Corylea

TOS Episode Epilogues

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This is a series of very short stories, one per episode of TOS.  The stories will be of missing scenes that add to — or resolve — the events of the episodes. Many (but not all) of those missing scenes will involve a meeting between Kirk and Spock to talk over the events of the mission after the conclusion of the episode.

I'll be going through TOS in production order, so the first episode will be "Where No Man Has Gone Before," not "The Man Trap."

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TOS Episode Epilogue 1:  "Where No Man Has Gone Before"

At the very beginning of James Kirk's tenure as captain, he and Mr. Spock had formed the habit of meeting in Kirk's quarters at the end of each mission for a private discussion about the events of that mission.  Every mission had its official report and its official list of recommendations for the future, and of course those reports were carefully considered and conscientiously written.  But every mission also had UNofficial effects on everyone involved, effects that Starfleet Command would not necessarily find noteworthy, occasionally even effects that the captain and first officer had cooperated to gloss over in the official reports.  The meeting in Kirk's cabin allowed them to discuss those unofficial effects, to ensure that no unexamined issues impaired their efficiency ... or their friendship.  Sometimes these meetings took place immediately after the events of the mission; sometimes the captain allowed a day or two to go by so that each of them could reflect on what had happened.

After Kirk's return from Delta Vega as the sole survivor of the combat there, Spock presented himself at the captain's quarters and pressed the buzzer for admittance.  Although Spock believed that the post-mission meeting should take place only after several days had passed, he thought Kirk needed immediate company, lest the captain begin to brood or to engage in self-recrimination.  

"Come," Kirk said wearily, then forced a smile when he saw who it was.  "I'm sorry, Spock, I don't think I'm up to the mission post-mortem at the moment," he said, then winced when he heard himself utter the word "post-mortem."

Spock shook his head.  "I am not here for the usual post-mission discussion, Jim.  I am here because I thought it unwise for you to be alone at this time."

Kirk leaned back in his chair, surprised that his supposedly unemotional first officer was here to provide emotional support.  It wouldn't be the first time, of course — not even the tenth time — but he was always taken aback by how aware Spock was of his human captain's feelings.  It made him wonder, yet again, what Spock's human mother was like.  He hoped he'd get to meet her someday.

He waved Spock to a chair and watched as his friend — for clearly this was a visit from the friend, not from his first officer — seated himself.  Kirk said, "I think the more ... intense issues about our visit to the edge of the galaxy should wait, but there are a couple of things I've been wondering about, things you could clear up for me."  

Spock considered his captain.  Kirk was speaking in the tone of voice that usually meant he wanted to talk about human-Vulcan differences.  Those differences had been especially difficult for the captain during this particular mission, yet the tone was light and interested, not angry or sad.  Perhaps framing a discussion of the difficult aspects of the mission as a conversation about Vulcan culture or philosophy would make that discussion easier for his captain to bear?  "Of course, Jim.  What would you like to know?"

Kirk looked at Spock curiously.  "The barrier at the edge of the galaxy pumped up the ESP of people who were already psychically gifted; that's why Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner were so strongly affected.  But you're an expert telepath; your psychic abilities are the strongest on the ship.  Why weren't you affected?"

"Because I do not possess ESP," Spock said.

Kirk looked annoyed.  "Explain."

Spock titled his head slightly to one side.  "The rudimentary psychic abilities that are termed 'ESP' in humans are located in a different region of the brain than Vulcan telepathy and generally take a somewhat different form.  Telepathy is a normal Vulcan ability — we do not consider it extra-sensory, since it is a sense that all Vulcans possess — which occupies neural regions and pathways that simply do not exist in the human brain.  The barrier we encountered apparently affected the neural pathways that govern human ESP abilities while leaving those that govern Vulcan telepathy untouched."  

 

Kirk considered this.  "Someday we should discuss your telepathy in more detail, talk about what it's capable of, what it costs you to use it, what its limitations are."

"I stand ready to do so whenever you deem it necessary."  Spock paused and looked at Kirk.  "You indicated that there was more than one issue you wished to discuss?"

"Oh.  Yeah."  Kirk cleared his throat.  "Spock, I realize you were right when you told me we should kill or maroon Gary Mitchell, and there are things about my refusal to face that fact that we'll need to discuss when we have our meeting.  But before we get there, I have a question.  You're a pacifist.  You revere all life, including that of convicted murderers.  How could a committed pacifist recommend that I kill Gary Mitchell?"

Spock blinked, surprised that this wasn't obvious.  "It is because of my reverence for life that I recommended that you kill Gary Mitchell.  The probability was extremely high that he would exterminate everyone aboard this vessel unless we killed him first.  Reverence for life does allow me to weigh our 429 lives against his one life."

Kirk looked annoyed.  "So it was just that easy, then?"

"Easy?"  Spock shook his head.  "It was simple, Jim, but it was far from easy."

Kirk's eyes took on that glint that meant he was on the trail of something.  "If it was simple, why wasn't it easy?  If you feel nothing, then surely 'simple' and 'easy' should be the same thing."

Spock blinked slowly, then exhaled audibly.  "You are correct.  Lack of feeling is a goal or an ideal, rather than an actuality.  Vulcans aspire to control their emotions to the extent that we will be guided solely by logic, but there are moments when we fall short of that ideal."  His cheeks and the tips of his ears flushed green.  "Being forced by circumstances to recommend the death of a fellow officer was such an occasion."

Kirk smiled.  "I feel better, knowing that.  Your advice was good, and I'm glad one of us was seeing clearly enough to understand that Mitchell was a danger to us all.  But I'm also glad that it cost you something to recommend that."

"Jim,"  Spock shook his head slowly.  "Every time I have killed, it has cost me something.  No death at my hands leaves me unmoved.  The philosophy and customs of my people ensure that I show this as little as possible — ideally, that I show it not at all — but I cannot kill lightly, nor can I lightly recommend that someone be killed."

Kirk sighed.  "I guess I knew that, I just ... wanted to be reminded."  Then he looked down, feeling slightly ashamed of himself.  "I'm sorry, Spock, I ... I guess it's cruel of me to embarrass you by forcing you to admit to a feeling."

Spock's eyes took on the light expression that usually meant either fondness or amusement.  "Jim, this experience was more difficult for you than any mission we have had thus far.  If forcing me to admit to an emotion gives you any measure of peace ... or even a moment's amusement ... then you are welcome to do so, now and in the future."

Kirk smiled, feeling lighter than he'd felt since Gary's death.  From someone as private and contained as Spock, this was huge.  "Thank you.  I'll try not to overuse the gift you're giving me."

 

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Author's Notes:  

1.  It has always bothered me that Kirk plays "tease the Vulcan and try to get him to admit to a feeling" so often, since to me it seems both disrespectful and at odds with the affection and respect that Kirk otherwise displays towards Spock.  So in this chapter, I had Spock give Kirk permission to poke at him about emotions when Kirk needs this to distract himself from difficult circumstances.  Because my Spock always understands way more about emotions — especially Kirk's emotions — than he'll necessarily admit to aloud. :-)

2.  About this series:

a.  Many — perhaps most — of these "episode epilogues" will involve a meeting between Kirk and Spock after the end of the episode, but not all of them.  Some will involve meetings among other characters, and some will be "missing scenes" from the middle of the episode, rather than the end.  I intend for all of them to grow directly out of the events of the episode and to take care of things that I regard as unfinished business.  This is usually emotional context, since we fanfic people loooove emotional context. :-)  But sometimes it will be attempts to explain things that I thought didn't make sense or attempts to reconcile a character's uncharacteristic behavior; occasionally, it will even be my head-canon on Vulcan philosophy and culture.  Basically, anything in the episode is fair game, and it's all grist for the mill. :-)

b.  I'll be going through the episodes in PRODUCTION order, rather than in order of airing, since I think that's the best way to see the series.  The creators of TOS were making things up as they went along, inventing backstory at a breakneck pace, and it's not until the middle of the first season that they solidify such things as who sent this ship out there and what constraints they're under.  Neither the Federation nor Starfleet Command nor the Prime Directive had been created when TOS began, and no one — not even Leonard Nimoy — knew exactly who Spock was or what a Vulcan should look like or act like.  

So if you watch in production order, you can hear them refer to the Enterprise as an "Earth" ship early on, you can see Kirk seemingly break the Prime Directive (because Gene Coon hadn't thought it up yet), you can see pink blusher on Spock's cheeks, because no one had yet realized that a man with green blood wouldn't blush pink, and you can see Spock smirk and pout.  To me, watching it all take shape as they create the backstory for the ship and her world is an endearing part of watching TOS, and you can best see the story behind the scenes of the story on the screen by watching in production order, not order of airing.

