SCORE: (3/5 stars)
The Federation historian John Gill hasn’t contacted Starfleet for months after his posting on the planet Ekos, The Enterprise is sent to look for him. Kirk studied under him at the academy, and admired his view of history in terms of “causes and motivations rather than dates and events.” As they approach the planet, they see a rocket heading toward them. Study on the Ekosians indicates they don’t have this technology, but the civilization on another inhabited world in the system Zeon does. Still, it was launched from Ekos, and worse, it has a nuclear warhead. The Enterprise is able to destroy it before it impacts. Nukes are decades beyond either culture’s reach. Kirk and Spock decide to beam down to find out what’s going on. And what they find is…
SPACE NAZIS! Seriously. It’s like the second rise of the Third Reich. Swastikas, ethnic cleansing, gestapo, the whole shebang. There’s a colony of Zeons that they’re basically treating like Jews, rounding them up, executing them, all that jazz. Kirk and Spock quickly get to work incapacitating a couple officers to steal their clothing, as a news broadcast teaches them that John Gill, as unlikely as it seems for his character, is now the Fuhrer, and they seek to infiltrate and confront him. The disguises don’t hold very long because of Spock’s green skin tone, and they are believed to be Zeons and thrown in a cell along with a Zeon freedom fighter.
Their communicators and phasers were taken but they still have their transponders, so they disassemble them, utilizing the crystals with the light in the cell to make a makeshift cutting beam that breaks the lock on the cell, then luring in a guard for Spock to nerve-pinch. Kirk dons the suit, and they recruit the freedom fighter named Isak (that certainly doesn’t at all sound like a Jewish name) to help them find the lab where their gear would have been taken. Isak takes them to his freedom fighting base, where Kirk and Spock learn that one of the members of the group, Daras, is considered a Hero of the Fatherland, and uses her position for great benefit to the group. The Fuhrer is due to give a speech detailing his Final Solution to the Zeon Problem, and they’re able to infiltrate the building by posing as a film crew following the Hero.
When they first watch the broadcast, they see Gill wheeled into an enclosed booth, and as he gives his speech, his mouth—concealed by a microphone—doesn’t move. He is drugged and it appears his deputy Melakon is the real brains of the operation, using Gill as a puppet. They have McCoy beam down to a supply closet because they’ll likely have need of his medical expertise, and it is then that Melakon reveals the Final Solution: they’re sending a fleet of ships from Ekos to wipe out Zeon once and for all. They must debate whether or not to have the Enterprise destroy the fleet, to kill thousands to save millions. But of course there’s another way.
They’re able to get to the recording booth with Gill and McCoy is able to wake him from his drugged state slightly. Gill revealed that the planet had fallen to a state of anarchy and he felt he must do more than observe, he must help them. He saw National Socialism as the most effective way to unite the people and build the society, and thought he could do it right this time, without the hatred and the genocide, but power corrupts, and Melakon ran full with the concepts of the Nazi party, keeping Gill imprisoned as a figurehead.
Gill is able to summon enough will to issue a broadcast declaring Melakon a traitor to the Reich and calls off the attack fleet. Melakon responds by shooting a machine gun into the booth, mortally wounding Gill, but is killed himself by Isak. The Chairman of the Party, Eneg, realizes what Melakon had done to them, and takes control of the government, declaring that they ought to put an end to the killing and the xenophobia, and put the Fuhrer’s ideas to full use, living in efficient harmony. Who knows how long that will last, my money’s on not very long, but the Enterprise rarely sticks around to see the long-term consequences of an action, and besides: further interference would be in violation of the Prime Directive.
- The inhabitants of the system developed interplanetary travel on their own, but thermonuclear weapons is too advanced for them?
- Yet again, Kirk expresses incredulity, and Spock states the virtual impossibility, of a Nazi Germany arising on another planet, ignoring that whole Roman Empire planet they found a couple episodes back.
- Kirk: [to Spock] That helmet covers a multitude of sins.
- Spock: Your uniform, Captain.
Kirk: Yes, it’s a shame yours isn’t as attractive as mine. Gestapo, I believe.
Spock: Quite correct. You should make a very convincing Nazi.
- Spock: Why do the Nazis hate Zeons?
Isak: Why? Because without us to hate, there’d be nothing to hold them together. So the Party has built us into a threat, a disease to be wiped out.
- Kirk: Oh, Mister Spock, the guard did a professional job on my back. I’d appreciate it if you’d hurry.
Spock: Yes, of course, Captain. You realise that the aim will of course be very crude.
Kirk: I don’t care if you hit the broad side of a barn. Just hurry, please.
Spock: Captain, why should I aim at such a structure?
- Spock: Captain, I’m beginning to understand why you Earth men enjoy gambling. No matter how carefully one computes the odds of success, there is still a certain exhilaration in the risk.
Kirk: Very good, Spock. We may make a human of you yet.
Spock: I hope not.