The landing party beams down, only to find the colony gone, destroyed, and the messages they received luring them there faked. They suddenly find themselves under heavy shelling, and find cover for themselves and the sole survivor they find.
Jim tells Sulu to beam them up, but Sulu tells him that they are under attack from a ship in the area. He offers to lower shields (well, accurately, he offers to lower “screens” which puts me in mind of screen doors. Which wouldn’t be of any use in an attack. Screens instead of shields doesn’t sound very helpful either; like they’re only a step up from charging the hull plating.) and Jim tells him under no circumstances put the ship in danger for their sake.
Meanwhile, the bad guys have targeted Spock’s tricorder and forced it to explode. Fortunately, he caught on and tossed it before he got his pretty face hurt. Jim starts to set up some portable cannon with little blue cannonballs that finally seem to quiet the other side. Sulu has the party beamed up and sends down a team of 30 medical personnel to look for other survivors. Later in sickbay, Jim & Spock are talking to the survivor they found and he reiterates that they sent none of the messages, and explains the attack.
The Enterprise is in hot pursuit of the alien ship, which heads off in the direction of an area mostly unexplored by humans. For every increment in warp speed they gain, Jim orders Sulu to gain one more; as the aliens reach warp 7, Jim orders warp 8. Spock and Scotty warn against maintaining such speeds too long lest they damage the engines, and Spock also thinks that Jim is overstepping things by chasing them down with intent to kill. Jim, however, is still incensed enough at the result of the attack that he wants to kill.
The alien ship suddenly stops cold, and though Jim thinks he’s got the upper hand and wants to fire, the Enterprise is yanked out of warp, held in place, as well. The viewscreen flashes lights and a voice comes from nowhere, explaining that they are the Metrons, they are incredibly advanced, and that they’re not about to put up with a couple of violent yahoos warping through their system, intending to kill each other. They stopped both ships, have altered one of the planets in the nearby solar system to class M for use as an arena of sorts, and then whisked the captains of both ships planetside to fight it out. (Uhura, was that piercing scream really necessary? Damn.)
For the next fifteen minutes or so, as Joss Whedon used to say in Buffy scripts: fighty fight fight. Mostly boring, but sometimes inadvertently hilarious. The Gorn’s noises sound like he’s dealing with a sinus infection and bronchitis simultaneously.
Aboard ship, Spock & Scotty are trying everything they can to get Jim beamed back aboard, but nothing works. The Metrons eventually contact them with this gem: “Your captain is losing his fight. We suggest you make any memorial arrangements, if any, which are customary in your culture. We believe you have very little time left.” Bones yells at the Metrons to show some mercy and call it off. The response is that humans are too violent to deserve better, but hey – the Metrons have some compassion. Since the crew might have feelings for their captain (and how many crewmembers shifted uncomfortably at that, I wonder. Spock, fess up now.) the Metrons will be kind enough to show them his death.
And we’re the jerks?
Uhura, I see you getting ready to let loose another scream… don’t you dare.
They bemoan not being able to contact him, but Spock watches as Jim puts together a plan using resources found on the planet, and understands said plan immediately. Jim’s putting together a gun that fires diamonds, basically. Which, refined and glamorized, would make a fabulous weapon for a femme fatale. Or me, bitches.
The Gorn contacts Jim via a communication device and tells him he heard every word. They discuss the attack on Cestus III, which the Gorn saw as repelling an invasion in their space. Bones asks quietly if they might well be in the wrong. I love it when Bones gets quiet and thoughtful, and when he steps away from indignance and toward objectivity.
Jim pulls it all together and gets in one good shot at the Gorn, who falls over. Jim goes to give the killing blow, but can’t do it. He gives the Gorn the benefit of the doubt. A Metron appears and tells him that since he exhibits mercy, he might not be the smelly useless vulgarian the Metrons took humans for. Jim and the Gorn are sent back to their ships, and the Enterprise sent far across the galaxy.
Spock asks Jim what happened once they lost the picture; Jim says that ‘they’re quite a promising race. As predators go.” Spock straight up says that he’s had his doubts. Jim says he doesn’t. Anymore.
• I believe these are the ingredients Jim used to create his diamond gun.
1. Potassium nitrate
3. A long vine
4. A hollow trunk
5. Coal or charcoal
• If you’re interested, Mythbusters try to recreate the weapon. It’s here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OclaRDU0fNg
I See You Managed To Get Your Shirt Off Again
Can you believe in an episode in which he fought for like, 15 minutes straight, his shirt didn’t even get ripped? He must have felt so constricted.