(A nervous man has his weapon drawn)
SAM: Who's there?
VANDERBERG: (enters with a lot of men) It's your relief, Sam. All
SAM: Didn't see a thing, Chief.
SCHMITTER: Nobody ever does. Whatever the thing is, it's already killed
fifty people. I never realised before how dark it is down here.
VANDERBERG: Stay on your toes, Schmitter. Keep your phaser in your hand
at all times.
SCHMITTER: What good will that do? You saw what happened to Ed Appel
when he shot at it. How about those other people before the monster got
VANDERBERG: I'm sorry, Schmitter. I know how you feel, but we've got to
SCHMITTER: Okay, Chief. I'll do what I can.
VANDERBERG: Keep alert. If you hear anything or see anything, call in.
Somebody can arrive in three minutes.
SCHMITTER: A lot can happen in three minutes. Chief, is it true the
Enterprise is on its way?
VANDERBERG: It's coming.
SCHMITTER: You think it could get here in the next four hours?
VANDERBERG: You'll be all right.
(The group leaves, and nervous Schmitter paces. Then we hear a scraping
sound. He turns, looks and screams. Vanderberg and the others run
VANDERBERG: Come on.
(It's mere moments, but they're already too late.)
VANDERBERG: Schmitter. Like the rest of them. Burned to a crisp.
Captain's log, stardate 3196.1. A distress call
from the pergium production station on Janus Six has brought the
Enterprise to that long-established colony. Mister Spock, Doctor McCoy,
and I have beamed down to meet with Chief Engineer Vanderberg,
administrative head of Janus Six.
KIRK: All right, let's assume there is a monster.
What has it done? When did it start?
VANDERBERG: About three months ago, we opened up a new level. Sensors
gave us an unusually rich pergium reading. Not only pergium, whatever
you want. Uranium, sirium, platinum. The whole planet's like that. It's
a treasure house.
KIRK: Yes, we're aware of that. If mining conditions weren't so
difficult, Janus Six could supply the mineral needs of a thousand
planets. But what happened?
VANDERBERG: First, the automatic machinery, piece by piece, started to
almost disintegrate. Metal began dissolving away. There was no reason
for it, and our chemists were unable to analyse the corrosive agent.
SPOCK: I'm sure there is an answer. It simply has not yet been
VANDERBERG: Yes, it has. I don't know what this butchering monster is,
but I know what it's doing. Our maintenance engineers sent down to the
drifts to repair the corroded machinery. We found them seared to a
KIRK: Volcanic activity?
SPOCK: There is no current volcanic activity on this planet, Captain.
VANDERBERG: He's right. None. At first the deaths were down deep, but
they've been moving up toward our levels. The last man died two days
ago three levels below this.
KIRK: Same way? Burned?
MCCOY: I'd like to examine the body.
VANDERBERG: We kept it for you. There isn't much left. Roberts will
show you. (McCoy and the guard leave) It isn't pretty.
KIRK: Do you post sentries? Guards?
VANDERBERG: Of course. Five of them have died.
KIRK: Who else has seen this?
APPEL: (entering) I have.
VANDERBERG: This is Ed Appel, chief processing engineer.
KIRK: Describe it.
APPEL: I can't. I only got a glimpse of it, but it's big and shaggy.
VANDERBERG: Ed shot it.
SPOCK: Oh. You mean shot at it.
APPEL: No. I mean shot it. With this. (a hand phaser)
APPEL: A good, clean shot. Didn't even slow it down. Well, I've made my
report to you. Production has stopped, nobody will go into the lower
levels, and I don't blame them. If the Federation wants pergium, then
you're going to have to do something about it.
KIRK: That's why we're here, Mister Vanderberg.
APPEL: You're all pretty tough, aren't you? Starship, phaser banks. You
can't get your starship down in the tunnels.
KIRK: I don't think we'll need to, Mister Appel. Mister Vanderberg,
we'll need a complete subsurface chart of all the drifts, galleries and
Mister Vanderberg, I'll need a complete subsurface chart of all the
drifts, galleries, tunnels.
