Season Two, Episode Nineteen: The Immunity Syndrome
Author's Note: If you follow this series and don't read the comment section, you. are. missing. out. There are so many thorough, insightful additions and debates about every episode that are must-read. Seriously. It fleshes out this entire project in a way I never anticipated. Plus every now and then you'll see an enlightening story from someone who was around when the show aired and/or first got popular. Go read the comments, dude.
(((Full disclosure: It's been at least a couple of years (for shame) since I've watched TOS. As a result, I do not remember this episode at all. Immunity what? Syndrome huh? But this has shown up on some lists of anticipated Commentary installments, so I'm quite intrigued.)))
Captain's Log says The Enterprise is on its way to Starbase Six for a little R&R. It cuts to something we don't usually see: Kirk actually recording the log on the bridge. McCoy is to his left.
Kirk: "The crew has performed excellently, but is exhausted. And I too am looking forward to a nice period of rest on some lovely...planet."
During his last line, a blonde crewman passes by on his right. He eyes her, implying she is the 'planet' he'd like to land on.
1. This is, like, one of two, maybe three instances where Kirk does something to suggest he digs casual sex. This is the most blatant instance, to the point of being kinda out of character? He went after that one chick at the end of Mirror Mirror, but she was the regular!verse version of the hot chick from Mirror!verse, and therefore not really a total stranger to him. He doesn't usually just ogle random women, or make such overt references to banging them. Who wrote this episode? I mean, Roddenberry oversaw every script and had final say on changes, but still. This is not a Kirk you see everyday, and if Womanizer!Kirk fanboys can cling to something like this as 'proof' they know his characterization, then I can certainly throw a mountain of consistent evidence at them that proves otherwise.
2. I've said it before in earlier episodes, but it bears repeating: Kirk showing interest in women does not inherently disprove any case someone would make for K/S. Bi and pansexuality is a thing, nobody ever said Kirk was 100% homo, etc etc.
3. I thought the camera angle as he said 'planet' was hella fucking interesting. I mean it cuts to a wideshot with Spock in the foreground. Visually, one could argue the shot suggested some ambiguity on exactly which planet Kirk wanted to land on. Who directed this episode? Because we're twenty-three seconds into this thing and the text is one thing while the camera/directing is another.
4. Don't go too overboard with #3-Kirk makes the same 'planet' joke at the end of the episode and Spock isn't there. But it would have been impossible for him to be there, as we'll see.)))
Uhura: "Captain, that was a message from Starbase Six. Heavy interference, all I get is 'Intrepid' and what sounded like a sector coordinate."
Spock: "Interesting. No indications of magnetic storms in this sector."
Kirk: "Try another channel, lieutenant."
McCoy: "Intrepid is manned by Vulcans, isn't it?"
Kirk (thoughtfully): "Yes, that's right, Bones."
Spock looks up from the scanner like a dudebro just sent him a dickpic. He touches his face, clearly woozy. Kirk and McCoy are by his side in a flash.
(((BROT3. Possibly the greatest one ever written.)))
Spock: "Captain, the Intrepid just...died."
Kirk and McCoy trade looks of HOLY SHIT.
Spock: "Over four hundred Vulcans aboard. All dead."
(((Oh jesus baby that's fucking awful why the hell are they doing this to you it hasn't evEN BEEN TWO MINUTES)))
McCoy: "C'mon, Spock. Let's go down to sickbay."
Spock: "Doctor, I know what I know."
Kirk: "Get to the sickbay."
(((Trust the humans on this one, Spock. Please.)))
Kirk shakes his head.
Kirk: "No no no, that's an order."
(((Kill me right the fuck now. Spock's face, deeply distraught, is just screaming "Please let me do the work, I wanna help, I wanna find out what the hell happened." But Kirk is just "Shhhh don't even worry about you go take care of yourself that's a goddamn order."
Shit like this makes me feel things.
How did I forget this episode?)))
Spock (quietly): "Yes, sir..."
McCoy leads Spock to the turbolift. Kirk trails them quietly like a worried Labrador, but stays on the bridge.
(((I'm not kidding. The concern is obvious. Even without slash goggles that tugs at the heartstrings. Of course, WITH slash goggles it more like stretches the strings to the breaking point but that's neither here nor there.)))
Starbase Six is coming in loud and clear now, and whoever's running things orders the Enterprise to divert to a different sector. Kirk makes a plea for his crew—they need some damn rest—but it turns out they're the only ship in town. Not to mention the Starbase has lost contact with an entire galaxy where the Intrepid was investigating. So this is a tad important. Kirk acknowledges the order and hangs up. They set a course for their assignment.
Over on the scanner, Chekov has finished a long range scan of the galaxy in question and it is soooooo dead. Kirk takes a look at the scanner for himself, because billions of people don't simply poof out of existence, right? Wrong. All gone.
Kirk pops up like he just saw the same dickpic and we go to titles.
(((Dude, this episode was written by Robert Sabaroff. This is the only episode he ever wrote. I KNEW that line was weird. I so called it.
Brittany — 1, World — 0
AHHH, and the director was Joseph Pevney! He did almost all of the K/S biggies, including Trouble with Tribbles, Deadly Years, Journey to Babel, The Apple, AMOK TIME, City on the Edge of Forever, and Devil in the Dark. That definitely helps the camera angle argument from earlier, even if it is just speculation. Called it again.
Brittany — 2, World — 0)))
In sickbay, Spock is on an examination table while McCoy scans him with a salt shaker.
Spock: "I assure you, doctor, I am quite all right. The pain was momentary, it passed quickly."
McCoy: "Well, all of my instruments seem to agree with you, if I can trust these crazy Vulcan readings."
(((McCoy being frustrated and flummoxed over Vulcan physiology is never not hysterical.)))
Spock doesn't reply. He's not really in the mood to banter.
(((And nobody blames him.)))
McCoy: "Spock, how can you be so sure that the Intrepid was destroyed?"
Spock: "I sensed it die."
(((Oh, well...that would...do it...::awkward cough::)))
McCoy: "I thought you had to be in physical contact with a subject before—"
Spock: "Doctor, even I, a half-Vulcan, could hear the death scream of four hundred Vulcan minds crying out over the distance between us."
(((That. is fucking. HORRIFYING.)))
(((Headcanon: That shit haunts him for the rest of his life in a very real way.)))
(((What the hell is it with these past two episodes creating tragic headcanons omg.)))
McCoy: "Not even a Vulcan could feel a starship die."
Spock: "Call it a deep understanding of the way things happen to Vulcans, but I know that not a person, not even the computers on board the Intrepid, knew what was killing them or would have understood it had they known."
(((Spock isn't really in the mood for your critical thinking there, McCoy. I'd let him go.)))
(((Also, seriously...haunts him for life.)))
McCoy: "But four hundred Vulcans?"
Spock: "I have noticed that about your people, doctor. You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million. You speak about the objective hardness of the Vulcan heart, yet how little room there seems to be in yours."
(((Well I'm gonna go re-evaluate the human race now thank you Spock.)))
Spock goes to leave.
McCoy: "Suffer the death of thy neighbor, eh, Spock? Now, you wouldn't wish that on us, would you?"
(((I...wait...you're glad we don't have that natural understanding? Well, I mean, it would be unbearable to literally care about everyone...okay fine NOW I'll go re-evaluate the human race thanks McCoy.)))
Spock: "It might have rendered your history a bit less bloody."
Spock rejoins everyone on the bridge. Kirk gets him up to speed: both the Intrepid and an entire solar system have gone dark. Uhura can't get an update from Starfleet—too much distortion and it's getting worse. They start getting readings on something up ahead and take their stations.
Spock: "I've never encountered readings like this before."
(((Shit yeah, this is pure Five Year Mission shit let's GO.)))
(((I just had coffee.)))
