(Kirk has just climbed up a ladder to this deck
when McCoy exits the turbolift.)
MCCOY: Oh, Captain. Got a minute?
KIRK: A minute.
MCCOY: It's Spock. Have you noticed anything strange about him?
KIRK: No, nothing in particular. Why ?
MCCOY: Well, it's nothing I can pinpoint without an examination, but
he's become increasingly restive. If he were not a Vulcan, I'd almost
say nervous. And for another thing, he's avoiding food. I checked and
he hasn't eaten at all in three days.
KIRK: That just sounds like Mister Spock in one of his contemplative
MCCOY: Miss Chapel.
CHAPEL: (carrying a tray and sounding embarrassed) Doctor McCoy.
MCCOY: What's this?
MCCOY: Oh! Vulcan plomeek soup, and I'll bet you made it too. You never
give up hoping, do you?
CHAPEL: Well, Mister Spock hasn't been eating, Doctor, and I, I just
happened to notice.
MCCOY: It's all right. Carry on, Miss Chapel.
(She turns and rings the bell on Spock's quarters. The door opens and
KIRK: Bones, I'm a busy man.
MCCOY: Jim, when I suggested to Spock that it was time for his routine
check-up, your logical, unemotional first officer turned to me and
you will cease to pry into my personal matters, Doctor, or I shall
certainly break your neck.
KIRK: Spock said that?
SPOCK [OC]: What is this?
(The door to his quarters opens and Chapel rushes out with a scream,
just before the soup bowl hits the opposite wall.)
SPOCK [OC]: Poking and prying! If I want anything from you, I'll ask
(Everyone stops and stares as he come to his door.)
SPOCK: Captain, I should like to request a leave of absence on my home
planet. On our present course you can divert to Vulcan with a loss of
but two point eight light days.
KIRK: Spock, what the devil is this all about?
SPOCK: I have made my request, Captain. All I require from you is that
you answer it. Yes or no.
KIRK: All right, Spock, let's have it.
SPOCK: It is undignified for a woman to play servant to a man who is
KIRK: I'm more interested in your request for shore leave. In all the
SPOCK: You have my request, Captain. Will you grant it or not?
KIRK: In all the years that I've known you, you've never asked for a
leave of any sort. In fact, you've refused them. Why now?
SPOCK: Captain, surely I have enough leave time accumulated.
KIRK: Agreed, but that isn't the question, is it? If there's a problem
of some sort, illness in the family
SPOCK: No. Nothing of that nature, Captain.
KIRK: Then since we're headed for Altair Six, and since the shore
facilities there are excellent
SPOCK: No! I must. I wish to take my leave on Vulcan.
KIRK: Spock, I'm asking you. What's wrong?
SPOCK: I need rest. I'm asking you to accept that answer.
KIRK: Bridge. Helm.
SULU [OC]: Yes, Captain?
KIRK: Alter course to Vulcan. Increase speed to warp four.
SULU [OC]: Aye, sir.
SPOCK: Thank you, Captain.
KIRK: I suppose most of us overlook the fact that even Vulcans aren't
SPOCK: No. (looking at his shaking hand) We're not.
Captain's log, stardate 3372.7. On course, on
schedule, bound for Altair Six via Vulcan. First Officer Spock seems to
be under stress. He has requested and been granted shore leave. Ship
surgeon McCoy has him under medical surveillance.
UHURA: Captain, something's coming in on the
Starfleet channel. Priority and urgent, sir.
KIRK: Put it on audio over here, Lieutenant.
UHURA: Message complete, sir. Switching over.
STARFLEET [OC]: To Captain, USS Enterprise from Starfleet Sector Nine.
Inauguration ceremonies, Altair Six, have been advanced seven solar
days. You are ordered to alter your flight plan to accommodate, by
order of Komack, Admiral, Starfleet Command. Acknowledge.
KIRK: Lieutenant Uhura, acknowledge that message.
UHURA: Aye, aye, sir.
KIRK: Mister Chekov, compute course and speed necessary for compliance.
CHEKOV: (a bit of a Russian accent) We'll have to head directly there
at warp six, sir. Insufficient time to stop off at Vulcan.
