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"The last of its kind."
– Robert Crater, 2266 ("The Man Trap")

The M-113 creature was the sole surviving member of an otherwise extinct species. (TOS: "The Man Trap")

Manifestations Edit

Nancy Crater Edit

"We were unaware each member of the landing party was seeing a different woman, a different Nancy Crater."
– James T. Kirk, 2266 ("The Man Trap")

Nancy Crater was the primary personification for the last living M-113 creature to inhabit planet M-113. Her appearance was the form of the former female Human civilian Nancy Crater, the late wife of archaeologist Robert Crater, who was killed by the very same creature in 2265.

In 2264 or 2265, the last of the M-113 creatures murdered Nancy Crater, an act that almost drove her widower, Robert, to destroy it. In the end, the fact that it was the last of its kind, or perhaps its ability to assume any form, stayed his hand, and he lived with it for a year or more.

In 2266, the creature was given an opportunity to secure more salt – which was especially vital as the Crater expedition was dangerously low on salt by that time – when the USS Enterprise visited M-113 for routine medical checks of the two scientists working there, unaware Nancy Crater had been killed.

Captain Kirk led a landing party to the surface of M-113 to perform the routine medical examinations required of all scientific expeditions. On the planet, the landing party encountered who they thought was Nancy Crater. What the landing party saw was actually the M-113 creature impersonating Nancy Crater.

Each member of the landing party saw a different woman, although they weren't aware of that.The first image McCoy saw was Nancy as he remembered her, like a girl of twenty-five. The first image Kirk saw was Nancy as he expected her to be, an older woman with gray in her hair. The closest the landing party came to realizing they were seeing different women was when Crewman Darnell remarked that Nancy reminded him of a woman he'd met on Wrigley's pleasure planet – a comment that drew a sharp rebuke from McCoy. Later, McCoy saw the same woman Kirk saw; he chalked his earlier view up to affectionate memory and dismissed it.

The primary forms were portrayed by Jeanne Bal, the alternate form was by Francine Pyne.

Green Edit

M-113 creature as Green

...then as Crewman Green

The creature's hunger drove it to murder crewmen Darnell, Sturgeon and Green on the surface of M-113 (which was strewn with archaeological remains). As Nancy Crater, it blamed Darnell's death on ingestion of a Borgia plant.

Impersonating Crewman Green, it returned to the Enterprise, where chance saved Yeoman Janice Rand from becoming its next victim. It followed her when she brought Sulu his dinner, and might have murdered both officers except that Beauregard, a curious plant in the botany section of the life sciences department, scared it off.

This form was portrayed by Bruce Watson.


Uhura's crewman Edit

M-113 creature as Uhura's crewman

An imaginary crewman

An encounter with Uhura, as a crewman drawn from her mind, also proved frustrating for it. Seconds from killing her, it was distracted by Sulu and Rand. It later murdered crewman Barnhart on Deck 9.

This form was portrayed by Vince Howard.


Leonard McCoy Edit

M-113 creature as McCoy

Leonard McCoy

The creature returned to the form of Nancy and sought out McCoy. She convinced the doctor that he was tired and convinced him to lie down. Around this time, Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Commander Spock found Professor Crater on the surface of M-113, and returned to the ship with him. The creature, then impersonating Dr. McCoy, sat in on a staff meeting at which Crater admitted he knew how to identify it. Before Crater could reveal or be made to reveal how this might be done, the creature murdered him, attempted to feed off Spock, who survived, presumably due to the differing composition of Vulcans' blood salts, and fled to McCoy's quarters.

This form was portrayed by DeForest Kelley.


Nancy Crater again Edit

"Lord, forgive me."
– Leonard McCoy, before shooting the creature, 2266 ("The Man Trap")
Kirk McCoy & Nancy

As Nancy one final time

There was some evidence that McCoy's strong love for Nancy Crater affected the creature. On several occasions, it could have easily killed him, and did not. Additionally, as Nancy, it sought him out for protection when its nature had been at least partially discovered, and it was being hunted. In said case, Kirk found the creature in McCoy's quarters, and attempted to lure it to him with salt.

In a resulting scuffle, it overpowered Kirk and began to feed on him. It wasn't until the creature dropped its hypnotic projection, and Kirk began to scream from the pain of salt extraction, that McCoy shot and killed the creature. (TOS: "The Man Trap")

Appendices Edit

Background information Edit

Sandra Gimpel

Sandra Gimpel taking a break from playing the M-113 creature

In its true form, the creature was portrayed by Sandra Gimpel. When the creature posed as other characters, it was played by Jeanne Bal, Francine Pyne, Bruce Watson, DeForest Kelley, and Vince Howard. As such, the character was played by more performers than any other single character in Star Trek: The Original Series. (The Star Trek Compendium 4th ed., p. 36)

Behind the scenes, this creature was commonly referred to as the "Salt Sucker". (Star Trek Encyclopedia (2nd ed., p. 281)) Among fans, it is popularly known as the "Salt Vampire". (Star Trek Compendium 4th ed., p. 36) Sandra Gimpel once referred to it as "the salt monster." [1]

In the final draft script of "The Man Trap", Nancy Crater was established as being an archaeologist, in common with her husband, though the final version of the episode leaves the impression she was a civilian instead.

Apocrypha Edit

The James Blish novelization, calls her Nancy Bierce. In the novel, A Choice of Catastrophes, Bierce is said to be her maiden name, while the comic Who's Who in Star Trek 1 says her maiden name is Pagano.

McCoy's relationship with Nancy happened while he was still married to but separated from his wife Jocelyn Darnell (β). A Choice of Catastrophes speaks briefly of it when McCoy is musing over his past.

External link Edit

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