The Eye of the Beholder
Stardate: 5501.2
Original Airdate: 5 Jan, 1974

Captain's log, stardate 5501.2. We are orbiting the planet Lactra Seven. Our mission is to discover the whereabouts or fate of a six member science crew. Voice contact having yielded nothing, a landing party beamed aboard to see if the deserted ship's log and computers could give us any information.

[Briefing room]

MARKEL [on monitor]: It is now thirty two minutes since our last contact with the three members of our crew on the planet surface. As the senior officer aboard, I, Lieutenant Commander Markel, have made the following decision. The three remaining crew members, myself included, will beam down to effect a rescue. If, for any reason, we do not return, be it known that
KIRK: It was against all orders.
MCCOY: The need was apparently desperate.
KIRK: The Captain of a ship, no matter his rank, must follow the book.
SPOCK: A capability, I'm afraid, out of the reach of most humans.
MCCOY: You Vulcans are the most impossible, unimaginative
KIRK: Bones, that's not helping the situation.
MCCOY: Sorry, Jim.
KIRK: Mister Spock, what can we expect to find on Lactra Seven?
SPOCK: It's a class M planet, gravity Earth normal, atmosphere Earth normal. There is no previous information available except that which the survey ship logged before her crew left her.
KIRK: According to their lot, they beamed down six weeks ago.
SPOCK: Five weeks, three days, two hours and four minutes to be exact, Captain.
KIRK: Careless of me, Mister Spock. Planetary life forms?
SPOCK: It certainly can support life forms. But I cannot speculate on what type without further data. Mister Arex is conducting a sensor scan now.
KIRK: It will take too long to do a comprehensive scan. I want a landing party to at least beam down to the last known co-ordinates the other crew used.
MCCOY: Jim, if the others are lost, why take the risk?
KIRK: Because they may not be dead. We have to find out.
MCCOY: It's still a risk.
KIRK: That's why we're here, Bones. Gentlemen, we'll travel light. Phasers, tricorders, communicators and medical kit.

[Transporter room]

KIRK: You have the co-ordinates from the other ship, Scotty. Put us down in the same place.
SCOTT: Sir, Mister Arex has located a variety of life forms on the planet. No large groups or city clusters yet.
KIRK: Then we'll beam back up.
SPOCK: Logical, Captain.
KIRK: Energise, Mister Scott.

[Planet surface]

