(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 phases.
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 she enters.)
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 said,
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 for it!
(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 not hers.
KIRK: I'm more interested in your request for shore leave. In all the years
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 indestructible.
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 finished.
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 Spock ordered.
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 confidential?
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 somehow.
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 whistles.)
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 unusual request.
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 that
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 that vital.
MCCOY: You can't go off to Vulcan against Starfleet orders. You'll be busted
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 take.
(Nurse Chapel leaves Sickbay, beaming.)
CHEKOV: Course already plotted. Laying it in, sir.
KIRK: I see. Very well. Carry on, Mister Chekov. Kirk, out.
(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 soup?
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 distasteful.
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 closest friends.
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 frequencies, sir.
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
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: They still go mad at this time. Perhaps it's 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 this.
(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 their behaviour?
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 leave now.
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 customs?
(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 woman is
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 human?
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 thy place.
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 is satisfied.
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 Vulcan.
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 woon.
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 death?
MCCOY: These men are friends. To force them to fight until one of them is killed
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 that?
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 command now.
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 champion.
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 there.
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 prosper.
T'PAU: Live long and prosper, Spock.
SPOCK: I shall do neither. I have killed my captain and my friend. Energize.
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.