Kirk leads an expedition to find tritanium, a diamond-hard ore valuable to the Federation. They discover it on the uninhabited planet but the captain notices a honey-like odor that he seems to remember. He orders Ensign Rizzo to take a team to search for a cloud and scan for di-kironium while keeping an eye out for a gaseous cloud. As he sends the team out, Scotty calls to remind him that they are due to rendezvous with the Yorktown
in eight hours to receive and deliver vital medical supplies for Theta 7. Rizzo and his two men pick up traces of di-kironium but are unable to get a fix. A cloud sweeps over Rizzo's men, killing them, and then closes in on Rizzo. He signals to Kirk, who comes running with the others only to find Rizzo in critical condition and the other two men dead, every red corpuscle drained from their bodies.
and you'll find every red corpuscle
gone from their body.
Back on the ship, McCoy and Chapel work to stabilize Rizzo while Kirk orders the ship to remain in orbit to investigate the deaths. Given the need to deliver the medical supplies, McCoy is unhappy and Kirk tells him to check the records of the Farragut
from eleven years ago. He then has McCoy revive Rizzo long enough for the ensign to describe the honey-like odor and claim that he sensed some kind of hostile intelligence. McCoy believes that Rizzo is delusional but Kirk dismisses his concerns and storms out.
A smell… a strange smell. It was like...
like… like being smothered...
Kirk continues to ignore Starfleet transmissions concerning the vaccines and orders Spock to scan the planet for di-kironium. Spock is dubious, and notes that such a cloud would have to be able to transmute its makeup at will. Kirk directs him to the same Farragut
records then meets with Ensign Garrovick, the new head of security. Kirk served with Garrovick's father but notes that the ensign will receive no special treatment from him. They get word that Rizzo has died and Kirk offers Garrovick, his friend, a chance at what killed him. They return to the planet and split up into two teams. The same cloud rises above a hill, pauses for a moment, then attack Garrovick's two men. He hesitates and then fires. When Kirk and his men arrive, they find the two security guards dead and a stunned Garrovick near their bodies.
Was your father…?
Yes, sir, but I don't expect any special treatment on that account.
You'll get none aboard this ship.
Back on the ship, Garrovick gives his report and Kirk seizes on the fact that he hesitated. Unjustly believing Garrovick's hesitation got his men killed, Kirk suspends him from his duties, shocking Spock and McCoy. Scotty mentions the rendezvous yet again, saying he's cleaning out the radioactive disposal vents while they wait, and Kirk snaps at him and the rest of the crew then apologizes but is clearly still obsessed with the creature.
I'm aware of the situation, and I'm getting a little tired of my senior officers conspiring against me.
Spock meets with McCoy and admits he needs a human perspective on the captain's obsession. He has McCoy read the Farragut
log tapes and after the doctor does so, he confronts Kirk over the fact that eleven years ago Kirk was aboard the Farragut
and was at weapons control when a similar creature attacked the ship and killed over two hundred men… including Garrovick's father, the captain. Kirk still blames himself because he hesitated, despite a board of inquiry clearing him of all responsibility. When Kirk refuses to drop the matter, McCoy calls Spock in for a formal hearing to determine if they should relieve the captain. Kirk defends his decision, believing it's the same creature that attacked the Farragut
over 1,000 light years away, and that it is sentient. When Kirk stands by his decision, they're unable and unwilling to proceed further.
I need your advice.
Then I need a drink.
They detect the creature as it leaves the planet and heads into space. They follow at warp speed but the creature is able to use gravimetric forces to exceed their maximum speed. Spock warns that the creature is both matter and energy, capable of shifting between both. They're finally forced to slow down when the engines can't hold up under the strain.
It seems to be in a borderline state between matter and energy, elements of both.
It could possibly use gravitational fields for propulsion.
And you don't find that sophisticated, Mr. Spock?
Extremely efficient, Captain. Whether that indicates intelligence is another matter.
Nurse Chapel forces Garrovick to take a tray of food under McCoy's orders, and notes that the entire crew is on edge. After she leaves, he goes into a fury and throws the tray's lid at the wall, hitting the ventilation controls. In space, the creature slows, then turns and moves toward the Enterprise
. They fire phasers and photon torpedoes, but it's able to shift itself out of phase at will. Garrovick reports to the bridge against orders just as the creature attacks the ship, entering through the radioactive exhaust vent Scotty was conducting repairs on. With only two hours of air left with the ventilation system off line, they try and use radioactive waste to flush the creature back out into space.
One man has a chance for survival. The other is dead. Add that price tag to your monster hunt.
Spock tries to reassure the captain without success, then goes to see Garrovick in his quarters and explain that his human emotions aren't too blame. As they talk, the creature enters the cabin through the damaged ventilator. Spock gets Garrovick out of the cabin and then tries to close the ventilator. Kirk and a security team arrive and use reverse pressure to suck the creature out of the cabin. Spock emerges and notes that the creature found his green blood unappetizing and left him unharmed.
I'll bet he left a bad taste in the creature's mouth, too.
Colloquially expressed, but essentially correct.
They force the creature out of the ship with the radioactive waste and Kirk gets a trace of the creature's odor and seems to "sense" that it's heading back to it's home planet, where the Farragut
encountered it 11 years ago. He orders them to head for the planet, Tyco 4, while reassuring Garrovick that their hesitation made no difference either now or eleven years ago, since the creature is immune to phaser fire. Spock concludes the creature is returning to its home world to spawn, and the threat of thousands of such creatures is immeasurable. They conclude that the only way to destroy it is with an enormous anti-matter blast and Kirk insists on taking down the bomb himself, along with enough hemoglobin to use as bait. Spock warns that the explosion could prevent a successful transport but Kirk insists on going and accepts Garrovick's offer to accompany him.
Captain, there is so little hemoglobin in my green blood. The creature could not harm me extensively.
It therefore seems logical for me to be the one…
Negative. If this plan fails, I'll need you onboard. In that event, we'll need another plan.
Kirk and Garrovick beam down to the planet with the hemoglobin and the anti-matter bomb. However, the creature attacks the tube with the hemoglobin before they're ready, draining it of red corpuscles. As it moves toward them, Kirk orders Garrovick back to the ship. Believing Kirk plans to use himself a bait, Garrovick tries to knock him out and they struggle briefly. Kirk explains that he doesn’t plan to get himself killed. They wait until is just on top of them, and the anti-matter bomb, then Kirk orders beam up and detonation. Scotty and Spock manages to materialize them despite the shock waves and the creature's destruction is confirmed. As they head for the rendezvous with the Yorktown
, Kirk offers to share some tales with Garrovick about his father.
I have no intention of sacrificing myself,
at least not yet.