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While on a routine expedition to Omega 4, the Enterprise arrives to find another starship, the U.S.S. Exeter, in orbit circling the planet. Kirk and a party go to the ship and find it abandoned and everyone on board completely drained of water leaving behind only bodily minerals. They check the log and are warned not to return to their ship, so go to the surface of the planet and find Captain Tracey... who is now in charge of the local civilization.
arrives at Omega 4 and finds its sister starship Exeter
in orbit and non-response. Kirk takes a landing part of himself, McCoy, Spock, and Galloway over but all they find are empty uniforms filled with handfuls of white crystal. The ship is deserted but when they check the medical log they find a warning from the ship’s medical officer. He recorded that a disease was brought up by the landing party while the captain, Ron Tracey, stayed on the planet. The doctor tells them that if they get down to the planet they’re safe. McCoy realizes that the handfuls of crystals are all that remain of the crew after all of the liquid in their bodies evaporated...Read the full recap
Morgan Woodward (Captain Ronald Tracey) previously played Dr. Simon Van Gelder in "Dagger of the Mind
Gene Roddenberry submitted the teleplay for Emmy consideration.
This was one of three scripts that Gene Roddenberry wrote for a second pilot. "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was the one used.
Kirk: Don't they ever rest?
Spock: Not that I have observed, Captain. Of course, should they wish to do so, one could always rest while the other keeps you occupied.
Kirk: Thank you, Spock.
(after Spock does a Vulcan nerve pinch)
Kirk: A pity you can’t teach me that.
Spock: I have tried, Captain.
McCoy: I hardly think it's worth it.
Kirk: Then anything you develop here as a result of all this is useless.
McCoy: Who knows? It might eventually cure the common cold, but lengthen lives? Poppycock. I can do more for you if you just eat right and exercise regularly.
Kirk: There's no serum! There are no miracles! There's no immortality here! All this is for nothing!
Captain Tracey: Explain it to him, doctor!
McCoy: Leave medicine to medical men, Captain Tracey; you found no Fountain of Youth here. People live here longer now because it's natural for them to!
Cloud William: That which is ours is ours again; it will never be taken from us again... I am Cloud William – chief. Also son of chief. Guardian of the Holies, Speaker of the Holy Words, Leader of Warriors. Many have died, but this is the last of the Kohm places; what is ours is ours again!
Kirk: These words, and the words that follow, were not just written for the Yangs, but for the Kohms as well!
Cloud William: But the Kohms...
Kirk: They must apply to everyone, or they mean nothing! Do you understand?
Cloud William: I... do not fully understand, one named Kirk... but the Holy Words will be obeyed; I swear it!
Although he is killed in this episode by Captain Tracey, Lt. Galloway (David L. Ross
) would later return without explanation in "Turnabout Intruder
Kirk takes a massive blow across the head when Cloud Williams nails him with an iron bar. That kind of injury would leave a concussion, if not a skull fracture. Kirk is only mildly bothered for a few minutes then ignores it for the rest of the episode.
Although the Exeter is hit with a virulent biological plague and its crew killed, the starship is left intact and there's every reason to believe that it was decontaminated and put back into service, rather than scrapped. Thus it isn't considered one of the starships destroyed during the Enterprise's five-year mission.