When we last left the NX-01 crew, they were beginning their mission of exploration. It’s remarkable how unprepared Captain Archer and his crew was by the 24th century standards viewers were accustomed to. But by the beginning of Season 2, the crew has bonded and the dynamic has improved. The previous episode saw the ship encounter a minefield with disastrous results. “Dead Stop” picks up with Archer and Tucker inspecting the damage in a pod.
The ship is in such a way that it would take years to return to the Jupiter Station because the hull is so damaged they can’t go faster than Warp 2. Captain Archer decides he needs to send out a general distress call and asks Hoshi to be as vague as possible to hide how dire their situation is. The Alpha Quadrant is still uncharted territory in Archer’s time, and the captain is weary of encountering new species who may take advantage of them. A Tellarite freighter on the edge of communications range answers the distress call with coordinates of a repair station.