Kirk has them zoom in but still...nothing.
Uhura: "Exactly what are we looking for, Mr. Spock?"
Spock: "I would assume...that."
They look over to the screen and see a backlit piece of coal out in space.
(((Let it be known that Spock is not averse to dramatic reveals.)))
Everyone takes a second to look at the thing with a sense of mysterious curiosity because it's a backlit piece of coal out in space.
Kirk: "What is that?"
Chekov throws out the idea of an interstellar dust cloud.
(((::claps:: Good answer, good answer.)))
Kirk points out they'd be able to see stars through a dust cloud, so...no.
Kirk: "Looks like a hole in space."
(((::more clapping:: Good answer?)))
Kirk asks for readings etc. Spock has no details 'cause he's unable to analyze it right now but he's got all kinds of sensors collecting all kinds of data.
Spock: "Whatever this dark zone is, it lies directly in line with the course I calculated for the Intrepid and Gamma 7a system."
Kirk gives his chin a good ol' rub while he thinks. He maintains their course but slows to warp one.
(((This is gonna sound like bullshit, but thinking on camera is hard. No, really. And Shatner makes it look not only complex, but effortless. Just saying.)))
(((Also, anybody else get excited when Kirk rubs his chin?
He has Chekov launch a telemetry probe into the zone and feed the resulting info to Spock.
(((C'monnnnn someone get poetic and call it The Twilight Zone you know you wanna...)))
The probe launches. Then someone holds a mic next to a speaker or some shit because the feedback is awful. Everyone's covering their ears and trying to keep their heads from exploding while Spock looks around like 'well I'll be a pointy-eared son of a human.'
Kirk: "What was that?"
Uhura: "The telemetry probe, sir. There's no signal from it."
(((So the coal ate the probe.)))
Kirk: "Speculations, Mr. Spock."
Spock: "I have none, captain. Insufficient data."
(((0 for 2 there Spock.)))
Chekov isn't having the best time recovering from the feedback. Kirk moves to make sure he's okay when Uhura stands and practically falls over. Spock gets her back in her seat as she tells a worried Kirk that she's okay, she'll be fine.
(((Bridge crew being concerned about each other. Be still my pitiful heart.)))
(((Also did Nichelle Nichols ever win an award for her legs because ::alarm bells::)))
McCoy pipes up on the intercom.
Kirk: "Kirk here, what is it?"
McCoy: "I'm getting reports from every deck. Half the people on the ship just fainted.
(((GoodNIGHT that is not good.)))
Kirk tells him about Uhura, who seems okay now, and McCoy says he shouldn't see her unless it's an emergency. He's a bit swamped.
Kirk: "What's wrong?"
McCoy: "Well, it's nothing organic. They all seem to be nervous, weak, and irritable. They say it happened suddenly, like a balloon popping."
Kirk: "Can you handle it, Bones?"
McCoy: "I'm giving them stimulants to keep them on their feet. Nah, we can handle it, Jim."
(((That is...I don't even know what to think of that. It's weird.)))
(((Reason #32783978 why I'd never make it a day on this mission: the inexplicable shit that can happen to you because of some never-before-seen Alien/Event Horizon/Scraped Out of The Nastiest Corner of Hell fuckery on any given day. No thank you.)))
Kirk looks around at his completely out-of-it crew (except for Spock, Spock is cool), then at the Backlit Coal. He has the Pilot Who Is Not Sulu hold their position.
(((Hey yeah, where has Sulu been? He wasn't in the last episode either, was he?)))
Kirk goes over to Spock.
Kirk: "Spock, give me an update on the dark area ahead."
Spock: "No analysis due to insufficient information."
(((Uh oh. 0 for 3.)))
Kirk: "No information, no speculation, nothing. I've asked you three times for information on that thing and you've been unable to supply it. Insufficient data is not sufficient, Mr. Spock. You're the science officer, you're supposed to have sufficient data all the time."
(((Has Kirk ever had to get on Spock's case like this before? Off the top of my head, I don't think he has. Spock is boss. Brother does his JOB. The fact that he's got nothing is more disturbing than half the crew passing out.)))
(((Also, I appreciate Kirk's tone in this little speech. He's frustrated, he's worried, and Spock has been zero help, sure, but there's still tact and respect. I dunno man, high ranking people who know the line between telling someone to Do Their Job and just being mean make me go all fuzzy.)))
(((I have weird turn-ons.)))
Spock: "I am well aware of that, captain, but the computers contain nothing on this phenomenon. It is beyond our experience, and the new information is not yet significant."
(((Translation: You think I'm not pissed? I'm a VULCAN and I have NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON. WE ARE TRULY WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE DO YOU KNOW HOW THAT MAKES PEOPLE LIKE ME FEEL? I'M LIKE A GOSSIPY TEENAGE GIRL OKAY I NEED INFORMATION TO LIVE.)))
Kirk rubs his eyes.
Kirk: "I don't know about you, but I'm tired."
Spock tilts his head, says nothing.
(((I wonder what Nimoy had Spock thinking here. That look could mean so many different things, from 'Yeah I'm exhausted but I can hide it' to 'Nah I'm fine but humans' short time frame of daily effectiveness is fascinating.')))
(((Or if you're a silly shipper: 'Kirk looks hella cute when he's tired maybe he should lay down in my quarters.')))
Kirk: "If you can't tell me what it is, let's use reverse logic. Perhaps it'll help if you tell me what it isn't."
(((His face at the end omg he's like "I am grasping at straws here man help a friend/brother/lover out.")))
Spock: "It is not liquid, gaseous, or solid, despite the fact we cannot see through it."
(((Well there go your three states of matter, right out the window.)))
Kirk: "So far that's not much help?"
(((A+ delivery ::snerk::)))
Spock: "It is not a galactic nebula, such as the coal sack—"
(((DID HE REALLY SAY COAL SACK? Can I get a second opinion on this because I wil t.)))
Spock: "And since our deflectors were activated by it, it would seem to be some form of energy, but nothing our sensors can identify."
(((Just put a sign next to the scanner that says 'IDK' until you have some concrete information, man.)))
Kirk: "Is it possible that this is what killed that solar system and the intrepid?"
Spock: "Very possible."
They look at each for a second like oh shit, and Kirk makes his way to Uhura. She's rubbing her head, clearly having trouble, and Kirk rubs her shoulders sympathetically. Even the way he says 'lieutenant' is gentle.
(((Sympathetic Kirk, man.
Kirk: "Notify Starfleet: we're going to attempt to probe the area of darkness to gain further information."
Spock lifts his head at this.
(((I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult I am an adult)))
Kirk makes his way to his chair, leaning on it for a moment as if drowsy like Uhura. Spock sees this, but Kirk throws up a hand before Spock can finish saying 'captain.'
(((This is actually a nice little moment to hang on to here. Kirk is so aware of Spock's concern that even when he's hit with a wave of drowsiness the first thing he does is keep the damn Vulcan from worrying (and also because Kirk hates admitting something is wrong like this). Such is their attune bond.
Notice how this was an action moment, not a dialogue moment.
More of a director and actors' area than a writer's.
The mind dares to reel juuuuuuuust a little.)))
Kirk recovers, and they head closer to the Backlit Coal. Right as they fire at the thing, another dose of Killer Feedback hits everyone. Uhura manages to yell that it's not coming from communications, Kirk makes sure Spock is analyzing the shit out of this, and when all goes quiet...the stars are gone. Like, the screen is completely black. Not a single star on screen. Blackness. Void.
(((Okay I think this is a good enough reason to call the mission quits.
Can't do it.
Spock's like 'well there's no malfunction idk idk' and Kirk goes 'okay then WHAT THE CRAP HAPPENED TO SPACE' but Spock has no idea so he just says 'idk cap it looks like the final frontier packed it in and went home.'
