Where is everyone?
Perhaps they weren't expecting us.
Our arrival was scheduled well in advance, Doctor.
The annual check of every scientific expedition is routine.
I had a subspace contact with a Robert Johnson,
the leader of this expedition, an hour ago.
Did he report anything wrong?
No, yet there was something wrong.
I can't pin it down.
His conversation was disjointed,
his thoughts a little foggy, unrelated.
Chekov, check that building.
Mr. Spock and I will check this one.
The rest of you, take a look around.
What is it?
A man, sir. In there.
A dead man.
Exactly what it looks like --
Death by natural causes.
Quite impossible, Doctor.
I ran a personnel check on this expedition
before we beamed down.
I assure you that none of them --
They've come to pay their respects to Alvin.
I'm Captain Kirk of --
You'll have to speak louder.
I say I'm Captain Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Who are you?
I'm Robert Johnson.
This is my wife, Elaine.
How old are you?
How old are you?
I'm, uh ...
Let me see.
I am 29,
and Elaine is ...
Space -- the final frontier.
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
Its five-year mission --
To explore strange new worlds ...
to seek out new life and new civilizations ...
to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Captain 's Log. Stardate 3478.2.
On a routine mission
to resupply the experimental colony
at Gamma Hydra IV,
we discovereda most unusual phenomenon.
Of the six members of the colony,
none of whom were over 30,
we found four had died and two were dying ...
of old age.
Can you hear me?
I can hear you.
Not deaf yet, you know.
Can you tell me what happened?
Did your instruments show anything?
Elaine was so beautiful.
He can hear you,Jim,
but he doesn't understand.
Let's let him rest.
If they seem lucid, I'll be in the briefing room.
Stay seated. Commodore Stocker,
I've asked you to be part of this briefing
because Gamma Hydra IV
falls in your administrative area.
I appreciate that, sir.
Dr. Wallace, as an expert in endocrinology,
I'd appreciate you working very closely Dr. McCoy.
And Dr. McCoy, would you fill them in?
The expedition is suffering from extreme old age.
They're growing older by the minute. Much older.
My examinations have turned up absolutely nothing.
In fact, I don't have a clue.
What about the atmosphere and environment, Mr. Spock?
Sensors reveal nothing which is inimical to human life.
The atmosphere screens out
the usual amount of harmful cosmic rays.
We're close to the neutral zone
between our federation and the Romulan empire.
It's possible the Romulans have a new weapon
and are experimenting on this colony.
I have already begun investigation
into that possibility, Captain.
Good. Check out everything in your own departments.
No matter how remote, how farfetched the notion,
I want it run down.
We'll stay in orbit until we have the answer.
I'm anxious to get to Starbase 10
to assume my new post.
We'll do everything we can
to make sure you make your duty.
Thank you, sir.
Doctor, is there something I can do for you?
Well, be a little less the cool, efficient Captain
and a little more the old friend.
How long has it been?
Six years, four months,
and an odd number of days.
You mean you don't know?
Well, it's been a long time.
Things wouldn't change
if it started all over again, would it?
You have your job,
I have my ship,
and neither one of us will change.
You said it. I didn't.
In all those years,
I only heard from you once --
A stargram when my husband died.
You know, you never asked me why I got married
after we called it off.
Well, I supposed that you met someone you loved.
I met a man I admired. A great man.
And in your field. You didn't give up a thing.
[Uhura] Captain Kirk,
Mr. Spock would like to see you on the bridge.
I'm on my way.
Standard orbit, Captain.
I've rechecked the sensors, Captain.
Gamma Hydra IV checks out as a Class "M" planet
with a conventional oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere and normal mass.
I can find nothing out of the ordinary.
What about the comet that astrophysics reported?
We're checking it. I've reached no conclusions.
The comet's a rogue and has never been investigated.
Facilities at Starbase 10 are much more complete
than those onboard ship.
Your investigations would be facilitated
if we proceeded there.
I assure you our cooperation.
Thank you. You're anxious to get to the base,
but we have facilities here.
The Enterprise will do quite nicely.
I'll be in engineering.
Maintain standard orbit, Mr. Sulu.
You already gave that command, sir.
Oh? Well ...
Doctor, may I speak to you for a moment, please?
