Beyond The Farthest Star
Stardate: 5221.3
Original Airdate: 8 Sep, 1973

Captain's log, stardate 5221.3. On outward course beyond the fringe of our galaxy towards Questar M-17, a source of mysterious radio emissions. Mission, starcharting.

[Bridge]

(The ship is at Red Alert)
KIRK: Situation, Mister Scott?
SCOTT: We've picked up speed, sir, rapidly. I've cut back power, but we continue to gain momentum.
KIRK: Mister Sulu?
SULU: She's not answering the helm, sir. Two minutes right ascension off course and drifting farther, Captain.
KIRK: Stand by to reverse course.
SULU: Standing by, sir.
KIRK: Reverse course.
SPOCK: I can only describe it as hypergravity, Captain, more powerful than any we've ever encountered. It's dragging the Enterprise toward it.
KIRK: Why aren't our sensors picking it up? Forward scanners, Mister Sulu.
(The viewscreen shows a massive object)
UHURA: Captain, that's the source of the radio emissions.
SPOCK: Negative star mass. Spectra analysis, imploded matter, but every reading on it is negative.
SULU: Captain, we're still gaining speed.
KIRK: Full reverse thrust.
SULU: No good, sir. We're still falling toward it.
KIRK: How much time do we have?
SPOCK: Impact in ninety three seconds. Ninety two. Ninety one.
UHURA: Captain, there's another signal. Listen.
SPOCK: Forty seconds, Captain. Thirty nine, thirty eight.
KIRK: Sulu, flank speed ahead. Our only chance is to try to get into orbit around that thing.
SULU: Aye, aye, Captain.
SPOCK: Nine seconds. Eight, seven. Orbital velocity.
KIRK: Steady as she goes, Mister Sulu. Maintain orbit.
SULU: Aye, aye, Captain.
MCCOY: If its pull is this strong, Jim, how do we get out of orbit?
KIRK: Slingshot effect, Mister Spock? Do we have enough power?
SPOCK: I'll need some time for the computations, Captain.
UHURA: I'm getting that radio sound again, sir. Nine seconds right ascension from galactic plane, dead ahead and closing fast. It's on the viewscreen now, sir.
KIRK: Put us alongside, Mister Sulu.
SULU: Aye, aye, sir.
(The object is made up of oval pieces connected by filaments. Very alien and elegant)
MCCOY: It's a starship like nothing I've ever seen. The size of it.
KIRK: It's been damaged. I'll bet she was pulled in like we were.
UHURA: It's coming from that ship, Captain.
SPOCK: Confirmed, Captain, but it isn't possible. That ship is dead. Temperature is absolute zero. There is no thermal reading to support life aboard her, and no energy store to send radio messages. Nothing except a slight magnetic flux reading which could be normal for the ship's metal.
KIRK: You're sure, Mister Spock?
SPOCK: Probability point nine nine seven, Captain.
KIRK: Can you identify that metal, or the design of the ship?
SPOCK: Negative to both, Captain. Unknown alloy, harder and lighter than any registered metal. It is not a recorded galactic starship design. Retro analysis of the ship's spectra dates it as having been in orbit here for slightly more than three hundred million years.
UHURA: It's beautiful. What kind of people could have built it, to touch even a starship with grace and beauty?
KIRK: A civilisation that advanced three hundred million years ago before life even emerged on Earth.
MCCOY: Barely an instant in eternity, Jim.
KIRK: Mister Spock, any indication of that ship's power source?
SPOCK: No, Captain, but this far from a G1 star, it is logical to assume they had some kind of warp drive.
KIRK: We'll board her, Mister Spock. Scotty, Bones, you'll come with us. We'll need life-support belts. Mister Sulu, have the Transporter room stand by.
SULU: Yes, sir.

[Transporter room]

KYLE: Ready, Captain.
KIRK: Activate life-support belts. Energise.

