Episode Epilogues by WeirdLittleStories

This is a series of missing scenes that add to — or resolve — the events of the episodes. Many (but not all) of those missing scenes will involve a meeting between Kirk and Spock to talk over the events of the mission after the conclusion of the episode.

Each chapter is a stand-alone story, so you don't need to wait until all 79 chapters are finished to read them. :-)

Chapter 9: Epilogue for "Amok Time" -- Spock explains some important aspects of Vulcan culture to Kirk and has an enlightening conversation with T'Pau.

(See the Author's Notes at the end of the first chapter for the assumptions, plans, and goals that underlie this series.)

Categories: Fiction Characters: McCoy
Crossover Fandom: None
Genres: Kirk-Spock Friendship
Other Languages: None
Specific movie: None
Story Type: Action/Plot, Character Study
Trope (OPTIONAL): None
Universe: ST:TOS Original Universe
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 9 Completed: No Word count: 23189 Read: 86984 Published: 06/17/2015 Updated: 06/22/2018

1. Chapter 1: Where No Man Has Gone Before by WeirdLittleStories

2. Chapter 2: The Corbomite Maneuver by WeirdLittleStories

3. Chapter 3: "Mudd's Women" by WeirdLittleStories

4. "The Enemy Within" by WeirdLittleStories

5. Chapter 5: "The Man Trap" by WeirdLittleStories

6. Chapter 6: The Naked Time by WeirdLittleStories

7. Chapter 7: "Charlie X" by WeirdLittleStories

8. Season 2, Episode 15 — "Journey to Babel" by WeirdLittleStories

9. Season 2, Episode 5: Amok Time by WeirdLittleStories

Chapter 1: Where No Man Has Gone Before by WeirdLittleStories

At the very beginning of James Kirk's tenure as captain, he and Mr. Spock had formed the habit of meeting in Kirk's quarters at the end of each mission for a private discussion about the events of that mission.  Every mission had its official report and its official list of recommendations for the future, and of course those reports were carefully considered and conscientiously written.  But every mission also had UNofficial effects on everyone involved, effects that Starfleet Command would not necessarily find noteworthy, occasionally even effects that the captain and first officer had cooperated to gloss over in the official reports.  The meeting in Kirk's cabin allowed them to discuss those unofficial effects, to ensure that no unexamined issues impaired their efficiency ... or their relationship.  Sometimes these meetings took place immediately after the events of the mission; sometimes the captain allowed a day or two to go by so that each of them could reflect on what had happened.

After Kirk's return from Delta Vega as the sole survivor of the combat there, Spock presented himself at the captain's quarters and pressed the buzzer for admittance.  Although Spock believed that the post-mission meeting should take place only after several days had passed, he thought Kirk needed immediate company, lest the captain begin to brood or to engage in self-recrimination.  

"Come," Kirk said wearily, then forced a smile when he saw who it was.  "I'm sorry, Spock, I don't think I'm up to the mission post-mortem at the moment," he said, then winced when he heard himself utter the word "post-mortem."

Spock shook his head.  "I am not here for the usual post-mission discussion, Jim.  I am here because I thought it unwise for you to be alone at this time."

Kirk leaned back in his chair, surprised that his supposedly unemotional first officer was here to provide emotional support.  It wouldn't be the first time, of course — not even the tenth time — but he was always taken aback by how aware Spock was of his human captain's feelings.  It made him wonder, yet again, what Spock's human mother was like.  He hoped he'd get to meet her someday.

He waved Spock to a chair and watched as his friend — for clearly this was a visit from the friend, not from his first officer — seated himself.  Kirk said, "I think the more ... intense issues about our visit to the edge of the galaxy should wait, but there are a couple of things I've been wondering about, things you could clear up for me."  

Spock considered his captain.  Kirk was speaking in a tone of voice that usually meant he wanted to talk about human-Vulcan differences.  Those differences had been especially difficult for the captain during this particular mission, yet the tone was light and interested, not angry or sad.  Perhaps framing a discussion of the difficult aspects of the mission as a conversation about Vulcan culture or philosophy would make that discussion easier for his captain to bear?  "Of course, Jim.  What would you like to know?"

Kirk looked at Spock curiously.  "The barrier at the edge of the galaxy pumped up the ESP of people who were already psychically gifted; that's why Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner were so strongly affected.  But you're an expert telepath; your psychic abilities are the strongest on the ship.  Why weren't you affected?"

"Because I do not possess ESP," Spock said.

Kirk looked annoyed.  "Explain."

Spock titled his head slightly to one side.  "The rudimentary psychic abilities that are termed 'ESP' in humans are located in a different region of the brain than Vulcan telepathy and generally take a somewhat different form.  Telepathy is a normal Vulcan ability — we do not consider it extra-sensory, since it is a sense that all Vulcans possess — which occupies neural regions and pathways that simply do not exist in the human brain.  The barrier we encountered apparently affected the neural pathways that govern human ESP abilities while leaving those that govern Vulcan telepathy untouched."  

Kirk considered this.  "Someday we should discuss your telepathy in more detail, talk about what it's capable of, what it costs you to use it, what its limitations are."

"I stand ready to do so whenever you deem it necessary."  Spock paused and looked at Kirk.  "You indicated that there was more than one issue you wished to discuss?"

"Oh.  Yeah."  Kirk cleared his throat.  "Spock, I realize you were right when you told me we should kill or maroon Gary Mitchell, and there are things about my refusal to face that fact that we'll need to discuss when we have our meeting.  But before we get there, I have a question.  You're a pacifist.  You revere all life, including that of convicted murderers.  How could a committed pacifist recommend that I kill Gary Mitchell?"

Spock blinked, surprised that this wasn't obvious.  "It is because of my reverence for life that I recommended that you kill Gary Mitchell.  The probability was extremely high that he would exterminate everyone aboard this vessel unless we killed him first.  Reverence for life does allow me to weigh our 429 lives against his one life."

Kirk looked annoyed.  "So it was just that easy, then?"

"Easy?"  Spock shook his head.  "It was simple, Jim, but it was far from easy."

Kirk's eyes took on that glint that meant he was on the trail of something.  "If it was simple, why wasn't it easy?  If you feel nothing, then surely 'simple' and 'easy' should be the same thing."

Spock blinked slowly, then exhaled audibly.  "You are correct.  Lack of feeling is a goal or an ideal, rather than an actuality.  Vulcans aspire to control their emotions to the extent that we will be guided solely by logic, but there are moments when we fall short of that ideal."  His cheeks and the tips of his ears flushed green.  "Being forced by circumstances to recommend the death of a fellow officer was such an occasion."

Kirk smiled.  "I feel better, knowing that.  Your advice was good, and I'm glad one of us was seeing clearly enough to understand that Mitchell was a danger to us all.  But I'm also glad that it cost you something to recommend that."

"Jim."  Spock shook his head slowly.  "Every time I have killed, it has cost me something.  No death at my hands leaves me unmoved.  The philosophy and customs of my people ensure that I show this as little as possible — ideally, that I show it not at all — but I cannot kill lightly, nor can I lightly recommend that someone be killed."

Kirk sighed.  "I guess I knew that, I just ... wanted to be reminded."  Then he looked down, feeling slightly ashamed of himself.  "I'm sorry, Spock, I ... I guess it's cruel of me to embarrass you by forcing you to admit to a feeling."

Spock's eyes took on the light expression that often meant either fondness or amusement.  "Jim, this experience was harder on you than any mission we've had thus far.  If forcing me to admit to an emotion gives you any measure of peace ... or even a moment's amusement ... then you are welcome to do so, now and in the future."

Kirk smiled, feeling lighter than he'd felt since Gary's death.  From someone as private and contained as Spock, this was huge.  "Thank you.  I'll try not to overuse the gift you're giving me."

Author's Notes:  

1.  It has always bothered me that Kirk plays "tease the Vulcan and try to get him to admit to a feeling" so often, since to me it seems both disrespectful and at odds with the affection and respect that Kirk otherwise displays towards Spock.  So in this chapter, I had Spock give Kirk permission to poke at him about emotions when Kirk needs this to distract himself from difficult circumstances.  Because my Spock always understands way more about emotions — especially Kirk's emotions — than he'll necessarily admit to aloud. :-)

2.  About this series:

a.  Many — perhaps most — of these "episode epilogues" will involve a meeting between Kirk and Spock after the end of the episode, but not all of them.  Some will involve meetings among other characters, and some will be "missing scenes" from the middle of the episode, rather than the end.  I intend for all of them to grow directly out of the events of the episode and to take care of things that I regard as unfinished business.  This is usually emotional context, since we fanfic people loooove emotional context. :-)  But sometimes it will be attempts to explain things that I thought didn't make sense or attempts to reconcile a character's uncharacteristic behavior; occasionally, it will even be my head-canon on Vulcan philosophy and culture.  Basically, anything in the episode is fair game, and it's all grist for the mill. :-)

b.  I'll be going through the episodes in PRODUCTION order, rather than in order of airing, since I think that's the best way to see the series.  The creators of TOS were making things up as they went along, inventing backstory at a breakneck pace, and it's not until the middle of the first season that they solidify such things as who sent this ship out there and what constraints they're under.  Neither the Federation nor Starfleet Command nor the Prime Directive had been created when TOS began, and no one — not even Leonard Nimoy — knew exactly who Spock was or what a Vulcan should look like or act like.  

So if you watch in production order, you can hear them refer to the Enterprise as an "Earth" ship early on, you can see Kirk seemingly break the Prime Directive (because Gene Coon hadn't thought it up yet), you can see pink blusher on Spock's cheeks, because no one had yet realized that a man with green blood wouldn't blush pink, and you can see Spock smirk and pout.  To me, watching it all take shape as they create the backstory for the ship and her world is an endearing part of watching TOS, and you can best see the story behind the scenes of the story on the screen by watching in production order, not order of airing.

c.  I'm assuming that nearly everyone who would be interested in reading a series like this remembers the episodes fairly well, so I'm assuming that including a summary of the actual episode would be superfluous.  Let me know if this assumption is incorrect, and I can include a brief summary of the episode before the story chapter.

d.  I realize that other people have written series of episode follow-ups before; I'm writing this series because I enjoy it and because I adore most of those 79 episodes, not to cast any aspersions on their work.  We all have our own take on the episodes — that's part of why they're still interesting after fifty years — these little tales are simply my own slant, not definitive in any way. :-)

3.  To slash or not to slash — I intend for the episode epilogues to be exactly as slashy as TOS was.  That is, Kirk and Spock will have a close relationship, which can be interpreted as friends, comrades, and brothers-in-arms by those who saw TOS that way and can be interpreted as lovers, spouses, or romantic partners by those who saw TOS that way.  

There will be no sex, marriage, or protestations of romantic love "on screen" in this series, just as there wasn't on-screen in TOS.  There will be mentions of Kirk's and Spock's closeness, their knowledge of each other, and their willingness to sacrifice or die for each other, just as there was in TOS.  

In the past, I have sometimes written Kirk and Spock as platonic friends and sometimes as affectionate lovers, so this is a question I can go either way on, and I'm deliberately leaving the question ambiguous in the episode epilogues so that readers can see the characters in whichever light they wish, just as they could in TOS.

4.  I'm assuming that the first year of the TV series is the second year of the five-year mission at the earliest.  Why?  Two reasons:

a.  It's clear in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" — the second pilot and the first episode made that features Jim Kirk — that the crew has known each other for awhile.  Spock is already calling Kirk "Jim" when they're alone, for example.

b.  In "The Menagerie," Spock makes two illuminating statements.  He says that he served under Captain Pike for "eleven years, four months, five days," AND he says that the events on Talos IV happened "thirteen years ago."

We know that the events on Talos IV were not Spock's first-ever mission with Pike, partly because he's already the science officer, partly because he's still limping from the previous mission.  So at least SOME of those "eleven years, four months, five days" happened BEFORE "thirteen years ago," which means that at the time of "The Menagerie," Spock has been serving under Kirk for at least two years, possibly more.  But "The Menagerie" is during the first season of TOS.

Conclusion:  Season 1 is the second year of the five-year mission at the earliest.  This makes dramatic sense, because they're trying to show us a crew that knows each other well, not a crew that's just meeting one another.

5.  A reviewer on another site scolded me for saying that there were 430 people on the Enterprise at this time, since Kirk says in "Charlie X" that there are 428 people in the Enterprise's crew. Some people think that Kirk's line in "Charlie X" means there are 428 people on the Enterprise total; others think it means that there are 428 CREW, plus the captain and first officer, for a total of 430. We can't know for sure which is meant, but given that 430 is given in the TOS Writer's Guide, I've gone with the second explanation.

6.  Disclaimer:  I don't own Star Trek, and no one pays me for these stories.  Heck, I'm lucky if people even READ me. :-)

7.  So thanks for reading!

8.  Like many (most?  all?) fanfic authors, I'm terribly insecure about my writing, so if you enjoyed a chapter, I hope you'll let me know.  Even a two-word "Liked it" makes a big difference to me!

9.  I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not.  I will try to update regularly, and I will try to respond to any comments I receive.  Unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health.

10.  Thanks so much to the people at the FanFiction site who encouraged me to write this series!  I really appreciate it.

Chapter 2: The Corbomite Maneuver by WeirdLittleStories
Author's Notes:

1.  I've actually written TWO chapters for this episode.  I wrote this one first, decided it had Spock sharing too much too soon, then wrote a completely different chapter that hinges on a different point of the episode.  But then I thought that the K/S Archive folks might enjoy a chapter where Spock shares too much too soon :-), so I'm posting this here.  If you'd like to see the "real" chapter,  you can find it at FanFiction or AO3.  (If you decide to read them both, I'd love to hear which one you liked better.)

2.  I've included a summary of this episode at the end of the story, for those who'd like to refresh their memories; scroll down to the end to read it.  (At the end rather than at the beginning because most readers probably don't want or need a summary.)


Episode Epilogues Chapter 2:  "The Corbomite Maneuver"

Kirk and Spock are seated in Kirk's quarters, having a post-mission meeting after Kirk returns from Balok's ship; we join them in mid meeting:

Kirk looked at Spock with a mischevious gleam in his eyes.  "What would you think about learning to play poker as your professional development project for next quarter?  You could join Scotty's weekly poker game and learn to play from some excellent players."

Spock tilted his head to the side as he regarded his captain.  "I believe that would constitute shirking the mandated professional growth, Captain.  I learned to play poker while you were on the Fesarius."

Kirk smiled.  "You may have memorized the rules, Spock, but you haven't learned to play.  Half of learning poker is learning to bluff.  I admit that you have the world's best poker face, but that's not all that makes a good bluff."

"As I understand it, a bluff involves intentional deception, luring one's opponents into believing that one's hand is better or worse than it actually is."

"That's right."

Spock regarded his captain with carefully concealed amusement.  "Suppose that I make three statements, some of which will be true, and some of which will be false.  If you can discern which statments are true and which are false, then I will join Mr. Scott's weekly poker game until I am considered to have learned to bluff.  If you cannot discern their truth or falsity, then I will be judged to have mastered the necessary skill."

Kirk chuckled.  "You could make a hundred statements about xenobiology or Tellarite history or any of the other thousands of things you know, and I'd have no way of judging the truth of any of them."

Spock raised an eyebrow.  "Choosing such topics would leave you at a disadvantage and would thus be useless for our purposes.  I will make personal statements."

Personal statements?  Kirk looked at his first officer with concern.  Spock was generally a reticent man, though he had been unusually forthcoming earlier in the day, volunteering — in front of the entire Bridge crew, no less — that Balok reminded him of his father.  Did Spock hate the idea of joining the poker game so much that he'd do anything to get out of it?  The Vulcan didn't look upset, but even Kirk couldn't always read him if he didn't want to be read.  Then Spock relaxed slightly and allowed Kirk to see the twinkle in his eye.  Ah, so he wasn't pushing Spock to the wall, then; Spock was playing with him, in his subdued Vulcan way.

Kirk smiled.  "Agreed.  Lay 'em on me."

Spock stiffened slightly, then became more inscrutable than usual.  Kirk hadn't quite realized just how much Spock showed in the look in his eyes, in the way he stood, the way he tilted his head, the way he placed his hands, until he stopped.

"First statement," Spock said, his face and voice both completely impassive, nearly robotic.  "My father disowned me when I entered Starfleet Academy, and we have not spoken as father and son for seventeen years."

Kirk nodded.  "Got it."

"Second statement.  I hope to captain a starship myself someday."  Not a muscle moved in Spock's face but those necessary for speaking, and his usually expressive eyes were flat and guarded.

Kirk grinned.  "Go on."

"Third statement.  Sometimes I wish I were human."  Spock remained impassive, not giving off any of his usual subtle cues.

Kirk smiled.  "I admit that your manner didn't give much away, but an excellent poker face isn't the only thing you need to be able to bluff.  A good bluff should be believable and should be something your opponent can't disprove, or the best poker face in the world won't help you."

Spock relaxed from his heightened impassivity and raised a brow.  "You believe you know which statements are true and which are false, then."

Kirk leaned back in his chair.  "Of course.  Let's take statement one.  You're the finest person I've ever known — human, Vulcan, Andorian, whatever — and since your father is a Vulcan, that means he's a logical man.  Any logical father would be happy to have you for a son, so statement one is clearly false."

Spock swallowed, then lifted his head slightly.  "What of the other statements?"

Kirk smiled.  "Statement three is so clearly false that I'm surprised you had the gall to include it.  You take every possible opportunity to remind us that you're Vulcan.  You're clearly proud of being Vulcan and sometimes seem almost ashamed of your human side.  I wish you didn't feel that way, but you clearly do, so statement three is obviously false."

"And statement two?"

"You said that some of the statements would be true, so that means that statement two has to be true.  I'm surprised, though; I thought you were capable of command but not especially fond of it."  

Spock relaxed even more, now looking mildly amused.  "Jim, I regret to inform you that the truth is exactly the opposite of what you have guessed.  Statements one and three are true; statement two is false."

Kirk's eyes widened.  "Your father disowned you when you entered Starfleet Academy?"

Spock gave a brief nod.  "He did.  He believes that Starfleet resorts to violence too frequently to be compatible with Vulcan philosophy, so he refused to allow me to join Starfleet.  I believe that my true crime, however, lay not so much in the choice I made as in the fact that I insisted upon my right to make it.  I chose my own path, and it is that which he cannot forgive."

Kirk looked thunderstruck.  "Spock, I ... I don't know what to say.  I can't believe that any sane man would be other than grateful to have you for a son."

"Your disbelief in the statement — and your stated reasons for that disbelief — were most gratifying, and you have said all that needs to be said on the subject." 

Looking at Kirk's distressed face, Spock could see that he, himself, needed to say more, however, or his captain would remain distressed.  He tried to imagine the human reaction to the situation he'd described, in order to target the cause of Kirk's distress.  "Jim, my estrangement from my father is news to you, so you are still assimilating the knowledge.  I, however, have been living with this estrangement for seventeen years, and it is not news to me.  Whatever wound you believe me to bear from my father's rejection scabbed over long ago; it is done."

Kirk thought about this; it sounded like Spock was asking him to leave it alone.  Well, he could do that.  Even being told this much was an unusual amount of sharing from Spock ... and he could always raise the subject later if he needed to.  Kirk made a mental note to put Spock in for Starfleet commendations on the many occasions when he deserved them; if his first officer was forced to live without his father's approval, then Kirk would try to see that he got as much approval from other sources as possible.

"All right," Kirk said.  "Moving on to statement three.  Sometimes you wish you were human?  Really?  I'm ... I'm shocked, Spock."

Spock exhaled audiby.  "I admit that the moments when I wish to be human are both few and fleeting, but they do exist.  For the most part, I find it gratifying to be a Vulcan, but the need to continually monitor my behavior for appropriate Vulcan comportment, to analyze every thought and every action; this constant monitoring can occasionally become wearisome.  During times when my energy is unusually low, I can occasionally wish for humans' lesser burdens."

Kirk smiled.  "That's not part of being Vulcan, Spock; we all do that.  I'm constantly second-guessing myself, wondering if I've done the right thing.  Should I have talked to those hostile aliens as long as I did, or should I have pulled out my phaser sooner?  Should I have promoted that ensign who doesn't seem to be doing as well, now that she's a lieutenant, or is that part of the normal settling-in process?  Both Scotty and McCoy want new equipment, but there's only enough room in the budget for one of them to have what he wants.  McCoy saves lives, but the engines save the ship that protects us all ... whose need is greater?"  He laughed.  "Gad, don't get me started on second-guessing myself, or we'll be here all night."

Spock shook his head.  "I am aware that all sentient species think about their behavior and its ramifications; that is part of the very definition of sentience.  But I suspect that you never question your species identification as part of this process.  Nothing can stop you from being human, no matter what you think or say or feel or do.  You question your behavior but not your identity."  

Kirk sobered.  "You're right, I didn't understand before.  Thank you for explaining.  But ... does being Vulcan depend on your behavior?  Aren't you a Vulcan because you were born into a Vulcan body?  Aren't there a lot of ways to be Vulcan, probably as many ways as there are Vulcans?"

Spock looked at Kirk silently for a moment, thinking about how to explain this so that the human could understand.  Finally he said, "I have heard many humans say that certain kinds of actions are not the actions of a human, that anyone who would do a particular thing is 'a monster.'  Throughout history, there have been those who have said that such people as Caligula, Adolph Hitler, or Colonel Green1 were not human but rather monsters.  There are some actions so heinous that the rest of humanity attempts to rescind membership in its ranks, in spite of the fact that the person in question does possess a human body."

"Yes, that's right; I've heard people say that."  Kirk stared at Spock for a moment.  "Then what are you saying?  Would abandoning logic make Vulcans repudiate you?  Would allowing yourself to express a feeling or to be guided by emotion make you the Vulcan equivalent of a monster?"

Spock exhaled audibly.  "Dubbing someone a 'monster' is primarily an emotional judgment, an instinctive revulsion against behavior too horrible to admit to the realm of humanity.  The Vulcan approach is less emotional, but the results are similar:  those whose lives are guided by emotions instead of logic are not Vulcans.  Possessing a Vulcan body is not enough; one cannot BE a Vulcan unless one behaves as a Vulcan."

Kirk shook his head.  "But you're half human.  Isn't it illogical for Vulcans to insist that you ignore half of your genome?"

"If there were more human-Vulcan hybrids, we could carve out a place for ourselves in Vulcan society, but there are very, very few.  I have no wish to be a member of a species which has a mere handful of members."

Kirk pointed at the insignia on Spock's shirt.  "You're Starfleet!  That's a species with thousands of members, and nearly all of them are people to be proud of."

Spock nodded.  "As you say.  It does seem that Starfleet has become my home in a way that Vulcan can no longer be."

"Vulcan's loss is our gain, Spock.  Starfleet knows how to appreciate excellence, and you've got excellence in spades."

"Speaking of card suits, Captain, would you say that I have proved conclusively that I know how to bluff?"

Kirk laughed.  "Yes, I should know better than to argue with you; if you say you can do something, then you can."  He sobered and looked seriously at Spock.  "Thank you for everything you've shared with me tonight.  It means a great deal to me."

Spock inclined his head.  "To me as well, Jim.  I believed today that our deaths were imminent and certain, and when your brilliant tactics saved all of our lives, I decided that I would take this opportunity to share more of myself with you."

Kirk smiled.  Spock would never say, "Coming so close to dying made me realize what good friends we are," but he didn't have to.  He even made it clear why he could never say that, and Kirk got the message; he got both messages loud and clear.  


End Notes:

1.  Colonel Green is one of the characters chosen to represent evil in the third-season episode "The Savage Curtain."  He's a historical figure in the Star Trek universe, said to have "led a genocidal war early in the 21st century on Earth," but while he's in Kirk's and Spock's past, he's still in our future. :-)

2.  Spock's discussion of what it takes to BE a Vulcan is an extrapolation from his comments to his mother in "Journey to Babel."  Kirk does not yet know everything that will be revealed about Spock in "Journey to Babel," but WE do, so I am using some of those events to inform this discussion.