Of course. Go right ahead.
I know this is going to sound foolish,
but I'm having a little trouble hearing.
It's probably nothing important.
I never had trouble before.
Well, don't worry about it.
Perhaps a little hypersonic treatment
might clear it up.
Progress report, Mr. Spock.
All research lines negative, Captain.
Astronomical section reports that a comet recently passed by.
Check into that.
I'm doing that as per your previous order.
We discussed that earlier.
Oh, yes. Let me know what you find.
I'll be in the sick bay.
The last one.
Cause of death ...
You did what you could.
Which adds up to absolutely nothing.
Captain McCoy, this is Scott.
May I come see you?
All you need are vitamins,
but come up anyhow.
Bones, I believe you're getting gray.
You take over my job. See what happens to you.
I see what you mean.
What's your problem,Jim?
Shoulder. Just a twinge.
Probably muscular strain.
You're probably right, Doctor.
By the way,
I don't like how you've been running this ship lately.
All right. Reprimand received.
Jim, I think we better run
a complete physical on you.
Just muscular strain, isn't it?
No, Jim. It's advanced arthritis,
and it's spreading.
I can run it through again,
but I'll come up with the same thing.
Captain 's Log. Stardate 3579.4.
Of the Enterprise personnel
who beamed down to the planet's surface,
Dr. McCoy, Engineer Scott,
Mr. Spock, Lieutenant Galway, and myself
are all showing definitesigns of aging.
Only Ensign Chekov appears to be normal.
All of us who went down to the surface,
with the exception of Chekov,
are aging at various rates --
Approximately 30 years for each day.
I don't know what's causing it.
A virus, a bacteria, or evil spirits.
I'm trying to find out.
Spock, could I ask for some figures?
Based on what Dr. McCoy gave me,
I estimate that physically
we each have less than a week to live.
since our mental faculties
are aging faster than our bodies,
we will be little better than mental vegetables
in considerably lesser time.
Yes, Captain. In a very short time.
What a way to die.
All right. I want all the research facilities,
all the scientific technicians,
to start round-the-clock research immediately.
I want the answers, and I want the remedy.
Let's start by finding out
why Chekov hasn't been affected.
I'm doing what I can.
You're perfectly healthy.
I must differ with you, Doctor.
I'm having difficulty concentrating,
which is most disturbing,
my eye sight appears to be failing,
and the normal temperature of the ship
seems to me to be increasingly colder.
I did not say you weren't affected, Mr. Spock.
You are perfectly healthy ...
that is, for any normal Vulcan
on the high side of 100.
Captain, may I go back to my station?
You feel up to it?
Of course I do.
need a wee bit of rest, that's all.
You can leave, too, Lieutenant Galway.
What? You spoke to me, Doctor?
Yes, I spoke to you.
I said that you could leave, too, now.
Go down to your quarters and get some sleep.
No. I don't want to sleep.
Can't you understand?
If I sleep, what will I find when I wake up?
assume your position.
Start your duties.
Thank you, sir.
That's a stupid place to hang a mirror.
She's 10 years younger than I am.
She looks ...
people age normally at different speeds,Jim.
Why hasn't he aged?
I don't know.
I want to know!
Is it his youth, his blood type,
his heritage, his genes?
All right, nurse.
Prepare Chekov for another complete physical.
Come along, ensign.
This won't hurt ...
A few years ago on Aldebaran III,
my husband and I
tried various carbohydrate compounds
to slow down the degeneration of plant life.
Then try that, Dr. Wallace.
Try anything, but do it quickly.
I'll be on the bridge.
Keep me posted as to Chekov.
I thought you were going to the biochemistry lab.
We both go in the same direction.
So we do.
We know the problem.
We know the progress of the affliction.
Therefore, once we find the proper line of research,
it's only logical we find the solution.
You sound like my first officer.
No problem is insoluble. Not even ours.
That didn't spring from logic.
Our situation doesn't have its roots in logic.
The heart is not a logical organ.
When I married Theodore Wallace,
I thought I was over you.
I was wrong.
When did you realize that?
How much older was your husband than you?
What difference does that make?
That's quite a difference.
Jim, he was a brilliant man.
We were stationed on a lonely outpost.
We were working together.
I don't want to talk about him.
