All Our Yesterdays (Star Trek: The Original Series)

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"All Our Yesterdays"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 23
Directed by Marvin Chomsky
Written by Jean Lisette Aroeste
Featured music George Duning
Cinematography by Al Francis
Production code 078
Original air date March 14, 1969 (1969-03-14)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"All Our Yesterdays" is a third season (and the penultimate) episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek, first broadcast March 14, 1969 and repeated on August 5, 1969. It is episode #78, production #78, written by Jean Lisette Aroeste, and directed by Marvin Chomsky. It guest-stars Mariette Hartley as Zarabeth. The title comes from a well-known soliloquy given by Macbeth in Act V Scene V.

In this episode, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are trapped in two parts of another planet's past—a world threatened with destruction when its sun goes supernova.


On stardate 5943.7, the Federation starship USS Enterprise arrives at the class M planet Sarpeidon to evacuate its inhabitants, doomed by an impending supernova explosion of the system's star. Oddly, sensors detect no signs of humanoid life on the surface and Captain Kirk, along with Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy ("Bones") and Science Officer Spock, beam down to investigate.

Once there, the landing party finds a sophisticated computer library where they encounter a man named Mr. Atoz.[note 1] He explains that the library contains an archive of historical data disks. Kirk warns Atoz of the planet's imminent destruction and that they must leave immediately. Atoz, however, says he is aware of the destruction of his world, and is already prepared. He informs them that he will be joining his wife and family soon. He then activates a machine, called the "Atavachron".[note 2] By viewing the historic disks, the time portal can send anyone who enters back in time to the point recorded in the data.

Kirk hears a woman's scream on the other side of the portal. Without realizing what the doorway is, he rushes through and disappears. McCoy and Spock rush into the portal after him, despite Atoz's warnings not to go through, since they have not been "prepared". The two find themselves transported through time 5,000 years into the past, to when Sarpeidon was in the midst of an ice age. The two are trapped in the brutal cold and desperately look around for their captain.

Meanwhile, Kirk arrives in an alleyway at a point in Sarpeidon's history reminiscent of England's 17th century. He manages to rescue a rumpled, voluptuous-looking woman from being assaulted by sword-bearing nobles. Kirk chases the assailants away, but soon discovers that the "maiden in distress" is really a sly, streetwise thief who was attempting to steal the man's purse.

He offers to have McCoy treat the woman's wounds, but, on looking whence he came, sees only a stone wall. Kirk steps back to the alley, but cannot locate the time portal. He discovers he can still talk to McCoy and Spock, but cannot get to them.

Spock surmises that all of the planet's inhabitants have escaped their demise by going through the portal to their past, which explains why only Atoz is left. (Atoz later confirms this. He was just about to depart when the landing party arrived.)

Authorities arrive and arrest Kirk for helping the thief. At the same time, McCoy asks his captain about what is going on at his end, and the guards are shaken when they hear the mysterious disembodied voice. The thief then betrays Kirk and tells the guards that he is using witchcraft, and that the voices possessed her body, forcing her to steal against her will.

On the verge of freezing to death, Spock and Bones look for shelter and encounter a figure wrapped in heavy furs, who leads the strangers to a warm cave. Unrobing to reveal a beautiful woman, she identifies herself to Spock as Zarabeth, and explains that she and her family have been exiled because one of them was involved in a plot to assassinate Zor-kahn, the tyrant who ruled in her time, or as she wryly puts it, her crime was "choosing my kinsmen unwisely".

Meanwhile, the imprisoned Kirk is interrogated by a seemingly timid, two-faced prosecutor who loudly proclaims his belief in witches in an exaggerated manner. Kirk, suspecting that the prosecutor is also a refugee from Sarpeidon's future, pointedly mentions the "library" from which he came through time, and the prosecutor becomes nervous, realizing what Kirk means. At first, the prosecutor seems to believe that Kirk is innocent, but the guard and thief maintain they heard the mysterious voices and that Kirk must be a witch. Kirk is now certain that the prosecutor must be from the future, and earnestly refers to the library and Mr. Atoz in the hope of getting back. The prosecutor becomes frightened and rushes away, loudly declaiming that he wants nothing more to do with the prisoner.

Back in the ice age, Zarabeth listens to McCoy's and Spock's story of their arrival, and informs them that she too is from Sarpeidon's future. She explains that the Atavachron portal is "one-way" and alters the molecular structure of the body of the traveler so that if they return to their time, they will die.

Meanwhile, Kirk sits in his cell and overpowers the jailer when he brings him food. The prosecutor arrives and Kirk confronts him, accusing him of being from Sarpeidon's future and threatening to expose him to the others as a "witch" if he does not help him escape. The prosecutor tries to calm Kirk down, admitting that he is indeed from the future, but Kirk cannot return because of the "preparation" a person's body undergoes through the Atavachron. Kirk points out that Atoz never prepared him, and the prosecutor says Kirk must return at once, since an unprepared body can only survive a short time in the past. He guides Kirk back to the alley, and Kirk feels for the portal, soon finding it.

Kirk steps through the portal, returning to the library. He confronts Atoz and demands he help him rescue his friends. Atoz refuses to help until Kirk "prepares" himself before returning to the past. Believing his friends are dying and no more time can be wasted, Kirk tries to force Atoz to cooperate, but he shoots Kirk with an energy weapon, knocking him unconscious.

Back in the ice age, Mr. Spock slowly reverts to the barbaric nature of ancient Vulcans, an effect that may be the result of remaining in the past when those Vulcans are living. McCoy notices the hostile changes in Spock when the Vulcan reacts angrily to one of his typical insults. Spock begins to fall in love with Zarabeth, losing all intention of returning to the future, and wanting only to remain with his new love. McCoy, however, is not convinced that they are trapped despite Zarabeth's statement that trying to return through the portal would cause death; he believes that only Zarabeth is somehow unable to return, but he is willing to risk death for himself.

Back in the library, Kirk awakens on a cart just in time to stop Atoz from wheeling him into the time portal (it's not clear whether he's been "prepared"), and forces him to find his companions. Trying various disks, Kirk locates Spock and McCoy in the ice age and opens a portal. Meanwhile, McCoy, with Spock and Zarabeth at the base of the ice cliff where they arrived, hears Kirk's voice and manages to drag Spock away from Zarabeth long enough to follow it back to the library. The three are happily reunited, and with time running out, they watch Atoz slam a disk into the machine and make a panicked run for the portal and disappear.

Realizing they have seconds before the planet is destroyed, the landing party quickly returns to the Enterprise, which safely warps away just as the star explodes.


Allan Holdsworth's studio album "Atavachron" is named after the alien time travel device, which is also the name of the 4th song on the album, and the last song is named "All Our Yesterdays" in reference to the title of the episode as well as the cover art.

The fifth track on Allan Holdsworth's studio album "Wardenclyffe Tower", "Zarabeth", is named after the character of the same name in the Star Trek episode "All Our Yesterdays".


  1. ^ According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Mr. Atoz's name is a play on "A to Z", that is, a library.
  2. ^ The Atavachron sound is the IRIG-B Timecode transmitted by standard time radio station WWV during the 1960s.


Author A.C. Crispin wrote two novel sequels to this episode, titled Yesterday's Son (#11), and Time for Yesterday (#39) (Simon & Schuster).

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