is sent to Capella 4 to negotiate topaline mining rights with the local. McCoy, who previously visited Capella, briefs the senior officers on the people and explains that the Capellans value honor and a "survival of the fittest" ethic, but have a number of taboos that they take seriously. Kirk beams down with only a small landing party to reduce the chance of violating taboos. They beam down at the camp of the High Teer, Akaar, and his lieutenant Maab approaches them. McCoy replies with the appropriate greeting but a Klingon, Kras, comes up. The security guard, Grant, instinctively reaches for his phaser and one of Maab's men instantly kills him with a kligat, a short-range throwing weapon.
Kras denies any hostile intent and notes there's no state of war between their peoples. Maab isn't interested in their enmity but notes that Kras has surrendered his equipment. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy do the same thing. The landing party is escorted to a tent to wait and Kirk is angry at the senseless loss of a crewman. Kirk wonders why, if the Capellans are so honorable, they're dealing with the Klingons, and figures that Kras' starship is nearby.
Let me call my ship and inform them...
To bring down an attack upon their village? As I told you, Maab, Earth men fear to bargain honestly.
detects a nearby ship and Scotty, acting captain, figures that it's the Klingons and that they're staying at extreme sensor range deliberately, but for the moment they're harmless..
Kirk narrowly avoids a dual of honor over a serving girl when McCoy warns that her tray of food is a combat challenge, and accepting it would mean Kirk would have to fight her nearest male relative. The landing party is taken to the High Teer, older leader of the Ten Tribes. His wife Eleen, pregnant with Akaar's heir, is brought in. Kirk protest Grant's death and Kras suggests that the Earth men are weak. Akaar doesn't understand why Kirk considers Grant's death less than honorable. McCoy diplomatically manages to call Kras a liar, costing the Klingon some respect in the eyes of the Capellans. Maab takes Kras' side in the argument over the mining rights but Akaar notes that they dealt with the Federation first. Maab says other tribesmen prefer the Klingons as trade partners, and will receive weapons in payment. Kirk points out that the Klingons conquer worlds but the Federations will leave the Capellans to their own laws and customs. Akaar is amused to see both sides arguing for what he has but Maab doesn't want to bargain with the Federation. Akaar questions his loyalty, asking if he is offering a duel, and Maab backs down and leaves. Kirk tries to request a communicator to contact the Enterprise
and warn them about the Klingons, but Akaar isn't interested in what goes on in the sky and sends them back to their tent.
What the Klingon has said is unimportant, and we do not hear his words.
In space, the Klingon ship retreats out of sensor range. Uhura receives a faint distress signal but is unable to pinpoint it.
Maab and his men attack Akaar's supporters. Kirk knocks out one attacker and they head for Akaar's tent. They find Kras searching for his equipment. He attacks Kirk who subdues him. Maab and his supporters arrive and force them all to surrender. He tells them that he has killed Akaar and is now the High Teer. He prepares to order the landing party's execution but Kirk suggests he proceed with caution. With Kras tries to prod Maab into killing them, Kirk challenges him to a duel and Kras hastily backs down, amusing Maab and causing him to reconsider.
Let the Klingon and me fight. It might amuse you.
Perhaps to be a Teer is to see in new ways. I begin to like you, Earth man...
and I saw fear in the Klingon's eye.
Uhura gets a second, clearer signal and identifies it as coming from the S.S. Diedre
, a freighter under Klingon attack. They try to contact Kirk but get nothing.
Eleen is brought before Maab but a warrior trips her. She burns arm on a brazier but quickly recovers. Maab prepares to kill her and the child she bears, who is the heir apparent. Kirk intervenes but he and Spock are quickly subdued. Maab informs them that for touching the wife of a Teer, they must die. An arrogant Eleen demands that her honor has been violated and that she wants to see them dead before she is killed.
I was proud to obey the laws. Kill him first. He laid hands upon me. It is my right to see him die.
contacts the Enterprise
and specifically asks them for assistance. Scotty has no choice but to abandon the captain and answer the distress signal.
Eleen is held in a tent along with the landing party and McCoy insists on treating her burned arm. When the guards react, Kirk and Spock quickly knock them out. Eleen refuses to let them touch her but Kirk asks if she's ready to die. She concedes the point and goes with them. Meanwhile, Kras tries to get his weapons back from Maab without success, and the new Teer informs the Klingon he'll receive his equipment back when their negotiations are completed.
You said you're prepared to die. Does that mean you prefer to die?
arrives at the Diedre
’s last known coordinates but finds no sign of the ship or debris from a battle.
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy manage to find their communicators and escape across the barren landscape. As they travel, it becomes Eleen hates the child inside of her. They come to a series of hills surrounding a valley. McCoy tries to examine Eleen who initially refuses to allow his touch. She slaps him twice and he finally slaps her back. Subdued, she lets him examine her and McCoy determines that she could give birth at any time. Meanwhile, Kirk and Spock spot Maab, who is traveling with Kras and a hunting party and is hot on their trail. The two officers use their communicators to create a sonic disruptor and bring a hillside down on the Capellans. Several of Maab's men are killed and Kras secretly manages to take a Federation phaser from one of the dead men carrying their weapons. Maab orders his men around the hills while McCoy warns Kirk that Eleen's delivery could be difficult. They get her up into the hills to a cave but Eleen now refuses to let anyone but McCoy touch her.
Strange hand. And very soft.
On the Enterprise
, Scotty analyzes the distress call and notes that the Diedre
captain asked for them specifically, even though they couldn't have known the Enterprise
was in the sector. However, Scotty orders the crew to continue searching to be sure.
As Kirk and Spock try to improvise weapons, Eleen insists the child isn't hers, but her dead husband's. McCoy insists that she accept it as her own but the best she can do is say that it is her child... and his. A few minutes later Kirk and Spock hear crying and check in to see that McCoy has delivered a healthy boy. They're amused to hear Eleen refer to it as his child as well as hers.
Fortunately, this bark has suitable tensile cohesion.
You mean, it makes a good bowstring.
I believe I said that.
completes its search and Scotty orders them to set course back to Capella. They receive another distress signal, this time from the S.S. Carolina
, but Scotty decides to ignore it. A Klingon ship takes up position ahead of them but Scotty orders Sulu to continue on course.
Eleen knocks McCoy unconscious with a rock and flees, leaving the child. McCoy recovers consciousness and tells the others what happened. He stays with the baby while Kirk and Spock go after Eleen. Maab and his men arrive and the Teer admits the Earth men have impressed him. Kras insists they must die and Maab concedes he will keep his word. Eleen arrives and says that the baby died during delivery and she killed the Earth men in their sleep. Maab assumes that she's honorable and telling the truth, but Kras insists on proof. When Maab refuses, Kras draws the stolen phaser and Kirk wounds him with an arrow. A fight breaks out and Kras kills one of Maab's men. Eleen manages to break away and get to Maab, and offers her life to distract the Klingon. Recognizing his own dishonor, Maab gives Eleen her life back and confronts the Klingons. Kras reveals himself to kill the Teer and one of Maab's men kills Kras with a kligat. The Capellans move in and all look hopeless, but Scotty and a security team arrive and subdue them.
Later, the Enterprise
departs Capella and Kirk informs Starfleet, the new High Teer's regent, Eleen, has signed a treaty for the mining rights. McCoy informs them that Eleen named her son Leonard James Akaar, and Spock realizes they're going to be insufferably pleased with themselves.
I think you're both going to be insufferably pleased with yourselves for at least a month ...sir.