KIRK: Head directly for Altair Six. Sailor's luck, Mister Spock. Or, as
one of Finagle's Laws puts it, 'Any home port the ship makes ill be
somebody else's, not mine'. The new president of Altair Six wants to
get himself launched a week early, so we have to be there a week early.
Don't worry. I'll see that you get your leave as soon as we're
SPOCK: I quite understand, Captain.
(Kirk is resting in the dark when he has an idea.)
KIRK: Bridge. Navigation.
CHEKOV [on monitor]: Navigation. Chekov here.
KIRK: Mister Chekov, how late will we arrive for the ceremonies if we
increase speed to maximum and divert to Vulcan just long enough to drop
off Mister Spock?
CHEKOV [on monitor]: I don't understand, Captain.
KIRK: How far behind schedule will diverting to Vulcan put us?
CHEKOV [on monitor]: We're on course for Vulcan, Captain, as Mister
KIRK: Thank you, Mister Chekov. Kirk, out.
KIRK: Mister Spock. Come with me, please.
KIRK: Deck five. You've changed course for Vulcan,
Mister Spock. Why?
SPOCK: Changed the course?
KIRK: Do you deny it?
SPOCK: No. No, by no means, Captain. It is quite possible.
KIRK: Then why'd you do it?
SPOCK: Captain, I accept on your word that I did it, but I do not know
why, nor do I remember doing it. Captain, lock me away. I do not wish
to be seen. I cannot. No Vulcan could explain further.
KIRK: I'm trying to help you, Spock.
SPOCK: Ask me no further questions. I will not answer.
KIRK: I order you to report to the Sickbay.
KIRK: Complete examination. McCoy's waiting.
(Spock wanders in like a man in a dream.)
MCCOY: Come in, Spock. I'm all ready for you.
SPOCK: My orders were to report to Sickbay, Doctor. I have done so. And
now I'll go to my quarters.
MCCOY: My orders were to give you a thorough physical. In case you
hadn't noticed, I have to answer to the same commanding officer that
you do. Come on, Spock. Yield to the logic of the situation.
SPOCK: Examine me, for all the good it'll do either of us.
SULU: How do you figure it, Chekov? First we're
going to Vulcan, then we're going to Altair, then we're headed to
Vulcan again, and now we're headed back to Altair.
CHEKOV: I think I'm going to get space sick.
MCCOY: Jim, you've got to get Spock to Vulcan.
KIRK: Bones, I will, I will. As soon as this mission is
MCCOY: No! Now. Right away. If you don't get him to Vulcan within a
week eight days at the outside, he'll die. He'll die, Jim.
KIRK: Why must he die? Why within eight days? Explain.
MCCOY: I don't know.
KIRK: You keep saying that. Are you a doctor, or aren't you?
MCCOY: There's a growing imbalance of body functions, as if in our
bodies huge amounts of adrenalin were constantly being pumped into our
bloodstreams. Now, I can't trace it down in my biocomps. Spock won't
tell me what it is. But if it isn't stopped somehow, the physical and
emotional pressures will simply kill him.
KIRK: You say you're convinced he knows what it is?
MCCOY: He does, and he's as tightlipped about it as an Aldebaran
Shellmouth. No use to ask him, Jim. He won't talk.
(Spock is staring at the picture of a young girl on
his monitor, but switches it off when the doorbell buzzes.)
KIRK: Stay. McCoy has given me his medical evaluation of your
condition. He says you're going to die unless something is done. What?
Is it something only your planet can do for you? Spock! You've been
called the best first officer in the fleet. That's an enormous asset to
me. If I have to lose that first officer, I want to know why.
SPOCK: It is a thing no out-worlder may know except those very few who
have been involved. A Vulcan understands, but even we do not speak of
it among ourselves. It is a deeply personal thing. Can you see that,
Captain, and understand?
KIRK: No, I do not understand. Explain. Consider that an order.
SPOCK: Captain, there are some things which transcend even the
discipline of the service.
KIRK: Would it help if I told you that I'll treat this as totally
SPOCK: It has to do with biology.
KIRK: What kind of biology?
SPOCK: Vulcan biology.
KIRK: You mean the biology of Vulcans? Biology as in reproduction?