(It looks like marsh land. Green, with steam rising from pools of water)
KIRK: Everyone all right?
MCCOY: Ten yards the other way and we'd be boiled alive.
SPOCK: Unusual that such a lake would exist under these planetary conditions.
KIRK: Er, Spock.
(A large red one-eyed monster has risen from the main body of water. It has Big Teeth)
SPOCK: Most remarkable.
KIRK: It may be able to navigate on land.
MCCOY: I know it can.
(Big Red rushes them)
KIRK: Phasers on stun!
(The three beams hit it, it roars a few times then dives back underwater)
KIRK: Let's get out of here.
(On an elegant rock 'bridge' formation)
MCCOY: Not a very welcome sight, is it?
KIRK: I'll see if I can pick up anything on my communicator. This is Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise, calling the crew of the Ariel. Come in please. Come in.
MCCOY: They're answering. (static) Did you get a fix on that, Jim?
KIRK: Yes. That way.
MCCOY: Strange you didn't get a voice reply.
SPOCK: There could be many reasons why we did not.
MCCOY: Never mind counting them.
(They cross a desert area and meet another creature, with three toes and a blue face, which roars at them)
KIRK: Phasers on stun!
SPOCK: It seems to gather strength from our phasers. In my opinion.
KIRK: Concentrate on the underside of the neck.
(They run away, and it eventually falls over)
SPOCK: Captain?
KIRK: Right here. You all right?
SPOCK: I am undamaged. Where is Doctor McCoy?
KIRK: It came from back there.
(McCoy is trapped under the creature's body)
KIRK: We'll get you out, Bones.
(Brute force is no use)
SPOCK: It would appear a more logical solution is in order, Captain. We don't lift the tail off, we dig the Doctor out.
(They do)
MCCOY: Thanks. The air was running out under there.
KIRK: Were you hurt?
MCCOY: No, just surprised. It isn't every day a dinosaur falls on you. This is a pretty strange place.
KIRK: Agreed. How much desert do we have to cross, Mister Spock?
SPOCK: One point one kilometres, sir.
KIRK: We'd better pick up our pace. There's no place for cover if we meet any other creatures. The bearing on the signal we heard is that way.
(As they walk on)
SPOCK: Captain, the beast, did it seem familiar to you?
KIRK: I've seen something very like it on Canopus Three, but that's light years from here. Still, this desert area is the same as on Canopus.
SPOCK: You propose the same environment necessarily prompts the same evolution?
MCCOY: My shoes are full of sand.
SPOCK: Doctor, your lack of scientific interest is amazing.
MCCOY: I'll be happy to discuss that with you, Mister Spock, next time you drop in to my medical lab.
(At the waterside. gazing at their reflections in the still water)
MCCOY: Oh, this seems a lot more friendly than the desert.
SPOCK: Captain, doesn't it strike you strange that two such different ecologies could co-exist so closely?
KIRK: I've seen stranger things, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: Merely an observation, Captain.
KIRK: Kirk to Enterprise.
SCOTT [OC]: Enterprise. Scott here.
KIRK: Any new information, Scotty?
SCOTT [OC]: There is a large concentration of life forms ninety eight point five kilometres north east of you. Apparently a city, or a central gathering place. Nothing else yet.
KIRK: North east. That's where we got the signal from. All right, Scotty, keep scanning. Kirk out.
MCCOY: I don't like it, Jim. Why only one short signal and no more?
KIRK: I don't know. But at least they're alive.
SPOCK: Apparently alive. We cannot be sure.
KIRK: I choose to believe they are.
SPOCK: Allow me to test the water first, Doctor.
MCCOY: Go ahead, but it looks clear enough.
SPOCK: Captain, the water is too pure.
MCCOY: It tastes just fine.
SPOCK: Nonetheless, it is too pure.
KIRK: In other words, it's too good to be true.
SPOCK: Correct, Captain. And a rain forest this close to a desert is also illogical. It is my theory that what we have seen since we landed was manufactured, not created.
MCCOY: Terraforming isn't new. It implies intelligent life forms.
KIRK: Yes, but terraforming usually follows a pattern. This seems like random choice.
SPOCK: Unless, of course, the random choice is the pattern.
MCCOY: Spock, do you ever say anything straight out?
SPOCK: I thought I just did, Doctor.
KIRK: Gentlemen, please. We have work to do.
SPOCK: The desperation of the science ship's first landing party is now obvious.
KIRK: We're still alive, aren't we?
MCCOY: That's true.
SPOCK: However, not exactly safe.
(Flying creatures are approaching)
KIRK: Phasers on full stun.
MCCOY: They're useless.
KIRK: No. They're like the dragons on Maravel. The stun charge should get them.
(They fly off)
MCCOY: That's strange.
SPOCK: By observation alone, it appears they hit an invisible force field.
KIRK: If that's true, Spock, then
(The landing party are grabbed by the tentacles of three giant slug-like creatures)
MCCOY: We've been travelling for hours. Where are they taking us?
KIRK: Towards the north-west, toward the city Scotty reported.
SPOCK: Captain, there it is.
(A garish lump of candy pink, red and purple surrounded by conifers)
KIRK: That must be five square kilometres.
SPOCK: If these are the builders, it is an admirable feat.


