The Deadly Years
Stardate: 3478.2
Original Airdate: 8 Dec, 1967

[Settlement]

(Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Chekov and Galway beam down to a group of pre-fabricated buildings. The sky is orange.)
KIRK: Where is everyone?
MCCOY: Perhaps they weren't expecting us.
SPOCK: Our arrival was scheduled well in advance, Doctor. The annual check of every scientific expedition is routine.
KIRK: I had a subspace contact with a Robert Johnson, the leader of this expedition, an hour ago.
MCCOY: Did he report anything wrong?
KIRK: No, yet there was something wrong. I can't pin it down. His conversation was disjointed, his thoughts a little foggy, unrelated. Chekov, check that building. Mister Spock and I will check this one. The rest of you, take a look around. See if you can find anyone.
(Chekov goes into the dark building - it has no windows - and the light comes on as he bumps up against a table bearing the body of a very old man. He panics and runs out again.)
CHEKOV: Captain! Captain! Captain! Captain!
KIRK: What is it?
CHEKOV: A man, sir. In there. A dead man.

[Building]

(Again, the lights only come on when the party reaches the table in the middle of the room.)
KIRK: Well?
MCCOY: Exactly what it looks like. Death by natural causes. Old age.
SPOCK: Quite impossible, Doctor. I ran a personnel check on this expedition before we beamed down. I assure you that none of them were
(He is interrupted by the entrance of an old man and woman. ROBERT: (to the woman) They've come to pay their respects to Alvin.
KIRK: I'm Captain Kirk of
ROBERT: You'll have to speak louder.
KIRK: I say I'm Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Who are you?
ROBERT: I'm Robert Johnson. This is my wife, Elaine.
KIRK: How old are you? How old are you?
ROBERT: I'm, er, let me see. I am twenty nine, and Elaine is
ELAINE: I'm twenty seven.

Captain's log, stardate 3478.2. On a routine mission to re-supply the experimental colony at Gamma Hydra Four, we discovered a most unusual phenomenon. Of the six members of the colony, none of whom were over thirty, we found four had died and two were dying of old age.

[Sickbay]

KIRK: Mister Johnson, can you hear me?
ROBERT: I can hear you. Not deaf yet, you know. Not yet.
KIRK: Can you tell me what happened?
ROBERT: What happened?
KIRK: Did your instruments show anything?
ROBERT: Elaine was so beautiful. So beautiful. So beautiful.
MCCOY: He can hear you, Jim, but he doesn't understand. Let's let him rest.
KIRK: (to nurse) If they seem lucid, I'll be in the briefing room.

[Briefing room]

KIRK: Stay seated. Commodore Stocker, I've asked you to be part of this briefing because Gamma Hydra Four falls in your administrative area.
STOCKER: I appreciate that, sir.
KIRK: Doctor Wallace, as an expert in endocrinology, I'd appreciate you working very closely Doctor McCoy.
WALLACE: (a young blonde woman in a pink dress) Yes, Captain.
KIRK: Doctor McCoy, would you fill them in?
MCCOY: The expedition is suffering from extreme old age, and they're growing older by the minute. Much older. My examinations have turned up absolutely nothing. In fact, I don't have a clue.
KIRK: What about the atmosphere and environment, Mister Spock?
SPOCK: Sensors reveal nothing which is inimical to human life. The atmosphere screens out the usual amount of harmful cosmic rays.
KIRK: We're close to the neutral Zone between our Federation and the Romulan empire. It's possible the Romulans have a new weapon and are using this colony as guinea pigs.
SPOCK: I have already begun investigation into that possibility, Captain.
KIRK: Good. I want you all to check out everything in your own departments. No matter how remote, how far-fetched the notion, I want it run down. We'll stay in orbit until we have the answer.
STOCKER: I'm sure you understand that I'm anxious to get to Starbase Ten to assume my new post.
KIRK: Yes, Commodore. We'll do everything we can to make sure you make your duty.
STOCKER: Thank you, sir.
(Everyone leaves, but Doctor Wallace remains seated.)
KIRK: Doctor, is there something I can do for you?
WALLACE: Well, be a little less the cool, efficient Captain and a little more the old friend.
KIRK: How long has it been?
WALLACE: Six years, four months, and an odd number of days. You mean you don't know?
KIRK: Well, it's been a long time. Things wouldn't change if it started all over again, would it? You have your job, I have my ship, and neither one of us will change.
WALLACE: You said it. I didn't. In all those years, I only heard from you once. A stargram when my husband died. You know, you never asked me why I got married after we called it off.
KIRK: Well, I supposed that you met someone you loved.
WALLACE: I met a man I admired. A great man.
KIRK: And in your field as you. You didn't give up a thing.
WALLACE: No. Just you.
UHURA [OC]: Captain Kirk, Mister Spock would like to see you on the Bridge.
KIRK: I'm on my way.

