22007 "One of Our Planets is Missing"

(airdate: September 22, 1973)

Writer: Marc Daniels
Director: Hal Sutherland

Arex: James Doohan

Bob Wesley: James Doohan

Cosmic Cloud: Majel Barrett

Stardate: 5371.3

Captain's Log: The Enterprise encounters a giant cosmic cloud that is devouring planets - and the inhabited planet of Mantilles is the cloud's next target. The ship is pulled inside the cloud, where the crew discovers that the cloud is in fact a living being. Kirk is determined to stop the cloud before it reaches Mantilles, even willing to destroy the Enterprise, but Spock determines that the cloud is in fact intelligent, and, after mentally reaching out to the cloud, is able to persuade it that Mantilles is inhabited and that it should leave it alone and return home.

Whoops!: Why is Kirk helping Scotty with the antimatter engines? Wouldn't that be a task better suited to a fellow engineer, like Gabler?

Library Computer: The Pallas 14 system was a remote star system on the outer fringe of our galaxy, with at least three planets, including Mantilles, the most remote inhabited planet in the Federation. [It's not clear, based on the diagram in the episode, if the innermost orbiting object is a planet or another star.] The outermost planet of the Pallas 14 system was Alondra, an uninhabited planet that was consumed by a large cosmic cloud. Mantilles was the next outermost planet [probably; it's not explicit, but that seems like a reasonable assumption given the events of the episode]. It was a blue-white world with a population of 82 million people. The governor of Mantilles was Bob Wesley ("The Ultimate Computer"), who left Starfleet to become the governor. Wesley had an eleven-year-old daughter named Katie. Mantilles was the next target of the cosmic cloud after Alondra, and so the planet evacuated 5000 children in preparation for the end.
     The cosmic cloud was a large orange-brown living organism, some 800,000 kilometers across and about half that in depth [or, as Arex informs us, "Twice the diameters of Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune together!" (two-and-a-half times, actually)]. It appears to have come from another galaxy and traveled through the void to our galaxy. The cloud was a combination of matter and energy, containing elements not on the periodic table. It could ensnare passing objects by extending "streamers" consisting of koinoenergy that was almost an ambiplasma, with an unusually powerful attraction force. [Somewhat surprisingly, this isn't actually technobabble but rather a reference to an alternate theory of the origins of the universe (now discarded, as it doesn't adequately explain things like the background radiation of the universe), called Klein-Alfvén (or sometimes symmetric) cosmology, which theorized that the universe was in fact made up of equal amounts of matter and antimatter, separated by electromagnetic fields. Regular matter was called koinomatter, while ambiplasma was a mix of matter and antimatter.] The cloud "ate" by enveloping cosmic objects like planets and breaking them up inside, using highly-charged gaseous antimatter "bodies" in a manner similar to teeth in order to reduce the size of the object. There were also mists near the opening where the Enterprise was swallowed that acted as a macromorphase enzyme, breaking up larger chunks into smaller ones. Further inside the cloud, in the core of the being, were sets of huge antimatter protrusions that acted as villi; when matter came into contact with them, an explosion happened, with the cloud absorbing the resulting energy [probably].
     The cloud was also intelligent; it had a brain near the top of the core, and it was capable of communicating with Spock, once he reached out to it with the help of the Enterprise's sensors. The cloud could also, with effort, perceive tiny (to it) beings such as the people on Mantilles and had no wish to knowingly destroy intelligent life. It used a grid at the top of the core of the cloud in order to sense things. [No word as to how that works.] This grid was positioned in such a way that the Enterprise could leave the cloud by passing through the grid.
     The Enterprise uses a combination of matter and antimatter to power its engines - one engine appears to be a matter engine, while the other is an antimatter engine. [The implication seems to be that each nacelle provides one of the elements, and it's their explosive combination that propels the ship.] If the reserves go below two anti-kilos, however, the engines won't regenerate. Scotty is able to rig a forcefield box that can suspend a piece of antimatter (in this case, a piece of the cloud's villi), which is able to use to transport the antimatter to the appropriate regenerating chamber.
     The regenerating chamber for the antimatter engine is located inside the antimatter engine, at the end of a long cylindrical corridor [almost certainly meant to be the nacelle, although this isn't explicit]. The engine is filled with large sparking tubes [carrying energy to the rest of the ship, presumably] that connect to a massive central pipe running beneath the access catwalk that runs the length of the engine.
     The Enterprise can use the shields to emit a circular antimatter charge to destroy any incoming projectiles. This charge appears to emanate from the bridge area of the ship.
     Lt. Arex is a three-armed alien [an Edosian from the planet Edos, according to the 1974 catalog from Lincoln Enterprises - Roddenberry's mail-order company, designed to make money off of Star Trek fans]. He has reddish-brown skin, with yellow eyes with vertical slit pupils. Arex's head is quite angular, with a large flattened nose and a fin protruding down from his jawline. He also has a long neck. Arex's third arm is located in the center of his chest. He wears command gold, and is the Enterprise's navigator. [Arex was in the debut episode of the Animated Series, but this is the first episode (by airdate) in which he actually has lines.]
     Starfleet regulations prohibit the killing of intelligent lifeforms without good cause.
     Uhura can link the universal translator to the ship's sensors and allow Spock to communicate with the cloud, as well as allowing the crew to "hear" what the cloud is saying to Spock.
     Spock has the ability to let the cloud take over his body and experience what Spock experiences, by having them share their thoughts. During this exchange, Spock experiences "the wonders of the universe", which he describes as "incredible".

Final Analysis: "In three hours and twenty minutes the cloud will reach Mantilles. Millions of people will die." Marc Daniels shifts from directing Trek to writing it, with this entertaining script. "One of Our Planets is Missing" is admittedly a bit derivative at times (as it seems to borrow from episodes like "The Doomsday Machine" and "The Immunity Syndrome"), but the episode is aided by some impressive animation (at least by Filmation standards), and Daniels nails the characters, making the finished product a story that never stops being fun.

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Page last updated: June 16, 2017

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