Well, there's no need to be embarrassed about it, Mister Spock. It
happens to the birds and the bees.
SPOCK: The birds and the bees are not Vulcans, Captain. If they were,
if any creature as proudly logical as us were to have their logic
ripped from them as this time does to us. How do Vulcans choose their
mates? Haven't you wondered?
KIRK: I guess the rest of us assume that it's done quite logically.
SPOCK: No. No. It is not. We shield it with ritual and customs shrouded
in antiquity. You humans have no conception. It strips our minds from
us. It brings a madness which rips away our veneer of civilisation. It
is the pon farr. The time of mating. There are precedents in nature,
Captain. The giant eelbirds of Regulus Five, once each eleven years
they must return to the caverns where they hatched.
On your Earth, the salmon. They must return to that one stream where
they were born, to spawn or die in trying.
KIRK: But you're not a fish, Mister Spock. You're
SPOCK: No. Nor am I a man. I'm a Vulcan. I'd hoped I would be spared
this, but the ancient drives are too strong. Eventually, they catch up
with us, and we are driven by forces we cannot control to return home
and take a wife. Or die.
KIRK: I haven't heard a word you've said, and I'll get you to Vulcan
KIRK [OC]: Lieutenant, get me Admiral Komack at
Starfleet Command, Sector Nine. Pipe it down to McCoy's office.
UHURA: Starfleet Command. Yes, sir.
CHEKOV: Mister Sulu, you don't think
SULU: Maybe you ought to plot a course back for Vulcan, just in case.
(Spock is playing his lyre when the intercom
UHURA [OC]: Communication to Mister Spock. Lieutenant Uhura here. The
captain asked me to
SPOCK: Let me alone. Let me alone!
(He pounds his desk monitor into a pulp.)
KOMACK [on monitor]: Captain, you're making a most
KIRK: I'm aware of that, sir, but it's of the utmost importance. You
must give me permission to divert to Vulcan.
KOMACK [on monitor]: But you refuse to explain why it is so important.
KIRK: I can't, sir, but believe me, I wouldn't make such a request
KOMACK [on monitor]: Altair Six is no ordinary matter. That area is
just putting itself together after a long interplanetary conflict. This
inauguration will stabilise the entire Altair system. Our appearance
there is a demonstration of friendship and strength which will cause
ripples clear to the Klingon Empire.
KIRK: Sir, the delay would be, at most, a day. I can hardly believe
KOMACK [on monitor]: You will proceed to Altair Six as ordered. You
have your orders. Starfleet out.
MCCOY: Well, that's that.
KIRK: No, it's not. I know the Altair situation. We would be one of
three starships. Very impressive, very diplomatic, but it's simply not
MCCOY: You can't go off to Vulcan against Starfleet orders. You'll be
KIRK: I can't let Spock die, can I, Bones? And he will if we go to
Altair. I owe him my life a dozen times over. Isn't that worth a
career? He's my friend.
CHEKOV: Bridge. Navigation.
KIRK: Mister Chekov, lay in a course for Vulcan.
Tell Engineering I want warp eight or better. Push her for all she'll
(Nurse Chapel leaves Sickbay, beaming.)
CHEKOV: Course already plotted. Laying it in, sir.
KIRK: I see. Very well. Carry on, Mister Chekov.
(Spock is lying on his bed, apparently asleep.
Christine thinks about touching him and then goes to leave.)
SPOCK: Miss Chapel.
CHAPEL: Yes, Mister Spock?
SPOCK: I had a most startling dream. You were trying to tell me
something, but I couldn't hear you. It would be illogical for us to
protest against our natures. Don't you think?
CHAPEL: I don't understand.
SPOCK: Your face is wet.
CHAPEL: I came to tell you that we are bound for Vulcan. We'll be there
in just a few days.
SPOCK: Vulcan. Miss Chapel.
CHAPEL: My name is Christine.
SPOCK: Yes, I know, Christine. Would you make me some of that plomeek
CHAPEL: Oh, I'd be very glad to do that, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: It is obvious that you have surmised my problem, Doctor. My
compliments on your insight. Captain, there is a thing that happens to
Vulcans at this time. Almost an insanity, which you would no doubt find
KIRK: Will I? You've been most patient with my kinds of madness.