(((Really? You were headed closer and closer to a black, opaque, coal shaped thing, and now all you see is black, and you don't think maybe you guys are inside the coal now? Or surrounded by it?)))
Kirk checks in with McCoy via intercom.
Kirk: "Things any better down there?"
McCoy: "Worse. They're backed up into the corridor."
Kirk: "If you've got anything that could help up here...I don't want anyone on the bridge folding at a critical moment."
(((He says as he sags into his chair.)))
(((Kirk I love you but you're deep fear of Don't Take Away My Command Of The Enterprise seriously keeps you from asking for direct, reasonable help.)))
McCoy's headed up to the bridge. Kirk switches over to engineering to ask Scotty about the slight power loss.
Scotty: "We lost five percent of our energy reserve, sir. Our deflector shields are weakened."
Kirk: "Can you compensate for the loss?"
Scotty: "Aye, if we don't lose any more, but don't ask me how it happened."
Kirk: "I AM asking, mister. I want answers! Kirk out."
(((Someone needs a nap.)))
McCoy and a nurse arrive and break off to start dosing the crew with hyposprays. He starts with Kirk.
Kirk: "What's that?"
(((I like how McCoy jabs him with the thing, and even though he has no idea what it is, Kirk stays very still while asking what the hell he's being administered.
I don't know why I like that, I just do.)))
(((Also, McCoy and the nurse kinda pop in and go hypo-happy. Aren't we overlooking a bit of procedure, here? Shouldn't each crewman be made aware of what's they're being given before it's injected into their body?)))
McCoy moves on to Chekov and others. Kirk follows.
Kirk: "Bones, how bad is it?"
McCoy: "Two-thirds of the personnel are affected."
Kirk: "Why? How? Do you have any answers?"
(((For real, can we get this captain some actual information, please? I feel like he's about to start climbing the walls, and with that stimulant he could probably do it.)))
McCoy: "No, you've got everything I can tell you. But when there is nothing, what do you want me to say?"
(((When Spock has no answers he's all 'I have nothing and I'm a little embarrassed about that but I'm gonna hide that under my Vulcan mask of professionalism.'
When McCoy has no answers he's like 'I GOT NOTHIN' MAN WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO MAKE YOU UN-MAD?'
I love them both.)))
Meanwhile, a red shirt passes out behind them. Another redshirt helps him into a nearby seat. McCoy has the nurse dose the unconscious guy next because duh. Kirk and McCoy turn to each other.
Kirk: "This ship is in trouble."
(((And you look oddly good in that wrap shirt this episode. Is it McCoy's turn to state the obvious now?)))
Kirk: "We better start solving problems faster than we pick up new ones."
(((That's usually how not dying goes, yeah.)))
Kirk: "We seem to be in the middle of a creeping paralysis."
(((An interesting observation. No, really.)))
Kirk heads over to Spock, worry for the situation plain on his face. That worry is gone by the time he says Spock's name in a loud, official manner.
(((Anyone in a position of authority having to put on a brave face when shit is hitting the fan, and letting us see glimpses behind the facade, will always get me.)))
Kirk: "Analysis of that last burst of noise before we started losing power?"
Spock: "That sound was the turbulence caused by the penetration of a boundary layer, captain."
(((Sounds slightly like a technobabble Mad Lib but okay. Still, it's a step forward.)))
Kirk: "What boundary layer?"
(((Aaaaand a step back.)))
Kirk: "The boundary layer between what and what?"
Spock: "Between where we were and where we are."
Kirk: "...are you trying to be funny, Mr. Spock?"
(((He asks the question so seriously omg.)))
Spock: "It would never occur to me, Captain."
(((Uh huh. Sure.)))
Kirk: "Do you have any ideas, Spock?"
Spock: "We still have no specifics, but we seem to have entered a zone of energy which is incompatible with our living and mechanical processes."
(((Unfortunately, Backlit Coal 2.124 does not support Your Life 1.5. Please select another method of existence.)))
Spock: "As we draw closer to the source, it grows stronger, and we grow weaker."
McCoy: "I have one."
McCoy comes over.
McCoy: "I recommend survival. Let's get out of here."
(((This isn't a a loud, scared, McCoy moment. This is a grave one, which is somehow scarier than anything else that's happened. A+ delivery, Kelley.)))
McCoy leaves the bridge. Kirk and Spock glance at each other before making his pensive way back to his chair.
(((Obviously this is not a shippy moment, but whenever they trade looks my stomach tightens regardless of context. This is how deep I am. There's no hope for me.)))
(((There's also the grim playing of the theme tune...that always gets me too.)))
Kirk makes an announcement to the ship.
Kirk: "This is the captain. Per our difficult mission, but it's not the first time, our orders do not say 'stay alive' or 'retreat.' Our mission is to investigate. We're sick, and we're getting sicker. We have no guarantees, but we have a good ship and the best crew in Starfleet. Do your jobs, carry on. Kirk out."
(((An entire crew ready and willing to die with dignity for their civic duty and greater good. Why don't you break all of my bones one at a time. All of them. Just fuck me up.)))
McCoy contacts the bridge to tell Kirk the good news: He's figured out what's happening to everyone on the ship! They're dying! Slowly! High five for medical science!
We go to commercial break with Kirk rubbing his forehead like 'jeezy creezy why me.'
(((No pressure, Kirk. You were just completely exhausted to begin with and now the life is being drained out of your crew. Suck it up.)))
(((Ha, in a way you could say this entire setup is a metaphor the importance of letting the military have a freaking vacay once in a while.
...actually yeah that's totally what this episode is about.)))
Back from commercial, the Captain's Log says they've been stuck in this position for ten minutes and decided to kill the engines so they can have more time to think instead of jetting to their doom.
Scotty's on the Engineering deck being all engineer-y when Kirk comes in and the ship hits some turbulence. Everybody flails casually for a second. The redshirt who was helping McCoy jumps up and runs off, presumably to check for any damage?
Kirk picks up Scotty, who explains that they were only recalibrating when the ship decided to flip into reverse without telling anyone. Hence the turbulence.
(((Even the Enterprise is like 'fuck this shit I'm out.')))
Kirk: "Reverse? But that was a forward lurch. How could that happen with a reverse thrust?"
Scotty: "I don't know, sir. All I know is that the power cells are down twelve percent and steadily decreasing. I've never experienced anything like it."
(((Well yeah, I imagine the laws of physics don't reverse themselves every day. Not that it wouldn't be hilarious.)))
(((No really, the Enterprise just said 'fuck this shit I'm out.')))
Spock calls from the bridge.
Spock: "Sir, we are accelerating, pulled toward the center of the Zone of Darkness."
(((You know, I hear the Beaker Full of Death is from around there.)))
Kirk: "By what, Spock?"
Spock: "Unknown, Captain."
(((Honestly at this point I just ship Kirk/Information.)))
Spock: "I suggest Mr. Scott give us reverse power."
Kirk: "He just gave us reverse power. We lurched forward."
Spock: "In that case, Captain, I suggest we apply forward thrust."
(((The universe has literally reversed itself and Spock just rolls with it. What a Vulcan.)))
Meanwhile in Sickbay, Chapel reports that life signs have begun to drop again. McCoy orders another round of stimulants. Then we quickly rejoin the regularly scheduled scene of Kirk and McCoy talking to Spock.
Kirk: "What do you think, Scotty, forward thrust?"
Scotty: "I don't know, sir. It goes against the rules of logic."
(((The funny thing is that the most logical thing on the Enterprise (Spock) is the only thing logical enough to automatically embrace the illogical situation and go from there by suggesting a very logical reaction.)))
Kirk: "Yes, it does, doesn't it? Well if it doesn't work—"
Kirk: I'll never let Spock live it down."
(((But you'll also be dead.)))