[Bridge]

SULU: Standard orbit, Captain.
KIRK: Maintain.
SPOCK: I've rechecked the sensors, Captain. Gamma Hydra Four checks out as a Class M planet with a conventional oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and normal mass. I can find nothing at all out of the ordinary.
KIRK: What about the comet that astrophysics reported?
SPOCK: We're checking it on it. I've reached no conclusions as yet. The comet was a rogue and has never been investigated.
STOCKER: Captain Kirk?
KIRK: Yes, Commodore.
STOCKER: Facilities at Starbase Ten are much more complete than those on board ship. It seems to me that your investigations would be facilitated if we proceeded there. I assure you all co-operation.
KIRK: Thank you. You're anxious to get to the base, but we have a few facilities of our own here. I think the Enterprise will do quite nicely. I'll be in engineering, Mister Spock. Maintain standard orbit, Mister Sulu.
SULU: You already gave that command, sir.
KIRK: Oh? Well, follow it.

[Sickbay]

[Sickbay]

MCCOY: Lieutenant Galway.
GALWAY: (a petite woman) Doctor, may I speak to you for a moment, please?
MCCOY: Of course. Go right ahead.
GALWAY: I know this is going to sound foolish, but I seem to be having a little trouble hearing.
MCCOY: It's probably nothing important.
GALWAY: I never had trouble before.
MCCOY: Well, don't worry about it. Perhaps a little hypersonic treatment might clear it up.
GALWAY: Thank you.

[Kirk's quarters]

KIRK: Progress report, Mister Spock.
SPOCK [on monitor]: All research lines negative, Captain.
KIRK: Astronomical section reports that a comet recently passed by. Check into that.
SPOCK [on monitor]: I'm doing that, Captain, as per your previous order. We discussed that earlier.
KIRK: Oh, yes. Let me know what you come up with. I'll be in the Sickbay.
SPOCK [on monitor]: Acknowledged.
(Kirk turns to put on a clean shirt and jerks, putting a hand to his back.)

[Sickbay]

(McCoy and Chapel are putting a sheet over the face of a patient.)
MCCOY: The last one. Robert Johnson. Cause of death, old age.
KIRK: You did what you could.
MCCOY: Which adds up to absolutely nothing.

[McCoy's office]

SCOTT [OC]: Doctor McCoy, this is Scott. May I come see you?
MCCOY: All you need are vitamins, but you can come up anyhow.
KIRK: Bones, I believe you're getting grey.
MCCOY: You take over my job and see what happens to you.
KIRK: I see what you mean.
MCCOY: What's your problem, Jim?
KIRK: Shoulder. Just a twinge. Probably muscular strain.
MCCOY: You're probably right, Doctor. By the way, I don't like how you've been running this ship lately.
KIRK: All right. Reprimand received. Go ahead.
(McCoy scans his arm, then takes hold of a finger. Kirk pulls back in pain.)
MCCOY: Jim, I think we better'd run a complete physical on you.
KIRK: Why? Just muscular strain, isn't it?
MCCOY: No, Jim. It's advanced arthritis, and it's spreading.
KIRK: That's impossible.
MCCOY: I can run it through again, but I'll come up with the same thing.
(Scott enters, his hair light grey and his face deeply lined.) 
KIRK: Scotty!

Captain's log, stardate 3579.4. The Enterprise personnel who beamed down to the planet's surface, Doctor McCoy, Engineer Scott, Mister Spock, Lieutenant Galway, and myself are all showing definite signs of aging. Only Ensign Chekov appears to be normal.

