An extremely powerful non-corporeal being brings the Enterprise and a Klingon ship in direct conflict with one another.
Responding to a distress call from Beta XII-A, a landing party from the Enterprise beams down to the planet. The team consists of Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy, Ensign Chekov and Lieutenant Johnson, a security officer. They find no evidence of a colony nor any indication that one was attacked. Dr. McCoy reminds Kirk that whoever sent the distress call claimed they were under attack by an unidentified starship. From the bridge of the orbiting Enterprise, Spock hails the captain and reports that a Klingon battlecruiser is approaching. Although Kirk authorizes the Vulcan to defend the Starfleet ship, Sulu determines that the Klingon vessel is totally disabled. A team of Klingons beams to the planet and approaches the Starfleet officers. Commander Kang, the leader of the team, believes that Kirk is responsible for the damage to his ship and for killing four hundred members of his crew. As a result, the Klingon claims the Enterprise as his own and takes the captain prisoner. Both men are unaware of a strange anomaly nearby.
Kang threatens to torture one of the Starfleet prisoners, but has difficulty deciding which officer will suffer - until Chekov angrily cries out that Klingons killed his brother, Piotr Chekov, on Archanis IV. One of the Klingons uses an agonizer to inflict pain on the Russian. After much debating with Kang, Kirk authorizes Spock to beam the Klingon and Starfleet officers aboard the Enterprise; however, while giving the order Kirk also depresses a distress key on his communicator, causing an amber light to blink on the command chair. Seeing the signal, Spock orders that the landing party be beamed into the ship's transporter room, but he also has the Klingons suspended in the pattern buffer and they are arrested when they are rematerialized.
As the Klingon battlecruiser is emitting an excessive amount of harmful radiation, Kirk intends to destroy the alien craft. Klingon survivors are beamed aboard, including Mara - Kang's wife and science officer. Mara fears that she will be tortured, but Kirk assures her and her husband that the Klingons will not be harmed. The captain orders Lieutenant Johnson to secure the Klingon prisoners in the crew lounge and to program the food synthesizer for them. Armed with a phaser, Johnson follows Kang and Mara out of the transporter room. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Chekov also exit the room. They take a turbolift to the bridge while they discuss whether the Klingons are guilty of destroying the missing Human colony. The Enterprise is unable to contact Starfleet Command, as all subspace frequencies are being blocked. The Enterprise destroys the Klingon craft, but communication with Starfleet is still unobtainable.
In the crew lounge, Kang anticipates Kirk's death. Mara fears that the Starfleet crew will overpower the Klingons, while another Klingon officer eagerly advises Kang that they should strike quickly. Kang tells the officer to be patient and opines that the Starfleet crew will make a mistake. Meanwhile, the crew lose control of the Enterprise and several malfunctions result in the ship pursuing a new course out of the galaxy. Nearly four hundred crewmen are trapped by emergency bulkheads on the vessel's lower decks. Assuming that the Klingons are responsible, Kirk assaults Kang in the crew lounge. Suddenly, several inanimate objects in the room, including a three-dimensional chess set, transform into swords. The phasers that Kirk and Johnson were carrying mysteriously vanish. The officers are left to fend for themselves using the primitive weapons of their ancestors.
Two more security officers join the battle against the Klingons, but Johnson is injured in the fight. The crew members luckily escape in a turbolift that takes Johnson and the other security personnel to sickbay. With the Klingons free to roam the ship, Kirk stays in the turbolift and heads to the bridge. There, he informs the senior staff of the situation. The captain contacts Scotty in engineering and tells him that he must free the trapped crewmen at all costs as they will help to defeat the Klingons. The engineer reports that he has been unable to regain control of the ship's velocity and is amazed that the vessel has not yet self-destructed. Spock deduces that the Klingons could not have caused the swords to appear, as the instantaneous transmutation of matter that caused their creation is beyond the capabilities of Klingon technology. When Kirk orders Sulu to take control of engineering and the Auxiliary Control Center, Chekov insists that he join the helmsman. Despite a direct order to return to his post, Chekov explains that he must avenge the murder of his brother and dives into the turbolift aft of the bridge. With a puzzled expression, Sulu tells Kirk that Chekov was an only child and has no brothers.
