he's going to be a problem, we can take him back to Earth." Keene declines, saying, "We take care of our own. Besides, that would leave me a man short." Quantum gets it. Keene sighs, "I made him my First Officer because I trusted him with my ship. It's going to take him quite a while to earn that back." Quantum tells him that Ryan had good intentions, but that he needs to learn to accept help when it's offered to him. I thought it was more that he needs to learn not to have serious vengeance issues. Keene explains, "The ones that grew up out here feel that they have some special claim -- that this particular stretch of space is theirs. They see another ship within ten light years and they get jumpy." Quantum tells him they're going to see a lot more ships, and soon. Keene shakes his mullet: "Ships get faster -- it's progress, I suppose. My family's been on the Fortunate for three generations, now I'm going to need at least a warp three engine to stay in business." Quantum tells him that's not all bad: "At warp three, help's a lot closer than before. You won't have to go it alone." Keene reminds him that "going it alone" is all they've ever done. "For some of us, that's the reason we're out here. A chance to prove ourselves," Keene finishes. Point of order here: if you are all alone, because that seems to be his big issue, to whom, exactly are they proving themselves? Quantum tells him he thinks they've already proven themselves, which makes Keene sigh and say that they'll adapt. "But things just won't be the same," Keene muses. Quantum wishes him "good luck" and attempts to leave, but Keene stops him, asking, "You sure you won't join me for that drink?" Quantum laughs, "Thanks, but I'm just a stuffed shirt." Of course, he could've said, "Thanks, but my crew's anxious to get underway. Next time." Do you think Quantum's on the wagon? Nimoy is. All the pressure on the set of TOS literally drove him to drink. But thinking about it, this Cpt. Keene's rather keen on drinking -- is that such a good idea after he's just come out of a coma? I think I'm in a coma.