VANDERBERG: You'll get it.
SPOCK: (examining a large globe from Vanderberg's desk) Mister
Vanderberg, what is this?
VANDERBERG: It's a silicon nodule. There are a millions of them are
down there. No commercial value.
SPOCK: But a geological oddity, to say the least. Pure silicon?
VANDERBERG: A few trace elements. Look, we didn't call you here so you
could collect rocks.
KIRK: Thank you, Mister Vanderberg. We'll need your complete
VANDERBERG: You'll have it. Just find that creature, whatever it is.
I've got a quota to meet. Come on, Appel.
(They leave, and McCoy comes back.)
KIRK: The vast number of tunnels won't make our hunting any easier.
MCCOY: Schmitter didn't burn to death, not in the usual sense, anyway.
MCCOY: Well, there are only fragments of bone and teeth left, but the
plant's physician agrees with me. A chemical corrosion. Almost as if
he'd been thrown into a vat of extremely corrosive acid.
KIRK: Strong enough to eat machinery?
MCCOY: Strong enough to eat anything else that you can think of.
KIRK: Mister Spock.
SPOCK: (at the mine map) I've charted the positions of the deaths and
acts of sabotage. Here, here, and here. If the times of these incidents
are to be accepted as accurate, the creature would have to have moved
at an incredible rate of speed.
KIRK: Mister Vanderberg, how recent are these charts?
VANDERBERG: (reentering) They were made last year.
KIRK: Before the appearance of whatever it is?
VANDERBERG: That's right.
KIRK: I see. Mister Spock give us a report on life beneath the surface.
Within range of our sensors, there is no life, other than the
accountable human residents of this colony beneath the surface. At
least, no life as we know it.
KIRK: We can't cover tunnel by tunnel on foot. We must get production
going again. We must have that pergium.
SPOCK: If we could force another appearance of this creature
VANDERBERG: When that creature appears, men die.
(And as if to prove his point, the guard outside the power plant is
killed. There's just a vaguely
man-shaped stain on the ground and wisps of smoke lead us to a neat
circular hole in the door he was guarding.)
KIRK: Too many tunnels. We couldn't possibly. Mister Spock, our sensors
can pick up normal life functions at a considerable distance, but what
about abnormal life functions?
(Just then the lights flicker and an alarm sounds.)
VANDERBERG: Something's happening in the reactor room!
[Tunnel outside the reactor room]
VANDERBERG: Back to your stations. Look at that.
(He goes through the hole cut in the door.)
SPOCK: I wouldn't touch it, Captain. An extremely active corrosive.
Traces may linger.
VANDERBERG [OC]: Kirk, quickly!
(They step through carefully.)
VANDERBERG: The main circulating pump for the entire reactor is gone.
SPOCK: The same indication as shown at the door, Captain. A very strong
KIRK: Is there a replacement for that?
VANDERBERG: No, none. It's outdated, but we never had any trouble with
KIRK: Spock, on board?
SPOCK: Nothing for a device this antiquated, Captain.
VANDERBERG: Without the pump mechanism, the reactor will go
supercritical. It could poison half the planet.
We can't shut it down. It provides heat and air and life support for
the whole colony.
KIRK: Mister Spock, we seem to have been given a choice. Death by
asphyxiation or death by radiation poisoning.
SCOTT: A PXK pergium reactor? No, sir. We don't
have any spare circulating pump for a thing like that. I haven't seen a
PXK in twenty years.
KIRK: Can you rig one up? It's vital.
SCOTT: Well sir, I can put together some odds and
ends, but it won't hold for long.
KIRK: How long?
SCOTT [OC]: Forty eight hours maybe, with a bit of luck.
KIRK: Forty eight hours is better than nothing. Gather what you need
and beam down here with it.
KIRK [OC]: Top priority.
SCOTT: Aye, Captain.
SCOTT [OC]: I'll be right down. Scott out.
VANDERBERG: What happens when it breaks down?