In sickbay, McCoy grows furious with the Klingons as he treats an injured crew member with a numanol capsule. A group of Klingons enter the Auxiliary Control Center and access the Enterprise's specifications. When Mara notifies Kang that there are as many Starfleet officers as there are Klingons aboard the ship, Kang decides to make an attempt at commandeering the vessel and plans to take control of engineering first.
In the armory, Scotty uses a communicator to contact the bridge and report to Kirk that the phaser torches have proven useless against the metal bulkheads that have trapped the crewmen. The armory itself now contains only antique weaponry. Kirk orders the engineer to return to engineering, but Scotty is distracted by a Claymore sword. When he complies with Kirk's instruction, he and the Starfleet personnel in engineering are attacked by Klingon soldiers who seize control of the room.
On the bridge, Spock detects a single alien life force - the strange anomaly from Beta XII-A. The Vulcan consults the ship's computer, which reveals that the entity is composed of pure energy, has intelligence and is acting toward an unknown purpose. Kirk believes that the alien force is responsible for Chekov's imaginary brother, the missing colony, the distress call that the Enterprise supposedly received, and the creation of the antique weapons aboard the ship. He proposes to form a truce with Kang, but Spock reminds the captain that the Klingons are infamous for refusing to cooperate in the formation of similar agreements. When McCoy enters the bridge, he is outraged by the fact that the senior officers are considering a truce with the fiendish Klingons. Spock informs the doctor of the alien's presence and Kirk adds that the alien is their real enemy, but McCoy believes that they must obliterate the Klingons in what he calls a "fight to the death".
After the doctor angrily exits the room, Kang hails the bridge. The Klingon notifies Kirk that his soldiers have captured the engineering section of the ship. Kang is now in control of the Enterprise's power and life-support systems. The Klingon warns Kirk that he will "die of suffocation in the icy cold of space", shortly before the bridge darkens.
- The Enterprise is heading out of our galaxy, controlled by a mysterious alien somewhere aboard the ship. Engineering has been taken over by Klingons who have cut off life-support systems.
With Kirk's authorization, Sulu leaves to protect the life support circuits and auxiliary power in emergency manual control. Mr. Scott enters, irrationally desperate to fight the Klingons. Influenced by the alien entity, the engineer trades insults with Spock. Kirk stops Spock moments before the Vulcan can assault Scotty, but begins to insult the science officer himself. The captain gradually realizes that he and his two officers are being manipulated by the entity. He wonders why the alien seems to be staging a war between his crew and the Klingons. Spock notes the importance of finding the entity, determining its motives, and stopping it from causing any further hostilities.
From a Jefferies tube, Sulu reports that systems should be functioning but are not responding. Suddenly, power and life-support are restored but the helmsman claims he was not responsible.
Aware of the sudden change, Mara notifies Kang that sensors are holding steady. She reports that she is neither able to cause them to falter nor deviate from the ship's course on a new heading for the Klingon Empire. Kang angrily ponders the nature of the power that supports his men in battle but stops them from achieving victory. Under Kang's orders, Mara leaves engineering with another Klingon officer and heads to the ship's main life-support couplings on deck 6.
As the alien continues to creep through the Enterprise, Spock detects the entity using the ship's newly resumed sensors. He and Kirk exit the bridge and take a turbolift toward the engineering section, where the anomaly is hiding.
Meanwhile, Chekov unknowingly follows the alien through a corridor. When he hears a door open and close behind him, Chekov hides in a corner. He attacks Mara and the Klingon officer accompanying her as they pass by. After the officer falls to the ground unconscious, Chekov tries to rape Mara but is stopped by Kirk when he arrives with Spock. Kirk slaps the Russian several times, but Spock reminds him that Chekov was not in control of himself. Nevertheless, the Russian's body slumps to the ground. Although Kirk tries to explain the situation to Mara and pleads for a temporary truce, she does not respond. Spock takes her away securely while Kirk follows close behind, carrying Chekov in his arms.
