The Federation starship Enterprise happens upon a planet that appears young compared to the evolutionary stage of its surface life forms. Captain Kirk, along with Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, Lt. Sulu and geologist D'Amato, prepare to beam down to the planet to investigate further. In the midst of dematerializing, they see a beautiful woman appear in the transporter room and try to stop the landing. She touches the baffled transporter technician, Ensign Wyatt, killing him instantly.
As soon as Kirk and the others materialize on the planet, they are rocked by a violent tremor. The Enterprise is also jolted as it is thrown 990.7 light years away from the planet by an unknown force. Dr. M'Benga examines Wyatt and learns his death was caused by complete cellular disruption.
The landing party loses communications with the Enterprise and they realize they are stranded. They split up and begin to scout around. As D'Amato surveys a rocky area, he comes face-to-face with the woman who appeared in the transporter room. Strangely, she knows his name. She approaches him slowly and the confused D'Amato stands struck by her beauty. When she touches him, he too falls dead.
First Officer Spock orders the Enterprise back to the mysterious planet. En route, Chief Engineer Scott reports a vague feeling that the ship "isn't right" and he orders Engineer Watkins to check equipment in a secluded area. The mysterious woman assassin appears again. She knows Watkins' identity and the Enterprise warp drive systems. She kills Watkins and sabotages the Emergency Overload Bypass.
On the planet, while burying D'Amato, Kirk discovers that the planet's surface is highly resistant to phaser fire. Kirk and McCoy sleep and Sulu takes the first watch. The woman appears to Sulu, knowing his name, and Sulu discovers she is invulnerable to phaser fire. He trips on a rock so she only brushes his shoulder briefly with her fingertips. Sulu screams in pain, bringing Kirk and McCoy who find him injured but alive. The woman puts her hand solidly on Kirk's shoulder but nothing happens. They discover that the woman can only kill one specific person during each appearance.
Meanwhile on the Enterprise, the ship's speed begins to increase uncontrollably. Scott discovers the woman's sabotage and estimates that the Enterprise will explode in 15 minutes. Spock and Scott devise a dangerous plan to manually cut the matter-antimatter fuel flow to the warp engines in a small service crawlway sparking with energy. Scott begins the risky repairs as the Enterprise passes warp 13.2.
On the planet, the three narrowly avoid death when Kirk's phaser suddenly goes into overload and explodes. The woman appears "for Kirk" but Sulu and McCoy block her path. She touches them without effect. Questioned by Kirk, the woman says she is Losira, the station commander. She is alone, and her only purpose is to defend the planet from intruders. Kirk's conversation unsettles her and she vanishes without killing him.
The landing party discover the entrance to a room that is the source of the strong power emanations. They enter.
Back on the Enterprise, Scott cannot stop the fuel flow. He begs Spock to jettison the fuel pod and sacrifice him to save the rest of the crew. Spock calmly urges him to continue. Scott manages to stop the flow at the last second, saving the ship and restoring control.
Inside the station, the landing party finds a cube-shaped computer. It projects three copies of Losira, one each to kill Kirk, Sulu and McCoy. Before they can kill the landing crew, Spock and a security officer beam into the room. At Kirk's command, the security officer quickly shoots the computer and the three assassins disappear.
A viewscreen then displays a pre-recorded message by Losira, a Kalandan who had been the last survivor at the outpost. She had programmed the computer to defend the outpost and it used her likeness for the assassins. The recorded Losira explains that while creating the planet they created a deadly organism. McCoy surmises that the disease spread throughout the Kalandan race and drove them to extinction long ago. Kirk suggests that the landing party had survived only because the image of Losira was so complete that it experienced regret about killing.
Errors and ExplanationsEdit
The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit
- After conducting a “detailed” analysis of the planet, the landing party reports back to Kirk. They have a meeting, and the captain decides that finding water is one of the highest priorities. He sends D'Amato out to look for an underground source. Wouldn't a detailed analysis of the planet include this information? The initial analysis may have only been able to collect information about the surface.
- Kirk does an amazing job on the headstone of D'Amato’s grave. It is nicely square and has “LT. D'AMATO" written on it. A few moments earlier, the episode demonstrated that the rock on the planet was almost impossible to cut with a phaser. How, then, did Kirk create this object to begin with? Perhaps Kirk and Sulu used their phasers in combination to cut the rock, by merging the beams.
- After his first encounter with Losira, Sulu is amazed that someone so beautiful could be so evil. Didn't we just have an episode on this topic? Wasn’t this one of the main themes of Is There in Truth No Beauty?. ls Sulu not paying attention? Or did he not watch the reruns of the visual logs on the viewscreen's late night entertainment channel? Kollos and Miranda, the guests aboard Enterprise in Is There in Truth No Beauty?, were not inherently evil.
