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

For the VOY episode with a similar title, please see "Blink of an Eye".

The Enterprise is hijacked by hyperaccelerated, sterile aliens who want the crew for breeding stock.



"Ship's Log, Stardate 5710.5, Lieutenant Commander Scott reporting. While exploring an outer quadrant of the galaxy, the Enterprise received distress calls from an apparently uninhabited, incredibly beautiful city on the planet of Scalos. Captain Kirk and a landing party have beamed down to investigate."

Captain Kirk and a landing party respond to the transmission site of the Scalosian distress call, but the planet seems deserted. McCoy and Spock can detect no signs of life but Kirk hears an insect buzzing. Spock reports that the civilization on Scalos was highly advanced, rating 7 on the industrial scale. He will have the abundance of literature translated and processed. Compton vanishes while taking a water sample, right before Dr. McCoy's eyes.

Act One[]

Kirk and the landing party return to the USS Enterprise, where they begin to analyze the mystery. Lieutenant Sulu reports that he is having a malfunction on his console and Nurse Chapel says that the medical supply cabinets have been opened and rummaged through. While being examined by McCoy in sickbay, Kirk hears the strange insect noise again. Kirk and Spock discover an alien device hooked into the Enterprise's environmental controls but they cannot disconnect or destroy it, as it is protected by a force field.

Kirk, Scott and Spock consult the ship's computer, which concludes that an unknown presence is trying to gain control of the Enterprise. The computer recommends negotiation for terms but Kirk refuses. He takes a cup of coffee from a passing yeoman. Kirk hears the buzzing noise again and sets down his coffee on his chair's console arm. Some bubbles appear in his coffee. Kirk's perception slows and the crew on the bridge seem to move in slow motion. Kirk has become hyper-accelerated.

Act Two[]

The Queen of the Scalosians, Deela, has given Kirk an agent that accelerates him to the Scalosian time frame; a Scalosian experiences time much more quickly, to a point where they can no longer be seen by the Enterprise crew. Kirk attempts to stun Deela with a phaser but she easily steps out of the way of the slowly moving beam. Deela is amused by Kirk's defiance; she says that "it always happens this way; they are very upset at first" but "then it wears off and they learn to like it."

The scene momentarily cuts back to normal time; Kirk's sudden disappearance from his chair is noticed by Uhura, Spock, and Sulu. Then, Kirk runs to environmental engineering where he encounters Compton, who has been accelerated and is guarding the entrance. Compton assures Kirk that he will come to accept the new arrangement with the Scalosian invasion of the Enterprise. Kirk overpowers Compton, but Kirk is subdued in the control room by two male Scalosians. Deela fawns over the unconscious Kirk and hopes that she can keep him for a long time. Hopefully, she says, this species is strong enough to last. Kirk awakes, only to see Compton unconscious and exhibiting severe cellular damage. He ages rapidly and dies, becoming another casualty. Kirk ruefully exclaims, "He was so young." "Was," Rael points out.

Kirk makes a recording of his report in a medical lab on a microtape, while Spock, Chapel, and McCoy stand by like statues, moving in the slower time frame. He states that the cause is hyper-acceleration, and that the device in the environmental control will put the Enterprise into a deep freeze. Deela confirms his story, and tells him about the history of her race.

Act Three[]

Radiation poisoning had transformed the population of Scalos, accelerating them out of the normal timeframe and making them sterile. Their only hope, Deela suggests, is to abduct members from other races in order to procreate. Unfortunately, to do this, they must hyper-accelerate the other race, which usually causes them to die quickly. While Deela is distracted talking to Rael, Kirk slips the tape with his recorded message into the machine Spock is using and flees to the transporter room. Deela tries to transport Kirk to the surface, but the transporter is still inoperable thanks to Kirk's sabotage efforts earlier. They retire to Kirk's quarters while the problem is investigated.

Meanwhile, Spock leaves the medical lab when he realizes what the buzzing sound is. He replays the distress call from the science station on the bridge and examines the telemetry from the original away mission. He uses the ship's controls to speed up and slow down the recording. Speeding up the distress call makes it sound like the now familiar buzzing noise. Back in the medical lab, McCoy discovers a tape with the same buzzing sound. He brings the tape to the bridge, where Spock slows it down and then the crew learns of the Scalosian plot.

Having repaired the transporter, Rael tries to inform Deela but she is in Kirk's quarters and does not answer. He interrupts them as they are about to kiss and attacks Kirk.

Act Four[]

Deela subdues Rael with her weapon, and chides him for being jealous. After Rael leaves, Kirk seems to have pleasantly accepted his fate.

McCoy, Chapel, and Spock have synthesized an agent to counteract the hyper-acceleration, but do not know how they will administer it to Kirk. Spock takes the initiative and drinks the Scalosian water sample. Accelerated, he collects the antidote and goes off to find Kirk. The other Scalosians beam down to the surface, and Rael activates the refrigeration device. Catching Deela unaware, Kirk steals her weapon and meets up with Spock; together they incapacitate Rael and destroy the device.

Kirk confronts Deela and asks what they should do with her. Kirk suggests putting her and the other Scalosians in suspended animation, but she notes that their survival does not depend on that. Kirk does not disagree and he believes that if he sends her and Rael back down to Scalos, she and her people would simply incapacitate another vessel with their distress call. Deela says that will not happen any more, as Kirk will undoubtedly warn the Federation and they will quarantine the area. She offers no protest, accepting the fact that it will effectively end her people's difficult quest to restart their race.