SPOCK: Then would you beam down to the planet's surface and stand with
me? There is a brief ceremony.
KIRK: Is it permitted?
SPOCK: It is my right. By tradition, the male is accompanied by his
KIRK: Thank you, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: I also request McCoy accompany me.
MCCOY: I shall be honoured, sir.
UHURA: Captain. We're standing by on Vulcan hailing
KIRK: Open the channel, Lieutenant. Vulcan Space Central, this is the
USS Enterprise requesting permission to assume standard orbit.
VULCAN [OC]: USS Enterprise from Vulcan Space Central. Permission
granted. And from all of Vulcan, welcome. Is Commander Spock with you?
SPOCK: This is Spock.
VULCAN [OC]: Standby to activate your central viewer, please.
(Nurse Chapel enters.)
CHAPEL: Doctor, what's going on?
(The viewscreen lights up with the image of a very beautiful woman.)
T'PRING [on viewscreen]: Spock, it is I.
SPOCK: T'Pring, parted from me and never parted, never and always
touching and touched. We meet at the appointed place.
T'PRING [on viewscreen]: Spock, parted from me and never parted, never
and always touching and touched. I await you.
UHURA: She's lovely, Mister Spock. Who is she?
SPOCK: She is T'Pring. My wife.
(The trio have beamed down onto a very red planet.
Sky, ground, all shades of hot orange-red. Spock leads them into an
area marked out by stone structures.)
SPOCK: This is the land of my family. It has been held by us for more
than two thousand
Earth years. This is our place of Koon-ut-kal-if-fee,
MCCOY: He called it Koon-ut what?
KIRK: He described it to me as meaning marriage or challenge. In the
distant past, Vulcans killed to win their mates.
MCCOY: And they still go mad at this time. Perhaps the price they pay
for having no emotions the rest of the time.
KIRK: It's lovely. I wish the breeze were cooler.
MCCOY: Yeah. Hot as Vulcan. Now I understand what that phrase means.
KIRK: The atmosphere is thinner than Earth.
(Spock strikes a gong.)
MCCOY: I wonder when his T'Pring arrives.
SPOCK: The marriage party approaches. I hear them.
KIRK: Marriage party? You said T'Pring was your wife.
SPOCK: By our parents' arrangement. A ceremony while we were but seven
years of age. Less than a marriage but more than a betrothal.
One touches the other in order to feel each other's thoughts. In this
way our minds were locked together, so that at the proper time, we
would both be drawn to Koon-ut-kal-if-fee.
(A jingling sound gets louder, and Spock strikes the gong again. Two
men enter shaking contraptions with lots of bells, followed by a woman
carried on a chair. T'Pring and others come behind her.)
KIRK: Bones, you know who that is? T'Pau. The only person to ever turn
down a seat on the Federation Council.
MCCOY: T'Pau. Officiating at Spock's wedding?
KIRK: He never mentioned that his family was this important.
(T'Pau's chair is placed on a dais, and Spock greets her. She gives him
a quick mind-meld.)
T'PAU: Spock, are our ceremonies for outworlders?
SPOCK: They are not outworlders. They are my friends. I am permitted
(She gestures for them to approach.)
SPOCK: This is Kirk.
T'PAU: And thee are called?
MCCOY: Leonard McCoy, ma'am.
T'PAU: Thee names these out worlders friends. How does thee pledge
SPOCK: With my life, T'Pau.
T'PAU: What they are about to see comes down from the time of the
beginning, without change. This is the Vulcan heart. This is the Vulcan
soul. This is our way. Kah-if-farr.
(Spock is about to strike the gong again, when T'Pring intervenes.)
KIRK: What is it? What happened?
T'PAU: She chooses the challenge.
MCCOY: (pointing at T'Pau's bodyguard) With him?
T'PAU: He acts only if cowardice is seen. She will choose her champion.
T'PAU: Do not attempt to speak with him, Kirk. He is deep in the
plak-tow, the blood fever. He will not speak with thee again until he
has passed through what is to come. If thee wishes to depart, thee may
KIRK: We'll stay.
