Monday, March 13, 2006

Now we have the basic theme: the abstract nature of a war, but with real consequences in death, if not destruction. Part of that theme is what is does to individuals, to individuality and individual rights. This element has been prepared for with the people of Eminiar having names but also numbers. And though the Trek reference books spell the leader’s name “Anan,” in the show it sounds like it’s being pronounced “Anon,” as in “anonymous.”

Kirk expressed disbelief that individuals would simply walk into disintegration chambers when told. He raises this objection again to Mea, who herself has been declared a casualty of the latest attack. “Is that all life means to you?” She insists her life is precious to her, but if she refuses, others will, the treaty will be broken and both sides will begin using real weapons. “More than people will die. A whole civilization will be destroyed. Surely you can see that this is the better way.”

She means this, as Anan does: they are quite sure that any rational, intelligent and civilized being would come to this same conclusion. They are sure of it.

Kirk isn’t. “No, I don’t see that at all.”

“It’s been our way for 500 years.”

Meanwhile, Anan is exhibiting one of his extra little talents, the ability to mime Captain Kirk’s voice (perhaps assisted by an unseen “voice duplicator.”) As Kirk, he orders the crew down for shore leave, but the always skeptical Scotty doesn’t buy it. A computer analysis confirms the deception.

Kirk and the landing party are locked up and guarded, and so they must escape. Getting captured and escaping is always good for some action and suspense—it wasn’t rare for Doctor Who and his companion to go through this two or three times in a single story. Spock uses “Vulcanian telepathy” ---of the type later used by Obi Wan and Luke Skywalker---to confuse a weak-minded guard to fall prey to Kirk’s karate chop.

Out in the corridor they observe people going into a disintegration chamber. Kirk destroys it. He says he is “throwing a monkey wrench in the machinery.”

Anan learns of their escape over an intercom (fans will note the voice is the same as Balok in “The Corbomite Maneuver.”) He orders that the Enterprise be attacked (They use sonic vibration weapons.) Scotty raises screens but Ambassador Fox is sure it must be a misunderstanding. But the Enterprise sensors can’t find the landing party.

While Kirk tells Mea “we’re going to try to stop the killing,” Anan confesses he is at a loss how to proceed, when the call comes through from Fox (who is played by Gene Lyons; if I’m not mistaken, he voiced a lot of commercials. I seem to remember some for cigarettes.) Anan invites Fox down, intending to attack when the Enterprise screens are down. But Scotty refuses Fox’s order to lower them.

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