(Spock, Kirk and McCoy are deposited under a curved purple roof, onto a blue tiled floor)
MCCOY: They don't seem very interested in communicating with us. If they can communicate at all.
SPOCK: Perhaps not in a way we understand. I keep receiving impressions.
KIRK: Any ideas, Doctor?
MCCOY: Well, I've got one and I definitely don't like it. I'd guess they're doing exactly what we would do.
KIRK: Which is?
MCCOY: Well, if we came upon an alien creature we'd never seen before, the first thing we'd do is to make sure it was free of harmful bacteria. Then we'd see if it was intelligent.
SPOCK: Congratulations, Doctor. A most logical assumption.
KIRK: A more important question, gentlemen, is whether or not there's a way out of here. A force field. It seems harmless enough.
MCCOY: So do the bars of a jail, unless you're on the inside.
KIRK: And we are definitely on the inside.
MCCOY: Hey! Somebody! Anybody!
SPOCK: A wasteful use of energy, Doctor. I believe they can hear you without your shouting.
KIRK: You said you were picking up impressions. Are the aliens telepathic?
SPOCK: I've come to the conclusion they are, Captain. But the speed at which the thoughts flow is too great for me to comprehend except for the most fleeting image.
KIRK: Surely we can communicate with them some way.
SPOCK: They appear to be as advanced beyond Earth civilisation as you are from a colony of ants.
MCCOY: Then what were all those other creatures where we beamed down?
SPOCK: You will recall we recognised at least two species from vastly different planets. The environment did not appear natural to this planet. A technology this advanced could easily travel to other star systems to collect specimens.
MCCOY: You mean it's some kind of a zoo?
SPOCK: Exactly.
KIRK: They took our phasers, communicators and other equipment so they must have some idea we're intelligent.
SPOCK: Not necessarily, Captain. They could have taken them for the same reason you would take a sharp object away from a child.
MCCOY: Or maybe they want to see how our toys work.
SPOCK: That too is a possibility.
(The slugs return, and drag them out of the holding cell)
MCCOY: Now wait a minute, you, you. Hey!
KIRK: We've got to communicate with them.
(As they are carried along past other creatures in cells)
MCCOY: Well, so much for mythology.
SPOCK: I find them strangely attractive.
KIRK: Look ahead.
(They are deposited into their own zoo compound)
KIRK: Better do what they want for now, anyway. They activated another force field.
MCCOY: This is real grass.
SPOCK: Yes, Doctor. This area has been carefully prepared for human types. The aliens are safe now.
MCCOY: How's that?
SPOCK: They are safe because we are now exhibits in a zoo.
MCCOY: A zoo? I'm no animal.
KIRK: On this planet, Bones, they seem to be the people and we are the animals.
MARKEL: Hello, I'm Lieutenant Commander Tom Markel. This is our biologist, Randi Bryce.
KIRK: James Kirk, Captain of the Enterprise. First Officer Spock. Our physician, Doctor McCoy.
MARKEL: We've been expecting you.
KIRK: You've what?
BRYCE: We heard your communicator signal.
MCCOY: Then why didn't you warn us?
BRYCE: We couldn't warn you. They're constantly picking up our equipment and fooling with it.
SPOCK: Where do they keep the equipment? I could use my tricorder.
MARKEL: No use, sir. They're on an exhibit table. Beyond the force field.
KIRK: There were six of you on the mission.
MARKEL: We didn't beam down in time to save the original three.
BRYCE: Lieutenant Randolph is in the house. She's running a high fever, but we can't seem to do anything about it.
MCCOY: I'll check her out. Maybe I can help.
KIRK: What have you learned about the aliens?
MARKEL: There's not much, sir. This is a zoo. So tremendous as to be almost unbelievable.
KIRK: Have you tried an escape?
MARKEL: A dozen different ways. Tunnels, a weakness in the force field, nothing worked.
SPOCK: Have you tried to communicate?
MARKEL: Yes, sir. But all we've been able to arouse in them is a sort of quivering motion.
KIRK: We seem to have company.
(Two of the aliens are watching the new exhibits)
MARKEL: They built this for us. We've concluded they're telepathic. I guess they read our minds and came as close as they could to make it like home.
KIRK: Spock, try and make contact.
SPOCK: Yes, sir. I can't seem to get through, Captain. They appear too involved with each other.
(The aliens quiver)
KIRK: You seem to be getting a response.
SPOCK: My impression is that they are laughing at me.
MARKEL: So far, Mister Spock, we haven't found anything funny in this.
SPOCK: Animals in a zoo rarely do.
KIRK: Let's find the others. I feel a need for human companionship.