I want to talk about us.
Look at me.
Look at me.
What do you see?
I see Captain James Kirk,
a man of morality, decency, handsome, and strong.
and rapidly growing older.
What are you offering me,Jan?
or a going away present?
Give us some more blood, Chekov.
The needle won't hurt, Chekov.
Take off your shirt, Chekov.
Roll over, Chekov. Breathe deeply, Chekov.
Blood sample, Chekov. Marrow sample, Chekov.
Skin sample, Chekov.
If I live long enough,
I'm going to run out of samples.
Oh, yes. I'll live,
but I won't enjoy it.
Maintaining standard orbit, Captain.
Increase orbit to 20,000 perigee, Mr. Sulu.
Aye, aye, sir.
Will you sign this, sir?
You have a reason
for being on the bridge, Commodore Stocker?
I'd hoped for a few words with you.
I have very little time.
We have a due date at Starbase 10.
We're going to be late.
I don't intend to leave this area
until we've found the solution for this problem.
Captain, I'm watching four very valuable
and one almost irreplaceable members of the starfleet
failing before my eyes.
I want to help.
Yes, yes. If you're so concerned,
I'll send a message to Starbase 10.
Captain, you sent such a message this morning.
Yeoman? Where's that ...
Fuel consumption report?
I gave it to you. You signed it.
If I'd signed it,
I wouldn't have asked for it, would l?
Your signature, Captain.
Captain, I believe --
Mr. Spock. I was just thinking.
Yes, sir. Quite understandable.
You have something to report?
Yes, sir. We have the cause of the affliction.
What is it?
The orbit of Gamma Hydra IV
carried the planet directly through the comet's trail.
On conventional radiation settings, we discovered nothing.
On resetting our sensors to the extreme lower range of the scale,
undetected radiation appeared,
below normal radiation levels
but definitely present,
and undoubtedly residue from the comet.
Let's get this to Dr. McCoy immediately.
Oh. Lieutenant, take a message
to starfleet command.
Due to the proximity of the Romulans, use code 2.
But, Captain, the Romulans have broken Code 2.
If you remember the bulletin --
Then use code 3.
Yes, sir. Code 3.
The message -- key to affliction may be comet,
which passed by Gamma Hydra IV.
Said comet is now ...
Quadrant 448, sir.
Uh, Quadrant ...
all units are to be alerted
for complete analysis of radiation
and means found to neutralize it.
Comet is highly dangerous.
Kirk, commanding Enterprise ...
immediately, Lieutenant. Let's go.
Oh, Mr. Sulu.
Increase orbit to 20,000 mile perigee.
You mean another 20,000, Captain?
I fail to understand
why each one of my commands is being questioned.
Now, do as you're told, Mr. Sulu.
Mr. Sulu, what is our present position?
Orbiting at 20,000, sir.
Radiation? That's as good an answer as any,
but why didn't we know about it earlier?
Possibly, Doctor, because my thinking processes
are not as efficient as before.
Run this through, Doctor.
I'm going to the bridge.
Keep me posted. Spock.
I have a question for the doctor.
Doctor, the ship's temperature
is increasingly uncomfortable for me.
I've adjusted the environment in my quarters
to 125 degrees, which is at least tolerable.
Well, I see
I won't be making any house calls on you.
I wondered if perhaps there was something
which could lower my sensitivity to cold.
I'm not a magician, Spock,
Just an old country doctor.
As I always suspected.
Doctor McCoy, none of our usual radiation therapies
will have any effect on this radiation sickness.
Then we just start over.
We work harder, faster,
and we start completely from scratch
if we have to.
But we find something.
Mr. Spock, can I have a word with you?
A starship can function with a chiefengineer,
a chiefmedical officer,
even a first officer under physical par.
But it's disastrous to have a commanding officer
whose condition is less than perfection.
I am aware of that.
Please understand me.
My admiration for Captain Kirk is unbounded.
He is a great officer.
But, Mr. Spock, I need your help
and your cooperation.
For what, sir?
I'd like you to take over command of the Enterprise.
On what grounds, Commodore?
On the grounds that the captain,
because of his affliction,
is unable to perform his duties.
Need I remind you
that I've contracted the same affliction?
But you're a Vulcan.
You have a greater life span.