Kirk orders the forward thrust (((heh))) and so they give it a whirl. It works, kind of! They've slowed down, yes, but they haven't made a full stop. Kirk, not being a moron, tells Scotty to keep maintaining the thrust against whatever the hell is pulling them towards death.
In Sickbay, patients have stabilized (albeit at a low level). We celebrate this with musical fanfare and a sexy shot of the Enterprise.
Kirk, McCoy, Spock, and others have convened to discuss what the eff is happening.
McCoy: "All I can contribute is that the further we travel into this Zone of Darkness, the weaker our life functions become, and I have no idea why."
(((So all you have to contribute is literally the only fact everybody already knows.
This has gotta suck for all involved. Not just the slow death thing, but the I Am An Expert In My Field Serving On The Motherfucking Enterprise And I Feel Like I'm Back in 5th Grade thing too.)))
McCoy needs to take a seat, he's feeling a bit woozy. Kirk reaches for him with a concerned hand.
McCoy: "No, I'm all right. It's the stimulants, they catch up with you."
(((Why does everything that gives us a boost make up for it by sucking us dry later on? I'm selfish. I want the high without the low. All peaks, baby. Make it happen.)))
Scotty confirms that everything is still behaving back asswards and he can only get sixty percent power, meaning they're still being dragged.
(((I love rehashed exposition as much as the next guy, but there's a point to this scene, right?)))
(((That was a harmless dig at the writer, not the characters.)))
Spock: "It is logical to assume that something within this zone absorbs all forms of energy whether mechanically or biologically produced. Whatever it is, it would seem to be the same thing which drew all the energy out of an entire solar system and the Intrepid."
(((And here I thought Kanye sucked.)))
Kirk: "The same thing, not the zone itself?"
Spock: "I would say not, Captain. The analyses of the Zone indicates it is a negative energy field, however illogical that may sound, but it is not the source of a power drain."
Kirk: "Maybe it's a shield of some kind, some form of protection for something else."
(((Now that they've gotten into new business this is hella interesting, actually.)))
Scotty: "But what?"
Kirk: "We'll find out what it is, but we better get out of here ourselves."
(((Not dying is a good priority to have.)))
Kirk tells Scotty to focus all power in one mighty forward thrust. That may break them free or something.
(((If I write about thrusting one more time without making a joke about Kirk and Spock I'm gonna get a cramp.)))
Scotty's cool with the plan, though he'll save some reserve power for shields if they can't break loose.
Spock: "I submit, Mr. Scott, that if we do not get out—"
(((Here it comes.)))
Spock: "—the shields would be extraneous. It would only prolong our wait for death by a short period of time."
(((S'chin Tai Sunshine Spock.)))
Kirk agrees, orders that all of the power should be used in the attempt.
(((Thrust hard or go home.
Or thrust home. Whichever.)))
Kirk adjourns the meeting and everyone else starts filing out. Spock, the last to get up, lingers for a moment and puts his hands behind his back.
(((Is it sad that this makes me giddy with anticipation? It's sad, isn't it.)))
Spock: "Captain, the Intrepid would have done all these things too, and yet they were destroyed."
Kirk: "Well, they may not have done all these things. You just pointed out how illogical this situation is."
Spock: "True. It is also true they never knew what was killing them. They're logic would not have permitted them to believe they were being killed."
(((Vulcans are stubborn. Boom. Done.)))
Spock: "Vulcan has not been conquered within its collective memory. Memory goes back so far that no Vulcan can conceive of a conquerer."
(((Okay, stubborn and understandably arrogant.)))
Spock: "I knew the ship was lost because I sensed it."
Kirk: "What was it you sensed?"
Spock: "A Touch of Death."
(((The opening act for Test Tube Full of Loneliness.)))
Kirk: "And what do you think they felt?"
(((Getting their ass beat for the first time in your race's history will do that to a crew.)))
Spock leaves grimly. Kirk thinks grimly.
Meanwhile, Scotty is busy touching everything in engineering. He calls Kirk and says he's ready to give it a whirl.
Kirk: "Do we have the power to pull it off, Scotty?"
Scotty: "I hope so, captain."
(((Every inch of Kirk is exhausted and fraught with worry for the lives of his crew, you can see it in his face and hear it in his voice. I should make a video about Subtle Shatner or something because seriously. He had his abilities.)))
Kirk puts Scotty on standby and talks to the crew over the PA system.
Kirk: "We are slowly being pulled deeper into the Zone of Darkness by an unknown force. We're going to apply all available power into one giant forward thrust in the hope that it will yank us out of the Zone. Prepare yourselves."
(((This is not the Civic Duty!Kirk we saw earlier, the mood that comes when you know shit is going to get real but has yet to become a reality. This is Literal Death!Kirk, when you're moments away from four hundred people living or dying, there's no going back, and there's no unrealistic Let's All Act Badass In the Face of """Death""" moment. Because when you're facing death, in reality nobody has their Hero Face on. You can see it in the shots of the crew during his brief speech. This is hella honest for the 60s.)))
They commence the biggest forward thrust they possibly can and everyone goes bouncing around the ship.
(((Were physics not literally reversed right now, they would have hit the Z.O.D.'s g-spot.)))
Aaaaaaand they don't die, but they don't get anywhere, either. They've got two hours 'til certain death and now they're out of plans.
Kirk: "Well, we're maintaining our distance, Mr. Spock. Have you ascertained yet what we're maintaining our distance from?"
Spock: "I cannot say what it is, Captain, but I would say it has found us."
(((And once again Kirk/Information doesn't go canon.)))
The viewing screen finally has a shot of whatever the hell is causing all of this, and it's a...uh...Psychedelic...Shrimp?
It gets bigger. The crew's expressions are what you would expect from a group of people looking at a gigantic Psychedelic Shrimp. Well actually it's shifting around a bit, now it's more of...an...upside down...bit of...coral?
(((Wait wait, don't tell me. What's that science word. Single cell organism. AMOEBA. Please tell me it's a Tacky Disco Amoeba.)))
Ahem hem hem...
Kirk orders a probe launched.
Spock: "Getting very confused readings, Captain."
(((They match well with our very confused audience.)))
Spock: "This is definitely the source of the energy drain."
(((Unless there's an evil platelet running around that we don't know about.)))
Probe is launched.
Countdown to impact.
Probe still intact.
(((Can it be...is Kirk/Info about go canon?!)))
Spock: "Length, approximately one thousand miles. Width, varying from two thousand to three thousand miles. Outer layer studded with space debris and waste. Interior consists of protoplasm—"
(((I know that word kind of! I remember 8th grade science somewhat! So it IS an amoeba, right?)))
Spock: "—varying from a firmer gelatinous layer to a semi-fluid central mass."
(((OH OH THAT'S THE NUCLEUS I THINK)))
Spock: "Condition: living."
Everyone's kinda surprised it's a living thing, presumably because it's so effin' huge. Kirk has Chekov zoom in.
(((Put that thing in a lava lamp and make millions.)))
Spock: "That is what is drawing us towards it, Captain. The same way it drew the Intrepid to her death."
(((Yes thank you Spock.)))
Kirk's looking a little scared shitless, and we get a nice shot of the Enterprise flying in front of the alleged Tacky Disco Amoeba. The scale is about the size of a regular person standing in front of an effin' planet.
Back from commercial, we're in sickbay looking at a screen with a magnified cell (or something).
McCoy: "That is an amoeba."
(((CALLED IT CALLED IT CALLED IT wait he wasn't even talking about the thing killing the ship why am I excited.)))
Kirk: "Yes, I remember my basic biology, doctor."
(((So do I, apparently. I'm somewhat surprised.)))
Kirk: "Do you mean to tell me that thing out there is a giant single-cell animal?"
