Tucker talks to T’Pol about how much she’s been keeping to herself. She claims that she’s been busy reading the Kir’Shara, and rebuffs his suggestion that she’s been affected by her mother’s death. Later in the Captain’s Mess, the group talks about the upcoming experiment involving sub-quantum transportation. In theory, the distance that could be travelled using such technology would be limitless. He recalls the conversations he used to have with Archer’s father, about whether the future was in the warp drive or transporters. They toast to his memory.
The arrive at the Barrens, a region of space 100 light years from any star systems, the perfect conditions for Emory’s tests. While preparing, Trip gushes, and Emory kindly takes the praise. However, when Trip asks if he can hook up Emory’s power converter, he politely, but firmly, says no.
Archer shows Danica the ship, and marvels at her intimate knowledge of the ship. When he asks her why she never joined Starfleet, she tells him that she could never leave her father, especially after his son Quinn died, fifteen years ago. She returns to her quarters to give Emory his daily treatment, and tells him about her reservations about lying to the crew. She asks why they can’t just tell them the truth, but Emory tells her that Archer’s first duty is to his ship.
In the armoury, a power failure strikes. Ask Reed and a redshirt creep to find the source of the lightshow, the lightshow engulfs and kills him. The redshirt. In sickbay, they discover that an intense burst of delta radiation did him in. For Danica, his death is the last straw, but Emory once again calms her down and convinces her to continue with the plan.
They begin the first test, successfully beaming a buoy 40,000 km, the furthest anything had ever been beamed before. Trip reports to Archer afterwards, informing him that most of the work Emory had him do was busy work, not really related to the test. Archer’s also found out that he’d lied about never having seen the lightshow entity before: 5 years ago on his research vessel a similar incident took place.
The entity appears again, this time passing briefly through T’Pol, leaving her hand badly scarred. Using visual readings, they discover that the entity’s actually Quinn. Emory confesses the true purpose behind his research: trying to get his son back. He’d let his son go through during one of the first tests of the quantum transporter, but it left his signal trapped in a bubble in subspace.
When Trip and T’Pol protest Archer’s declaration that the tests will go ahead, he chews them out. They both reluctantly return to work. Quinn appears again, this time in the shuttlebay. When he travels through a nearby wall, he causes a massive explosion, nearly killing Emory. However, Emory gets the needed readings and predicts when his son will appear next.
At the next interval, they are able to get a lock on Quinn, but the signal’s not stable. The pattern begins to fade and his lifesigns grow weaker. Phlox warns that he’s suffered massive cellular deterioration; if they complete the transport, Emory will die. They urge him to let Quinn go. Emory completes the transport, and says goodbye to his son. He later tells the others that it’s better to be alive or dead, not somewhere in between.
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