[Sickbay]

(Chekov is on the stamina machine, Spock is on a bio-bed, Kirk and McCoy are definitely looking older. Chapel and Wallace are also present.)
KIRK: Report, Bones.
MCCOY: All of us who went down to the surface, with the exception of Chekov, are aging at various rates. Approximately thirty years for each day. I don't know what's causing it. A virus, a bacteria, or evil spirits, but I'm trying to find out.
KIRK: Spock, could I ask for some figures?
SPOCK: (looking about the same as usual) Based on what Doctor McCoy gave me, I estimate that physically we each have less than a week to live. Also, since our mental faculties are aging faster than our bodies, we will be little better than mental vegetables in considerably lesser time.
KIRK: Total senility?
SPOCK: Yes, Captain. In a very short time.
KIRK: What a way to die. All right. I want all the research facilities, all the scientific technicians, to start round-the-clock research immediately. I want the answers, and I want the remedy. Let's start by finding out why Chekov hasn't been affected.
MCCOY: I'm doing what I can. (to Spock) You're perfectly healthy.
SPOCK: (sitting up) I must differ with you, Doctor. I'm having difficulty concentrating, which is most disturbing, my eye sight appears to be failing, and the normal temperature of the ship seems to me to be increasingly cold.
MCCOY: I did not say you weren't affected, Mister Spock. You are perfectly healthy, that is, for any normal Vulcan on the high side of a hundred.
SCOTT: Captain, can I go back to my station?
KIRK: You feel up to it?
SCOTT: Of course I do. I just need a wee bit of rest, that's all.
(He leaves, with Spock giving him a hand.)
MCCOY: You can leave, too, Lieutenant Galway. Lieutenant Galway?
GALWAY: What? You spoke to me, Doctor?
MCCOY: Yes, I spoke to you. I said that you could leave, too. Now why don't you go down to your quarters and get some sleep.
GALWAY: No. I don't want to sleep. Can't you understand? If I sleep, what will I find when I wake up?
(Camera finally pans over to show us an old woman with a dowagers hump.)
KIRK: Lieutenant Galway, assume your position. Start your duties.
GALWAY: Thank you, sir. (on her way out) What a stupid place to hang a mirror.
KIRK: She's ten years younger than I am, and she looks,
MCCOY: People age normally at different speeds, Jim.
KIRK: Why hasn't he aged?
MCCOY: I don't know.
KIRK: Well I want to know! Is it his youth, his blood type, his heritage, his glands, his genes?
MCCOY: His genes. All right, nurse. Prepare Chekov for another complete physical.
CHAPEL: Come along, Ensign. This won't hurt. Much.
CHEKOV: Promises.

[McCoy's office]

WALLACE: A few years ago on Aldebaran Three, my husband and I tried various carbohydrate compounds to slow down the degeneration of plant life.
MCCOY: Then try that, Doctor Wallace. Try anything, but do it quickly.
WALLACE: Yes, sir. (leaves)
KIRK: I'll be on the Bridge. Keep me posted as to Chekov.

[Corridor]

(Doctor Wallace is waiting for Kirk.)
KIRK: I thought you were on your way to the biochemistry lab, Doctor.
WALLACE: We both go in the same direction.
KIRK: So we do.
WALLACE: Look, we know the problem. We know the progress of the affliction. Therefore, once we find the proper line of research, it's only logical we find the solution.
KIRK: You sound like my first officer.
WALLACE: No problem is insoluble. Not even ours.
KIRK: That didn't spring from logic.
WALLACE: Our situation doesn't have its roots in logic. The heart is not a logical organ. When I married Theodore Wallace, I thought I was over you. I was wrong.
KIRK: When did you realise that? Today?
WALLACE: What?
KIRK: How much older was your husband than you?
WALLACE: What difference does that make?
KIRK: Answer me.
WALLACE: Twenty six years.
KIRK: That's quite a difference.
WALLACE: Jim, he was a brilliant man. We were stationed on a lonely outpost. We were working together. I don't want to talk about him. I want to talk about us.
KIRK: Look at me. Look at me. What do you see?
WALLACE: I see Captain James Kirk, a man of morality, decency, handsome, and strong.
KIRK: And old. And rapidly growing older.
WALLACE: Jim, please.
KIRK: What are you offering me, Jan? Love, or a going away present?