KIRK: Hopefully we'll have found the missing part by then.
VANDERBERG: Hopefully. Small chance.
KIRK: We'll have to, Chief. The alternative is to evacuate all you
people up to the Enterprise. A dozen planets depend on you for pergium
for their reactor. They're already screaming. Reactors closing down,
life support systems
VANDERBERG: I'm concerned with my people right here, Kirk. They're
being murdered. You find that monster and kill it.
SPOCK: The missing pump wasn't taken by accident.
It was the one piece of equipment absolutely essential for the
operation of the reactor.
KIRK: Do you think the creature is trying to push the colonists off the
SPOCK: It would seem so.
KIRK: But why now, Mister Spock? These production facilities have been
in operation for over fifty years.
SPOCK: I don't know. But there is a possibility.
(He goes over to the silicon nodule on the desk.)
KIRK: What's that?
SPOCK: Life as we know it is universally based on some combination of
carbon compounds, but what if life exists based on another element?
For instance, silicon.
MCCOY: You're creating fantasies, Mister Spock.
KIRK: Not necessarily, Bones. I've heard of the theoretical possibility
of life based on silicon. A silicon-based life would be of an entirely
different order. It's possible that our phasers might not affect it.
SPOCK: Certainly not phaser one, which is far less powerful than phaser
KIRK: All right, how about this? A creature that lives deep in the
planet below us, at home in solid rock. It seems to me that in order to
survive, it would have to have some form of natural armour plating.
SPOCK: It could explain much, especially since the colonists are armed
only with phaser one.
KIRK: But our people have phaser number two.
SPOCK: Which I could adjust to be more effective against silicon.
MCCOY: Silicon-based life is physiologically impossible, especially in
an oxygen atmosphere.
SPOCK: It may be, Doctor, that the creature can exist for brief periods
in such an atmosphere before returning to its own environment.
MCCOY: I still think you're imagining things.
KIRK: You may be right, Doctor, but at least it's something to go on.
Mister Spock, have Lieutenant Commander Giotto assemble the security
troops and arm them with phaser number two. You make the proper
adjustments. You seem fascinated by this rock.
SPOCK: Yes, Captain. You recall that Vanderberg commented there were
thousands of these at a lower level, the level which the machinery
opened just prior to the first appearance of the creature.
KIRK: Do they tie in?
SPOCK: I don't know.
SPOCK: I have already given Doctor McCoy sufficient cause for
amusement. I'd prefer to cogitate the possibilities for a time.
KIRK: A short time, Mister Spock. We have very little.
KIRK: How's it going, Scotty?
SCOTT: Well sir, it's a plumber's nightmare, but it'll hold for a bit.
KIRK: It has to hold longer than a bit.
SCOTT: Sorry, sir. That's about the best I can do, but I guarantee it's
not good enough.
KIRK: (answers comm. beep) Kirk here.
SPOCK [OC]: Captain, the security officers have gathered in Chief
KIRK: I'll be right there. Kirk out. Scotty, ride herd on it. Kind
words. Tender, loving care. Kiss it. Baby it. Flatter it if you have
to, but keep it going.
SCOTT: I'll do what I can, sir.
(Six red-shirted men are lined up.)
KIRK: You will proceed from level to level, checking out every foot,
every opening. You are searching for some sort of creature which is
highly resistant to phaser fire. Phasers will be set on maximum, and
remember this. Fifty people have died. I want no more deaths.
VANDERBERG: Except the bloody thing.
KIRK: The creature may or may not attack on sight. However, you must.
It is vitally important we get this installation back into production.
SPOCK: Mister Vanderberg, may I ask at which level you discovered the
nodules of silicon?
VANDERBERG: The twenty-third. Why?
Commander Giotto, take your detail. Go directly to the twenty-third
level. Start your search there.
GIOTTO: Aye, aye, sir. May I ask if you have reason to suspect this
creature may be on that level?
KIRK: It's one of the possibilities we've discussed. (to Vanderberg) I
want your people to stay on the top level, together at a safe place.