If you're not familiar with the production order, you can find it at this page on Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.

c.  I'm assuming that nearly everyone who would be interested in reading a series like this remembers the episodes fairly well, so I'm assuming that including a summary of the actual episode would be superfluous.  If you would like to refresh your memory about the content of the episode, Memory Alpha has summaries at the page I've linked to above.

d.  I realize that other people have written series of episode follow-ups before; I'm writing this series because I enjoy it and because I adore most of those 79 episodes, not to cast any aspersions on their work.  We all have our own take on the episodes — that's part of why they're still interesting after fifty years — these little tales are simply my own slant, not definitive in any way. :-)

3.  To slash or not to slash — I intend for the episode epilogues to be exactly as slashy as TOS was.  That is, Kirk and Spock will have a close relationship, which can be interpreted as friends, comrades, and brothers-in-arms by those who saw TOS that way and can be interpreted as lovers, spouses, or romantic partners by those who saw TOS that way.  

There will be no sex, marriage, or protestations of romantic love "on screen" in this series, just as there wasn't on-screen in TOS.  There will be mentions of Kirk's and Spock's closeness, their knowledge of each other, and their willingness to sacrifice or die for each other, just as there was in TOS.  

4.  I'm assuming that the first year of the TV series is the second year of the five-year mission at the earliest.  Why?  Two reasons:

a.  It's clear in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" — the second pilot and the first episode made that features Jim Kirk — that the crew has known each other for awhile.  Spock is already calling Kirk "Jim" when they're alone, for example.

b.  In "The Menagerie," Spock makes two illuminating statements.  He says that he served under Captain Pike for "eleven years, four months, five days," AND he says that the events on Talos IV happened "thirteen years ago."

We know that the events on Talos IV were not Spock's first-ever mission with Pike, partly because he's already the science officer, partly because he's still limping from the previous mission.  So at least SOME of those "eleven years, four months, five days" happened BEFORE "thirteen years ago," which means that at the time of "The Menagerie," Spock has been serving under Kirk for at least two years, possibly more.  But "The Menagerie" is during the first season of TOS.

Conclusion:  Season 1 is the second year of the five-year mission at the earliest.  This makes dramatic sense, because they're trying to show us a crew that knows each other well, not a crew that's just meeting one another.

5.  A reviewer on another site scolded me for saying that there were 430 people on the Enterprise at this time, since Kirk says in "Charlie X" that there are 428 people in the Enterprise's crew. Some people think that Kirk's line in "Charlie X" means there are 428 people on the Enterprise total; others think it means that there are 428 CREW, plus the captain and first officer, for a total of 430. We can't know for sure which is meant, but given that 430 is given in the TOS Writer's Guide, I've gone with the second explanation.

6.  Disclaimer:  I don't own Star Trek, and no one pays me for these stories.  Heck, I'm lucky if people even READ me. :-)

7.  So thanks for reading!

8.  I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not.  I will try to update regularly, and I will try to respond to any comments I receive.  Unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health.

9.  Like many (most?  all?) fanfic authors, I'm terribly insecure about my writing, so if you enjoyed a chapter, I hope you'll let me know.  Even a two-word "Liked it" makes a big difference to me!

10.  Thanks so much to the people at the FanFiction site who encouraged me to write this series!  I really appreciate it.

11.  This was posted on another site under my pen name on that site, so if you see this story under another name, not to worry.

 

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TOS Episode Epilogues Chapter 2: "The Corbomite Maneuver"

 

Kirk and Spock are seated in Kirk's quarters, having a post-mission meeting after Kirk returns from Balok's ship. The captain has a glass of grapefruit juice1, Spock a cup of tea. We join them in mid meeting:


Spock sipped his tea, then set the teacup on the desk. "Jim, may I ask how you created the ruse you used to dissuade Balok from destroying the Enterprise?"

Kirk blinked. "HOW I created it?"

Spock nodded. "Yes. I could not have designed such a stratagem, yet the ability to do so is clearly part of why you are a superlative starship commander. I would like to acquire the skill; would you instruct me?"

Kirk laughed. "I would if I could, Spock, but I have no idea how I come up with these things; they just ... suddenly appear in my mind."

"Perhaps if you trace your thought processes immediately prior to creating the stratagem..."

Kirk shook his head. "No, I won't do that, not even to teach you. It's not that I'm unwilling to share it with you, it's more that I'm afraid of the centipede problem."

Spock tilted his head to one side. "The 'centipede problem,' Jim?"

Kirk chuckled. "There's an old joke to the effect that the way to keep a centipede from being able to walk is to ask him how he coordinates all those legs. Once the centipede starts actually thinking about it, he can't do it anymore, because it only works automatically."

Spock processed this. "I see. And you fear that if you think about the process of creating novel tactics quickly, as the need arises..."

Kirk looked grim. "I'll stop being able to do it."

Spock pressed his index fingers together in front of his lips and looked intently at Kirk. "I have no wish to undermine your ability to create such tactics, and yet if the process could be isolated and taught, all of Starfleet would benefit."

Kirk smiled, then set his glass on the desk. "Human intuition, Spock. I don't think it's teachable."

Spock raised an admonishing brow. "I do not believe that intuition is limited to humans, nor do I believe that it cannot be augmented or refined through a training program, once the process is better understood. Yet I have no desire to impede your ability to ... coordinate your hundred legs."

Kirk chuckled, then raised his hands in front of him, palms up, intending to shrug the topic off, when Spock got an "aha" look on his face. "What is it, Spock?"

Spock spoke slowly and formally, less at ease than he'd been during the rest of the meeting. "Captain, this would be a great imposition, so I will understand if you wish to decline. And yet the potential benefits — to Starfleet in general and to me in particular — are incalculable."

Kirk made a "go on" motion with his hand.

Spock said, "If I were to mind meld with you, I could trace all of the thought processes that led up to your moment of insight, in an attempt to understand and reproduce the process by which you create innovative tactics. I could then remove the memory of my having done so, in order to keep these researches from your awareness so that they would not infringe upon your ability."

Kirk frowned. "But just the fact of your coming to me and asking for a meld would remind me of what you want to know and would make me start to wonder how I do what I do."

Spock shook his head. "With your permission, I would come to your cabin only after you had fallen asleep and meld with you then, so that your conscious mind would be unaware of both my research into your mind's workings and of the fact that the meld had ever taken place."

Kirk scowled and blew out a breath as stared at the floor, thinking about the proposal.

Spock nodded, understanding what he was seeing. "As I said, it would be a great imposition, and I will understand if you wish to decline."

Kirk looked back up again and forced a smile. "And I also understand that if intuitive leaps could be taught, it would revolutionize Academy training and make it a lot easier to find capable starship captains."

"Indeed."

Kirk looked consideringly at Spock. "If it were just a human talking me through the process, I wouldn't hold out much hope that a research program could get anywhere. But since you're capable of going inside my mind and tracing all the thoughts that lead up to the moment of insight ... that might actually discover something."

Spock nodded. "Success is not certain, but the probability of it is high enough to be worth the effort. I also realize that it would be a gross invasion of your privacy and that you already give much to Starfleet. I do not wish to imply that you owe this — to Starfleet or to me — but I did not wish to allow the opportunity to pass us by without raising the possibility."

Kirk shook his head. "If it were anybody else, I'd say no, but I trust you." He smiled wryly. "I'm not sure you'll like everything you find in my mind, though. We humans can be a petty, selfish, and unpleasant bunch."

Spock's eyes showed that lightness he used in place of a smile. "Jim, you are the least petty and the least selfish human I have ever known. Nor would I need to probe the depths of your mind in order to accomplish my task. While it is true that melding with you would be a severe breach of your privacy, I would be able to leave most of your mind untouched; I would examine only those thoughts directly preceding the moment of insight."

Kirk smiled. "If anyone else told me that they had the power to rifle through my mind while I was sleeping and look at anything they wanted, I'd never believe them if they said they would limit themselves to a single area." He looked searchingly at Spock. "But you, you have the strong self-control necessary to limit yourself and the stringent ethics that would make sure you used it."

Spock inclined his head gravely, agreeing with his captain without speaking so as not to derail this train of thought.

Kirk picked up his glass of juice and swirled the grapefruit juice in its glass as he thought about the situation. Was he willing to allow this? How many other captains had his ability to pull inspired tactics out of thin air? How many of those captains had Vulcan crew members who were capable of melding in the first place? Of those few captains who did have Vulcan crew members, how many of them were as close to those crew members as he was to Spock? He and Spock were quite probably the only team in Starfleet that was even capable of researching this question as it needed to be researched.

Kirk's face hardened and took on the look of Kirkian resolve that Spock knew so well.2 "All right, I consent. But I reserve the right to withdraw this consent at any time, if I think this is undermining my ability in any way."

Spock inclined his head. "Agreed." He paused and looked at his captain, who appeared resolved but uneasy. "Would you also like me to remove the memory of this conversation, so that my having asked this question will not impinge on your ability to create novel tactics?"

Kirk looked startled. "You can do that? You can take memories right out of my mind and make me forget things?"

Spock looked grave. "It is not something I would do lightly, nor would I necessarily be able to remove a memory if your mind fought to retain it. Given your apparent discomfort with this conversation, however, I thought that your mind would be likely to relinquish this memory willingly."

Kirk smiled. "So I'm not a mental push-over."

Spock looked at Kirk with unconcealed amusement. "Jim, you are well aware that you are not 'a push-over' of any sort. Your mind is an unusually dynamic one, and I believe that I can remove this memory only because you wish it."