McCoy: "Yes, for lack of a better term. It's a very simple form of life. In fact, it's a much simpler form of life then what you're looking at [on the screen] now."
(((I'm gonna take that as a "yes Brittany, it's an amoeba." A nickname hangs in the balance here.)))
McCoy: "That thing out there apparently can perform all the functions that qualify it as a living organism. It can reproduce, it can breed, it can eat, although I don't know what."
Spock: "Energy itself, perhaps. Drained from us."
(((Great. We're snacks for the Tacky Disco Amoeba. This is great.)))
Spock: "I would speculate that this unknown life form is invading our galaxy like a virus."
Kirk: "The intrepid died of that particular virus. How is it we survived?"
Spock: "The Intrepid must have come across the organism while it was still low in energy, still hungry. We are not safe, Captain. We merely have a little more time than the Intrepid did."
(((We're alive because the thing is still full from eating a solar system and four hundred vulcans. High five?)))
Kirk: "What about this Zone of Darkness?"
(((I can't type that without grinning.)))
Kirk: "Does the organism generate it itself as a form of protection?"
McCoy: "It's one of the things we've got to find out. We've got to take a closer look at it."
Kirk: "The closer we get, the faster our energy drains out. We're barely surviving at this distance."
McCoy: "Perhaps we could risk the shuttlecraft."
McCoy: "Perhaps with a protective shield—"
Kirk: "I'm not sending anyone anywhere. Unmanned probes can give us the information we need to destroy this thing if it can be destroyed.."
(((Yes good idea let's go with that.)))
Spock: "I must differ with you, Captain."
Spock: "We have sent unmanned probes into it. They have given us some information but they have not told us what we need to know. And we cannot afford the power to take blind shots at it, hoping to kill it."
McCoy: "We could send one man in. Pinpoint its vulnerable spots."
(((Did I have a stroke or are Spock and McCoy agreeing on something.)))
Kirk: "You know what the odds are in coming back?"
(((Ironclad if you send a series regular?)))
Kirk: "I can't order a man to do that."
(((More like you don't wanna order a friend to do that.)))
McCoy: "Who said anything about an order, Jim? You've got a volunteer! I've already done the preliminary work."
Kirk: "It's a suicide mission, Bones."
(((He's not kidding, either. His face. His fucking face.)))
Spock: "This thing evidently has reflexes. The unmanned probe we sent into it must have stung it when it entered. The lurch we felt was the turbulence of its reaction."
McCoy: "All right, so I'd know enough to go slow when we penetrate its vulnerable spots."
(((I'm panicking about McCoy's death wish and giggling over penetrated spots at the same time what has this show done to me)))
Spock: "You have a martyr complex, doctor. I submit that it disqualifies you."
McCoy looks offended. Spock looks like a Vulcan.
McCoy: "You think I intend to pass up the greatest living laboratory since—"
Spock: "The Vulcans saw it first...and died."
McCoy: "Just because the Vulcans failed—"
Spock: "I am more capable."
Kirk; "Gentleman, I am not taking volunteers."
(((And CERTAINLY not from my BFF and the guy I'd bang if I wasn't Captain.)))
McCoy: "You don't think you're going..."
Kirk: "Well I'm better qualified as a command pilot than you are."
(((GOOD GOD IT'S LIKE THREE DIFFERENT STEVE ROGERS TRYING TO DIVE ON THE SAME GRENADE)))
Spock: "Which makes you indispensable, captain. Further, you are not a science specialist."
(((Kirk's expression is full of worry and logic-hating right now.)))
McCoy makes the argument that they could learn a shit-ton of science from the Tacky Disco Amoeba, but Kirk is like "Yeah that'd be awesome if we weren't going to die in under two hours." When Spock tries to chime in again, Kirk kindly shuts them all up and says the decision is up to him.
(((So since he's off the chopping block, he has to choose between McCoy and Spock. Are you kidding me right now. What sadist thought this was a good concept for my heart.)))
In his quarters, Kirk starts a personal log. He reiterates that a gigantic single-cell organism is sucking the life out of everything, and that McCoy and Spock have volunteered to go bouncing into the cell to try and figure out a way to destroy it.
Kirk: "Dr. McCoy has the medical, biological knowledge. Mr. Spock is better suited physically and emotionally to withstand the stress."
(((Come on man)))
Kirk: "Both are right..."
(((Don't do this to me)))
Kirk: "Both are capable..."
Kirk: "...and which of my friends do I condemn to death?"
(((That's it I'm going home fuck this fuck emotions fuck leadership fuck civic duty I can't handle this)))
Later, after a shot of the Enterprise facing down the Tacky Disco Amoeba, Kirk has arrived at his decision. He summons Spock and McCoy to his quarters. While he waits, Scotty contacts him to say everything is down fifty percent now, and still dropping.
(((Just in case we forgot about the entire crew's impending death.)))
Kirk is ordering the shuttlecraft readied for launch as Spock and McCoy come into his room, obviously expectant. There's a beat.
Kirk (to Scotty): "Dr. McCoy will tell you what special equipment to put in it. Kirk out."
McCoy goes up on his toes and smiles a little.
(((So excited to go off to his death in the name of discovery. I don't know if I love him or I want to backhand him.)))
Kirk: "I'm sorry, Mr. Spock."
McCoy: "Right, I'll get a few things I need, Jim."
Kirk: "Not you, Bones."
(((I knew it. My gut just sank into my feet but I knew it.)))
Kirk: "I'm sorry, Mr. Spock. You're best qualified to go."
(((I mean yes it's an impossible choice but having to send SPOCK and he's willing to do that because DUH it's the right thing to do but he has to send SPOOOOOOOOOCK I HATE THIS EPISODE)))
Cut to McCoy and Spock walking down the corridor towards the shuttle bay.
Spock: "Do not suffer so, doctor. This is not the first time superior capability has proven more valuable than professional credentials."
(((For fuck's sake Spock NOW?)))
(((Though I guess if not now, when?)))
(((I'm sad now.)))
McCoy: "Nothing has been proven yet, Spock. The DNA code analyzer will give you the fundamental structure of the thing. You'll need readings on three light wavelengths from the enzyme recorder."
Spock: "I am familiar with the equipment, doctor."
McCoy stops him from opening the doors to the shuttle bay.
Spock: "We're wasting time. The shuttlecraft is ready."
McCoy: "You're determined not to let me share in this, aren't you?"
(((One last bitchfest before certain death. No wonder it takes them until Search for Spock to be like OKAY FINE WE'RE FRIENDS.)))
Spock: "This is not a competition, doctor. Whether you understand it or not, grant me my own kind of dignity."
(((He just wants to quietly go off and die for his captain and his crew like everything's normal, bitchiness and all. Fucking noble pointy-eared fhdfbdhsfbvhdsgbhj)))
McCoy: "Vulcan dignity?"
(((I know right kinda redundant)))
McCoy: "How can I grant you what I don't understand?"
(((Be cool, let him die-not that hard to understand but that may be just me.)))
(((Also their fundamental inability to understand each other has always fascinated me. Kirk and McCoy get each other and are best bros because of it. Kirk and Spock really get each other and bound at the damn soul because of it. But Spock and McCoy just can't wrap their heads around the concept of the other. I dunno if it's funny or frustrating or interesting or what, but it's a genius addition to the triumvirate equation. And it provides for some of the best weave-snatching in television history.)))
Spock: "Then employ one of your own superstitions. Wish me luck."
Neither one has anything to say after that. The music has some thoughts, though.
Spock heads into the shuttle bay. McCoy watches him go. The doors close.
McCoy: "Good luck, Spock."
(((Off camera you hear Kirk yelling YOU! ARE! FRIENDS! YOU! SPACE! IDIOTS!)))