VANDERBERG: I don't know any safe place, Captain, the way that thing
comes and goes.
KIRK: Well, gentlemen, you have your instructions. Let's get at it.
(The Starfleet people walk carefully along
wonderfully smooth floors with just the occasional piece of equipment
strewn around. Spock stops to use his tricorder on a section of the
KIRK: Mister Spock? Find something?
SPOCK: Adjusting my tricorder to register for silicon, Captain.
SPOCK: A life form, Captain. Bearing one hundred eleven degrees,
elevation four degrees.
KIRK: One of our people?
SPOCK: No, sir. Silicon.
KIRK: Come on.
(The security team have gradually split up to cover all the different
tunnels. A young blond lad manages a scream before meeting his fate.)
SPOCK: He never even had a chance to fire, Captain.
KIRK: It's only been seconds since we heard him scream. The creature
must still be around.
KIRK What is it?
SPOCK: This tunnel. My readings indicate it was made within the hour.
Moments ago, in fact.
KIRK: Are you certain?
KIRK: This tunnel goes back as far as the eye can see. Our best
machinery couldn't cut a tunnel like this, not even with phasers.
SPOCK: Indeed, Captain. I'm quite at a loss.
(Then they turn to see their adversary, and both fire their phasers at
it. The shaggy creature shuffles off back into another of its nice
circular tunnels and vanishes.)
SPOCK: Disappeared. Astonishing that anything of that bulk could move
KIRK: These walls are hot.
SPOCK: Indeed. This tunnel was cut within the last two minutes.
(Giotto and another security man arrive.)
GIOTTO Are you all right, Captain?
KIRK: Yes, perfectly.
GIOTTO: Did you see it?
KIRK: Yes, we saw it. Where does the tunnel go?
SPOCK: Readings indicate a maze of tunnels of this general category in
GIOTTO: Did you shoot at it?
KIRK: Yes. We took a bite out of it.
(Spock picks up the piece of 'armour' they had cut off the creature)
KIRK: It's not animal tissue. What is it?
SPOCK: The closest approximation I could come to would be fibrous
asbestos. A mineral, Captain.
KIRK: Then your guess was right.
SPOCK: It would seem so. Silicon-based.
SPOCK: We are dealing with a silicon creature of the deep rocks,
capable of moving through solid rock as easily as we move through the
KIRK: That would account for the tunnels.
SPOCK: Correct. This creature's body secretes an extremely powerful
KIRK: Powerful enough to dissolve the door of the reactor chamber.
SPOCK: And it explains the murdered men.
KIRK: It's definitely phaser resistant. We had our weapons set for
silicon and on full power, yet we only damaged it. It still lives.
GIOTTO You mean it's impossible to kill?
KIRK: No. No, it might require amassed phasers.
SPOCK: Or a single phaser with much longer contact.
KIRK: Commander, pass this on to your men We knew it was a killer. Now
it's wounded, probably in pain somewhere back there.
There's nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal. Commander Giotto,
instruct your men to concentrate the search in this sector. Remind them
the creature is wounded.
GIOTTO: Aye, aye, sir.
KIRK: What is it, Mister Spock?
SPOCK: I've run a complete spherical check on all life forms, radius
one hundred miles. I've located our men, all of them, and I've located
one creature moving rapidly through native rock, bearing two hundred
and one. And that is all.
KIRK: One creature in a hundred miles?
SPOCK: Exactly. Captain, there are literally thousands of these tunnels
in this general area alone, far too many to be cut by the one creature
in an ordinary lifetime.
KIRK: Then we're dealing with more than one creature, despite your
tricorder readings, or we have a creature with an extremely long life
SPOCK: Or it is the last of a race of creatures which made these
tunnels. If so, if it is the only survivor of a dead race, to kill it
would be a crime against science.
KIRK: Mister Spock, our mission is to protect this colony, to get the
pergium moving again. This is not a zoological expedition. Maintain a
constant reading on the creature. If we have to, we'll use phasers to
cut our own tunnels. We'll try to surround it. I'm sorry, Mister Spock,
but I'm afraid the creature must die.