[Bridge]

CHEKOV: Give us some more blood, Chekov. The needle won't hurt, Chekov. Take off your shirt, Chekov. Roll over, Chekov. Breathe deeply, Chekov. Blood sample, Chekov. Marrow sample, Chekov. Skin sample, Chekov. If I live long enough, I'm going to run out of samples.
SULU: You'll live.
CHEKOV: Oh, yes. I'll live, but I won't enjoy it.
SULU: Maintaining standard orbit, Captain.
(Kirk enters.)
KIRK: Increase orbit to twenty thousand perigee, Mister Sulu.
SULU: Aye, aye, sir.
ATKINS: (a blonde yeoman) Will you sign this, sir?
(He drops the pen, she starts to stoop to pick it up.)
KIRK: Yeoman. (picks the pen up) You have a reason for being on the Bridge, Commodore Stocker?
STOCKER: I'd hoped for a few words with you at your convenience.
KIRK: I have very little time.
STOCKER: If I may say so sir, we have a due date at Starbase Ten.
KIRK: We're going to be late. I don't intend to leave this area until we've found the solution for this problem.
STOCKER: Captain, I'm watching four very valuable and one almost irreplaceable members of the Starfleet failing before my eyes. I want to do something to help.
KIRK: Yes, yes. If you're so concerned, I'll send a message to Starbase Ten.
SPOCK: Captain, you sent such a message this morning.
KIRK: Yeoman? Where's that
ATKINS: Sir?
KIRK: Fuel consumption report?
ATKINS: I gave it to you. You signed it.
KIRK: If I'd signed it, I wouldn't have asked for it, now would l?
ATKINS: Your signature, Captain.
(Later, everyone is tip-toeing around an obviously sleeping Captain in his comfy chair. Spock enters, unaware.)
SPOCK: Captain, I believe (notices, and wakes him gently) Captain. Captain.
KIRK: Mister Spock. I was just thinking.
SPOCK: Yes, sir. Quite understandable.
KIRK: You have something to report?
SPOCK: Yes, sir. We have the cause of the affliction.
KIRK: What is it?
SPOCK: The orbit of Gamma Hydra Four carried the planet directly through the comet's trail. On conventional radiation settings, we discovered nothing. On resetting our sensors to the extreme lower range of the scale, undetected radiation appeared. Below normal radiation levels but definitely present, and undoubtedly residue from the comet.
KIRK: Good, Spock. Well done. Let's get this to Doctor McCoy immediately. Oh. Lieutenant, take a message to Starfleet Command. Due to the proximity of the Romulans, you'd better use Code two.
UHURA: But, Captain, the Romulans have broken Code two. If you remember the last bulletin
KIRK: Then use Code three.
UHURA: Yes, sir. Code three.
KIRK: Message. Key to affliction may be comet which passed by Gamma Hydra Four. Said comet is now,
SPOCK: (consulting PADD) Quadrant four four eight, sir.
KIRK: Quadrant. All units are to be alerted for complete analysis of radiation and means found to neutralise it. Comet is highly dangerous. Kirk, commanding Enterprise. Immediately, Lieutenant. Let's go.
UHURA: Aye, sir.
KIRK: Oh, Mister Sulu. Increase orbit to twenty thousand mile perigee.
SULU: You mean another twenty thousand, Captain?
KIRK: I fail to understand why each one of my commands is being questioned. Now do as you're told, Mister Sulu.
SPOCK: Mister Sulu, what is our present position?
SULU: Orbiting at twenty thousand, sir.
KIRK: Maintain.
SULU: Maintaining, sir.

[Biochemistry lab]

MCCOY: Radiation? That's as good an answer as any, but why didn't we know about it earlier?
SPOCK: Possibly, Doctor, because my thinking processes are not as efficient as before.
MCCOY: (to Wallace) Run this through, Doctor.
KIRK: All right, Bones, I'm going up to the Bridge. Keep me posted. Spock?
SPOCK: I have a question for the doctor. (Kirk leaves) Doctor, the ship's temperature is increasingly uncomfortable for me. I've adjusted the environment in my quarters to one hundred twenty five degrees, which is at least tolerable. However, I
MCCOY: Well, I see I'm not going to be making any house calls on you.
SPOCK: I wondered if perhaps there was something which could lower my sensitivity to cold.
MCCOY: I'm not a magician, Spock, just an old country doctor.
SPOCK: Yes. As I always suspected. (leaves)
WALLACE: Doctor McCoy, none of our usual radiation therapies will have any effect on this radiation sickness.
MCCOY: Well, then we just start over, that's all. We work harder, faster, and we start completely from scratch if we have to. But we find something.