3.  As I explained (much more extensively) in the author's note for Chapter 1, there are reasons why I'm assuming that the first year of the series is the second year of the mission at the earliest.  So although Kirk and Spock have only been in two episodes that we've seen, they've been working together for more than a year at this point and have already formed a friendship that's important to them both (as witness Kirk's comment about Spock's giving him "emotional security" in the current episode).

4.  I think "The Corbomite Maneuver" is a crucial early episode, because it shines so much light on the character of Kirk. Why is a man this young the captain already? And why is he in charge when Spock knows more about everything?

Two main reasons: 1) Kirk never gives up. Spock analyzes the situation, realizes that the other ship has many times their power, and assumes that their fate is in Balok's hands. Kirk is still looking for a way to win two minutes before they're scheduled to be blown up. (Spock learns from this and will be more persistent in the future.) 2) Kirk can pull inspired tactics out of thin air, such as creating this corbomite malarkey.

There are lots of other reasons why Kirk's a great captain, of course, but these two reasons are on display in this episode, and they're excellent reasons why Kirk — young as he is — is a worthy captain for the Enterprise.

While Spock is my favorite character, I do appreciate the heck out of Kirk, and the Enterprise is usually much better off with Spock's intellect harnessed to Kirk's will than they would be the other way around.

5Thanks for reading!

6.  The episode summary, for those who want to refresh their memories, is below:

Episode summary


The Enterprise encounters a rotating cube in space.  It doesn't respond to hails, it moves to block them when they try to get away from it, and it eventually begins to emit radiation that will kill everyone aboard if it continues.  Since they can't get away, Kirk orders the cube destroyed, and the Enterprise continues on her way.  

A short time later, a large ship approaches the Enterprise and seizes her with a tractor beam.  Balok, the captain of the large ship — the Fesarius —  says that the Enterprise is trespassing and will be destroyed because they destroyed the cube, which he calls a "warning buoy."  Kirk tries to explain that they destroyed the buoy in self-defense, but Balok interrupts and says that they have ten minutes to make peace with any deities they believe in before he destroys them.  The Fesarius is much more powerful than the Enterprise, and they can neither fight nor run.

Kirk asks Spock for an analysis, and Spock says, "In chess, when one is outmatched, the game is over. Checkmate."  Lieutenant Bailey panics and starts ranting at everyone and is relieved of duty.  McCoy tells Kirk he's pushed Bailey too far too fast and asks to put "fatigue" as the reason that Bailey was relieved of duty, not "panicked and went nuts."  Kirk refuses, and McCoy threatens to put his qualms about Kirk's pushing Bailey in his medical log, saying that's no bluff.  Kirk says, "Any time you can bluff ME, Doctor," then pauses for a second, struck.  Then he says (in a line that I think is the heart of this episode), "Not chess, Mr. Spock — POKER."

Kirk calls Balok on the Fesarius and tells him that all Earth ships have a substance called "corbomite" as part of their makeup, and this stuff returns destructive energy to its source, so any time an Earth ship is attacked, corbomite makes the energy of that attack destroy the attacker instead.  (Of course, no such substance actually exists; Kirk is making this all up, trying to bluff his way out of being destroyed.)

Balok says that the destruction of the Enterprise has been delayed and that she will be towed to a facility were the people aboard her will be disembarked before the ship itself is destroyed.  A tiny portion of the Fesarius detaches itself from the huge ship and begins to tow the Enterprise.  By using every available scrap of power, the Enterprise manages to break away from the small ship, which appears to have been disabled by the process.  Uhura catches a distress signal from the tiny ship to the larger one, saying that engines and life support are both out.  The signal is faint, and it looks as if the larger ship couldn't have heard the distress signal.

Kirk decides to board the small ship and rescue the people aboard her, taking McCoy and Bailey with him.  Once there, they discover that the entire thing was a test, and Balok is actually a sweet little fellow who's merely lonely.  Kirk leaves Bailey with Balok as a liason to the newly discovered civilization, and Balok tells Kirk that the two of them are much alike.

Character moments

This is McCoy's first episode, and Kirk calls him "Doctor" and "Doc;" he doesn't call him "Bones" even once.  Red alert is called while Kirk is undergoing a physical in Sickbay, and the alert is silent there, presumably so as not to wake any sick patients.  McCoy sees the red alert flashing and doesn't tell Kirk.  When Kirk calls him on it, we get the first of McCoy's "I'm a doctor, not a ___" lines when he says, "What am I, a doctor or a moon shuttle conductor?"  

Bailey gets overexcited while Spock is in command, leading them to eventually have this exchange:
BAILEY:  Raising my voice back there doesn't mean I was scared or couldn't do my job. It means I happen to have a human thing called an adrenaline gland.
SPOCK: It does sound most inconvenient, however. Have you considered having it removed?
BAILEY: Very funny.
SULU: You try to cross brains with Spock, he'll cut you to pieces every time.

Spock says that Balock reminds him of his father, to which Scotty replies, "Then may heaven have helped your mother."  Spock says, "Quite the contrary. She considered herself a very fortunate Earth woman."

At one point, Kirk asks Spock to think aloud about whether or not they should continue to explore after encountering the cube.  Spock does so, then realizes that Kirk has already decided to continue to explore.  He asks why Kirk asks for his input when he's already made up his mind, and Kirk replies, "It gives me emotional security."

When Kirk is with McCoy in his quarters, Yeoman Rand brings him his lunch, and McCoy jokes with Kirk about the temptations involved in his having a female yeoman.  Kirk says, "I've already got a female to worry about. Her name's the Enterprise."

World-building notes

The Enterprise is called an "Earth" ship — the "United Earth Ship Enterprise" — and neither Starfleet nor the Federation is mentioned.  Indeed, the only Federation mentioned in this episode is the one BALOK belongs to.

Spock's mother is called an "Earth woman;" they are not yet using "human" to contrast with "Vulcan."

Chapter 3: "Mudd's Women" by WeirdLittleStories
Author's Notes:

The story in this epilogue hinges on Kirk's actions during the first five minutes of the episode, but most people don't find those actions especially memorable, given what happens after Mudd and his "cargo" come aboard.  If you don't remember those first five minutes, you might want to either re-watch them or refresh your memory with the episode summary I've given in the notes below the story; scroll down to the very end to read that summary.  (Spock also describes much of it in the dialogue, and he's not embellishing — of course not, it's Spock :-) — so you can probably still follow the story even if re-watching episodes or reading episode summaries isn't your cup of tea.)


Episode Epilogue 3:  "Mudd's Women"


Kirk has beamed back to the Enterprise with the lithium (1) crystals the ship needs so desperately, and Scotty has installed them.  The Enterprise is now out of danger, for the first time in more than five days.  Kirk and Spock are following their usual practice of meeting in Kirk's quarters after the conclusion of a mission to talk about the events of that mission.  

Spock stood stiffly in front of Kirk, who was seated in a chair in his quarters.  Kirk had lashed out at his subordinates several times during this mission and had seemed stressed and overtired for more than a week.  Usually when he and Kirk were alone, it pleased Kirk if Spock relaxed somewhat from his typical demeanor.  But when Kirk was in a fractious mood, non-verbal acknowledgment of his status as captain sometimes soothed him, so Spock stood nearly at attention, nonverbally giving the captain the respect due to his rank.  

Spock said, "I would like to preface my remarks by noting that you are an extraordinary starship commander; in my personal opinion, the finest captain in the Fleet."

Kirk looked skeptically at Spock.  "You've never felt the need to butter me up before.  Why now?"

Spock didn't pretend to misunderstand the idiom.  "Vulcans do not engage in flattery, Captain.  But I did think it prudent to remind you of my profound respect before raising a topic that you may find difficult."

Kirk leaned back in his chair and looked narrowly at Spock.  "Let's have it."

Spock gazed gravely at Kirk.  "You are the kind of leader who inspires those under his command.  In your time on this vessel, I have seen crew members perform at a level they had not realized was within their capabilities, motivated both by your example and by your expectations."

Kirk smiled slightly.  "I sense a 'but' coming."

Spock inclined his head.  "But mechanical devices possess neither motivation nor morale.  They cannot be inspired to perform beyond their rated capacity, nor can they grow or change.  Deflector shields draw the power that they draw.  Matter-antimatter engines produce the power that they produce.  Lithium (1) crystals have known tolerances, and they cannot be 'inspired' to exceed them."

Kirk looked annoyed.  "Of course they can't.  You think I don't know that?"

Spock did not back down in the face of Kirk's annoyance.  "When you ordered our deflector shields to cover Harry Mudd's vessel, Mr. Scott warned you that doing so would overload our engines.  Mr. Farrell warned you that we would not be able to hold that protection for long.  Mr. Sulu told you that one of the lithium circuits had burned out, and a crewman reported from Engineering that engine temperatures had reached dangerous levels.  Mr. Farrell warned you again that the deflector shields would not hold, and Mr. Sulu informed you that another lithium circuit had failed.  In addition to six warnings from four different members of the crew, the lights on the Bridge flickered and went out several times.  Yet you persisted in a course which was clearly destroying the Enterprise's engines."

Kirk surged to his feet.  "You think I should have let four people die!"

Spock grasped Kirk's forearm, looking steadily into his eyes.  "Jim, you very nearly let every person on this vessel die, including the four you had wished to save."

Kirk glared at him.  "Explain."

Spock dropped his hand from Kirk's arm and clasped both hands behind him.  "When our last lithium crystal failed, only the fact that we happened to be near Rigel XII allowed us to procure replacement crystals before the ship's power was exhausted.  If we had not been so fortunate as to be near a lithium mining facility, our sole remaining option would have been to search for a nearby planet that could support life ... with no guarantee of finding one or of surviving on it until our distress call could have been answered."  

Spock paused and looked intently at Kirk.  "Jim, if we had found neither a lithium mine nor a class M planet within the limited distance traversable with our battery power, we would have been stranded in empty space, without enough power for life support.  Your decision would have condemned every person aboard this ship to death."

Kirk turned away and walked across the room as he thought, intertwining his fingers through the mesh that divided his office from his sleeping area.  He turned back around to face Spock, and his voice was like a whip.  "But I didn't, did I?  We WERE near a lithium mine, and we DID get the crystals in time!  Everyone aboard this ship survived AND we saved four lives."

Spock shook his head.  "You did not know that we were near a lithium mine when you made your decision, as witness the fact that you were surprised when I spoke of our proximity to Rigel XII.  It was good fortune, only, which brought about a positive outcome, and fortune — by its very nature — cannot be created, managed, or relied upon."

Kirk sagged slightly and rubbed his forehead with his thumb.  His voice, when he spoke, was calmer, quieter, gradually becoming rueful.  "You're right, of course.  I've been lucky so often I've grown to expect it, to depend on it, to plan as if my luck will always hold."

Spock raised a brow.  "Statistical probability suggests that this is unlikely."

Kirk chuckled weakly.  "Even I know I'm being illogical, Spock."  He went to his chair and sat back down, then waved Spock into the chair across from him.  He watched as Spock seated himself, then asked, "So, what is it that you want?  A mea culpa?  Acknowledgment that I made a bad decision, even though it worked out this time?"

Spock leaned forward slightly in his chair.  "Jim, I am not revisiting this decision to no purpose.  What concerns me is that you generally posses the flexibility necessary to switch from one course of action to another when conditions require it, but something about this particular mission impaired that flexibility.  I suggest that we determine what that something is, to ensure that your effectiveness is not impaired in the future."

Kirk blew out a breath.  "I've been touchy and defensive for the past couple of days, and you've been very patient with me.  I think maybe I can put that aside now."  He relaxed slightly in his chair and smiled at Spock.  "And this is why I have a first officer, why part of your job is to tell me when I'm not doing mine."

Spock looked intently at his captain.  "Jim, can you talk about what went through your mind as you made the decision to extend our deflectors to cover Harry Mudd's ship and persisted in that decision even as our engines began to fail?"

Kirk looked down at the floor, reflecting.  "There was a ship in trouble, one that would be destroyed if an asteroid hit it.  There were so many asteroids that it was only a matter of time before the ship would be destroyed, and it seemed like a real tragedy, to lose an entire ship over such a small thing."

Spock titled his head to one side as he regarded his captain.  "In that moment, you were not thinking about the potential loss of life but of the loss of the ship."

Kirk looked back up.  "Well, the ship implies all the lives aboard her."

"It does, but that is not what you said."  Spock frowned.  "It is also the case that when I showed you our cracked and burned lithium crystals, your response was, 'The choice was burning this lithium crystal or the destruction of another man's ship.'"  Spock paused and thought for a moment.  "I believe that your love for the Enterprise has become so strong that you cannot bear the thought of ANY ship's destruction.  Does this accord with your own self-knowledge?"  

Kirk looked fondly at the nearest bulkhead.  "This ship ... she's a part of me.  It's like my heart beats in two places: in my own chest and on her Bridge.  She's not just a hunk of metal and plastic, she's ... very nearly a living being to me."

Spock inclined his head.  "The relationship between human ship captains and their vessels has been likened to a marriage since the days when ships sailed only upon the waters of your Earth.  But Jim," Spock leaned forward again, imploring his captain to listen, "The Enterprise is NOT human.  She cannot give you more than her rated capacity, no matter how deeply you care for her.  She cannot strive or grow or rise to challenges.  You anthropomorphize her not merely at your own peril but at the peril of all the lives aboard her."

Kirk swallowed.  "I need to remember that much of what I love about the Enterprise is that she houses and protects my crew.  Much as I love the ship, the lives aboard her are the real treasure."  

Spock regarded his captain.  "Your rapport with the ship — not just with the crew but with the ship herself — is part of what makes you a superlative starship captain.  But like most positive qualities, it can be taken to excess."

Kirk smiled.  "I think you may just have convinced me of that, Mr. Spock."  

Kirk looked at the Vulcan, going over the events of the last several minutes in his head and realizing just how careful but persistent Spock had been and how difficult he must have found it.  "And I appreciate it that you didn't let me off the hook but forced me to hear you."  

He gave Spock the charming Kirkian smile that had been seen all too infrequently for the past week.  "And given what you've said about me during this conversation, let me add that in my opinion, you're the best first officer in the Fleet.  I think most of us believe that Vulcans don't need encouragement or pats on the back, the way human crew members do, and sometimes I forget that you're half human."

Spock inclined his head, silently accepting the compliment.  Perhaps Kirk had not realized it, but in thinking of him as too Vulcan to need the same encouragement as humans, his captain had actually paid him not one but two compliments.



End Notes:

1.  Yes, I know that they're usually called DILITHIUM crystals.  But in this episode — only the third in production order — the "di" has not yet been added, and they're called "lithium" crystals.  I had to retype the word several times, because my fingers kept adding the "di" without my intending to. :-)

2.  I'm sorry if this chapter isn't as good as the first two, but I found very little to work with in this episode.  I didn't want to get into the rather questionable area of mail order brides, and there isn't a lot else IN the episode.

Next up:  "The Enemy Within," an episode I like muuuuuch better.

3.  Yes, I know that Spock wasn't present for some of the events that he talks about here; he was in the transporter room when the lithium circuits failed.  But we know from the events of "Court Martial" that events on the Bridge are recorded in a computer log; I'm assuming that Spock was concerned enough about what happened to review the log and witness the events that transpired in his absence.

4.  The story for the episode was by Gene Roddenberry, and the teleplay was by Stephen Kandel.  The character of Harry Mudd was invented by Kandel; the mail order brides were all Roddenberry. :-)

5.  When Gene Roddenberry first proposed Star Trek as a series to NBC, he gave them a list of stories that would work with the Star Trek format.  The story that eventually became "Mudd's Women" was on that initial list, but of course NBC didn't choose this story for the pilot.  Also on the list were the stories that eventually became "Charlie X" and "A Piece of the Action."

Most Star Trek fans know that Star Trek is unusual in that it had TWO pilots.  The first pilot, "The Cage," had a different ship's captain (Captain Christopher Pike, played by Jeffrey Hunter) and a different crew; of the characters we're familiar with, only Spock was in the first pilot, and even Spock was considerably different — in both appearance and behavior — in that pilot.  (Most of that first pilot would be recycled into the two-part episode "The Menagerie.")  NBC executives loved the first pilot but thought it wouldn't make it as a network TV show and took the unprecedented step of ordering a SECOND pilot.

So Roddenberry gave NBC a second list of stories that they could choose from for this new pilot; the list included the story that eventually became the second pilot ("Where No Man Has Gone Before"), the first episode made to have James Kirk as the captain.  Also on that list were the story that eventually became "The Omega Glory" and the story that became "Mudd's Women" again.  So Roddenberry was really committed to this story; evidently mail order brides in space really did something for him.  *mind boggles*  Had NBC chosen this story for either of the pilots, we might not have had Star Trek.

6.  I've posted a Challenge, for the first time ever.  If you'd be interested in writing it, you can find it here.  Speaking of Challenges, they seem to be organized alphabetically.  Is there any way to see the most recent Challenges, the way we can see the most recent stories?

7.  Thanks for reading!

8.  Below is a summary of the events of this episode, for those who wish it:

Summary of the actual episode:

When the episode begins, the Enterprise is in hot pursuit of another space ship, a ship that doesn't have the registration beam that all ships are required to have.  The other ship is fleeing at top speed, and both Spock and Scotty warn Kirk that the captain of the other ship is overloading his engines and can't keep this up much longer.  Uhura hails the ship, but they don't answer, and Kirk is sure that the other ship hears them; they just refuse to answer.

The other ship flies into an asteroid belt in an attempt to lose the Enterprise, and Kirk orders the deflector shield up, then flies into the asteroid belt after it.  Once in the asteroid belt, the overloaded engines of the other ship give out, meaning that the other ship has no protection from the asteroids.  Kirk orders Farrell, the navigator, to extend the Enterprise's deflector shields far enough to cover the other ship.

Scotty says that they're too far away from the other ship to cover her with their deflectors, that doing so will overload the Enterprise's engines.  Kirk orders Spock and Scotty to go to the transporter room, to try to beam the crew of the other ship aboard.

Kirk orders Farrell to cover the other ship anyway.  Farrell replies that he's extended the deflectors to cover the other ship and notes that they won't be able to do it for very long.  Sulu tells Kirk that engine temperatures are climbing, and the Enterprise's engines are overloading.  A crewman calls Kirk on the intercom from Engineering and tells him that engine temperatures are passing the danger line.

Farrell tells Kirk that their deflector screen is weakening, and they can't keep it extended for very much longer.  At this point, the lights on the Bridge flicker.  Sulu, talking about the lights going out, tells Kirk that was a sign that one of the lithium (sic) circuits has failed.  The lights flicker a second time, and Sulu notes that a second lithium circuit has died.  

Spock and Scotty, now in the transporter room — along with McCoy, in case anyone aboard the pursued vessel needs medical care — beam aboard a man who's quite flamboyantly dressed, who says (in a fake Irish accent) that his name is Leo Walsh.  Here he is:

Harry Mudd in

Just as the pursued ship explodes, Spock manages to beam aboard the rest of the people from that ship.  This turns out to be three beautiful women in evening gowns:

The women in question photo Eve_Ruth_and_Magda_in_MuddsWomen_zpsblmwcaxg.jpg

Even though a third of the Enterprise's crew is female, and even though Uhura is (in my opinion) at least as pretty as any of the women they've just beamed aboard, McCoy and Scotty act completely stunned by the sight of the women, as if they haven't seen a woman in years.  McCoy has a goofy grin on his face, and he can't even track conversation properly, giving a non-sequitur in response to a remark that Walsh makes.  And Scotty is so far gone that when Kirk calls him on the intercom and asks how many people they took off of the ruined ship, he has to call Scotty THREE TIMES before Scotty snaps out of it long enough to answer the captain's question.  Spock appears not to be affected, and he gives both McCoy and Scotty disbelieving looks.  What IS it about these women that's affecting McCoy and Scotty so strongly?

Kirk orders the four to be brought to his quarters, and Spock escorts Mudd and the three ladies to Kirk's cabin.  On the way there, the women sashay through the ship like hookers trolling for customers, and all of the male crewmembers do double takes as they walk by.  There are female crew members all around, but the male crew members act stunned and smitten by the three women.  What's happening?  When they get to Kirk's quarters, Kirk asks Walsh if the three evening-gowned women are his crew, and Walsh replies (still in his fake Irish accent), "This is me cargo."

Kirk has the three women escorted out.  Spock watches them leave, then give an "Eh, so what" look:

Spock in Mudd's Women photo SpockMakesASoWhatFaceAboutMuddsWomen_zps30kkzizd.jpg

Walsh claims that he didn't know that he was being pursued by a starship and fled because he feared they were hostile.  Kirk calls him a liar and says they understand one another.

On the Bridge, Sulu and Farrell are talking about the women, and both of them are having trouble getting themselves in the right frame of mind to do their duty.  Scotty warns Spock that they have a single lithium crystal left, and that one is cracked and will fail soon.  Spock suggests that they rig a bypass, and Scotty says that the equipment needed for a bypass was all fried, too.  At this point, Spock calls Kirk to the Bridge.

In the briefing room, Walsh is telling the women what to say when questioned.  He tells them not to lie but to make sure to refuse any medical exams.  They call him "Harry," and he reminds them that his name is "Leo."

On the Bridge, Spock and Scotty tell Kirk about the problem with their one remaining lithium crystal.  Kirk casually orders a bypass and is told that isn't possible; all the bypass equipment is fried.  Kirk looks at Spock and simply says, "Well?"  Spock tells him that there's a lithium mine on Rigel XII, two days' travel away, and Kirk orders the ship to make for Rigel XII.

A hearing is convened in the briefing room to examine the charges against Leo Walsh.  During the course of the hearing, the computer detects several lies, and it comes out that the man's actual name is Harry Mudd, and he's been convicted in the past of smuggling, transporting stolen goods, and trying to buy a space ship with counterfeit money.  He was sentenced to psychiatric treatment, but there's a question about whether or not it was effective.  Once Mudd's real name is known, he drops the fake Irish accent and speaks with an American accent.

Mudd says that he supplies wives to colonists, and the women with him — Eve (the blonde in the pink dress), Ruth (the brunette in the green dress), and Magda (the blonde in the lavender poncho thing) — are intended to serve as wives to colonists on a frontier planet.  Kirk asks the women if they're with Mudd willingly, and they agree that they are.  They say that there weren't many marriageable men on the planets they came from, and they're eager to find husbands.

Kirk convicts Mudd of illegal operation of a vessel and says he'll hand Mudd over to the authorities, but since the women were passengers, they aren't charged with anything, and they're free to go.  This isn't good enough for the women, who plead to be taken to the planet where their prospective husbands are.  At this point, the last lithium crystal fails, and Kirk puts off dealing with the women's problem in order to deal with his ship.  Within the hearing of Mudd and the women, Kirk orders Spock to call the miners on Rigel XII and tell them they'll need lithium crystals right away.

As soon as Kirk leaves the room, Harry Mudd excitedly tells the women that they can still have husbands, just different ones than they'd believed.  He tells them that lithium miners are both lonely and rich and suggests that they'll make excellent husbands.

With the last lithium crystal fried, the Enterprise is relying solely on battery power for such essentials as life support.  Their battery power is not unlimited, and they have just enough to get to Rigel XII and pick up replacement lithium crystals from the miners there.

Ruth visits Sickbay and vamps McCoy.  As she walks by McCoy's medical scanner, it makes a strange beeping noise, unlike any of the noises it normally makes.  McCoy is puzzled about what's making his scanner freak out, but the women refuse a medical exam.  Ruth asks if McCoy will be examining the lithium miners, and he says that he will if they need it, but it's unlikely because all three of them are young and healthy.

When Kirk returns to his cabin, he's surprised to find Eve lying on his bed.  She claims that she had to hide out in his quarters because walking down the corridors was so traumatic, what with all those men looking at her.  Kirk is not charmed and asks her to leave, and she switches strategies and starts talking about how lonely she is and how sure she is that he understands loneliness.  Kirk does understand the loneliness of command and starts to thaw towards her, at which point Eve says that she does like him, and she can't follow Harry Mudd's orders to manipulate him, then rushes out of the room.