SPOCK: I see no alternative myself, Captain. It merely seems a pity.
The search team is gathering in the main tunnel.
(Giotto now has seven red-shirts with him.)
KIRK: So it is wounded, and therefore twice as dangerous. Stay in
pairs. If you see it, concentrate your phaser fire at what appears to
be its head. Concentrate it. Maintain it. It is definitely resistant,
but it can be hurt. And if it can be hurt, it can be killed. Mister
SPOCK: Gentlemen, if you'll examine your charts, please. I last located
the creature in the area marked adit26 moving in bearing two zero one.
This particular group will move out beyond that area in all directions
in an effort to surround it, and possibly capture it.
KIRK: Your orders are shoot to kill. Protect yourself at all times.
Commander Giotto, disperse your search parties.
GIOTTO: Aye, aye, sir. Louis, Vinci, take your men out.
(The red-shirts leave.)
KIRK: Mister Spock. Capture it? I don't recall giving any such order.
SPOCK: You did not, sir. I merely thought that if the opportunity arose
KIRK: I will lose no more men. The creature will be killed on sight and
that's the end of it.
SPOCK: Very well, sir.
KIRK: Mister Spock. I want you to assist Scotty in maintaining that
makeshift circulating pump.
SPOCK: II beg your pardon, sir?
KIRK: You heard me. It's vital that we keep that reactor in operation.
Your scientific knowledge
SPOCK: Is not needed there, sir. Mister Scott has far more knowledge of
nuclear reactors than I do. You're aware of that.
KIRK: Mister Spock, you are second in command. This will be a dangerous
hunt. Either one of us by himself is expendable. Both of us are not.
SPOCK: Captain, there are approximately one hundred of us engaged in
this search, against one creature. The odds against you and I both
being killed are 2,228.7 to 1.
KIRK: 2,228.7 to 1? Those are pretty good odds, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: And they are of course accurate, Captain.
KIRK: Of course. Well, I hate to use the word, but logically, with
those kind of odds, you might as well stay. But please stay out of
trouble, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: That is always my intention, Captain.
(A communicator beeps)
KIRK: Kirk here.
SCOTT [OC]: Scotty here, Captain. My brilliant improvisation Just gave
up the ghost. It couldn't stand the strain.
KIRK: Can you fix it again?
SCOTT: Negative, Captain. It's gone for good.
KIRK: Start immediate evacuation of all colonists
to the Enterprise.
VANDERBERG: Not all of them, Captain. I and some of
my key personnel are staying.
VANDERBERG [OC]: We'll be down to join you.
KIRK: We haven't enough phasers for you.
VANDERBERG: Then we'll use clubs. We're not being
chased away from here. We're staying.
KIRK: Good. Get everybody else aboard the
Enterprise. The fewer people we have breathing the air down here, the
longer the rest of us will be able to hold out. How much longer,
SCOTT: The reactor will go super-critical in about
ten hours, Sir. You have that long to find the mechanism.
KIRK: We'll do our best. Start feeding us constant
status reports, Scotty. Vanderberg, you and your crew assemble at level
twenty three, checkpoint Tiger. Kirk out.
[Level twenty three]
(Vanderberg, Appel and three others are there.)
KIRK: Team up with the Enterprise security personnel. They're better
armed than you. Keep someone in sight at all times. Vanderberg, take
two men. Go through that tunnel there. Rendezvous with Commander
Giotto. Appel and the rest of the men, go through there and tie up with
Lieutenant Osborne's detail. Mister Spock and I will control the
operation from a central point. That's all.
(The miners leave.)
KIRK: Mister Spock?
SPOCK: Captain, we are being watched.
KIRK: Are you sure? Intuition?
SPOCK: No, sir. We're being watched.
(They start to move through the tunnels)
SPOCK: Captain. Fresh readings within the hour in each of these
KIRK: The chart says both of these tunnels converge a few thousand
yards further. You take the left. I'll take the right.
