picks up three passengers: Ambassador Kollos, the non-corporeal representative of the Medusan race; Miranda Jones, a human telepath; and Larry Marvick, one of the original designers of the Enterprise
. To look upon a Medusan unshielded causes madness in humans and even Spock as a Vulcan must wear a protective visor. Meanwhile Kollos remains within a protective travel box.
The ambassador is most honored to meet you, Mr. Spock.
Spock greets Miranda and the Kollos after beaming them up and Jones is somewhat cool to him. He takes them to their quarters and offers greetings with Kollos. Miranda is seemingly immune to Kollos’ appearance thanks to her mental discipline and Spock admits to being envious of her. Miranda notes that she has yet to achieve a full mind-meld with Kellos. Once Spock leaves, she jealously demands to know from Kollos what Spock saw when he looked at the ambassador.
What is it he sees when he looks at you? I must know!
The senior staff hold a reception for Miranda and Marvick where she discusses the fact that she was born a telepath but had to travel to Vulcan and learn the mental disciplines necessary to block out surrounding thoughts rather than go insane. Spock is wearing a Vulcan IDIC symbol (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination) and he explains that he wore it in honor of her talents. Miranda wonders if Spock is trying to highlight the fact that Vulcans are better at the mind meld then she is, but Spock denies the charge. Starfleet plans to have Marvick design a navigational system that the Medusans can use to act as ship pilots, with Miranda providing a telepathic liaison. As they share a toast, Miranda picks up the thoughts of someone thinking of murder. She quickly dismisses it and leaves for her quarters, while Scotty tries to get Marvick to try out the ship’s controls as one of the designers. Marvick begs off and leaves.
At the risk of sounding prejudiced, gentlemen, here's to beauty. To Miranda Jones... the loveliest human ever to grace a star ship.
Miranda returns to her quarters but Marvick enters and proclaims that he’s still interested in her romantically. She turns him down, not for the first time, and he wonders if she’s in love with Kollos. She tell shim to leave but as he goes she gets an impression of murder from his thoughts and wonders who he is thinking about.
Why don't you try being a woman for a change?
Marvick goes to the ambassador’s quarters and draws his phaser, but the protective box opens and Marvick is driven insane by the sight. He staggers out into the hallway and then makes his way down to engineering. Miranda telepathically senses what is going on and goes to Kollos’ quarters. Seeing the phaser, she signals Kirk who declares an alert. Marvick has seemingly taken up Scotty’s offer to handle the controls but when the ship-wide alert goes off, he attacks the Engineering crew and then pilots the ship out of the galaxy through the barrier. Miranda and the others arrive in Engineering and try to calm him down, but Marvick screams out his love and then collapses, dead.
We mustn't sleep! They come in your dreams! That's the worst! They suffocate in your dreams!
has left known space and floats outside time and space with no known navigational coordinates to find their way back. Spock suggests that he merged with Kollos telepathically so that the Medusan can use his special skills and sensory abilities to return them to known space. Concluding that Miranda will oppose anyone else making the meld, Kirk decides to distract her by taking her to the ship’s arboretum while Spock goes to the ambassador’s quarter. Miranda disputes Kirk’s claims that Kollos is ugly and it’s clear she’s infatuated with the non-corporeal life form. Kirk tries to distract her with a kiss but Miranda telepathically senses what Spock is up to.
Shall I tell you what human companionship means to me? A struggle, a defense against the emotions of others. At times, the emotions burst in on me--hatred, desire, envy, pity. Pity is the worst of all.
Miranda objects to Spock making the meld, insisting that she be the only one to do it. In response McCoy notes that she is blind, and has been disguising the fact and uses a sensor web in her dress to navigate successfully. Miranda insists that she can learn any skill and her remaining senses are superior to anyone else’s, but Spock tells her that she must speak to Kollos as the final authority. She enters the ambassador’s quarters… then emerges admitting that Spock must do it.
Do you think you can gather more information with your eyes than I can with my sensors? I could play tennis with you, Captain Kirk. I might even beat you.
The crew take Kollos to the bridge and place him behind a protective shield. Spock dons the visor and then mind-melds with the Medusan. Emerging from behind the screen and removing the visor, the “new” Spock-Kollos is much more emotional and relaxed. He proceeds to take the Enterprise
back to its exact coordinates before it left the galaxy. After apologizing for the harm he’s inadvertently causes, Spock-Kollos returns behind the screen… but forgets to put the visor back on.
And Uhura... whose name means "freedom." She walks in beauty, like the night.
Spock screams in agony and then attacks the crew until Kirk subdues him with a phaser. He’s taken to Sickbay but McCoy warns that the Vulcan is dying and that someone must bring him out of his mental insanity. Only Miranda can do the job, but Kirk suspects that she doesn’t want to help her “rival” for Kollos’ affections. She has removed her sensor net and is truly blind, and Kirk confronts her, insisting that she is ugly and insane with jealousy over anyone who comes between her and Kollos. She tells him to get out, considers his words, and then telepathically brings Spock out of his insanity.
With my words, I'll make you hear such ugliness as Spock saw when he looked at Kollos with his naked eyes! The ugliness is within you!
Later, the Enterprise
arrives at its destination and Miranda prepares to leave with the ambassador. She admits that she has now successfully melded with Kollos, having set aside her hatred and jealousy. She thanks Kirk for letting her truly “see” and acknowledges the value of IDIC, and departs with Kollos.
The glory of creation is in its infinite diversity. And the ways our differences combine to create meaning and beauty.