The Immunity Syndrome (Star Trek: The Original Series)

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"The Immunity Syndrome"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 18
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Written by Robert Sabaroff
Featured music Sol Kaplan
Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 048
Original air date January 19, 1968 (1968-01-19)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"The Immunity Syndrome" is a second season episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek, first broadcast on January 19, 1968, and repeated June 7, 1968. It is episode #47, production #48, written by Robert Sabaroff and directed by Joseph Pevney.

In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise encounters an energy-draining space-dwelling organism.


The Federation starship USS Enterprise is en route to Starbase 6 for rest and relaxation. Communications Officer Lt. Uhura receives a garbled distress call, but all she can make out are sector coordinates and the name of the ship, the USS Intrepid, manned entirely by Vulcans. Suddenly, the signal is gone and First Officer Spock, himself half-Vulcan, shudders and feels uneasy. When asked what is wrong, he replies that the Intrepid has "died".

Starfleet sends a priority message to Captain Kirk and orders him to investigate Sector 39J where contact has been lost with the colonies in the Gamma 7A system, also the last known position of the Intrepid. Arriving there, Ensign Chekov reports that the sensors show no life readings in the system of a billion inhabitants.

Meanwhile, Spock is checked out by Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy in sickbay where he explains he felt the combined shock and terror in the minds of 400 of his fellow Vulcans aboard the Intrepid as they died. McCoy is amazed that Spock felt anything with the great distance involved between the two ships, but admits there is a lot about Vulcans he still doesn't understand.

Spock returns to the bridge just as Uhura announces she has lost contact with Starfleet. Kirk has Spock scan a dark ominous form that appears on the main view screen. Spock reports it is some kind of energy turbulence; probably responsible for the death of the system inhabitants and the Intrepid crew. Kirk has Chekov launch a sensor probe into the void. Suddenly a painful, high-pitched noise fills the ship that renders half the crew sickened or faint.

Sensor scans from the probe reveal nothing, so Kirk orders the ship to get in closer. When it does, the piercing sound returns and all the stars disappear from the main view screen. The ship is now in a desolate void of nothingness. Dr. McCoy then reports that the crew are getting worse and it appears everyone seems to be dying. Spock surmises that the ship has crossed some kind of negative energy boundary where their physical properties cannot exist. All ship's energy, as well as the crew's life force, is beginning to be slowly drained away. Spock remarks that the dark void is not a "galactic nebula such as the Coalsack."[1]

Kirk orders full reverse, but the ship moves forward deeper into the void. If forward thrust is applied the ship slows down. Chief engineer Scott, frantically tinkers with controls to give the ship the power it needs, but nothing seems to respond.

The huge expenditure of ship's energy attracts what appears to be an 11,000-mile wide single-celled organism, which appears on the main screen. Kirk launches another sensor probe which reveals the creature is protoplasmic in nature. McCoy believes it is an entity that feeds off raw energy but he needs more data to confirm this.

Spock decides to get the information McCoy needs and requests to pilot a shuttlecraft in closer to the creature. Kirk reluctantly accepts Spock's suicidal request and allows him to launch. He pilots the shuttle up to the creature and penetrates the outer skin, then makes his way toward the cell's nucleus. Spock transmits data and keeps a log of his progress during the journey. He believes the creature may be ready to reproduce and suggests it can be destroyed from the inside, but his details become garbled and then cuts off. Kirk and McCoy determine that if the creature begins to reproduce, it will spread rapidly and pose a serious threat to the galaxy. They must do something now, but the Enterprise only has an hour left until all energy is expended. As Kirk and McCoy meet together to discuss various strategies, Kirk suddenly realizes that if various activities in the zone have an opposite effect, then using antimatter on the organism should kill it, but realizes the Enterprise will have to journey into the creature.

Kirk takes the Enterprise into the cell's body to plant a bomb within the creature that will destroy it. Since the thing has negative energy, Kirk orders Chief Engineer Scott to prepare an antimatter bomb with a timer set for a seven-minute delay. The bomb is fired into the cell's nucleus and the Enterprise backs out using what little power remains. With seconds remaining, Spock's shuttle is finally located and Kirk tells Scotty to retrieve it in a tractor beam. With power levels nearly exhausted, the ship makes its way out of the creature just as the bomb explodes. The creature is annihilated, and the shock throws both the Enterprise and the shuttle back into normal space. Both ships survive with only slight damage and Mr. Spock returns his craft to the ship.


  1. ^ "The Star Trek Transcripts - The Immunity Syndrome". 1968-01-19. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 

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