Kirk nodded. "Leave the memory of my agreeing to melds for some sort of important research project, so if I wake up and find you melding with me, I'll remember that you have my consent to do so."

Spock stiffened and looked down. "I will leave that much of the memory, but ethics compel me to point out that once a meld has begun, you will only awaken if I wish it."

Kirk smirked. "And you think knowing that will spook me so much that I'll cancel the whole project."

Spock looked back up. "Yes."

Kirk shook his head and deliberately spoke lightly. "I won't change my mind ... but I may call on you the next time I have insomnia."

Spock relaxed slightly and picked up his tea cup once more. "As always, Jim, I stand ready to assist you by any means within my power."

Kirk looked at Spock consideringly. "Even after a year of working together, I'm still getting a sense of just how broad that power might be. But knowing that all of it is at my disposal ... that means a lot to me, Spock."

Spock gave Kirk an eye-smile and slowly sipped his tea.

 

 

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Author's Notes:

1. The "tranya" that Kirk, McCoy, Bailey, and Balok drank in this episode was actually grapefruit juice, and poor Clint Howard (the child actor portraying Balok) did not like it. So Kirk's drinking grapefruit juice here is an in-joke for those who read books and articles about the making of the episodes.

2. As I explained (much more extensively) in the author's note for Chapter 1, there are reasons why I'm assuming that the first year of the series is the second year of the mission at the earliest. So although Kirk and Spock have only been in two episodes that we've seen, they've been working together for more than a year at this point and have already formed a friendship that's important to them both (as witness Kirk's comment about Spock's giving him "emotional security" in the current episode).

3. I think "The Corbomite Maneuver" is a crucial early episode, because it shines so much light on the character of Kirk. Why is a man this young the captain already? And why is he in charge when Spock knows more about everything?

Two main reasons: 1) Kirk never gives up. Spock analyzes the situation, realizes that the other ship has many times their power, and assumes that their fate is in Balok's hands. Kirk is still looking for a way to win two minutes before they're scheduled to be blown up. (Spock learns from this and will be more persistent in the future.) 2) Kirk can pull inspired tactics out of thin air, such as creating this corbomite malarkey.

There are lots of other reasons why Kirk's a great captain, of course, but these two reasons are on display in this episode, and they're excellent reasons why Kirk — young as he is — is a worthy captain for the Enterprise.

While Spock is my favorite character, I do appreciate the heck out of Kirk, and the Enterprise is usually much better off with Spock's intellect harnessed to Kirk's will than they would be the other way around.

4. I've actually written TWO chapters for this episode. I wrote a different one first — a completely different chapter that hinges on a different point of the episode — decided it had Spock sharing too much too soon, then wrote this one. But then it occurred to me that some folks might enjoy a chapter where Spock shares too much too soon ... and I thought I might know where to find them. :-) So if you'd like to see the Spock-oversharing chapter, you can find it at the K/S Archive.  (If you decide to read them both, I'd love to hear which you liked better.)

5. I'm a licensed psychologist in real life, and I've been both a therapist and a researcher at different times in my career. If you suspect that I wish I could conduct the research that Spock is conducting here, you are right. :-) Delving inside Kirk's mind and figuring out how he does what he does? How fascinating would that be!

6. If you think that part of me is looking ahead to "Requiem for Methuselah," you are right. :-) (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, don't worry; it'll become clear when we get there.)

7. I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not. I will try to update regularly, and I will try to respond to any comments I receive. Unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health.

8. Thanks for reading!

9. Someday I have to write one of these with fewer bullet points in the author's notes. :-)

 

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Author's Note

Reminder of which episode this is:  There are two Harry Mudd episodes.  This isn't the one with the androids; this is the one with the mail-order brides that were taking a drug that made them look beautiful.

 

 

Episode Epilogue 3: "Mudd's Women"

 

Kirk has beamed back to the Enterprise with the lithium1 crystals the ship needs so desperately, and Scotty has installed them. The Enterprise is now out of danger, for the first time in more than five days. Kirk and Spock are following their usual practice of meeting in Kirk's quarters after the conclusion of a mission to talk about the events of that mission.


Spock stood stiffly in front of Kirk, who was seated in a chair in his quarters. Kirk had lashed out at his subordinates several times during this mission and had seemed stressed and overtired for more than a week. Usually when he and Kirk were alone, it pleased Kirk if Spock relaxed somewhat from his typical demeanor. But when Kirk was in a fractious mood, non-verbal acknowledgement of his status as captain sometimes soothed him, so Spock stood nearly at attention, non-verbally giving the captain the respect due to his rank.

Spock said, "I would like to preface my remarks by noting that you are an extraordinary starship commander; in my personal opinion, the finest captain in the Fleet."

Kirk looked skeptically at Spock. "You've never felt the need to butter me up before. Why now?"

Spock didn't pretend to misunderstand the idiom. "Vulcans do not engage in flattery, Captain. But I did think it prudent to remind you of my profound respect before raising a topic that you may find difficult."

Kirk leaned back in his chair and looked narrowly at Spock. "Let's have it."

Spock gazed gravely at Kirk. "You are the kind of leader who inspires those under his command. In your time on this vessel, I have seen crew members perform at a level they had not realized was within their capabilities, motivated both by your example and by your expectations."

Kirk smiled slightly. "I sense a 'but' coming."

Spock inclined his head. "But mechanical devices possess neither motivation nor morale. They cannot be inspired to perform beyond their rated capacity, nor can they grow or change. Deflector shields draw the power that they draw. Matter-antimatter engines produce the power that they produce. Lithium1 crystals have known tolerances, and they cannot be 'inspired' to exceed them."

Kirk looked annoyed. "Of course they can't. You think I don't know that?"

Spock did not back down in the face of Kirk's annoyance. "When you ordered our deflector shields to cover Harry Mudd's vessel, Mr. Scott warned you that doing so would overload our engines. Mr. Farrell warned you that we would not be able to hold that protection for long. Mr. Sulu told you that one of the lithium circuits had burned out, and a crewman reported from Engineering that engine temperatures had reached dangerous levels. Mr. Farrell warned you again that the deflector shields would not hold, and Mr. Sulu informed you that another lithium circuit had failed. In addition to six warnings from four different members of the crew, the lights on the bridge flickered and went out several times. Yet you persisted in a course which was clearly destroying the Enterprise's engines."

Kirk surged to his feet. "You think I should have let four people die!"

Spock grasped Kirk's forearm, looking steadily into his eyes. "Jim, you very nearly let every person on this vessel die, including the four you had wished to save."

Kirk glared at him. "Explain."

Spock dropped his hand from Kirk's arm and clasped both hands behind him. "When our last lithium crystal failed, only the fact that we happened to be near Rigel XII allowed us to procure replacement crystals before the ship's power was exhausted. If we had not been so fortunate as to be near a lithium mining facility, our sole remaining option would have been to search for a nearby planet that could support life ... with no guarantee of finding one or of surviving on it until our distress call could have been answered."

Spock paused and looked intently at Kirk. "Jim, if we had found neither a lithium mine nor a class M planet within the limited distance traversable with our battery power, we would have been stranded in empty space, without enough power for life support. Your decision would have condemned every person aboard this ship to death."

Kirk turned away and walked across the room as he thought, intertwining his fingers through the mesh that divided his office from his sleeping area. He turned back around to face Spock, and his voice was like a whip. "But I didn't, did I? We WERE near a lithium mine, and we DID get the crystals in time! Everyone aboard this ship survived AND we saved four lives."

Spock shook his head. "You did not know that we were near a lithium mine when you made your decision, as witness the fact that you were surprised when I spoke of our proximity to Rigel XII. It was good fortune, only, which brought about a positive outcome, and fortune — by its very nature — cannot be created, managed, or relied upon."

Kirk sagged slightly and rubbed his forehead with his thumb. His voice, when he spoke, was calmer, quieter, gradually becoming rueful. "You're right, of course. I've been lucky so often I've grown to expect it, to depend on it, to plan as if my luck will always hold."

Spock raised a brow. "Statistical probability suggests that this is unlikely."

Kirk chuckled weakly. "Even I know I'm being illogical, Spock." He went to his chair and sat back down, then waved Spock into the chair across from him. He watched as Spock seated himself, then asked, "So, what is it that you want? A mea culpa? Acknowledgement that I made a bad decision, even though it worked out this time?"

Spock leaned forward slightly in his chair. "Jim, I am not revisiting this decision to no purpose. What concerns me is that you generally posses the flexibility necessary to switch from one course of action to another when conditions require it, but something about this particular mission impaired that flexibility. I suggest that we determine what that something is, to ensure that your effectiveness is not impaired in the future."

Kirk blew out a breath. "I've been touchy and defensive for the past couple of days, and you've been very patient with me. I think maybe I can put that aside now." He relaxed slightly in his chair and smiled at Spock. "And this is why I have a first officer, why part of your job is to tell me when I'm not doing mine."

Spock looked intently at his captain. "Jim, can you talk about what went through your mind as you made the decision to extend our deflectors to cover Harry Mudd's ship and persisted in that decision even as our engines began to fail?"