[Alien ship]

(They arrive with their life-support glow around them, on a huge filament linking two modules. It looks very organic)
SPOCK: The hexagonal shape of the windows suggests a similarity to natural insect designs of Earth, the honeycombs of bees. The individual cells are shaped precisely like this.
SCOTT: Would you look at this now? This metal, it isn't cast or rolled. It was drawn into filaments and spun.
KIRK: Like a spider spins his web.
SPOCK: A lighter and stronger material than anything we have now.
KIRK: Look, every pod, they've all been burst open.
SCOTT: Aye, from the inside, from the looks of them.
MCCOY: Must have been some accident to get almost every pod.
SPOCK: Accidents seldom have such system, Doctor McCoy. I believe we must consider the alternative possibility that the crew of this ship destroyed her themselves.

Captain's log. We have beamed aboard the alien ship found orbiting a strange dead star. The Enterprise is recording all data for the log and a full report later.

[Alien ship]

KIRK: Kirk to Enterprise.

[Bridge]

UHURA: Enterprise. Lieutenant Uhura here.

[Alien ship]

KIRK: Lieutenant, are you still getting that radio signal from this ship?

[Bridge]

UHURA: Negative, Captain. It stopped transmitting when you beamed aboard.

[Alien ship]

KIRK: All right. Lock on us with the transporter and be ready to transport. We're going inside.
UHURA [OC]: Transporter beam on and locked. Standing by.

[Alien ship module]

(They've found something that seems active)
KIRK: What do you make of it, Spock?
SPOCK: Captain, its registering energy. Very little, but building.
KIRK: You mean it's functioning after all the milleniums this ship has been here?
SPOCK: The wands are accumulators, receptors to attract energy, motion, sound, light, heat, every kind of energy around them.
SCOTT: The structure of the ship, those huge arches, thrusting up. The whole ship is designed to receive and store energy.
MCCOY: Gives me the creeps. I feel like something's watching us.
SCOTT: I feel it too, Captain.
SPOCK: A physiological symptom of latent primal superstition, the fear of primitive people confronting something unknown to them.
KIRK: Compared to the beings that built this ship, we are primitive people, even you, Mister Spock. All right, let's keep going.
(They come to a hexagonal door. Spock fires his phaser at the control and it opens. They walk down a hexagonal passageway into -)

[Machine shop]

(The door slams behind them and the machines wake up)
KIRK: Tricorder analysis, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: Artificial gravity is in effect here, Captain. Both air and gravity within two points of Earth normal.
KIRK: Enterprise, do you read me? Sulu?
SPOCK: No use, Captain. Some sort of interference has been set up.
SCOTT: We can cut our way out of here.
(But his phaser doesn't work)
KIRK: No energy registering. Something's drained them.
MCCOY: You mean we're trapped here? No communication, nothing?
KIRK: For the moment.
(They walk on)
KIRK: This is, was, the control centre of the starship. These must be control and navigational instruments.
SPOCK: The source of the interference is here, Captain. It's not part of the normal equipment. It's like something they jury-rigged during an emergency.
SCOTT: Something to shield this room. But shield it from what?
SPOCK: Possibly from whatever had come aboard their ship.
SCOTT: But nothing, no form of life could survive three hundred million years.
SPOCK: Quite right, Mister Scott. No known form of life.
MCCOY: Jim, the door.
(It is glowing around its edges)
SPOCK: Something is trying to get in. The field of interference is reacting against the magnetic flux lines, Captain.
KIRK: Will it hold?
SPOCK: If the energy stays at that level.
(The control machine starts making a strange noise)
MCCOY: What is it?
KIRK: I'm not sure, but I think
(A screen comes to life with a face on it)
KIRK: It could be a ship's log or a warning. It seems to keep repeating.
MCCOY: A message from three hundred million years ago?
SPOCK: It is possible that this much of their technology survived. (fiddling with a panel)
KIRK: Anything?
SPOCK: I may be able to get a translation.
MCCOY: Hurry up, Spock.
SPOCK: Patience, Doctor.
ALIEN [on screen]: Danger. Danger. The dead star, we are being drawn to it. Rather than carry this malevolent life form to other worlds, we have decided to destroy our own ship. There is no other answer. If you understand this message, you are protected only for this moment in this room. This thing it wants
(Boom! Things blow up around them)
KIRK: Get out of here! Hurry!
(They are beamed away)