SPOCK: Should we separate?
KIRK: Two tunnels, two of us. We separate.
(Kirk walks off down a real tunnel, while Spock has to hunch down to
move through one of the new circular tunnels. Further on, Kirk's tunnel
becomes circular too, then it opens into an area with flat floor,
equipment and silicon nodules.)
KIRK: Mister Spock.
SPOCK: Yes, Captain.
KIRK: I've found a whole layer of these silicon
nodules of yours, hundreds of them.
SPOCK [OC]: Indeed? I find that most illuminating, Captain.
SPOCK: Be absolutely certain you do not damage any
SPOCK [OC]: Only a theory I have.
(We see something move a roof support, and rocks fall near Kirk.)
SPOCK: Captain? Are you all right? Jim? Jim!
KIRK: Yes, Mister Spock, I'm all right. We seem to
have had a cave-in.
SPOCK: I could phaser you out.
KIRK [OC]: No. No, no, you'd better not. Any disturbance might bring
down the rest of the wall.
KIRK: Besides, it isn't necessary. The chart said
the tunnels meet further on.
SPOCK: Very well, but I find it extremely
disquieting that your roof chose that particular moment to collapse.
Please proceed with extreme caution. I shall quicken my pace.
KIRK: Very well, Mister Spock. I'll meet you at the
(Just then a part of the wall vanishes, and their strange adversary
emerges. The pair have a stand off, with the creature approaching when
Kirk lowers his phaser, and backing off when he raises it. The
KIRK: Kirk here.
SPOCK: Captain, I just read some fresh signs.
SPOCK [OC]: The creature is in this area. I'll take
a lifeform reading.
KIRK: It's not necessary, Mister Spock. I know exactly where the
SPOCK: Where, Captain?
KIRK: Ten feet away from me.
SPOCK: Kill it, Captain, quickly.
KIRK: It's not making any threatening moves, Spock.
SPOCK: You don't dare take the chance, Captain.
SPOCK [OC]: Kill it.
KIRK: I thought you were the one who wanted it kept alive, captured if
SPOCK: Jim, your life is in danger. You can't take
KIRK: It seems to be waiting.
SPOCK: I remind you it's a proven killer. I'm on
my way. Spock out.
KIRK: (sitting down) Well, what do we do, just talk
(The creature turns to show it's wound from their last encounter.)
KIRK: Well, you can be hurt, can't you? We just sit here? It's your
(Spock comes running in and takes aim)
KIRK: No, no! Don't shoot. Come on over, Mister Spock.
(He does so, and squats by the Captain.)
SPOCK: Fascinating. It's made no moves against you?
KIRK: No. It seems to be waiting. I tried talking to it, but it didn't
do any good.
(Spock points at a pile of silicon nodules.)
KIRK: Yes, they're all through here, all over the place. Thousands of
SPOCK: Yes, I see.
KIRK: Does it means something to you?
SPOCK: Possibly the answer, Captain, but I'm not certain. Captain, you
are aware of the Vulcan technique of the joining of two minds.
KIRK: You think you can get through to that thing?
SPOCK: It's possible.
KIRK: Mister Spock, I know it's a terrible personal lowering of mental
barriers but if there's a chance
SPOCK: I'll try.
(He fastens his phaser to his belt and carefully approaches the worried
creature. Without touching, he concentrates for a moment and then cries
SPOCK: Pain! Pain! Pain! (he staggers back) That's all I got, Captain.
Waves and waves of searing pain. It's in agony.
(The creature climbs onto a rock ledge and etches letters into it.)
KIRK: No kill I. What is that, a plea for us not to kill it, or a
promise that it won't kill us?
SPOCK: I don't know, Captain. Evidently, it gained an immediate
knowledge of us from its empathy with me. In my brief contact with the
creature's mind, I discovered it is a highly intelligent, extremely
sophisticated animal. In great pain, of course, because of its wound,
but not reacting at all like a wounded creature. It calls itself a
KIRK: A Horta. A Horta! Mister Spock, we need that retardation
mechanism. You must re-establish communications with it.
