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The Enterprise arrives at the planet Troyius, the outermost world in the Tellun system, to pick up Ambassador Petri, a green-skinned, white-haired Troyian. He is then taken to Elas, the innermost planet, to pick up the Dohlman, Elaan – an exotic, black-haired, beautiful but very demanding young woman who is a member of the Elasian royal family. Though she is politically powerful herself, it is unclear who the real power is on Elas. What is clear is that the rulers of Elas and Troyius (the Council of Nobles and the Troyius Tribunal respectively) have mutually agreed to marry Elaan to a royal of Troyius,[N 1] to secure peace before the two planets destroy each other.

The Tellun system lies in a border area between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. It is hoped that this interplanetary royal marriage will bring peace and sway the Troyians and the Elasians toward the Federation rather than the Empire. Elaan is a most reluctant bride, cursing the arrangement that is, as she sees it, sending her off to be married to an enemy. Ambassador Petri's mission is to make the spoiled and arrogant Elaan acquainted with the manners and customs of the Troyians whose Queen she will be.

Not long after Elaan's arrival and the Enterprise beginning her passage to Troyius at 3% of lightspeed, a Klingon warship is detected in the Tellun system. It ignores all hails from the Enterprise. Captain Kirk is summoned to Elaan's quarters, where he finds Ambassador Petri, whose attempts to teach the Dohlman what she needs to learn have been ill-received, has been stabbed by Elaan. The ambassador is rushed to sickbay, where he refuses to have any more dealings with the Dohlman and threatens to advise his leader not to marry her. The job of teaching her what she needs to know falls to the Captain.

While in sickbay, Nurse Chapel asks the ambassador why Elasian women are so prized in spite of their savagery. Petri explains that the attraction is biochemical. If the tears of an Elasian female touch a man's skin, he will be enraptured and enslaved to her forever. The men of Elas have searched for a counter to the Elasian tears for centuries, without success.

Elaan does not take kindly to being "civilized" and attempts to stab Kirk. He overpowers her, disarms her, and chews her out, telling her that she will learn what she has been ordered to learn. She begins to cry, saying she is worried by the fact that nobody likes her and she does not know how to get people to like her. Kirk tries to comfort her, but makes the mistake of wiping a tear from her cheek and is overcome by its biochemical love potion. Elaan and Kirk begin a passionate love affair.

Meanwhile, one of the ship's watchstanding engineers is killed by Kryton, chief of Elann's bodyguards, who is secretly working for the Klingons. Kryton sabotages the dilithium crystals that control the Enterprise‍'​s warp engines and tries to contact the Klingon battle cruiser. He is captured, but commits suicide before he can be interrogated. Elaan explains that Kryton was from a noble family and had loved her. The arranged marriage had infuriated him and he sold out to the Klingons, probably hoping to disrupt the planetary alliance so that he could marry Elaan.

Elaan tries to use her power over Kirk to get him do her bidding. She suggests that he destroy Troyius and then become the ruler of Elas, but his ethics and willpower are stronger than her biochemical influence. He orders Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy to work on an antidote to counteract the power of her tears. Elaan is impressed by Kirk's resolve and makes it clear to him that she has deliberately chosen him as her mate. She treats him as a loving equal, obeying him when he asks her to go to sickbay (the safest part of the ship) when the Klingon battle cruiser attacks the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Scott discovers Kryton's sabotage. He reports Kryton damaged the dilithium crystals in the antimatter reactor control system, making it impossible to go to warp or fire the phasers. Without the antimatter reactor, the Enterprise is a sitting duck. Kirk, still under the influence of Elaan's tears, manages to pull himself together and bluff the Klingons into thinking the Enterprise is fully operational.