[Corridor]

STOCKER: Spock, can I have a word with you?
SPOCK: Commodore?
STOCKER: Mister Spock, a starship can function with a Chief Engineer, a Chief Medical Officer, even a First Officer under physical par. But it's disastrous to have a commanding officer whose condition is any less than perfection.
SPOCK: I am aware of that.
STOCKER: Please understand me. My admiration for Captain Kirk is unbounded. He is a great officer. But Mister Spock, I need your help and your co-operation.
SPOCK: For what, sir?
STOCKER: I would like you to take over command of the Enterprise.
SPOCK: On what grounds, Commodore?
STOCKER: On the grounds that the captain, because of his affliction, is unable to perform his duties.
SPOCK: Need I remind you, sir, that I too have contracted the same affliction?
STOCKER: Yes, but you're a Vulcan. You have a much greater life span. You show the affects to a much smaller degree.
SPOCK: I'm half human, sir. My physical reflexes are down, my mental capacity is reduced. I tire easily. No, sir. I am not fit for command.
STOCKER: Well, if you are not, with your Vulcan physique, then obviously Captain Kirk cannot be.
SPOCK: Sir, I do have duties to perform.
STOCKER: Mister Spock. I do not like what I'm about to say but regulations demand it. And as a Starfleet flag officer, I must follow regulations. As second in command of the Enterprise, you must convene an extraordinary competency hearing.
SPOCK: I resist that suggestion, Commodore.
STOCKER: It's not a matter of choice. When a captain is unfit, physically or mentally, a competency hearing is mandatory. Please don't make me quote a regulation which you know as well as I do.
SPOCK: Very well, sir. The hearing shall convene at fourteen hundred hours.

[Sickbay]

(Chekov is back on the biobed.)
MCCOY: Now this isn't going to hurt a bit.
CHEKOV: That's what you said the last time.
MCCOY: Did it hurt?
CHEKOV: Yes.
GALWAY: Doctor.
(She collapses in Kirk's arms.)
KIRK: Bones.
MCCOY: She's dead. Her metabolism caused her to age more rapidly than the rest of us, but the same thing's going to happen to us unless
KIRK: How long have we got, Bones?
MCCOY: Oh, a matter of days. Perhaps hours.

[Briefing room]