(((Also, if anyone wants to write the Missing Scene here, where Kirk says goodbye to Spock and doesn't admit any feelings because he refuses to believe that Spock will actually die so hard that he refuses to acknowledge this is his last chance, I will read it. We were robbed.)))
The tiny model shuttlecraft prepares for launch. On the bridge, Kirk orders the shuttlecraft launched with all the excitement of a waiter who just saw six kids sit at one of their tables.
(((I wanna re-write this episode for K/S so bad I tell you SO BAD)))
And off the shuttlecraft flies, on a direct route towards the Tacky Disco Amoeba. Spock adjusts some knobs and thingamajigs while he solemnly makes his way towards certain death.
Kirk gives Uhura a technobabble order and she complies. He has a moment to look around the bridge from his chair before Spock calls. There's some interference, but he can still be understood. Kirk answers, leaning forward.
(((Yup, it's been nine years since I found out about these fools and tiny things like Kirk's posture coming to attention when he talks to Spock-in-danger still gives me the ol' warm fuzzies. The ol' cooing tribbles. The ol' space husbands.)))
Kirk: "Come in, Spock."
Spock: "Our drain is enormous and growing worse."
(((Yes thank you Spock)))
Kirk points Chekov over to the science officer station as he listens.
Spock: "Converting all secondary power to the shields. Communications as long as there is power to transmit."
His signal is already degrading, making it a bit more difficult to understand him. McCoy enters during all this and heads to Kirk's side.
Scotty: "Captain, he won't have enough power to get back out if he diverts it to his shields.
Kirk starts to tell Spock this but:
Spock: "I heard, Captain. We discussed that possibility earlier. But you will need this information."
(((Why you needs-of-the-many motherfucker. I can't handle your stoic martyrdom and I'm not even there.)))
Kirk: "When do you estimate penetration?"
(((About fifteen minutes before Spock takes a stab at kolinahr.)))
Spock: "Slowing now…contact in 18.3 seconds. Brace yourselves—the area of penetration will no doubt be sensitive."
(((And tight, I imagine. Very tight.)))
(((They need some kind of award for delivering those lines without cracking up. Shatner and Nimoy, I present you with the Austerity Despite Hilarity award. It is in the shape of a stiff penis, and the head is a microphone. Give your acceptance speech with the straight faces you are evidently capable of.)))
Everyone braces themselves for penetration.
(((Come on you guys, relax into it. That's like Rule #1.)))
The moment of penetration arrives, and it's a rough one. Spock goes bouncing around more than the Enterprise because duh, proximity, but also because she's obviously done this before.
(((The Enterprise is a sexually experienced woman of confidence. Fight me.)))
Kirk: "Report, Mr. Spock."
(((Aftercare is important.)))
Silence. Kirk throws a look at McCoy.
Kirk: "Spock, report."
Spock: "I am…undamaged, Captain."
(((Okay guys, you're making it really difficult not to think this elaborate metaphor was constructed entirely on purpose. If this episode hadn't come from a one-time TOS writer, the mind would almost dare to reel.)))
Spock tells the bridge his status, and basically he used up all of his extra power on the shields in order to survive.
(((Condoms. Also important.)))
But it's fine, it's cool, he'll keep running tests until his inevitable death. Spock cuts off the transmission, thinks, then reconnects.
Spock: "Oh, and Dr. McCoy…you would not have survived it."
McCoy (to himself, with a shade of humor): "Wanna bet?"
Kirk cracks a small smile as well.
(((You've gotta stop finding humor in life-threatening situations. It's my Achilles heel. I beg of you.)))
(((Granted if they avoided everything packed into my Achilles heel the show would just be dead air but shh. Nobody asked you.)))
Spock sets course for the nucleus, which looks like the kind of abstract Christmas-themed contemporary art some schmuck would buy for $10,000. The high-key music tries to tell us this is threatening.
Spock adjusts the kitchen knives sticking out of a holder. Chekov immediately tells Kirk, because that means Spock turned his life support systems down to minimum.
Kirk: "Spock, save your power for the shields."
(((It comes out not so much as an order, but a suggestion. Almost a plea. He'd like for you to not die, Spock. Help a Captain out.)))
Spock: "Calculations indicate the shields will last only forty-seven minutes."
(((You've only been there for ninety seconds I think having shields for the next hour sounds like a pretty good deal?)))
The connection is deteriorating rapidly now.
Spock: "However I am able to identify the chromosome structure. Changes indicate the organism has stored sufficient energy for reproductive process to commence."
(((Oh great, it's a Tacky Disco Tribble Amoeba.)))
Kirk: "Will there be two of those things?"
^It's a rhetorical question.
Spock: "I'm having difficulty maintaining the ship's control…"
Scratchy interference cuts him off.
Kirk: "Spock, do you read me?"
Kirk: "Spock, do you read me?"
Spock: "I am losing voice contact. I will transmit internal coordinates of chromosome bodies."
Aaaaaaand more nothing.
Kirk: "Spock, come in. Come in!"
(((That looks more desperate in text than the way it's portrayed. The concern is coming through, and there's an edge of desperation certainly, but it's restrained under Duty and Captaincy and Decorum like it should be.)))
Uhura: "Contact lost, sir."
Everyone looks at Kirk.
(((Mhm. Everyone knows who this is gonna hit the hardest.)))
But he doesn't look at them. He hunches forward a little, starting to sag with defeat.
(((This isn't the most outwardly emotional response to Spock's likely death we've seen (or will see) from Kirk, but you can be damn sure it's there. He was only given a beat to work with anyway because…)))
Suddenly the ship lurches with impact. Kirk looks around, smacking the arm of his chair.
Kirk (to McCoy): "He's alive!"
(((And it's delivered with such triumphant joy, too.)))
McCoy smiles with relief.
Kirk: "He's kicked it in the side to let us know."
(((Ah yeahhh, if the amoeba only jerks around when it's prodded, kicking it in order the rattle the Enterprise is a damn good idea.)))
Uhura is jazzed to report she's got telemetry coming, probably 'cause that means their chances of not dying just went up slightly.
McCoy: "According to Spock's telemetry information there are over forty chromosomes in the nucleus that are ready to come together—ready to reproduce."
(((That's…a lot of disco babies…)))
Kirk: "If the energy of that organism only doubles, we're dead. And everything within a lightyear will be defenseless."
(((So the stakes are somewhat high, then.)))
McCoy: "All I know is: soon there'll be two, four, eight, more…and the entire anti-life matter that that thing puts out could someday encompass the entire galaxy."
(((Like I said: somewhat high stakes.)))
Kirk: "Spock understood when he transmitted the coordinates of the chromosomes-we must destroy that organism."
(((All life in the galaxy kind of depends on it, yeah.)))
(((Also, it's worth noting that neither of them seem too thrilled at the prospect of killing the Tacky Disco Amoeba. McCoy knows all the science that will be lost, and Kirk just flat out doesn't like killing lifeforms unless he absolutely has to. Hence his rank in Starfleet.)))
Scotty: "Captain, the pull from that organism is increasing and the power drain from our shields is getting stronger."
(((Sucks you in only to drain your life…Glee fans know this concept.)))
Kirk: "How much time do we have?"
Scotty: "No more than an hour now, sir."
Kirk: "Put all secondary systems on standby. Shield power has unconditional priority."
Scotty: "Aye, sir."
(((Grim!Kirk handing out orders with authority while under stress is kind of a ludicrously specific kink yet here we are.)))
Uhura says she's getting a message from Spock! It's low and faint but understandable and pointy-eared!
Kirk: "Put it on, lieutenant."
Spock is still alive on his ship, though looking rather exhausted. Kirk and McCoy listen solemnly.
(((McCoy, surprisingly, is better at hiding the worry on his face than Kirk is.)))