T'PAU: Spock chose his friends well.
MCCOY: Ma'am, I don't understand. Are you trying to say that she
rejected him? That she doesn't want him?
T'PAU: He will have to fight for her. It is her right. T'Pring, thee
has chosen the kal-if-fee, the challenge. Thee are prepared to become
the property of the victor?
T'PRING: I am prepared.
T'PAU: Spock, does thee accept the challenge according to our laws and
(A single nod. T'Pring looks at the young man who followed her in.)
KIRK: Think Spock can take him?
MCCOY: I doubt it. Not in his present condition.
T'PAU: T'Pring, thee will choose thy champion.
T'PRING: As it was in the dawn of our days, as it is today, as it will
be for all tomorrows, I make my choice. This one.
(She steps past the expectant Stonn and points at Kirk.)
STONN: No! I am to be the one. It was agreed.
T'PAU: Be silent.
STONN: Hear me. I have made the ancient claim. I claim the right. The
STONN: I ask forgiveness.
T'PAU: Kirk? T'Pring is within her rights, but our laws and customs are
not binding on thee. Thee are free to decline with no harm on thyself.
T'PAU: Thee speaks?
SPOCK: My friend does not understand.
T'PAU: The choice has been made, Spock. It is up to him now.
SPOCK: He does not know. I will do what I must, T'Pau, but not with
him! His blood does not burn. He is my friend!
T'PAU: It is said thy Vulcan blood is thin. Are thee Vulcan or are thee
SPOCK: I burn, T'Pau. My eyes are flame. My heart is flame. Thee has
the power, T'Pau. In the name of my fathers, forbid. Forbid! T'Pau. I
plead with thee! I beg!
T'PAU: Thee has prided thyself on thy Vulcan heritage. It is decided.
KIRK: What happens to Spock if I decline?
T'PAU: Another champion will be selected. Do not interfere, Kirk. Keep
MCCOY: You can't do it, Jim.
KIRK: I can't?
MCCOY: No. She said their laws and customs were not binding on you.
KIRK: And you said Spock might not be able to handle him. If I can
knock Spock out without really hurting him
MCCOY: In this climate? If the heat doesn't get you, the thin air will.
You can't do it!
KIRK: If I get into any trouble, I'll quit. And Spock wins, and honour
MCCOY: Jim, listen, if you
KIRK: Bones. He's my first officer and my friend. I disregarded
Starfleet orders to bring him here. Another thing, that's T'Pau of
All of Vulcan in one package. How can I back out in front of her?
T'PAU: It is done. Kirk, decide.
KIRK: I accept the challenge.
T'PAU: Here begins the act of combat for possession of the woman,
T'Pring. As it was at the time of the beginning, so it is now.
Bring forth the lirpa.
(They are presented with wicked-looking half moon blades set in a
wooden shaft, with a counterweight at the other end.)
T'PAU: If both survive the lirpa, combat will continue with the ahn
KIRK: What do you mean, if both survive?
T'PAU: This combat is to the death.
KIRK: Now wait a minute, ma'am. Who said anything about a fight to the
MCCOY: These men are friends. To force them to fight until one of them
T'PAU: I can forgive such a display only once. Challenge was given and
lawfully accepted. It has begun. Let no one interfere.
(And so the fight begins, first with a trial of brute strength, then a
good swing by Spock slices open Kirk's tunic and cuts his chest. It is
clear that the first officer will kill his captain, given the chance.
When Kirk is down and unarmed, Spock goes in for the final blow.)
MCCOY: Spock! No!
(And Kirk rolls away just in time, then disarms Spock.)
MCCOY: Is this Vulcan chivalry? The air's too hot and thin for Kirk.
He's not used to it.
T'PAU: The air is the air. What can be done?
MCCOY: (holding up a hypo) I can compensate for the atmosphere and the
temperature with this. At least it'll give Kirk a fighting chance.
T'PAU: Thee may proceed.
MCCOY: You're going to have to kill him, Jim.
KIRK: Kill Spock? That's not what I came to Vulcan for, is it? What's
MCCOY: It's a tri-ox compound. It'll help you breathe. Now be careful!
KIRK: Sound medical advice.
T'PAU: The ahn woon.
