The Enterprise arrives at Argelius II, a planet with a Middle-Eastern cultural influence primarily dedicated to peaceful hedonism. Ship's Captain James T. Kirk, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Leonard McCoy, and Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott beam down for some therapeutic shore leave focused on Mr. Scott, who is recovering from a concussion caused by an explosion in the Engine Room. Scotty picks up / is picked up by Kara, an attractive Argelian dancer and leaves the club where they met. On their way to another dive, Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy hear a scream and, groping their way through the fog, find the dancer dead on the ground and Scotty standing in a state of shock against a nearby wall, clutching a bloody knife.
Scott is detained and interrogated by Mr. Hengist, an administrator from Rigel IV and head of Argelius's police operations, who informs the Captain that the outlook for Scotty is grim. Jaris, the Prefect of the planet, intervenes and bids his wife, Sybo, employ the Argelian empathic contact to determine the truth. Descended from the ancient priestesses of Argelius, Sybo has telepathic skills. While she prepares for the ritual, with the consent of the Prefect Lieutenant Karen Tracy, an Enterprise medical specialist, beams down with a psycho-tricorder, interviews Scott, and is murdered. The evidence again points to Scott, though he is found unconscious at the scene.
Sybo proceeds with the empathic contact ritual. Similar to a seance, the participants hold hands and Sybo begins her search for the truth. As the light from the altar fire fades and the room darkens. Sybo states that "There is evil here, monstrous, terrible evil ... hater of all that lives,.. a hunger that never dies ... It has a name ... Kesla, Beratis! A hunger that never dies! Redjac! Redjac!" The room becomes totally dark, and Sybo screams. When the lights come back on, Scott is holding Sybo's dead body.
Understandably, the Prefect is upset by his wife's murder, but agrees to have everyone present during the ritual, including Hengist, himself, Kara's father, and Morla (her fiancé) beamed aboard the Enterprise where the ship's computer can be used to dertermine Scott's guilt or innocence. However, he warns Mr. Scott that the Argelian penalty for murder is death by slow torture, and if the ship's computer proves his guilt he will be subjected to it.
Kirk has everyone beamed back to the Enterprise so that the ship's computer can analyze Mr. Scott's testimony of innocence. The computer confirms that both Scotty and Morla know nothing about the murders. Scott insists, however, that he felt the presence of a cold, evil being during Sybo's empathic contact ritual. The computer verifies he is telling the truth.
Kirk decides to run the names spoken by Sybo through the computer. The machine returns information that Beratis (of Rigel IV), and Kesla (of Deneb II), are names given to a serial killer of women on those worlds. It also identifies Redjac as "Red Jack", one name given to the elusive 19th Century Earth serial killer known as Jack the Ripper. Gradually, suspicion shifts from Scott to Hengist, not least because the murder weapon was made by the hill people of the Argus River region of Rigel IV, and Hengist took up his post on Argelius shortly after the last murder took place on Rigel IV.
Hengist attempts to flee, but Captain Kirk subdues him with a single punch. Hengist falls to the floor; Dr. McCoy examines him and announces: "He's dead, Jim." However, the Ripper-entity jumps from Hengist's body into the Enterprise's central computer, from which it can control the ship.
The Ripper-entity gets onto the ship's public address system and begins threatening the crew to generate the fear it feeds on. Kirk fights the attempt of the Ripper to terrify his crew by ordering Doctor McCoy to administer tranquilizers to every one of them. Spock drives the entity out of the computer by ordering it to compute Pi to its last decimal place. It jumps back into the apparently dead body of Mr. Hengist in the briefing room where Scott's interrogation had taken place, but Kirk subdues Hengist and Spock hits him with a dose of tranquilizer, rendering the Ripper-entitly helpless. Kirk carries Hengist to the Transporter Room and Spock uses the transporter to beam the entity into space at maximum dispersion. Spock notes that even if Redjac survived the dispersion beaming, each individual part of it will drift helplessly through space until the creature finally perishes. The threat from Jack the Ripper is ended for good.
Errors and ExplanationsEdit
The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit
- Scott doesn't seem to have a complete understanding of this “walk in the fog with a bonnie lass” thing. When recounting the experiences that led to the murder of the dancer, he tells Kirk that he was “up ahead, trying to lead the way." Isn’t the whole point of this exercise to walk side by side and enjoy each other’s company? His memories are a little fuddled.
- After pronouncing Hengist dead. McCoy asks Scott to help him put the guy in a chair. Does this seem odd? The guy's dead! Chances are he will eventually flop out of the chair and onto the floor. Why not just leave him there? McCoy doesn’t want people tripping over the corpse.
Continuity and Production ProblemsEdit
- At least we know what happened to Landru. You may recall that several millennia ago, he brought peace to Beta III and then left a sophisticated computer system in charge. Strange as it may seem, he eventually migrated to Argelius ll and is living under the name of Jarvis. Surprisingly, Kirk doesn't seem to recognize him. Everyone has a double!
- Richie Vest on Friday, October 30, 1998 - 7:08 am: Why can't Kirk go down to the bar where the women are so... by himself? Does he need a chaperone or something ? Keith Alan Morgan on Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - 2:46 am: Maybe the reason why Kirk can't go alone is that the women are so... that they are too much for one man alone?
- Keith Alan Morgan on Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - 2:46 am: Spock says that humans and humanoids only make up a small portion of life. Well, you couldn't tell by watching Star Trek. Charles Cabe (Ccabe) on Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - 2:56 pm: I think Spock was referring to all live in the known universe; not just intelligent life.
Internet Movie DatabaseEdit
- Scotty's hand shifts position between shots as he is on the witness stand. More, the close-up of Scotty's hand was that of another actor. [N 1] The shifting of the hands is understandable, given the circumstances.
- ↑ This was done to conceal the fact that James Doohan's right middle finger was missing, the result of his participation in the 1944 Invasion of Normandy.