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Star Trek: Errand of Mercy

War breaks out between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Spock and Kirk are sent to establish a treaty with the residents of the planet Organia, which occupies a key strategic position. The Organians are complete pacifists who reject Kirk's diplomatic overtures, saying simply that the officers do not understand them. Then the Klingons arrive and take Organians hostage to force them to obey, and Kirk and Spock must work undercover to defeat them, even as the Organians' total disinclination to defend themselves disgusts the Federation officers. Both fleets move to engage in space above Organia, as the officers on the ground below prepare to do the same. And then something happens that changes everything...

Episode Info
Episode number: 1x26
Production Number: 6149-27
Airdate: Thursday March 23rd, 1967

Director: John Newland
Writer: Gene L. Coon

Starring Roles
George TakeiGeorge Takei
As Lt. Hikaru Sulu
Nichelle NicholsNichelle Nichols
As Lt. Nyota Uhura

Guest Stars
John Abbott (1)John Abbott (1)
As Ayelborne

Co-Guest Stars
Walt DavisWalt Davis
As Klingon Soldier #1
George SawayaGeorge Sawaya
As Klingon Lieutenant #2
Peter BroccoPeter Brocco
As Claymare
Victor LundinVictor Lundin
As Klingon Lieutenant #1

Bobby BassBobby Bass
As Klingon Soldier #3
Eddie PaskeyEddie Paskey
As Lt. Leslie
Frank Da VinciFrank Da Vinci
As Brent/Vinci
Gary CombsGary Combs
As Klingon Soldier #2
William BlackburnWilliam Blackburn
As Klingon Guard
Main Cast
William ShatnerWilliam Shatner
As Captain James Tiberius Kirk
Leonard NimoyLeonard Nimoy
As Commander Spock


The Enterprise receives coded orders stating that a Klingon surprise attack is imminent and they're to proceed to the planet Organia and stop the Klingons from setting up a military base there. Spock reports that the Organians are a primitive and peaceful people unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. A Klingon ship launches an attack and the Enterprise is forced to destroy it with opposing fire. Seconds later Starfleet sends out an all-points message saying that the war has begun...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
John Colicos (Kor) would later reprise his role in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Blood Oath", "The Sword of Kahless" and "Once More Unto the Breach".

This episode marks the first appearance of the Klingons on Star Trek.

Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and Peter Brocco (Claymare) previously appeared in The Outer Limits episode "I, Robot" together. They played Judson Ellis and Professor Charles Link respectively.

This is the final episode in which the term "Vulcanian" is used to refer to Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

Episode Quotes
Kirk: Another Armenia, Belgium.
Spock: Sir?
Kirk: The weak innocents. They're always located on the natural invasion routes.

Kirk: The trigger has been pulled. We've got to get there before the hammer falls.

Kirk: Well, there it is--war. We didn't want it, but we've got it.
Spock: Curious, how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want.

Kirk: So, we're stranded here in the middle of a Klingon occupation army.
Spock: So it would seem. Not a very pleasant prospect.
Kirk: You have a gift for understatement, Mr. Spock. It's not a very pleasant prospect at all.

Kirk: I'm a soldier, not a diplomat. I can only tell the truth.

Kor: So you welcome me. Do you also welcome me?
Kirk: You're here. There's nothing I can do about it.
Kor: Good honest hatred. Very refreshing.

Kor: I don't trust men who smile too much.

Kor: We Klingons have a reputation for ruthlessness. You will find that it is deserved. Should one Klingon soldier be killed, a thousand Organians will die.

Kirk: What about Mr. Spock?
Kor: You are concerned.
Kirk: He is my friend.
Kor: You have a poor choice of friends. He will be examined. If he is lying, he will die. If he is telling the truth... he will find that business has taken a turn for the worse.

Kirk: You didn't really think I was going to beat his head in, did you?
Spock: I thought you might.
Kirk: You were right.

Spock: Verbal persuasion seems to be ineffective. Perhaps a more direct approach.
Kirk: That's exactly what I had in mind. Didn't I see something that looked like a munitions dump outside of Kor's headquarters?
Spock: You did.
Kirk: I think it's time we did a little simple and plain communicating. Tonight.
Spock: A very meritorious idea, Captain.