Kirk looked down at the floor, reflecting. "There was a ship in trouble, one that would be destroyed if an asteroid hit it. There were so many asteroids that it was only a matter of time before the ship would be destroyed, and it seemed like a real tragedy, to lose an entire ship over such a small thing."

Spock titled his head to one side as he regarded his captain. "In that moment, you were not thinking about the potential loss of life but of the loss of the ship."

Kirk looked back up. "Well, the ship implies all the lives aboard her."

"It does, but that is not what you said." Spock frowned. "It is also the case that when I showed you our cracked and burned lithium crystals, your response was, 'The choice was burning this lithium crystal or the destruction of another man's ship.'" Spock paused and thought for a moment. "I believe that your love for the Enterprise has become so strong that you cannot bear the thought of ANY ship's destruction. Does this accord with your own self-knowledge?"

Kirk looked fondly at the nearest bulkhead. "This ship ... she's a part of me. It's like my heart beats in two places: in my own chest and on her bridge. She's not just a hunk of metal and plastic, she's ... very nearly a living being to me."

Spock inclined his head. "The relationship between human ship captains and their vessels has been likened to a marriage since the days when ships sailed only upon the waters of your Earth. But Jim," Spock leaned forward again, imploring his captain to listen, "The Enterprise is NOT human. She cannot give you more than her rated capacity, no matter how deeply you care for her. She cannot strive or grow or rise to challenges. You anthropomorphize her not merely at your own peril but at the peril of all the lives aboard her."

Kirk swallowed. "I need to remember that much of what I love about the Enterprise is that she houses and protects my crew. Much as I love the ship, the lives aboard her are the real treasure."

Spock regarded his captain. "Your rapport with the ship — not just with the crew but with the ship herself — is part of what makes you a superlative starship captain. But like most positive qualities, it can be taken to excess."

Kirk smiled. "I think you just may have convinced me of that, Mr. Spock."

Kirk looked at the Vulcan, going over the events of the last several minutes in his head and realizing just how careful but persistent Spock had been and how difficult he must have found it. "And I appreciate it that you didn't let me off the hook but forced me to hear you."

He gave Spock the charming Kirkian smile that had been seen all too infrequently for the past week. "And given what you've said about me during this conversation, let me add that in my opinion, you're the best first officer in the Fleet. I think most of us believe that Vulcans don't need encouragement or pats on the back, the way human crew members do, and sometimes I forget that you're half human."

Spock inclined his head, silently accepting the compliment. Perhaps Kirk had not realized it, but in thinking of him as too Vulcan to need the same encouragement as humans, his captain had actually paid him not one but two compliments.

 



Author's Notes

1. Yes, I know that they're usually called DILITHIUM crystals. But in this episode — only the third in production order — the "di" has not yet been added, and they're called "lithium" crystals. I had to retype the word several times, because my fingers kept adding the "di" without my intending to. :-)

2. I'm sorry if this chapter isn't as good as the first two, but I found very little to work with in this episode. I didn't want to get into the rather questionable area of mail order brides on drugs :rolleyes:, and there isn't a lot else IN the episode.

Next up: "The Enemy Within," an episode I like muuuuuch better.

3. Yes, I know that Spock wasn't present for some of the events that he talks about here; he was in the transporter room when the lithium circuits failed. But we know from the testimony in "Court Martial" that events on the bridge are recorded in a computer log; I'm assuming that Spock was concerned enough about what happened to review the log and witness the events that transpired in his absence.

4. The story for the episode was by Gene Roddenberry, and the teleplay was by Stephen Kandel. The character of Harry Mudd was invented by Kandel; the mail order brides were all Roddenberry. :-)

5.  Thanks for reading!

6.  Disclaimer:  I don't own Star Trek.  Heck, if anything, IT owns ME. ;)

 

 

Edited by Corylea

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Good point about Kirk risking the ship just to protect some unknown people. And yes, just dumb luck they were near somewhere they could get help (same as being near Delta Vega in WNMHGB). Of course, it's a very difficult call to make, but what good does it do to risk yourself to save someone if you are at a greater risk yourself?

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Author's Note:  Reminder of which episode this is:  This is the one where the transporter splits Kirk into "good" and "evil" Kirks.

 

Episode Epilogues 4: "The Enemy Within"

 

Spock walked into McCoy's office, where the doctor was seated behind his desk, writing notes in the records of the patients who'd beamed up from the planet's surface. McCoy looked up from his work. "What do you need?"

Spock surveyed the doctor. "You have finished the preliminary care of the affected members of the landing party?"

McCoy looked curiously at Spock. "Yes. I explained their prognosis and treatment when you and Jim were in here earlier, and nothing's changed — we got them in time, and they'll make a full recovery."

Spock shook his head. "I do not doubt your initial report; I asked if you had completed their care because I have another task for you."

McCoy leaned back in his chair. "Something about Jim, then?"

Spock inclined his head. "As you deduced. I believe it is unwise for him to be alone at this time, and he may find your statements on the nature of humanity more comforting than my own."

McCoy laughed. "That's true any day of the week!" The doctor considered the Vulcan. "But don't you and Jim have a meeting right about now?"

Spock stood stiffly, his hands clasped behind his back. "We do. I am inviting you to attend it with me."

McCoy frowned. "Jim'll brood if we leave him alone, and I don't imagine that a Vulcan's much comfort!" He rubbed the back of his neck. "Normally, I'd bring a bottle of brandy with me, but the duplicate drank a lot of brandy, and that may put Jim off the stuff for a couple of days. Coffee isn't a good idea, though; Jim doesn't need caffeine increasing any anxiety he already feels about what happened."

Spock tilted his head to one side. "Might I suggest chamomile tea?"

McCoy nodded. "That's a good idea, Spock. Jim's not usually big on tea, but it does seem like the best bet at the moment." He looked shrewdly at the Vulcan. "You've been thinking about this, haven't you? How to make Jim okay with what happened." He shook his head. "I wouldn't worry too hard, Spock. I mean yeah, we want to keep him company for the next couple of hours, but Jim rolls with the punches better than anybody I've ever seen. If anyone can handle seeing his negative side split off and given life, Jim can." He chuckled. "Listen to me, trying to comfort a Vulcan!"

Spock raised a brow. "I do not, of course, require it." He inclined his head gravely. "But the effort is appreciated, nonetheless."

McCoy was surprised. Huh. That sounded like Vulcan for "thank you," and it was tempting to make an issue out of that, but Jim was the real worry at the moment. He could always needle Spock later, but it'd probably be a good idea to call a truce while they both worked to help Jim deal with the trauma of the past few hours.

Spock and McCoy walked into sickbay proper, where McCoy went to the food synthesizer and dialed up a pot of chamomile tea, on a tray with several cups. They walked quickly to the captain's quarters and pressed the annunciator for admittance.

"Come," Kirk's voice called from inside the room, and the two blue-shirted men entered the cabin. Kirk smiled when he saw them. "Well. Double trouble! To what do I owe the honor, Bones?"

McCoy set the tray on Kirk's desk and busied himself pouring three cups of tea. He handed one to Kirk. "You've been through an experience that would have left a lesser man bawling on the floor, Jim. I thought maybe you could use a drink and a friend."

Kirk peered into the teacup. "Tea? Hardly your usual prescription."

McCoy took a teacup and sat in the chair next to Kirk's. "I thought maybe you'd had enough brandy for the time being. It's chamomile tea, which has a mild calming effect on the human nervous system, which I thought we could all use right about now, me included." He took a sip of his tea and looked teasingly at Spock. "Of course, I don't know what it does to the Vulcan nervous system; for all I know, it makes 'em swing from the chandeliers."

Spock took a cup of tea and sat down in a chair across from Kirk and McCoy. "It has no noticeable effect on the Vulcan nervous system, but the flavor is pleasing." He sipped his tea. "Jim, now that your two halves are reintegrated, do you retain the memories of both halves?"

Kirk sighed. "Yes. It's a bit surreal, to remember resting quietly in my room and remember trying to rape my yeoman at the exact same time." He set down his tea, stood up, and began to pace. "But that's not even the worst part. The worst part is that I remember what I thought and how I felt while I was trying to rape Janice. I remember the predatory feeling, the complete self-centeredness, the mindset where she wasn't a person to me but just a prey animal to be caught and taken." He broke off and turned away, unable to face even his closest friends while in touch with this memory.

McCoy walked over and stood behind Kirk, putting a hand on his shoulder. "That sounds like an upsetting memory, Jim, but remember, that part of yourself is usually controlled and channeled into better behavior. Having thought and felt those things while you were split into two parts doesn't make you a bad man; that kind of thing is inside all men, but most of us also have enough good in us to control it, as you do."

Kirk turned around and faced McCoy. "I'm aware of that, Bones; that's not what's so upsetting about the memory."

McCoy blinked. "What is it, then?"

Kirk turned away from the doctor and walked further away, remaining silent.

Spock said, "What dismays the captain is how pleasurable he found those emotions."

McCoy scoffed. "You're way off base, Spock. Don't try to use that Vulcan computer of yours to understand human feelings."

