Kirk, Scotty, McCoy, and Uhura with the high council of the planet Halka to negotiate dilithium mining rights. The Halkans are pacifists and believes that their crystals would be used in war, but Kirk gives them the option to reconsider while respecting their wishes. An ion storm hits the planet and Kirk calls for transport. They start to materialize on the Enterprise
but there’s an energy surge. They fade out and then rematerialize... on a different Enterprise
, wearing different uniforms.
Spock is there to greet them... wearing a beard. When the Vulcan determines there was an equipment malfunction, he ruthlessly tortures lt. Kyle. Kirk quickly starts playing the part of the ruthless Captain Kirk of this new ship, the I.S.S. Enterprise
, and tells Spock to go with standard procedure. Unfortunately, this Empire’s standard procedure is a phaser bombardment of any race that dares resist them.
Once they realize the transporter is malfunctioning, the landing party gets to Sickbay and realizes that they have switched places with the counterparts of this “mirror” universe... and their doppelgangers are in their places. Scotty first shorts out the phaser couplings to delay the bombardment then starts working on tracking down the malfunction while Kirk and Uhura head for the bridge. Sulu, sporting a facial scar, is now the Chief of Security, and Kirk has a personal retinue of bodyguards. Sulu tries coming on to Uhura and she rebuffs him, and then informs Kirk that his orders are explicit: he must destroy the Halkans if they don’t yield.
Kirk finally ends up calling off the attack and negotiating with the Halkan leader, Tharn. Tharn is a pacifist in this universe in this universe as well and refuses to yield. When Kirk gives him 12 hours to comply, Spock is suspicious and reports the captain’s activities to the Empire. Kirk heads for sickbay and Ensign Chekov leaves with him... then stages an assassination attempt to move up in the ranks. Fortunately, one of the men turns against Chekov and kills a man, giving Kirk the chance to knock out the others. Kirk’s bodyguards arrive to take Chekov away and the angry captain slugs Farrell.
Back with the landing party, Kirk has the computers work out how they can get back to their universe. They’ll need extra power for the transporter and Scotty takes McCoy along with him to perform the operation. Scotty warns that the alterations will show up on Sulu’s security board and they prepare to have Uhura provide a distraction.
In the “real” universe, Spock has already figured out that the newcomers are savage barbarians and locks them up in the brig.
After watching Chekov’s torture in an agony booth, Kirk and the mirror-Spock discuss the situation and Spock wonders why Kirk is going soft. He expresses his regrets about having to kill Kirk if the captain doesn’t perform his duty to the Empire, but is intent on carrying out his own orders.
After McCoy uses a hypodermic on a guard and he and Scotty get to work on the engines, Kirk gets to his quarters and finds his doppelganger’s “Captain’s Woman” waiting for him. The woman, Lt. Marlene Moreau, speculates on Kirk’s motives and they kiss, but are interrupted when Spock lets him know that if Kirk doesn’t eliminate the Halkans in three hours, Spock will take command, assassinate the captain, and carry out the phaser barrage. Moreau reveals that the mirror-Kirk has a Tantalus Field, which can vaporize any living being. She considers using it on Spock but Kirk stops her, raising her suspicions. After she steps into the next quarters to “oil her traps,” Kirk calls Scotty about the new deadline, and the engineer informs him that if they don’t complete the transporter switch by then, they won’t be able to do it again for a century.
When Moreau returns, she is still suspicious and believes that Kirk is setting her up. When he says he isn’t and all but apologizes to her, she’s still suspicious. He’s forced to leave, letting Uhura know that Scotty’s ready to go ahead. Uhura starts flirting with Sulu, distracting him fro his security board, then draws a knife on him and stalks off the bridge and heads for the transporter room.
Kirk is there as well but Spock comes in with a phaser and demands answers. When they’re not forthcoming, Spock takes him to Sickbay where the rest of the landing party are gathered. A fight breaks out and Uhura manages to give Spock a major head injury, knocking him out. They have only fifteen minutes left but McCoy insists on staying to treat him. They’re unaware that Moreau is monitoring them via the Tantalus Field.
Sulu arrives and announces his own plans: he plans to kill them all and make it appear they tried to assassinate each other, then take over as captain. Moreau disintegrates Sulu’s security men and leaves Sulu for Kirk. The captain knocks him out and they head for the transporter to wait for McCoy to finish with Spock. Unfortunately, Spock wakes up and use the Vulcan mind meld on the doctor.
Moreau is waiting for them in the transporter room and she asks them to take her along with them. They can only take four people and when they have to refuse, she draws a phaser on them. Uhura disarms her but the power goes out. Scotty can complete the transport using auxiliary power, but someone will have to operate the transporter. Kirk insists on doing it, but Spock arrives with McCoy and says that he cut the power to delay their departure. Spock restores power and tells them to go back to their universe, but Kirk talks about the illogic of waste and how the Empire will eventually fall. The captain suggests that Spock use the Tantalus Field and lead a revolution against the doomed Empire, and Spock agrees to consider it.
The transport goes as planned and the two landing parties return to their correct universes. The “real” Spock notes that it was easy for Kirk and the others to merge into a more barbarous universe, and Kirk is left to meet his new lieutenant... Marlene Moreau. Share this article with your friends