(It is sparsely furnished and open plan. A woman is lying on a mattress on the floor)
BRYCE: Captain Kirk, Mister Spock, this is Nancy Randolph, our navigator.
KIRK: How is she?
MCCOY: Without my instruments, it's difficult to make an exact diagnosis. Rough guess is a malarial type infection caused by an insect bite. I can't do anything without my medikit.
KIRK: The Lactrans outside, what do they do?
MARKEL: They appear to be guards, sir. Making sure we don't harm each other.
KIRK: Do they feed us or do we shift for ourselves.
MARKEL: They bring supplies once a week.
KIRK: Always to the same place?
BRYCE: Yes, always, near the display case.
KIRK: What display case?
BRYCE: Behind this house, outside the force field. All our toys, phasers, communicators, medical supplies.
MCCOY: Then my equipment should be there.
KIRK: Maybe we can get them to give them back to us.
SPOCK: Captain, they are highly intelligent. I'm sure they are quite aware of the purpose of each piece of equipment now.
MCCOY: The medical kit wouldn't be harmful. It would help her, one of their specimens.
SPOCK: Then think about it that way, Doctor.


MARKEL: Food. But it's not feeding time.
KIRK: They must have sensed a need and interpreted it as food.
SPOCK: I suggest we all concentrate on the medical kit.
(It works. An alien delicately picks up the tiny object in its tentacle and hands it to McCoy)
MCCOY: It's all here. They haven't damaged it.
KIRK: What's your evaluation of the situation, Markel?
MARKEL: They treat us quite well, sir. They seem to want us alive and well. And they don't want to let us go.
SPOCK: A natural reaction for the curators of a zoo.
MARKEL: Sir, do you think there is any chance of getting out?
KIRK: As long as we're alive, there's a chance. Tonight, I'll try and find a weak link in the force field.
SPOCK: Begging your pardon, Captain, I think we should face the situation realistically. We are specimen animals in a zoo. And they have taken every precaution to prevent our escape. To them we are caged for life. We seem to be drawing quite a crowd.
KIRK: Gentlemen, since they are learning from us, why don't we learn something from them?
MARKEL: How? We can't get through to them?
KIRK: They communicate telepathically.
BRYCE: Between themselves, yes, but, Mister Spock, aren't Vulcans telepathic?
SPOCK: To a degree, with our own species and with some others, but the Lactran intelligence is eons beyond mine.
KIRK: How much have you learned?
SPOCK: About as much as a mother learns from a six month old infant.
MCCOY: What's their impression of us?
SPOCK: We seem to frighten the smaller ones. Some, the females, I believe, find us quite ugly.
MCCOY: What about the Enterprise, Jim. Scotty could get worried. He could beam down a fighting force.
KIRK: My orders were not to attempt a rescue under any condition.
SPOCK: A wise move, Captain. From what I can gather, even the Enterprise is no match for their force field.
MCCOY: How about coming up with another move, then?
SPOCK: If I may suggest, sir?
KIRK: Go ahead.
SPOCK: It is obvious they can pick up specific thought transmissions from us if they care to go to the trouble. I suggest that one of our number appear to be ill. The rest will put strong thoughts in our minds that a communicator is needed for recovery.
KIRK: Let's try it, and let's be close to the communicator when we do. I'll pretend I'm sick. All of you concentrate.
MARKEL: It's a little one. Could be a child.
KIRK: Once I get my hands on a communicator, I can have Scotty beam us all aboard the Enterprise. Ready now.
(Kirk falls to the ground)
SPOCK: The communicator, concentrate on the communicator.
(It works. Baby Lactran places the communicator next to Kirk on the ground)
KIRK: Enterprise, this is Captain Kirk. Beam us aboard.
(The communicator is snatched back again)