You show the affects to a smaller degree.
I'm half human, sir.
My physical reflexes are down.
My mental capacity is reduced.
I tire easily.
No, sir. I am not fit for command.
Well, if you are not
with your Vulcan physique,
then obviously Captain Kirk cannot be.
Sir, I do have duties to perform.
Mr. Spock, I do not like what I'm about to say,
but regulations demand it.
And as a starfleet flag officer,
I must follow regulations.
As second in command of the Enterprise,
you must convene an extraordinary competency hearing.
I resist that suggestion, Commodore.
It's not a matter of choice.
When a captain is unfit,
physically or mentally,
a competency hearing is mandatory.
Please don't make me quote a regulation
which you know as well as I do.
Very well, sir.
Hearing shall convene at 1400 hours.
Now this isn't going to hurt a bit.
That's what you said the last time.
Did it hurt?
Her metabolism caused her to age more rapidly
than the rest of us,
but the same thing's going to happen to us unless ...
How long have we got, Bones?
Oh ... matter of days.
Let it read that Commodore Stocker ordered this competency hearing
and I reluctantly called it.
Let it also read that I consider it invalid.
Mr. Spock, may I make a statement?
I have had to resort to these legal grounds
in order to save the lives
of some very valuable members of the starfleet.
I've tried to convince Captain Kirk
of the necessity of proceeding to Starbase 10,
but I've been overruled in each case.
The responsibility of this hearing
On the contrary, Commodore.
As presiding officer
and as second in command of the Enterprise,
the responsibility is mine.
Captain Kirk ...
would you like to make a statement?
Yes, I would like to make a statement.
I am the captain of this ship
and am totally capable of commanding her.
Let's call this off and get back to work.
It is quite impossible, Captain.
The regulations are quite specific.
You are entitled to direct examination of all witnesses
immediately after the board has questioned them.
Very kind of you, Spock.
how long have you served with Captain Kirk?
Two years, sir.
Has he ever had any difficulty making decisions?
Did he order you to maintain standard orbit
around Gamma Hydra IV?
Did he not, several minutes later,
repeat that order?
Did he order you to increase orbit?
Did he not repeat that order?
He did not!
When I give an order, I expect it to be obeyed.
I don't have to repeat myself.
Mr. Sulu ...
will you please answer the question?
Captain Kirk repeated his order.
Thank you, Mr. Sulu.
Yeoman Atkins ...
you handed Captain Kirk a fuel consumption report
in the presence of witnesses
which he read and signed. Is that correct?
Sir, he had more important things on his mind.
you will simply answer the question.
I guess he forgot he'd signed it.
He'd forgot he'd signed it.
Thank you, Yeoman.
You may leave.
Lieutenant Uhura ...
I have here a bulletin from Starfleet Command
which states that the Romulans have broken Code 2.
Are these your initials which appear at the bottom?
And whose initials appear directly below yours?
Those of Captain Kirk.
Did Captain Kirk askyou to send a message
about the comet which passed Gamma Hydra IV?
Using Code 2.
Oh, yes, but he changed it to Code 3.
After you reminded him that the Romulans had broken Code 2.
Thank you, Lieutenant.
Dr. McCoy ...
What is it?
Several hours ago,
at the request of this board,
you ran a complete physical examination of Captain Kirk.
Medical banks compute
described subject's physical age,
using established norms as comparative base.
Working subject's physicalage
based on physiological profile.
Between 60 and 72.
No, I'm 34 --
I'm 34 years old.
The computer differs with you, Captain.
Dr. McCoy ...
Will you give us your professional evaluation
of Captain Kirk's present physical condition?
Oh ... Captain Kirk is suffering from a ...
a peculiar physical degeneration
which strongly resembles aging.
Is not his mental capacity degenerating even more rapidly?
Yes, yes, but he's a better man right now --
Doctor, you heard the computer's analysis
of Captain Kirk's physical age.
Do you agree with it?
It's a blasted machine, Spock!
You can't argue with a machine.
Do you agree with it, Doctor?
Yes, I do ... agree.
And I am sorry, Jim.
This board has no further questions ...
unless you, Commodore Stocker,
have something that you would like to add.
No. I am ... quite satisfied, Mr. Spock.