The women report back to Mudd.  Ruth tells Mudd the information she picked up from McCoy, Magda reports the miner's names, and they add that the men have been alone now, with only the three of them on the planet, for three years now.  Easy pickings for the likes of Harry Mudd!  Then Eve says that she doesn't feel good and says it must be "time."

On the Bridge, Kirk is having trouble getting his crewmen to obey his orders; they're all so distracted by the women — even though the women aren't present on the Bridge — that they have to be told things twice before they wake up and do them.  Even though Kirk has witnessed the fact that the three women seem to be having a strange effect on the men, he snaps at Farrell.  Then he has a conversation with McCoy where he asks if the women are the perfectly normal human women that they appear to be or if they're something else.  He and McCoy have this exchange:

Kirk:  "Well, come on, you're the doctor. What is it? Is it that we're tired, and they're beautiful? They are incredibly beautiful."
McCoy:  "Are they, Jim? Are they actually more lovely, pound for pound, measurement for measurement, than any other women you've known? Or is it that they just, well, act beautiful."  And then, having come so close to the point, McCoy veers off again and says, "No. Strike that, strike that."

We get a quick flash of Harry Mudd's cabin, where Magda delivers a stolen communicator to him.  We watch him use it to contact the head miner on Rigel XII, Ben Childress.

Back to the Bridge, and they've finally reached Rigel XII, but they have only enough power for the next three days.  If they don't get lithium crystals by then, the Enterprise will plunge into the atmosphere and burn up.  But three days is plenty of time, right?  What could go wrong?

In Harry Mudd's cabin, the women are freaking out because they suddenly look twenty years older than they did before, and they're not as beautiful.  Harry Mudd is rummaging through his stuff, looking for something.  The women all voice disgust with themselves as their beauty fades, and then Harry suddenly finds the box of pills he was looking for.  Ruth and Magda eagerly take the pills, and their wrinkles vanish, and they become beautiful again.  Eve says the drug is "a cheat," but Harry convinces her to take it.

Kirk has two of the miners beamed up, and they meet in his quarters.  He offers to pay "an equitable price" for the lithium crystals they need, but Ben Childress, the head miner, says that he wants to trade the crystals for the three women and for the freedom of Harry Mudd.  Kirk refuses to make this deal, but then Harry Mudd sweeps in with his "cargo" in tow, and the three women vamp the miners.  Harry tells the miners that the Enterprise only has enough power for three more days, and they'll have to take the miners' deal eventually.

Kirk, Spock, Mudd, and the women beam down to the planet, and Kirk tells Childress that he'll make the deal.  Childress brushes him off.  The miners dance with the women while Kirk, Spock, and Mudd look on.  Eve pushes away from Childress, then feels rejected when he turns to one of the other women, and she runs outside.  The problem is that there's a sandstorm going on outside, and no one can survive in it for long.  Kirk and Childress both run outside after her.  When he can't find her in a few minutes, Kirk beams back to the ship to use the ship's sensors to look for Eve.

Scotty tells Kirk that using the sensors is going to drain their batteries even more, and if only they had those crystals.  Kirk lashes out at Scotty, shouting, "But we don't! I didn't get any. I should have found a way. Satisfied, Mister Scott?"  A few lines later, he apologizes to Scotty, and Scotty just nods.  They now have five hours of power left.

Meanwhile, Childress finds Eve and carries her to his cabin.  She's unconscious in his arms, and he lays her gently on his bed, then falls asleep on a bench, exhausted from battling the storm.  

On the ship, Kirk is still searching, and he picks up heat signatures from Childress' cabin.  The Enterprise is now down to 43 minutes of power.  Kirk and Mudd prepare to beam down to the cabin.

In Childress' cabin, Eve has woken up before Ben and has done some chores.  Ben is cranky about her doing things in his cabin, and Eve explains that she ate some of his food, so she paid with some chores.  Ben is still cranky, and they snap at each other a bit.  Eve comes up with a good idea for how to wash the dishes even though there's no water, something Childress didn't think of in three years of living there.  Hmm.  So she's not just a pretty face.  Then the pills Eve took before begin to wear off, and she looks older and less beautiful; Ben wants to know what happened to her looks.

Kirk and Mudd arrive at this point, and Kirk orders Mudd to tell Childress about the Venus drug.  Childress says he's heard of the Venus drug but thought it was a rumor.  Mudd says that it really exists (though it's illegal), and his women were on it; he takes the pill case from his pocket and displays the Venus drug.  Kirk tells Childress that the other two miners have already married Ruth and Magda, even though they were on the drug, too and now look older and less beautiful now that the drug has worn off.  Childress is irate and tries to attack Mudd, but Kirk pulls him off.  Childress says that they work hard and deserve good wives.

Eve breaks in and says, "You don't want wives, you want this."  She stands up and seizes the drug from Harry's pill box.  She holds it out in her hand, displaying it to Childress.  She says, "This is what you want, Mister Childress. I hope you remember it and dream about it, because you can't have it. It's not real!"  At this point, she takes the pill and turns around for a minute to give it time to work.  Once it has, she turns back around and says, "Is this the kind of wife you want, Ben? Not someone to help you, not a wife to cook and sew and cry and need, but this kind? Selfish, vain, useless. Is this what you really want? All right, then. Here it is."

Ben is now skeptical of Eve and says it's all fake, created by a drug.  Kirk reveals that Eve didn't take a drug.  Harry's Venus drug was confiscated, and they substituted colored gelatin for it.  Eve isn't more beautiful now because she's on a drug but because she has confidence.  Kirk says, "There's only one kind of woman."  Mudd add, "Or man, for that matter."  Kirk says, "You either believe in yourself, or you don't."

It would be a lovely message, except that the reward Eve gets for having confidence and for not caring about physical beauty is ... physical beauty.  So the message is slightly muddled.  For the entire episode, it's been clear that the only thing anyone thinks is important about the women is how they look, and the only thing the women think is important about the miners is how much money they have.  Neither group is treating the other like human beings, and neither group acts as if the personality and character of their prospective spouses matters in the slightest.  Still, Eve and Ben have begun speaking honestly to one another, and at the end of the episode, it looks as if they may yet form a relationship that's based on honesty and maybe even mutal respect.

Childress gives Kirk the crystals, and Kirk and Mudd get ready to beam back to the Enterprise.  They have this exchange:

MUDD: Don't you think you could possibly, by accident, arrange to leave me behind here? On this planet that would be punishment enough.
KIRK: I can't do that, Harry, but I will appear as a character witness at your trial.  (Strategic pause)  If you think that'll help.
MUDD: They'll throw away the key!   

Back on the ship, Kirk is in the captain's chair with Spock standing to his right and McCoy to his left.  They have this exchange:

MCCOY: That must have been quite a talk you made down there. Ever try considering the patent medicine business?
KIRK: Why should I work your side of the street?
SPOCK: I'm happy the affair is over. A most annoying emotional episode.
MCCOY: (Pounds the center of his chest with his fist)  Smack right in the old heart. Oh, I'm sorry. In your case, it would be about here.  (Pounds his left side with his fist)
SPOCK: The fact that my internal arrangement differs from yours, Doctor, pleases me no end.

Character Moments

At several points during this episode, one character or another makes the point that Kirk is unavailable to the women because he's already married to the Enterprise.  The idea that Kirk is married to the ship is one we'll see again in subsequent episodes.

Spock has a sassy, snarky aura during this episode; he's not yet the perfectly cool Vulcan that we'll see later in this season.  Leonard Nimoy is still figuring out how to play a character that pretends to have no emotions, and he hasn't yet refined Spock down to the minimalist creature he will become.  (This is one of the reasons why I strongly recommend watching the episodes in production order, since watching Nimoy figure out how to play such an unusual character is part of the charm of the first season of TOS.)  

At this point in the season, they're still calling Spock part VULCANIAN; they won't switch to using the word "Vulcan" for both the planet and the natives of that planet until later on.

Harry Mudd says to Spock, "A pretty face doesn't affect you at all, does it?  That is, unless you want it to."  He then turns to the women and says, "This type can turn himself off from any emotion."  So even as early as this episode, they aren't saying that Spock HAS no emotions, just that he chooses to control or suppress them.

In this episode, we learn for the first time that Spock's heart is in his side instead of in his chest.  It already took an hour and a half in the make-up chair for Leonard Nimoy to have his ears and eyebrows done, so there  wasn't time to make Spock look even more alien.  But the dialogue and story could add alien touches that didn't require make-up, so we gradually learn a number of things about Spock's Vulcan biology that aren't visible on the surface, from the green blood to the rapid heartbeat to the heart in his side.

This is Uhura's second episode, and she's still wearing Command gold, rather than the Engineering and Ship's Services red that she'll wear for most of the series.  She looks MUCH better in red, so it's good that someone decided to make Communications fall into the red group. ;-)

Uhura in gold photo Uhura_in_gold_zpsbzoicxss.jpg

World Building

Kirk's quarters are usually shown to be on Deck 5, but in this episode, for some reason they're on Deck 12.  Maybe his usual quarters are being painted or something?  In any case, it's one of the many little moments in this episode where things are different than they will be for the bulk of the series.

In the very beginning, when Mudd's ship is fleeing from the Enterprise, Kirk asks Spock if it's an "Earth" ship.  So we've not yet heard anything about Starfleet or the Federation.  They're coming! :-)

Kirk offers to pay "an equitable price" for the lithium crystals he wants from the miners, and Harry Mudd convinces Eve, Ruth, and Magda that they want to marry lithium miners by talking about how "rich" lithium miners are.  We don't yet know much about the Federation's economy — not surprising, since they haven't even made up the Federation, itself, yet :-) — but it's clear that some form of money is still used, unlike what will be said in the fourth Star Trek movie.

"The Enemy Within" by WeirdLittleStories

  Episode Epilogues 4: "The Enemy Within"


Spock walked into McCoy's office, where the doctor was seated behind his desk, writing notes in the records of the patients who'd beamed up from the planet's surface. McCoy looked up from his work. "What do you need?"

Spock surveyed the doctor. "You have finished the preliminary care of the affected members of the landing party?"

McCoy looked curiously at Spock. "Yes. I explained their prognosis and treatment when you and Jim were in here earlier, and nothing's changed — we got them in time, and they'll make a full recovery."

Spock shook his head. "I do not doubt your initial report; I asked if you had completed their care because I have another task for you."

McCoy leaned back in his chair. "Something about Jim, then?"

Spock inclined his head. "As you deduced. I believe it is unwise for him to be alone at this time, and he may find your statements on the nature of humanity more comforting than my own."

McCoy laughed. "That's true any day of the week!" The doctor considered the Vulcan. "But don't you and Jim have a meeting right about now?"

Spock stood stiffly, his hands clasped behind his back. "We do. I am inviting you to attend it with me."

McCoy frowned. "Jim'll brood if we leave him alone, and I don't imagine that a Vulcan's much comfort!" He rubbed the back of his neck. "Normally, I'd bring a bottle of brandy with me, but the duplicate drank a lot of brandy, and that may put Jim off the stuff for a couple of days. Coffee isn't a good idea, though; Jim doesn't need caffeine increasing any anxiety he already feels about what happened."

Spock tilted his head to one side. "Might I suggest chamomile tea?"

McCoy nodded. "That's a good idea, Spock. Jim's not usually big on tea, but it does seem like the best bet at the moment." He looked shrewdly at the Vulcan. "You've been thinking about this, haven't you? How to make Jim okay with what happened." He shook his head. "I wouldn't worry too hard, Spock. I mean yeah, we want to keep him company for the next couple of hours, but Jim rolls with the punches better than anybody I've ever seen. If anyone can handle seeing his negative side split off and given life, Jim can." He chuckled. "Listen to me, trying to comfort a Vulcan!"

Spock raised a brow. "I do not, of course, require it." He inclined his head gravely. "But the effort is appreciated, nonetheless."

McCoy was surprised. Huh. That sounded like Vulcan for "thank you," and it was tempting to make an issue out of that, but Jim was the real worry at the moment. He could always needle Spock later, but it'd probably be a good idea to call a truce while they both worked to help Jim deal with the trauma of the past few hours.

Spock and McCoy walked into Sickbay proper, where McCoy went to the food synthesizer and dialed up a pot of chamomile tea, on a tray with several cups. They walked quickly to the captain's quarters and pressed the annunciator for admittance.

"Come," Kirk's voice called from inside the room, and the two blue-shirted men entered the cabin. Kirk smiled when he saw them. "Well. Double trouble! To what do I owe the honor, Bones?"

McCoy set the tray on Kirk's desk and busied himself pouring three cups of tea. He handed one to Kirk. "You've been through an experience that would have left a lesser man bawling on the floor, Jim. I thought maybe you could use a drink and a friend."

Kirk peered into the teacup. "Tea? Hardly your usual prescription."

McCoy took a teacup and sat in the chair next to Kirk's. "I thought maybe you'd had enough brandy for the time being. It's chamomile tea, which has a mild calming effect on the human nervous system, which I thought we could all use right about now, me included." He took a sip of his tea. "Of course, I don't know what it does to the Vulcan nervous system; for all I know, it makes 'em swing from the chandeliers."

Spock took a cup of tea and sat down in a chair across from Kirk and McCoy. "It has no noticeable effect on the Vulcan nervous system, but the flavor is pleasing." He sipped his tea. "Jim, now that your two halves are reintegrated, do you retain the memories of both halves?"

Kirk sighed. "Yes. It's a bit surreal, to remember resting quietly in my room and remember trying to rape my yeoman at the exact same time." He set down his tea, stood up, and began to pace. "But that's not even the worst part. The worst part is that I remember what I thought and how I felt while I was trying to rape Janice. I remember the predatory feeling, the complete self-centeredness, the mindset where she wasn't a person to me but just a prey animal to be caught and taken." He broke off and turned away, unable to face even his closest friends while in touch with this memory.

McCoy walked over and stood behind Kirk, putting a hand on his shoulder. "That sounds like an upsetting memory, Jim, but remember, that part of yourself is usually controlled and channeled into better behavior. Having thought and felt those things while you were split into two parts doesn't make you a bad man; that kind of thing is inside all men, but most of us also have enough good in us to control it, as you do."

Kirk turned around and faced McCoy. "I'm aware of that, Bones; that's not what's so upsetting about the memory."

McCoy blinked. "What is it, then?"

Kirk turned away from the doctor and walked further away, remaining silent.

Spock said, "What dismays the captain is how pleasurable he found those emotions."

McCoy scoffed. "You're way off base, Spock. Don't try to use that Vulcan computer of yours to understand human feelings."

Kirk turned around and faced them. "Unfortunately, Bones, he's exactly on target. I remember how I felt when I tried to rape Janice, and there's an intensity to the feeling, a purity of intent, even a delight in feeling powerful and predatory." He shuddered. "I don't want to like that memory, but I can't put this to rest unless I'm honest with myself." He stared bleakly at his friends. "It felt good to be that selfish, that single-minded, to take whatever I wanted, without regard for consequences."

McCoy thought about this. "That's what we give up when we become civilized: that selfishness, that single-mindedness, that purity of focus."

Kirk sighed. "Yes, I suppose it is. But most of us become civilized young enough that we don't remember what it's like NOT to have the veneer of civilization limiting our actions, complicating our motivations, making us second-guess ourselves."

McCoy looked searchingly at Kirk. "But YOU know. For better or for worse, you now have the memory of what it's like to be an adult without the influence of civilization."

Kirk grimaced. "I'll always know just how necessary civilization is, just what I would be without that training, without that veneer." He looked at McCoy. "But I'll also always know just how heady an experience it is, to be without it."

Spock said, "The desire for uncivilized behavior will call to you, more strongly than to most men, because you have experienced the power and intensity of life without civilization."

Kirk looked at his first officer. "You knew. McCoy has the training in psychology, but you were the one who knew what I was feeling." He stalked over to his first officer and stood looking down at him. "How did you know?"

Spock looked up at his captain. "The Vulcan veneer of civilization is generally ... thicker than the human veneer; Vulcans pride ourselves on how thoroughly civilized we are." He looked away, and there was an undertone of shame in his voice. "However, Vulcans do not expend effort needlessly or to no purpose." He looked back at Kirk. "Do you understand?"

Kirk spoke gently. "You're saying that Vulcans' basic nature is more savage than humans' basic nature, that you're more civilized because you NEED more civilization to control you."

Spock inclined his head but did not speak, then fixed his eyes on the floor.

Kirk sat down in the chair across from Spock and reached out to clasp his hand. "And you told me this — shared something Vulcans usually keep private — so that I wouldn't feel like the only savage on the ship."

Spock looked back up and swallowed. "Affirmative."

Kirk released his hand and sat back in his chair. "But how do you do it? How do you make it okay to repress that much of your nature? How do I make it okay, now that I've felt what the other side is like?"

Spock said, "The Vulcan way is to view all emotions as anathema, both the negative ones and those that humans regard as positive. That is not the human way, Jim, so Vulcan tactics will not apply to you."

McCoy sat back down next to Kirk. "The human way is to think about other people's emotions besides your own. You don't think about how strong and powerful YOU felt; you think about how frightened and betrayed JANICE felt. No matter how good it felt to be free of the constraints of civilization, the whole Jim Kirk could never rape Janice, because you could never hurt another human being that way."

Kirk smiled sadly at McCoy. "No, of course I never could. Empathy is the answer to restraining my behavior, and I have no problem with that. It's restraining the thoughts and the feelings, those newly seductive thoughts and feelings..."

Spock looked at Kirk and spoke tentatively. "I could, perhaps, teach you Vulcan meditation techniques. Meditation involves detachment from problematic cognitions and emotions; one observes the thoughts and feelings without actual involvement in them."

Kirk smiled. "I don't know if I have the patience for meditation, but after today's events ... I think I need to try."

McCoy snorted. "Well, count ME out, if it's gonna get Vulcan in here." He stood up and prepared to leave.

Spock raised an admonishing brow. "Meditation is also a human practice, one that is often recommended by physicians, as you well know."

McCoy smiled. "I know, Spock. But I thought y'all should have some privacy for this." He left the room.

Spock exhaled just softly enough that it could not quite be called a sigh, then looked at Kirk. "The first step in meditation is to relax the physical body so that it does not intrude."

Kirk shifted slightly in his chair, finding the most comfortable position, then smiled at the Vulcan. "You know, I think this is the first time all day that I've managed to relax."

Spock nodded gravely, then continued to instruct his captain in Vulcan meditation techniques. The mind constantly produced thoughts, just as the limbic system constantly produced emotions, but those things could be observed in a detached way. It was tempting to feel excitement at the idea of introducing Jim to Vulcan practices, but Spock was too disciplined to allow that to occur, and the human and the Vulcan sat together, observing, taming, and controlling the inner savages that helped to make them the men they were.



End Notes:

Author's Notes

In the episode "Court Martial," we learn that in addition to being a physician, McCoy is also an expert in psychology. In that episode, the prosecutor says to him, "Doctor, you are, on the record, an expert in psychology, especially space psychology — patterns which develop in the close quarters of a ship during long voyages in deep space."

2. The most obviously problematic part of this episode is Spock's line to Yeoman Rand, but I chose not to address that in this epilogue. Why? Well, I'll tell you. :-)

I'm old enough (just barely! :-D) to remember what the world was like in 1966 and what the worldview of the time was. Mainstream American culture has changed ENORMOUSLY in that time. Really, if you haven't lived through it personally, you would not believe what a huge cultural shift there has been in only fifty years. (The cultures and mindsets of other countries have changed, as well; I mention American culture because Star Trek was mostly written and produced by Americans, so that's the culture whose attitudes influence what we see on the screen in the TOS episodes.)

One of the things that has changed a lot is in cultural attitudes towards rape. Things still aren't where they should be in our culture's attitude towards rape, in my opinion, but we have a MUCH more enlightened attitude today than we did in 1966. In 1966, it was a truism that "all women secretly want to be raped."

Yes, yes, I know that's stupid and sexist and pernicious and WRONG. But it's what people thought back then. Star Trek was forward-thinking in many ways, but it was a product of its time in many other ways, and to modern eyes, it is extremely sexist. The line assigned to Spock, about the "imposter" having interesting qualities, was a product of that mindset; Spock was saying, "It excited you that Evil Kirk tried to rape you, because we 'know' that all women secretly want to be raped." It's a horrible attitude to attribute to so ethical a character as Spock, but the mindset of the time was so pervasive that the writer probably didn't realize what a terrible thing he was having Spock say there.

It's clear with the benefit of modern attitudes that Spock wouldn't say any such thing. This episode was written by Richard Matheson, but it was edited and rewritten by both John D. F. Black and Gene Roddenberry, so we don't know who, exactly, is responsible for that egregious line. But the "real" Spock, if there is one, never said any such thing; it was clumsy writing that put that line in the poor guy's mouth.

One of the interesting things about TOS is that it's a time capsule from fifty years ago. Some things have changed very little in that time, and other things have changed hugely. When something in TOS seems completely bizarre, it's often that time capsule element at work. While it hurts to watch so beloved a character as Spock speak such a horrible line, if we take a step back and view it as a bulletin from the past, we can see how much attitudes have changed in fifty years ... and rejoice that they have.

3. Many (most?) Star Trek fans know that the Vulcan neck pinch was created during the filming of this episode and that it was Leonard Nimoy, himself, who invented it. Here's what he has to say about it in his second autobiography, I Am Spock, published in 1995 (pp 58 - 59 hardcover first edition); everything in italics is quoted from that book:

In preparing to play the character, I had already done some thinking about Vulcan culture and customs, and had made the decision that Vulcans were a touch-oriented society, that the fingers and hands featured prominently, as they were touch telepaths.

Based on that concept, the Vulcan neck pinch was created. It came about during the shooting of "The Enemy Within," an episode wherein Captain Kirk was confronted by the "evil" half of his personality—his own "Mr. Hyde," if you will. In one particular scene, this "evil" character had confronted the "good" Kirk and was about to destroy him with a phaser blast. The original script called for Spock to steal up behind the "bad" Kirk and strike him over the head with the butt of a phaser.

The scene jarred me when I first read it; it seemed more appropriate for the Old West than the twenty-third century. I could practically hear the Vulcan whispering in my ear:

SPOCK: Barbaric. A Vulcan would avoid unnecessary violence at all costs. We have, after all, made a thorough study of the human anatomy, and utilize more scientific methods, which render the use of force obsolete.

In keeping with the Vulcan emphasis on touch, I spoke to the director, Leo Penn, about my concern. Leo agreed that it was valid, and asked what alternatives I might suggest. After explaining the business about Vulcans and how they were no doubt familiar with the anatomy of recalcitrant humans, I suggested that they were capable of transmitting a special energy from their fingertips. If applied to the proper nerve centers on a human's neck and shoulders, that energy would render the human unconscious.

Leo asked for a demonstration; since Bill Shatner was the other actor in the scene with me, he was the most available victim. I quietly briefed Bill on what I had in mind, and the two of us made our little presentation for the director. I applied pressure to the juncture of Bill's neck and shoulder, and he most convincingly and cooperatively fell into an "unconscious" heap on the floor. Thus the famous neck pinch was born, in part because of Bill Shatner's talent for fainting on cue.

Gene Roddenberry did NOT like it that Mr. Nimoy had invented something new for Spock without discussing it with him first, and he sent Nimoy a memo telling him not to do that again. (Luckily, Mr. Nimoy did not listen, and a year later, he invented the Vulcan salute for "Amok Time.")

Eventually, the neck pinch became such a well-known and frequently used device that it was referred to in scripts simply as "FSNP," which stood for "Famous Spock Neck Pinch." :-) And aren't we all glad that Mr. Nimoy invented such a useful maneuver!

You can see from Mr. Nimoy's description that the neck pinch depends not just on Vulcans' understanding of human anatomy and physiology but also on "special energy" — perhaps related to telepathic energy? — transmitted through the fingertips. So humans shouldn't be able to do the neck pinch, though this aspect of it seems to have been lost by the time they made The Next Generation.

