"Carbon Creek" is the second episode of the second season of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Enterprise, the 28th episode overall. First broadcast on September 25, 2002, "Carbon Creek" was actually the first episode produced for the second season.
Captain Jonathan Archer, Commander Trip Tucker and Sub-Commander T'Pol are having dinner in honor of the first anniversary of T'Pol's assignment aboard Enterprise. During conversation, Archer asks why T'Pol traveled from San Francisco to Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania (shown during the episode to be on Pennsylvania Route 138) before she joined the Enterprise. T'Pol reveals that, contrary to human belief that the first contact between humans and Vulcans occurred in the mid-2060s (see Star Trek: First Contact), it actually occurred a century earlier. Trip and Archer react incredulously to this claim, so T'Pol offers to tell them her great-grandmother's story.
T'Mir is a member of a four-Vulcan crew studying Earth from orbit in 1957, where they witness the launch of Sputnik, the planet's first artificial satellite. A mishap with their impulse manifold forces the craft to crash-land in Pennsylvania. The captain is killed and T'Mir, as second-in-command, takes charge. A distress signal is sent, but after more than two weeks no reply is received and the crew's rations run out. With his shipmates starving, one of the Vulcans, Mestral, chooses to enter a nearby human town. T'Mir reluctantly accompanies him.
Over the next few months the surviving Vulcans integrate themselves with the townsfolk, successfully hiding their alien nature: T'Mir helps at the local pub, Stron becomes a handyman, and Mestral works in the coal mine. Stron, because of his haircut, has to endure being compared endlessly to Moe Howard of the Three Stooges. Mestral enjoys the simpler pleasures of human life such as baseball games and watching I Love Lucy on television. He finds himself becoming involved with the pub's female owner. There is a firedamp explosion in the mine; Mestral helps in the rescue, gets to the trapped miners by radio contact with T'Mir who directs him through open passages over a radio link by reading a hand-held sensor device, and rescues a dozen trapped miners by blasting through a rock wall using a powerful hand-held energy pistol.
Eventually, a Vulcan vessel signals that it will arrive to retrieve the crew. Before leaving, however, T'Mir learns a human lesson in compassion, and travels by train to Pittsburgh where she 'sells' the rights to Velcro. The money she receives is more than enough to ensure the publican's son's future education. As the Vulcan ship nears, Mestral announces that he intends to stay on Earth and observe the great advances he knows lie ahead. T'Mir reluctantly agrees, and tells the rescuers that Mestral had died along with the captain. The episode ends with Archer and Trip not sure whether to believe T'Pol's story. However, the last image of the episode is of T'Pol returning to her quarters and retrieving T'Mir's 1950s-era handbag.