Commissioner Ferris is aboard the Enterprise
arranging the delivery of vaccines to the plague-ridden New Paris colony on Marcus 3. However, Kirk overrides him to study a quasar like phenomena, Murasaki 312. Spock takes a seven-person shuttlecraft Galileo
out to investigate but it is sucked into the quasar and crash lands.
The quasar has disrupted sensors, radio, and transporters aboard the Enterprise
and Kirk orders a visual search, heading for the only Class M planet, Taurus 5. Spock and the others, including Scotty, McCoy, and astrophysicist Lt. Boma, assess the situation but Spock, in command, warns that the ionization will prevent the Enterprise
from finding them. Scotty informs them that they’ve lost much of their fuel and will have to lose at least 500 pounds to take off again. Spock notes it’s the weight of three full-grown men and McCoy and Boma are taken aback at his cold calculation, with an openly rebellious Boma questioning Spock’s authority to choose.
You wouldn’t be interested in drawing lots?
Two of the other shuttlecraft party, Latimer and Gaetano, survey the surrounding territory. They are surrounded by low bestial noises and Latimer is killed with a thrown spear. Spock and Boma find him standing over the body and unable to describe exactly what attacked: apparently some kind of large apelike creature.
Kirk orders the shuttlecraft Columbus
out to the search for the party, while Commissioner Ferris continues to point out that they should never have sent out a shuttlecraft, and that they will have to leave in two days to make sure the vaccines get to the New Paris colony. Kirk is not amused.
I intend to continue the search, inch by inch, by candlelight if necessary, until the last possible moment. If you’d keep your nose off my bridge, I’d be thankful.
Spock prefers to work on shuttlecraft repairs rather than speak a few words as captain over Latimer’s body. An angry Boma and McCoy tend to the burial while Scotty reports they’ve lost all the fuel. The native creatures start approaching again and Spock orders Boma and Gaetano to accompany him out where they fire the phasers on a wide arc to scare them off. Boma isn’t happy, feeling they should attack directly, but Spock believes they’ve driven off the creatures long enough to make repairs. He has Gaetano stand watch while he and Boma go back to the Galileo
has reestablished transporter operations and Kirk orders landing parties to the planet, while having the Columbus
increase its search path despite the possibility it might overlook dozens of miles of terrain on each sweep.
The primitives attack Gaetano, disarming him with a well-thrown rock. They drive him away from his fallen phaser then one of them corners and kills him. Scotty has come up with a way to refuel the shuttlecraft, using the phaser power packs. Spock and the others find Gaetano gone and he orders the others back to the shuttlecraft with his phaser and Gaetano’s while he searches for Gaetano’s body and brings it back to the shuttlecraft despite the native attacks. Spock can’t understand why the natives attacked them so soon, unable to understand their emotional response. The creatures start to attack the shuttlecraft with boulders and Spock has Scotty uses the ignition battery to electrify the hull, driving them back. Boma asks for a burial service for Gaetano and Spock reluctantly agrees once he’s sure it’s safe.
All right, Mr. Boma, you’ll have your burial… provided the creatures will permit it.
With less then three hours remaining, Ferris warns Kirk that he will have to order the Enterprise
to proceed to New Paris whether they find the missing crew or not, overriding the captain. A landing party reports back with fatalities, noting the natives are all over the planet. Kirk is forced to start ordering the return of the landing parties and shuttlecraft Columbus
so they can depart.
The coast is clear and Spock orders the burial to begin, while Scotty confirms they have enough fuel from the phasers to make a controlled liftoff… but will have to come down again in a few hours. The natives attack and Spock is trapped under a rock. Boma and McCoy free him and get back into the shuttlecraft, but the primitives hold them down and Spock fires the boosters, using up most of their fuel supply. They achieve orbit but Scotty warns them that they will now crash when their orbit decays.
By coming after me, you may well have destroyed your slim chance for survival.
Kirk orders the Enterprise
out of the system… at impulse power.
Aboard the shuttlecraft, Spock considers his first and last command… then jettisons the fuel and ignites it in a desperation move. They begin an uncontrolled re-entry almost immediately but the Enterprise
spots the fuel and turns around. Just as the Galileo
begins to disintegrate from the heat, the surviving crew are beamed back to safety.
Back on board, Kirk gently teases Spock about the fact he made an emotional gamble based on pure emotion, but Spock won’t concede the matter… and everyone has a laugh.
Mr. Spock, you are a stubborn man.