4. A lot of fans who've seen the episodes on cable TV or who watch DVD, blu-ray, or streaming video of these episodes think that William Shatner overacted when playing the "evil" Kirk. But remember that what you're seeing today is NOT what people saw in 1966, when this episode was first broadcast. Consider these facts:

a. In 1966, the average television screen was 19" - 21". A really BIG television screen was 25". Many of you probably have computer monitors bigger than that now. :-)

b. There was no cable television in 1966, no DVD's, no blu-ray, no streaming video. People watched these episodes on broadcast TV, and broadcast TV was rarely all that clear. Sometimes the focus was just a little fuzzy, sometimes the picture was overlaid by little dots that were called "snow" (because it looked like it was snowing, even though it wasn't), sometimes there were wavy lines ... in 1966, we could only DREAM of the nice, clear pictures that people take for granted today.

c. In 1966, most television sets were black-and-white; color television sets were luxury items, and only the relatively well-to-do owned one.

d. At the time, people thought that sitting too close to the television was bad for you, that they emitted some sort of radiation that would damage your body. So most people sat 6 to 8 feet away from these small, fuzzy, black-and-white images.

Conclusion: Bill Shatner's acting was intended to make it clear when audiences were looking at the "good" Kirk and when they were looking at the "evil" one, even though they were seeing small, fuzzy, black-and-white images from far away. It's to his credit that we're always sure which Kirk we're seeing, and if you take into account the size and lack of clarity of the television pictures of the time, his performance is actually very good, even brilliant.

Evil Kirk Comparison photo EvilKirkComparison_zpsfpkeyrnz.jpg

5. Kirk's green wrap shirt was created for this episode, to help audiences distinguish between the good and evil Kirks. Because on small, fuzzy, black-and-white sets, it wasn't so easy to tell.

6. Richard Matheson is given sole credit onscreen for the writing of this episode, but Gene Roddenberry actually added a considerable amount to the script. He added the "B" plot about the landing party freezing on the planet's surface over Matheson's objections, since Matheson thought the landing party's plight was a distraction from Kirk's. Roddenberry was also responsible for the "good" Kirk's becoming weak and hesitant; Matheson was thinking in Jekyll-and-Hyde terms, so he was thinking of "real" Kirk and "evil" Kirk; it was Roddenberry who decided to make it not real and evil but good and evil. (If the script sometimes seems inconsistent, with the characters calling the "evil" Kirk "the imposter," that's why.) Roddenberry is also responsible for adding the bit about much of Kirk's decisiveness and drive coming from the "evil" side.

John D. F. Black left Star Trek after just a short time, partly because he thought it was horrible of Roddenberry to rewrite other writers — especially big-name SF writers like Matheson — to do anything more than smooth out inconsistencies with the characters. And yet this episode is all the more powerful for NOT being just a simple re-telling of the Jekyll and Hyde tale but a musing upon the value of the negative side of a person. I also think the plight of the landing party helps to illustrate just what the stakes are when Kirk loses the power to make decisions. Kirk's ability to command isn't just a theory or an abstraction — the lives of actual people depend on it. Matheson's original script may have been a good story, but Roddenberry's was better Star Trek.

7. The network (NBC) did NOT like this episode. They thought it would be hard for audiences to like Kirk and identify with him if they'd seen him behaving badly, and they thought that the attempted rape of Rand was something that didn't belong on network TV. So they only broadcast it once; it was not given a summer rerun. (Of course, it was broadcast many times in syndication; I'm talking only about the initial run in 1966).

8. I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not. I will try to update regularly, and I will try to respond to any comments I receive. Unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health.

9. I'm going to borrow Ster J's wonderful disclaimer, because it fits me so well: I don't own Star Trek; IT owns ME. :-)

10. Thanks for reading!

11. My summaries of the episodes' plots are followed by character notes and world-building notes. Some people have told me that those are worth reading, even for those who remember the plot well, so if you don't generally read the episode summaries, you might want to skip past the plot summary and see if there's anything of interest in the character and world-building notes.

The episode summary is below:


Kirk and several crewmen are on the surface of a planet, looking at rocks. Kirk comments to Sulu that it gets down to 120 degrees below zero at night. Geology technician Fisher falls down a small hill, cutting his hand, and Kirk orders him to beam up and go to Sickbay.

Fisher beams up, but it takes awhile to beam him up; the transporter seems sluggish. Scotty thinks that the yellow ore that Fisher was covered in may have done something to the transporter, and he tells transporter technician Wilson to go get some equipment to double-check the transporter. Scotty does a quick check of it while Wilson is gone, and it SEEMS okay.

Kirk asks to be beamed up, and Scotty beams him up. Kirk seems a bit woozy as he steps off of the transporter, and Scotty grabs his arm and starts to escort Kirk to Sickbay. Kirk tells Scotty not to leave the transporter room unattended, but Scotty says Wilson will be back any minute.

As soon as they leave, the transporter activates itself, and ... Kirk beams aboard again. But this Kirk doesn't look woozy. He also doesn't look sane. :-) He glares around the transporter room, while dramatic music informs us — just in case we're stupid or weren't paying attention — that Something Is Wrong.

The first Kirk goes to his quarters and lies down on his bed, as is reasonable for someone feeling woozy. The scene shifts to Sickbay, where McCoy is using a dermal regenerator to fix Fisher's hand and joking with him. Kirk bursts into Sickbay and demands brandy. McCoy sends Fisher away, and Kirk grabs McCoy by the neck and demands brandy in a roar.

Kirk takes the brandy and drinks some in the corridors, then goes to Janice Rand's cabin and waits for her there, drinking brandy while he waits.

Next we see Kirk's quarters, where Kirk is still lying on the bed. Spock shows up and asks how Kirk is. Kirk says he's fine, and Spock says that McCoy contacted him, saying that Kirk was acting like a wild man and demanding brandy. Kirk says that McCoy must have been playing a practical joke on Spock, and Spock leaves.

Next, Kirk — now attired in a green, wrap-around shirt, instead of his usual shirt — and Spock show up in the transporter room. Scotty shows them a creature from the planet, a dog-like creature with a single horn on its head. The unicorn dog is resting quietly in Scotty's arms, and then Scotty leads them over to a cage where an identical animal is barking fiercely. Scotty says that a few minutes after they beamed up the unicorn dog in his arms, the other one beamed up spontaneously. He says that if this should happen to a person, that would be terrible, so they can't beam up Sulu and the landing party. (But of course, this is a big problem, because of that "gets down to 120 below zero at night" weather that they mentioned in the beginning.)

The scene shifts to Janice Rand's quarters, and we see her enter the cabin and fiddle with her hair. Kirk comes out from where he's been hiding — a Kirk wearing the usual crew-necked command gold shirt, not the green vee-necked shirt that the Kirk in the transporter room was wearing — and Rand is startled. She asks Kirk what he wants, and he drinks brandy out of the bottle in front of her, then says, "You're too beautiful to ignore. Too much woman. We've both been pretending too long." He grabs her and tells her to stop pretending, then kisses her roughly, while telling her not to fight him. Janice struggles against him, and he throws her to the ground and lies on top of her. She manages to get a hand free and scratches his face hard enough to draw blood. While Kirk is distracted by the scratch, Janice gets up and runs to the door, which opens. Fisher is passing by in the corridor. Kirk grabs Janice at the door and throws her across the room, while she shrieks "Call Mr. Spock!" to Fisher. Fisher goes to the intercom and starts to call for help, but Kirk runs out of the room and clubs him unconscious.

The scene changes to Kirk's quarters, and it's the Kirk in the green wrap shirt. I guess we can start calling this one Good Kirk. :-) Kirk responds to charges that he took brandy from Sickbay and tried to rape Rand by saying that he's been resting quietly in his quarters all this time (as indeed this Kirk has). Kirk and Spock go to Sickbay to find out what's going on. They find a very distressed Rand there, sitting in a chair. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy all stand over her while she courageously tells the truth about what happened in her cabin. When she gets to the part about scratching Kirk's face, Kirk displays his unscratched face and says it wasn't him. Fisher chimes in at this point and says that it WAS him. Spock says, "There's only one logical answer; we have an imposter aboard."

Close, Spock. :-)

They go to the transporter room to consult with Scotty, and at this point, everybody's clear that Kirk's been duplicated by the transporter. Spock asks what Kirk wants done about this, and Kirk suggests search parties. He's tentative, though, and he hesitates (not Shatner's normal weird-line-readings hesitations). It takes him a long time to say that the search parties should have phasers set to stun, since they can't take a chance of killing the double.

Then Kirk and Spock have this exchange, which I'm reproducing word-for-word because it's so important.

KIRK: Yes, I'll make an announcement to the entire crew, tell them what happened. It's a good crew. They deserve to know.

SPOCK: Captain, no disrespect intended, but you must surely realize you can't announce the full truth to the crew. You're the captain of this ship. You haven't the right to be vulnerable in the eyes of the crew. You can't afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect. If you do, they lose faith, and you lose command.

KIRK: Yes, I do know that, Mister Spock. What I don't know is why I forgot that just now. Mister Spock, if you see me slipping again, your orders ... your orders are to tell me.

Again, Kirk is tentative and hesitant; it seems hard for him to think about this or to give Spock an order. If gold-shirted Kirk is an animal, green-shirted Kirk seems as if he doesn't have quite enough animal to keep him alive.

Good Kirk makes a captain's log, which says, "Something has happened to me. Somehow, in being duplicated, I have lost my strength of will. Decisions are becoming more and more difficult."

Good Kirk makes an announcement about an "imposter" aboard ship, which can be identified by the scratches on his face. He knows there's something else but can't think of it, and Spock reminds him to tell the search parties to set their phasers to stun.

In Kirk's quarters, Evil Kirk is there, and he hears the announcement. He covers the scratches on his face with make-up. (Kirk always wears make-up? He filched it from Janice to cover the scratches? We don't know.) He opens the door and sees Wilson walking by, part of the search party. He greets Wilson by name and asks for his phaser, and Wilson gives it to him. Evil Kirk then knocks Wilson out.

Good Kirk and Spock are in the briefing room, using the intercom to talk to Sulu, who's leading the landing party. It's already twenty degrees below zero on the planet's surface, and Sulu's reporting that things are not going well for the landing party. Spock reports that they transported heaters to the planet, but they duplicated and didn't work.

Then they're contacted by a crewman who reports that Wilson was attacked by "the imposter," who called him by name. Good Kirk and Spock realize that the evil Kirk isn't just a dumb animal, that he has all of Kirk's knowledge of the ship and her crew. Spock suggests that they use Good Kirk's knowledge of himself to find the duplicate and asks Kirk where on the ship he would go if he had to hide. Kirk says that he'd try to lose himself in Engineering, so Kirk and Spock go to Engineering.

Once there, they split up and search for the duplicate. Good Kirk finds him, and the duplicate threatens Good Kirk with his phaser. Good Kirk says, "You can't hurt me. You can't kill me. You can't. Don't you understand? I'm part of you. You need me. I need you." Evil Kirk attempts to shoot Good Kirk, but Spock neck-pinches him, and the shot goes wide ... further damaging the transporter, as if they needed any more problems with it.

In Sickbay, Good Kirk, Spock, and McCoy gather around the diagnostic bed on which is the unconscious Evil Kirk. They decide to strap Evil Kirk to the bed, so he can't get away. Then they have this exchange, which is important enough to reproduce word-for-word:

GOOD KIRK: What's the matter with me?

SPOCK: Judging from my observations, Captain, you're rapidly losing the power of decision.

MCCOY: You have a point, Spock?

SPOCK: Yes, always, Doctor. We have here an unusual opportunity to appraise the human mind, or to examine, in Earth terms, the roles of good and evil in a man. His negative side, which you call hostility, lust, violence, and his positive side, which Earth people express as compassion, love, tenderness.

MCCOY: It's the captain's guts you're analyzing. Are you aware of that, Spock?

SPOCK: Yes, and what is it that makes one man an exceptional leader? We see indications that it's his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, if you will, properly controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength. Your negative side removed from you, the power of command begins to elude you.

GOOD KIRK: What is your point, Mister Spock?

SPOCK: If your power of command continues to weaken, you'll soon be unable to function as captain. You must be prepared for that.

Sulu reports in and reminds the captain that things are getting steadily colder on the planet's surface, and the transporter situation is critical. Good Kirk doesn't know what to say to him, and Spock replies to Sulu, telling him that they're working on the transporter, and the landing party should use the "survival procedures" that Spock taught them in his training program.

In Sickbay, Evil Kirk is screaming, and McCoy says that Evil Kirk's body is weakening, that the duplication seems to have harmed him. Good Kirk holds Evil Kirk's hand and speaks gently to him, telling him not to be afraid. Then another important exchange takes place:

GOOD KIRK: I have to take him back inside myself. I can't survive without him. I don't want him back. He's like an animal, a thoughtless, brutal animal, and yet it's me. Me.

MCCOY: Jim, you're no different than anyone else. We all have our darker side. We need it! It's half of what we are. It's not really ugly, it's human.


MCCOY: Yes, human. A lot of what HE is makes you the man you are. God forbid I should have to agree with Spock, but he was right. Without the negative side, you wouldn't be the captain. You couldn't be, and you know it. Your strength of command lies mostly in him.

GOOD KIRK: What do I have?

MCCOY: You have the goodness.

GOOD KIRK: Not enough. I have a ship to command.

MCCOY: The intelligence, the logic. It appears your half has most of that, and perhaps that's where man's essential courage comes from. For you see, he was afraid and you weren't.

Spock calls from the transporter room and says they might have fixed the problem. Good Kirk and McCoy go to the transporter room, and Spock and Scotty put both unicorn dogs on one platform, beam them down, then beam them back up again. The good news is that there's only one unicorn dog on the transporter platform when he's beamed back up. The bad news is that the dog is dead. Spock thinks the dog died of shock and fear.

In Sickbay, McCoy hands the unicorn dog off to another guy and tells him to do an autopsy. McCoy says that the chances are good that the dog died of shock, but they don't know for sure, and they won't know for sure until the autopsy is complete. Spock says they can't wait for the autopsy because the landing party is freezing on the planet's surface. He says that the dog didn't understand what was happening, so the shock killed it, but Kirk WILL understand what's happening, so it won't be a shock to him.

McCoy says that killing Kirk won't help the men, and they won't know for sure if the transporter is safe for Kirk to use for hours yet, by which time the landing party will be dead. When Spock is talking, Good Kirk agrees with him. When McCoy's talking, Good Kirk agrees with him. When they both finish, there's this exchange:

GOOD KIRK: Help me. Somebody make the decision.

SPOCK: Are you relinquishing your command, Captain?

GOOD KIRK: No. No, I'm not.

MCCOY: Well then, we can't help you, Jim. The decision is yours.

Sulu calls from the planet again. Several of the landing party are unconscious, and Sulu's so hypothermic that he has trouble finishing a sentence. It's clear that time is running out for the landing party.

Evil Kirk asks Good Kirk what he's going to do, and Good Kirk says he's going to put both of them through the transporter. Evil Kirk pretends to be a lot sicker than he is, catches Good Kirk off-guard, and knocks him out.

On the bridge, a green-shirted Kirk with scratches on his face tells the navigator to prepare to leave orbit. The navigator is shocked that they're going to run off and leave the landing party, and Kirk says that the landing party can't be saved. Spock protests, and Kirk speaks sharply to him. At this point, the turbolift doors open, revealing McCoy and a green-shirted Kirk with scratches on his face. Wait, so they're wearing identical shirts and identical scratches now. The Kirk in the captain's chair says, "Grab him; he's the imposter," and McCoy shouts, "No!"

The Kirk in the chair starts telling everyone they know who he is. The navigator asks what they should do, and Spock says, "We'll let the captain handle this." The Kirk in the chair freaks out and starts shrieking that he's the captain and attacking the crew. He makes it pretty clear which one he is. :-) He pulls a phaser and points it at Good Kirk, who slowly walks towards him, lurching as if he can barely stand upright, and they have this exchange:

EVIL KIRK: I'll kill you!

GOOD KIRK: Can half a man live?

EVIL KIRK: Take another step, you'll die.

GOOD KIRK: Then we'll both die.

EVIL KIRK: Please, I don't want to. Don't make me.

Good Kirk reaches out and covers the end of the phaser with his hand, then takes it away from Evil Kirk.

EVIL KIRK: Don't make me. I don't want to go back. Please! I want to live!

GOOD KIRK: You will. Both of us.

EVIL KIRK: I want to live!

Good Kirk reaches for Evil Kirk and hugs him, clutching his head to his chest and cradling his face against him like a child.

In the transporter room, Evil Kirk is unconscious. Good Kirk holds him clutched to himself as both of them stand on a single transporter pad. Spock beams them down to the planet, pauses for a moment, then beams Kirk back up. A single Kirk is standing on the platform, alive. He steps down from the platform, and in his commanding, decisive, Kirkian voice says, "Get those men aboard fast."

The poor landing party is FINALLY beamed back aboard. They're unconscious, and McCoy says they have hypothermia and frostbite, but they'll live. As the landing party is wheeled out of the transporter room, McCoy turns to Kirk and asks him how he feels. In a line that tears my heart out, Kirk replies, "How? I've seen a part of myself no man should ever see."

Back on the bridge, we have this exchange:

SPOCK: All sections report ready, sir.

KIRK: Good. Thank you, Mister Spock, from both of us.

SPOCK: Shall I pass that on to the crew, sir?

KIRK: The impostor's back where he belongs. Let's forget him.

RAND: Captain? The impostor told me what happened, who he really was, and I'd just like to say that ... well, sir, what I'd like is...

KIRK: Thank you, Yeoman.

SPOCK: The, er, impostor had some interesting qualities, wouldn't you say, Yeoman?

KIRK: This is the captain speaking. Navigator, set in course correction. Helmsman, steady as she goes.

And that's the end of the episode.

Character Notes

This is the first episode (in production order) in which Kirk calls McCoy "Bones."

It's also the first episode (in production order) in which McCoy says, "He's dead, Jim." It will certainly not be the last. :-)

Spock makes a captain's log entry in which he calls himself "second officer Spock." This appears to be a confusion between second in COMMAND and second OFFICER. The second in COMMAND is the FIRST officer. They'll get it right from here on out.

Spock is more emotional in this episode than he'll be later on, but in contrast to the sassy, snarky attitude he had in "Mudd's Women," in this episode, he seems more annoyed or irritated. Leonard Nimoy is still feeling his way into the character, and while this Spock seems more like the one he will become than the one in the previous episode, he's still not all the way there yet.

While Spock and McCoy are discussing whether Kirk can chance the transporter, given that it did put the two halves of the unicorn dog back together, but the dog died, Spock says, "Being split in two halves is no theory with me, Doctor. I have a human half, you see, as well as an alien half, submerged, constantly at war with each other. Personal experience, Doctor. I survive it because my intelligence wins over both, makes them live together." (to Kirk) "Your intelligence would enable you to survive as well."

The entire episode is about the tension between the "good" and "evil" sides of Kirk, so I've mostly addressed those aspects in the plot summary. But I think it's a fascinating episode, for suggesting that Kirk needs his "evil" side, that much of his strength as a commander comes from it ... properly guided and controlled by the good side, of course. Put this episode with "The Corbomite Maneuver," and we have an awful lot of information about who Kirk is already.

World-Building Notes

They hadn't yet built the shuttlecraft or the shuttle bay hangar — those were created for "The Galileo Seven" — so they couldn't send the shuttle for Sulu's landing party because that aspect of the ship hadn't been created yet. One does wonder why they didn't send down more blankets, though.

In the beginning of the episode, when Fisher cuts his hand on the planet, Kirk tells him, "Get back to the ship. Report to the Sickbay." In most of the series, they just call it "Sickbay," without the definite article, but this is an early episode, and they're still figuring things out.

During the questioning in Sickbay, Kirk tells Janice that he was in "my room" at the time of the attempted rape. During most of the series, they'll call it the captain's "quarters" or his "cabin," not his "room."


Chapter 5: "The Man Trap" by WeirdLittleStories
Author's Notes:


Reminder of which episode goes with this title: This is the one about the salt vampire, who spends much of the episode disguised as McCoy's ex-girlfriend.  

This story is a missing scene; it takes place in McCoy's quarters shortly after the creature is killed, but before the very last scene of the episode, which ends with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy on the bridge.


 Episode Epilogues 5:  "The Man Trap"

The three men stared down at the creature lying on the floor of McCoy's quarters.  The creature was thickly covered with light grey fur, had three octopus-like suckers on each of its three fingers, and had a perfectly round sucker-like mouth, with inward-pointing teeth.  The greenish-grey face was wrinkled and rubbery, and it looked like nothing that Kirk, Spock, or McCoy had ever seen before.  

McCoy stared in horror at the creature's corpse.  "And to think I let that thing run its fingers over my face and call me 'Darling.'"

Kirk shook his head.  "If it had its fingers on your face, it's a wonder you're alive."

McCoy collapsed into a chair.  "Nancy told me that I made her feel safe."  He grimaced.  "I guess she kept me alive so I could protect her from everyone else, and like a fool, I fell for it."

Kirk put a hand on McCoy's shoulder.  "That's not the only reason why.  We realize now that you weren't at the meeting earlier, because the creature attended it while masquerading as you.  During the briefing, Bob Crater told us that the creature needs love as much as it needs salt."

"Love!"  McCoy looked like he'd swallowed something unpleasant.  "There's no way I could love THAT."

Kirk smiled.  "Yeah, a murderer isn't your usual taste in girlfriends."

McCoy blinked.  "It's not just that, it's ... LOOK at it.  It's an alien."

Spock stiffened. "I, too, am an alien.  Does that make me unworthy of love?"

McCoy smirked.  "I'll deny I said this, later, but you're not a very alien alien, Spock.  You look a lot like us, you act a lot like us."

Spock raised a brow.  "Does that mean, then, that only aliens who appear very nearly human are worthy of love?"

McCoy looked down.  "I, I don't know."  He grimaced.  "She had suckers on her fingers, for god's sake!"

Kirk smiled at McCoy and spoke gently.  "Bones, you don't have to love anybody you don't want to.  Plus the creature deceived you, by pretending to be something she's not, and she murdered several people.  It's perfectly reasonable for you not to love this creature."  

The captain paused and looked troubled, and his voice hardened.  "But, if the reason you can't imagine warming up to her is because she had suckers on her fingers, you need to think about that.  Our mission is to explore new worlds and to make contact with new lifeforms.  If anybody who's too different from the human model disgusts you, that's a reaction you need to look at."

McCoy pointed to the body on the floor.  "Could you hug THAT?  Could you let it run its rubbery fingers over your face, feel its disgusting suckers on your skin?"

Kirk shook his head.  "I wouldn't let that particular creature put its fingers on my face because it's a predator, and I don't want to be its lunch."  He smiled.  "But if it were a peaceful creature, and it communicated with its fingers — if it put them on my face for something like Spock's mind meld and not to try to kill me — then of course I could let it put its fingers on my face."

McCoy looked sourly at Spock.  "And I suppose you agree with him; you'll probably tell me my disgust is illogical."

Spock shook his head.  "On the contrary, I believe your disgust is a response programmed into humans by evolution.  Fear of the unknown or of anything that is different or 'other' provided an advantage to survival in humanity's past.  Those who avoided potentially poisonous snakes or potentially hostile tribes survived longer than those who embraced unknown creatures.  Over time, fear of strange or unknown creatures — even strange or unknown varieties of people — became a basic part of human nature."

Kirk said, "That's true, but it's a part we've been working on overcoming for hundreds of years.  At one time, humans with a different appearance or accent or skin color were unknown or strange, and that gave rise to centuries of violence, oppression, and exploitation.  It was overcoming that reaction, seeing ALL humans as 'us' and not as 'them,' that enabled us to work together to achieve greatness and to reach the stars."

McCoy looked consideringly at Kirk.  "Everybody's 'us' to you, aren't they?  Any sentient creature is a potential friend in your book."

Kirk smiled.  "Bones, any sentient creature IS a potential friend.  That's why we're out here!  That's why we're exploring and making contact with new civilizations."  

McCoy crossed his arms over his chest.  "That's why YOU'RE out here.  I'm out here to patch you up when your new friends turn out not to be so friendly."

Kirk shook his head.  "I've found that most sentient beings react to you the way that you react to them.  Treat people as if they're interesting, intelligent, and trustworthy, and the chances are they'll BE interesting, intelligent and trustworthy."  He chuckled.  "Of course, I have a phaser on my belt in case they're not."  He looked soberly at McCoy.  "I'm not crazy or unaware of danger, you know, but the mere possibility of danger doesn't control me."