SPOCK: Let it read that this competency hearing was ordered by Commodore Stocker and reluctantly called by myself.
KIRK: Let it also read that I consider it invalid.
STOCKER: Mister Spock, may I make a statement? I have had to resort to these legal grounds in order to save the lives of some very valuable members of the Starfleet. I have tried to convince Captain Kirk of the necessity of proceeding to Starbase Ten, but I've been overruled in each case. The responsibility of this hearing is mine.
SPOCK: On the contrary, Commodore. As presiding officer and as second in command of the Enterprise, the responsibility is mine. Captain Kirk, would you like to make a statement?
KIRK: Yes, I would like to make a statement. I am the captain of this ship and am totally capable of commanding her. Let's call this whole thing off and get back to work.
SPOCK: It is quite impossible, Captain. The regulations are quite specific. You are entitled to direct examination of all witnesses immediately after the board has questioned them.
KIRK: Very kind of you, Spock.
SPOCK: Mister Sulu, how long have you served with Captain Kirk?
SULU: Two years, sir.
SPOCK: To your knowledge, has he ever had any difficulty making decisions?
SULU: No, sir.
SPOCK: Did he order you to maintain standard orbit around Gamma Hydra Four?
SULU: Yes, sir.
SPOCK: Did he not, several minutes later, repeat that order?
SULU: Yes, sir.
SPOCK: Did he order you to increase orbit?
SULU: Yes, sir.
SPOCK: Did he not several minutes later repeat that order?
KIRK: He did not. When I give an order, I expect it to be obeyed. I don't have to repeat myself.
SPOCK: Mister Sulu, please answer the question.
SULU: Yes, sir. Captain Kirk repeated his order.
SPOCK: Thank you, Mister Sulu. Yeoman Atkins, you handed Captain Kirk a fuel consumption report in the presence of witnesses, which he read and signed. Is that correct?
ATKINS: Sir, he had more important things on his mind.
SPOCK: Yeoman, you will simply answer the question.
ATKINS: I, I guess he forgot he'd signed it.
SPOCK: You guess?
ATKINS: He'd forgot he'd signed it.
SPOCK: Thank you, Yeoman. You may leave. Lieutenant Uhura. I have here a bulletin from Starfleet Command which states that the Romulans have broken Code two. Are these your initials which appear at the bottom?
UHURA: They are.
SPOCK: And whose initials are those which appear directly below yours?
UHURA: Those of Captain Kirk.
SPOCK: Did Captain Kirk ask you to send a message about the comet which passed Gamma Hydra Four?
UHURA: He did.
SPOCK: Using Code two.
UHURA: Oh, yes, but he changed it to Code three.
SPOCK: After you reminded him that the Romulans had broken Code two.
UHURA: Yes.
SPOCK: Thank you, Lieutenant. Doctor McCoy, Doctor McCoy!
MCCOY: (waking up) Yes, Spock? What is it?
SPOCK: Several hours ago, at the request of this board, you ran a complete physical examination of Captain Kirk.
MCCOY: I did.
SPOCK: Medical banks, compute described subject's physical age, using established norms as comparative base.
COMPUTER: Working. Subject's physical age based on physiological profile, between sixty and seventy two. Aging rapidly.
KIRK: No, I'm thirty four. I'm thirty four years old.
STOCKER: The computer differs with you, Captain.
SPOCK: Doctor McCoy.
MCCOY: Yes.
SPOCK: Will you give us your professional evaluation of Captain Kirk's present physical condition.
MCCOY: Captain Kirk is suffering from a, a peculiar physical degeneration which strongly resembles aging.
SPOCK: Is not his mental capacity degenerating even more rapidly?
MCCOY: Yes, yes, but he's a better man right now
SPOCK: Doctor, you heard the computer's analysis of Captain Kirk's physical age. Do you agree with it?
MCCOY: It's a blasted machine, Spock! You can't argue with a machine.
SPOCK: Do you agree with it, Doctor?
MCCOY: Yes. Yes, I do, agree. And I am sorry, Jim.
SPOCK: This board has no further questions. Unless you, Commodore Stocker, have something that you would like to add.
STOCKER: No. I am quite satisfied, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: Do you wish to call any witnesses, Captain Kirk?
KIRK: I am perfectly capable of speaking in my own defence, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: Captain, I would suggest
KIRK: No, no, no. It's all right, Spock. It's all right. There's only one reason, and one reason alone, for having this, hearing. I refused to leave Gamma Hydra Two
SPOCK: Gamma Hydra Four, Captain.
KIRK: Yes. A slip of the tongue.
SPOCK: You're inability to remember having given commands, reading and signing important orders and then forgetting them, your physical analysis as compiled by our own chief surgeon. All these things would appear to be irrefutable proof of failing physical and mental conditions.
KIRK: So I'm a little confused. Who wouldn't be at a time like this? My ship's in trouble, my senior officers are ill. And this nonsense about a competency hearing is enough to mix up any man. Trying to relieve a captain of his command is, well, that's, that's. Spock, I wouldn't have believed it of you. Go ahead. Ask me questions. I'll show you what I'm capable of. There's nothing wrong with my memory. Go ahead! Ask me anything! We're in orbit around Gamma Hydra Two, right? Anyhow, it doesn't matter. There's a lot more to running a starship than answering a lot of fool questions. A lot more. Go ahead. Ask me questions.
SPOCK: We have no more questions, Captain.
KIRK: Ask me anything. Anything.
SPOCK: There'll be no more questions, Captain. If you would leave the room so the board can vote
KIRK: Good idea. Get this stupid voting over with so I can get back to running the ship. The most fool thing I ever heard of. Competency hearing when there's work to be done. I'll be in my quarters, awaiting your decision. (leaves)
STOCKER: Well, since the senior officers are incapable and I am of flag rank, I am forced by regulations to assume command.
SPOCK: Sir, you have never commanded a starship.
STOCKER: What would you have, a junior officer with far less experience than I have?
SPOCK: The danger from the Romulans
STOCKER: Mister Spock, we have to save these people. Mister Sulu, set a direct course for Starbase Ten. Warp five.
SULU: Across the Neutral Zone?
STOCKER: Immediately, Mister Sulu. All officers are to return to their posts.