(The bells sound, and both men are given long straps with weights and
tassels on the ends. Spock demonstrates it use by lassoing Kirk's legs
and knocking him down with it before holding it in the middle to use
first as a flail, and finally to strangle his opponent.)
MCCOY; Get your hands off of him, Spock! He's finished. He's dead.
T'PAU: I grieve with thee.
MCCOY: McCoy to Enterprise.
UHURA [OC]: Enterprise. Lieutenant Uhura here.
MCCOY: Have the transporter room stand by to beam up the landing party.
(ends communication) As strange as it may seem, Mister Spock, you're in
SPOCK: Yes. I'll follow you up in a few minutes. You will instruct
Mister Chekov to plot a course for the nearest Starbase where I must
surrender myself to the authorities. (the sound of a transporter off
screen) T'Pring. Explain.
SPOCK: Why the challenge, and why you chose my captain as your
T'PRING: Stonn wanted me, I wanted him.
SPOCK: I see no logic in preferring Stonn over me.
T'PRING: You have become much known among our people, Spock. Almost a
legend. And as the years went by, I came to know that I did not want to
be the consort of a legend. But by the laws of our people, I could only
divorce you by the kal-if-fee. There was also Stonn, who wanted very
much to be my
consort, and I wanted him. If your Captain were victor, he would not
want me, and so I would have Stonn. If you were victor you would free
me because I had dared to challenge, and again I would have Stonn. But
if you did not free me, it would be the same. For you would be gone,
and I would have your name and your property, and Stonn would still be
SPOCK: Logical. Flawlessly logical.
T'PRING: I am honoured.
SPOCK: Stonn. She is yours. After a time, you may find that having is
not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it
is often true. Spock here. Stand by to beam up. Live long, T'Pau, and
T'PAU: Live long and prosper, Spock.
SPOCK: I shall do neither. I have killed my captain and my friend.
SPOCK: Doctor, I shall be resigning my commission
immediately, of course.
MCCOY: Spock, I
SPOCK: So I would appreciate your making the final arrangements.
MCCOY: Spock, I
SPOCK: Doctor, please, let me finish. There can be no excuse for the
crime of which I'm guilty. I intend to offer no defence. Furthermore, I
shall order Mister Scott to take immediate command of this vessel.
KIRK: Don't you think you better check with me first?
SPOCK: Captain! Jim!
(There's a big, big grin across his face, which fades when McCoy and
Chapel's own smiles are noticed)
SPOCK: I'm pleased to see you, Captain. You seem uninjured. I am at
something of a loss to understand it, however.
KIRK: Blame McCoy. That was no tri-ox compound he shot me with. He
slipped in a neural paralyser. Knocked me out, simulated death.
MCCOY: Nurse, would you mind, please?
(Chapel leaves in a slight huff.)
MCCOY: Spock, what happened down there? The girl? The wedding?
SPOCK: Ah, yes, the girl. Most interesting. It must have been the
combat. When I thought I had killed the captain, I found I had lost all
interest in T'Pring. The madness was gone.
KIRK: Kirk here.
UHURA: Captain Kirk. Message from Starfleet
Command, top priority.
KIRK: Relay it, Lieutenant.
UHURA: Response to T'Pau's request for diversion of
Enterprise to planet Vulcan
UHURA [OC]: Hereby approved. Any reasonable delay
granted. Komack, Admiral, Starfleet Command.
KIRK: Well, a little late, but I'm glad they're seeing it our way. How
about that T'Pau? They couldn't turn her down. Mister Chekov, lay in a
course for Altair Six. Leave orbit when ready. Kirk out.
MCCOY: There's just one thing, Mister Spock. You can't tell me that
when you first saw Jim alive that you weren't on the verge of giving us
an emotional scene that would have brought the house down. .
SPOCK: Merely my quite logical relief that Starfleet had not lost a
highly proficient captain.
KIRK: Yes, Mister Spock. I understand.
SPOCK: Thank you, Captain.
MCCOY: Of course, Mister Spock, your reaction was quite logical.
SPOCK: Thank you, Doctor.
MCCOY: In a pig's eye!
KIRK: Come on, Spock. Let's go mind the store.