[Transporter room]

SCOTT: What in the cosmos?
(The baby fills the transporter bay)


SPOCK: I'm receiving an impression they are worried about their child, Captain.
KIRK: I'm worried about the Enterprise.
SPOCK: They seem to think you made the child disappear. They did not know we were a deadly species, capable of injuring one of them.
MCCOY: Well, let's not stand here. Let's do something.
KIRK: The best thing we can do is Argh!
MCCOY: What is it?
KIRK: (in pain) They're in my head. What happened to the baby? What happened?
SPOCK: Captain, fight it. Fight it as hard as you can. They think too fast in too complex a manner. If he gives up for even one moment, he may go mad.


(Baby carries Scott out of the turbolift)
SCOTT: Everyone clear out.
M'RESS: What's going on?
SCOTT: I think it's harmless, but I'm not sure.
M'RESS: What do you want us to do?
SCOTT: Whatever it wants me to.
(Baby puts him down)
SCOTT: Now, supposing you and I talk this over. You can talk, can't you? You can't talk. Well, what can you do? Oh, no! Listen, you'll send us off into space if you


MCCOY: Jim, are you all right?
KIRK: Yes. I think so.
SPOCK: Captain, they have concluded they cannot break through your mind on a one to one basis. They are now gathering the mental strength of all five of them to break through.
KIRK: I can't hold out against that many.
SPOCK: Everybody, concentrate on Captain Kirk. Form a thought screen.
KIRK: No. No! Let me alone! Please! They're destroying me! Tearing my mind to, to
(Scott and Baby beam back down. Mum and Dad rush to them)
KIRK: I'm all right. Scotty, what are you doing here?
SCOTT: My young friend brought me.
SPOCK: You made contact?
SCOTT: It made contact with me.
KIRK: What did you learn?
SCOTT: It's only six years old but it has an IQ in the thousands. It picked my brain, all the knowledge in the Enterprise computers, and sent us flying off out of orbit.
KIRK: Then how did you get here?
SCOTT: I convinced it I wasn't a pet, and that it should bring the ship back into orbit. Then I got it into the transporter to return here.
SPOCK: They're trying to contact us directly. I can make out something. It's, it's difficult, they think so fast. But the child has learned and told its parents all about the Federation and the races it encompasses.
MCCOY: That fast?
KIRK: What else do they know about us?
SPOCK: We are considered simplistic, but in the process of evolving into a higher order.
MCCOY: Even Vulcans?
SPOCK: Yes, even Vulcans?
SCOTT: But the little one didn't tell or think that to me.
KIRK: Backward child, but growing.
SPOCK: Exactly, sir. It seems they were where we are some tens of thousands of centuries ago. Their centuries, not ours.
KIRK: Do we get out of here?
SPOCK: It appears so. They do not feel we belong in their zoo.
(A crowd has gathered to watch them leave)
KIRK: Everyone ready to transport?
SCOTT: So long, lad. Nice meeting you.
KIRK: Kirk to Enterprise. Prepare to beam aboard two parties, all human.


MARKEL: Captain, we are a scientific contact team, and we learned practically nothing.
KIRK: Offhand, I'd say we learned to keep our hands off.
MARKEL: But there was so much more.
SPOCK: There will be other opportunities, Mister Markel. I have just received their final telepathic message.
KIRK: Which is?
SPOCK: We'll be welcome back, in twenty or thirty centuries.
KIRK: Our time, or theirs.
SPOCK: Theirs. And it will take me some time to figure out how long that is.
KIRK: Either way, Mister Spock, it will hardly be our problem.

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