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The Mark of Gideon - Recap

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The Enterprise travels to the planet Gideon to negotiate a treaty on behalf of the Federation. The Gideonites value their privacy and refuse to allow a delegation or even permit sensor scans, although legend has it their planet is a paradise. The Gideon Council has agreed to let Kirk beam down on his own to meet with them. They provide Uhura with the transporter coordinates for the council chamber, and she relays them to Spock who is handling the transport. Kirk apparently dematerializes… only to find himself on the transporter platform and Spock has disappeared. He tries to raise first Spock, then anyone, on the intercom system but seemingly no one is aboard the ship. Kirk goes to the bridge while noting he suffered a brief memory loss because he has a bruise on his arm that he doesn't remember. Arriving on the bridge, he finds it abandoned and the Enterprise in orbit above Gideon.

According to the physio cultural reports 
submitted to the Federation, it's a paradise.
I shall be interested in hearing your description, Captain.
You won't have long to wait.

On the Enterprise, the crew is all present but Kirk is missing. Ambassador Hodin of the Gideon Council calls to ask when Kirk will be arriving. Spock asks permission to conduct a search but Hodin refuses, refusing to let "violent" outsiders have contact with his society. The bridge crew aren't happy and McCoy insists they should beam down anyway, but they can't without transporter coordinators. For now, Spock respects Hodin's request, contacts Starfleet for orders, and orders a scan of surrounding space.

It is possible that Captain Kirk materialized on some other part of Gideon.
Let us hope it was on dry land.

Kirk checks out the corridors and finds an unknown girl happily twirling down the hallways. He confronts her and she says she is Odona, and asks why Kirk has brought her there. She says she doesn't know who brought her there or why, and can remember very little of her past. She does remembering being an auditorium filled with thousands of people, all crushing on each other. Kirk checks the ship's chronometers and determines that he's missing nine minutes of time between when he beamed up and arrived. Returning to the bridge, he tries to locate the planet Gideon but the Enterprise has left orbit and is traveling through an unknown sector of space.

It seems I was standing in a… yes. I was standing in a large auditorium...
crowded with people. Thousands pressed in against me. I could hardly breathe. I was fighting for oxygen, screaming to get out.

Hodin has seemingly misinterpreted Spock's request and informs him that they've thoroughly searched the planet and found no trace of Kirk, so the Enterprise can search elsewhere. Spock and Hodin verbally spar while Scotty insists that the transporter wasn't malfunctioning. Spock finally convinces Hodin to let them beam aboard a council member as a test. Hodin agrees and gives them the council coordinates again. The transport is successful but Hodin still refuses to let anyone beam down.

Your Excellency, I am basically a scientist. Clarity of formulation is essential in my profession also.
I'm glad to hear it. Perhaps you could then make greater effort...
to choose your words more precisely.

Kirk brings the Enterprise out of warp and talks with Odona, who is happy at having the entire ship to herself and Kirk. He tries to get her to explain her memories of people wishing to be alone, and she says that she only remembers her people being willing to kill to be alone for even a moment. She insists that no one sent her and no one commands her, and they end up kissing. As they do they are unaware that the faces of robed figures have appeared on the view screen to watch them.

There is no place, no street, no house, no garden, no beach, no mountain that is not filled with people. Each one of us would kill in order to find a place alone to himself. Yet would willingly die for it, if they could.

Kirk goes to find a medical kit for his minor bruise, and Odona seems astonished that he won't die of a simple injury. They're interrupted when they hear a loud pulsing sound. Kirk doesn't recognize the sound and Odona wonders if it's some kind of storm. They go to a view port but when Kirk manages to open it all they see are dozens of robed figures standing outside, looking in. After a moment they fade away, leaving a starfield, and the sound stops. Kirk believes the sound is the heartbeat of thousands of people outside the ship, although that's seemingly impossible. He demands answers from Odona, who protests her innocence. Kirk is unaware that Ambassador Hodin is observing him from the council chambers.

People. The faces of people! And then the stars.

Odona suddenly collapses, saying she's ill. Kirk takes her to Sickbay but Hodin and his guards arrive and say that the first stage of their "experiment" is complete. He takes Odona and thanks Kirk for infecting her with illness, then orders the guards to take Kirk into custody so that they can continue to use him. Meanwhile, Spock contacts Admiral Fitzpatrick who is mildly sympathetic but refuses to formally authorize Spock to beam down to the planet. Spock asserts that he knows where Kirk is but that he isn't in the council chambers where he supposedly beamed down. However, he can't prove that Kirk's life is in danger and as a result Fitzgerald refuses to endanger the treaty.

If he is being held at the same place to which we transported him. They would not dare harm him in the Gideon council chamber.
Sir, the captain is not being held in the Gideon council chamber. He is being held nearby.

Hodin comes to his daughter who is clearly dying, and says that her suffering will be great. She describes her pain, comparing it to his inability to do anything for his people. Hodin then talks to Kirk and explains that they infected Odona with Vegan choriomeningitis. Kirk suffered from the disease years ago and almost died, and they took a sample from his blood when he transported down. They need it to help Odona die. They created the replica Enterprise in the hopes that Kirk would fall in love with Odona and be content to stay there so they could use her blood.

You're mad.
No. We are desperate.

Spock decides to beam down to Gideon, believing Fitzgerald is aware of the Gideonites' treatment of Kirk but can't formally acknowledge the situation. He compares the recorded coordinates provided for Kirk to those for the council member they beamed up, showing there's a minor discrepancy. Spock refuses McCoy's help and beams down to the first set of coordinates, materializing on the replica Enterprise.

Unfortunately, I must violate a direct order from Starfleet.
That's the best possible decision you could make, Spock. I'm with you

As Spock contacts the real Enterprise and explains the situation, Hodin explains to Kirk that their planet was a paradise, but the people's love of life was so great that they gained the ability to regenerate, becoming all but immortal. However, the Gideonites refused to use birth control and so their planet became overpopulated to the point where they are crowded into every available habitable surface. Now they want Kirk to provide the illness that can kill them, whether he wishes to help or not.

I am on board an exact duplicate of the Enterprise.
An exact duplicate of the
Enterprise? Is it in orbit, Mr. Spock?
In orbit, Doctor? In a manner of speaking. Gideon is in orbit, and the ship is on Gideon.

Odona begins to die and calls for Kirk. The captain and Hodin go to her and Kirk offers to take her to the Enterprise where they can cure her. Hodin refuses, insisting her martyrdom will inspire others to embrace death. Spock arrives, rendering the guards unconscious and rescuing Kirk. The two of them beam back with to the Enterprise with Odona where McCoy cures her just in time. She admits she deceived Kirk but he's not offended and suggests that she go out and see the universe. However, she insists that she must stay so that now her blood can act as a serum for the disease and that those of her people who wish may choose to die. She expresses her regret that she can't be together with Kirk on Gideon, but they each have their duties, and she departs.

It is not like our ship.
Oh, yes, it is. It's exactly the same. Only this one works.