In sickbay, McCoy scans Chekov's brainwaves and determines that the Russian was suffering from paranoid mania. The doctor also tells Kirk that several officers, including Johnson, have suffered serious injuries that are healing at a miraculously accelerated rate. Spock deduces that the alien wants the officers to stay alive. As he and the doctor discuss the entity, Johnson regains consciousness unobserved. The lieutenant watches as Kirk, Spock and Mara leave in search of the alien.
Soon, Kirk and his two companions discover the anomaly. Lieutenant Johnson suddenly appears behind Kirk and reports that he is ready for duty. The captain instructs Johnson to return to sickbay, but the lieutenant insanely shouts that he has orders to kill the Klingons. He attacks Kirk with a sword, though loses consciousness again when Spock employs the Vulcan nerve pinch.
Kirk and Spock observe that the alien's life energy momentarily increased during Johnson's emotional outburst. This leads the officers to suspect that the entity thrives on the hateful emotions of others. To combat the alien, Kirk and Spock agree that they must join forces with the Klingons and eliminate all hateful emotions from the ship. The captain uses an intercom to contact Kang, but Mara rushes forward and warns the Klingon commander that Kirk has set a trap.
As Kang's mind is being affected by the entity, he refuses to answer any further hails. Scotty contacts Kirk from the bridge, informing the captain that the ship's dilithium crystals are deteriorating and will be completely depleted in twelve minutes. With the crew's losing their minds to the alien seeming inevitable, and with the ship drifting powerless in space, Kirk asks Mara if she now believes that the entity exists.
- Captain's log, stardate... Armageddon. We must find a way to defeat the alien force of hate that has taken over the Enterprise, stop the war now, or spend eternity in futile, bloody violence.
Holding Mara's arm, Kirk accompanies Spock out of a turbolift and onto the bridge. The ship's dilithium crystals are still being strained and, according to Spock, will be totally depleted in less than ten minutes. Scotty and the science officer recommend using Mara to force Kang into agreeing to a truce. Kirk contacts Kang and carries out the suggestion, threatening the Klingon commander that Mara will be killed in five minutes if he does not reply. But Kang simply accepts that his wife is a victim of war. After closing the communications channel to Kang, Kirk assures Mara that the Federation does not kill its prisoners.
Mara realizes that the alien entity actually exists. Scotty tells her that the Klingons are also under alien power and that a truce would save both the Klingons and Humans aboard the Enterprise. However, Mara insists that her people must continue to hunt and fight in order to survive. When Kirk tells her that mutual trust and assistance can also help a civilization endure, Mara agrees to help the captain and take him to Kang.
With less than nine minutes before the ship loses power, Kirk decides to use intra-ship beaming to transport through the Klingon defenses and reach Kang. The process is extremely dangerous but the captain chooses to take the risk. Kirk and Mara transport from the ship's transporter room into engineering.
Against Mara's objections, Kirk and Kang fight each other. Outside, a team of Starfleet security officers led by Spock and McCoy battle several Klingons. The senior officers leave the confrontation and enter engineering. They watch as Kirk surrenders and finally manages to persuade Kang that they are all being controlled by an alien. Eventually, the Klingon commander purposefully drops his sword. He and Kirk use ship-wide intercom to direct their troops to cease hostilities. When the officers comply, the entity is weakened by the abrupt termination of violence.
Calling the alien a "dead duck", Kirk urges the anomaly to leave the ship. At Spock's suggestion that "good spirits" may help to combat the entity, Kirk laughs with McCoy and Kang, and the alien eventually departs.
- "Captain's Log. Stardate ... Armageddon."
"More Federation treachery – we are prisoners."
- - Kang, after arriving aboard the Enterprise
"Four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man."
- - Kang's officer, quoting a Klingon proverb
"Patience... vigilance. They will make their mistake."
