arrives at Exo-III to conduct a search for the missing archeological expedition of Dr. Roger Korby. On the bridge is also Christine Chapel, Korby’s fiancée. They get a signal from the planet, from Korby himself saying his team is alive and well but asking only Kirk to come down to the planet. However, once he’s told that Christine is aboard he’s glad to have her come down as well.
Kirk and Christine beam down to a cave on the frigid planet at Korby’s designated coordinates, but don’t find him there. Kirk calls down two security guards and leaves one on station while he takes the other one to search into the caverns. Korby’s assistant Brown finds them and apologizes for being late, but a scream rings out as the security guard plummets to his death in a bottomless ravine. None of them see a huge bald man-like figure slip away in the shadows.
Kirk calls the other security guard and tells him to notify the Enterprise
if he and Christine don’t check in. Just after Kirk signs off, the same giant kills the remaining security guard.
Brown takes them to the archaeological team’s quarters while talking about an ancient civilization that once inhabited Exo-III. In the quarters they find Andrea, a woman who Christine wasn’t aware was part of the team. Korby comes in and enthusiastically greets them, embracing his fiancée. Kirk tries to contact his security guard and doesn’t get an answer, and Brown draws a phaser gun on him when he tries to signal the Enterprise
. Kirk uses Andrea as a shield and manages to shoot Brown, seemingly killing him. The giant comes in and quickly disarms Kirk, who realizes that “Brown” is actually an android.
The giant, another android named Ruk, impersonates Kirk’s voice and signals Spock that everything is okay. Korby tries to get Kirk on his side and has Ruk demonstrate his ability to mimic voices, including Christine’s. Kirk taunts Korby into commanding the robot never to disobey his fiancée. Meanwhile, Andrea (another android) goes to see Christine, who wonders exactly what purpose a young attractive female android served for Korby. Korby demonstrates that Andrea is simply a machine with no emotions, and has “it” first kiss then slap Kirk with equal disregard.
Kirk is then taken to the duplication chamber where he’s strapped to a spinning table opposite a green human-shaped blob. Kirk’s taken for a spin and the result is a perfect duplicate. As Korby prepares to duplicate his mental patterns, the captain concentrates on thoughts of bigotry against Spock.
Later Chapel and Kirk are left together and they discuss Korby’s case… until “Kirk” reveals he’s the duplicate. The real Kirk is brought in, a prisoner, and the two of them trade gibes over who is better. Korby begs for Kirk to hear him out, promising that he’ll be able to achieve total transfer of consciousness, putting people into immortal android bodies. Kirk isn’t impressed and manages to get out of the chamber. Ruk goes in pursuit and Chapel goes after them, ordering Ruk not to kill the captain. The android catches Kirk, who stumbles over the edge of an abyss, but saves him at the last second.
The android Kirk goes to the Enterprise
to get the command pack for Korby to review, but when Spock confronts him he casually snaps into a bigoted rant before going back to normal. “Kirk” head back to the planet but Spock realizes something is wrong and orders a security party to stand by.
Andrea goes to see the real Kirk, still a prisoner, and starts to kiss and then slap him. He stops her from completing the earlier sequence, which seems to confuse her programming. Ruk then visits the captain, who taunts the android into remembering his creators, the “Old Ones.” Ruk remembers how the Old Ones became illogical, and he overrode his programming to kill them when they posed a threat. He goes after Korby, who is bringing the same illogic and chaos, and the doctor disintegrates him with a phaser. Kirk struggles with Korby and traps his hand in a door, where it is revealed that Korby is an android. The doctor was forced to put his mind inside an android body when he was freezing to death, but insists that he’s the same person he always was, and still loves Christine.
Korby uses the intercom to send Andrea to investigate an intruder: the android Kirk, back on the planet. The confused Andrea tries to kiss the android, who rebut her efforts so she destroys it believing it’s the real Kirk. She then goes in and Korby realizes what she’s done. Kirk tries to get through to Korby’s remaining humanity, pointing out that the “perfect” androids are killing each other and Korby’s only hope is to turn over the gun. Korby does so, but Andrea turns on him and destroys herself and her “creator.” Spock and a security team arrive, but Kirk notes that Dr. Korby was never really there.
Later, Christine agrees to remain on the Enterprise
as a nurse, while Spock is insulted that Kirk called him a half-breed, even as a ruse to escape. Share this article with your friends