In an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise TV series, a cloaked mine damaged Enterprise in Romulan space, which limited Enterprise to a maximum speed of warp 2.1, with which it'd have taken a decade for them to reach Jupiter Station for repair. So, they decided to broadcast distress signals for help. And they got help from an automatic repair station, which was able to convert energy into mass & vice versa.
Later in this episode, Mayweather died in an accident. But, Doctor Phlox discovered that the dead body was just an exact copy of real one. Finally, Mayweather was found alive and saved. In fact, the repair station had kidnapped him just to use his brain for computer processing.

My Question: The dead body of Mayweather was an exact copy at even quantum scales. In fact, the doctor identified it as a fake because the repair station didn't care about a parasite that lived in Mayweather's blood. So, why did the repair station need real Mayweather when it was able to create his exact copy with 100% accuracy? It was able to create even thousands of such biological machines (or, even real digital computers) to improve its processing power. But still it was using an array of kidnapped aliens for this task. Why?

  • Any chance you can include the name of the episode in question?
    – Tango
    Jan 22, 2012 at 20:16
  • No luck as I barely read those episode names.. :( Plus, microscopic details are hard for my year-long memory as I am not Vulcan.. :)
    – user931
    Jan 22, 2012 at 20:42
  • Is there anyone else to tell episode name?
    – user931
    Jan 22, 2012 at 20:43
  • 4
    I've full series in my home media server. Enterprise damage with cloaked mine happened in S02E03 (Name - "Minefield"). Repair station appeared in S02E04 (Name - "Dead Stop").
    – user11147
    Jan 22, 2012 at 21:25

3 Answers 3


It couldn't recreate Mayweather with perfect accuracy, otherwise those things in his blood would've still been alive.

Based on what we know of replicator technology in TNG/DS9/VOY, and the fact that those things were dead, the repair station was most likely unable to create living matter - just a very good replica. And without a living brain, it's unlikely the replicated body could be used as a processor.

As for why it couldn't replicate a computer and use that... We'd have to ask the original creators, who don't seem to exist anymore. I'd guess that it simply wouldn't be efficient enough given the size, or flexible enough to deal with any type of ship.

  • "the repair station was most likely unable to create living matter" - Dr. Phlox arrives at the same conclusion during the episode. Exact quote: "It's ironic, in a way. The station can duplicate a dead human body in all its exquisite detail, yet a living, simple, one-celled organism is beyond its capability." chakoteya.net/Enterprise/31.htm
    – MJ713
    Feb 4, 2023 at 8:00

Obviously, the station COULD have simply replicated more computer equipment to increase it's processing ability BUT there are many examples in Star Trek where people managed to outwit A.I. systems (Nomad, M-5, Landru, and the androids from "I, Mudd" come to mind). I would say therefore, that the living brains of the people abducted by the station must be superior to any inorganic systems that could be replicated.

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    It doesn't make sense.. Living brain has a limit. If it can outsmart array of 5 supercomputers, the 6th supercomputer in the array would beat the brain..
    – user931
    Jul 2, 2012 at 10:55
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    @SachinShekhar He is saying that since the human brain was superior to the inorganic system they used it because it was easier/smaller/less expensive. I could mow my lawn with a push mower or a tractor, but I choose the lawnmower because it is easier, less expensive, and takes up less space.
    – NominSim
    Jul 2, 2012 at 16:23
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    @SachinShekhar Uh...yeah. The mass-energy equivalence concept (E = M(C^2)) tells us that it takes massive amounts of energy to create even a kilogram of matter. Given the massive space that a supercomputer would need to take up, it seems much easier to kidnap someone. Heck I could kidnap someone right now, I can't convert energy into a supercomputer, can you?
    – NominSim
    Jul 2, 2012 at 17:09
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    @SachinShekhar Do you have a source to back that up? Also, it isn't "designed with an assumption that c is ultimate speed limit", it implies that in order to reach the speed of light you need an infinite amount of energy. I believe that the use of warp "technology" gets past that, not that it doesn't apply.
    – NominSim
    Jul 2, 2012 at 17:19
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    @SachinShekhar That's only true if the energy flow only went one way. Tetryon radiation is one example of energy being drawn from subspace.
    – Izkata
    Jul 3, 2012 at 20:47

Taking into account that human brain comes in very nice, compact package and does not require a lot of energy for a lot of computing power, then it's kind of obvious why station abducted Mayweather, who has exceptional piloting skills (which translates to rather unique brain structure).

As to the actual problem of needing to abduct living specimen instead of using copy of the person. Maybe it's a deliberate limitation, or even a safety feature - to prevent the station from enhancing its capabilities by manufacturing extra internal systems - so it needs to work around that.

The matter-to-energy-to-matter conversion is not unlike a transporter, and it is possible to duplicate any object, including sentient beings (technically, of course, there are safeties built into them to prevent that) with a transporter. So to work around that the station grabs a person, creates it's perfect, dead replica and uses live person to add more computing power. Technically, everything is above board, no safeties are triggered.

However, there seems to be no reason to do that unless the station is itself an organism of sorts and this is how it sustains itself (whatever exact method notwithstanding).

But there may be another explanation: disguised research outpost. There is no better way to assess any tech than to examine it up close and also see it in operations. Same goes for the examples of species crewing the repaired ship. Social interactions and behavior can be observed in common access area and there is a specimen from each, for more detailed study at leisure.

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