Kirk and Spock must save their ship's crew when they are declared all killed in action in a bizarre computer simulated war where the actual deaths must occur to continue.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Gene Lyons ...
Miko Mayama ...
Yeoman Tamura
David L. Ross ...
Sean Kenney ...
Robert Sampson ...
Sar 6


On a mission to establish diplomatic relations at Star Cluster NGC321, Kirk and Spock beam down to planet Eminiar 7 to learn that its inhabitants have been at war with a neighboring planet for over 500 years. They can find no damage nor evidence of destruction but soon learn that their war is essentially a war game, where each planet attacks the other in a computer simulation with the tabulated victims voluntarily surrendering themselves for execution after the fact. When the Enterprise becomes a victim in the computer simulation and ordered destroyed, Kirk decides it's time to show them exactly what war means. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

23 February 1967 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


William Shatner and David Opatoshu appeared together eight years earlier in The Brothers Karamazov (1958) as Alexi Karamazov and Captain Snegiryov respectively. See more »


When Ambassador Fox beams down it is implied that he beamed down on his own authority without Scotty (in charge) knowing about it. Seems that a bridge officer would have immediately known if a transporter was being used without authorization. See more »


Scott: Open a channel, Lieutenant. This is the commander of the U.S.S. Enterprise. All cities and installations on Eminiar 7 have been located, identified, and fed into our fire control system. In one hour and forty-five minutes, the entire inhabited surface of your planet will be destroyed. You have that long to surrender your hostages.
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Featured in William Shatner's Star Trek Memories (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

They Fight Their War with Computers, Captain
17 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A clever sf concept on how a different society may wage their wars: totally by computers. In their supposed enlightened method, the buildings and their culture continue - the populace obediently reports to disintegration chambers to fulfill an agreement with the enemy planet after each computerized attack. It all sounds very clinical, very clean, if not a bit on the 'patriotism gone mad' spectrum - but it's probably the clinical aspect which outrages Kirk the most; that and the fact that his beloved starship is declared a target almost immediately. I don't think he even remembers, at this point, that another Federation ship was lost 50 years earlier in this manner - it's his ship what counts. To be fair to this society on Eminiar, they did warn the Enterprise to stay away from their system; but the problem here again is an annoying Federation bureaucrat, ambassador Fox (see also the previous "The Galileo 7" for another such representative). Fox places more value on a successful diplomatic mission than on the lives of all the crew and the ship. This does not endear him to Kirk, Scotty, or the audience, for that matter.

Speaking of Scotty, he had some of his best scenes of the first season here. Placed in command of the Enterprise for most of the episode, he gets to shine in his confrontations with Fox and the 'mealy-mouthed' Anan-7 down on the planet. My favorite scene is when he informs Anan-7 that the Enterprise will destroy the surface of the planet in less than two hours. It sounds horrible when described this way, but it's almost a validation of a starship's power and, by extension, Starfleet, and actor Doohan learned by this point how to infuse as much melodramatic impact on such pronouncements as possible. We secretly thrill to this opportunity Scotty has in throwing his starship's weight around - following Kirk's orders, of course. For Kirk, it's his chance to play God once more (see the previous "Return of the Archons"), literally transforming an entire culture overnight - not in theory, but in practice! To be fair to the captain, one can argue his hand was forced after his ship was targeted but...I, for one, get the sense he's really enjoying himself - give him any excuse; he'll change the way a planet does things soon enough, maybe even as retribution for daring to threaten his ship.

Still, the society of Eminiar poses many questions and problems, despite the outward appearance of prosperity and technological comfort (another nice matte painting here, though not as successful as previous ones for Starbase 11 in "The Menagerie" and "Court Martial"). Anan-7 (Opatoshu in a nicely-layered performance) himself inadvertently suggests where the priorities of this so-called culture lie when he tells Kirk that he'll try to spare his starship but the human beings inside it are definitely goners. Things - material things - definitely take precedence over humanity here. There's something inherently repulsive about living thinking beings marching into oblivion at the 'suggestion' of computer results - another aspect making this similar to "Return of the Archons" - like so much programmed ants. I could understand Kirk's disgust and I noticed Spock was on his side all the way without even a word of debate about something called The Prime Directive.

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