McCoy sighed.  "That's because you act like you're completely missing the ability to feel fear; I want to examine your amygdala someday."  He turned and looked at Spock.  "You're more cautious than he is; what's your take on the matter?"

Spock titled his head to one side.  "For Vulcans, the mind is all; the body is very nearly irrelevant.  If a new lifeform has a compatible mind, the body in which that mind is housed can make no difference."  He paused.  "I do think it wise, however, to ascertain a creature's nature and intentions before relaxing one's guard around it."

McCoy frowned and gestured at the creature on the floor of his quarters.  "Why does this bother me so much, when it doesn't bother either of you?  I didn't think I was xenophobic."

Kirk looked at the body on the floor, then back at the doctor.  "If that creature'd had a medical emergency, and you'd needed to work on it, I bet you wouldn't have had any problem touching it."

McCoy brightened.  "You're right, I wouldn't.  But that's in a professional context."

Kirk held out a hand.  "Bones, you're not just a doctor, you're a Starfleet officer.  Encountering new lifeforms IS part of your professional context."

McCoy considered this.  "I guess I've always thought my profession was physician, and Starfleet was just the location where I was practicing it.  I could have practiced in a hospital or a private practice or a community health center; it's just that where I'm practicing right now is Starfleet."

Kirk and Spock exchanged a look, and Spock spoke for them both.  "That explains a great deal that has been mystifying about your behavior, Doctor."

McCoy chuckled.  "Doesn't it, though!"  He looked down at the braid on his sleeve, the one solid line and one broken line of a lieutenant commander.  "But damned if these gold bands don't say I'm an officer."  He looked back up and nodded at his captain.  "I'll work on being a doctor AND a Starfleet officer.  But don't expect me to be too spit and polish!"

Kirk smiled.  "You'll be the same kind of officer as you are a doctor:  not exactly by the book, but all the better for that."

Spock raised an eyebrow but did not disagree, and McCoy relaxed for the first time since the creature's death.



End Notes:

1.  I'm sorry it took me so long to get this chapter up.  First I was out of town, then "Defending Vulcanity"  demanded to be written, then I was sick, then I had jury duty, then I was sick some more.  I don't expect there to be quite as long of a gap between future episodes (though I do spend at least half of my time too sick to write).

2.  I'm a licensed clinical psychologist in real life.  I've mostly practiced in university counseling centers and in private practice, with a few training stints in hospitals.  I know of other psychologists, though, who work for the US Army, and most of them don't think of themselves as army officers; they think of themselves as psychologists who just happen to be working for the army at the moment.  Since this fits very well with McCoy's behavior, I felt as if I wasn't doing him a disservice in ascribing this attitude to him.

3.  The amygdala  is a part of the brain that's essential for the feeling of fear; this is why McCoy jokes that he wants to examine that part of our fearless captain.

4.  As most Star Trek fans know, this was the first Star Trek episode ever broadcast.  Why did NBC choose to start with this one?  Well, they couldn't start with "The Corbomite Maneuver," because making the special effects for Balok's ship took a LONG time in 1966.  The special effects makers were being asked to do things they didn't usually have to do for TV, and it took them awhile to figure out how to do some things, plus it was all just much, much slower before the age of computers.  "The Corbomite Maneuver" wouldn't be broadcast until the tenth episode, because it took that long to get the special effects ready.

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" didn't have the complete crew, plus the ship and the uniforms were somewhat different than the regular ones, so in some superficial respects it wouldn't give a good picture of what Star Trek would be like.  "The Enemy Within" was a good episode, but having the captain be out of character for 90% of the episode also wouldn't be a great introduction to the series, back when no one had any idea who these characters were.  "The Naked Time" (up next) is a wonderful episode, but it has most of the crew behaving out of character, which also isn't the best possible introduction.

That leaves "Mudd's Women" or "The Man Trap" as possible choices, and they went with "The Man Trap."  Gotta say that I agree with them there. :-)

I think "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is actually a much better episode and would have made a better introduction to the series, but it IS true that the crew, the uniforms, and the appearance of the ship are all uncharacteristic in that episode.

5.  Some esoteric and futuristic salt shakers were purchased for this episode, then when the time came to use them, they realized that the salt shakers wouldn't work in the plot unless the audience could recognize them as salt shakers.  So they used a perfectly ordinary salt shaker in this episode, but the Star Trek production didn't have any extra money, and they had to use those futuristic salt shakers for something.  They were pressed into service as McCoy's portable scanners, so when he runs that little cylindrical doohicky over people and looks at the end of it to see how they are, he's using a salt shaker.  It takes real acting ability to look at the end of a salt shaker — seriously and with great concern — and report that it shows medical information. :-)

6.  This episode was written by George Clayton Johnson — lightly edited by John D. F. Black and heavily edited by Gene Roddenberry — and directed by Marc Daniels.  This was the first episode directed by Daniels, but it certainly wouldn't be the last; he went on to direct fourteen TOS episodes, tied with Joseph Pevney for directing the most TOS episodes.  He also wrote the Star Trek Animated Series episode "One of Our Planets Is Missing."  And did you know that his face was used for that of Jackson Roykirk in the episode "The Changeling"?  Daniels won a Hugo award (a major science fiction award) for directing "The Menagerie."

In These Are The Voyages, Marc Cushman reports that it was Marc Daniels who thought of giving Spock green blood.  Remember, in this episode, the salt vampire tries to kill Spock and can't, and Spock says this is because, ""Fortunately, my ancestors spawned in another ocean than yours did. My blood cells are quite different."  Well, Marc Daniels wanted to know HOW they're different, and he thought green blood would be interestingly different, plus it would make a certain amount of sense, given the yellowish skin they were giving Spock.  Daniels said that Gene Roddenberry was not enthusiastic about giving Spock green blood but eventually came around. :-)

So why have they been giving Spock pink blusher on his cheeks up till now?  Because Marc Daniels didn't invent Spock's green blood until they were filming this episode. :-)

7.  When we hear Nancy singing briefly in the early part of this episode, that's actually Nichelle Nichols' voice.

8.  The things that Uhura suggests that Spock say to her would be considered sexual harassment if someone said them to a subordinate today.  Some parts of TOS are as fresh today as the day the series was made, but some things remind us that this show was made in 1966, and things were a lot different then.  

Or, as Brittany Diamond puts it, "Yay '60's!" :-)

9.  Chrissie has transcripts of all of the episodes — which she laboriously typed in herself — and you can find the transcript for this episode here.  She misses a line once in a very great while when two characters are speaking at once or when a character is speaking in a very soft voice, but this happens very rarely, and her transcripts are generally both extremely accurate and a wonderful resource for the community.

10.  I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not.  I will try to update regularly, and I will try to respond to any comments I receive.  Unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health.

11.  I'm going to borrow Ster J's wonderful disclaimer, because it fits me so well:  I don't own Star Trek; IT owns ME. :-)

12.  Thanks for reading!

13.  I'm no longer writing summaries of the episodes, since it seemed silly to duplicate the efforts of Memory Alpha.  If you want or need a full summary of the plot of this episode, you can find one at the page for this episode  on Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.

I'm still doing my character and world-building notes, though; see below:
Character Moments

Kirk is teasing and playful in the early parts of this episode, showing both the softer side of our captain and his close relationship with McCoy.  He sobers up fast, though, as soon as he hears Nancy scream.

Kirk calls McCoy both "Bones" and "Doctor" in this episode; later on, he'll use "Doctor" rarely.

Kirk snaps at McCoy when McCoy tries to talk about how Nancy looked completely different the two times he saw her, saying that he's lost a man, and that's the important thing.  We'll hear quite a bit during the course of the series about how much it weighs on Kirk when he loses a member of his crew.

Kirk tries to apologize to McCoy later, showing us that although he can be snappish and autocratic when stressed, he's not too big to apologize.  This Jim Kirk is already shaping up to be quite a guy ... and I say that as someone whose favorite character has always been Spock.  James T. Kirk should never be underestimated.

During this episode, both Kirk and Spock assume that the creature must be killed, yet it's not dangerous as long as it has a supply of salt and as long as any future visitors to the planet were warned that the creature was present.  It's still early in the first season, and the characters are still being developed.  I think if this episode had been written later on, at least Spock — and possibly both Spock AND Kirk — would want to capture the creature so that it could be transported back to the planet, rather than killing it on sight.  

During Spock's and Uhura's interaction on the bridge, they have this exchange:

SPOCK: Miss Uhura, your last subspace log contained an error in the frequencies column.
UHURA: Mr. Spock, sometimes I think if I hear that word "frequency" once more, I'll cry.
UHURA: I was just trying to start a conversation.
SPOCK (in a puzzled tone of voice): Well, since it is illogical for a communications officer to resent the word frequency, I have no answer.
UHURA: No, you have an answer. I'm an illogical woman who's beginning to feel too much a part of that communications console. Why don't you tell me I'm an attractive young lady, or ask me if I've ever been in love? Tell me how your planet Vulcan looks on a lazy evening when the moon is full.
SPOCK: Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura.
UHURA: I'm not surprised, Mr. Spock.
TRANSPORTER TECH OVER INTERCOM: Transporter room to Bridge. Landing party returning. They report one death.
SPOCK: Bridge acknowledging.
UHURA: I don't believe it.
SPOCK: Explain.
UHURA (vehemently): You explain! That means that somebody is dead and you just sit there. It could be Captain Kirk. He's the closest thing you have to a friend.
SPOCK (in an annoyed tone of voice): Lieutenant, my demonstration of concern will not change what happened. The transporter room is very well manned, and they will call if they need my assistance.

Spock is more expressive in this episode than he will be later, but he's considerably toned down from how he was in "Mudd's Women."

When the creature attacks Spock, it doesn't kill him, and Kirk wants to know why.  Spock replies, "Fortunately, my ancestors spawned in another ocean than yours did. My blood cells are quite different."

They haven't yet established that Vulcans are a lot stronger than humans, and towards the end of this episode, Spock and McCoy struggle for the phaser that McCoy is holding.  Spock can't get it away from McCoy soon enough, so he changes tactics.  Later on, they'd know that Spock could wrest the phaser from McCoy's grasp with almost no effort, but it looks as if they haven't decided on that aspect of Vulcan physiology yet.

When Spock is clouted on the head by the creature in this episode, we see him lying on one of those monitored beds in sickbay, with a trickle of green blood coming from the red wound in his forehead.  The make-up department knew how to make wounds, since they'd made a zillion of 'em in their past work, but they didn't stop to think that the edges of the wound of a person with green blood wouldn't be RED:

 photo GreenBloodTricklingFromAREDWound_zpsvpqa3pq7.jpg

Similarly, they're still putting pink blusher on Spock's cheeks; they haven't yet figured out that a man with GREEN blood wouldn't blush PINK.  In the brighter images that the remastered version gives us, there are moments when Spock looks rather shockingly painted.  Hard to imagine that Vulcans think make-up is logical. :-)  Anyway, here's a screenshot:

Spock with pink blusher photo SpockWithPinkBlusher_zpsmuyvzror.jpg

McCoy calls Kirk "sir" several times during this episode.  This is rare for McCoy, but they're still establishing the characters, given that this is only the fourth episode with McCoy in it.

McCoy is called the "Ship's Surgeon" during this episode, as he'll be called off and on during the entire series and into the movie era.  Beginning with the second season episode "The Deadly Years," they'll also sometimes call him the ship's Chief Medical Officer.

During his examination of Robert Crater, after McCoy finishes running his portable scanner over his patient, he tells Crater to open his mouth.  They have this exchange:

CRATER:  Why, I thought the machine...
McCOY:  The machine is capable of almost anything, but I'll still put my trust in a healthy set of tonsils. Now, open your mouth.

They're beginning to establish McCoy's distrust of machinery.

When "Nancy" disappears from the planet, McCoy is frantic to find her and wants to conduct a search, whereas Kirk wants to go back to the ship and use the ship's sensors to find her.  They have this exchange:

KIRK:  We're beaming aboard the ship, Doctor.
McCOY:  You can't leave her!
KIRK:  You could learn something from Mr. Spock, Doctor.  Stop thinking with your glands.  We've equipment aboard the Enterprise that could pinpoint a match lit anywhere on this planet, or the heat of a body.

Towards the end of the episode, it takes quite a long while for McCoy to accept that the person who looks like Nancy isn't Nancy at all but is a creature who can make him THINK that it's Nancy.  McCoy is probably still groggy from taking that sedative, so that may be why it takes him so long to catch on.  I think they're making McCoy stupider than he actually is, though, to make sure that the AUDIENCE has time to catch on.  It all seems painfully obvious to us in 2015, but in 1966, most people didn't have the experience with science fiction that audiences have today, and the idea that a creature can either change its shape or can use illusion to make it seem as if it's changing its shape would have been a novel idea for most people.

The Salt Vampire

In the beginning of the episode, it seems clear that the creature is using illusion to make people see what they want to see, since Kirk, McCoy, and Darnell are all looking at the creature at exactly the same time, yet they see three different things.  The creature cannot have shape-changed into three different people simultaneously, so it has to be an illusion.  

Later in the episode, though, they talk about the creature as if it's actually changing its shape, rather than using illusion.  It's not clear whether the writers were just confused, whether the creature is always using illusion, but Crater and Kirk's crew didn't realize that, or whether the creature is capable of both illusion AND shape-changing.  

Being capable of both would be somewhat redundant, plus there are moments when the creature LOOKS human but is sucking out salt through its fingers, so it seems likely that the creature is using illusion every time.  Since the captain's log entry says that they were unaware until later that each of the three men was seeing a different Nancy Crater, I think it's likely that Kirk's crew didn't realize that the creature was using illusion rather than shape-changing, and Crater either didn't realize it, himself, or he was intentionally misstating the creature's capabilities to help confuse the issue.


This episode establishes that Uhura's native tongue is Swahili; we also get a look at what her ideal man might be like.

She's now wearing the red that we'll see her in for the rest of the series:

Uhura In Red photo UhuraInRed_zps0vvfp9lo.jpg


This episode shows Sulu working in the Botany department.  The Star Trek Writer's Guide  has this to say about Sulu's interest in botany (words in italics quoted from that guide):

Although mixed Oriental, Sulu is contemporary American in speech and manner.  His exact ancestry will probably never be indicated.  However, he does have something of a Japanese characterization in one thing -- his hobby of space-botany.  He is an avid collector, never goes down onto an alien world without his case, which includes microscope, testing devices, sample containers, etc.  His curiosity in this field is insatiable, and he is often able to make shrewd analyses of alien planets from the botanical samples he has collected and inspected.  He also maintains a "garden" aboard the Enterprise, an exotic collection of specimens from around space.  He gives his prize specimens names, treats them with the solicitous care that people in our century lavish on poodle dogs.  Strangely, one or two of of these specimens may seem to respond to this, as if they are capable of some kind of plant intelligence.  This annoys Dr. McCoy, who lacks feeling for things vegetable and the two men are often in near-violent dispute.  It's not even impossible that one of the larger plants, to Yeoman Janice Rand's horror, is capable of some movement and seems to feel an affection for her.

It's kind of a shame that they never really followed up on this; we never see Sulu use that botany case on landing parties.  It would have been cool to have a quick shot of his gathering specimens in all the episodes where he's in the landing party.  But then, they were making these episodes at break-neck speed, and they didn't really have time for many niceties.

World-Building Notes

When Spock calls sickbay to tell them what the library computer says about the Borgia plant, he calls it the "dispensary;"  McCoy also calls it "the dispensary" when he calls Kirk on the bridge.  That's funny, it was called "sickbay" in the previous episode ("The Enemy Within,") and it'll be "sickbay" again in the next episode ("The Naked Time.")  

The message Uhura gets is from "Starship base on Caran IV."  Looks like they haven't started calling them simply "Starbase SomeNumber" yet, but they're moving in that direction.  They've finally stopped calling them "Earth" bases, at least!

When Rand takes Sulu his lunch in the garden, we see a sign reading, "Life Sciences Section -- Botany Department."  They're starting to establish the size and breadth of the Enterprise's facilities.

In these early episodes, the crew carry their phasers and communicators on what appear to be brown suede sash belts around their waists.  In later episodes, their equipment will stick directly onto their trousers.  Evidently they rediscover Velcro partway through 2266. :-)

When Kirk realizes that the creature is on the ship, he tells Sulu to call "General Quarters, Security Condition Three."  Later on in the series, they call Red Alert, Yellow Alert, Intruder Alert, and Battle Stations, but the term "General Quarters" is almost never used.  At this stage in the development of Star Trek, they're still figuring out just how much naval terminology they want to use and how to adapt it for the 23rd century, so the terminology changes a lot before they settle on a standard.

This is the only episode in which we see McCoy's quarters, so take a good look. :-)



Chapter 6: The Naked Time by WeirdLittleStories

Episode Epilogue for "The Naked Time"

by Weird Little Stories


As soon as the ship was out of danger, Kirk punched the intercom button on his chair and made an announcement. All over the ship, people stopped what they were doing to listen.

All hands, this is the captain. Large numbers of us were affected by the disease we picked up on Psi 2000, including the first officer and myself. Under the influence of that infection, people said and did things that they would never have said or done if they'd been in their right minds. I want all of you – both those who were affected by the disease and those who were not – to realize that the behavior of infected people was not under their control. Kirk paused for a moment to let this sink in, then resumed.

I don't intend to take any action against those who disobeyed orders or regulations while infected, and I hope that all of you will similarly forgive any transgressions that infected people may have committed against you. As far as I'm concerned, this disease was an injury received in the line of duty, and I intend to give every infected crew member the honor and respect that military organizations have given to wounded soldiers from time immemorial. So if you said or did anything that embarrassed or shamed you today, know that your captain regards it as an honorable wound that you received in your service aboard this vessel.

If you had an interaction while infected that you think may have made it difficult to work with someone, I encourage you to talk it out with that person, secure in the knowledge that hundreds of your fellow crew members will be asking for forgiveness tonight. I trust that those of you asked for forgiveness will not withhold it.

We've encountered some strange things in our mission of exploration, and I'm sure we'll encounter more in the days and weeks to come. But I have faith in all of us, faith that we can meet those challenges, roll with the punches, and come back for more. I have faith that we can keep our minds and our hearts open, ready to meet the unknown and ready to take the chance to understand and deal with whatever we encounter. I don't say this often enough, but I'll say it today: thank you for your service aboard this ship. He paused again, to let his message sink in, then concluded. Captain out.

Kirk pressed the button to turn the intercom off, then swiveled his chair to look around the bridge. He started with Spock, who gave him an approving nod, then looked at Uhura, who gave him a bright smile. The expression of relief on the faces of Sulu and Riley would have made him laugh aloud if he hadn't been sure that they'd already been laughed at more than they could stand today, and he contented himself with an avuncular smile at each of them. Scotty was shaking his head, but not as if he disagreed, more in a "That's Kirk for you" kind of way, and Kirk was relieved to see that peace had been restored to his bridge and to his ship.


All over the ship, people were asking for – and receiving – forgiveness for the actions they'd taken under the influence of the disease. The crewman who'd scrawled slogans in red paint all over the bulkheads helped Maintenance to scrub those words off of the bulkheads. The Maintenance personnel teased him good-naturedly, and he was relieved that they were joking, rather than angry. The tone set by the captain, plus his own ready help with the paint remover, made the task seem like the light-hearted aftermath of a good party, rather than the shameful penance that he'd been prepared to undergo.


Sulu apologized prettily to everyone he'd menaced with his sword, and his finesse with both the sword and the apologies made several crewmen ask him for fencing lessons. He was happy to discover that some combination of his appearance while shirtless and the dash with which he'd conducted himself caused more than one person to ask him for a date, and he had his choice of several men and women. Sulu's good humor had always made him popular among his fellow officers, but the events of Psi 2000, which he'd thought would embarrass him for life, actually resulted in his becoming even more popular than he'd been before.


Nurse Chapel went to Spock's cabin and was admitted. Once inside, she twisted her fingers awkwardly while looking everywhere but at the man she'd come to see. He surprised her by coming around from behind the desk to where she was standing, then putting a hand over hers to stop her from fidgeting. "Please, Miss Chapel. Do not feel shame or embarrassment on my account. The captain is correct that all of those affected by the contagion said and did things that we would not have done in its absence. I hold nothing you said today against you."

Christine Chapel looked up at him and smiled tremulously. "I know the captain's right, but I did want to apologize. Of all the people on the ship to dump my emotions all over, to dump them all over you ..." She swallowed. "I wish I'd done that to anyone but you."

Spock clasped his hands behind his back. "Vulcans have a word – kaiidith – it means, 'What is, IS.' You cannot change the events of today, nor can I, and so we shall just have to live with them."

Christine nodded. "The thing is, I'm engaged to be married, to Roger Korby. He's been missing for quite some time, so I haven't seen him in awhile, but I do still consider myself to be engaged. I ... I wanted you to know that I'm committed to him, and you needn't fear that I'll be throwing myself at you. I don't even know why I did that today. I mean, I do appreciate you, tremendously, but I'm engaged."

Spock inclined his head. "And I, also."

Christine smiled. "Well, then. I said some foolish things while afflicted by a strange illness, but it's behind us now, right?"

"It is," Spock said.

Christine turned to go, then looked back over her shoulder at him. "Thank you for being so gentle and understanding about this. I was worried that you'd hate me."

"Vulcans neither love nor hate, Miss Chapel."

She laughed. "Since you've been so nice to me, I'll pretend I believe that." Christine laughed again as she saw his eyebrow begin to rise and left the room, feeling much better than she had when she'd arrived.


Next door, Riley presented himself at the captain's cabin, to offer his resignation if it were desired. Kirk fixed the navigator with a stare and said, in a hard tone of voice, "Did you think I didn't mean what I said?"

Riley swallowed nervously. "It's not that I think you're a liar, Captain. But forgiving someone for writing slogans on the bulkheads is a little different from forgiving someone for almost burning up the ship and everyone aboard her." He swallowed again and looked at the floor. "Plus, I announced that I was the captain." Riley blushed and looked miserable.

Kirk chuckled. "Do you think I'd damn a man for his ambition? It's the junior officers on the Command track who DON'T want to be captain someday that I'm wary of. The ambitious ones give me their best, and I know I can count on them." Kirk paused and regarded Riley, who still looked miserable, so Kirk added, "Besides, do you think a man gets to be the youngest captain in the history of Starfleet without knowing a thing or two about ambition, himself?"

Riley looked up, hope written all over his face. "You didn't just mean all the others, then; you really meant you'd forgiven me, too?"

Kirk cocked his head to one side. "Just as long as we're clear about who's captain at the moment," he said pleasantly.

Riley snapped to attention. "Yes, sir! Absolutely, sir!"

Kirk smiled. "At ease, Riley, at ease." He looked his crewman over and added, "And I think if Dr. McCoy were here, he'd order you to have some dinner and go to bed. You've had a big day, and you look wrung out."

Kirk's concern completed the job his reassurance had begun, and Riley gave him a blinding smile, said, "Yes, SIR," and left the room.

Once Riley had left, Kirk relaxed slightly. It had been a big day for him, too, but it wasn't over yet; there was still Spock to deal with. He thought they were both okay, but he'd urged his crew to have awkward conversations with one another, and he couldn't shirk a duty that he himself had set. Still, he could take a few moments, maybe even have a drink, before confronting his First.

Kirk got up, poured himself a small drink, and had just sat back down to enjoy it when his annunciator chimed. He smiled wryly, almost certain he knew who it was. Who would do a duty even Kirk shrank from, after all? "Come," he said, and his guess was proven right as Spock entered his cabin.

"I was just thinking about you," Kirk said, and gestured to the chair on the other side of his desk. "Have a seat."

Spock seated himself in the chair, sitting even more stiffly upright than usual, a veritable stone carving of a Vulcan. Said statue looked gravely at his captain. "Per your order, I am here to discuss our interactions in the briefing room."

