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The Enterprise receives a distress signal from a 75 year old Federation vessel, and discovers it has crashed on a Dyson Sphere, an enormous structure where a shell is artificially created which surrounds a star at roughly the same distance as the earth is from the sun. Investigation of the crashed transport finds that one of the ship's passengers has actually survived the intervening time looped inside the ship's teleporter, and it turns out to be an old friend of the Enterprise...
*Captain's Log, Stardate 46125.3. Starfleet has dispatched two science vessels to study the Dyson Sphere while we proceed to Starbase 55.
On the holodeck bridge of the old Enterprise, Picard tells Scotty that a U.S.S. Enterprise is in the Starfleet Museum. It's not specified which Enterprise it was, since both Kirk's and Archer's Enterprises were retired from service, but, from the context, one would be led to assume it was the one Scotty had created on the holodeck, if it wasn't both.
The Dyson Sphere
is an actual concept that pre-dated this episode by more than 30 years, and is named after pioneering theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson
. Dyson himself acknowledges that the overall notion actually dates back to some SF stories in pulps of the late 1930s, but he was the first one to do a substantial theoretical analysis of it.
The Dyson Sphere itself is part of a class whimsically called Big Dumb Objects
, or more formally, a megastructure
, which includes the far more famous Ringworld
(aka "Niven Ring") as well as the ring-shaped structure used in the FPS game Halo
In-Joke: Data's line regarding the Aldebaranian whiskey of "It's... green" harks back to the ST:TOS episode By Any Other Name (02x22)
when Scotty describes an unidentified bottle of liquor using the same words.
Geordi: So this alien space baby. which is about the size of a four story building, really thought The Enterprise was its mother...
Geordi is relating to Scotty the events behind Galaxy's Child (04x16)