Kirk turned around and faced them. "Unfortunately, Bones, he's exactly on target. I remember how I felt when I tried to rape Janice, and there's an intensity to the feeling, a purity of intent, even a delight in feeling powerful and predatory." He shuddered. "I don't want to like that memory, but I can't put this to rest unless I'm honest with myself." He stared bleakly at his friends. "It felt good to be that selfish, that single-minded, to take whatever I wanted, without regard for consequences."

McCoy thought about this. "That's what we give up when we become civilized: that selfishness, that single-mindedness, that purity of focus."

Kirk sighed. "Yes, I suppose it is. But most of us become civilized young enough that we don't remember what it's like NOT to have the veneer of civilization limiting our actions, complicating our motivations, making us second-guess ourselves."

McCoy looked searchingly at Kirk. "But YOU know. For better or for worse, you now have the memory of what it's like to be an adult without the influence of civilization."

Kirk grimaced. "I'll always know just how necessary civilization is, just what I would be without that training, without that veneer." He looked at McCoy. "But I'll also always know just how heady an experience it is, to be without it."

Spock said, "The desire for uncivilized behavior will call to you, more strongly than to most men, because you have experienced the power and intensity of life without civilization."

Kirk looked at his first officer. "You knew. McCoy has the training in psychology1, but you were the one who knew what I was feeling." He stalked over to his first officer and stood looking down at him. "How did you know?"

Spock looked up at his captain. "The Vulcan veneer of civilization is generally ... thicker than the human veneer; Vulcans pride ourselves on how thoroughly civilized we are." He looked away, and there was an undertone of shame in his voice. "However, Vulcans do not expend effort needlessly or to no purpose." He looked back at Kirk. "Do you understand?"

Kirk spoke gently. "You're saying that Vulcans' basic nature is more savage than humans' basic nature, that you're more civilized because you NEED more civilization to control you."

Spock inclined his head but did not speak, then fixed his eyes on the floor.

Kirk sat down in the chair across from Spock and reached out to clasp his hand. "And you told me this — shared something Vulcans usually keep private — so that I wouldn't feel like the only savage on the ship."

Spock looked back up and swallowed. "Affirmative."

Kirk released his hand and sat back in his chair. "But how do you do it? How do you make it okay to repress that much of your nature? How do I make it okay, now that I've felt what the other side is like?"

Spock said, "The Vulcan way is to view all emotions as anathema, both the negative ones and those that humans regard as positive. That is not the human way, Jim, so Vulcan tactics will not apply to you."

McCoy sat back down next to Kirk. "The human way is to think about other people's emotions besides your own. You don't think about how strong and powerful YOU felt; you think about how frightened and betrayed JANICE felt. No matter how good it felt to be free of the constraints of civilization, the whole Jim Kirk could never rape Janice, because you could never hurt another human being that way."

Kirk smiled sadly at McCoy. "No, of course I never could. Empathy is the answer to restraining my behavior, and I have no problem with that. It's restraining the thoughts and the feelings, those newly seductive thoughts and feelings..."

Spock looked at Kirk and spoke tentatively. "I could, perhaps, teach you Vulcan meditation techniques. Meditation involves detachment from problematic cognitions and emotions; one observes the thoughts and feelings without actual involvement in them."

Kirk smiled. "I don't know if I have the patience for meditation, but after today's events ... I think I need to try."

McCoy snorted. "Well, count ME out, if it's gonna get Vulcan in here." He stood up and prepared to leave.

Spock raised an admonishing brow. "Meditation is also a human practice, one that is often recommended by physicians, as you well know."

McCoy smiled. "I know, Spock. But I thought y'all should have some privacy for this." He left the room.

Spock exhaled just softly enough that it could not quite be called a sigh, then looked at Kirk. "The first step in meditation is to relax the physical body so that it does not intrude."

Kirk shifted slightly in his chair, finding the most comfortable position, then smiled at the Vulcan. "You know, I think this is the first time all day that I've managed to relax."

Spock nodded gravely, then continued to instruct his captain in Vulcan meditation techniques. The mind constantly produced thoughts, just as the limbic system constantly produced emotions, but those things could be observed in a detached way. It was tempting to feel excitement at the idea of introducing Jim to Vulcan practices, but Spock was too disciplined to allow that to occur, and the human and the Vulcan sat together, observing, taming, and controlling the inner savages that helped to make them the men they were.

 


Author's Notes

1.
In the episode "Court Martial," we learn that in addition to being a physician, McCoy is also an expert in psychology. In that episode, the prosecutor says to him, "Doctor, you are, on the record, an expert in psychology, especially space psychology — patterns which develop in the close quarters of a ship during long voyages in deep space."

2. The most obviously problematic part of this episode is Spock's line to Yeoman Rand, but I chose not to address that in this epilogue. Why? Well, I'll tell you. :-)

I'm old enough (just barely! :-D) to remember what the world was like in 1966 and what the worldview of the time was. Mainstream American culture has changed ENORMOUSLY in that time. Really, if you haven't lived through it personally, you would not believe what a huge cultural shift there has been in only fifty years. (The cultures and mindsets of other countries have changed, as well; I mention American culture because Star Trek was mostly written and produced by Americans, so that's the culture whose attitudes influence what we see on the screen in the TOS episodes.)

One of the things that has changed a lot is in cultural attitudes towards rape. In my opinion, things still aren't where they should be in our culture's attitude towards rape, but we have a MUCH more enlightened attitude today than we did in 1966. In 1966, it was a truism that "all women secretly want to be raped."

Yes, yes, I know that's stupid and sexist and pernicious and WRONG. But it's what people thought back then. Star Trek was forward-thinking in many ways, but it was a product of its time in many other ways, and to modern eyes, it is extremely sexist. The line assigned to Spock, about the "imposter" having interesting qualities, was a product of that mindset; Spock was saying, "It excited you that Evil Kirk tried to rape you, because we 'know' that all women secretly want to be raped." It's a horrible attitude to attribute to so ethical a character as Spock, but the mindset of the time was so pervasive that the writer probably didn't realize what a terrible thing he was having Spock say there.

It's clear with the benefit of modern attitudes that Spock wouldn't say any such thing. This episode was written by Richard Matheson, but it was edited and rewritten by both John D. F. Black and Gene Roddenberry, so we don't know who, exactly, is responsible for that egregious line. But the "real" Spock, if there is one, never said any such thing; it was clumsy writing that put that line in the poor guy's mouth.

One of the interesting things about TOS is that it's a time capsule from fifty years ago. Some things have changed very little in that time, and other things have changed hugely. When something in TOS seems completely bizarre, it's often that time capsule element at work. While it hurts to watch so beloved a character as Spock speak such a horrible line, if we take a step back and view it as a bulletin from the past, we can see how much attitudes have changed in fifty years ... and rejoice that they have.

3. Many (most?) Star Trek fans know that the Vulcan neck pinch was created during the filming of this episode and that it was Leonard Nimoy, himself, who invented it. Here's what he has to say about it in his second autobiography, I Am Spock, published in 1995 (pp 58 - 59 hardcover first edition); everything in italics is quoted from that book:

In preparing to play the character, I had already done some thinking about Vulcan culture and customs, and had made the decision that Vulcans were a touch-oriented society, that the fingers and hands featured prominently, as they were touch telepaths.

Based on that concept, the Vulcan neck pinch was created. It came about during the shooting of "The Enemy Within," an episode wherein Captain Kirk was confronted by the "evil" half of his personality—his own "Mr. Hyde," if you will. In one particular scene, this "evil" character had confronted the "good" Kirk and was about to destroy him with a phaser blast. The original script called for Spock to steal up behind the "bad" Kirk and strike him over the head with the butt of a phaser.

The scene jarred me when I first read it; it seemed more appropriate for the Old West than the twenty-third century. I could practically hear the Vulcan whispering in my ear:

SPOCK: Barbaric. A Vulcan would avoid unnecessary violence at all costs. We have, after all, made a thorough study of the human anatomy, and utilize more scientific methods, which render the use of force obsolete.

In keeping with the Vulcan emphasis on touch, I spoke to the director, Leo Penn, about my concern. Leo agreed that it was valid, and asked what alternatives I might suggest. After explaining the business about Vulcans and how they were no doubt familiar with the anatomy of recalcitrant humans, I suggested that they were capable of transmitting a special energy from their fingertips. If applied to the proper nerve centers on a human's neck and shoulders, that energy would render the human unconscious.

Leo asked for a demonstration; since Bill Shatner was the other actor in the scene with me, he was the most available victim. I quietly briefed Bill on what I had in mind, and the two of us made our little presentation for the director. I applied pressure to the juncture of Bill's neck and shoulder, and he most convincingly and cooperatively fell into an "unconscious" heap on the floor. Thus the famous neck pinch was born, in part because of Bill Shatner's talent for fainting on cue.


According to the memo excerpt published in Marc Cushman's These Are the Voyages, Gene Roddenberry did NOT like it that Mr. Nimoy had invented something new for Spock without discussing it with him first, and he sent Nimoy a memo telling him not to do that again. (Luckily, Mr. Nimoy did not listen, and a year later, he invented the Vulcan salute for "Amok Time.")

