The Lights of Zetar
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|"The Lights of Zetar"|
|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Herb Kenwith|
|Written by||Jeremy Tarcher
|Featured music||Alexander Courage|
|Cinematography by||Al Francis|
|Original air date||January 31, 1969|
|List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes|
"The Lights of Zetar" is a third season episode of the original science fiction television series Star Trek, first broadcast January 31, 1969 and repeated on August 26, 1969. It is episode #73, production #73, written by Jeremy Tarcher and his then-wife Shari Lewis, and directed by Herb Kenwith.
On stardate 5725.3, the Federation starship Enterprise heads for Memory Alpha, a planetoid where the Federation has set up a storehouse of computer databases containing all cultural history and scientific data it has acquired. While en route, the ship detects a strange energy storm moving at warp factor 2.6 and on a course to the planetoid. Given the storm's faster-than-light speed, it is believed that it cannot be a natural phenomenon.
The Enterprise intercepts the storm which bypasses the ship's shields and penetrates the hull. The exposure to the storm begins to affect crew members' nervous systems differently; Communications Officer Lt. Uhura is unable to move her hands, Navigator Ens. Chekov is unable to control his eyes, and both Captain Kirk and Helmsman Lt. Sulu are unable to speak.
Lieutenant Mira Romaine, aboard to oversee the transmission of newly acquired data from the Enterprise to the Memory Alpha station, faints from the effects of the storm, much to Chief Engineer Scott's dismay, as he's starting to fall madly in love with her. Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy examines Mira who seems paralyzed and unresponsive and makes strange grunting sounds as she lies on the deck of the bridge. Mira soon recovers in sickbay and refuses to be examined any further.
The storm continues straight for Memory Alpha and the Enterprise gives chase. The storm manages to penetrate the station and destroys the main computer core, wiping out the crucial stores of data. Captain Kirk, along with Science Officer Spock Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott, beam down to the station to inspect the damage. Meanwhile, Mira has a strange premonition of dead people, apparently of various Federation races.
The landing party finds the Memory Alpha staff have been killed—except for one, a woman who lies unconscious on the floor. She makes the same strange guttural noises as Mira did and her skin seems to be charged with a mysterious colored energy. As the energy fades, she dies from what McCoy determines to be a brain hemorrhage.
Kirk then has Mira beamed to the station who is terrified to see the exact scene about which she had the premonition. She then warns that the storm is returning, and the landing party returns to the ship. Scans of the storm determine that it may be a life form and Kirk tries to communicate with it through the Universal Translator, but gets no response. He then fires phaser warning shots, but the storm still approaches. Kirk then orders a full attack and blasts phaser streams through the core of the storm.
This action seems to cause Mira considerable pain as she asks Scotty to hold her. Mira feels the full blast of the phasers, collapsing to the floor. Scotty believes Mira and the storm are somehow connected and begs Kirk to stop the attack. Kirk backs off and Mira is taken back to sickbay. McCoy reveals that Mira's medical records show her to have an extremely flexible ability to assimilate new knowledge and experiences. A neural scan shows her mental pathways have been adjusted to match those of the intelligence pattern of the storm. It appears the beings are trying to possess her body and completely take over her mind. Lying weak on the examining table, Lt. Romaine manages to confess her latest vision to Scott: seeing him dying.
Making an attempt to rid her of the alien influence, Kirk has Mira taken to a gravity pressure chamber. The alien force however, enters the ship and finishes its invasion of Mira's mind and have now completely taken over her body. The aliens speak through Mira, identifying themselves as survivors from the long dead planet of Zetar. The creatures have evolved to shed their physical bodies and now seek one tuned to their mental capacity, as Mira, to live out their remaining existence.
As the aliens cannot be persuaded to abandon their plan, Kirk is about to place Mira in the chamber, but Scott intervenes, believing Mira won't kill him. He is stricken with an energy blast as he places Mira in the chamber, but (presumably because of Mira's resistance) he is only heavily shocked. The chamber then exposes Mira's body to dangerously high atmospheric pressure that drives out and kills the aliens before they can completely wipe her mind.
With the conclusion of the crisis, Kirk, Spock, Scott and McCoy all agree to allow Mira to complete her original assignment on Memory Alpha, which will now involve overseeing the salvaging and repairs. Kirk laughingly remarks that this is an Enterprise first: Spock, Scotty and McCoy all in agreement.
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- "The Lights of Zetar" at StarTrek.com
- "The Lights of Zetar" at the Internet Movie Database
- "The Lights of Zetar" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "The Lights of Zetar" at TV.com
- "The Lights of Zetar" Review of the remastered version at TrekMovie.com