Responding to a distress signal, Kirk finds Captain Tracey of the U.S.S. Exeter violating the prime directive and interfering with a war between the Yangs and the Kohms to find the secret of their longevity.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Irene Kelly ...
Yang Scholar
Lloyd Kino ...
Ed McCready ...
Frank Atienza ...
Kohn Villager


As the Enterprise approaches planet Omega IV, they find another starship, the U.S.S. Exeter, in orbit. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam aboard to find the ship abandoned but strewn with uniforms and crystals. The last log entry from the ship's surgeon tells them they have been infected with a deadly virus brought aboard from a returning landing party. Kirk's party beams down to the planet's surface and finds there is one Exeter survivor: Captain Ron Tracey. He has apparently ignored the Prime Directive and has taken sides in a local dispute supporting the Kohms against their arch-rivals, the Yangs. As McCoy tries to find a cure for the virus, Spock and Kirk try to make sense of the situation. They eventually realize there is an odd parallel with Earth's own history. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

1 March 1968 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was one of three scripts submitted to NBC (along with Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before (1966) and Star Trek: Mudd's Women (1966)) when they were seeking to do a second pilot for the series. They ultimately chose to kickstart the series with "Where No Man Has Gone Before". See more »


When Dr. McCoy analyzes the crystals on the U.S.S. Exeter, he identifies them as the crew members bodies after water is removed. He says the human body is 96% water and does a tricorder analysis of the remaining 4% and reports it as 35% potassium and 18% carbon. His percentages are either wrong mathematically or physiologically. The 96% figure refers not exclusively to water but organic elements, which includes body fat and sugars in addition to water. While carbon does account for 18% of the total body mass, after removing water the percentage should have been 74%. The content of the minerals is also incorrect. Calcium accounts for 38% and potassium accounts for 10%, not the stated 35%. See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: But if it were true, all these generations of Yangs were fighting to regain their land...
Sirah: You're a romantic, Jim.
See more »


Featured in William Shatner's Star Trek Memories (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Kohms, Yangs, Immortality, oh, and the Prime Directive
10 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sheesh, lots of concepts, and most not presented very well. This episode rates low with many Trek fans, as it ends up as a ham-handed paean to the concepts of liberty and posterity. These are lofty concepts to aspire to, but, much like "Miri" in the 1st season, the ideas exist within an unbelievable framework, even if it is a sf show. The story doesn't even bother to present a duplicate Earth here, as in "Miri"; this Omega-4 is some other planet in another part of the galaxy which also had Yankees & Communists, the American Flag, the U.S.Constitution and (probably) Declaration of Independence, written in the exact same words. Some sf writers need to distinguish between other planets and other dimensions - this should have been some parallel dimension Earth tale or altered Earth history. However, it's a pretty exciting action episode and has, for me, one of the best villains of the original show.

Whereas losing his crew in "The Doomsday Machine" drove Commodore Decker over the deep end, here Capt. Tracey (his ship is the Exeter) seems to have become more ruthless, more harsh. If ever there was a dark version of Capt. Kirk, an anti-Kirk, if you will, or an ultimate example of a starship captain gone bad, it's Tracey. He's like Kirk's evil older brother - taller, tougher, and possessed of the same indomitable will - geared towards non-Starfleet-like goals, including casual murder and even attempted genocide. He's somewhat obsessed about immortality for some reason and the economic gain from same, a throwback to yesteryear goals (this idea is revisited a century later in "Star Trek Insurrection" with the TNG crew); maybe he joined Starfleet with such goals in the back of his mind and hid his dark side from his peers all these past years. This is idle speculation and I suppose it's another weakness of the story that his backstory is never explained.

Most of the episode, until the last couple of scenes, is quite gritty and brutal, what with the elements of bacteriological war and further tension of a village under siege by an army of savages. Kirk and Tracey seem to fight it out in nearly half the episode. But, it's worth a chuckle to Trekkers hearing Kirk's voice-over about how a Starfleet captain should give up his life before violating the Prime Directive. We remember Kirk's approach towards this non-interference directive on past missions - "A Taste of Armageddon" anyone? How about "The Apple"? Uh, "Return of the Archons"? Gee, it gets worse: lets even things out in "A Private Little War"; stop the war in "Patterns of Force." What's Kirk talking about? To top things off, Kirk interferes with things at the very end of this episode, capping off Tracey's transgressions with his little instruction on how to read an important document. Spock hints to him he should have kept his mouth shut and Kirk just shrugs him off. Only one arrest per episode.

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