Eventually, the neck pinch became such a well-known and frequently used device that it was referred to in scripts simply as "FSNP," which stood for "Famous Spock Neck Pinch." :-) And aren't we all glad that Mr. Nimoy invented such a useful maneuver!

You can see from Mr. Nimoy's description that the neck pinch depends not just on Vulcans' understanding of human anatomy and physiology but also on "special energy" — perhaps related to telepathic energy? — transmitted through the fingertips. So humans shouldn't be able to do the neck pinch, though this aspect of it seems to have been lost by the time they made The Next Generation.

4.  Kirk's green wrap shirt was created for this episode, to help audiences distinguish between the good and evil Kirks. Because on small, fuzzy, black-and-white sets, it wasn't as easy to tell as it is nowadays, with our big, clear, color sets.

5. Richard Matheson is given sole credit onscreen for the writing of this episode, but according to Marc Cushman, Gene Roddenberry actually added a considerable amount to the script. He added the "B" plot about the landing party freezing on the planet's surface over Matheson's objections, since Matheson thought the landing party's plight was a distraction from Kirk's. Roddenberry was also responsible for the "good" Kirk's becoming weak and hesitant; Matheson was thinking in Jekyll-and-Hyde terms, so he was thinking of "real" Kirk and "evil" Kirk; it was Roddenberry who decided to make it not real and evil but good and evil. (If the script sometimes seems inconsistent, with the characters calling the "evil" Kirk "the imposter," that's why.) Roddenberry is also responsible for adding the bit about much of Kirk's decisiveness and drive coming from the "evil" side.

John D. F. Black left Star Trek after just a short time.  According to Cushman, this was partly because he thought it was horrible of Roddenberry to rewrite other writers — especially big-name SF writers like Matheson — to do anything more than smooth out inconsistencies with the characters. And yet this episode is all the more powerful for NOT being just a simple re-telling of the Jekyll and Hyde tale but a musing upon the value of the negative side of a person. I also think the plight of the landing party helps to illustrate just what the stakes are when Kirk loses the power to make decisions. Kirk's ability to command isn't just a theory or an abstraction — the lives of actual people depend on it. Matheson's original script may have been a good story, but I think Roddenberry's was better Star Trek.

6. Again according to Cushman, the network (NBC) did NOT like this episode. They thought it would be hard for audiences to like Kirk and identify with him if they'd seen him behaving badly, and they thought that the attempted rape of Rand was something that didn't belong on network TV. So they only broadcast it once; it was not given a summer rerun. (Of course, it was broadcast many times in syndication; I'm talking only about the initial run in 1966).

7. Sorry I haven't been around much!  I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not, and it's been kicking my butt especially hard, this past week or two.

8. I'm going to borrow Ster J's wonderful disclaimer, because it fits me so well: I don't own Star Trek; IT owns ME. :-)

9. Thanks for reading!

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Author's Note

Reminder of which episode goes with this title: This is the one about the salt vampire, who spends much of the episode disguised as McCoy's ex-girlfriend, Nancy Crater.

This story is a missing scene; it takes place in McCoy's quarters shortly after the creature is killed, but before the very last scene of the episode, which ends with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy on the bridge.

 


 

 TOS Episode Epilogues 5:  "The Man Trap"



The three men stared down at the creature lying on the floor of McCoy's quarters.  The creature was thickly covered with light grey fur, had three octopus-like suckers on each of its three fingers, and had a perfectly round sucker-like mouth, with inward-pointing teeth.  The greenish-grey face was wrinkled and rubbery, and it looked like nothing that Kirk, Spock, or McCoy had ever seen before.  

McCoy stared in horror at the creature's corpse.  "And to think I let that thing run its fingers over my face and call me 'Darling.'"

Kirk shook his head.  "If it had its fingers on your face, it's a wonder you're alive."

McCoy collapsed into a chair.  "Nancy told me that I made her feel safe."  He grimaced.  "I guess she kept me alive so I could protect her from everyone else, and like a fool, I fell for it."

Kirk put a hand on McCoy's shoulder.  "That's not the only reason why.  We realize now that you weren't at the meeting earlier, because the creature attended it while masquerading as you.  During the briefing, Bob Crater told us that the creature needs love as much as it needs salt."

"Love!"  McCoy looked like he'd swallowed something unpleasant.  "There's no way I could love THAT."

Kirk smiled.  "Yeah, a murderer isn't your usual taste in girlfriends."

McCoy blinked.  "It's not just that, it's ... LOOK at it.  It's an alien."

Spock stiffened. "I, too, am an alien.  Does that make me unworthy of love?"

McCoy smirked.  "I'll deny I said this, later, but you're not a very alien alien, Spock.  You look a lot like us, you act a lot like us."

Spock raised a brow.  "Does that mean, then, that only aliens who appear very nearly human are worthy of love?"

McCoy looked down.  "I, I don't know."  He grimaced.  "She had suckers on her fingers, for god's sake!"

Kirk smiled at McCoy and spoke gently.  "Bones, you don't have to love anybody you don't want to.  Plus the creature deceived you, by pretending to be something she's not, and she murdered several people.  It's perfectly reasonable for you not to love this creature."  

The captain paused and looked troubled, and his voice hardened.  "But, if the reason you can't imagine warming up to her is because she had suckers on her fingers, you need to think about that.  Our mission is to explore new worlds and to make contact with new lifeforms.  If anybody who's too different from the human model disgusts you, that's a reaction you need to look at."

McCoy pointed to the body on the floor.  "Could you hug THAT?  Could you let it run its rubbery fingers over your face, feel its disgusting suckers on your skin?"

Kirk shook his head.  "I wouldn't let that particular creature put its fingers on my face because it's a predator, and I don't want to be its lunch."  He smiled.  "But if it were a peaceful creature, and it communicated with its fingers — if it put them on my face for something like Spock's mind meld and not to try to kill me — then of course I could let it put its fingers on my face."

McCoy looked sourly at Spock.  "And I suppose you agree with him; you'll probably tell me my disgust is illogical."

Spock shook his head.  "On the contrary, I believe your disgust is a response programmed into humans by evolution.  Fear of the unknown or of anything that is different or 'other' provided an advantage to survival in humanity's past.  Those who avoided potentially poisonous snakes or potentially hostile tribes survived longer than those who embraced unknown creatures.  Over time, fear of strange or unknown creatures — even strange or unknown varieties of people — became a basic part of human nature."

Kirk said, "That's true, but it's a part we've been working on overcoming for hundreds of years.  At one time, humans with a different appearance or accent or skin color were unknown or strange, and that gave rise to centuries of violence, oppression, and exploitation.  It was overcoming that reaction, seeing ALL humans as 'us' and not as 'them,' that enabled us to work together to achieve greatness and to reach the stars."

McCoy looked consideringly at Kirk.  "Everybody's 'us' to you, aren't they?  Any sentient creature is a potential friend in your book."

Kirk smiled.  "Bones, any sentient creature IS a potential friend.  That's why we're out here!  That's why we're exploring and making contact with new civilizations."  

McCoy crossed his arms over his chest.  "That's why YOU'RE out here.  I'm out here to patch you up when your new friends turn out not to be so friendly."

Kirk shook his head.  "I've found that most sentient beings react to you the way that you react to them.  Treat people as if they're interesting, intelligent, and trustworthy, and the chances are they'll BE interesting, intelligent and trustworthy."  He chuckled.  "Of course, I have a phaser on my belt in case they're not."  He looked soberly at McCoy.  "I'm not crazy or unaware of danger, you know, but the mere possibility of danger doesn't control me."

McCoy sighed.  "That's because you act like you're completely missing the ability to feel fear; remind me to examine your amygdala someday."  He turned and looked at Spock.  "You're more cautious than he is; what's your take on the matter?"

Spock titled his head to one side.  "For Vulcans, the mind is all; the body is very nearly irrelevant.  If a new lifeform has a compatible mind, the body in which that mind is housed can make no difference."  He paused.  "I do think it wise, however, to ascertain a creature's nature and intentions before relaxing one's guard around it."

McCoy frowned and gestured at the creature on the floor of his quarters.  "Why does this bother me so much, when it doesn't bother either of you?  I didn't think I was xenophobic."

Kirk looked at the body on the floor, then back at the doctor.  "If that creature'd had a medical emergency, and you'd needed to work on it, I bet you wouldn't have had any problem touching it."

McCoy brightened.  "You're right, I wouldn't.  But that's in a professional context."

Kirk held out a hand.  "Bones, you're not just a doctor, you're a Starfleet officer.  Encountering new lifeforms IS part of your professional context."

McCoy considered this.  "I guess I've always thought my profession was physician, and Starfleet was just the location where I was practicing it.  I could've practiced in a hospital or a private practice or a community health center; it's just that where I'm practicing right now is Starfleet."

Kirk and Spock exchanged a look, and Spock spoke for them both.  "That explains a great deal that has been mystifying about your behavior, Doctor."

