(written from a Production point of view)
|"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"|
|TOS, Episode 3x10|
Production number: 60043-65
First aired: 8 November 1968
Remastered version aired: 27 January 2007
|←||66th of 80 produced in TOS||→|
|←||63rd of 80 released in TOS||→|
|←||18th of 80 released in TOS Remastered||→|
|←||63rd of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
The Enterprise finds an asteroid that contains a generational ship on a collision course with an inhabited planet.
The USS Enterprise is attacked by primitive, chemical-fueled nuclear missiles. The crew of the Enterprise destroy the missiles and trace back to their source. Kirk orders the Enterprise to proceed to the source of the missiles at warp factor 3. Meanwhile, during a routine health check, it is discovered that Dr. McCoy has a rare illness, xenopolycythemia, that has no known cure and that he will die within a year. McCoy insists that he can remain in his post, but Kirk immediately informs Starfleet and asks for a replacement.
Arriving at the missiles' point of origin, the Enterprise finds only what appears to be an asteroid, 200 miles in diameter, that is not in any orbit but follows an independent course through the local solar system. Upon scanning, it is found that the "asteroid" is an atomic-powered spaceship. There are no living creatures detected, leading Spock to presume that the passengers are dead. More seriously, the asteroid's course, 241-mark-17, puts it on a course to collide with Daran V, a planet with a population of 3.724 billion, in 396 days. The Enterprise charts a parallel course to the asteroid/spaceship.
Kirk and Spock prepare to beam onto the asteroid/spaceship, but McCoy insists on joining them. Arriving inside the asteroid, they find a surface that appears geologically active, with a reddish sky, and are puzzled that the builders apparently wanted the inside of the ship to look like a planet. The surface is dotted by large cylinders, from which a band of primitive, sword-bearing men emerges, led by a beautiful woman. After a brief melee, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are captured, McCoy sharing a meaningful look with the woman before he is knocked unconscious.
The leader of these people is a priestess, Natira, and she reveals that the asteroid/ship is called Yonada. The three are taken below the surface, where they encounter a large population of young and apparently healthy people. Natira leads the three into a temple, where she consults a deity called Oracle. Kirk and McCoy estimate that after 10,000 years in this multi-generational ship, they no longer realize they are in a spaceship. The Oracle immediately renders Kirk, Spock, and McCoy unconscious with an energy beam.
The three revive, although McCoy remains out longer due to his illness. Kirk informs Spock about McCoy's condition. An old man gives them an herb derivative to counteract the effects of the Oracle's attack, noting that many people on the ship have been punished in this way. When they tell him they are not from Yonada, he recalls how he once climbed the mountains, "even though it is forbidden," and found that the world of Yonada is not a planet at all. He dies immediately, apparently from a subcutaneous control device in his temple. Natira comes in, and seems to take a special interest in McCoy. Kirk recommends that McCoy use this relationship to find out more about the civilization. The Captain is faced with a triple dilemma: either risk violating the prime directive by informing the people of Yonada of their situation, destroy the asteroid with them in it, or allow it to destroy Daran V. Natira admits that she is in love with McCoy and wants him to stay on Yonada as her mate. She speaks of a final destination that is rich and green, and notes that the Oracle has promised they shall reach it soon. When McCoy tells her he has only a year to live, she tells him even a year with him will make her happy.
Spock and Kirk make their way to the Oracle's temple, and Spock recognizes the writing as that of the Fabrini, a civilization wiped out 10,000 years ago, when their star went nova. He also sees a symbolic map of the Fabrina solar system. Prior to dying out, the Fabrini had lived underground to protect themselves; they also built this spaceship Yonada and programmed the Oracle, which is actually a powerful computer, to take it to another habitable planet. The people of Yonada are their descendants. Spock manages to open the door, and the two conceal themselves in the temple as Natira enters. She asks the Oracle for permission to marry McCoy, and the Oracle grants it, so long as McCoy agrees to join the Fabrini and submit to the instrument of obedience. As she's leaving, however, the Oracle discovers Kirk and Spock and zaps them. They are arrested and sentenced to death.