- - Kang, responding to his officer
"Out! We need no urging to hate humans! But for the present, only a fool fights in a burning house."
- - Kang, quoting a Klingon proverb
"There are rules, even in war – you don't keep hacking at a man after he's down!"
- - McCoy, under the influence of the entity
"May I say that I have not enjoyed serving under humans. I find their illogic and foolish emotions a constant irritant."
"Then transfer out – freak!"
- - Spock and Scott, under the influence of the entity
"Look at me... look... at... me!"
- - Kirk
"I, too, felt a brief surge of racial bigotry – most distasteful."
- - Spock after recovering
"I shall attempt a compensatory reading of Klingon units."
- - Spock
"She is a prisoner of war, Captain; she understands."
- - Kang, on Kirk's bluff threat to Mara
"You are not going to–?"
"The Federation doesn't kill or mistreat its prisoners; you've been listening to propaganda broadcasts."
- - Mara and Kirk
"Just don't put me inside a bulkhead."
- - Kirk, before intra-ship beaming
"All right." (tosses sword aside) "All right! In the heart, in the head; I won't stay dead! And then, I'll come back and do the same to you – I'll kill you! And it goes on and on; the good old game of war! Kill the bad guys!"
- - Kirk, to Kang
"There was a Federation colony on this planet! It was destroyed!"
"By what? No bodies, no ruins... a colony of the invisible?"
"Yes, a test of a new Klingon weapon leaving no traces. Federation ships don't specialize in sneak attacks!"
- - Kirk and Kang
"The Klingons have maintained a dueling tradition. They think they can beat us with swords."
- - Kirk, making an observation
- This was later picked up and used in The Next Generation.
"You attacked my ship! Four hundred of my crew dead! Kirk, my ship is disabled. I claim yours. You are now prisoners of the Klingon Empire against which you've committed a wanton act of war!"
- - Kang, accusing Kirk by way of greeting
"I don't propose to spend the rest of my life on this ball of dust arguing your fantasies! The Enterprise is mine!"
- - Kang, "commandeering" the Enterprise
"I shall torture you... to death... one by one... until your noble captain cries enough."
- - Kang, endeavoring to learn why his ship was attacked
"This is Captain Kirk. A truce is ordered. The fighting is over. Lay down your weapons."
"This is Kang. Cease hostilities. Disarm."
- - Kirk and Kang, burying the hatchet
- Michael Ansara reprised his role as Kang in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Blood Oath" and the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Flashback".
- Ansara played a Klingon-like role in Daryl Zanuck's historical film The Egyptian; as a Hittite general with a brain tumor, he declared to his physician "No Hittite warrior cries out in pain."
- Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons named his recurring alien characters Kang and Kodos, after a character in TOS: "The Conscience of the King" and the character from this episode.
- Bantam Books published a series of novelizations called "foto-novels," which took photographic stills from actual episodes and arranged word balloons and text over them, to create a comic book formatted story. The tenth installment was an adaptation of this episode. It is the only third season episode that was adapted to this format.
- During the fight in the corridor after the entity changes the weapons into swords, just before Kirk's group backs into the elevator, one of the props attached to the wall is dislodged and rolls around on the floor. It is back in place about three minutes later when Chekov storms past it.
- In the briefing room scene where objects turn to swords, Kirk and company back out through the doors into the hallway. From this angle, the corridor wall is bathed in a purplish light. However, in the next shot from inside the corridor, the end of the corridor is painted purple, not the wall, making it impossible to have been able to see any purple from the previous angle from inside the briefing room.
- This episode marks the only appearance in the original series of a female Klingon. In fact, we see two of them. This is particularly interesting as a line by Koloth in "The Trouble with Tribbles" suggests that females ("non-essentials", as Koloth put it) don't serve on Klingon vessels.
- Although intra-ship beaming is routine in later incarnations of 'Star Trek', this is the first and only time it is done in the original series.
