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Malcolm Reed, played by Dominic Keating, is a fictional character on the television series Star Trek: Enterprise.

Reed is English, and is, at different times, the tactical officer and armory officer aboard the starship Enterprise. He holds the rank of Lieutenant. However, in the episode "Twilight" , the alternate timeline Reed holds the rank of Captain - he is in the process of taking over the USS Intrepid.

Character overview

Reed's parents are Stuart and Mary, and he has a sister, Madeline. They appeared on-screen in the episode "Silent Enemy" while communicating with Enterprise. In addition to his parents and sister, other relatives also known are an Uncle Archie and two spinster aunts.

Reed's great-uncle was in the Britishmarker Royal Navy on Earth, but was killed in action while chief engineer of the HMS Clement (a submarine that struck a mine, a left over from an unmentioned war). Reed has a strong appreciation for his uncle, not only because of the heroics of this relative, but because they both share a common condition: aquaphobia, or the fear of drowning. He is one of the few men in his family who did not join the Royal Navy, a fact which led to some friction with his father, who is also a Royal Navy veteran. Reed is also an Eagle Scout, obtaining 28 Merit Badges, two more than his commanding officer, Jonathan Archer.

Reed is allergic to dust mites, oak pollen, tropical grasses, and various plant enzymes, including bromelin, which, ironically, is found in pineapple, his favorite food. He is also prone to space sickness in some circumstances.

Reed has an almost suicidal sense of self-sacrifice, and can also be consumed at times with regret over paths not followed in his love life; he and Charles Tucker III have at least one ex-girlfriend in common. In one alternate timeline seen during the Xindi mission in which Enterprise becomes a generational ship unable to return to Earth, Reed dies without leaving any heirs, having been unable to find a mate. The episode "Shuttlepod One" revealed that Reed has a crush on T'Pol, but this was never expanded upon further.

The episode "Divergence" revealed that in 2149, Reed, then an Ensign, had been recruited as an operative for a mysterious offshoot of Starfleet Intelligence, which in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would be identified as Section 31. He believed he had left Section 31 behind when he was posted aboard Enterprise in 2151; however, in 2154, he was reactivated as an agent during a mission to recover Phlox, who had been kidnapped by a group of Klingons trying to stop a genetically engineered virus running rampant in the Empire. Part of his mission involved sabotaging a piece of evidence that might have assisted Enterprise in tracking down the Klingons faster. For this, Reed was temporarily relieved of duty and incarcerated in the brig by Archer, although Archer later reinstated Reed after determining that he had been placed in what Archer called "an impossible situation" by his Section 31 superior, Harris.

Following the Klingon mission, Reed demanded that Harris never communicate with him again. Harris, however, replied that Reed had committed himself to a cause he could never simply walk away from. Indeed, Reed would later re-establish contact with Harris under orders from Archer during the Terra Prime incident. This storyline confirmed fan speculation dating back to the earliest days of the series that Reed might have been somehow involved in the formation of Section 31.

Mirror Universe

An alternate version of Reed appears in the two-part episode "In a Mirror, Darkly", which takes place in the Mirror Universe. Little is known about this version of Reed, except that he is a major in the MACO corps (the regular universe's version of Reed was, for a time, considered for such a role by the show's writers), and is the head of all MACOs on the ISS Enterprise.

Reed invented the Agony booth, which is used to torture prisoners. After transferring to the USS Defiant, which had drifted into the Mirror Universe, he leads a team to attempt capture of a Gorn stowaway on the ship. Reed's team is killed when the Gorn detonates a bomb in their path. Badly injured, all Reed says is, "I've failed you, captain," showing he still had a suicidal sense of self-sacrifice in the Mirror Universe. Dr. Phlox later said that Reed had a 50/50 chance of recovering, but that he didn't think anyone would really mind if Reed died. It is not revealed whether Reed survives.

History of character development

  • In light of Star Trek's long history of representing characters of all races, colors, and creeds, fans have petitioned Paramount for years to finally include a gay or bisexual person as a regular character. In the development stage of Enterprise, it was reported that producers originally intended for one of the main characters to be the first openly gay character on Star Trek. Many speculate , for different reasons, that Malcolm Reed was the most likely candidate. Any such plans were abandoned as early backstory clearly stated Reed's orientation (as well as everyone else's) as heterosexual. Actor Dominic Keating, for his part, stated at a science fiction convention that the possibility that his character would be gay was discussed, and rejected, although it is unclear what was the context of this discussion and who made the final decision.

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