McCoy agrees to stay on Yonada, but begs that Kirk and Spock be released. Natira agrees. As Kirk and Spock prepare to return, McCoy insists on staying; there is a brief conflict between the two, but Kirk agrees to leave him behind. He and Spock return to the Enterprise. In a ritual with the Oracle, McCoy has the instrument of obedience implanted in his head, and he and Natira are married. At the Oracle's command, she teaches him about an ancient book that is to be opened and read when the ship reaches the "New World of the Promise." Meanwhile, Kirk consults with Admiral Westervliet, who relieves him of all responsibility for the Yonada and says Starfleet will handle the situation from now on. McCoy calls the ship and tries to explain that by consulting the book Spock can change the Yonada's course. But his control device immediately sends him a shock of pain, and he passes out as Natira enters.
Kirk and Spock return to the Yonada and Spock removes McCoy's instrument of obedience, breaking Natira's heart. She tries to call for the guards, but Kirk subdues her and persuades her to give them a chance. He explains the history of the Fabrini and Yonada. She is very skeptical of the story, and the Oracle begins to torment her through her instrument. She flees, but does not turn Kirk over to the guards. Kirk and Spock have found that a faulty part of the Oracle computer has caused a change in course. Natira talks to the Oracle, which knocks her out. When Kirk, Spock, and McCoy arrive, she agrees with them and McCoy takes out her instrument. Kirk and Spock move to take the book out of the temple, but the Oracle fights them, kicking up a storm and increasing the temperature to 120 degrees. McCoy shows them how to open the safe containing the book, and Spock uses the book to disable the Oracle and reprogram the spaceship's course.
McCoy and Natira have a tearful farewell: She must stay to lead her people to the promised land, and McCoy determines to keep traveling the universe in search of a cure. After correcting the Yonada's course, Spock shows Kirk the vast database of the Fabrini, which contains medical knowledge, including the cure for xenopolycythemia. McCoy undergoes the very painful treatment for his illness, emerging cured, and Kirk promises him the Enterprise will return to the area when the Yonada reaches its correct destination.
- Captain's log, stardate 5476.3. I have just had the sad duty of informing Starfleet about Dr. McCoy's condition and have requested an immediate replacement.
- Captain's log, stardate 5476.4. We are on a parallel course with Yonada. It is still on a collision course with Daran V. Our failure to correct its course, and the critical nature of Dr. McCoy's illness, made the extraordinary event of contact with Starfleet Command imperative.
"A lot can happen in a year. Please, give yourself every minute."
- - Chapel to McCoy, on his illness
"Welcome to the world of Yonada."
"I can't say I think much of your welcome."
- - Natira and Kirk, after the ambush on the landing party
"We've come in friendship."
"Then learn what it means to be our enemy before you learn what it means to be our friend."
- - Kirk and the Oracle, as it punishes the landing party
"But things are not as they teach us. For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky."
- - Fabrini Man's last words
"Forgive him for he was an old man, and old men are sometimes foolish."
- - Natira, as she prays by the Fabrini man's body
"But we're strangers to each other."
"But is not that the nature of men and women? That the pleasure is in the learning of each other?"
- - McCoy and Natira, as she asks him to be her mate
"Until I saw you, there was nothing in my heart. It sustained my life, but nothing more. Now it sings. I could be happy to have that feeling for a day, a week, a month, a year."
- - Natira, before kissing McCoy
"Is truth not truth for all?"
- - Natira, challenging the Oracle
- The idea of a multi-generational spaceship or "interstellar ark" is an old one that was first proposed in an unpublished paper by Robert Goddard in 1918. Goddard's fellow rocket pioneers Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and J.D. Bernal also considered the idea in the 1920s. Olaf Stapledon and Don Wilcox wrote stories about the idea in the 1940s, and Robert Heinlein originated the notion that inhabitants might forget they were on a ship in his book Orphans of the Sky. The energy, ecology, and life support needs of such a ship would be considerable.
- The Book of the People is the same as Chicago Mobs of the Twenties in "A Piece of the Action".
- The metal helical staircase is recycled from "The Empath".
- The scenes of Yonada are reused footage of the asteroid from "The Paradise Syndrome", and the helical staircase in the control room at the end of this episode seems to be the same one used inside the Obelisk in that same episode.