- When Chekov attacks Mara, her makeup comes off on his hands. Later, when Kirk punches Chekov, his hands hit the corridor wall, leaving handprints in makeup.
- The Klingon who says, "Stand and fight, you cowards!" is Pete Kellett, previously appearing in "Mirror, Mirror" as Farrell, Kirk's henchman.
- At the end of the episode, although the entity is shown on the upper level of Engineering, that's not where the characters are looking. This might have been due to the fact that the background opposite the main wall was composed of a stilted platform that held up the Emergency Manual Monitor set. The set pieces through which Kirk searched for his double in "The Enemy Within" had been modified when the set was remodeled for the second season. According to set drawings, the walls of the bridge set would have been directly behind the open end of the engineering set.
- John Colicos was originally going to return as Commander Kor for this episode. Another committment made this impossible. This is probably why James Blish's short-story adaptation described Kang as having "harsh, Mongol-like features." The short story also had Galloway, not Johnson, as the one with the heart wound.
- In the film Koyaanisqatsi, the scene of Mara and Chekov can be seen for an instant in the fast montage of television images.
- Stunt performer Charles Picerni is uncredited as the security guard who assists Scott and Sulu.
- George Takei appears for a split second in Engineering at the very end of the show, although he is not seen in the hallway as the crew fight their way in. This suggests that there was some footage cut from this scene.
- This is the only time Mr. Sulu is seen in Engineering or working in a Jefferies tube.
- Ubiquitous stunt man and extra Jay Jones can also be seen as a Klingon in a few scenes.
- For whatever reason, Majel Barrett's computer voice is done in a much higher register in this episode and has a strong echo effect. These characteristics are not repeated in any of the episodes to come.
- The Klingon agonizer used on Chekov is the same one seen in "Mirror, Mirror".
- When the entity exits the Enterprise at the end of the episode, it is seen leaving through the front center of the secondary hull, thus canonizing the location of Main Engineering in a Constitution class starship for the first time.
- Footage of the Klingon ship is reused from "Elaan of Troyius" which aired after this episode.
- The footage of engineering, with the hovering entity, was also re-used in "The Tholian Web", with a floating Kirk instead.
- It is established that Kang's cruiser carried a crew of 400+ when he says "400 of my crew dead". The actual complement may be closer to 440 because Mara says there were "40 (Klingon survivors) against 400 of them (Enterprise crew)".
- The officers' quarters are apparently in the saucer section, possibly Deck 6, as seen when the entity moves through circular corridors and there's a sign that says "Officers Quarters 6F-38". Kang and his shipmates also seem to be detained on this deck because Kirk orders them to be held not in the brig but in the officer's lounge. Also, if the turbolift "deck indicator" can be believed, there were about 6 decks between the bridge and this floor, with sickbay being in-between at around deck 5 or 4. All of the action in the episode seems to happen at no lower than deck 7, which is squarely in the primary saucer hull, and this includes Engineering, Auxiliary Control, and the Armory.
- Spock says the Klingons control deck 6 and starboard deck 7, while they control everything above. At the time, the Enterprise's crew controlled Engineering, which means Engineering must be on either port deck 7 or anywhere from deck 5 and up. However, in the next scene, Scotty comes up a ladder shaft and walks through the nearby doors into the "Engineering Section" which is clearly marked by a sign on the wall. This means Engineering cannot be on "port deck 7" but anywhere from deck 5 and up, again placing Engineering squarely in the saucer.
- There is also a room or area called "emergency manual control" which seems to be the famous "Jefferies tube", because Kirk orders Sulu to go down there and we next see Sulu standing in it fiddling with switches.
- The "main life support couplings" are on deck 6, as Mara says, and this is where she goes when she is confronted by Chekov.
- Spock says "Reactor Number Three" is near Engineering, and both are next to a curved corridor, again indicating saucer location for Engineering. The entity moves from this curved corridor into Engineering, and in the next scene emerges again into the curved corridor, which seems to be deck 6 because Mara has come to fiddle with the "main life support couplings". Mara and guard seem to have slipped out of the red door to their left, which seems to be the door to Engineering, which they just left Kang in. All of this points to a deck 6 location for Engineering. It should be noted that the room itself is so tall it occupies two decks, so the upper part could be in the "hump" of the upper part of the saucer, which is deck 5.