Kor: You speak of courage. Obviously you do not know the difference between courage and foolhardiness. Always it is the brave ones who die, the soldiers.

Kor: You of the Federation, you are much like us.
Kirk: We're nothing like you. We're a democratic body.
Kor: Come now. I'm not referring to minor ideological differences. I mean that we are similar as a species. Here we are on a planet of sheep, two tigers, predators, hunters... killers, and it is precisely that which makes us great. And there's a universe to be taken.
Kirk: It's a very large universe, Commander, full of people who don't like the Klingons.
Kor: Excellent. Then it shall be a matter of testing each other's wills. Of power. Survival must be earned, Captain.

Kirk: Gentlemen, I have no great love for you, your planet, your culture. Despite that, Mr. Spock and I are going to go out there and quite probably die in an attempt to show you that there are some things worth dying for.

Kirk: What are the odds on our getting out of here?
Spock: Difficult to be precise, Captain. I should say approximately 7,824.7-to-1.
Kirk: Difficult to be precise? 7,824-to-1?
Spock: 7,824.7-to-1.
Kirk: That's a pretty close approximation.
Spock: I endeavor to be accurate.
Kirk: You do quite well.

Kirk: Well, what are the odds now?
Spock: Less than 7,000-to-1, Captain. It's remarkable we've gotten this far.
Kirk: Less than 7,000-to-1. Well...getting better. Getting better.

Kor: Think of it, as we sit here, in space above us, the destiny of the galaxy will be decided for the next 10,000 years. Can I offer you a drink? We can toast the victory of the Klingon fleet.
Spock: You may be premature. There are many possibilities.
Kor: Today we conquer. Though if some day we are defeated, well, war has its fortunes good and bad.

Ayelborne: No one has been killed, Captain.
Claymare: No one has died here in uncounted thousands of years.

Kirk: Even if you have some power that we don't understand, you have no right to dictate to our Federation...
Kor: Or our empire!
Kirk: ...how to handle our interstellar relations! We have the right...
Ayelborne: To wage war, Captain? To kill millions of innocent people? To destroy life on a planetary scale? Is that what you're defending?

Kirk: Well, Commander, I guess that takes care of the war. Obviously, the Organians aren't going to let us fight.
Kor: A shame, Captain. It would have been glorious.

Kirk: We think of ourselves as the most powerful beings in the universe. It's unsettling to discover that we're wrong.

What Changed in the Remastered Version
The first space battle receives a nice upgrade, featuring improved phaser effects and an actual adversary. The appearance of Kor's fleet near Organia also comes with actual ship models, courtesy of CGI. Organia itself receives a nice CGI rendering. Hand phaser effects improve, and finally, the Organian dissolve near the end is largely redone, and very nicely, with a number of new effects. This episode started with relatively few visual effects; the remastering cleans it up and improves it significantly. One of the better efforts.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorGene Roddenberry
Executive ProducerGene Roddenberry
ProducerGene L. Coon
Associate ProducerRobert H. Justman
EditorBruce Schoengarth
CastingJoseph D'Agosta
First Assistant DirectorMichael S. Glick
MusicJulian Davidson  |  Alexander Courage
Music EditorJim Henrikson
Music SupervisorWilbur Hatch
Costume DesignerWilliam Ware Theiss  |  Marge Makau
HairstylistVirginia Darcy
Make-upFred B. Phillips
GripGeorge Rader
Set DecoratorMarvin March
Property MasterIrving A. Feinberg
Script SupervisorGeorge A. Rutter
Post Production SupervisorBill Heath
GafferGeorge H. Merhoff
OtherEdward K. Milkis (Assistant to the Producer)  |  Herbert F. Solow (Executive in Charge of Production)  |  D.C. Fontana (Script Consultant (Seasons 2-3))
Director of PhotographyGerald Perry Finnerman
Production SupervisorBernard A. Widin
Art DirectorWalter M. Jefferies  |  Rolland M. Brooks
Sound MixerCarl Daniels  |  Doug Grindstaff
Special EffectsJames Rugg
Main Title ThemeAlexander Courage
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