(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Trek Judgment Rites. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
Episode 7: Though This Be Madness…
Now that shore leave is over, it’s back to the stars — and in a big way. Episode 7 starts out in a wild flurry of huge events. First up is a Romulan sub-commander who broadcasts a distress call from the Neutral zone. Kirk is loathe to violate the treaty, so he ignores the call. Plus, it’s the Romulans. Forget those guys.
Then another call comes in, a planetary invasion of Atabis. That sounds more fun than stuffy Romulans, so away we go!
Showing up at Atabis, the Enterprise encounters two strange sights: a Klingon battlecruiser and a giant alien ship. The Klingons are there to defend their interests (Atabis is a disputed planet) and the aliens… no idea. At least the Klingons don’t want to fight.
The away team beams over to the alien ship, joined this time by Uhura (because of possible communications issues). Might want to change that red shirt, Uhura!
Talking to the two people here give the feeling that we’ve stepped into some sort of mental institution, as they’re textbook Hollywood “crazy.” McCoy examines them and notes that both have some physical issues going on, while Spock tricorders the plants and discovers that none of them are on file, but all have similarities to real plants. Fascinating.
More examples of Hollywood crazy here: a big man being a little baby and a guy who thinks that he’s a king. And a cactus that probably thinks that it’s a cactus. Fortunately, Uhuru is descended from royalty, so the king treats with her and then leaves.
Another room, another collection of disturbed people. These guys are more like a gang, with the ringleader to the right there. Plus a teddy bear. Kirk wantee the teddy.
The Klingons beam in to do their own search of the ship, which I predict will quickly end in bloodshed.
Again, nothing is quite as it seems here. Scans from the tricorder reveal that the playhouse is actually a space-time portal. Wonder if I just won myself a space-time teddy bear too.
In another room we meet the Phays, a “food-fixated mothering computer” that keeps swapping between referring to itself as “I” and “we.” It seems to think that all of the people on the ship are its children (of sorts) and ignores Kirk’s entreaty to stop trying to land the ship in the middle of a settlement.
Spock does a mind-meld with the woman in the corner, who apparently gorged on the library computer in an effort to try to understand who made the ship and what is going on. However, understanding never happened and she’s nearly a vegetable as a result. The Klingons barge in, asking for answers, and are unhappy that McCoy wants to treat the woman back on the Enterprise.
Am I the only person who never liked the Klingons as villains or allies? Bunch of paranoid bullies with single-minded dispositions. And in this mission, they keep following Kirk around and being passive-aggressive.
Meanwhile, Kirk phasers some plant equipment in hydroponics and imagines Klarr’s face on it. Pew pew! Believe it or not, this is all part of a complicated plan to grow fresh food.
Food is pretty important here. The Phays mentioned that she was feeding her children, yet Stambob talks about how there’s something being put into it that’s bad. Sure enough, after analyzing a box of prepackaged food, Kirk discovers that it’s been drugged to hell and back.
After much — oh so much — puzzle-solving and maneuvering, Kirk, company, and Klingons arrive in the heart of the Phays. Since it’s just another super-computer that needs to be spanked, Kirk knows exactly how to deal with it.
Klarr actually helps to repair Phays, who now becomes more-or-less complete. She says that this ship, the Compassion, was launched by the Builders but somehow she became damaged. The more Kirk talks with her, the more apparent that Phays doesn’t know much or won’t admit to much. After calling her out on it, the mysterious alien race that has been testing Kirk over several episodes creates a portal, tells him that he’s passed the test, and invites him to make first contact. Klarr decides to come as well.
TO BE CONTINUED!