SPOCK: Captain, it has no reason to give us the device, and apparently
every reason for wishing us off this planet.
KIRK: Yes, I'm aware of that. If we could only win its confidence.
Doctor McCoy, this is Captain Kirk.
MCCOY [OC]: Yes, Captain?
KIRK: Grab your medical kit and come down here on the double. I've got
a patient for you.
MCCOY [OC]: Is somebody injured? What happened?
KIRK: Never mind. Just come down to the twenty third level. You'll be
led to us by tricorder readings. Kirk out.
SPOCK: Jim, I remind you that this is a silicon-based form of life.
Doctor McCoy's medical knowledge will be totally useless.
KIRK: He's a healer, let him heal. Mister Spock, you must re-establish
communications. I want to know why it suddenly took to murder.
SPOCK: To obtain that kind of communication, Captain, it will be
necessary to touch it.
KIRK: We've seen how the creature destroys.
(Kirk stands ready with his phaser as Spock carefully places his hands
on the quivering Horta.)
KIRK: Lieutenant Commander Giotto.
GIOTTO [OC]: Giotto here, Captain. Are you all right?
KIRK: Perfectly all right. Where are you?
[Level twenty three]
GIOTTO: We're at the end of the tunnel. Mister
Vanderberg and his men are here, and they're pretty ugly. Shall I let
KIRK: Under no circumstances allow them in here
yet. The minute Doc McCoy gets there, send him through.
[Level twenty three]
GIOTTO: Aye, aye, sir.
SPOCK: Murder. Of thousands. Devils! Eternity ends.
The chamber of the ages. The altar of tomorrow! Murderers! Stop them.
Strike back! Monsters!
(McCoy runs in)
MCCOY: What in the name of? What is Spock doing?
KIRK: It's wounded. Badly. You've got to help it.
MCCOY: Help that?
KIRK: Go take a look.
(McCoy kneels by the wound and gets out his tricorder.)
SPOCK: The end of life. Murderers.
MCCOY: You can't be serious. That thing is virtually made out of stone!
KIRK: Help it. Treat it.
MCCOY: I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer.
KIRK: You're a healer. There's a patient. That's an order. Mister
Spock. Tell it we're trying to help. The mechanism.
SPOCK: Understood. It is the end of life. Eternity stops. Go out into
the tunnel. To the chamber of the ages. Cry for the children. Walk
carefully in the vault of tomorrow. Sorrow for the murdered children.
The thing you search for is there. Go. Go. Sadness.
Sadness for the end of things. Go into the tunnel. There is a
passageway. Quickly, quickly.
(Kirk heads off down the tunnel the Horta came out of.)
[Level twenty three]
GIOTTO: The Captain said for you to wait here, and
here is where you'll wait.
APPEL: That murdering monster's in there and we're going to kill it.
GIOTTO: You're going to stay here.
[The Chamber of the Ages]
(Kirk emerges into an area filled with silicon
nodules, both whole and broken.)
MCCOY: (into communicator) That's right,
Lieutenant. Just beam it down to me immediately, and never mind what I
want it for. I just want it! Now move!
SPOCK: (channeling the Horta) It is time to sleep. It is over. Failure.
The murderers have won. Death is welcome. Let it end here.
KIRK: Mister Spock. Mister Spock. Spock. Spock! Come out of it. I found
the unit in there. It's in pretty good shape. I also found about a
million of these silicon nodules. They're eggs, aren't they?
SPOCK: Yes, Captain, eggs and about to hatch.
KIRK: The miners must
have broken into the hatchery. Their operations destroyed thousands of
them. No wonder.
[Level twenty three]
APPEL: There. They're coming.
(He knocks out Giotto and the miners overpower the rest of the
red-shirts, clubbing them viciously.)
APPEL: All right! All right, let's go!
VANDERBERG: Come on.
KIRK: How are you doing, Doc?
MCCOY: I'll let you know.
(The miners come round the corner.)
KIRK: Don't fire. First man that fires is dead.
VANDERBERG: That thing has killed fifty of my men.
KIRK: You've killed thousands of her children.
KIRK: Those round silicon nodules that you've been collecting and
destroying? They're her eggs. Tell them, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: There have been many generations of Horta on this planet. Every
fifty thousand years, the entire race dies, all but one, like this one,
but the eggs live. She cares for them, protects them. And when they
hatch, she is the mother to them, thousands of them. This creature here
is the mother of her race.
KIRK: The Horta is intelligent, peaceful, mild. She had no objection to
sharing this planet with you, till you broke into her nursery and
started destroying her eggs. Then she fought back in the only way she
knew how, as any mother would fight when her children are in danger.
VANDERBERG: We didn't know. How could we? You mean if these eggs hatch,
there'll be thousands of those things crawling around down here?
KIRK: This is where they live. They digest rock, they tunnel for
SPOCK: And they are the most inoffensive of creatures. They harbour ill
will towards no one.
APPEL: Now look, we have pergium to deliver.
KIRK: Yes, I know. Here's your circulating pump. You've complained this
planet is a mineralogical treasure house if you had the equipment to
get at it. Gentlemen, the Horta moves through rock the way we move
through air, and it leaves tunnels. The greatest natural miners in the
universe. It seems to me we could make an agreement, reach a modus
vivendi. They tunnel. You collect and process, and your process
operation would be a thousand times more profitable.
VANDERBERG: Sounds all right, if it will work.
SPOCK: Except for one thing. The Horta is badly wounded. It may die.
MCCOY: It won't die. By golly, Jim, I'm beginning to think I can cure a
KIRK: Can you help it?
MCCOY: Help it? I cured it.
MCCOY: Well, I had the ship beam down a hundred pounds of that
thermoconcrete. You know, the kind we use to build emergency shelters
out of. It's mostly silicone. So I just trowelled it into the wound,
and it'll act like a bandage until it heals. Take a look. It's as good
KIRK: Well, Spock, I'm going to have to ask you to get in touch with
the Horta again. Tell her our proposition. She and her children can do
all the tunnelling they want. Our people will remove the minerals, and
each side will leave the other alone. Think she'll go for it?
SPOCK: It seems logical, Captain. The Horta has a very logical mind.
And after close association with humans, I find that curiously
SPOCK: Ship ready to leave orbit, Captain. Course
KIRK: Very good, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: Chief Engineer Vanderberg standing by on channel one.
KIRK: Fine. Yes, Chief. Kirk here.
VANDERBERG: Just wanted to tell you the eggs have
started to hatch, Captain.
VANDERBERG [OC]: First thing the little devils do
is start to tunnel.
VANDERBERG: We've already hit huge new pergium
deposits. I'm afraid to tell you how much gold and platinum and rare
earths we've uncovered.
KIRK: I'm delighted to hear that, Chief. Once
Mother Horta tells her kids what to look for, you people are going to
be embarrassingly rich.
VANDERBERG [OC]: You know, the Horta aren't so bad once you're used to
VANDERBERG: Well. that's about it, Kirk. Thanks for
KIRK: Our pleasure, Chief. Kirk out.
SPOCK: Curious. What Chief Vanderberg said about the Horta is exactly
what the Mother Horta said to me. She found humanoid appearance
revolting, but she thought she could get used to it.
MCCOY: Oh, she did, did she? Now tell me, did she happen to make any
comment about those ears?
SPOCK: Not specifically, but I did get the distinct impression she
found them the most attractive human characteristic of all. I didn't
have the heart to tell her that only I have
KIRK: She really liked those ears?
SPOCK: Captain, the Horta is a remarkably intelligent and sensitive
creature, with impeccable taste.
KIRK: Because she approved of you?
SPOCK: Really, Captain, my modesty
KIRK: Does not bear close examination, Mister Spock. I suspect you're
becoming more and more human all the time.
SPOCK: Captain, I see no reason to stand here and be insulted.
KIRK: Ahead, warp factor two.