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Let That Be Your Last Battlefield - Recap

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The planet Ariannus has been stricken by a biological plague and the Enterprise must do an orbital decontamination. As it heads for the planet, they encounter a shuttlecraft reported stolen from nearby Starbase 4. It’s following an erratic course and leaking atmosphere, and Spock detects one injured life form aboard. They bring the shuttlecraft aboard and find the unconscious occupant: a humanoid who is chalk white on his right side and coal black on his left.


And judging by looking at him, we know at the very least
he is the result of a very dramatic conflict.


They take the alien to Sickbay where McCoy manages to revive him. The newcomer wakes up and says he merely borrowed the shuttlecraft, and is highly defensive. When Kirk asks for further information, the alien identifies himself as Lokai from the planet Cheron. Kirk and Spock have heard of Cheron, which is a planet in an uncharted area of space. Lokai refuses to answer any other questions and they get word that a ship is approaching them. On the bridge, Spock determines that the vessel is an invisible one-man scout ship on a collision course. They try to evade it but they ship heads directly toward the Enterprise and vanishes. Another alien appears on the bridge similar to Lokai but black on the right and white on the left.


I am Bele. Forgive my unorthodox arrival.


The new arrival identifies himself as Bele, an officer of the Commission of Political Traitors on the planet Cheron. His ship disintegrated due to the stress of pursuit: he’s been after Lokai for 50,000 years. He demands to see Lokai and Kirk agrees so they can identify the prisoner. The two Cheronites snipe at each other, Lokai claiming he’s a political prisoner and asking for sanctuary while Bele demands extradition. Kirk refuses, saying the Federation has no extradition treaty with Cheron and the mission to Ariannus comes first. Bele storms off while Lokai insists they protect him.


Freed?
Were we free to be men?
Free to be husbands and fathers?
Free to live our lives in equality and dignity?


Shortly thereafter, Kirk gets worded the ship is off-course and heading toward Cheron. Bele informs them that he has taken control of the ship and is now returning Lokai to Cheron. Lokai shows up as well and demands justice. Kirk orders them both off the bridge but they have psychokinetic fields that protect them against phasers and physical contact. When Bele refuses to surrender control of the ship, Kirk orders the self-destruct activated. He, Spock, and Scotty activate the three-step process and set it on a 30 second timer. Kirk warns that in the final five seconds nothing can stop the countdown. The computer counts down to five… and Bele cracks. He demands they take him to Cheron after the Ariannus mission but Kirk refuses to yield and Bele gives them back control of the ship. Kirk gives them full access to the ship but warns them that if they do anything else he’ll have them thrown in the brig.


You can use your will to drag this ship to Cheron.
But I command the computer. Mine is the final command.


Lokai meets with the crew in the mess hall and tries to convince them that he’s sincere and Bele is a villain. Bele meets with Kirk and Spock and affirms that Starfleet will find in his favor, although Spock points out they have only his word that Lokai is a criminal. Starfleet agrees, refusing to extradite Lokai until after a hearing. Kirk and Spock then wonder what the source of the hatred between the two aliens is and Bele is astonished they can’t tell Lokai is inferior because his pigmentation is the opposite of Bele’s.


I am delighted that Vulcan was saved.
But you cannot expect Lokai and people like him
to act with self-discipline
any more than you can expect a planet to stop orbiting its sun.


The Enterprise arrives at Ariannus and completes the decontamination procedure, then heads for Starbase 4. However, Bele takes control of the ship again, after burning out the self-destruct and navigational circuitry. A furious Lokai demands the crew kill him but they refuse. The two aliens fight it out, their fields threatening to destroy the bridge. Kirk manages to break them up, pointing out that if they both die nothing is gained. Bele gives them back control of the ship but they’re close enough to Cheron for Spock to do a scan. The planet is dead: all of the inhabitants have destroyed each other in race warfare.


Your band of murderers did this.
Your insane asylum maniacs did this!


Not understanding, Bele and Lokai fight each other until Lokai storms off the bridge and head for the transporter room. Bele refuses to surrender his prisoner or his hate and goes after Lokai, beaming down to the planet after him. The Enterprise crew assumes that the two aliens will destroy themselves the same way that their fellow Cheronites did, and regretfully leave them to it.


All that matters to them is their hate.
Do you suppose that's all they ever had, sir?
No. But that's all they have left.


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Warning: Star Trek season 3 episode 15 guide may contain spoilers
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