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written by Joyce Muskat
STORY OUTLINE, dated May 7, 1968

report & analysis by Dave Eversole

 

Another rare outline that changed very very little when it was scripted, amazing since Miss Muskat was an inexperienced writer for television.

The few changes are superficial, but worth noting:

The star around which the unnamed planet orbited was identified as Theta-7 in the outline, Minara in the aired episode.

A radiation storm instead of a solar flare is the device used to send the Enterprise away from the planet in the outline.

The jewels on Gem’s gown fade and go dull as she heals wounds on the Enterprise crewmen.

In the outline, Gem first heals Kirk’s bloody knuckles after he engages in fisticuffs with the Vians. In the aired episode, she heals a cut on his forehead.

Gem’s arms (and later her entire body) become translucent as she heals the very egregious wounds.

Lal and Thann, the two Vians, are described simply as bald humanoids with furrowed brows.

When Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Gem escape to the surface of the planet, they see the illusions of Scotty, Chekov and Uhura. In the aired episode, they saw Scotty and two redshirts.

In the outline, Act Three ends as McCoy leaves Gem to go with the Vians. In the aired episode, Act Three did not end until Kirk and Spock found McCoy’s ravaged body.

Here, McCoy’s torture is acted out with him strapped to a chair, not hanging from chains attached to the ceiling as was Kirk.

Gem fully heals McCoy in the outline. In the aired episode, the Vians stop her and effect McCoy’s final healing themselves.

The Vians reveal that they plan to erect a forcefield about Gem’s planet to save its inhabitants.

And that is that. This episode was one of the few penned by someone who was primarily a fan of the program and not a professional writer (David Gerrold and Jean Lisette Aroeste are the only other two I’m aware of whose first professional sales were episodes of the series). In Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman, producer Bob Justman reveals that he was the one who read Muskat’s outline and recommended it be bought.

The episode is basically a Star Trek version of the age-old "hurt-comfort" story with a bit of a "Mary Sue" to save the day. Fortunately, it is a cut above the average fannish story, and its themes are evocative, even if one is umcomfortable as hell with the sadistic torture storyline.

DeForest Kelly often said this was his favorite episode of the series.

An article written by Allan Asherman has suggested that judging from a film clip where Gem appears to be "breathing life" into McCoy that the doctor had actually died from his wounds and that Gem gave her own life to restore his. This ties in with the "Pearl of Great Price" parable evoked by Scotty that speaks to the rewards of the afterlife.


Joyce Muskat: A devoted fan of Star Trek and an active member in southern California’s Society For Creative Anachronism. This was her only sale to television.


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