is en route back to the Enterprise
with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy delivering Commissioner Nancy Hedford, who is suffering from a rare but fatal disease. She’ll die if they don’t get her back to the Enterprise
for treatment, but an ionized hydrogen cloud suddenly engulfs the shuttlecraft, shorts out the systems, and draws it down to a nearby planetoid. While Spock tries to repair the engines without success, a human in flight coveralls cheerfully approaches them and welcomes them to the planet. He introduces himself as Cochrane and both Kirk and McCoy think he looks familiar. Cochrane tells them the engines won’t work and that he crash landed on the planet. He claims ignorance of the phenomena that drew them off course and invites them back to his shelter.
If you only knew how good it is to see you.
And a woman.
Beautiful one at that.
Hedford starts to show symptoms from the disease and a frustrated Kirk insists that Cochrane explain what drew them to the planetoid. Finally Cochrane explains that it is some creature that found him in space at the age of 87, brought him to the planetoid, and rejuvenated him. The creature, which he calls “The Companion,” has kept him there ever since. When Cochrane says his first name is “Zefram,” the others recognize him as Zefram Cochrane, the discoverer of the space warp… who died 150 years ago. Cochrane explains that he was tired and went into space to die, but the Companion found him. When he finally grew lonely, he tried to express his feelings to the Companion so it went out and found other humans to keep him company. With Hedford close to death, Kirk orders Spock to find some kind of weapon he can use and appeals to Cochrane to help them. Bored with immortality, Cochrane agrees to do what he can.
What were you doing in space at 87?
I was tired, Captain. I wanted to die in space, that's all.
Spock goes to the shuttlecraft and starts putting something together, but the Companion appears behind him. When Spock examines it, it turns an angry red, shocks him unconscious, and shorts out the engines.
A most fascinating thing happened. Apparently, the Companion imparted to me
a rather quaint,
old-fashioned electric shock of respectable voltage.
It attacked you?
Cochrane communicates with the Companion by summoning and expressing himself non-verbally. McCoy and Kirk look on and wonder if the relationship is more love than simple companionship. Cochrane confirms the Companion can do nothing for Hedford despite its power and McCoy goes to find Spock at the shuttlecraft. The Vulcan figures they can short out the Companion’s electrical composition, but warns that they have no idea how powerful the creature is. Cochrane is concerned that they might kill it but gives in to the reality of the situation since Hedford is dying. He summons the Companion again but it is relatively unaffected by Spock’s device and attacks Kirk and Spock. Cochrane draws it back to himself, saving their lives. McCoy suggests Kirk go the diplomatic route and they have Spock rebuild a universal translator to communicate with the energy creature.
You're killing them! Stop it, please! Stop it! You're choking them! Let them go. You're choking them! Stop it!
While the Enterprise
looks for the shuttlecraft, Kirk establishes communication with the Companion. It translates into a female voice and the captain concludes that it views Cochrane as a lover rather than a pet. He tries to convince “her” that they will all eventually die from imprisonment but the Companion is unable to understand the human sentiment. It leaves and Cochrane is surprised that the Companion is female. He can’t understand their relative comfort with the situation and storms off, furious that the creature has been using him all these years. A delirious Hedford, overhearing him, regrets the fact that she’s never had love in her life while Cochrane refuses the love extended to him.
Maybe I'm 150 years out of style, but I'm not going to be fodder for any inhuman monster.
a totally parochial attitude.
While the Enterprise
arrives and starts a search, Kirk convinces Cochrane to summon the Companion again. He tries to convince it that Hedford is dying and they will all eventually die as well, and that there is no way it can realize love with Cochrane: the differences between them are too great. The Companion considers the situation, then disappears. Commission Hedford emerges from the shelter, completely cured… and speaking as the Companion.
I were human...
there can be...
The Companion explains that it has merged with Hedford and they now exist as one. Cochrane is frightened of her for the first time and the Companion understands the concept of loneliness as he rejects her. Further, she explains that she is no longer immortal and will die as a human woman. Touched, Cochrane takes her for a walk while Scotty makes contact and proceeds to pick them up within the hour.
You said we would not know love because we were not human. Now we are human.
We'll know the change of days. We will know death. But to touch the hand of man, nothing is as important.
Cochrane has come to recognize his feelings for the Companion and offers to show her the galaxy, but she warns that she can’t leave the planetoid for more than a few days without dying. He decides to stay with her, and asks Kirk to keep the secret of their existence. They will age and die on the planetoid… but they’ll do so together. Kirk and the others head for the shuttlecraft, leaving the lovers to their destiny.
You'll both grow old here, and finally die.
That's been happening to men and women for a long time. I feel it's one of the pleasanter things about being human,
as long as you grow old together.