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The Enterprise journeys to the Minarvan system, to rescue Federation researchers Dr. Linke and Dr. Ozaba, before the Minarvan sun goes nova. Kirk, Spock and McCoy discover record tapes that show the missing doctors literally disappearing into thin air. While trying to discover what happened, the three are also seized, and materialise in the presence of the “kidnappers,” aliens Lal and Thann.

Kirk and company discover that Linke and Ozaba are dead, their bodies preserved in huge specimen jars. The only other living being is Gem, a beautiful young woman who cannot speak. Kirk and McCoy are taken, one at a time, and experimented on by Lal and Thann, resulting in terrible injuries to the captain and the doctor.

They discover that Gem is an empath, who can absorb their injuries and pain into her own body. When McCoy is gravely injured, Kirk is prevented from aiding him, or inducing Gem to cure him. Although she knows that his injuries and pain may kill her, Gem begins to cure Dr. McCoy.

The entire, apparently senseless series of brutalities has been a test, to determine whether or not Gem's race is worthy of being saved from a disaster that will soon engulf her planet's solar system, which unfortunately also contains another inhabited planet. This was the only means that Lal and Thann could devise to determine which population could be saved, as they lack the means of rescuing both populations in time. Kirk and his friends are safely returned to the Enterprise.[1]

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  1. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, must be out of business in the twenty-third century. To gain access to the research station, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy must walk down a narrow, steep, and winding staircase with no handrail. It may not have been possible to install a handrail and/or a wider, shallower staircase.
  2. For some unknown reason, when the Vians torture Kirk, they take his shirt off and then dress him before sending him back to his friends. Were they concerned that he would stink up his shirt during the process and Gem might be offended by his body odor? They most likely reasoned that the torture would be easier to carry out with the shirt removed, and replaced it before sending Kirk back in order to hide the effects.
  3. Spock seems to have lost his motivation in this episode. Early on, he neck-pinches a Vian. At this, Kirk grabs the hand-held device the Vian uses to work his magic. Then the landing party and Gem escape to the surface. Once there, the Vians return Spock and McCoy to a holding area and torture Kirk as Gem watches. Afterwards, Spock asks Kirk for permission to examine the Vian device. Why hasn't he done this already? He didn't want to risk damaging it by examining it until it was necessary.

Equipment OdditiesEdit

  1. I am constantly amazed at the sophisticated manner in which visual logs are recorded. When Spock plays back the scientists’ log, the camera pans and zooms to follow the action. This is likely a setting programmed by the scientists, to eliminate the need to shift the cameras themselves while working.
  2. After examining the Vian handheld controller, Spock claims that it is operated by the specific brain patterns of an individual. He then tunes it to operate on his patterns. Yet near the end of the show, Kirk gives the device back to one of the Vians, and the guy uses it to heal McCoy. Wouldn't it still be tuned to Spock's brain patterns, or was our good Vulcan friend simply confused? It was probably re-tuned to McCoy's brainwaves by the time Kirk handed it back.

Nit CentralEdit

  1. D.K. Henderson on Thursday, December 10, 1998 - 5:23 am: When Kirk and Co. found that they would have to stay on the planet for some seventy-two hours, why didn't they have some food, water, etc, beamed down? There was no guarantee that they would find anything, especially since they had not heard from Linke and Ozaba. It may not be possible to beam food down to their location.

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit

Plot holesEdit

  1. There is no reason why the Vians' labels would be written in English with the Latin alphabet. The Star Trek universal translator only works with speech, so their labels should be written in an alien script. Either they copied the script used by the scientists, to ensure Kirk, Spock and NcCoy understood who the Vian testing chambers were intended for, their script just happens to resemble English, or they have a translation system that also works with written languages, just like the Translation matrix used by the TARDIS in Doctor Who.

Revealing mistakesEdit

  1. As Kirk recovers from the Vian weapon on the planet's surface, he touches a nearby rock formation to steady himself. The boulder-sized rock visibly shifts under the weight of his hand. The Vians could have altered the structure of the boulder in some way.


  1. Asherman, Allen. The Star Trek Compendium - Third edition. Titan Books Ltd. 1993. ISBN 1 85286 472 9 Page 114

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