Do you wish to call any witnesses, Captain Kirk?
Heh heh heh.
I am perfectly capable of speaking in my own defense, Mr. Spock.
Captain, I would suggest --
No, no, no. It's all right, Spock.
It's all right.
There's only one reason ...
and one reason alone ...
for having this ...
I refused to leave Gamma Hydra II ..
Gamma Hydra IV, Captain.
Yes. A slip of the tongue.
You're inability to remember having given commands,
reading and signing important orders
and then forgetting them,
your physical analysis as compiled by
our own chiefsurgeon,
all these things would appear to be
irrefutable proof of failing physical and mental conditions.
So I'm a little confused.
Who wouldn't be at a time like this?
My ship's in trouble, my senior officers are ill.
And this nonsense
about a competency hearing
is enough to mix up any man.
Trying to relieve a captain of his command is ...
well, that's ...
I wouldn't have believed it of you.
Go ahead. Ask me questions.
I'll show you what I'm capable of.
There's nothing wrong with my memory.
Go ahead! Ask me anything!
We're in orbit around Gamma Hydra II, right?
Anyhow, it doesn't matter.
There's a lot more to running a starship
than answering a lot of fool questions.
A lot more.
Go ahead. Ask me questions.
We have no more questions, Captain.
Ask me anything.
Heh heh heh.
There'll be no more questions, Captain.
If you would leave the room so the board can vote ...
Get this stupid voting over with
so I can get back to running the ship.
The most fool thing I ever heard of.
Competency hearing when there's work to be done.
I'll be in my quarters ...
awaiting your decision.
Well, since the senior officers are incapable
and I am of flag rank,
I am forced by regulations to assume command.
Sir, you have never commanded a starship.
What would you have,
a junior officer with far less experience than I have?
The danger from the Romulans ...
Mr. Spock, we have to save these people.
Mr. Sulu ...
set a direct course for Starbase 10. Warp 5.
Across the neutral zone?
Immediately, Mr. Sulu.
All officers are to return to their posts.
I've been relieved.
I'm sorry, Captain.
You should've been a prosecuting attorney.
Regulations require --
Regulations. Don't give me regulations.
You've wanted command all along.
First little excuse you get --
Captain, I haven't assumed command.
What do you mean,
you've -- you've not assumed command?
I suffer the same affliction as you, sir.
If you're not in command, who is?
Are you crazy?
He's never had a field command.
Mr. Scott was unfit for command.
Commodore Stocker is ranking officer --
No! Don't talk to me about rank!
The man's a chair-bound paper-pusher.
I order you to take command.
I cannot, Captain.
Are you refusing a direct order?
Only Commodore Stocker can give a command order
onboard this ship.
You traitorous ...
you stab me in the back the first chance you get.
I never want to have to look at you again.
Oh,Jim. I'm sorry.
Truly I am.
I made a fool of myself in there.
I shouldn't have let them confuse me ...
But I'm not old ... Jan.
A few muscular aches doesn't make a man old.
And you don't run a starship with your arms.
You run it with your head.
My brain's as sharp as it ever was.
A simple case of radiation poisoning,
and they relieve me of my command.
I admit I'm getting a little gray,
but radiation will do that to you.
Will you forgive me --
Jan, you know me.
Look at me closely.
Am I getting old?
What are you doing here?
It would seem to be the place
where I can be of the most use.
Maybe you'd like to relieve Dr. McCoy.
What about Chekov?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Bones, there has to be ...
we ... beamed down together.
We were on the surface together.
The same spot.
We were together all the time!
No, not all the time.
He left us for a few moments.
He left us? He left us.
He went into the building.
Yes, indeed, Captain.
you remember --
He was scared!
He saw the dead body
and ran out of the building.
He was scared to death.
Yes, yes. Now that could be.
Heart beats faster,
breathe gets short,
and there's cold sweats
and adrenaline flows.
Now hold on Just a minute.
There was something that I read once.
It was ... ancient history ...
Just after the atomic age ...
used for radiation sickness.
Doctor, hyronaline is the specific accepted
for all radiation sickness.
Yes, yes. Now.
Early research ...
but they abandoned it when hyronaline was discovered.
Quite possible, Doctor.
a sufficiently efficacious compound
could be developed.