Kirk sighed. Today had been hard for everyone, but it was probably hardest of all on the person sitting before him. Everyone else was accustomed to expressing emotion, and if a lot of people were expressing embarrassment tonight, well, they were Starfleet officers, and that meant they were tough. They could all stand a little embarrassment. But the person before him seemed, paradoxically enough, both the toughest of them all and the tenderest of them all. Expressing emotion wasn't all in a day's work to Spock, and the dignity that had always seemed to Kirk to be both infinite and impenetrable had proved to be neither today. Kirk would have to tread carefully here.

Kirk put on a confident, teasing grin that he didn't quite feel but thought was called for. "I'm pretty sure you forgive me for slapping you across the face, and I forgive you for knocking me across the room."

Spock nodded sharply. "Indeed. As you stated in your announcement, we were not ourselves, and the usual penalties for striking a fellow officer should not apply."

Kirk softened to a gentle smile and leaned forward in his chair. He continued in a more sympathetic tone, "And I promise I will never tell another soul that I saw you break down today, and I will never mention the things you said."

Spock relaxed slightly in his chair, now looking more like a living being and less like a stone carving. "And I, in turn, will keep your confidence."

Kirk smiled wryly and tried to lighten the atmosphere with humor. "Actually, I don't think it's a big secret that I'm having a mad love affair with my ship, though I'd appreciate your not confirming that."

Spock inclined his head, relaxing enough that the teasing glint was back in his eyes. "I believe this is common in human captains and is even considered a benefit, rather than a detriment."

Kirk smiled absently to acknowledge Spock's last statement, then looked down as he swirled his drink in his glass, wishing he could let the final issue go but knowing that he needed to address it if both their working relationship and their friendship were to remain unimpaired.

He looked up from his glass and caught Spock's eye. "There's one more thing I want to discuss. You told me that when you feel friendship for me, you're ashamed. Is that because I'm human? Do Vulcans consider me not good enough to be your friend?"

Spock blinked for a moment, and his having a visible reaction suggested that he was about as close to astonished as a Vulcan could be. "On the contrary. All but the most insular Vulcans esteem excellence wherever it occurs, and as the finest starship captain in the fleet, you would be considered an eminently worthy individual by the vast majority of Vulcans. Furthermore, you possess a number of personal qualities that are highly valued on Vulcan. It is true that you are far more emotionally expressive than would be appropriate in a Vulcan, but we are aware that other cultures have different standards, and we do not expect humans to conduct themselves as Vulcans would."

Kirk smiled. "I'm glad to hear it. But then, why...?"

Spock's gaze turned reflective. "It is not the object of my feeling of friendship that shames me; it is the feeling itself. While it is true that friendship is permitted to Vulcans, Vulcan friendship generally manifests as a sense of affinity, perhaps accompanied by a slight degree of affection. The intensity of the affection I feel for you is beyond what would be considered appropriate in a Vulcan, and it is this which shames me." He swallowed. "And yet I find myself both unwilling and unable to attenuate our friendship in any way, nor to diminish the feelings you inspire."

Kirk opened his mouth to speak, and Spock held up a hand. "Please. Allow me to finish my explanation." Kirk nodded and make a "you have the floor" gesture.

Spock continued, "I never intended for you to know of my ambivalence or of my shame, both because I feared they would be misinterpreted by a human, and because the burden of my divided heritage is mine to manage; I would foist no part of that burden upon you. I regret that you are now aware of my qualms and hope that you will be able to put them from your mind."

Kirk grimaced. "I don't know whether to feel happy and ... honored ... that I can inspire a friendship so strong that it makes a Vulcan blush, or whether to feel sad that I've intensified the already heavy burden that being half human and half Vulcan gives you."

Spock exhaled audibly. "The ambivalence you've just expressed is a reflection of my own, the legacy of my divided heritage, and that is a burden I didn't want you to bear, Jim."

Kirk smiled. "Well, this is an unfamiliar feeling for me; I'm usually pretty whole-hearted about things. We may actually be lucky this happened, since it helps me understand you that much better."

Kirk looked at the face of his First, which seemed not quite as composed and placid as usual, and tried to imagine how things looked to Spock. "I'm not planning to pull back from our friendship, just because you expressed a few doubts, if that's what you're worried about."

Under normal circumstances, Spock would have uttered some variant of "Vulcans do not worry," but the events of today had evidently left him unable to take refuge in such things, because he merely nodded and said, "Thank you, Jim." He looked more peaceful, though, so Kirk thought his reassurance had succeeded.

The two men sat in silence for a moment, assimilating this, and then Kirk said, "After today's emotional rollercoaster, I could use something quiet and orderly. Want to play chess?"

Spock inclined his head. "I must decline. I vowed that I would write to my mother before the day ended, and it is already 23:32."

Kirk smiled broadly. "Don't let me keep you, then; I know that's important."

Neither man spoke of what Spock intended to say in that letter to his mother, but both men knew, and both of them felt a sense of warmth and contentment, to be so well known, one to the other ... and known considerably better after the events of this day.



End Notes:

1. What's in the letter? During the scene in the briefing room, Spock says to Kirk, "My mother, I could never tell her I loved her. An Earth woman, living on a planet where love, emotion is in bad taste." So Spock's going to write to his mother to tell her that he loves her. She already knows that, of course, but she'll still treasure that letter forever. :-)

2. You can find Memory Alpha's page for this episode – it contains a summary of the episode, so you can refresh your memory of it, if necessary – here.
Chrissie's transcript of this episode is here.

3. Yes, I'm still writing these! :-) I'm sorry it's taken me so long between chapters. I always have way more projects clamoring for my attention than I can write, and I usually write whichever one feels most mentally accessible at the moment. And of course, chronic illness undermines my productivity rather dramatically.

4. There are SO many cool behind-the-scenes stories about this episode that someone could probably write an entire book, just of "The Naked Time" stories. I won't try your patience to that extent; at least, I hope not. :-)

5. As many TOS fans know, this episode was originally intended to be the first half of a two-part episode. They go back in time at the end of this episode, and that was intended to be the event that took them back in time at the beginning of "Tomorrow Is Yesterday." But for some reason they decided NOT to make this a two-part episode after all but still left in the "we go back in time" bit, which makes the end of this episode feel a bit odd.

6. In his autobiographies, Leonard Nimoy reports that the writer of this episode, John D. F. Black, originally had a crewman come up to Spock in the corridor and paint a mustache on his face, at which point Spock breaks down in tears in the middle of the corridor. Leonard Nimoy objected to this, saying that 1) using Spock for a cheap laugh undermined the character, and 2) Spock would make every attempt to be alone before he broke down. Black brushed him off, saying that there wasn't time for rewrites.

In his autobiography, Mr. Nimoy says, "But the Vulcan was looking over my shoulder by then; and I was stubborn about not letting his dignity be torn away just for the sake of a brief moment of humor." He reports that he went to Gene Roddenberry and shared his concerns with him, and Roddenberry said, "You're right. It really is out of character for Spock. Don't worry, I'll take care of it."

So John D. F. Black came to Mr. Nimoy and asked what he wanted Spock to do instead. Mr. Nimoy reports that he told him, "It's about emotion vs. logic, love vs. mathematics, grief vs. pi-r-squared." And based on that hint from Mr. Nimoy, Black went on to write the great scene for Spock that we saw in this episode.

There's a rumor going around that Leonard Nimoy ad libbed the entire breakdown scene in the briefing room, but according to his autobiography – and I'd think Mr. Nimoy would know – this is not correct. Leonard Nimoy DID object to the original scene and DID give the writer some suggestions about what an alternate scene should look like, so we do owe that scene to his advocating for his character. But he neither ad-libbed it nor wrote it; as he says in his second autobiography (I Am Spock, p. 55, hardcover first edition), "Based on that bit of information, John went back and wrote the marvelous scene for Spock that now appears in 'The Naked Time.'"

Once again, we see how much of a community effort Star Trek was – writer/producer Black for the original script, actor Nimoy to understand the character, creator/writer/producer Roddenberry to mediate disputes, and so on.

7. Stewart Moss, the actor who played Joe Tormolen, told Marc Cushman (author of These Are the Voyages) in an interview, "I questioned Marc Daniels [the director] about whether a Starfleet officer who probably had at least a PhD in engineering would be stupid enough to take his glove off in that situation. He said, 'Of course not. But if you don't do it, we don't have a show.'" The guest stars sometimes had to do something stupid so that the regulars would get their chance to be heroes. :-)

8. Leonard Nimoy said in his autobiography, This episode had an enormous effect on the show's popularity—and on Spock's. The week after the first episode aired, I received less than a dozen fan letters; after the second, perhaps forty or fifty. But once 'The Naked Time' aired, the fan mail started arriving in large laundry bags, each containing hundreds of letters." Because no one can resist a sobbing half-Vulcan. :-)

9. The scene of Spock's breaking down in the briefing room was filmed at the very end of the day. Leonard Nimoy had already been working for twelve hours, and there was only enough time left to film ONE take. So that footage you see of Spock's crying in the briefing room; that's the one and only time they filmed that; Mr. Nimoy nailed it on the first try.

10. Those environmental suits that look as if they were made out of shower curtains? Yeah, they really WERE made out of shower curtains. Star Trek had a perfectly adequate budget ... for a mainstream show. For a science fiction show, where costumes, sets, and props couldn't be rented or bought ready-made, it had a budget that was not nearly big enough. So the Star Trek crew was always on the lookout for items that could be repurposed as futuristic gadgets, and the money for realistic-looking space suits just wasn't there. As always, the miracle of TOS is how well they did with how little they had – whether that's how little time, how little money, or how little support from the network.

11. Bruce Hyde – the actor who played Kevin Riley – wanted it known that the director told him to sing badly, and he dutifully followed those instructions; Mr. Hyde could actually sing much better than "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" would indicate. :-)

12. There are a number of stories circulating that my sources say are NOT true. Marc Cushman says it's not true that Nichelle Nichols ad-libbed the line, "Sorry, neither" to Sulu's calling her a "fair maiden;" Gene Roddenberry wrote that line, and it was in the script.

Similarly, it's not true that Leonard Nimoy made up all the things he said during the briefing room scene. Mr. Nimoy's performance during that scene WAS brilliant, and the scene WAS his idea, but the words were written by John D. F. Black, after Leonard Nimoy suggested an idea for the scene. (You basically shouldn't believe the anecdotes on IMDB, because half of them are wrong.)

13. I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not. I will try to respond to any comments I receive; unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health. (I do read them all with great attention, even when my health doesn't permit me to reply.)

14. You know I don't own Star Trek, because if I did, things would be soooo different!

15. Thanks for reading!

16. Character notes and world-building notes below:

Character Notes


1. We learned in the "Mudd's Women" episode that Kirk is married to his ship. In the current episode, we learn more about what that marriage is like for Kirk. He seems to regard the ship as very nearly vampiric, saying, "This vessel, I give, she takes. She won't permit me my life. I've got to live hers." And yet he's also passionate about her, speaking directly to the ship and telling her "Never lose you! Never." It's clear when he says, "a few days, no braid on my shoulder" that he doesn't want to stop being the captain; he just wants a vacation from time to time. Given all that happens to the poor guy in these episodes, one really can't blame him. :-)

2. Kirk snaps at Uhura when she can't shut off Riley's song, then immediately apologizes to her. Kirk is very much in charge, but he's not too big to apologize when he's behaved badly, and small moments like that tell us a lot about who he is.

3. The loneliness of command will be a recurring theme for Kirk throughout the series, and we see it here, during his ramblings while under the influence of the disease. He talks about feeling in thrall to the ship, about wanting a "flesh woman" (as opposed to his mechanical woman, the Enterprise) to hold, and about Yeoman Rand's being forbidden to him. There's a reason why Kirk is such good friends with Spock and McCoy; he desperately needs some emotional outlet, and his rank gives him very few choices.

4.  Once again, we see that it's a hallmark of Kirk's character that he never gives up.  The engines are off, it would take more time to restart those engines than they have left, and most people would start preparing for death at that point.  But not Kirk!  Kirk remembers that it's theoretically possible to cold-start the engines and tells Spock, "We may go up into the biggest ball of fire since the last sun in these parts exploded, but we've got to take that one-in-ten-thousand chance!"  And of course, because Kirk also seems to be phenomenally lucky, that one-in-ten-thousand chance works. :-)

Spock – This is a HUGE episode for Spock; we learn so much about him:

1. The Psi 2000 illness strips away the characters' overlay and lets us see what's at the core of a person. It turns out that what's in the core of Spock is ... pain. His neglected and unexpressed human side is sobbing, and it tears my heart out to think of Spock's carrying around that kind of pain inside. (Me and ten million other fangirls.)

2. As far as we can tell, Spock never gets a shot of the antidote; he just pulls himself together after awhile. It looks as if the mere fact that the ship is in extreme danger – or maybe the mere fact that Kirk needs him desperately – is enough for him to cure himself, though if we want to, we can handwave and say, "Vulcan physiology is different, *mumble* *mumble*." Just one more data point for the "Spock is awesome" theory. :-)

3. Since McCoy gives Spock a medical check-up in this episode, we get some information about his Vulcan physiology. McCoy says, "Your pulse is 242; your blood pressure is practically non-existent." Two hundred forty-two? Wow! Normal pulse for a human is 60-100, with 60-75 preferred; very fit athletes sometimes have a resting pulse as low as 40. If we take 70 as a representative average for humans, then Spock's pulse is three and a half times as fast as a human's. No wonder he doesn't need much blood pressure; his heart is beating four times a second!

This is the only episode in which we see Spock on a biobed when nothing's wrong with him, so a close-up of the biobed monitors gives us some idea of Spock's normal physiology. Most TOS fan fiction assumes that Spock is hotter than a human because Vulcan is hotter than Earth, but a comparison of the biobed readouts for Spock and Joe Tormolen shows that Spock's temperature is actually LOWER than Tormolen's. Here's a screenshot:

Comparison of Vulcan and Human Body Temperatures photo ProofthatVulcanbodytemperatureisLOWERthanthatofhumans_zps49ed4168.jpg

Of course, people can write Vulcans with higher body temperatures in fan fiction if they want to, because you can do pretty much anything you want in fan fiction. But as for what's canon, that screenshot looks pretty definitive to me. :-)

4. When Kirk and Spock have their confrontation in the briefing room, Kirk slaps Spock across the face, which doesn't seem to faze him much. When he eventually slaps Kirk in turn, a relatively casual blow sends Kirk halfway across the room. Looks like the writers have now created the idea that Vulcans are considerably stronger than humans. :-)

5. Spock is much more like his usual self in this episode (except when he's supposed to be different because of the disease); Leonard Nimoy seems to have mostly figured out how to play this unusual character by this point in the series, though there will be one or two bobbles in the next couple of episodes.

6. Most people remember that Christine Chapel declares her love for Spock in this episode, but a lot of folks don't remember what she says right BEFORE she tells him she loves him. She says, "The men from Vulcan treat their women strangely. At least, people say that, but you're part human too. I know you don't, you couldn't, hurt me, would you?"

Wait, what? The men from Vulcan generally "treat their women strangely," and the form this takes is that they hurt the women? Is she talking about domestic violence, about rough sex, about consensual sadomasochism, or what?

Well, in Leonard Nimoy's second autobiography, I Am Spock, he reproduces an excerpt from a memo that Gene Roddenberry sent around in May of 1966. The words in italics in the paragraph below are from Mr. Nimoy's excerpt of that memo, quoted from I Am Spock (p.66 of the hardcover first edition):

[Emotional repression on Vulcan] probably led to a need for hypnosis as part of the sex act, and we may gather from time to time that love on Spock's planet has a somewhat more violent quality than Earth's aesthetics permit mankind to enjoy. (Unless NBC changes its policies somewhat, we probably will not do a script dealing directly with this subject.)

"Somewhat more violent quality," huh? I guess that's why Nurse Chapel has heard rumors that Vulcan men cause physical pain to the women they're involved with. So, we're talking considerable roughness at the very least, and sadomasochism as a possibility, and this is normal Vulcan sexuality, not some sort of deviation? Fascinating, as the man in question would say. :-)

Christine Chapel

This is the first episode in which we see Nurse Christine Chapel; she'll appear in 25 of the 79 episodes of TOS.

World-Building Notes

1. Riley mentions a bowling alley. I know it's a big ship, and I know they need for the crew to have ways to entertain themselves on such a long voyage, but ... a bowling alley? Wow.

2. We know that romantic relationships among the crew are not forbidden, because in an upcoming episode ("Balance of Terror,") we'll see Kirk performing a marriage ceremony between two of the crew. But in this episode, part of what Kirk says to Spock while under the influence of the disease is "I have a beautiful yeoman. Have you noticed her, Mister Spock? You're allowed to notice her. The Captain's not permitted..."

So, Spock would be allowed to have a relationship with the yeoman, but Kirk wouldn't. It's not clear if the captain isn't allowed to have a romantic relationship with ANY of his crew, or if he merely isn't allowed to have one with someone who's that many steps below him in rank or isn't allowed to have one with someone who serves him directly, as his yeoman does.

3. We see the transporter decontaminating the landing party in this episode, but we won't see that again. Given that they're always beaming down to planets they've never been on before, one wonders why they don't decontaminate as a matter of course, whenever they go to a new place. Perhaps they do and simply don't mention it again? That seems unlikely, though, since there's no mention of the ability to decontaminate the landing party in "Miri" or "The Omega Glory," other episodes that feature diseases.

But then, they were making these episodes at break-neck speed, making up the entire backstory as they went along, and the miracle of TOS is always that it turned out as well as it did, given the limitations under which they were working.

If you made it this far, once again, thanks for reading!


Chapter 7: "Charlie X" by WeirdLittleStories

Episode Epilogue 7: "Charlie X"

As soon as it was clear that Charlie and the Thasians were gone for good, Doctor McCoy took Yeoman Rand to sickbay for a complete physical. She kept protesting that she was fine, really; she hadn't even realized that she'd been away, and the doctor's examination confirmed it. Nevertheless, he sent her to her quarters with orders to rest, and since she'd been about to rest when Charlie sent her "away," she was happy to heed those orders.

McCoy went directly to the bridge and took what was becoming his usual spot, standing on the captain's left. He was ostensibly reporting to the captain, but he intentionally pitched his voice loudly enough to be heard all over the bridge, because he knew everyone there had been worried about Rand. "I checked Janice over thoroughly, and she's fine, Jim. Wherever Charlie sent her, it was like she was in suspended animation while she was there; she never even knew she'd been away."

Kirk's shoulders became noticeably less tense at this news. "Glad to hear it." He turned and looked fully at McCoy. "What about the things that happened before Charlie 'disappeared' her? Does she need to see a therapist?"

McCoy shook his head. "She was thinking of Charlie as a kid, so it didn't really hit her that he was dangerous until it was all over. She felt sorry for him, for growing up alone, and she was more focused on how he felt than on the danger he posed."

Kirk grimaced. "She's not alone; we were all taken in. Well," he turned and looked at Spock, "All but one of us. You knew he was lying from the very beginning. What made you so sure?"

Spock left the science station and came down to the command well, standing to Kirk's right. "There have been stories and legends of what are generally called 'feral children' throughout human history: stories of young children raised by wolves, bears, monkeys, and other animals. The best-known legend is that of Romulus and Remus, the putative founders of Rome, who were said to have been raised by wolves, but all human cultures have such myths. Invariably when such stories are investigated, they are found to be hoaxes; young human children cannot survive on their own, nor do predators adopt and rear human infants."

McCoy grunted. "Hrmph. And I suppose Vulcan children are all doing calculus in the womb."

"On the contrary, Doctor; Vulcan infants are just as helpless as human infants. What fascinates me about the legends of feral children is that they are unique to humankind. Vulcans have no such legends, nor do Andorians, Tellarites, or, indeed, any other humanoid culture with which I am familiar." Spock raised an eyebrow. "I believe it says much about humanity that they, alone — of all the humanoid cultures of which I am aware — create such legends."

Kirk considered this. "It IS a romantic notion, isn't it? I guess we humans like the idea that we're so lovable or so compelling that even a wolf or a bear would want to take care of a human child."

Spock clasped his hands behind his back. "I had not considered that particular explanation, Captain."

Kirk smiled. "What did you think it was, then?"

Spock looked seriously at his captain. "In the past, certain influential thinkers believed that human beings were 'corrupted' by the influence of civilization and claimed that those who lived without it were pure or unsullied in a way that those raised in civilization could not be. This found its clearest form in the literary ideal of the 'Noble Savage.' It was most likely this notion that gave rise to the myth that Rome was founded by two such individuals."

Kirk shook his head. "That transporter accident I had awhile back cured me of the idea that there's anything noble about savages."

Spock inclined his head. "Indeed. And the ideal of the 'Noble Savage' has mostly died out in modern times. I believe the current romanticization of feral children is a combination of the human desire for independence and the human desire to be free of the strictures of civilization, both of which find expression in the legends of children who survive in the wilderness with wild animals for nursemaids."

"Hrmph," McCoy said. "Don't tell me Vulcans never want to be independent, 'cause I won't believe that, Spock. You're the second-most independent person I know, after Jim Kirk, and he's not exactly the world's most average human."

Spock exhaled audibly. "Doctor, you are aware that Vulcans are telepathic."

McCoy rolled his eyes. "Well, yeah, but what's that got to do with it?"

Spock was wearing his I am a Vulcan, so I must be patient look. "While we are predominantly touch telepaths and cannot read another Vulcan's actual thoughts unless we are in physical contact with that person, the existence of so many telepathic minds creates a sort of psychic field, which conveys a sense of the existence of those other minds."

Kirk looked at his first officer as he considered this. "You can feel this psychic field anywhere on Vulcan?"

Spock raised an eyebrow. "I can feel this psychic field anywhere in the galaxy."

Kirk gave a low whistle. "Anywhere in the galaxy! That's ... quite a range."

Spock inclined his head. "The existence of several billion Vulcan minds creates quite a strong resonance."

McCoy looked searchingly at Spock; the doctor wanted to know what effect this might have on a potential patient. "How aware of it are you? Does it ever get in the way?"

Spock tilted his head slightly backwards, thinking, then looked at the humans again. "English does not have the necessary words for talking about telepathic phenomena, but perhaps an analogy will suffice. When the ship is at warp, her engines produce a low hum that is sensed more through touch than sound, as a slight vibration. We are generally not consciously aware of this hum, but if it should stop suddenly or unexpectedly, we would find the cessation quite noticeable."

Kirk considered this. "Billions of Vulcans, all busily thinking, creates a telepathic background noise that you can ignore, but it's always there."

Spock nodded. "Precisely, Captain. And this ... telepathic background noise ... means that no Vulcan could ever feel as cut off from other Vulcans as humans believe feral children to be cut off from human society. Nor would any Vulcan ever wish to be so cut off; the Vulcan psychic field provides a sense of connection to other members of our species that is essential for our well-being."

Kirk whistled. "So humans really are different from Vulcans in romanticizing the idea of being all alone in the wilderness, completely independent and constrained by nothing."

Spock inclined his head. "As I believe I said, several minutes ago."

McCoy folded his arms in front of his chest. "That's only half of the picture."

Kirk looked at the doctor. "What's the other half?"

McCoy said, "We don't just romanticize the idea that babies and toddlers can live in the wilderness; we also pretend that those children eventually grow up to become just as civilized as anybody else. These stories don't show that humans love independence and hate civilization; they show that we're ambivalent about it. We want to think that a kid here or there has escaped, but we don't want them to escape too far or for too long, and we want them to end up just as civilized as the rest of us."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "An excellent point, Doctor; I will need to ponder it."

McCoy rolled his eyes. "Will wonders never cease! I've given the pointy-eared computer food for thought."

Kirk said, "I think the events of today have given all of us food for thought. Mr. Spock was right when he said at the very beginning that Charlie could not have survived on his own, and I think we all need to remind ourselves to be a bit more skeptical when we run into stories that are a little too good to be true, even if those stories are what we want to hear."

Spock tilted his head to one side. "Might I suggest, sir, that we exercise our skepticism especially if those stories are what we want to hear?"

Kirk nodded. "Yes, Mr. Spock, you may."

McCoy shook his head. "You can go wrong just as readily by being too skeptical as you can by being too trusting."

