Monday, March 13, 2006

The clock is ticking, and the climax is at hand when the landing crew reclaims their communicators and phasers, and Spock begins figuring out how the Emimiar computers work. Anan watches them, still in disbelief. How can Kirk not understand what he is doing? But he does understand, and explains.

“Death, destruction, disease, horror---that’s what war is all about, Anan,” Kirk says. “That’s what makes it a thing to be avoided. You’ve made it neat and painless. So neat and painless, you’ve had no reason to stop it. And you had it for 500 years. Since it seems to be the only way I can save my crew and my ship” (though by now, this doesn’t seem to be true anymore) “I’m going to end it for you, one way or another.”

As Anan looks on in anguish, Kirk and Spock destroy the computers linked to the computers on Vendikar.

“Do you realize what you’ve done?” Anan says.

“Yes, I do,” Kirk replies. “I’ve given you back the horrors of war. The Vendikar will assume you’ve broken your agreement, and that you’re preparing to wage real war with real weapons. They will want to do the same. Only the next attack they launch will do more than just count up numbers on a computer. They’ll destroy your cities, devastate your planet. You, of course, will want to retaliate. If I were you, I would start making bombs. Yes, Anan, you have a real war on your hands. You can either wage it with real weapons, or you might consider an alternative. Put an end to it. Make peace.”

“There can be no peace,” Anan answers. “Don’t you see, we’ve admitted it to ourselves! We’re a killer species, it’s instinctive. It’s the same with you.”

And now comes one of Kirk’s most famous speeches. “All right, it’s instinctive,” he says. “We’re human beings with the blood of a million savage years, but we can stop it. We can admit that we’re killers, but we’re not going to kill today. That’s all it takes. Knowing that we’re not going to kill---today. Contact Vendikar. I think you’ll find they are just as terrified, appalled, horrified as you, that they’ll do anything to avoid the alternative I’ve given you. Peace, or utter destruction. It’s up to you.”

Anan acknowledges there might be a chance. There is a direct communications link that hasn’t been used in centuries. Ambassador Fox offers his assistance. Kirk cancels General Order 24, and after some repartee on the bridge (during which Captain Kirk points out that had the war been real fewer people would have died, and it would have been over long ago), the Enterprise warps to its next mission.

No comments: