According to Memory Alpha's In Universe Timeline, The Lights of Zetar comes after Plato's Stepchildren and before The Cloud Minders.
The remastered version of The Lights of Zetar was released after the remastered version of The Mark of Gideon, and before the remastered version of The Way to Eden.
The Enterprise heads for Memory Alpha, a planetoid where the Federation has set up a storehouse of computer databases containing all cultural history and scientific data it has acquired. While en route, the ship detects a strange energy storm moving at warp factor 2.6 and on a course to the planetoid. Given the storm's faster-than-light speed, it is believed that it cannot be a natural phenomenon.
The Enterprise intercepts the storm which bypasses the ship's shields and penetrates the hull. The exposure to the storm begins to affect crew members' nervous systems differently; Communications Officer Lt. Uhura is unable to move her hands, Navigator Ens. Chekov is unable to control his eyes, and both Captain Kirk and Helmsman Lt. Sulu are unable to speak.
Lieutenant Mira Romaine, aboard to oversee the transmission of newly acquired data from the Enterprise to the Memory Alpha station, faints from the effects of the storm, much to Chief Engineer Scott's dismay, as he's starting to fall madly in love with her. Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy examines Mira who seems paralyzed and unresponsive and makes strange grunting sounds as she lies on the deck of the bridge. Mira soon recovers in sickbay and refuses to be examined any further.
The storm continues straight for Memory Alpha and the Enterprise gives chase. The storm manages to penetrate the station and destroys the main computer core, wiping out the crucial stores of data. Captain Kirk, along with Science Officer Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Mr. Scott beam down to the station to inspect the damage. Meanwhile, Mira has a strange premonition of dead people at Memory Alpha.
The landing party finds the Memory Alpha staff have been killed—except for one, a woman who lies barely conscious on the floor. She makes the same strange guttural noises as Mira did and her skin seems to be charged with a mysterious colored energy. As the energy fades, she dies from what McCoy determines to be a brain hemorrhage.
Kirk then has Mira beamed to the station. She is terrified to see the exact scene from her "premonition". She then warns that the storm is returning, and the landing party returns to the ship. Scans of the storm determine that it may be a life form and Kirk tries to communicate with it through the universal translator, but gets no response. He then fires phaser warning shots, but the storm still approaches. Kirk then orders a full attack and blasts phaser streams through the core of the storm.
This action seems to cause Mira considerable pain as she asks Scotty to hold her. Mira feels the full blast of the phasers, collapsing to the floor. Scotty believes Mira and the storm are somehow connected and begs Kirk to stop the attack. Kirk backs off and Mira is taken back to sickbay. McCoy reveals that Mira's medical records show her to have an extremely flexible ability to assimilate new knowledge and experiences. A neural scan shows her mental pathways have been adjusted to match those of the intelligence pattern of the storm. It appears the beings are trying to possess her body and completely take over her mind. Lying weak on the examining table, Lt. Romaine manages to confess her latest vision to Scott: seeing him dying.
Making an attempt to rid her of the alien influence, Kirk has Mira taken to a gravity pressure chamber. The alien force however, enters the ship and finishes its invasion of Mira's mind and have now completely taken over her body. The aliens speak through Mira, identifying themselves as survivors from the long dead planet of Zetar. The creatures have evolved to shed their physical bodies and now seek one tuned to their mental capacity, as Mira, to live out their remaining existence.
As the aliens cannot be persuaded to abandon their plan, Kirk is about to place Mira in the chamber, but Scott intervenes, believing Mira won't kill him. He is stricken with an energy blast as he places Mira in the chamber, but (presumably because of Mira's resistance) he is only heavily shocked. The chamber then exposes Mira's body to dangerously high atmospheric pressure that drives out and kills the aliens before they can completely wipe her mind.
With the conclusion of the crisis, Kirk, Spock, Scott and McCoy all agree to allow Mira to complete her original assignment on Memory Alpha, which will now involve overseeing the salvaging and repairs. Kirk laughingly remarks that this is an Enterprise first: Spock, Scotty and McCoy all in agreement.
Errors and ExplanationsEdit
The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit
- When discussing the visions that Romaine has had concerning the energy cloud, Scott claims that she foresaw the first attack on the ship. As far as I can tell, no other line of dialogue supports this statement. They probably discounted it as an example of coincidence.
- This episode contains a blatant “we did it because we thought it would look cool” error. After placing Romaine inside the pressure chamber, Kirk orders the gravity to zero. This allows the creators to simulate the look of Romaine in a gravity-free environment, although the treatment is totally unnecessary and probably unwise. As soon as the crew cuts off the gravity, McCoy comments that the Zetars are growing stronger. Spock then chimes in, saying that the weightless state has become their natural condition. If you recall, the point of this exercise is to rid Romaine of the Zetars. It’s not to make them more comfortable. If the Zetars like a gravity-tree environment, why is Kirk supplying it? [N 1] Maybe Kirk is doing this to get their attention, in order to negotiate with them via the universal translator.
- Much of the equipment at Memory Alpha comes from previous shows, but one particular item is worth mentioning. One desk sports a Romulan control box just like the one seen on the Romulan commander's desk in The Enterprise Incident. Perhaps they just look alike.
- To kill the beings that inhabit Romaine, Kirk places her in a pressure chamber. Spock then increases the pressure until the beings die. Wait a minute: These beings invaded the ship. That means they passed through metal, since the Enterprise doesn’t have open vents to the outside. What's stopping these beings from simply floating out of the pressure chamber? There could be an energy field which is repellent to the cloud beings,
Continuity And Production ProblemsEdit
- As the Enterprise races away from Memory Alpha, the energy cloud pursues. The viewscreen shows an aft view. The stars race away, but the cloud stays in the center of the screen. Kirk orders Sulu to turn to starboard. A graphic of the ship shows it turning to the right. This is correct. Moments later, the viewscreen shows the cloud moving back into the center of the screen, traveling right to left. Presumably this shows that the cloud has made the turn to starboard also. I don't think this is correct. lf the Enterprise turns to the right and the cloud copies this motion, it should move from left to right onto the screen, not right to left. The only way it could go from right to lelt on the viewscreen is if it made a circle around the ship or if it overshot the turn and then had to approach the Enterprise from the opposite direction. Moments later, the creators do the same sequence again, this time to port, and they make the same mistake. The cloud moves back onto the screen from left to right when it should move onto the screen from right to left. (ls this thoroughly confusing or what?) Actually, the cloud is moving in a way that allows it to maintain it's pursuit of Enterprise.
- Todd M. Pence on Thursday, December 10, 1998 - 3:04 pm: When the crew discovers the Memory Alpha databanks have been burned out, Spock comments on it being a disastrous loss for the galaxy. Hasn't the Federation ever heard of back-up files? They may have been damaged/destroyed by whatever burned out the original databanks.
- HarleQuiN on Friday, August 20, 1999 - 8:31 am - One thing that disturbed me was that, when McCoy says that the pressure in the chamber is extremely high (it could even kill her), Kirk nevertheless orders Spock to increase the pressure, bringing "The Girl" into even more peril. How come that Kirk doesn't listen to his MD, when everyone knows that McCoy is fully qualified to know his med stuff? Kirk's training was similar to Deana Troy's command training that we saw in the Next Generation, i.e. "Your first duty is to the SHIP." He may not have wanted to hurt Lt. Romaine, but was willing to do so to safeguard the rest of the crew.
- John A. Lang on Wednesday, November 28, 2001 - 11:00 pm - Spock notes that Memory Alpha has no shields...Why not? The Alpha Quadrant ain't exactly the safest spot in the universe ya know! Who's the brain who built this station anyway? kerriem. on Thursday, November 29, 2001 - 8:29 pm - Which gets even scarier when you realize said shieldless installation is supposed to be a repository for something like most of the knowledge in the ruddy Federation! How long would it have been before the Klingons decided to register for a library card...using phasers? Memory Alpha was - presumably - located deep in Federation space, well away from the borders.
- Francois Lacombe (Franc0is) on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 4:04 pm - When the dying memory Alpha technician is speaking in those strange garbled sounds, McCoy tells Kirk that Mira was making the same sounds on the Enterprise's bridge after the first attack. Kirk asks him if he's sure and McCoy says yes. However, Kirk was on the bridge and able to listen to Mira's garbled speech for much longer than McCoy, who only heard it for a second or two. He should have been the one to identify the sounds made by the technician. At the very least, he should not have needed McCoy's confirmation. McCoy probably has a better ear for that sort of thing!
- steve McKinnon (Steve) on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 10:36 am - At the end they decide that working at Memory Alpha would be good therapy for Romaine. Yeah, that'd be alot of fun...if every person there hadn't been killed, and the entire station is a murder scene. Is she supposed to repair the station by herself? I think the climax would have been better if Romaine had somehow been seen to reach out and 'hold' the Zetarians inside trhe chamber (since they should have just passed through the walls, as it did the hull of the Enterprise). It would been a cool way of showing her in charge of her future, kinda like, "You tried to take over my body, but I'm not letting you get away with that!", and that would make her the hero of the episode instead of just a victim. Tim McCree (Tim_m) on Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 5:28 am - I'm sure they would ask Romaine whether she wanted to work at Memory Alpha first. Either way, the Federation would probably send in replacement staff and a fully equipped repair team.
- ↑ Answer: Because the creators thought it would look cool to strap this woman to a board and have her bob up and down.