In Sickbay, Ambassador Petri again approaches Elaan with the royal gifts — a wedding dress and a necklace of large, roughly cut gemstones — saying that they symbolize the hope for peace between their two worlds. Elaan accepts the gifts and subsequently appears on the bridge wearing them, saying that if they are all going to die, she wants to die at Kirk's side. Spock detects strange energy readings from her necklace. Elaan is puzzled because to her the raydan jewels are common stones — the necklace has little monetary value on her world. Spock discovers the "common stones" are crude dilithium crystals, which explains the Klingons' keen interest in this star system.

The raydans are quickly delivered to Scott in Engineering; there, he uses them to restore the ship's antimatter reactor control circuits. Scott and Science Officer Spock work feverishly to replace the damaged dilithium crystals with the crude crystals from Elaan's necklace as the battle cruiser moves in for the kill. Power is restored to the Enterprise just before the Klingon's final attack and the enemy ship is successfully driven off, severely damaged.

Elaan is puzzled by Kirk's decision to cripple the enemy ship rather than destroy it. She asks, "Aren't you going to finish them off?" To that, he replies, "No." He knows destroying the Klingon battle cruiser will cause a diplomatic crisis that could result in the Federation's losing the Tellun system.

A much changed Elaan is delivered safely to Troyius. Before she departs, Elaan gives Kirk her dagger as a memento, explaining that she has learned "... on Troyius, they do not wear such things." She and Kirk say their farewells in the transporter room, Elaan's heart obviously breaking. Later, McCoy appears on the bridge to report that he has found an antidote to Elasian tears, but it seems not to be needed after all. As Mr. Spock informs him, "The antidote to a woman of Elas, Doctor, is a starship. The Enterprise infected the Captain long before the Dohlman did."[1]

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  1. For a savage, Elaan of Elas is a clothes hound. She changes revealing outfits no less than four times in this show! She's getting in practice for her regal life.
  2. At the end of the episode, Elaan dons a blue smock with gathers at the side. (Poor girl, the outfit barely fits her. Neither side closes, and both gaps are easily two inches.) She also puts on a necklace that contains several large crystals. interestingly enough, the dress looks like the one Petri offered at the beginning of the episode as a wedding garment, and the necklace looks just like the one Petri offers in a box as “the most prized of royal jewels." Obviously the creators wanted to give the impression that Elaan had finally accepted her responsibilities and acquiesced to the marriage. However, when Spock discovers that the jewels in the necklace are dilithium crystals, Elaan acts as if the necklace comes from Elas and the stones are practically worthless. So did the necklace come from Troyius or Elas? Or were there supposed to be two necklaces and the creators fudged a bit? Perhaps the stone in the necklace resemble those found on Elas.
  3. Also, if the necklace comes from Troyius, how will the rulers feel about the crew of the Enterprise appropriating some of their gemstones? Will they really believe Kirk when he says it was essential for the survival of the ship? Remember, these people don’t have warp drive and obviously don't understand what dilithium crystals can do. If an alien culture transported a female Mars potentate to marry a British king on Earth, how would the queen mother feel it the aliens said, “Oh, by the way, we had to take some of your crown jewels to make our engines work"? The starship crew would obviously have a greater understanding of how to make use of the stones than the indigenous population, and could use this to gain permission to use the stones to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
  4. At one point, Kirk barges in on Elaan as she dines on green chicken. Obviously the cooks on the Enterprise found out that Elasians will eat anything. They took the opportunity to clean out the refrigerator. The meat had definitely been in there too long. Actually, the green is too dark and uniform for that – mould is normally light blue-green, and concentrated in clusters. The green colouring in this instance is more likely to be something added to enhance the taste.
  5. Sulu has gotten into a bad habit. He looks back at the captain's chair even when Kirk isn't in it! ln one scene, Sulu looks back, and at the same time, Kirk walks off the turbolift. There's nobody in the captain's chair, and Sulu cannot see Kirk from this viewpoint. He might be able to see Kirk via the corner of his eye.