Kirk smiled at him. "And that's why I have you, Bones. I know as long as I have both you and Spock, I have all the bases covered."

Kirk thought privately that as long as he had both Spock and McCoy at his side, he didn't just have all the bases covered; he had a guaranteed home run.



Author's Notes
Notes about the story

Spock's discussion of feral children is true to the best of my (and Wikipedia's) knowledge.

Some people include children who are sequestered in their parents' homes and deprived of any human contact in the ranks of feral children, but to me, this form of extreme and intentional abuse and neglect is different from the cases of children who were said to be raised by wild animals, and I am not having Spock include such abuse survivors in his discussion here.

2. I am using "romantic" in its broader and more historical sense (meaning of, characterized by, or suggestive of an idealized view of reality), not in the narrower and more recent sense (meaning conducive to or characterized by the expression of love). This may be confusing to those who are unaware of the broader definition — I know that English is not the first language of many readers — so I'm explaining about the two definitions here. (Definitions quoted from Google's "define" function, to make it clear that it's not just me. :-D)

3. We are never told exactly how much Spock is telepathically aware of other Vulcans, but we know that he's aware of them at least in special circumstances, because he feels the death of four hundred Vulcans in the second-season episode "The Immunity Syndrome."

And in the third-season episode "All Our Yesterdays," when Spock goes back to 5,000 years in the past, his emotions are no longer restrained, so he strangles McCoy and makes love to Zarabeth. Since Spock's physical body — which of course includes his brain — was NOT changed by the atavachron, his reverting to pre-Reform behavior is usually explained by Trek fans as being the result of the telepathic influence of millions of savage Vulcans, present there in the past, though not present on the planet Spock is on at the moment.

This suggests that in the present, all Vulcans are restrained partly by their own personal restraint and partly by the telepathic influence of the restraint of other Vulcans. It also suggests that Vulcans are telepathically aware of other Vulcans across great distances, at least as great as the distance from Vulcan to Sarpeidon.

This explains why Vulcans without logic would be so disdained by other Vulcans, since they aren't just hurting themselves with their lack of logic; they're also weakening the collective telepathic restraint of Vulcan society as a whole.

4. I'm sorry if the story for this episode doesn't sparkle; I have problems with this episode, which I'll explain under the episode notes.

5. I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional most of the time, which means that I am rarely able to reply to comments. I do read them all with great attention, though, and I do LOVE every single one of them, even when my health doesn't permit me to reply. I apologize for being so limited in what I can do.

6. I don't own Star Trek, and I make no money from the stories I write; everything here is just fans playing in the sandbox. If anything, I think I probably have more respect for the characters than Paramount does. :-)

7. Thanks for reading!

Notes about this episode

You can find a summary of this episode at the page for it at Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki, here.

Chrissie has a transcript of this episode here.

2. Although this was the seventh episode made (not counting the first pilot, with its very different crew), it was the second episode broadcast. Since it didn't need a whole lot of special effects, it was ready before some of the more effects-heavy episodes (e.g. "The Corbomite Maneuver.") The original version of this episode has fewer effects than the remastered version; the remastered version added the Antares and spiffed up the Thacian ship.

3. This episode was written by Dorothy Fontana from a story idea by Gene Roddenberry. The story idea was titled "The Day Charlie Became God," though of course they needed to find a less descriptive title for the actual episode, in order not to give away half the plot. :-)

At the time she wrote this script, Dorothy Fontana was a part-time writer who'd written half a dozen scripts for other TV shows. Like most new writers, she couldn't yet support herself by writing, so she had a day job — as Gene Roddenberry's secretary. Roddenberry didn't think this particular story idea had much potential, but Fontana disagreed, and he told her to write a script if she thought she could do something with it. Fontana was all of 27 when she wrote this episode.

Everyone on the show liked the script, though Roddenberry added a few things, as he did to every script during the first season.

Dorothy Fontana said that in her original version of the script, she'd focused primarily on Charlie's feeling out of place and not knowing how to behave, and it was Gene Roddenberry who added Charlie's raging hormones and his "crush" on Janice Rand. In an interview with Marc Cushman, Fontana said, "Sex always got into Gene's work," and John D. F. Black agreed with that assessment.

Dorothy Fontana would eventually become the story editor for part of the first and all of the second season; I'll talk about that in more detail when we get to the episode where it happens.

People often talk about Dorothy Fontana as if she had been ONLY Gene Roddenberry's secretary, and Star Trek was her first script, but that is NOT true. Fontana had sold four scripts to The Tall Man, one to Ben Casey, and one to Frontier Circus.

In fact, it just so happened that the guest star in one of the scripts Fontana wrote for The Tall Man was none other than Leonard Nimoy. In his autobiography, Nimoy says, "In 1960, Dorothy had written the episode 'A Bounty for Billy' for the television series The Tall Man, starring Barry Sullivan—an episode I just happened to appear in. I remember getting a wonderful note from her saying how pleased she was with my performance; I was impressed by her kindness." (I Am Spock, hardcover first edition, page 64.)

4. Maybe it's because I'm a psychologist, so I've studied human development, but while I love many of Dorothy Fontana's scripts, and Gene Roddenberry and Bob Justman both thought she did a great job with this episode, I think it makes the Enterprise crew look stupid.

Charlie claimed to have been completely alone since the age of THREE, and the Enterprise's crew scolded him for doing things like interrupting a conversation or failing to knock on a door before opening it. Anyone who'd been completely alone from the age of three would be FAR stranger in social interactions than Charlie was, and would, in fact, be mostly a wild animal. Charlie should have been continuously monitored, because leaving him alone to wander around the ship would be like allowing a gorilla the run of the ship.

The episode was clearly intended to talk about the normal problems of normal teenagers — certainly a worthy goal — but the back story written for Charlie means that he should have been so far from a normal teenager as to be more like an alien or animal than like a human. (It might have worked better if Charlie had been eleven when the crash happened, so he was all alone with the problems of adolescence, but he'd been socialized into a human being before losing human contact.)

Some of Charlie's lines speak very strongly to the experience of normal teenagers: "Everything I do or say is wrong. I'm in the way, I don't know the rules, and when I learn something and try to do it, suddenly I'm wrong! I don't know what I am or what I'm supposed to be, or even who. I don't know why I hurt so much inside all the time."

Roddenberry added the part about "When I see you, I feel like I'm hungry all over," because in 1966 there was no internet. That means no Wikipedia, no online porn, no Twitter, no Facebook, no social media of any kind. The culture of the time said that it was wrong to talk about sex, and you can see this in the show, as the actors always have to pretend to be embarrassed if sexual topics come up. So there was no place for teenagers to learn about sex in 1966, except from their parents (those few who had progressive parents) or from other teenagers (who mostly had rumors, old wives' tales, and urban legends instead of actual information). Roddenberry wanted Charlie to talk about feeling "hungry all over," because no one was telling teenagers that it was normal to have sexual feelings, and he wanted to address it. Of course, network censors made sure he could only address it obliquely, but obliquely was a giant step forward, compared to not at all.

5. Why is this episode titled "Charlie X," given that the boy's name is Charles Evans? Marc Cushman, author of These Are the Voyages, reports that Gene Roddenberry told him in an interview, "You remember in the westerns, and someone would say, 'Make your mark here.' And the prospector or ranch hand draws his 'X.' And you understood he had no formal education."

Westerns were extremely popular in the late 50's and early 60's, so at the time TOS was made, audiences would be quite familiar with the conventions of the western genre, and the idea that illiterate people drew an "X" to sign a contract or document was one that the audience would have understood. Nowadays westerns are far less popular, and "X" is probably more familiar as the symbol of an unknown quantity in algebra. But according to Roddenberry, that's not the "X" the title is referring to.

6. The chef who calls Kirk on the intercom from the ship's galley to tell him that there are real turkeys in the ovens was voiced by ... Gene Roddenberry.

7. Grace Lee Whitney, the actress who played Janice Rand, said in her autobiography that Robert Walker, the actor who played Charlie, deliberately kept himself apart from the Star Trek cast whenever he wasn't filming a scene, the better to portray a young man who was alienated from those around him. Robert Walker was 26 when he played 17-year-old Charlie Evans.

Character Notes


Kirk's toughness and command presence are on display in this episode. Charlie can make people disappear just by looking at them, and Kirk goes head to head with him, asserting his will without the slightest hint of fear. (People love to make fun of the somewhat florid acting style that Shatner uses in some episodes, but in this one, he had me absolutely convinced that he was a strong-willed and determined starship captain.)

2. McCoy tries to get Kirk to act as a father figure to Charlie, and Kirk tries to get out of that until it becomes clear that Charlie is a danger, and Kirk is the only one he'll listen to. Kirk is already somewhat of a father figure to the entire crew, by virtue of being captain, so he might think that his father-figure plate was already full. :-) (Of course, this has nothing to do with David Marcus, since David wasn't invented until The Wrath of Khan was being written, fifteen years after "Charlie X" was made.)

3. Kirk's compassion is also on display in this episode, as he tells the Thacians at the end of the episode that "the boy belongs with his own kind." Given how disruptive Charlie has been, and how Charlie has been gloating at Kirk that the Enterprise now belongs to him, it's really very big of Kirk to try to intercede with the Thacians for Charlie. And in fact, the TOS Writer's Guide says of Kirk, "Unlike most early explorers, he has an almost compulsive compassion for the rights and plights of others, alien as well as human."

4. We see many times, from "The Corbomite Maneuver" on, that Kirk is a brilliant tactician. We see that again in this episode, when he realizes that Charlie hasn't "disappeared" anyone since he took over the ship, and he concludes that controlling the entire ship means that Charlie's power is maxed out. He has his officers turn on a lot more ship functions in order to strain Charlie's control further, so that they can overcome him. The plan looks like it's on the verge of working when the Thacians show up.


How difficult was it to create a Vulcan from scratch? We can tell by the fact that an actor as hard-working and gifted as Leonard Nimoy was still being inappropriately expressive in this episode, the seventh one made. During his conversation with McCoy on the bridge in the early part of the episode, we see Spock roll his eyes, and in the recreation room scene, first we see him look annoyed, and then we see him smirk when Uhura starts singing. When Charlie says that a warped baffle plate on the Antares would have blown up, anyway, even if he hadn't done it, Spock rolls his eyes again. Leonard Nimoy worked very hard to find ways to show us what Spock was feeling while keeping his reactions subtle and restrained, but it did take him awhile to figure out how to do that, given that he was creating an entirely new kind of character. Watching Spock evolve is one reason to watch TOS in production order, rather than broadcast order.

2. Uhura's song says, in part, "at first his look could hypnotize," and that just seems like something silly she made up to tease him with. But here's an excerpt from a memo that Gene Roddenberry sent around in May of 1966: "Spock's 'hypnotic' look strongly affects Earth females and he goes to great pains to avoid too much contact with them. There is a back story on this—many years ago when Mr. Spock first joined the service, he was careless on this score, perhaps even enjoyed this strange ability over Earth women. But it quickly created both personal and professional troubles." (Memo excerpt quoted from I Am Spock, by Leonard Nimoy, p. 64 of the hardcover first edition.)

So Spock is supposed to be able to hypnotize Earth women just by looking at them, not needing the whole mind meld routine. Well, THAT explains a lot! :-) And how surprised the producers of Star Trek must have been when it turned out that Mr. Spock DID have quite a strong effect on many real, live Earth women. :-)

3. Uhura is clearly flirting with Spock in this episode, as she did in "The Man Trap." And unlike when McCoy insults his heritage, Spock does NOT look unhappy to be cast as a Satanic Don Juan when Uhura sings about him; he actually seems to enjoy the attention ... unlike poor Charlie.


We get to see Uhura sing in this episode, first about Spock, and then about Charlie. If your ears are as bad as mine, you might have had trouble catching all of the words to her song; according to Chrissie's invaluable transcripts, this is what she sings:

Spock verse: "Oh, on the starship Enterprise, there's someone who's in Satan's guise. Whose devil ears and devil eyes could rip your heart from you. At first, his look could hypnotize, and then his touch would barbarize. His alien love could victimize, and rip your heart from you. And that's why female astronauts, oh, very female astronauts wait terrified and overwrought, to find what he will do. Oh, girls in space, be wary, be wary, be wary! Girls in space, be wary; we know not what he'll do!"

Charlie verse: "Now from a planet out in space, there comes a lad, not commonplace. A-seeking out his first embrace. He's saving it for you. Oh, Charlie's our new darling, our darling, our darling. Charlie's our new darling. We know not what he'll do."

The network thought it was a bad idea to have singing in a science fiction show ... until lots of fans wrote in saying that they loved Uhura's singing. Then the network told the producers to have Uhura sing again (which she does in "Conscience of the King.")


Towards the end of this episode, when Kirk wants everything possible turned on, so as to strain Charlie's power, both Spock and McCoy start pushing buttons on several different bridge stations. So McCoy knows what all those buttons do!

World-Building Notes

Kirk says in a captain's log entry that UESPA has been notified of the loss of the Antares. We'll find out in the episode "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" — also written by Dorothy Fontana — that "UESPA" stands for "United Earth Space Probe Agency."

The creation of Starfleet is still several weeks away; the first time that the word "Starfleet" is mentioned on screen if you go in production order is in "Court Martial," episode 15. The first time that "Starfleet" is said in broadcast order is in the first half of "The Menagerie," the 11th episode broadcast.

2. When Charlie asks how many "people like him" are on board the Enterprise, Kirk replies "428." Since the TOS Writer's Guide says that there are 430 people on the ship, it's possible that Kirk is excluding himself and Spock from that number, himself because Charlie can see him, and Spock because he isn't human. Or this may be an aspect of the ship that they altered slightly once they developed the ship's back story further, increasing the number from 428 to 430.

3. The officers from the Antares have old-style uniform shirts leftover from the pilots and different insignia from that of the Enterprise officers.

Why do they have a different insignia? I'll let Bob Justman -- the invaluable (and hilarious) associate producer of TOS explain it. Here's a memo he sent to Bill Theiss, the costume designer, after seeing a costuming mistake during Season 2:

TO: Bill Theiss

FROM: Bob Justman


TO: Bill Theiss
FROM: Bob Justman
DATE: December 18, 1967

Whilst sitting in Dailies today, it was noticed that a Starship Captain (from another Starship) was wearing an emblem unfamiliar to yours truly. I have checked the occurrences out with Mr. Roddenberry, who has reassured me that all Starship personnel wear the Starship emblem that we have established for our Enterprise Crew Members to wear.

Doubtless this situation has arisen due to the fact that a different Starship emblem was used last season on “CHARLIE X”. However, the personnel of that other ship in that show were the equivalent of merchant marine or freighter personnel — and therefore not entitled to bear this proud insignia on their individual and collective breasts.

Please do not do anything to correct this understandable mistake in the present episode. However, should we have Starfleet personnel in any other episodes, please make certain that they were the proper emblem.

Under penalty of death!

Signed this 18th day of December, in the year of our Lord, 1967, by

Chief Inquisitor

CC: Gene Roddenberry
John M. Lucas
D.C. Fontana
Gregg Peters

P.S. A carven “I’m sorry!” will be sufficient.

4. This is the first episode in which we see the gymnasium; unfortunately, it's also the LAST episode in which we see the gymnasium. So take a good look. :-)

5. As I've said elsewhere, there are no replicators in the Original Series; replicators don't show up in the Star Trek universe until TNG. We see one example of that in this episode, when Kirk says that since it's Thanksgiving on Earth, he wants the chef to make the "synthesized meatloaf" look like turkey. Later the chef calls Kirk on the bridge to tell him that there are real turkeys in the ovens. So yeah, there was an actual person on board who cooked actual food in an actual oven. :-)

6. When TOS first started, the behind-the-scenes staff thought it was crucial to have lots of crew doing stuff in the background in order to make the ship more believable, and in these early episodes, you'll see a LOT of extras walking to and fro or relaxing in the recreation room or otherwise making it clear that there are hundreds of people on the ship. But after the first few episodes, it became clear that the show was going over budget, and they had to cut corners in order to make ends meet, plus the budget for the show was reduced in subsequent seasons, even as the actors were paid more. Sadly, one effect of this is that the Enterprise is not nearly as well populated in later seasons as it is in the first half of Season 1, when it really did look as if there was an entire village aboard the ship.

7. Rand tells Charlie to meet her in "Recreation Room 6," so we know there were at least six rec rooms on the ship. If there were 430 people on the crew, and if a third of them were sleeping at any given time, and a third were on duty, that means that there'd be around 140 off duty and awake at any given time. What do you do with 140 people who have time on their hands? Well, we heard in "The Naked Time" that there was a bowling alley, later on we'll see a conservatory, and we see in this episode that there's a gym in addition to those six rec rooms, so clearly substantial provision has been made for the crew's amusement during their spare time.

8. There's an Enterprise insignia on Kirk's red exercise tights. Why would you need insignia on your exercise tights? I wonder if that means that there are athletic tournaments of some kind that involve personnel from several different ships?

9. When Uhura calls Kirk on the intercom to tell him that every phaser on the ship has vanished, she calls them "phaser weapons." Nowadays, even people who've never seen Star Trek know what a phaser is, but in 1966, it was a brand-new word. During this, the seventh episode made and the second broadcast, they had to append the word "weapon" to "phaser" so that the audience would know what the heck they were talking about. They won't do this for long, though; soon they'll be confident that their audience knows that a phaser is a weapon. :-)

10. When McCoy reports that Charlie is human, not a Thacian, he uses the word "Earthling." That word was common in science fiction, but Star Trek uses it rarely and only in these early episodes. Later on, people from Earth will simply be "human."

11. They mention "Earth Colony Five" in this episode. By the time of "This Side of Paradise," Earth colonies will be referred to by the name of the planets they're on.



Season 2, Episode 15 — "Journey to Babel" by WeirdLittleStories

Season 2, Episode 15 — "Journey to Babel"


Kirk smiled charmingly at Amanda Grayson. "And we conclude our tour of the Enterprise with the quarters for visiting guests; you and Sarek are in this cabin here." The door to Amanda and Sarek's cabin swished open, and the two paused in the doorway.

Amanda put a hand on Kirk's arm. "Thank you, Captain. You have a lovely ship, and I'm doubly glad to see it, since it's been Spock's home for such a long time."

KIrk bowed slightly. "I'm always glad for a chance to show off my ship, and I can think of no guest I'd rather escort than Mr. Spock's mother." He took a step into the guest quarters, drawing Amanda along with him, then turned to her as the door closed behind them. "And now that we're in private, there are some things I'd like to tell you."

Amanda smiled. "Don't tell me, let me guess. You think Sarek is a fool for not properly appreciating Spock."

Kirk smiled back. "Although there is some truth to that, it's not what I wanted to tell you."

Amanda seated herself in one of the guest cabin's chairs and waved Kirk to the other. "Ah. Well, then, I'm intrigued. What did you want to tell me?"

Kirk sat down across from her. "I know your husband is an ambassador, that he's represented Vulcan at many meetings, on many worlds. What you and he may not realize is that Spock is an ambassador, too, and I'm not just talking about the Enterprise's missions to other worlds. Spock has been the Vulcan ambassador to Starfleet for the past eighteen years, and he's taught us more than you could possibly guess."

Amanda leaned forward. "What kinds of things has he taught you?"

Kirk shook his head. "I couldn't begin to count them all. He takes every chance to explain the Vulcan worldview, to extol the importance of logic, to represent the scientific point of view." He grinned. "Spock faced some skepticism when he first joined up, but every captain in the Fleet wants a Vulcan science officer now! And it's not just because Spock knows damned near everything. We've had so many successes together — and he and Chris Pike had so many successes together before me — that now it's pretty much an open secret in Starfleet that Vulcans and Humans make the best teams, that each of us complements the strengths and weaknesses of the other."

Amanda smiled. "That's nice to hear, though I'm not sure that would count for much with Sarek."

Kirk leaned back in his chair. "Oh, but I'm just getting started! He's taught nearly a fifth of the crew to meditate, he's taught my communications officer to play the Vulcan lute, and half of the Sciences Division of the ship has begun to think twice before expressing an emotion." Kirk chuckled. "Not that he's been trying to get the scientists to do that, but they all pretty much worship his scientific mind, so they've begun to emulate him."

Amanda chuckled. "I have this mental image of Spock with a line of blue-shirted ducklings waddling along behind him."

Kirk laughed. "It's a lot like that, actually. If he were trying to influence them in that way, I'd be concerned, but he's just being himself, and I'm not sure the junior scientists even realize they're doing it."

He sobered and leaned forward. "But the thing that matters most to Sarek is probably the issue of violence, and Spock has been a voice for the non-violent solution in nearly every encounter we've ever had." He held up a hand. "Not that the rest of us are violent maniacs, ready to go off half-cocked."

Amanda chuckled. "No, I didn't suppose you were. I am human, myself, after all."

Kirk nodded. "But even with the distance that humans have come since the bad old days when violence was one of our first responses, it's still higher up in our repertoire than Spock is comfortable with, and so he reminds us, constantly, to look for another way."

Amanda smiled. "If you aren't busy, Captain, I'd like to hear the details of some of those occasions."

Kirk smiled back at her. "I am busy — very busy — but this is important." He thought for a moment. "Last year, we were called to the mining colony on Janus VI. Fifty miners had been killed in the previous three months, by a creature — they called it a 'monster' — who had dissolved the men in acid."

Amanda gasped. "Dissolved in acid! What a horrible way to die."

Kirk nodded. "It was horrible, and fear was rampant, because no one had ever seen the creature who was doing it. Everyone assumed the creature was malevolent, and I ordered my security team to kill the monster on sight." He smiled slightly. "Spock countermanded my orders and told the men to capture it."

Amanda blinked. "He countermanded your orders? I'm not in Starfleet, but I thought you all maintained military discipline here."

Kirk smiled grimly. "We do. And Spock had been in Starfleet for seventeen years at that point; he understands chain of command in his sleep." He shook his head. "But this was important to him, important enough to show me an alternate path in the most pointed possible way." He sighed. "I was angry at first, angry at being countermanded, angry that someone I thought I could depend on had proved to be unreliable." Kirk shook his head at himself. "It turned out to be my compassion that was unreliable. Once I'd cooled down, I saw that."

Amanda cocked her head to one side. "What eventually happened with the creature?"

Kirk's eyes were reflective, remembering. "The creature and I stumbled across one another, and Spock came racing in to protect me from it. But the creature wasn't hostile. Spock mind-melded with it and discovered that the miners had unknowingly been destroying the creature's eggs. Once the situation was explained to everyone involved, the miners stopped destroying her eggs, and the creature — she called herself a horta — stopped attacking the miners. By the time we left, the horta and the miners were working together."

Amanda smiled. "That's a lovely story. And it sounds as if you would definitely have destroyed the horta without Spock."

Kirk nodded. "I shudder to think about it, because as it turned out, that horta was the last of her race. If we had killed her, we would have destroyed the last representative of a sentient species."

Amanda put a hand to her throat. "Oh, my."

Kirk continued, "She didn't LOOK like a sentient species to human eyes — she looked like a particularly lumpy rock — and we could never have communicated with her without Spock. But this isn't just about his telepathic abilities. The biggest reason why we could never have communicated with her without Spock is because without his influence, she'd be dead. I'd have phasered her the minute I saw her, without even knowing what I was doing." He shook his head. "And yet ... she'd killed fifty miners — not one, or two, but FIFTY. I don't think I'm an unusually violent man; I think any human would have shot first and asked questions later."

Amanda nodded. "Fifty is a huge number of deaths in a small community; I'm not surprised that you accepted the prevailing view that the creature was a monster."

Kirk shook his head. "And yet, from the creature's point of view, WE were the monsters, the nest-destroying, egg-smashing monsters." Kirk grimaced. "And that's not the only time I've had to learn that particular lesson."

"Tell me about it?" Amanda asked.

Kirk sighed. "We got a message asking us to go to Cestus III, and when we got there, we discovered that the entire outpost had been destroyed — the buildings in rubble, the people dead. An alien ship attacked the Enterprise while we were on the planet, and when we got back to the ship, I ordered my crew to destroy the alien vessel."

Amanda nodded. "That seems reasonable, under the circumstances."