[Transporter room]

(Transporter Chief Kyle has a frightfully English accent, and a mustache)
KYLE: Located them right after that explosion, Mister Sulu. We're locked on and beaming them aboard.

[Bridge]

SULU: Good work, Mister Kyle. I thought we lost them when we were cut off so long.

[Transporter room]

KYLE: Piece of cake, sir. Here they come now.
(Four figures and a green fog materialise)
KYLE: Captain, something's beamed aboard with you.
KIRK: Transport it back out.
(But they are all attacked by the Green, then it gets into the ventilation system, the doors and the control panels. Laughter comes from the comm. panels on the walls)

[Bridge]

KIRK: Status?
UHURA: Sickbay reports no injuries to crew, sir.
SCOTT: No damage to hull or engines, Captain.
SPOCK: Automatic bridge defence system on and prepared, sir.
KIRK: So, we're all just fine, but whatever was on that ship used our transporter beam to come aboard with us, and now it's here.
SCOTT: That alien commander, sir. The message said that they had to destroy their own ship.
KIRK: Until we learn more about it, Scotty, perhaps we should be ready to do the same. Take two of your men and arm the self-destruct device in the Engineering core.
SCOTT: Aye, sir.
(Scott leaves)
KIRK: Mister Spock, any change in ship's readings?
SPOCK: We're registering a slightly higher than normal magnetic flux. Not dangerous, but the level isn't constant. It seems to fluctuate, a steady, almost pulsing rhythm.
KIRK: Like the beating of a heart.
UHURA: Bridge, Lieutenant. What? Captain, decks five and six report shutdown of all life-support systems. They've gone to life-support belts, manual override is not responding.
(Red Alert)
SPOCK: Trouble in the Engineering core, sir.
KIRK: Bridge to Sickbay.

[Sickbay]

KIRK [OC]: Bones, get down to the Engineering core on the double.

[Bridge]

KIRK: Get on those life-support systems now.

[Engineering]

(Scotty, wearing a life-support belt, is trapped by the cover of the core)
MCCOY: The force field of his belt won't hold that weight for long, Jim.
KIRK: Override systems, Mister Spock. Open the core hatch.
SCOTT: It's no use, sir. The mechanism is frozen. They've already tried.
SPOCK: Something's jammed the circuits. They're magnetised.
KIRK: All right, get the cutter beams on that hatch. Move.
ENGINEER: Yes, sir.
(Finally they cut the hinge off the hatch and release Scott)
SCOTT: I thank you, sir.
SULU [OC]: Bridge to Captain Kirk. Something's activating the ship's phaser banks. They're locking on the alien starship.
(The alien ship is destroyed)

[Bridge]

