travels to the planet Psi-2000 to pick up a scientific party on the planet and watch the ancient planet's disintegration. Spock and Lt. Tormolen beam down and discover that all of the station personnel have frozen to death in the planet's sub-arctic conditions. They split up to investigate and Tormolen determines that the engineer turned off the heating systems and froze to death at his controls. One man strangled a woman, and another man died while taking a shower, fully clothed. Tormolen checks out a console and has trouble working the sensor control. He removes his protective glove and starts scanning, and inadvertently touches a bloodstain on a console. Spock contacts the ship and informs Kirk that the all six station crew are dead.
Spock and Tormolen beam back up to the ship and go through decontamination. Kirk orders McCoy to look them over in Sickbay. Both crewmen appear healthy but Tormolen emotionally describes what happened to Kirk as he arrives. Kirk reassures him and Spock admits he has no idea what happened and Tormolen once again appears emotionally overwhelmed. He also rubs at his hand and side and begins sweating profusely.
The command crew reviews the record tapes and note the personnel behaved irrationally. Spock and McCoy can find no contamination and Kirk notes that they have to maintain a tight orbit around the planet to monitor its breakup. Scotty assures them that they can warp out immediately upon command. They're interrupted when Uhura informs them that the planet is beginning to break up.
In the mess hall, Tormolen is having a meal and sits down as Sulu and Lt. Riley arrive and discuss Sulu's newest hobby, fencing.. They sit with Tormolen, who snaps at them briefly. All personnel are called to stations and Tormolen starts ranting about the dangers of space and the fact they have no business being in space. Tormolen grabs a knife and threatens them with it, and then turns it on himself. Riley and Sulu struggle with him but he ends up stabbing himself.
Later, Riley and Sulu are on the bridge monitoring the ship during the breakup. Both men begin sweating while Spock reviews Tormolen's psych profile. He notes that Tormolen's self-doubt profile has always been high but something brought it to the surface with remarkable force.
In Sickbay, McCoy and Nurse Chapel operate on Tormolen but his vitals plummet despite their best efforts. McCoy is unable to explain why Tormolen is dying. They can only look on as Tormolen dies on the surgical table despite the fact the wounds weren't that severe.
On the bridge, a distracted Riley fails to compensate initially for another flux in the planet's surface. McCoy calls Kirk to Sickbay, and the captain checks to make sure Scotty is on standby before leaving. Sulu complains about sweating and invites Riley to join him in the gym for a fencing session. Riley refuses and Sulu sneaks off.
McCoy, sweating, tells Kirk that Tormolen simply seemed to give up. Kirk wonders if the incident is related to the deaths on the planet but Kirk wants everything checked out, including the impossible.
On the bridge, Spock notices that Sulu has left and puts Uhura at his post. Riley begins speaking with a heavy Irish accent and boasting of how competent he is. Spock orders him to Sickbay and Riley swaggers off, claiming he was heading there all along. The first officer calls Security to tell them to make sure Riley arrives at Sickbay and then summons Kirk to the bridge. Riley arrives at Sickbay and taps Chapel on the shoulder, asking where Tormolen is. She tells him he died but Riley holds her chin and compliments her, casually dismisses Tormolen's death, and then leaves. Chapel begins sweating profusely.
Sulu starts roaming the halls, swinging his epee and attacking crewmen. Meanwhile, Kirk gets to the bridge and demands a report from Spock. They send out a security alert for Sulu and Riley and a medical check on everyone who comes in contact with them. Uhura learns of Sulu's activities and Spock concludes that each infected crewman is displaying hidden personality traits. Psi-2000 shifts again and they discover the helm isn't responding and they're unable to get engine power. As they try to contact Engineering, Sulu arrives on the bridge and attacks Kirk and Spock. Uhura manages to distract him long enough for Spock to render him unconscious. They contact Engineering but discover that Riley, now thinking himself the captain, has taken control of all ship's functions and locked the rest of the crew out of the area. As Riley starts singing, Spock warns that they'll hit planetary atmosphere in less than 20 minutes and blow up.
Kirk goes to Engineering where Scotty is trying to get inside by cutting through the nearby wall circuits. On the bridge, Uhura reports increasing incidents among the crew and tries to seal off bulkheads as Kick returns to the bridge. She tries to set off the alert circuits but Riley cuts her off. McCoy informs Kirk that they're keeping Sulu tranquilized but haven't found anything unusual so far. The doctor has no way to snap Riley out of his condition. Scotty reroutes some power to helm, giving them enough to stabilize but not enough to stop their downward spiral.
Scotty continues to cut through the bulkhead and Spock goes down to help him. He warns Scotty they have 14 minutes left but the engineer warns that they can't go any faster without bypassing safety factors. Spock informs him that if he doesn't cut through faster, they won't have a safety factor.
In Sickbay, McCoy is unable to get reports from the lab technicians and goes to get the results. Once he's gone, Sulu's tranquilizer wears off and Chapel, under the effect of the disease, lets her hair down.
On the bridge, another crewman loses control and Kirk has Yeoman Rand take the helm. Kirk and Uhura begin to snap at each other but regain control. Kirk contacts Scotty and tells him that they should barely have enough time to cut through and restart the engines.
Spock arrives in Sickbay and Chapel grabs his hand, and then asks about Vulcan mating rituals. She admits that she's in love with both halves of him, Vulcan and human, and insists that he has feelings. Spock tries to maintain control of his emotions and says that he's sorry. Uhura contacts him via intercom to summon him to the bridge and Spock manages to break away from Chapel and leave Sickbay. Outside, he breaks into tears and walks away. Spock enters a briefing room as he tries to regain control over his emotions.
Kirk goes to Engineering with a security team as Scotty cuts through the wall and opens the door. They easily take Riley captive. However, Scotty warns that Riley totally disabled the ship's engines and it will take them at least 30 minutes to restart them. They only have eight minutes left until they crash.
Kirk and Scotty try to create a controlled implosion. In Sickbay, McCoy finds a cure for Sulu after determining that water has altered on the planet and works like alcohol in the human body, causing a loss of self-control.
Kirk finds Spock in the briefing room, talking about how he never told his mother he loved her. Spock talks about how her emotions were bad taste on Vulcan. Kirk tries to get through to him, slapping him. Spock talks about how ashamed he is of his emotions. Kirk slaps him repeatedly and Spock finally slams him back across the table. Kirk insists they've got to take the slim chance of implosion, and then realizes he's been infected. The captain starts talking about his one true love, the Enterprise
itself, that won't let him live a life of his own. Spock regains his own self-control and comes up with an intermix formula , but warns it's never been tested. Scotty arrives as they enter the upper atmosphere. Kirk fights for control and orders them to clear the corridors to the bridge. Once they've gone, he takes one last look around and insists he'll never lose his ship, and then heads for the bridge.
On the bridge, the crew watches as they plummet toward Psi-2000. McCoy gives Kirk the antidote and the captain orders a hyperbolic course back along the way they came. He briefly considers Rand and turns away. In Engineering, Spock and Scotty prepare the intermix formula and engage. After a brief massive effort, the crew finds themselves a safe distance away. Spock arrives on the bridge and confirms that Kirk is okay. Sulu reports their velocity is off the scale. Their chronometers are running in reverse and they realize they're going backward in time. They reverse power and finally stop, and return to normal time. Spock confirms that they are now 71 hours in the past. Kirk orders a new course to avoid Psi-2000. Share this article with your friends