McCoy chuckled.  "Doesn't it, though!"  He looked down at the braid on his sleeve, the one solid line and one broken line of a lieutenant commander.  "But damned if these gold bands don't say I'm an officer."  He looked back up and nodded at his captain.  "I'll work on being a doctor AND a Starfleet officer.  But don't expect me to be too spit-and-polish!"

Kirk smiled.  "You'll be the same kind of officer as you are a doctor:  not exactly by the book, but all the better for that."

Spock raised an eyebrow but did not disagree, and McCoy relaxed for the first time since the creature's death.

 



Author's Notes

1.  I'm a licensed clinical psychologist in real life.  I've mostly practiced in university counseling centers and in private practice, with a few training stints in hospitals.  I know of other psychologists, though, who work for the US Army, and most of them don't think of themselves as army officers; they think of themselves as psychologists who just happen to be working for the army at the moment.  Since this fits very well with McCoy's behavior, I felt as if I wasn't doing him a disservice in ascribing this attitude to him.

2.  The amygdala  is a part of the brain that's essential for the feeling of fear; this is why McCoy jokes that he wants to examine that part of our fearless captain.

3.  As most Star Trek fans know, this was the first Star Trek episode ever broadcast.  Why did NBC choose to start with this one?  Well, they couldn't start with "The Corbomite Maneuver," because making the special effects for Balok's ship took a LONG time in 1966.  The special effects makers were being asked to do things they didn't usually have to do for TV, and it took them awhile to figure out how to do some things, plus it was all just much, much slower before the age of computers.  "The Corbomite Maneuver" wouldn't be broadcast until the tenth episode, because it took that long to get the special effects ready.

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" didn't have the complete crew, plus the ship and the uniforms were somewhat different than the regular ones, so in some superficial respects it wouldn't give a good picture of what Star Trek would be like.  "The Enemy Within" was a good episode, but having the captain be out of character for 90% of the episode also wouldn't be a great introduction to the series, back when no one had any idea who these characters were.  "The Naked Time" (up next) is a wonderful episode, but it has most of the crew behaving out of character, which also isn't the best possible introduction.

That leaves "Mudd's Women" or "The Man Trap" as possible choices, and they went with "The Man Trap."  Gotta say that I agree with them there. :-)

I think "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is actually a much better episode and would have made a better introduction to the series, but it IS true that the crew, the uniforms, and the appearance of the ship are all uncharacteristic in that episode.

4.  Some esoteric and futuristic salt shakers were purchased for this episode, then when the time came to use them, they realized that the salt shakers wouldn't work in the plot unless the audience could recognize them as salt shakers.  So they used a perfectly ordinary salt shaker in this episode, but the Star Trek production didn't have any extra money, and they had to use those futuristic salt shakers for something.  They were pressed into service as McCoy's portable scanners, so when he runs that little cylindrical doohicky over people and looks at the end of it to see how they are, he's using a salt shaker.  It takes real acting ability to look at the end of a salt shaker — seriously and with great concern — and report that it shows medical information. :-)

5.  This episode was written by George Clayton Johnson — lightly edited by John D. F. Black and heavily edited by Gene Roddenberry — and directed by Marc Daniels.  This was the first episode directed by Daniels, but it certainly wouldn't be the last; he went on to direct fourteen TOS episodes, tied with Joseph Pevney for directing the most TOS episodes.  He also wrote the Star Trek Animated Series episode "One of Our Planets Is Missing."  And did you know that his face was used for that of Jackson Roykirk in the episode "The Changeling"?  Daniels won a Hugo award (a major science fiction award) for directing "The Menagerie."

In These Are The Voyages, Marc Cushman reports that it was Marc Daniels who thought of giving Spock green blood.  Remember, in this episode, the salt vampire tries to kill Spock and can't, and Spock says this is because, "Fortunately, my ancestors spawned in another ocean than yours did. My blood cells are quite different."  Well, Marc Daniels wanted to know HOW they're different, and he thought green blood would be interestingly different, plus it would make a certain amount of sense, given the yellowish skin they were giving Spock.  Daniels said that Gene Roddenberry was not enthusiastic about giving Spock green blood but eventually came around. :-)

So why have they been giving Spock pink blusher on his cheeks up till now?  Because Marc Daniels didn't invent Spock's green blood until they were filming this episode. :-)
 
6.  When we hear Nancy singing briefly in the early part of this episode, that's actually Nichelle Nichols' voice.

7.  The things that Uhura suggests that Spock say to her would be considered sexual harassment if someone said them to a subordinate today.  Some parts of TOS are as fresh today as the day the series was made, but some things remind us that this show was made in 1966, and things were a lot different then. 

8.  Chrissie has transcripts of all of the episodes — which she laboriously typed in herself — and you can find the transcript for this episode here.  She misses a line once in a very great while when two characters are speaking at once or when a character is speaking in a very soft voice, but this happens very rarely, and her transcripts are generally both extremely accurate and a wonderful resource for the community.

9.  I have a chronic illness that leaves me non-functional more days than not.  I will try to update regularly, and I will try to respond to any comments I receive.  Unfortunately, my good intentions are frequently thwarted by my poor health.

10.  I'm going to borrow Ster J's wonderful disclaimer, because it fits me so well:  I don't own Star Trek; IT owns ME. :-)

11.  Thanks for reading!

 

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Chapter 6: "The Naked Time"

 

As soon as the ship was out of danger, Kirk punched the intercom button on his chair and made an announcement. All over the ship, people stopped what they were doing to listen.

All hands, this is the captain. Large numbers of us were affected by the disease we picked up on Psi 2000, including the first officer and myself. Under the influence of that infection, people said and did things that they would never have said or done if they'd been in their right minds. I want all of you – both those who were affected by the disease and those who were not – to realize that the behavior of infected people was not under their control. Kirk paused for a moment to let this sink in, then resumed.

I don't intend to take any action against those who disobeyed orders or regulations while infected, and I hope that all of you will similarly forgive any transgressions that infected people may have committed against you. As far as I'm concerned, this disease was an injury received in the line of duty, and I intend to give every infected crew member the honor and respect that military organizations have given to wounded soldiers from time immemorial. So if you said or did anything that embarrassed or shamed you today, know that your captain regards it as an honorable wound that you received in your service aboard this vessel.

If you had an interaction while infected that you think may have made it difficult to work with someone, I encourage you to talk it out with that person, secure in the knowledge that hundreds of your fellow crew members will be asking for forgiveness tonight. I trust that those of you asked for forgiveness will not withhold it.

We've encountered some strange things in our mission of exploration, and I'm sure we'll encounter more in the days and weeks to come. But I have faith in all of us, faith that we can meet those challenges, roll with the punches, and come back for more. I have faith that we can keep our minds and our hearts open, ready to meet the unknown and ready to take the chance to understand and deal with whatever we encounter. I don't say this often enough, but I'll say it today: thank you for your service aboard this ship. He paused again, to let his message sink in, then concluded. Captain out.

Kirk pressed the button to turn the intercom off, then swiveled his chair to look around the bridge. He started with Spock, who gave him an approving nod, then looked at Uhura, who gave him a bright smile. The expression of relief on the faces of Sulu and Riley would have made him laugh aloud if he hadn't been sure that they'd already been laughed at more than they could stand today, and he contented himself with an avuncular smile at each of them. Scotty was shaking his head, but not as if he disagreed, more in a "That's Kirk for you" kind of way, and Kirk was relieved to see that peace had been restored to his bridge and to his ship.

~*~

All over the ship, people were asking for – and receiving – forgiveness for the actions they'd taken under the influence of the disease. The crewman who'd scrawled slogans in red paint all over the bulkheads helped Maintenance scrub those words off of the bulkheads. The Maintenance personnel teased him good-naturedly, and he was relieved that they were joking, rather than angry. The tone set by the captain, plus his own ready help with the paint remover, made the task seem like the light-hearted aftermath of a good party, rather than the shameful penance that he'd been prepared to undergo.

~*~

Sulu apologized prettily to everyone he'd menaced with his sword, and his finesse with both the sword and the apologies made several crewmen ask him for fencing lessons. He was happy to discover that some combination of his appearance while shirtless and the dash with which he'd conducted himself caused more than one person to ask him for a date, and he had his choice of several different men and women. Sulu's good humor had always made him popular among his fellow officers, but the events of Psi 2000, which he'd thought would embarrass him for life, actually resulted in his becoming even more popular than he'd been before.

~*~

Nurse Chapel went to Spock's cabin and was admitted. Once inside, she twisted her fingers awkwardly while looking everywhere but at the man she'd come to see. He surprised her by coming around from behind the desk to where she was standing, then putting a hand over hers to stop her from fidgeting. "Please, Miss Chapel. Do not feel shame or embarrassment on my account. The captain is correct that all of those affected by the contagion said and did things that we would not have done in its absence. I hold nothing you said today against you."

Christine Chapel looked up at him and smiled tremulously. "I know the captain's right, but I did want to apologize. Of all the people on the ship to dump my emotions all over, to dump them all over you ..." She swallowed. "I wish I'd done that to anyone but you."

Spock clasped his hands behind his back. "Vulcans have a word – kaiidith – it means, 'What is, IS.' You cannot change the events of today, nor can I, and so we shall just have to live with them."