Don't just stand there jawing, Spock.
You and Dr. Wallace get cracking.
Entering Romulan neutral zone, sir.
All sensors on maximum.
Thank you, Mr. Sulu.
let me know if we contact any Romulan.
I think we just made contact, sir.
Romulans approaching from both sides.
They're bracketed, sir.
Engineering wants instructions, sir.
Commodore Stocker, what are your orders?
I'm going up to the bridge.
No, Jim. You can't.
I have to. We're under attack.
Nurse? Dr. Wallace!
Let me go!
Jim, take it easy.
We're under attack.
I have to go to the bridge.
Keep trying to raise the Romulans.
I'm trying, Commodore.
If I could talk to them,
explain to them why we violated the neutral zone.
The Romulans are notorious for not listening
Lieutenant Uhura is right, sir.
We've tangled with them before.
up there ruining my ship.
If I have to give you a shot --
Jim, you just lay quiet.
You can't do no good. We're both through.
Doctor, make the necessary computations
and produce this serum.
It is crude and dangerous,
but we have no time for refinements.
All right. Let's ... let's go.
It could cure or kill, Doctor.
Don't give me any Vulcan details.
Just give me the shot.
I'll take the first shot.
How long do you think
this ship can take the pounding?
I've got to get up there.
It could kill you.
I'll die anyway.
Dr. Wallace ...
we'll give him the shot.
Aah! Ooh! Ah!
[Sulu] Sir, they've fired another.
Aah ... owww ...
Well, well, what's happening?
The ageing process has stopped.
His bodily functions are getting stronger.
Sir, I've tried all known hailing frequencies.
They simply ignore us.
Opinion, Mr. Sulu.
They know they have us.
They know our shields will give out.
Well, then, we have no alternative but to surrender.
the Romulans do not take captives.
[Sulu] We're losing power, sir.
What am I going to do?
I've got to do something.
Report, Mr. Sulu.
We're surrounded by Romulan vessels.
Maximum of 10.
Range -- 50 - 100,000 kilometers.
This is the captain.
I want full emergency power.
I want everything in about two minutes.
I want the warp-drive engines on full standby.
Open up a special channel to Starfleet Command.
But, Captain, Code --
That's an order, Lieutenant. Code 2.
Yes, Captain. Code 2.
Message -- from Enterprise to Starfleet Command
I have inadvertently encroached upon Romulan neutral zone,
surrounded and under heavy Romulan attack.
Escape impossible, shields failing.
Will implement destruct order using cobramite device
Since this will result in the destruction of the Enterprise
and all matter in a 200,000-kilometer diameter
and establish a corresponding dead zone.
All Federation ships will avoid this area
for the next four solar years.
Explosion will take place in one minute.
Kirk, commanding Enterprise, out.
course 1-8-8 degrees, mark 14.
Speed ... warp factor 8.
Standing by, sir.
Romulans giving ground, Captain.
Obviously, they tapped in as you expected them to.
A logical assumption, Mr. Spock.
Are they still retreating?
All hands, stand by.
Warp factor 8 ... now.
The Romulans were caught off-guard, Captain.
They're falling behind
are we out of range, Mr. Sulu?
Yes, and out of the neutral zone.
Adjust a new course -- 2-5-7 degrees, mark 3,
heading for Starbase 10.
2-5-7 degrees, mark 3.
Captain, I ...
Just wanted to assure you
that I did what I thought best to save you and the men.
Noted. But there's very little a starbase can do
that a starship can't.
If I may say so, Captain,
I'm now quite aware of what a starship can do ...
with the right man at the helm.
You're looking good, Doc.
Feeling fine. So is Scotty.
Pulled a muscle during the reaction,
but otherwise he's feeling fine.
A few bruises here and there.
Anytime you're ready, Mr. Spock.
I am quite ready now, Doctor.
Because of your Vulcan physique,
I have prepared an extremely potent shot for you.
However, you might like to know
I've removed all the breakables from sick bay.
That's very considerate of you, Doctor.
I thought you'd be pleased to hear that.
Well, gentlemen, all and all,
an experience we'll remember in our old age ...
which won't be for some while, I hope.
Take over, Mr. Sulu.
Steady as she goes.
Steady as she goes, Captain.
I thought I said that.