*** (3 stars out of 5)
Attempting diplomatic contact with Eminiar VII, our heroes receive a Code 7-10 message. (This means "Back The F Off".)
Fine, we'll just be boldly going...
Except Ambassador Robert Fox demands the life-saving presence of a United Federation of
Planets Treaty Port in this quadrant, even over the objections of the locals. (He puts the 'ass' in ambassador.)
Nevertheless, Kirk obeys him. "Peacefully, I hope, but peacefully or not- we're going in."
Mea 3 of the Division of Control greets them and introduces Councilman Anan 7.
It seems they have a very good reason for discouraging visitors: they are at war with neighbouring planet Vendikar and have been for the last 5 centuries. There are 1-3 million casualties on each side every year. But, the place still looks great because...
They are playing electronic Battleship: registering 'hits' by computer. Purely mathematical attacks- but these people, with an inhuman sense of duty, report to REAL disintegration chambers voluntarily. Civilization preserved- massive cost in lives.
Mea and the entire Enterprise are 'hit' in the latest attack. Within the day, they must all die.
The Eminians fake a call to Scott from Kirk: 'Hey, our invasion worked perfectly! Come on down for shore parties- no, not in shifts. Everybody come down! Right now! Bring my swim trunks!'
Thankfully, Scotty is suspicious and the computer confirms it was probably a voice duplicator. (I find myself praising Scott for being paranoid. Not always a virtue, but it worked today.)
Spock's telepathy works through a wall- jailbreak! Kirk takes Mea 3 hostage, then destroys a Disintegration Station with disruptor fire. The Eminians shoot at the Enterprise.
Disruptors, it seems, are sonic weapons. And they work in space. SCIENCE!
Fox is a real prick. Ferris at least, was urging haste for medical relief reasons. Fox is a warmonger in hippie clothing. But he's not a tactician: Scotty gets in trouble for refusing Fox's order to lower the screens. Fox thinks it would be a show of good faith! Even bleeding heart McCoy thinks that would be a deeply stupid move.
"The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaser bank" quips Scotty. That haggis muncher's my hero today. Go, Scotty!
Spock orders Yeoman Tamura to prevent Mea 3 from doing her duty, even if it requires sitting on her. Oh, what an imagination, Mr. Spock! (Spank her, too.)
If this Tidy War escalates back to Real War, disease & suffering & maybe cultural extinction return.
"It would frighten any sane man." Anan quails, but he won't stop the machines.
Kirk gives Scotty General Order 24- wait a day, then destroy the world.
Yeesh! I hope that's a bluff, genocide looks terrible in a report.
Anan says killing is inevitable, instinctive.
Kirk agrees. "We can admit that we're killers- but we're NOT going to kill today."
The Captain resorts to what is fast becoming standard operating procedure. He blows up their computer so they'll be forced to die for real-real, not for play-play... or choose peace.
The execs considered a spin-off series called 'Aftertaste of Armageddon', but the pilot flopped. I'm joking, of course. It wouldn't go down well.