Christine nodded. "The thing is, I'm engaged to be married, to Roger Korby. He's been missing for quite some time, so I haven't seen him in awhile, but I do still consider myself to be engaged. I ... I wanted you to know that I'm committed to him, and you needn't fear that I'll be throwing myself at you. I don't even know why I did that today. I mean, I do appreciate you, tremendously, but I'm engaged."

Spock inclined his head. "And I, also."

Christine smiled. "Well, then. I said some foolish things while afflicted by a strange illness, but it's behind us now, right?"

"It is," Spock said.

Christine turned to go, then looked back over her shoulder at him. "Thank you for being so gentle and understanding about this. I was worried that you'd hate me."

"Vulcans neither love nor hate, Miss Chapel."

She laughed. "Since you're being so nice to me, I'll pretend I believe that." Christine laughed again as she saw his eyebrow begin to rise and left the room, feeling much better than she had when she'd arrived.

~*~

Next door, Riley presented himself at the captain's cabin, to offer his resignation if it were desired. Kirk fixed the navigator with a stare and said, in a hard tone of voice, "Did you think I didn't mean what I said?"

Riley swallowed nervously. "It's not that I think you're a liar, Captain. But forgiving someone for writing slogans on the bulkheads is a little different from forgiving someone for almost burning up the ship and everyone aboard her." He swallowed again and looked at the floor. "Plus, I announced that I was the captain." Riley blushed and looked miserable.

Kirk chuckled. "Do you think I'd damn a man for his ambition? It's the junior officers on the Command track who DON'T want to be captain someday that I'm wary of. The ambitious ones give me their best, and I know I can count on them." Kirk paused and regarded Riley, who still looked miserable, so Kirk added, "Besides, do you think a man gets to be the youngest captain in the history of Starfleet without knowing a thing or two about ambition, himself?"

Riley looked up, hope written all over his face. "You didn't just mean all the others, then; you really meant you'd forgiven me, too?"

Kirk cocked his head to one side. "Just as long as we're clear about who's captain at the moment," he said pleasantly.

Riley snapped to attention. "Yes, sir! Absolutely, sir!"

Kirk smiled. "At ease, Riley, at ease." He looked his crewman over and added, "And I think if Dr. McCoy were here, he'd order you to have some dinner and go to bed. You've had a big day, and you look wrung out."

Kirk's concern completed the job his reassurance had begun, and Riley gave him a blinding smile, said, "Yes, SIR," and left the room.

Once Riley had left, Kirk relaxed slightly. It had been a big day for him, too, but it wasn't over yet; there was still Spock to deal with. He thought they were both okay, but he'd urged his crew to have awkward conversations with one another, and he couldn't shirk a duty that he himself had set. Still, he could take a few moments, maybe even have a drink, before confronting his First.

Kirk got up, poured himself a small drink, and had just sat back down to enjoy it when his annunciator chimed. He smiled wryly, almost certain he knew who it was. Who would do a duty even Kirk shrank from, after all? "Come," he said, and his guess was proven right as Spock entered his cabin.

"I was just thinking about you," Kirk said, and gestured to the chair on the other side of his desk. "Have a seat."

Spock seated himself in the chair, sitting even more stiffly upright than usual, a veritable stone carving of a Vulcan. Said statue looked gravely at his captain. "Per your order, I am here to discuss our interactions in the briefing room."

Kirk sighed. Today had been hard for everyone, but it was probably hardest of all on the person sitting before him. Everyone else was accustomed to expressing emotion, and if a lot of people were expressing embarrassment tonight, well, they were Starfleet officers, and that meant they were tough. They could all stand a little embarrassment. But the person before him seemed, paradoxically enough, both the toughest of them all and the tenderest of them all. Expressing emotion wasn't all in a day's work to Spock, and the dignity that had always seemed to Kirk to be both infinite and impenetrable had proved to be neither today. Kirk would have to tread carefully here.

Kirk put on a confident, teasing grin that he didn't quite feel but thought was called for. "I'm pretty sure you forgive me for slapping you across the face, and forgive you for knocking me across the room."

Spock nodded sharply. "Indeed. As you stated in your announcement, we were not ourselves, and the usual penalties for striking a fellow officer should not apply."

Kirk softened to a gentle smile and leaned forward in his chair. He continued in a more sympathetic tone, "And I promise I will never tell another soul that I saw you break down today, and I will never mention the things you said."

Spock relaxed slightly in his chair, now looking more like a living being and less like a stone carving. "And I, in turn, will keep your confidence."

Kirk smiled wryly and tried to lighten the atmosphere with humor. "Actually, I don't think it's a big secret that I'm having a mad love affair with my ship, though I'd appreciate your not confirming that."

Spock inclined his head, relaxing enough that the teasing glint was back in his eyes. "I believe this is common in human captains and is even considered a benefit, rather than a detriment."

Kirk smiled absently to acknowledge Spock's last statement, then looked down as he swirled his drink in his glass, wishing he could let the final issue go but knowing that he needed to address it if both their working relationship and their friendship were to remain unimpaired.

He looked up from his glass and caught Spock's eye. "There's one more thing I want to discuss. You told me that when you feel friendship for me, you're ashamed. Is that because I'm human? Do Vulcans consider me not good enough to be your friend?"

Spock blinked for a moment, and his having a visible reaction suggested that he was about as close to astonished as a Vulcan could be. "On the contrary. All but the most insular Vulcans esteem excellence wherever it occurs, and as the finest starship captain in the fleet, you would be considered an eminently worthy individual by the vast majority of Vulcans. Furthermore, you possess a number of personal qualities that are highly valued on Vulcan. It is true that you are far more emotionally expressive than would be appropriate in a Vulcan, but we are aware that other cultures have different standards, and we do not expect humans to conduct themselves as Vulcans would."

Kirk smiled. "I'm glad to hear it. But then, why...?"

Spock's gaze turned reflective. "It is not the object of my feeling of friendship that shames me; it is the feeling itself. While it is true that friendship is permitted to Vulcans, Vulcan friendship generally manifests as a sense of affinity, perhaps accompanied by a slight degree of affection. The intensity of the affection I feel for you is beyond what would be considered appropriate in a Vulcan, and it is this which shames me." He swallowed. "And yet I find myself both unwilling and unable to attenuate our friendship in any way, nor to diminish the feelings you inspire."

Kirk opened his mouth to speak, and Spock held up a hand. "Please. Allow me to finish my explanation." Kirk nodded and make a "you have the floor" gesture.

Spock continued, "I never intended for you to know of my ambivalence or of my shame, both because I feared they would be misinterpreted by a human, and because the burden of my divided heritage is mine to manage; I would foist no part of that burden upon you. I regret that you are now aware of my qualms and hope that you will be able to put them from your mind."

Kirk grimaced. "I don't know whether to feel happy and ... honored ... that I can inspire a friendship so strong that it makes a Vulcan blush, or whether to feel sad that I've intensified the already heavy burden that being half human and half Vulcan gives you."

Spock exhaled audibly. "The ambivalence you've just expressed is a reflection of my own, the legacy of my divided heritage, and that is a burden I didn't want you to bear, Jim."

Kirk smiled. "Well, this is an unfamiliar feeling for me; I'm usually pretty whole-hearted about things. We may actually be lucky this happened, since it helps me understand you that much better."

Kirk looked at the face of his First, which seemed not quite as composed and serene as usual, and tried to imagine how things looked to Spock. "I'm not planning to pull back from our friendship, just because you expressed a few doubts, if that's what you're worried about."

Under normal circumstances, Spock would have uttered some variant of "Vulcans do not worry," but the events of today had evidently left him unable to take refuge in such things, because he merely nodded and said, "Thank you, Jim." He looked more peaceful, though, so Kirk thought his reassurance had succeeded.

The two men sat in silence for a moment, assimilating this, and then Kirk said, "After today's emotional rollercoaster, I could use something quiet and orderly. Want to play chess?"

Spock inclined his head. "I must decline. I vowed that I would write to my mother before the day ended, and it is already 23:32."

Kirk smiled broadly. "Don't let me keep you, then; I know that's important."

Neither man spoke of what Spock intended to say in that letter to his mother, but both men knew, and both of them felt a sense of warmth and contentment, to be so well known, one to the other ... and known considerably better after the events of this day.

 


 

Author's Notes

1. What's in the letter? During the scene in the briefing room, Spock says to Kirk, "My mother, I could never tell her I loved her. An Earth woman, living on a planet where love, emotion is in bad taste." So Spock's going to write to his mother to tell her that he loves her. She already knows that, of course, but she'll still treasure that letter forever. :-)

2. Thanks for reading!

 

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I liked this, especially how you worked in Chapel's guilt over Roger Corby (I always wondered about that loose thread myself); you tied it together nicely!

Keep 'em coming! 

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I liked this, especially how you worked in Chapel's guilt over Roger Corby (I always wondered about that loose thread myself); you tied it together nicely!

Keep 'em coming! 

Aw, thanks!  It's sweet of you to let me know you enjoyed it.

 

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