[Kirk's quarters]

(Wallace and Spock enter.)
KIRK: Spock?
SPOCK: Yes, Captain.
KIRK: So, I've been relieved.
SPOCK: I'm sorry, Captain.
KIRK: Yes. You should've been a prosecuting attorney.
SPOCK: Regulations require
KIRK: Regulations. Don't give me regulations. You've wanted command all along. First little excuse you get
SPOCK: Captain, I have not assumed command.
KIRK: I hope you're proud of. What do you mean, you've not assumed command?
SPOCK: I suffer the same affliction as you, sir.
KIRK: If you're not in command, who is?
SPOCK: Commodore Stocker.
KIRK: Stocker? Are you crazy? He's never had a field command.
SPOCK: Mister Scott was unfit for command. Commodore Stocker is ranking officer
KIRK: No! Don't talk to me about rank! The man's a chair-bound paper-pusher. I order you to take command.
SPOCK: I cannot, Captain.
KIRK: Are you refusing a direct order?
SPOCK: No, sir. Only Commodore Stocker can give a command order onboard this ship.
KIRK: You traitorous, disloyal, you stab me in the back the first chance you get? Spock. Get out. I never want to have to look at you again.
(Spock leaves.)
KIRK: Jan, Jan.
WALLACE: Oh, Jim. I'm sorry. Truly I am.
KIRK: I made a fool of myself in there. I shouldn't have let them confuse me, rattle me.
WALLACE: Everybody understood.
KIRK: But I'm not old, Jan. I'm not. A few muscular aches doesn't make a man old. And you don't run a starship with your arms. You run it with your head. My brain's as sharp as it ever was. A simple case of radiation poisoning, and they relieve me of my command. I admit I'm getting a little grey, but radiation will do that to you.
WALLACE: Oh, Jim, will you forgive me? I have work to do.
KIRK: Jan, you know me. Look at me closely. Tell me. Am I getting old?

[Doctor's office]

KIRK: What are you doing here?
SPOCK: It would seem to be the place where I can be of the most use.
KIRK: Maybe you'd like to relieve Doctor McCoy. What about Chekov?
MCCOY: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
KIRK: Bones, there has to be. There has to be. We beamed down together. We were on the surface together. The same spot. We were together all the time.
SPOCK: No, not all the time. Captain, he left us for a few moments.
KIRK: He left us? He left us. He went into the building. Spock, something happened.
SPOCK: Yes. Yes, indeed, Captain. Doctor, you remember
KIRK: He was scared! He saw the dead body and he ran out of the building and he was scared to death.
MCCOY: Yes, yes. Now that could be. Right. Scared. Heart beats faster, breathe gets short, and there's cold sweats and adrenaline flows. Adrenal activity. Now hold on Just a minute. There was something that I read once. It was ancient history, just after the atomic age. Used for radiation sickness. Adrenaline.
WALLACE: Doctor, hyronalin is the specific accepted for all radiation sickness.
MCCOY: Yes, yes. Now. But before, adrenaline. Highly promising. Early research, but they abandoned it when hyronalin was discovered.
SPOCK: Quite possible, Doctor. Perhaps a sufficiently efficacious compound could be developed.
MCCOY: Don't just stand there jawing, Spock. You and Doctor Wallace get cracking.

[Bridge]

SULU: Entering Romulan Neutral Zone, sir. All sensors on maximum.
STOCKER: Thank you, Mister Sulu. Lieutenant Uhura, let me know if we contact any Romulan.
(The ship is shaken by an impact.)
UHURA: I think we just made contact, sir.
SULU: Romulans approaching from both sides. We're bracketed, sir.
UHURA: Engineering wants instructions, sir.
CHEKOV: Commodore Stocker, what are your orders? Commodore! (But he is transfixed by the sight of another weapon blast heading for them on the viewscreen.)

[Doctor's office]

KIRK: I'm going up to the bridge.
MCCOY: No, Jim. You can't do it.
KIRK: I have to go to the bridge. We're under attack.
MCCOY: Nurse? Doctor Wallace!
KIRK: Let me go.
MCCOY: Nurse. 
WALLACE: Jim.
CHAPEL: Easy, Captain.
KIRK: We're under attack. I have to go to the Bridge. I've got to go to the bridge.
(But they bustle him into the ward instead.)

[Bridge]

STOCKER: Keep trying to raise the Romulans.
UHURA: I'm trying, Commodore.
STOCKER: If I could talk to them, explain to them why we violated the Neutral Zone.
UHURA: The Romulans are notorious for not listening to explanations.
SULU: Lieutenant Uhura is right, sir. We've tangled with them before.

