has been sent to save a planet from impact with an approaching asteroid. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to the planet and discover that it is eerily similar to Earth biologically. The one discrepancy is a large metal obelisk of an unknown substance that is resistance to sensor scans. The obelisk is inscribed with symbols that none of them recognize and the technology is in excess of the Federation’s. They have only 30 minutes before they have to leave for the intercept point with the asteroid. Checking out the surroundings, they find a village containing what appear to be Amerindians from Earth. Kirk admires their peace and calm and McCoy notes that his condition is a typical one of captains under stress. They realize they can only panic the natives if they try and warn them, so Kirk goes back to the obelisk for one last look. He steps up onto it but finds nothing. However, when he signals Scotty, a panel opens in the floor, dropping him into the chamber below. He falls against a panel and a light activates, rendering him unconscious.
An alien metal of some kind. An alloy resistant to probe. Readings can't even measure its age accurately. These incised symbols are fascinating. Evidently, some form of writing.
Upon returning to the obelisk, Spock and McCoy discover that Kirk is missing. However, Spock has no choice but to order their departure in order to reach the deflection point in time. He assures McCoy that they’ll return once they’ve dealt with the asteroid. After they’ve gone, Kirk recovers unconsciousness but is suffering from amnesia. Going outside, he meets two local Amerindian women. One of them, the priestess Miramanee, takes his hand and says that they have been waiting for him to come.
Who are you?
We are your people. We've been waiting for you to come to us.
makes best possible speed to the asteroid, but Scotty warns that the engines will soon burn out if they don’t relieve the strain.
At the village, Chief Goro and the medicine man, Salish, interrogate Kirk. Kirk admits that he came from the obelisk, their temple, and has vague memories of dwelling in the sky. Salish demands that he prove himself as a god. However, before they can pursue the matter, the villagers bring a boy who drowned in a fishing accident. He appears dead and Salish says it’s hopeless, but Kirk uses mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to bring the boy back from the brink of death. Impressed, Goro and Miramanee believe that proves Kirk is a god. Salish is forced to give up the medicine man’s badge and turn it over to Kirk.
Only God can breathe life into the dead. Do you still question? Give him the medicine badge.
intercepts the asteroid and attempts to stop it with their deflectors at maximum power. They fail and Spock has Sulu plot a course into the path of the asteroid. They then proceed in reverse at impulse speed while preparing to use the phasers to shatter the asteroid at its weakest point.
A narrow beam concentrated on a single spot will split that mass.
It might also cripple the ship, and we'd be crushed by the asteroid.
Salish approaches Miramanee and asks when they will be joined. She tells him that as the tribal priestess, she is betrothed to the tribe’s medicine man. He doesn’t want anyone else and wonders if she would choose him over Kirk even if she had a choice. Miramanee chooses not to answer his question and goes to Kirk. He asks her about the wise ones who built the asteroid and she explains that the wise ones passed their wisdom on to the medicine man. Salish’s father died before he could give the secrets to his son. Goro comes to ask by what name they should call Kirk, and he stutters out “Kirok.” When Goro wonders if they have displeased him by their lack of technological advancement, Kirk assures him they’ve done nothing wrong, and that he’s at peace.
Then it must be ourselves, the way we live. Perhaps we have not improved as quickly as the wise ones wished.
Your land is rich, your people happy. Who could be displeased with that?
Using the sensors, the crew pinpoints the asteroid’s weakest spot and open fire. Despite prolonged use of the phasers at full power, the asteroid remains intact and the ship’s power relays burn out entirely.
Miramanee tells Kirk of the tradition of marriage between the tribe’s medicine man and tribal priestess, and then asks when they should be joined. When he hesitates, she wonders if he wants someone else but Kirk assures her that he doesn’t and says they should be joined the next day.
The sooner our happiness together begins, the longer it will last.
Spock is going over the files they have on the obelisk and Scotty calls to tell him they’ve lost warp drive and can only make repairs at a starbase. McCoy arrives and Spock explains that they can only retreat before the asteroid at impulse power, and will arrive at the planet only four hours ahead of it. McCoy notices Spock’s gaunt demeanor and suggests he get some rest.
You haven't heard a word I've said. All you've been doing is staring at that blasted obelisk.
Another calculated Vulcan risk, Doctor.
Goro begins the joining ceremony at the obelisk. Kirk must go back through the forest to the medicine lodge as part of the ritual. As he walks the path, Salish intercepts him, prepared to stop the ceremony no matter what. He dares Kirk to strike him dead and attacks with a knife when Kirk refuses. He draws blood and Salish is sure that Kirk is no god. He vows to prove this to his tribe and leaves. Kirk continues to the lodge, dons the ritual robes, and is joined in wedlock with Miramanee.
I have found paradise. Surely no man has ever attained such happiness.
Time passes. Two months later, Spock is still trying to decipher the symbols on the obelisk. He believes the symbols are the key but McCoy orders him to rest. Spock reluctantly agrees, but returns to his studies as soon as McCoy leaves.
For two months Kirk and Miramanee are happy. However, Kirk starts having dreams again of the strange lodge in the sky that he traveled within and people that he believes he is supposed to be with. She informs him that she is pregnant and they celebrate. Kirk is busy working on ways to improve the village’s farms when the sky turns stormy and the winds pick up. Miramanee tells him that he must go to the temple to save the tribe. Kirk admits he has no idea what to do. Salish and Goro arrive and Salish challenges him to save them. Kirk goes to the obelisk and tries to open it, declaring himself Kirok. However, nothing happens and Salish looks on in satisfaction.
I am Kirok! I have come! I am Kirok!
McCoy returns to Spock’s quarters to discover him playing the Vulcan lyre. Spock explains that he’s deciphered the symbols and that they are musical notes. The translation indicates that an ancient race, the Preservers, created the obelisk and planted the Amerindians there to save them from extinction. The obelisk functions as an asteroid deflector, but the device has malfunctioned.
When Kirk fails to save them, the tribe stones him. When Miramanee tries to intervene, they stone her as well and she collapses after several severe impacts. Spock and McCoy beam down and the Amerindians run away in fear. Kirk doesn’t remember them but asks them to help Miramanee. McCoy has Nurse Chapel beam down with an emergency surgical kit to do what she can. With time running out, Spock attempts a Vulcan mind fusion with the captain. After struggling with his friend’s dynamic personality, Spock snaps out of it and Kirk’s memories are restored. Spock explains what he’s learned and they realize Kirk must have said something to open the obelisk. Kirk repeats what he said previously and the door into the obelisk opens. Inside, Spock deciphers the controls and activates the beam, sending the asteroid off course and saving the planet.
Why were you being stoned?
Kirok could not get back into the temple.
Naturally, since he did not come from there.
They take Miramanee back to the lodge where McCoy informs Kirk that there’s nothing he can do with Miramanee’s internal injuries. Kirk goes to her and assures Miramanee that her people are safe. She says that she loves him and they will have many strong sons together, and they kiss one last time before she dies.
We will live long and happy lives. I will bear you many strong sons.