(((Well since it's Spock!worry maybe it's not so surprising…)))
Spock: "This is Spock. I am slowly losing life support and minimal shield energies. According to my calculations, nervous energy—the organism—just within—its outer protective—membrane…relatively…insensitive…to interior irritations…need sufficient charge of…destroy…the organism…tell Dr. McCoy…he should have wished me luck…"
(((Stop being funny in the face of death Spock it makes me love you more.)))
So that was maudlin enough to lead into a commercial break, and when we come back Kirk is giving a Captain's Log.
Kirk: "Captain's Log, Stardate 4309.4. We have determined we can destroy the creature, provided we can do it from inside the organism. Spock clearly knew how to destroy it, but was unable to transmit that information."
Kirk is in his quarters staring intently at what is presumably a recording of Spock's transmission or his favorite tricorder or something. McCoy enters.
McCoy: "How d'you feel?"
Kirk makes a tired noise and waves him off.
Kirk: "What's on your mind?"
(((He learned nothing from Shore Leave.)))
McCoy: "Spock. Is it me, Jim, or am I so sentimental that I just have to keep believing he's still alive out there in that mass of protoplasm?"
Kirk's listening face seems to be in agreement, but what he says is…
Kirk: "He knew the odds when he went out there, just as you did when you volunteered to go."
He then changes the subject to the Tacky Disco Amoeba.
(((Does anybody else hear that line and the abrupt subject change and NOT think Kirk pushed the subject of Spock off the table because he can't agonize over that and get his crew out of this at the same time? Because I don't care what your interpretation of the Kirk/Spock relationship is, anyone who's seen more than five minutes of this show knows that Kirk can't compartmentalize shit when it comes to his first officer. He can't just brush off Spock's likely DEATH with "well he knew the risk hubblubbuhbruhbuh." He spends more time mourning redshirts if that's the case.
Plus his actions in the next few minutes fly in the face of this cool professional mask crap anyway.)))
Kirk: "What is that thing out there Bones? It's not intelligent…not yet."
McCoy: "It's a…disease, like a…a virus invading the body of our galaxy."
(((Disease? Unintelligent? I can think of a president who fits that description.)))
Kirk: "Yes, it is, isn't it? How many cells a does a human body have?"
Kirk: "This thing, this cell, this virus—it's eleven thousand miles long and it's one cell. When it grows into millions we'll be the virus invading its body."
(((I feel an epiphany coming on)))
McCoy: "Now isn't that a thought…Here we are, antibodies of our own galaxy, attacking an invading germ."
(((More like getting your asses whupped by an invading germ but okay)))
McCoy: "It'd be ironic indeed if that were our sole destiny, wouldn't it?"
(((Aaaaaaand cue said epiphany)))
Kirk pats the side of McCoy's face.
(((...please god don't ever change Kirk or this show.)))
Kirk buzzes the bridge. Scotty answers.
Kirk: "Scotty, how much power do we have left?"
Scotty: "We're down to forty-three percent, sir. We're slipping against the pull that beastie's putting on us."
(((I 3 Scotty)))
Scotty: "We can't last more than forty-five minutes at this rate of decline, less if I have to apply more thrust."
Kirk: "What would happen if you diverted all remaining power to the shields? Except for impulse power—keep that in reserve."
Scotty: "Cut the engine thrust? We'd be sucked into that thing like being caught in a wind-tunnel, sir!"
(((I 333 Scotty)))
Kirk grins at Scotty's delivery.
(((Kirk 3 Scotty too)))
Kirk: "Exactly. Prepare to divert power on my signal."
Kirk's energy starts to flag, sending McCoy's eyebrow into gymnastics worthy of the Vulcan himself. Kirk barely ends the transmission before he's sagging against the monitor. McCoy waves the salt shaker at him and Kirk immediately looks up.
Kirk: "You got something to say?"
(((It's like threatening to take away a kid's security blanket ffs)))
McCoy: "Technically, no. Medically, yes."
(((Kirk would have to throw out a lot more than a vague dare if he wants to keep McCoy's mouth shut about this.)))
McCoy: "Between the stimulants and the pressure, I would suggest that you try to stay off your feet for a few minutes."
McCoy crosses his arms like fight me.
Kirk: "I don't have a few minutes, Bones. Maybe none of us do. Let's go."
(((OI, no one said you could have a point, Kirk.)))
Kirk and McCoy hop over to the bridge, where the former addresses the entire ship over the PA.
Kirk: "All hands, this is the captain. We are going to enter the body of the organism rather abruptly, I would think."
(((The subtitle for this episode is The Immunity Syndrome: Funny in the Face of Death.)))
Kirk: "Damage control party, standby. All decks secure for collision. Kirk, out."
The trumpets have something loud and menacing to say about that for a few seconds.
Kirk gives the order, and this psychotic "let's body-check the amoeba" plan goes into action. The impact throws everyone on the bridge in every which direction…except Kirk who somehow stays in his chair while flailing around.
(((I get that they probably didn't have time to throw him to the ground and get him up again for the scene but it' to watch him swivel while everyone else bounces off the walls.)))
Chekov announces they've gotten through!
Kirk: "I believe everyone is aware of that, Mr. Chekov."
Kirk and McCoy trade looks to confirm that he is, in fact, funny as hell.
Uhura reports minimal damage. Scotty says they've only got 26% power reserves now, and he saved some impulse power but who the eff knows if they have enough to get back out again, or even enough time.
(((James All-Or-Nothing Kirk everybody)))
Kirk: "We are committed."
(((He's gotta stop with the sarcasm I can't take this I love him too much STOP)))
Scotty: "Indeed we are, but committed to what?"
(((Hey yeah, they did just kind of fling themselves at the nucleus or whatever without Kirk explaining anything, how did I miss that?)))
(((Also does anyone else realize that Kirk's approach here is literally his fighting style—throwing his entire body at the problem to knock down whatever he can. He may as well have the Enterprise do a pointless roll while he's at it.)))
Even if they had phasers (they don't) they couldn't use them (they'd die). In fact, Kirk points out the thing would probably love phasers since it eats power.
Scotty: "Then what the devil—beggin' yer pardon, sir—are we doin'?"
(((Scotty is all of us.)))
Kirk: "Mr. Spock was trying to tell us what to do when he lost voice contact."
Scotty: "But we can't use the power to destroy it!"
Kirk: "This thing has a negative energy charge. Everything seems to work in reverse. We'll use anti-matter."
Scotty is hella on board.
Scotty: "Aye…it couldn't swallow that."
Kirk orders a probe prepared and tells Scotty to get a magnetic bottle(?) for the charge, who runs off to Engineering. They'll put the probe on a timer, apparently. The ship is about seven minutes from the nucleus.
McCoy: "How close are we going to it?"
Kirk: "Point-blank range. We'll implant it, then back away."
McCoy points out that the probe can be, you know, aimed from a distance. But Kirk points out that currents in the amoeba could push the probe off course, so suicidal approach it is.
Kirk: "We must be exactly on target, because we won't have a second chance."
His energy flags again, and he calls McCoy over towards the turbolift.
Kirk: "Time for another stimulant."
McCoy: "How long do you think you can keep taking that stuff? It'll blow you apart."
Kirk: "Keep me together for another seven minutes. That's all I need."
(((::cough:: GRYFFINDOR ::cough::)))
Meanwhile, Spock's still alive! And still worse for wear. He starts a somber Personal Log.
Spock: "Commander Spock, USS Enterprise. I have noted the passage of the Enterprise on its way to whatever awaits it. If this record should survive me, I wish it known I bequeath my highest commendation and testimonial to the captain…officers, and crew of the Enterprise—the finest starship in the fleet."
(((This is some damn fine acting from Nimoy here. My heart's in my throat.)))
On the bridge, Kirk starts his own log from his chair.