- After sending the Enterprise on its distant trip, the defensive computer on the planet programs a copy of Losira to sabotage the engines. Careening madly through space, Spock estimates that the ship and crew have only “14.87 minutes” left and relays this information to Scott. Moments later, he tells Scott they have "12 minutes and 27 seconds" left. Wouldn’t it be better to standardize a format for telling time so that the crew doesn't have to convert mentally to the format they prefer? This could be a matter of personal preference.
- To fix the problem with the engines, Scott must fiddle with the magnetic containment field that holds the antimatter. After the process begins, Spock tells Uhura to monitor the magnetic force. He orders her not to take her eyes off the indicator. Of course, the entire time he’s giving her these instructions, she’s looking at him and not at the instruments! She will start monitoring the instruments as soon as Spock has finished giving her his instructions, and not before! (Besides, it is generally considered ill-mannered to avoid looking at someone when they are talking to you!)
- This episode has to be a first. To my recollection, this is the first time Kirk has actively refused the affections of a beautiful alien woman. She keeps saying, “I must touch you. I am for you," and our beloved captain keeps telling her, “No, no. That's okay." (l suppose the prospect of dying would have the same effect as a cold shower.) He's probably realised that Losira was responsible for the death of D'Amato and the attack on Sulu.
- As Scott begins his repairs, Spock tells him he has 8 minutes and 41 seconds left. The action then shifts to the planet and finally back to the Enterprise. Soon aﬂer returning, Spock tells Scott he has 57 seconds left, and the scene shows Scott holding the same doohickey that he held before we went to see what was happening on the planet. What has this guy been doing for almost 8 minutes? He may have been using it during the repairs.
- Alter all the dramatic countdown and tension of the imminent destruction of the Enterprise, the deadline comes and goes and nothing happens. If Spock is so precise in his calculations, why was Scott able to work for several seconds after the Vulcan said the ship would explode? Scott's actions may have delayed the explosion long enough for him to complete the repair work.
- At one point, Uhura asks Spock what the chances are that Kirk and the others are still alive. The Vulcan rebuffs her, stating that they are not involved in gambling, that they are merely pursuing the only logical course of action. Suddenly Spock doesn't want to calculate odds‘? Isn't this the same guy whose mother had to shut him up because he wanted to give her the odds on his father's survival in Journey to Babel? Either he doesn't want to jeopardise crew morale by verbalising the possibility of Kirk and McCoy dying, or the slap from his mother put him off!
- Several times during the show, Spock fiddles with a hand-held control mechanism. Oddly enough, it is the same device McCoy used in Spock's Brain to control the movements of the Vulcan when his mind was missing. To me, this episode offers the most convincing proof that McCoy didn't get Spock's brain wired back in correctly. The poor Vulcan has to carry around the control mechanism to access-the portions of his brain that our good doctor left unhooked! More likely this is an identical looking piece of equipment, which is used for some other purpose.
- When Losira “comes” for Kirk, McCoy tries to take a reading on her. He says she shows no life signs. There is not even a mechanical signature. Yet earlier in the episode, when Losira attacks D’Amato, McCoy registered “a life form reading of tremendous intensity," and a biological one at that. Either the earlier life form reading was faked, or Losira's life signs could have been masked after the initial encounter.
Continuity and Production ProblemsEdit
- After D'Amato dies, Kirk attempts to dig a grave tor him using a phaser. The first shot has little effect, and the captain tries a second time. Touched by the phaser’s beam, the surface explodes and starts a little fire. The only objects in the immediate area of the blast are rocks and dirt. If l recall correctly, neither of these usually burn.There could be molecules of flammable materials in the dirt.
Internet Movie DatabaseEdit
- Left in charge of the ship, Mr. Spock uncharacteristically browbeats everyone on board just for being human (seemingly not free of emotions as he's always claimed). Given that he's the science officer and that the Enterprise orbits a planet whose very existence is inexplicable, it's reasonable to hypothesize that he's getting back at Kirk for leaving him out of the away mission by belittling the crew at every turn, thereby becoming a character ruled by the emotion of bitterness.He probably thinks he should be in charge of the landing party, as his scientific skills would be more useful.
- During the opening "earthquake/storm" scene (as soon as landing party beams down), when the lightning flashes distinct shadows can be seen on the "sky" behind the rocks, emphasizing the fact that it is a fabric backdrop/screen. Remember this is an artificially created outpost.[N 2]
- ↑ According to the startrek.com episode list, the provisional stardate for this episode is 5683.
- ↑ A number of novels state this outpost is connected to the Iconians.