- Jerome Bixby's original draft had the Klingons and Enterprise crew driving the entity away by singing songs and having a peace march.
- In one scene, Chekov attacks a Klingon guard escorting Mara to the life support circuits on deck 6. Kirk and Spock rescue Mara, but take no notice of the unconscious, or dead, guard.
- The final shot, of the alien entity leaving the Enterprise, is extremely similar to the final shot of TNG: "Emergence", in which an entity created by the holodecks aboard the USS Enterprise-D leaves the ship.
- Kang states that the Federation and the Klingon Empire had been at peace for three years prior to this episode, evidently referring to the Treaty of Organia from "Errand of Mercy". However, based on the widely-accepted chronology for the original series, this treaty would have just been signed the previous year. However, he could have meant the amount of time in Klingon years.
- Mr. Sulu apparently wields a Japanese-style katana in this episode. Mr. Scott calls his sword a "claymore." It appears to be a basket-hilted claymore instead of the earlier and more famous two-handed claymore of Scottish highlanders. Kirk has a 18th Century cutlass.
- According to Emerson Bixby, son of Jerome Bixby, James Doohan was taken aside before filming his dramatic scene on the bridge. Much to Doohan’s delight, Bixby asked him to pronounce the word "Vulcan" to sound euphonically like a certain expletive. Listen closely to Scotty’s stern insistence that Spock keep his hands off of him.
- Kirk and Kang already seem to know one another. Kang uses the captain's name in the teaser; Kirk uses the Klingon commander's name at the beginning of Act One. This may have been due to Kor having originally been written as the Klingon commander for this episode.
- A bit of dialogue in Star Trek III-The Search for Spock is reminiscent of dialogue in this episode, specifically the scene when Kang forces Kirk to beam the Klingons aboard the Enterprise.
Day of the Dove
Kang: "Don’t plan any tricks Kirk. I will kill one hundred hostages at the first sign of treachery."
Kirk: "I’ll beam you aboard the Enterprise--once there…no tricks."
And The Search for Spock
Kruge: "No tricks Kirk--you have one minute!"
Kirk: "No tricks…I’m looking forward to meeting you."
- Story outline by Jerome Bixby, 28 March 1968
- Story outline, 15 April 1968
- Story outline, 7 May 1968
- Story outline, 3 June 1968
- Teleplay by Jerome Bixby, 2 August 1968
- First draft script, 9 August 1968
- Final draft teleplay, 15 August 1968
- Revised final draft script, 19 August 1968
- Filmed in late August 1968.
Video and DVD releases
- Original US Betamax release: 1988.
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 34, catalogue number VHR 2430, 7 January 1991.
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994.
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.4, 20 October 1997.
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 33, 18 September 2001.
- As part of the TOS Season 3 DVD collection.
Links and References
- William Shatner as Kirk
- Leonard Nimoy as Spock
- DeForest Kelley as McCoy
- James Doohan as Scott
- George Takei as Sulu
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- Walter Koenig as Chekov
- Michael Ansara as Kang
- Susan Howard as Mara
- David L. Ross as Johnson (Lieutenant)
- Mark Tobin as Klingon crewman
- Majel Barrett as computer voice
- Roger Holloway as Roger Lemli
- Jay Jones as a Klingon crewman
- Pete Kellett as a Klingon crewman
- Charles Picerni as security guard
- David Sharpe as security guard
Archanis IV; armory; auxiliary control; battle cruiser, Klingon; Beta XII-A; Beta XII-A entity; Chekov, Piotr; claymore; Devil; dilithium; distress call; food synthesizer; general quarters; intra-ship beaming; Klingons; Klingon Empire; numanol capsule; Organian Peace Treaty; science officer; theragen.
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