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written by Gene L. Coon
Story by Fredric Brown
FINAL DRAFT, dated November 3, 1966
report & analysis by David Eversole

Click Here to Read a Synopsis of the Original SF Story

As with the other Gene Coon scripts I own, there are relatively few changes between the page and the screen. Minor matters of dialogue construction, the pacing of cutting back to the bridge, but only two differences of note.

Coon's teaser does not end with Kirk's line, "Cestus Three has been destroyed." His teaser runs until:

A variation of sonic disruptors,
I think. And very efficient ones.
Captain. . . if the Enterprise is
under attack... and we can't be
beamed up...

We stay here and fight it out!

We're hopelessly outnumbered. Our
hand phasers against those disruptors...

We're stuck with it, Mr. Spock.
We'll have to make do with what
we've got.

A big explosion showers them with dirt and debris. They duck for cover, as we



Act One then begins with Kirk ordering his men to flank out and lay down fire on the coordinates from Spock.

The decision to end the teaser with Kirk's dramatic line was a wise one -- it did what a teaser should do, it made us want to know how and why Cestus Three was destroyed. In short, it teased.

In the script, the character of Kelowitz is named Molton. Since actor Grant Woods was cast, and had already appeared in "The Galileo Seven" as Kelowitz, the character was renamed.

The script is very much as shot from here until near the end, save for a few structural changes in Acts Three and Four. Coon's script cuts back to the Enterprise on three different occasions. In the aired version, the Enterprise scenes have been further split, so that there are at least four major Enterprise bridge scenes interspersed with the battle between Kirk and the Gorn.

Spock rhetorically calls out the proportions as Kirk mixes: "75% potassium nitrate... saltpeter. 15% charcoal... 10% sulphur."

The only major plot point excised from the aired version reveals the Metrons' true original intentions.

I am afraid we perpetrated
a hoax on you.

What hoax?

We said that the ship of the loser
of this personal combat would be
destroyed. That is not quite
accurate. It is the winner... the
stronger, the more resourceful...
who would pose the greatest threat
to us. We planned to destroy the
vessel of the winner.
Your ship, Captain.

Not my ship.

No, captain. We have
changed our mind.

The rest of the Metron's dialogue explaining how they were impressed with Kirk's sparing of the Gorn's life is as aired.

Gene Coon's writing tenure with Star Trek began with this script which he wrote over one weekend. Legend has it that it was not originally credited to Fredric Brown until someone noticed the similarities between it and Brown's 1944 short story. Fearing a possible suit, Brown was contacted, and agreed to allow his story to be "adapted." Other than an advanced race causing a human and an alien to battle for their respective species, there are few similarities between the two.

As with a couple other scripts there is so little change between what was written and what aired a critique is really not possible. Other than to say, Gene Coon hit the ground running with this one, regardless of who is credited with the story. It was the beginning of a fruitful association which sadly would only last just about a season and a half.

FREDRIC BROWN (1906-1972): Prolific author of science fiction and mysteries with well over 300 short stories and novels to his credit. Some of his more famous novels are Martians Go Home, The Fabulous Clipjoint and The Screaming Mimi (all of which have been made into films). In addition to "Arena" (which, in 1970, was voted one of the top 20 SF short stories of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America), his short works of note include "Puppet Show," "Knock," "Imagine" and "Pi In The Sky." His stories have been adapted for television on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller and Darkroom. "Arena" was one of those stories often adapted for television (including Star Trek and The Outer Limits) and even for some films.

Click Here to Read a Synopsis of the Original SF Story

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