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Errand of Mercy - Recap

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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.

The trigger's been pulled. We have to get there before the hammer falls.

The Enterprise arrives at Organia and they detect a fleet of Klingon battleships in the quadrant. Kirk tells Sulu to leave orbit if the fleet approaches Organia and that he and Spock will make do on the planet. The two officers beam down and find themselves in a primitive town. Unusually, none of the locals seem to view their sudden appearance with surprise. There's also a fortress in distance, now ruined, that seems at odds with the Organians' peaceful nature. An elderly man, Ayelborne, arrives and greets them. Kirk asks to meet with the planet's government and Ayelborne explains the closest thing they have is a Council of Elders. Kirk goes with him while Spock asks for and receives permission to wander the town and conduct a survey.

You are our visitors. Welcome. Welcome. I am Ayelborne.

Kirk meets with Ayelborne and the other members of the Council and tries to explain about the Klingons. They seem unimpressed and politely say that they don't need help. Kirk wonders why given they have no defenses but they gently decline to answer. They finally agree to consider his offer and as they do, Spock arrives to inform the captain that Organia hasn't advanced technologically in tens of thousands of years. The Organians announce that they still don't wish to accept Kirk's offer of Federation protection and suggest he and Spock leave before the Klingons arrive. However, Sulu notifies the captain that the Klingons have arrived in orbit and are opening fire. Kirk orders him to leave orbit and make for the Federation fleet. As Sulu leaves, the Organians are somehow aware that the Klingons are beaming down. The Council agrees to help hide the officers from the Klingons.

We can help you build schools, educate the young in the latest scientific skills. Your public facilities
are almost nonexistent. We can help you remake your world, end disease, hunger, hardship.
And all we ask in return is that you let us help you.

The Council provides Kirk and Spock with local clothing and takes their equipment. Before Kirk can find out where the equipment is, Commander Kor, the Klingon leader, arrives in the Council chambers. The Organians welcome him and introduce Kirk as a local, Barona, and Spock as a Vulcan merchant. Kor orders Spock's arrest on suspicion of being a spy. When Kirk objects, Kor notices that he's different from the Organians and believes he can deal with someone similar to himself. He forces Kirk to become the civilian liaison and has Spock taken away for questioning. Kirk and Kor discuss the Klingon rules for keeping order and, again, Kirk is barely able to pretend pacifism. Spock is brought to Kor's office and the Klingon soldier reports that the mind-sifter has confirmed his identity. Kor informs Kirk that the mind-sifter can read a person's thoughts and destroy their mind on the highest settings. He dismisses Kirk and Spock for the time being.

Smile and smile. I don't trust men who smile too much.

Outside, Spock explains that he used Vulcan mental disciplines to shield himself from the mind-sifter. The streets are filled with Klingon occupiers. Kirk suggests they provide the Organians with inspiration by doing some sabotage of their own. They break into an armory and set off a huge explosion. They then go to the Council of Elders who are shocked at their use of violence. Kor, who has the chamber under surveillance, enters the room with his men and takes Kirk and Spock prisoner. When he demands they identify themselves and they refuse, Kor threatens torture and Ayelborne identifies them. Kirk is disgusted at this betrayal and the Organians' pacifism. Kor has Spock locked up and Kirk escorted to his office. He offers the starship captain a drink and talks about how they are similar, and have nothing in common with the Organians. Kirk still refuses to give away any Starfleet information, and Kor gives him twelve hours to reconsider or he'll be exposed to the mind-sifter.

We can record every thought...
every bit of knowledge in a man's mind. Of course, when
that much force is used, the mind is emptied...
permanently, I'm afraid. What's left is more
vegetable than human.

Kirk is placed in a cell with Spock but there is no way to escape. However, after a few hours Ayelborne opens the door and escorts them out. They go to the Council chamber where Kirk wonders if they plan to be betray him again, then asks how the Organians managed to engineer their escape. The Organians simply smile and refuse to explain. Kor hears of their escape and orders the execution of two hundred Organians. Over the loudspeakers he informs them that if they don't surrender Kirk and Spock in two hours, he will kill another two hundred Organians. The Council seems unconcerned about the death of their fellow citizens and Kirk asks for their phases so at least he and Spock can fight back. When Kirk threatens violence, the Organians reluctantly return their equipment. Kirk tells them he's going to quite possibly die for them to defend them.

You've told us you hate violence. Unless you tell me where those phaser are, you'll have more violence
than you know what to do with.

Kirk and Spock infiltrate the Klingon base, unaware that the Organians are somehow tracking their every movement. They break in on Kor and stop him from requesting help. Unconcerned, he tells them that Starfleet has sent its fleet to battle the Klingon armada and the two fleets are meeting above them. He also notes that he is under constant surveillance and a security force breaks in. Kirk and Spock try to defend themselves but everyone discovers their weapons are too hot to hold. Their bodies are equally hot to the touch and they're unable to fight. Above the planet, the crews of both ships find their firing controls equally super-hot.

You have done well to get this far through my guards.
I believe you'll find that several of them are no longer in perfect operating condition.

Ayelborne comes in to tell them that they have grown tired of their bickering and are putting a stop to the violence. He explains what has happened and Kirk confirms that the Enterprise controls are inoperable. Kirk and Kor are both angry at the Organians for interfering and Kirk notes that the Organians should hate the Klingons for the 200 deaths. Ayelborne says that no one has died on their planet for two thousand years. Kirk says they don't have the right to interfere, but Ayelborne notes that the right he's defending is the right to kill. Kirk backs off as Ayelborne says that they would eventually have peace but after millions of deaths. This way they will have the same results without the death toll... whether they like it or not. The Organians say that the Human and Klingon presence is painful to them. Kirk wonders how they are different and Ayelborne explains that they were once human but evolved into higher beings of pure energy. They disappear in a burst of light and Spock concludes that the entire planet has been provided as a convenience for their sensibilities. Kirk notes to Kor that the Organians have effectively ended their war before it even started. Kor is sanguine about his "defeat" but admits it would have been a glorious campaign.

Obviously, the Organians aren't going to let us fight.
A shame, Captain. It would have been glorious.

Later, the Enterprise departs Organia and Kirk contemplates the fact that the Organians are so much more advanced then they are. Spock notes that even the Organians took millions of years to evolve to their current state. He observes that they did manage to beat the odds but Kirk notes that the Organians had set up the whole thing and they never had a chance.

it took millions of years for the Organians
to evolve into what they are. Even the gods did not spring into
being overnight. You and I have no reason to be embarrassed.