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The Gamesters of Triskelion - Recap

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The Enterprise arrives at Gamma II for a routine check of an automated facility. Kirk takes down Uhura and Chekov but before they can beam down, they are instantly teleported away from the transporter room and find themselves in an arena on a three-sunned planet. Their phasers and communicators don’t work and four alien gladiators quickly subdue them.

This isn't Gamma II.
Look at the color of that sky.

A bald humanoid, Galt, teleports in and announces that he is the Master of the Thralls and welcomes them to the planet Triskelion. He explains that the landing party is now slave gladiators for the Providers. He has the gladiators place collars on Kirk and the others and when they put up a fight, the collars choke them on Galt’s command.

Admirable, Chekov.
Admirable. You also, Uhura. Your spirit is as great as the captain's.

Spock orders a search of the Gamma II system but they find nothing except an ionization trail leading out of the system in a straight line. Left with no other options, Spock orders the ship to follow the trail back along its course.

At the moment, that is all we can do, except hope for a rational explanation.
I always thought that was a human failing, Mr. Spock.
True, Doctor. Constant exposure does result in a certain degree of contamination.

A female gladiator, Shahna, comes to Kirk’s cell and introduces herself as his drill instructor. Uhura’s drill instructor, Lars, asserts that he has been “selected” for her and struggles with her in her cell. She drives him off for the moment while Chekov’s instructor, Tamoon, shyly comes on to him. Kirk tries to hit on Shahna, who was born on Triskelion to gladiator parents. The exercise interval begins and the crew train in the arena. However, Galt orders them to attack a disobedient and they refuse. As leader, Kirk ends up taking the punishment, which involves a barbarian gladiator, Kloog, whipping him. Kirk manages to defeat him when Shahna provides some covert help. Impressed, the three Providers speak up for the first time although they remain unseen. After a heavy round of bidding quatloos, Provider #1 “buys” the Enterprise landing party and Galt informs them that further disobedience will be met with death.

I have brought you nourishment.
It is a nice name -- Chee-koof.
Heh, heh.
Chee... koof!
It is a very nice name.

Shahna takes Kirk on an exercise run across the countryside and he tries to first find out more about the Providers then hits on her. She hesitates but eventually starts to tell him about the Providers, only for them to activate her collar. Kirk pleads with them to take on her punishment since it’s his responsibility, and eventually Provider #1 releases her. She thanks him and he introduces her to the custom of “kissing,” which she eagerly embraces.

you do indeed present many surprises. Because you have amused the Providers,
there will be no punishment. Return to your quarters.

Later in his cell, Kirk tries the “kissing” thing again and then slugs Shahna. Chekov has subdued Tamoon and Lars has left to report Uhura, so the three crewmen get out of their cells and head for the arena to find Galt to remove the collars. He’s aware of their plans and subdues them via the collars. The [i[Enterprise has followed the ion trail to Triskelion and arrives in orbit, and Spock and McCoy prepare to beam down. The Providers take control of the ship and put them in contact with Kirk, who welcomes them to Triskelion and explains the situation. He taunts the Providers as cowards and they agree to teleport him into their presence, in a shielded underground facility. They are bodiless brains, who claim to be beings of pure mental power. Kirk disputes their claim, noting that they still engage in primitive pastimes. They are unimpressed and state that they plan to fake the destruction of the Enterprise to prevent investigation and take the crew on as Thralls. Kirk dares them into a wager, offering an even-odds match where if the Providers lose, they release the ship and train the Thralls to be self-sufficient. If he loses, Kirk will order his crew to comply with the Providers. The Providers agree but stipulate a three-on-one match with Kirk to represent his crew. The captain has no choice but to agree.

Your stakes are indeed high, Captain.
Not for true gamesters.

Kirk fights Lars, Kloog, and an Andorian and kills the first two. He only wounds the Andorian, and Galt sends Shahna in to take his place. Shahna believes Kirk has betrayed him and fights to the death, but hesitates at the critical moment and Kirk subdues her, forcing her to yield. The Providers agree to honor the terms of the wager, while Shahna wants Kirk to take her with him. He says she first has to receive the necessary education from the Providers but says one day she’ll be able to travel to the stars with him.

The thralls will be trained?
They will be trained. We have said it.
I think you'll find it a much more exciting game than the one you've been playing.