That Which Survives

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"That Which Survives"
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 17
Directed by Herb Wallerstein
Teleplay by John Meredyth Lucas
Story by Michael Richards
Featured music Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Al Francis
Production code 069
Original air date January 24, 1969 (1969-01-24)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"That Which Survives" is the seventeenth episode of the third season of the original science fiction television series, Star Trek, first broadcast January 24, 1969, and repeated July 29, 1969. It was written by John Meredyth Lucas, based on a story by D.C. Fontana under the pseudonym Michael Richards[1] and directed by Herb Wallerstein.

In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise visit an abandoned outpost guarded by a mysterious computer.


The Federation starship Enterprise happens upon a planet that appears young compared to the evolutionary stage of its surface life forms. Captain Kirk, along with Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, Lt. Sulu and geologist D'Amato, prepare to beam down to the planet to investigate further. In the midst of dematerializing, they see a beautiful woman appear in the transporter room and try to stop the landing. She touches the baffled transporter technician, Ensign Wyatt, killing him instantly.

As soon as Kirk and the others materialize on the planet, they are rocked by a violent tremor. The Enterprise is also jolted as it is thrown 990.7 light years away from the planet by an unknown force. Dr. M'Benga examines Wyatt and learns his death was caused by complete cellular disruption.

The landing party loses communications with the Enterprise and they realize they are stranded. They split up and begin to scout around. As D'Amato surveys a rocky area, he comes face-to-face with the woman who appeared in the transporter room. Strangely, she knows his name. She approaches him slowly and the confused D'Amato stands struck by her beauty. When she touches him, he too falls dead.

First Officer Spock orders the Enterprise back to the mysterious planet. En route, Chief Engineer Scott reports a vague feeling that the ship "isn't right" and he orders Engineer Watkins to check equipment in a secluded area. The mysterious woman assassin appears again. She knows Watkins' identity and the Enterprise warp drive systems. She kills Watkins and sabotages the Emergency Overload Bypass.

On the planet, while burying D'Amato, Kirk discovers that the planet's surface is highly resistant to phaser fire. Kirk and McCoy sleep and Sulu takes the first watch. The woman appears to Sulu, knowing his name, and Sulu discovers she is invulnerable to phaser fire. He trips on a rock so she only brushes his shoulder briefly with her fingertips. Sulu screams in pain, bringing Kirk and McCoy who find him injured but alive. The woman puts her hand solidly on Kirk's shoulder but nothing happens. They discover that the woman can only kill one specific person during each appearance.

Meanwhile on the Enterprise, the ship's speed begins to increase uncontrollably. Scott discovers the woman's sabotage and estimates that the Enterprise will explode in 15 minutes. Spock and Scott devise a dangerous plan to manually cut the matter-antimatter fuel flow to the warp engines in a small service crawlway sparking with energy. Scott begins the risky repairs as the Enterprise passes warp 13.2.

On the planet, the three narrowly avoid death when Kirk's phaser suddenly goes into overload and explodes. The woman appears "for Kirk" but Sulu and McCoy block her path. She touches them without effect. Questioned by Kirk, the woman says she is Losira, the station commander. She is alone, and her only purpose is to defend the planet from intruders. Kirk's conversation unsettles her and she vanishes without killing him.

The landing party discover the entrance to a room that is the source of the strong power emanations. They enter.

Back on the Enterprise, Scott cannot stop the fuel flow. He begs Spock to jettison the fuel pod and sacrifice him to save the rest of the crew. Spock calmly urges him to continue. Scott manages to stop the flow at the last second, saving the ship and restoring control.

Inside the station, the landing party finds a cube-shaped computer. It projects three copies of Losira, one each to kill Kirk, Sulu and McCoy. Before they can kill the landing crew, Spock and a security officer beam into the room. At Kirk's command, the security officer quickly shoots the computer and the three assassins disappear.

A viewscreen then displays a pre-recorded message by Losira, a Kalandan who had been the last survivor at the outpost. She had programmed the computer to defend the outpost and it used her likeness for the assassins. The recorded Losira explains that while creating the planet they created a deadly organism. McCoy surmises that the disease spread throughout the Kalandan race and drove them to extinction long ago. Kirk suggests that the landing party had survived only because the image of Losira was so complete that it experienced regret about killing.


The original story outline was written by D.C. Fontana under the pseudonym Michael Richards. In this outline, called "Survival", Losira is more brutal, encouraging the crew to turn on each other and fight.[1]


  1. ^ a b Allan Asherman (1989). The Star Trek Compendium. Titan Books. p. 122. ISBN 1-85286-221-1. 

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