Kirk: "We have arrived at the chromosome body in the nucleus of the organism. If we should fail in our attempt to destroy it, or be unable to free ourselves—"
Kirk: "—I wish to record my recommendations—"
Kirk: "—for the following personnel, that they receive special citation—"
Kirk: "—Lt. Commander Leonard McCoy, Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott, officers Chekov, Cowell, Uhura. And my highest commendation—"
Kirk: "—for Commander Spock, Science Officer, who gave his life in the performance of his duty."
(((They seriously paralleled Kirk and Spock giving each other, the ship, and the crew, the highest possible respect and honor in the face of imminent destruction, right? Like I didn't just hallucinate that, yeah?
They made an official record of how high they sit in each other's esteem. Like on one hand, you expect an officer to do that in this situation. But on the other hand !? &!*%*#&?!)))
AND THEY'LL NEVER KNOW ABOUT THE OTHER. FUCK.)))
The probe is ready for launch and they've got 6-7 minutes of power left. Kirk has the fuse/timer on the probe set for seven minutes.
He tells the rest of the ship to conserve every scrap of power it can so they can get the hell out of Dodge before the nucleus, you know, explodes.
Kirk: "Make it work, Scotty."
Scotty: "Aye, sir."
They launch the probe and get knocked around a little.
McCoy: "Despite what Spock said, it's still plenty sensitive."
(((Sniping a dead man. You know you're frenemies when...)))
The probe is lodged firmly in the nucleus, and Kirk has them start to back out the way they came, and in a straight-ass line so they don't waste any time. Chekov announces they'll be out of this damn thing in six minutes, thirty-seven seconds.
(((A whopping twenty-three seconds to spare)))
Chekov: "Captain, metallic substance outside the ship!"
Kirk" "Lieutenant, get me Spock's voice channel, highest possible gain."
(((Right before he gives this order, and I mean right before, he's shooting triumph through his eyes. I literally just happened to pause it there while transcribing—45:57-45:58. Punch me in the face.)))
Uhura gives him the go ahead.
Kirk: "Spock, do you read me? Do you read me, Spock? Do you read me?"
Everyone is on the edge of their seats.
(((Except me. I'm totally calm from my fetal position under my desk.)))
Still nothing. Not a sound. Not even interference.
Kirk: "Mr. Scott, get a tractor beam."
Scotty: "Captain, we don't have enough time to do it. We only have a fifty-three second escape margin."
Kirk: "I'm well aware of that, Mr. Scott. Get two tractor beams on that shuttlecraft."
Scotty looks at him like he's just killed them all.
Kirk: "Aye, sir."
(((Kirk is risking himself, McCoy, and the entire Enterprise with only confirmation that the shuttlecraft is nearby. For all intents and purposes Spock is dead inside. Doesn't matter. He's getting Spock the fuck back on this ship if it's literally the last thing he does.
"He knew the risks" my ass. My entire gay loving, space husbanding, mind reeling ASS.)))
Spock comes in on the line.
Pure relief on Kirk's face.
Spock: "I recommend you abandon the attempt. Do not risk the ship further on my behalf."
McCoy: "SHUT UP, SPOCK. WE'RE RESCUING YOU."
(((The angriest, most emphatic Hufflepuff in the known universe.)))
McCoy gives a giant, dutiful nod at Kirk, who is tickled as fuck before he returns the nod in good humor.
(((Such fucking glorious BFFs omfg)))
(((Also triumvirate feels or TRIUMVIRATE FEELS)))
(((Also also, let it be known that Kirk is the one who risked everything without confirmation. McCoy was firmly on board after Spock spoke up, but Kirk is the one depicted as putting everything on the line while flying blind.)))
Spock: "Why thank you, Captain McCoy."
(((SASS EACH OTHER LATER JESUS CHRISFJHDKFGSDKJGLJDKLGHL)))
McCoy's expression is hmph. Kirk is tickled pink, as per usual.
The ship is almost out…they have less than a minute…tractor beams holding but knows if it'll survive the blast…whups Scotty says the power levels are dead…Kirk sinks back in his chair, resigned…
Kirk: "You may have just written our epitaph, Mr. Scott."
(((I know he means Scotty just said the crew's last words but if you wanna talk metaphorically the epitaph-writing is totally on you and your extraordinary and sexually-ambiguous bond with your first officer)))
The explosion knocks the entire bridge off their feet. Spock is flung to the floor of the shuttlecraft. Kirk goes for a spin in his chair.
(((Did they superglue his superfine ass to the chair or what)))
(((This chair-flailing, man.
Kirk has the ship take a look at space….and it's there! The stars are back! Chekov reports that the organism is destroyed! The explosion ruptured the membrane and threw the ship clear! Convenient!
And the shuttlecraft…is still with them!
Spock: "Shuttlecraft to Enterprise, shuttlecraft to Enterprise, repeat. Request permission to come aboard."
Kirk grins. McCoy smiles. Kirk smacks his chair.
Kirk: "Spock, you're alive!"
Spock: "Obviously, Captain. And I have some fascinating data on the organism."
McCoy: "Don't be so smart, Spock, you botched the acetocoline test—"
Kirk reaches over to him, laughing.
Kirk: "Later, later, later."
((("I'm still rejoicing that my Vulcan is back okay you can bitch at each other in a second.")))
Kirk orders the shuttlecraft brought aboard, and we get to watch it land safely. Kirk sits back and listens to the confirmations, still relieved. He has Chekov set a course for Starbase Six so they can finally take that freakin' vacation. While he does, a pretty ensign hands him a pad to sign.
Kirk (to McCoy): "I'm still looking forward to a nice period of rest and relaxation on some lovely…planet."
He hands the pad back to the woman. The intent is clear. He looks back at McCoy and grins.
(((Uh, yeah, straight people may fall for the Blatant Heterosexual Distraction maneuver but we here in Queerland know what we just saw, thank you very much.)))
(((Also you wanna talk about extreme downshift from Imminent Death into Business As Usual or what)))
Thus Endeth The Immunity Syndrome!
(((There's a distinct correlation between heteronormative crap and downplaying the K/S relationship and one-time TOS writers. We're well through the second season at this point: we know how weird it is not to get a K/S goodbye when Spock leaves on the shuttlecraft OR a reunion scene at the end. We know how OOC it is of Kirk to suddenly allude to casual sex twice in one episode (or at all). These things magically don't happen with the writers The Genes invited back to keep writing for the show.
The Score of Bisexually Finger-painted Single-Cell Organisms:
Random Crewman Body Count – 28
Times Kirk rips/loses/has no shirt – 14
Times Spock is injured – 8
Times Kirk Kissed a Woman While Driven By an Ulterior Motive/Controlled by Other Force – 8
Times Kirk outsmarts computer – 5
Times the Ship is Taken Over/Hostage – 5
Kirk Taken Hostage/Prisoner – 5
Kirk and/or Company Play Dress Up to Fit in with Their Surroundings – 5
Times Kirk is injured – 5
Times the Transporter Breaks/Malfunctions – 4
Times Kirk completely ignores/resists a pretty woman when he has no 'reason' to – 4
Times Spock uses the Vulcan salute – 5
Times Kirk offers himself instead of crew/ship – 3
Times god-like being is featured – 3
Time Travel is Featured/Discovered – 3
Times a disease threatens the crew – 3.5
Times Immortality is Found – 3
Times they land on an "Earth-like" planet – 3
Times Kirk Honestly Kissed a Woman – 2.5
Times Someone Says 'Live Long and Prosper' – 2
Pointless Rolls – 2
Times Kirk is put in a ridiculous machine – 2
Times an Alternate/Parallel Universe is Featured – 2
Times Kirk "Dies" – 1
(((Why didn't I include a Times Spock's Life Is Put Above Kirk's/Everyone Else's count ::headdesk::)))
Next Episode: A Piece of the Action