[Sickbay]

KIRK: Greenhorn, up there ruining my ship.
WALLACE: Jim, if I have to give you a shot
MCCOY: Jim-boy, you just lay quiet. You can't do no good. We're both through.
KIRK: No. No. My ship. My ship.
(Spock totters in carrying a small beaker.)
SPOCK: Doctor, I made the necessary computations and produced this serum. It is crude and dangerous, but we have no time for refinements.
MCCOY: All right. Let's, let's go.
SPOCK: It could cure or kill, Doctor.
MCCOY: Don't give me any Vulcan details. Just give me the shot.
KIRK: No. I'll take the first shot.
MCCOY: You can't.
KIRK: How long do you think this ship can take the pounding? I've got to get up there.
WALLACE: Jim, it could kill you.
KIRK: I'll die anyway. Do it.
SPOCK: Doctor Wallace, give him the shot.
KIRK: Quickly. Quickly.
(She does, and he goes into convulsions. Fortunately he is already strapped down.)

[Bridge]

SULU: Sir, they've fired another.

[Sickbay]

(As the Enterprise continues to be battered, Kirk is writhing and groaning.)
MCCOY: Well, well, what's happening?
WALLACE: The ageing process has stopped. His bodily functions are getting stronger.

[Bridge]

UHURA: Sir, I've tried all known hailing frequencies. They simply ignore us.
STOCKER: Opinion, Mister Sulu.
SULU: They know they have us. They know our shields will give out.
STOCKER: Well then, we have no alternative but to surrender.
CHEKOV: Sir, the Romulans do not take captives.
SULU: We're losing power, sir.
STOCKER: What am I going to do? I've got to do something.
KIRK: Report, Mister Sulu.
SULU: We're surrounded by Romulan vessels. Maximum of ten. Range fifty to a hundred thousand kilometres.
KIRK: Engineering, this is the captain. I want full emergency power. I want everything within about two minutes. I want the warp drive engines on full standby. Kirk out. Open up a special channel to Starfleet Command. Code two.
UHURA: But, Captain, Code
KIRK: That's an order, Lieutenant. Code two.
UHURA: Yes, Captain. Code two.
KIRK: Message. From Enterprise to Starfleet Command this sector. Have inadvertently encroached upon Romulan Neutral Zone. Surrounded and under heavy Romulan attack. Escape impossible, shields failing. Will implement destruct order using corbomite device recently installed. Since this will result in the destruction of the Enterprise and all matter in a two hundred thousand kilometre diameter and establish a corresponding dead zone, all Federation ships will avoid this area for the next four solar years. Explosion will take place in one minute. Kirk, commanding Enterprise, out. Mister Sulu, course one eight eight degrees, mark fourteen. Speed, warp factor eight. Stand by.
SULU: Standing by, sir.
SPOCK: Romulans giving ground, Captain. Obviously, they tapped in as you expected them to.
KIRK: A logical assumption, Mister Spock. Are they still retreating?
SPOCK: Yes, sir.
KIRK: Good. All hands, stand by. Warp factor eight, now.
SPOCK: The Romulans were caught off guard, Captain. They're falling behind.
KIRK: Are we out of range, Mister Sulu?
SULU: Yes, sir. And out of the Neutral Zone.
KIRK: Secure from Red Alert. Adjust a new course, two five seven degrees, mark three. Heading for Starbase Ten.
SULU: Two five seven degrees, mark three.
STOCKER: Captain, I just wanted to assure you that I did what I thought best to save you and the men.
KIRK: Noted. You should know, however, that there's very little a Starbase can do that a starship can't.
STOCKER: If I may say so, Captain, I am now quite aware of what a starship can do with the right man at the helm.
(McCoy enters)
KIRK: You're looking good, Doc.
MCCOY: Feeling fine. So is Scotty. The serum worked. He pulled a muscle during the reaction, but otherwise he's feeling fine.
KIRK: And yourself?
MCCOY: Oh, very well. A few bruises here and there. Oh. Anytime you're ready, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: I am quite ready now, Doctor.
MCCOY: Because of your Vulcan physique, I have prepared an extremely potent shot for you. However, you might like to know I've removed all the breakables from Sickbay.
SPOCK: That is very considerate of you, Doctor.
MCCOY: I thought you'd be pleased to hear that.
(Spock, McCoy and Stocker leave as Wallace enters.)
KIRK: Well, gentlemen, all and all, an experience we'll remember in our old age. Which won't be for some while, I hope. Take over, Mister Sulu. Steady as she goes.
SULU: Steady as she goes, Captain.
KIRK: I thought I said that.

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