- This is the only series episode to feature three actors who appeared in the original pilot "The Cage": Leonard Nimoy (Spock), Majel Barrett (Nurse Christine Chapel) and Jon Lormer (old man) (not including "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II", which features much footage from "The Cage"). Barrett and Lormer played Number One and Theodore Haskins, respectively, in the pilot.
- Whether by chance or design, the music that accompanies the appearance of the old man played by Jon Lormer is the same music by Alexander Courage that played during some of his lines as Dr. Theodore Haskins in "The Cage".
- To give more depth to the planet set, the entrances to the underground civilization were built in two sizes: those in the distance were constructed much smaller, thus creating an illusion of distance.
- The bridge scene that runs under Kirk's voiceover at the start of Act One – where Kirk enters the bridge from the turboshaft – is the same footage from the very beginning of the episode.
- The field reader tube, normally used to take a medical patient's vital signs, is used in this episode by Spock to extract the instrument of obedience from Natira. This marks the only apparent close-up use of this prop in the series.
- In the beginning of Act One, the stock footage of Chekov at the nav station is altered. If you watch closely, they looped the footage so that Chekov's usual gaze down at the console to push a few buttons is omitted, so that he appears to be looking straight ahead at the viewscreen. This shows up especially well on a bigger screen.
- In the trailer, the scene where the Oracle turns on the heat plays without the red overlay or the heat-wave distortion effect.
- In the same scene, the reference to the temperature being "120 degrees" presumably refers to the Fahrenheit scale; while an ambient temperature of 120°F (48.9°C) would be very uncomfortable, an ambient temperature of 120°C would not only cause skin burns to all parties present and considerable damage to the book, it would also be hard to achieve without an exceptionally powerful heating element.
- According to a call sheet, Dick Geary appeared as a security guard in this episode, but it seems his appearance ended up as a deleted scene. 
- This episode has the longest title of any episode in any Star Trek series.
- In an early story outline (2 May 1968) it was Scotty who was ill.
- According to the the novel The Sorrows of Empire, McCoy's mirror universe counterpart died of xenopolycythemia in 2269, as the ISS Enterprise either never encountered or destroyed the Fabrini ship. He was succeeded as chief medical officer by the mirror universe counterpart of Dr. M'Benga, who continued to serve in that position until at least 2287.
- The remastered version of this episode premiered in syndication the weekend of 29 January 2007 and featured shots of a digital version of Yonada, more closely resembling real asteroids. The battle between the Enterprise and the missiles was also revamped digitally.
- The next remastered episode to air was "Journey to Babel".
- Story outline, 2 May 1968
- Story outline by Rik Vollaerts, 4 May 1968
- Story outline, 21 May 1968
- Second draft teleplay, 17 June 1968
- Second polished teleplay, 31 July 1968
- Final draft script, 7 August 1968.
- Revised final draft script, 8 August 1968.
- Filmed, 13 August 1968 – 20 August 1968
- Original airdate, 8 November 1968
- First UK airdate 27 October 1971
- Remastered airdate, 29 January 2007.
Video and DVD releases
- Original US Betamax release: 1988.
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 34, catalog number VHR 2430, 7 January 1991.
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994.
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.4, 20 October 1997.
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 33, 18 September 2001.
- As part of the TOS Season 3 DVD collection.
- As part of the TOS-R Season 3 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Katherine Woodville as Natira
- James Doohan as Scott
- George Takei as Sulu
- Walter Koenig as Chekov
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel
- Byron Morrow as Admiral Westervliet
- Jon Lormer as Old Man
- Frank da Vinci as Vinci
- James Doohan as the Oracle (voice)
- Richard Geary as a Security Guard (scenes deleted)
- Jeannie Malone as Fabrini servant
- Unknown performers as
asteroid; atomic power; Book of the People, the; Creators; Daran V; electrical shock; Fabrina; Fabrina solar system; Fabrini; fuel; heating element; hemoglobin; instrument of obedience; high priestess; logic; mile; missile; nurse; Oracle of the People; oxygen; physical examination; Prime Directive; red alert; spaceship; Starfleet Command; Xenopolycythemia; Yonada
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"The Tholian Web"
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"Journey to Babel"