Equipment OdditiesEdit

  1. After seeing the pursuing vessel on the viewscreen, Kirk emphatically states that it is the Klingons. How does Kirk know this? Don't the Romulans fly ships of Klingon design? The United Federation of Planets are unaware of Romulans using Klingon designed ships at this point as, according to the official chronology, the events in this story take place before those in The Enterprise Incident.
  2. When Kryton skulks into Engineering, watch the guy on the upper level of the engine room. He checks some settings, walks a little farther, checks a few more things, and then tries to walk through a door. The door must have been daydreaming because the guy has to stop and wait for it to open. The activation sensor for that door is probably in need of adjustment.
  3. Kirk shows up in Engineering shortly after the security guards apprehend Kryton. Scott hands the captain the communicator Kryton used, and Kirk flips it open. It promptly flips back shut, and Kirk pronounces it "Klingon." [N 2] The antenna hinge must have become loose from excessive use.
  4. It’s grungy nitpicking time! As the Klingon vessel makes its first flyby, Sulu counts off the distance: “100,000 kilometers, 90,000 kilometers, 80,000 kilometers." He pauses about two seconds between each number. The speed of light is about 300,000 kilometers a second, and Spock says moments earlier that the Klingon ship is approaching at warp six. Warp six is many, many times the speed of light. Sulu's countdown puts the Klingon vessel at approximately 5,000 kilometers a second, well below the speed of light. The Klingon ship could have dropped to sub-light speed for the first fly-by.

Continuity And Production ProblemsEdit

  1. When the Elasians beam in at the beginning of the episode, those clever creators used Scott’s hands on the transporter controls. Yet the chief engineer stands across the room. The hands are more likely to be those of Scott's deputy.
  2. At the very end of Elaan’s tour of Engineering, the scene shows a close-up of Scott. However, the background shows a security guard. The guard is missing from all the wide shots.[N 3] He probably just arrived to provide an escort for Elaan.

Nit CentralEdit

  1. D.K. Henderson on Thursday, December 10, 1998 - 5:36 am: Has it ever occurred to Starfleet to keep spare dilithium crystals on hand in their vessels? Considering how touchy they seem to be? There may be too much risk of them getting damaged in storage.

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit


  1. (at around 21 mins) When Kirk responds to the intercom hail from Security reporting a disturbance in the Dohlman's quarters, he is clearly located at Spock's science station. Note the audio speaker, tape player, array of five double switches and earpiece. The subsequent mid-conversation wide shot shows Kirk (and Spock) standing at Kirk's command chair. The could have moved to the command chair to complete the conversation.
  2. Uhura mentions that she has given up her quarters to the Dolman. However, the Enterprise has guest accommodations for considerably more than one high-profile passenger (for example, the multiple ambassadorial staffs in Journey to Babel), so it is difficult to see why this would be necessary. The Dolman may have rejected the guest accommodation as being too bland.


  1. This royal is presumably the King, as Petri refers to him as "our ruler"
  2. I can’t help but wonder if the captain is thinking, “Stupid communicator, obviously Klingon in design, won’t even stay open when you flip it."
  3. Evidently the creators grabbed a piece of film from later in the episode and spliced it in here for a reaction shot. (The exact camera angle and actor setup occur just before Scott talks to Kirk about finding Kryton in Engineering.)


  1. Elaan of Troyius at Wikipedia

The Original Series Season 3
Spectre of the Gun I Elaan of Troyius I The Paradise Syndrome I The Enterprise Incident I And the Children Shall Lead I Spock's Brain I Is There in Truth No Beauty? I The Empath I The Tholian Web I For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky I Day of the Dove I Plato's Stepchildren I Wink of an Eye I That Which Survives I Let That Be Your Last Battlefield I Whom Gods Destroy I The Mark of Gideon I The Lights of Zetar I The Cloud Minders I The Way to Eden I Requiem for Methuselah I The Savage Curtain I All Our Yesterdays I Turnabout Intruder