SULU: Phaser banks were off, Captain. They activated themselves.
KIRK: And mutual override did not work?
SULU: No, sir.
SPOCK: Exactly like the Engineering controls and the life-support systems on decks five and six.
(Scott and McCoy enter)
SCOTT: Sir, we cannot get into the core.
KIRK: The cutter beams.
SCOTT: Drained of all energy, sir.
UHURA: Sir, Cargo holds three, four and five just shut down life-support systems.
SPOCK: Power out on all but key levels, Captain. High magnetic flux reading.
UHURA: Captain Kirk, the ship's computers. Something's going through every storage bank. It seems to be taking control of the whole ship.
KIRK: Spock, can you rig a low-frequency shield like the one on the alien ship, on our navigation console?
SPOCK: It would have a very small field.
KIRK: Do it.
(A little later)
SPOCK: It's activated, Captain, but only an area three metres square.
KIRK: Do you get a magnetic flux reading there now?
SPOCK: Negative, Captain.
MCCOY: Jim, you don't think that's going to help us? Whatever that thing is, it survived millennia in a dead hulk. All it has to do is outlast us and just take over.
KIRK: No. It must be held by the magnetic force of the dead star, and it needs a starship to break free and a crew to man it.
GREEN: (speaking from the bridge defence system in the ceiling) You are correct, Captain James T Kirk, and I have the starship I've waited for so long, so terribly long.
(The bridge monitors go crazy, then blank)
SPOCK: It has absorbed the memory banks, Captain, all of them.
GREEN: You will now remove the static shield from the navigation console, Captain James T Kirk.
KIRK: You have shut down life-support systems and endangered members of my crew. Restore those systems first.
GREEN: All nonessential systems are extinguished. You will obey me.
KIRK: And if I refuse?
(A beam is fired from the defence system at Kirk)
GREEN: Obey me!
SPOCK: Captain!
(Spock is shot too)
GREEN: Obey me!
KIRK: Stop! You'll hurt him.
GREEN: Remove the static shied from the warp drive controls! Do it now!
SPOCK: No, Captain.
KIRK: I'll obey. Let him go.
(The beam stops)
(Kirk goes to the console, presses a button and puts his life-support belt on it. The green alien is unhappy)
GREEN: Repair the warp drive controls. Obey me!
KIRK: Mister Scott, start repairs. Install the auxiliary controls.
SCOTT: Aye, Captain.
SPOCK: I'm all right, Captain.
KIRK: What are we dealing with, Spock?
SPOCK: High rank probabilities, Captain. It is a magnetic organism without mass, but capable of symbiotic relationship with a host body, a starship for instance. It is a form of primal energy, and it can utilise the electronic control systems of a starship like the mind of a man uses the neural control systems of the human body. It has become the Enterprise, and we are only life-support organisms in its body like the white corpuscles in human blood. And Captain, the magnetic flux readings are higher. It is growing stronger, building itself.
KIRK: A slingshot effect to yank us out of orbit. Can you compute it in your mind? If we try to use ship's computers
SPOCK: The alien will know. I believe I can, Captain. I will need to aid Mister Scott.
KIRK: The engineer will need aid from my first officer to complete repairs. Is that permitted? (silence) I guess it is.
GREEN: You will leave this orbit and plot course to galactic coordinates zero three six point two three one.
SULU: That's the heart of the galaxy, Captain.
KIRK: Plot the course, Mister Sulu.
SPOCK: Captain, this symbiont can reproduce itself by mitosis and take over every starship we encounter. It can control computer centres, whole planets.
KIRK: I'm aware of that, Mister Spock.
GREEN: Complete repairs! Obey me!
SCOTT: Auxiliary controls ready to activate, Captain.
KIRK: The auxiliary warp drive controls can only be operated manually.
GREEN: That is correct. You will activate the manual controls. Obey!
KIRK: Controls activated.
SULU: Captain, we're dropping out of orbit! We're falling into the dead sun.
GREEN: Apply full power! Obey me!
(It tries shooting Kirk)
GREEN: No! Accelerate! Do not destroy the ship! Obey me! Obey! Obey!
KIRK: Standby to activate warp drive unit.
GREEN: No! Don't!
(Green flies out of the ship's systems)
KIRK: Activate warp drive!
SPOCK: Activated, Captain.
GREEN: Please, don't!
(It leaves the ship completely and ends up enveloping the dead star, as Enterprise slingshots around and away)
KIRK: Is it gone?
SPOCK: Affirmative. It fled the ship when it thought we would crash into the dead star.
GREEN [OC]: Don't leave me alone. Please, please. So lonely.

Captain's log, stardate 5221.8. Final entry. Resuming outward course beyond the farthest star of our galaxy. Mission, starcharting.

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