Later, in the transporter room, Deela points out that life with her would not be unpleasant but Kirk states that he would rather stay alive. He sends Rael and Deela back down to the surface. Spock gives the counter-agent to Kirk, but says that it has not been tested. Kirk says "Let's test it," and returns to normal time. Kirk appears in front of Scotty, who is both baffled and pleased to see him. Spock remains in accelerated time so he may efficiently effect repairs to the ship, and then returns to normal time — appearing on the bridge. With the Enterprise quickly repaired, Uhura accidentally switches on the video recording of the Scalosians' distress call, which appears on the main viewscreen. Kirk sees the video image of Deela and says goodbye to her.

The Enterprise travels on through space, heading for new adventures.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Who are you?"
"Deela … the enemy."

- Kirk and Deela, in their first encounter on the bridge

"Captain, we have the right to survive."
"Not by killing others."

- Deela and Kirk, on her plans for the Enterprise crew

"They all go so soon. I want to keep this one a long time. He's pretty."

- Deela, to Rael while looking over an unconscious Kirk

"I despise devious people. Don't you?"
"I believe in honest relationships myself."

- Deela and Kirk, after he sabotages the transporter

"A room should reflect its occupant."

- Kirk, on his quarters

"You're married to your career, and you never look at another woman."
"Well, if she's pretty enough, I'll look."

- Deela and Kirk, as he seduces her

"I liked you better before. Stubborn and irritating and independent, like Rael."

- Deela to Kirk, on his behavior

"Captain Kirk! Where the blazes did you come from?""
"Out of the nowhere into the here."

- Scott and Kirk, as Kirk returns from hyper-acceleration

"I found it … an accelerating experience."

- Spock, on hyper-acceleration

Background information[]

Story and script[]

  • Story outline: 22 March 1968, filmed middle through late September.
  • The story concept has an even earlier pedigree: the writer of The Wild, Wild West episode, John Kneubuhl (who made an uncredited story contribution to "Bread and Circuses") based it on an H.G. Wells short story called "The New Accelerator." An episode of the 1966 Lone Ranger animated series also used this plot.
  • The producers managed to slip past the censors the scene suggesting that Deela and Kirk have just had sex. The captain is sitting on the edge of the bed, tugging on his boot, while Deela is busy brushing her hair. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 121)
  • In a note from Gene Roddenberry to Fred Freiberger dated May 29th, 1968, he calls the water "Scalian water", which may be either a mistake on his part or an indication that the name was changed to "Scalosian" later.[1]


  • At the beginning of the episode, Scotty is shown on the bridge recording a log while other dialogue is played over this scene. The footage is reused from "The Empath". This is evident because Scotty wears a very different hairstyle, and another woman takes the place of Uhura. A piece of Scotty's dialogue with Kirk on the planet below from "The Empath" can also be heard, very faintly. In fact, what he is saying originally played over Kirk's communicator in that episode.
  • Chekov is seen in a recycled shot of the viewscreen with his and Hadley's back, but does not appear in the rest of the episode.
  • The Eminiar VII matte painting is recycled here for Scalos, a statue seen in Anan 7's quarters is similar to a statue seen in this episode.
Scalosian fountain

Scalosian fountain

  • This episode was, in essence, a bottle show with the need for only one set, a fountain, which was designed by Matt Jefferies. Jefferies' fountain sketch appeared in the Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook (p. 29).
  • The environmental engineering room, also designed by Jefferies, was a redress of the briefing room set. Jefferies' life support room sketch also appeared in the Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook (p. 29).
Scalosian weapon

Scalosian weapon

  • The Scalosian weapon, also designed by Jefferies, was made from lathe-turned aluminum, and measured approximately 6 ¾" in length. A sketch of the design appeared in the Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook (p. 91). The weapon made a sound identical to Klingon disruptors and the Ardana torture device in "The Cloud Minders".
  • Director Jud Taylor tilted the camera to indicate the journey into hyper-acceleration. This was also a common technique on Batman whenever the camera visited the villain-of-the-week's lair.
  • In the episode trailer, when Compton is accelerated he merely disappears, rather than "flickering out" as he does in the final episode.
  • This was Andrea Weaver's last episode as women's costumer. She went on to join another former Desilu production, Mission: Impossible.
  • During the syndication run of Star Trek, no syndication cuts were made to this episode.

Special effects[]

  • When Kirk shoots at – and misses – Deela on the bridge, it is the only time that a phaser beam is tinted green. It is also the only time when the phaser effect is rendered in traditional beam form during the third season; on all other occasions, a green glow fills the frame.


  • The ultimately used title of this episode was a working title for the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Blink of an Eye", which had the similar premise of a hyperaccelerated alien entering the starship, but without hostile intention that time.
  • After Spock drinks the Scalosian water sample in the medical lab to accelerate him to the Scalosian time frame, Dr McCoy and Nurse Chapel are seen by Spock starting to slow down so that they begin to appear almost motionless. Spock, now in the fully accelerated state, leaves the lab with the samples of synthesized chemicals, needed to counteract the hyper-acceleration, for Kirk and himself. As Spock walks away, McCoy’s eyes can be seeing moving in the accelerated time frame as his eyes follow Spock leaving the scene.

Production timeline[]

Remastered information[]

  • The remastered version of this episode premiered in syndication the weekend of 13 January 2007. New shots of Scalos from space, as well as an enhanced matte painting of the surface were inserted into the episode, alongside more realistic phaser effects. This was the first remastered episode from third season to air and thus featured a "new" opening titles sequence.
The next remastered episode to air was "Where No Man Has Gone Before".

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]


Guest stars[]

Uncredited co-stars[]


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External links[]

Previous episode produced:
"Plato's Stepchildren"
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3
Next episode produced:
"That Which Survives"
Previous episode aired:
"Plato's Stepchildren"
Next episode aired:
"The Empath"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Friday's Child"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"Where No Man Has Gone Before"