Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)


"Captain's log, stardate 5468.2. A request has been received at Starfleet Headquarters from a recently contacted civilization – the system of Marpaplu – for accreditation as an associate member of the United Federation of Planets. The Enterprise has been ordered to Marpaplu to consider final processing of the Marpapluan application."

Counselor Nice Housenik, ambassador from Marpaplu, beams up to the Enterprise to complete negotiations with Captain Kirk. Kirk leads the counselor on a tour of the bridge, and when Housenik asks about the controls on his command chair, Kirk starts a fit of uncontrolled laughter, and begins scratching himself. McCoy, Uhura and the others on the bridge follow suit, as does Montgomery Scott (who beamed Housenik aboard) and – eventually – most of the crew, save Spock.

When McCoy leads the counselor to sickbay to examine him, he discovers hundreds of microscopic bugs on both the counselor's and his own skin. When shown the bugs, Housenik claims "they're only meegees", presuming everyone has a colony of the bugs on their person. When Spock relates that the opposite is normally true, and that meegees seem to be native only to Marpaplu, the counselor apologizes profusely and explains that they have a symbiotic relationship with the bugs, who feed on the happy thoughts and pleasant emotions of their hosts. They have had to come to this arrangement because the meegees cannot be destroyed without seriously damaging their host.

Suddenly, a frustrated Scott enters sickbay to complain that his whole engineering crew has succumbed to the meegee attack, leaving them unable to tend his beloved engines. The situation has left Scott severely depressed, even to the point of tears. When McCoy notices that Scott isn't laughing or scratching, he takes a skin sample from the chief engineer, only to discover the meegees on Scott's body are dead. McCoy theorizes that strong negative emotions – such as Scott's frustration and sadness – can starve the meegees to death. Kirk makes a ship-wide announcement ordering the crew to think such sad thoughts so as to kill off the infestation. This leads Kirk to comment to McCoy that such an announcement was "the saddest order I've ever had to give", thus leading both officers to a depressed state. This quickly kills off the meegees, who are not used to such a concentration of negative emotions. Even Counselor Housenik's own colony of meegees seems to have died off.

Eager to return to Marpaplu to regain a thriving colony of the bugs, Housnik asks if they can still complete the membership process. Kirk says they can, as long as a provision is put in place that Marpaplu be temporarily quarantined until a method is found to prevent the spread of meegees from the planet. Back on the bridge, McCoy comments that Spock seemingly did not succumb to the meegee attack – he didn't laugh or scratch at any time that he noticed. However, Uhura then comments that she heard Spock giggle earlier. When McCoy prods the Vulcan into giggling again, Spock claims he has never giggled and goes back to work, pushing the rest of the crew on the bridge into their own meegee-less bouts of giggles and laughter.

Memorable quotes

"Humanoid alright, cap'n, but they're not verra big. I've got a ten-year-old cousin about that size..."

- Scott, after beaming up Counselor Housenik

"I am charmed beyond words, Uhura-she."
"Me too!"

- Housenik and Uhura, upon the Counselor being introduced to her

"C'mon, Spock! Giggle for us again!"
"Doctor McCoy, I do not, will not, and never have giggled. And now, if Lt. Uhura has had her fun, I have important work to attend to."

- McCoy and Spock, after Lt. Uhura insists she heard Spock giggle from the meegees

Background information

  • This story was not adapted into a comic book, but was released as a single LP with its own cover art depicting Counselor Housenik and the crew of the Enterprise on the ship's bridge. As with the comic adaptations, this art did make the same error in character depiction of Lt. Uhura, who is shown as a blond Caucasian woman on the cover art (see above picture). It also presumably shows Spock laughing, which he never did in the story (unless you believe that Uhura heard him giggling).
  • Also notable is the voice actor who played Sulu in the previous six stories is absent. The one short line Sulu has in the story is voiced by the same actor who voices Spock.
  • In the story, Scott mentions he has a ten-year-old cousin who is of similar stature to Housenik. This may be an early – if unintentional – reference to Peter Preston.
  • No explanation of what a Fleaver (from the story's title) refers to was ever given in the story. However, the story's title is obviously a play on the old adage, "starve a cold, feed a fever", and the fact that the meegees resemble microscopic fleas.
  • Kirk refers to the Enterprise as a "Federation Cruiser".


  • This story was released a total of five times during the Peter Pan Records run. It could be found on Records #2, #7, #10 (re-release of #2), #17 (re-release of #7) and #23. Of these, it was #7 that had the above-mentioned unique artwork.


Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Peter Pan Records characters.
James T. Kirk 
Enterprise captain.
Enterprise exec and science officer.
Leonard McCoy 
Enterprise surgeon.
Montgomery Scott 
Enterprise chief engineer.
Hikaru Sulu 
Enterprise helmsman.
Enterprise communications officer.
Counsellor Nice Housenik 
Ambassador and representative of the Marpapluan peoples. Like all Marpapluans, he is short and has a very pleasant disposition. As depicted in the above-mentioned artwork, he has greenish-yellow skin, white hair and is balding.


Starfleet Headquarters
Located on Earth in San Francisco, California.
Marpapluan system
Location of the home planets of the Marpapluans.
Microscopic, quick-breeding, near-indestructible flea-like parasites that "feed" on pleasant emotions; can be killed by use of strong acid (which would also damage the host) or by the host giving off strong negative emotions (anger, frustration, sadness, etc.). Tend to cause an itch-like tickling of host if they sense a lack of nice emotions, thus trying to induce laughter and the emotions on which they feed. All Marpapluans carry a colony of meegees on their bodies, and can infest others with them if in close proximity for even a short time period.

Previous audio production: Series Next audio production:
"The Time Stealer" Peter Pan Records "A Mirror for Futility"