Kirk nodded. "To you and me, it seems reasonable. But not to Spock. Spock suggested that there were several possible explanations for the aliens' behavior. He suggested that we have a regard for sentient life." Kirk shook his head. "I didn't want to listen. Humans had been killed, a colony destroyed, and I was afraid it was the prelude to invasion. I wanted to destroy the aliens before they could return to their home base and report that there were easy pickings in Alpha Quadrant."

Amanda grimaced. "They did attack both the colony and your ship."

Kirk sighed. "Yes, but we didn't know why. I thought I knew why, but I didn't stop to talk to the aliens. I was angry and frightened, a combination that usually leads to violence, and that's where it led me. But Spock either doesn't feel anger and fear — which is probably what he'd claim, though I have my doubts — or he doesn't let them control him. He saw possibilities where I saw only an invasion force."

Amanda leaned forward in her chair. "What happened?"

"Another race of aliens — an extremely advanced race — intervened. They took me and the captain of the other ship, a being from race of humanoid lizards called Gorns, and put both of us on an empty planet, where they said we would fight to the death. During the somewhat lengthy fight, I found out that the Gorns had claimed the area of space where Cestus III was; they thought WE were the invasion force that was threatening THEM. . During the fight, the Gorn captain and I each injured the other before I prevailed. Once I had the Gorn captain disabled, I refused to kill him, and the advanced race let us both go.

Amanda's face took on a look of soft pride. "So Spock was right again."

Kirk nodded. "Spock was right that we needed to TALK to the Gorns, not simply destroy them before we knew why they'd attacked Cestus III. I think I've learned my lesson now, and I hope that I'll talk instead of attack in the future." He smiled. "But if I don't, Spock will remind me, and if he does, I hope I'll listen the next time."

Amanda smiled at Kirk. "Thank you so much for telling me, Captain; I'm grateful to know that Spock isn't just a great Starfleet officer, he's also an ambassador for the Vulcan way."

Kirk smiled back. "He is that. Maybe you could tell Sarek that Spock is upholding Vulcan principles while in Starfleet, and his being here has spread Vulcan philosophy far more than isolation could ever have done." He stood up. "And pleasant as it is to talk about Spock with the woman who bestowed him on a grateful galaxy, I really do have things I must attend to."

Amanda rose and escorted him to the door, then went to the bedroom area of the cabin, where Sarek was resting on the bed, invisibile from the main room. She seated herself on the edge of the bed and looked at her husband. "I know you heard all of that."

Sarek sat up. "I did. I confess I did not realize that Spock would bring Vulcan ways to Starfleet in addition to absorbing Starfleet ways into himself. I will need to think about this information; perhaps I have been hasty in judging his choice."

Amanda smiled happily. Sarek said he'd need to think about it, but she already knew what he would conclude. Maybe Sarek would never be happy that Spock was in Starfleet, but she was sure that he would at least stop pretending that Spock didn't exist. Given any interaction at all, she was sure that she could get the two people she loved most in the world to reconcile. She could hardly wait!


End Notes:

1. Spock really HAS acted like Vulcan's ambassador to Starfleet while serving on the Enterprise, and I SO wanted Sarek to know it. I figure Kirk would want Sarek to know it, too, but since Kirk is an excellent tactician, he approached the parent who he thought would actually listen. :-)

2. Amanda's prioritizing Sarek over Spock during this episode has always bothered me. She went from "I can't lose you both" to saying the equivalent of, "I don't care if you die, as long as Sarek lives." Of course, it's true that she's seen Spock only rarely during the past eighteen years, so in some sense, she'd already mostly lost him. But I still wanted to give her another reason for being so insistent that Spock risk himself to save Sarek. If her family was on the verge of the reconciliation that she'd wanted for nearly twenty years, I can see where she might lose her head. :-)

3. Kirk's account of the miners, the "monster," and Spock's influence on the events surrounding them is, of course, from the first-season episode "The Devil in the Dark," written by Gene L. Coon.

4. Kirk's account of the destruction of Cestus III, his fight with the Gorn captain, and his realization that the Gorns attacked because they thought that WE were invading THEM is, of course, taken from the first-season episode "Arena," also by Gene L. Coon.

5. A summary of the plot of "Journey to Babel" can be found at this page of Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.

6. Chrissie has a word-for-word transcript of this episode at http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/44.htm.

7. Yes, I'm writing this episode out of order, because I love this episode too much to wait. :-) This episode has it all:

a. Spock's parents

b. More insight into Spock's character via seeing his estrangement from his father

c. Spock's being noble and self-sacrificing by giving up the chance to save his father's life in order to do his duty as he perceives it

d. Kirk's being noble and self-sacrificing and getting up off his sickbed to let Spock give blood

e. Kirk's being a tactical genius

f. A murder mystery

g. Our first-ever look at the Tellarites and Andorians, plus assorted other Federation species in the background

h. McCoy's actually getting to function as a physician, instead of being dragged along on landing parties for no apparent reason.

How Dorothy Fontana packed all of that into 50 minutes without making it feel rushed or crammed, I'm sure I don't know. She did a stunning job on this script!

8. No, I'm not doing my usual voluminous behind-the-scenes notes anymore. I may start them up again if my health improves, but right now I'm only feeling up to writing the stories. I apologize to anyone who's disappointed.

9. I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not. I will try to respond to any comments I receive; unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health. (I do read them all with great attention, even when my health doesn't permit me to reply, and I do cherish every one of them.)

10. You know I don't own Star Trek, because if I did, things would be soooo different! In fact, it's far more accurate to say that IT owns ME. ;-)

11. Thanks for reading!



Season 2, Episode 5: Amok Time by WeirdLittleStories

 Season 2, Episode 5 — Amok Time


Spock watched as Kirk — wonderfully alive again, thanks to Dr. McCoy's clever stratagem — gave McCoy an amused look, then looked seriously at Spock. "Come on, Spock; let's go mind the store."

Spock followed Kirk out of sickbay and strode along the corridors for a few meters. Once he was sure that McCoy would not come after them, eager to taunt him once again for his emotional display, Spock stopped and turned to Kirk. "Captain, now that I know you are alive, I find that I must return to Vulcan for a moment. It is necessary that I speak with T'Pau, in an attempt to smooth over any diplomatic repercussions which may have resulted from the doctor's ruse that enabled your survival."

Kirk looked at Spock with obvious concern. "She won't kill you, will she? Because I'm alive?"

Spock blinked in surprise at such a question, before managing to school his face to impassivity once again. He allowed himself to sound slightly offended as he said, "Captain, Vulcans are NOT barbarians."

Kirk shrugged. "I hadn't thought they were, until today, but finding myself in a fight to the death on what I had THOUGHT was the Federation's most civilized planet was certainly a surprise. You'll have to forgive me if I'm not certain anymore just how civilized Vulcans might actually be."

Spock pursed his lips. "Do you recall the words T'Pau said at the very beginning of the ceremony?"

Kirk thought for a second. "Something about how the ceremony was very old."

Spock inclined his head. "Correct. Her exact words were, 'What thee are about to see comes down from the time of the beginning, without change.' But think, Jim. Why would modern Vulcans NOT have changed a custom that permitted a fight to the death?"

Kirk shook his head. "I can't think of a reason. I was shocked, frankly; it didn't match what I thought I knew about Vulcans."

Spock looked at Jim and saw that his friend was rather unsettled, no longer sure that humanity's older siblings were quite as mature as they pretended to be. Clearly he should explain further. Now that Jim knew the secret of pon farr, there was no reason for further reticence.

Spock cleared his throat, uncomfortable at having to speak about pon farr once again. "You are aware that the madness is gone, although I did not mate with T'Pring."

"Yes," Kirk said. "That didn't seem to fit with what you and McCoy both said before we got to Vulcan, but you certainly seem back to normal at the moment."

Spock inclined his head. "And that is because in believing I had killed you, I knew I had won the combat. Because the marriage ceremony has been conducted in exactly that form for the past eight thousand years, I knew at the moment of your death that I had prevailed and earned the right to mate, and it is that  which caused the symptoms of pon farr to subside."

"So, if you weren't using that old marriage ceremony..."

Spock allowed some of his distaste to show. "I would even now be mating joylessly with the woman who desired my death."

Kirk shuddered. "I think I see why you guys haven't changed the ceremony any."

Spock nodded curtly.

Kirk looked at him in puzzlement. "I don't quite understand how that works, though. Why did you have to keep the old ceremony for it to have that effect?"

Spock raised a brow. "Vulcan telepathy encompasses more than you are, perhaps, aware of. In addition to the ability to connect minds, which you have seen me use in the past, there is also a telepathic resonance from all the Vulcans who have ever lived. Just as when the body dies, it leaves a physical shell, when the mind expires, it leaves a telepathic residue. The closest human concept would be Carl Jung's idea of the Collective Unconscious, and that idea is, in fact, very close to the truth for Vulcans. There is a mental influence from the Vulcans who have gone before us."

Kirk blinked. "How can there be a telepathic influence from DEAD Vulcans? Surely you can't connect with a mind that no longer exists?"

Spock explained, comforted by the familiar role of providing information to his captain, after the upheavals of the past few days. "All minds generate electrical impulses, and it is this electrical energy that permits telepathic contact between minds." Spock regarded his captain, then decided to simplify with a metaphor. "You could think of the telepath as a radio, who tunes himself to the station of the mind being reached, then picks up those thoughts in much the same way that a radio picks up a broadcast."

Kirk nodded. "Okay, that makes sense." He smiled. "In spite of the way McCoy refers to your Vulcan mental powers as voodoo, I know your telepathy has to work on a concrete physical level and isn't actually magic, no matter how it seems to humans."

Spock inclined his head. "Correct. And what happens to radio waves, once a radio program has been broadcast?"

Kirk said, "They continue on for quite some time, spreading out a bit and gradually dissipating, but only after a surprisingly long time."

"And telepathic energy behaves in much the same fashion. Although the mind that produced that electrical energy has ceased to exist, the energy itself continues for a period of time, dissipating only gradually. The minds that created our customs and culture no longer live, but they still exert their influence, in a sort of telepathic pressure on living Vulcan minds."

Kirk thought about this. "Humans often find it hard to change old customs, even though the people who created them are dead, and we don't have their mental energy pressing on our minds."

Spock allowed himself to sigh. "Would that Vulcans had only the usual cultural inertia. We tried once, shortly after Surak revolutionized Vulcan society, to replace the ancient marriage ceremony with a more modern version, but the results were disastrous. The Vulcan Collective Unconscious would not permit the change, and so the ancient form lives on."

Kirk cocked his head to one side. "Then how come you were able to change the rest of Vulcan society?"

Spock felt himself stiffen slightly, uncomfortable with the topic of pon farr. "We could change all but our marriage customs because we have all of our faculties the rest of the time. But during pon farr, we do not have the ability to resist the pattern of the ancient ways; this is part of why pon farr is such a shameful thing."

Kirk grimaced. "I can't believe that you're just stuck with the old ways forever."

Spock shook his head. "We are not. Once the telepathic influence of modern, post-Surakian Vulcan minds is stronger than that of ancient, pre-Surakian Vulcan minds, the Vulcan Collective Unconscious will shift to a more modern form."

Kirk looked intrigued. "How long will that be?"

Spock thought briefly, then said, "Telepathic energies dissipate slowly, but it has already been 1900 years since Surak, and the balance should shift toward the modern form sometime during the next hundred years. I cannot be precise as to the exact date, because the rate at which telepathic energies dissipate depends on the strength of the mind during life, so it is not a constant rate."

Kirk smiled at him. "Well, in that case, the energy from YOUR mind should be around to bother your descendants until 40 Eridani A goes nova."

Spock was warmed by his captain's praise, however jokingly it was delivered, and allowed his features to relax slightly, which he knew Kirk would read as something akin to a smile.

Kirk grinned at him; his captain was always pleased when he permitted himself a small facial expression. Kirk thought for a second, then asked another question. "But how can it be that T'Pring could only divorce you through the challenge? I thought Federation law required the ability of either party to dissolve a marriage."

Spock stiffened slightly. "Divorce is only prohibited when one of the parties is in pon farr. T'Pring could have divorced me at any time during the past fifteen years, after we both came of age, but she did not do so."

Kirk blinked. "Why not? If she didn't want you, why not divorce you before it came to this?"

Spock pressed his lips together, ill at ease at having to divulge yet another secret. "I generally prefer not to speak of this, but having seen T'Pau serving as officiant at my wedding, it is undoubtedly already clear to you that my family is a prominent one."

Kirk chuckled. "Yeah, having T'Pau there did make that pretty clear. So T'Pring wanted the connection with your family, then?"

Spock clasped his hands behind him. "Indeed. Both of us hoped, for our different reasons, that my human ancestry would prevent my ever experiencing pon farr. As long as I did not go into pon farr, T'Pring received the advantages of an alliance with my family without being hindered by my actual presence."

Kirk smirked. "So she gambled and lost."

Spock raised an eyebrow. "Correct. And since no woman has called for the kalifee in more than five hundred years, it is likely that she will find herself not just shunned by my family but generally reviled for the barbarity of her choices."

Kirk smiled grimly. "Good. Planning your death should have serious consequences." He looked at Spock. "And if you're going back to Vulcan, I should call the bridge and tell Sulu not to take us out of orbit after all." He went to the closest intercom, called the bridge, and updated their orders. He turned back to Spock. "Be as quick as you can, Spock; even with Komack's permission to be here, I'd like to try his patience as little as possible."

Spock inclined his head. "My business will be brief."

Kirk headed in the direction of the bridge while Spock had himself beamed back down to Vulcan. Although T'Pring and Stonn had left the area, T'Pau and her attendants were still in the place of koon-ut kalifee, seemingly waiting for him.

Spock approached T'Pau, and she raised her eyes to his. "I rejoice with thee in the continuing life of thy friend."

Spock nodded. "It was unexpected but most welcome news when I returned to the ship, and yet I find that it was not unexpected by you."

T'Pau gestured at the standing stones around them. "Thy doctor thinks so loudly that the stones' telepathic amplification was not necessary for me to overhear his plan. The forms were maintained, and tradition was satisfied, yet the entirely unnecessary death of thy captain was prevented. It is good."

Spock controlled himself very strictly, so that his relief would not show on his face. "Then there will be no diplomatic repercussions, either with Earth or with Starfleet?"

T'Pau raised an eyebrow. "Nor even with thy doctor or thy captain, who are welcome on Vulcan should they ever wish to visit it."

Spock bowed, then spoke the formal tongue for the first time. "I thank thee for thy forbearance."

T'Pau inclined her head in respect to him. "Spock, thou hast behaved with more honor than thy intended spouse, both to our ancient traditions and to the ways of Surak. There is no shame for thee in anything that happened here today, but I will make known to one and all how little respect T'Pring has earned this day."

Spock bowed again, then looked at T'Pau to see if he was dismissed.

The venerable woman studied him for a moment, then her imperious manner softened, and her eyes lightened. "Go then, back to thy ship, and teach thy comrades of logic and of reverence for life, knowing that thy own example is more worthy of the name 'Vulcan' than that of T'Pring."

To be named a better Vulcan than a pure-blooded Vulcan almost led him into an emotional display, but he had indulged in enough emotionality for one day. Spock contented himself with "I thank thee," raised his hand in the Vulcan salute, then strode out of the ring of stones, back to his logic, his duty, and his two very dear friends.


Author's Notes

1. "Amok Time" is my favorite episode ever, and that made me both eager to tackle it and also rather nervous about doing so. Theodore Sturgeon's script for this episode is so lovely that it seemed nearly sacrilegious to mess with it. And yet, the episode does demand a follow-up, since the Vulcan culture we see in this episode does not mesh very well with what we've learned of Vulcan society from Spock during the first season of TOS. It seemed to me that there were a number of questions that needed answering:

  a. Why are Vulcans still using a ceremony that permits a fight to the death, a ceremony that T'Pau says "comes down from the time of the beginning, without change"? Spock makes it clear during all of TOS that reverence for life is the Vulcan way, and violence is anathema. How then, could it be that Vulcans are still using this barbaric old ceremony? Why didn't they change it when Surak revolutionized Vulcan society? They've changed so much else about Vulcan society that surely changing the marriage ceremony would be fairly small and unimportant in comparison. There must be a really compelling reason...

  b. Why couldn't T'Pring divorce Spock except through the kalifee? (Of course, the behind-the-scenes explanation for that is that Gene Roddenberry wanted to divorce his first wife and marry Majel Barrett, but divorce was much more difficult in 1966 than it is today. Nowadays we have what's called "no-fault" divorce, but back then, a couple couldn't divorce just because they both wanted to; one of them had to sue the other and prove that the other was unfit to be a spouse. There were only a few things that were considered severe enough to allow divorce, and while infidelity was one of them, according to the laws of the time, that would let Gene's wife divorce him, but it wouldn't let him divorce her, so he could only get a divorce if she were willing to sue him.

Divorce was so difficult in 1966 that couples who agreed that they wanted to divorce would often have the man stage a scene of his being unfaithful — while a private detective took pictures to confirm the infidelity — so that they could get divorced, because it wasn't possible to divorce just because they both wanted to. While it's possible that T'Pring's inability to divorce Spock was written in just because that's what American laws on divorce were like at the time, I think it's quite possible that Roddenberry, himself, inserted that line, to try to soften American attitudes toward divorce.)

  c. Why did Spock's mating drive shut off after winning the kalifee, given that he didn't mate with T'Pring after all? K/S fans have long had an explanation for this :-), but for those fans who don't wish to have a K/S explanation, is there any other?

  d. What are the repercussions of the events on Vulcan? When does T'Pau realize that Kirk is still alive? Will McCoy and/or Kirk be seen as criminals on Vulcan, for having subverted the tradition? Will McCoy's trick make trouble between Earth and Vulcan or between Vulcan and Starfleet?

I've tried to answer these questions in a way that sticks reasonably close to canon. Obviously, the things I've said in this story are all speculative. :-)  I give a more in-depth explanation of the rationale behind my theory for #a in #2, below.

I've been told (by a reader on another site) that my story conflicts with something that's said in one of the novels, but the novels are NOT canon, so I don't feel bound by them. As far as I'm concerned, the pro novels are merely better-written fan fiction, and most of the pro novels can't hold a candle to the likes of Jane D. :-)

2.  Where do I get the things I say here about Vulcan telepathy?  I made most of it up, but I didn't make it up out of nothing. :-)  We learned in "The Immunity Syndrome" (the one with the giant amoeba) that Spock could telepathically "hear" a ship full of Vulcans dying, even across the vacuum of space and across a considerable distance.  And in "All Our Yesterdays" (the one that begins in a library and sends Spock and McCoy to an ice age), we learned that Spock reverted to a more savage form when thrown 5000 years back in time, even though McCoy didn't revert when thrown back the same amount of time.  Star Trek fans have wondered why this might be, and the usual explanation given is that the telepathic influence of millions of savage Vulcans undermines Spock's own ability to control himself, even though they aren't on the planet he's on right now.  

So if you put what we learn about Vulcan telepathy in "The Immunity Syndrome" and what we can infer about Vulcan telepathy in "All Our Yesterdays" together, it suggests that Vulcans are influenced telepathically by other Vulcans even when they're NOT melding, that the aggregate of Vulcan minds influences individual Vulcans.  That helps to explain why Vulcans are so intent on policing one another and making sure they're all being logical, because a Vulcan's mind doesn't just influence himself or herself; it also influences every other Vulcan.  Wow, that's so cool!

Modern Vulcans don't like violence, so just invoking Vulcan telepathy doesn't explain why they're still using an ancient ceremony that permits fights to the death. But if the minds of those savage old Vulcans lingered on, the ones from before Surak revolutionized Vulcan society and turned them to the path of logic, THAT would explain it.

What I say about radio broadcasts is true; every once in awhile there's an article that talks about how far the broadcasts of early TV shows might have reached by now, saying things like, "Well, if there's anybody on Alpha Centauri, they can watch 'I Love Lucy.'" So it's true that some energy in the electromagnetic spectrum can stick around for a long time.

It's also true that our brains produce electrical energy. So if Vulcan telepathy picks up that electrical energy, which would be a sensible way for telepathy to work, and if that electrical energy sticks around as long as TV broadcast energy does, then that could explain how dead Vulcans could still have a telepathic influence.

So yeah, I made it all up, but I based it on Star Trek canon plus real science. It's all very logical. :-)

3. There have been a LOT of post Amok Time stories, since this is a very popular episode. I love a lot of those stories, but I've left out something that nearly all of those stories contain. I don't have Spock apologizing abjectly for having killed his captain and offering to throw himself in the brig. Why? Well, think about what's happened so far.

  a. In "Where No Man Has Gone Before," we saw Gary Mitchell try to kill Kirk after the barrier at the edge of the universe gave him godlike power, yet at the end of the episode, Kirk's log says that Mitchell gave his life in the performance of his duty, and Kirk tells Spock that Mitchell didn't ask for what happened to him.

  b. In "The Enemy Within," we saw the "Evil" Kirk get drunk on duty, try to rape his yeoman, and try to leave the landing party behind on the planet. No one holds any of this against the whole Kirk, once he's reassembled.

  c. In "The Naked Time," we saw half the crew go crazy and do everything from threaten fellow crewmen with swords, proclaim themselves captain, knock the captain across the room, and scrawl graffiti on the bulkheads.

  d. In "This Side of Paradise," we saw the entire crew commit mutiny when under the influence of the spores, but since they're all clearly not themselves, it is never recorded as a mutiny (as we know from "The Tholian Web.")

  e. In "Operation: Annihilate," we saw Spock go crazy from the pain inflicted by the Deneva parasite and try to take over the ship, but Kirk wasn't angry and was glad once Spock was able to control the pain enough to function.

So I think by this point in their journey, Kirk and Spock have had a ton of practice in realizing that the things people do when they are not themselves shouldn't count against them. I figure there's probably even a formal policy at this point, saying that actions performed while under the influence of a transporter malfunction, alien virus, alien drug, or anything else that eliminates a person's ability to control themselves don't count.

I think Spock probably WILL say, "I apologize for having tried to kill you" once he gets back from Vulcan, but smoothing things over with T'Pau took precedence, because they were about to leave the planet. And I think Spock probably knows that his apology to Kirk will be waved aside, because they have had so much experience with this already.

4. Before I retrained as a clinical psychologist, I was a professor of social psychology, specializing in cultural influences on sex roles. So I've spent quite a long time looking AT the culture and thinking about how cultural forces impact individuals.

I did a lot of anti-prejudice workshops when I was a grad student, back in the 80's. Most of those were gay awareness workshops, but I also did some anti-racism and anti-sexism workshops. During the anti-sexism workshops, I was continually amazed at how tightly people clutched their social roles to themselves. When I got married in 1991 and kept my own name, I thought that surely by the time of my 25th wedding anniversary, keeping one's own name would be the default. But no, nearly all young women in the US still take their husbands' names when they marry. Of course, women should do what they wish to do; I'm not saying that all women should keep their own names. I'm saying, rather, that cultural inertia is a truly massive force.

So this story is about more than Vulcan telepathy. :-) It's also about how slowly cultures change and how even progressive individuals may find themselves in the grip of seemingly irresistible social forces.

5. Carl Jung was a psychologist who studied under Freud but later broke with him and set up his own school of thought. His worldview is a lot more mystical than Freud's is, and he believed that each of us has his or her own personal unconscious and also a collective unconscious, which is the collection of the ideas and archetypes that are common to our species. You can read more about the collective unconscious at the Wikipedia page for Collective Unconscious.

End Notes:

1. A summary of the plot of "Amok Time" can be found on this page of Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.

2. Chrissie's transcript of this episode can be found at http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/34.htm.

3. No, I'm not doing my usual voluminous behind-the-scenes notes anymore. I may start them up again if my health improves, but right now I'm only feeling up to writing the stories. I apologize to anyone I've disappointed.

4. I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not. I will try to respond to any comments I receive; unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health. (I do read them all with great attention, even when my health doesn't permit me to reply, and I do cherish every one of them.)

5. You know I don't own Star Trek, because if I did, things would be soooo different! In fact, it's far more accurate to say that IT owns ME. ;-)

6. Thanks for reading!


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