markofgideon.gif (4303 bytes)

written by George F. Slavin & Stanley Adams
STORY OUTLINE, dated July 12, 1968

report & analysis by Dave Eversole

As this outline is quite different from the aired episode, a direct comparison would be long and tedious. I’ll simply outline the story as originally envisioned.

TEASER

The Enterprise arrives at the planet Gideon to pick up ambassador Hodan, who will petition for his planet’s admission into the Federation.

When he beams aboard, Hodan wears a strange globe-like medallion about his neck. Kirk learns that the humanoid, about 50 years old, by Earth reckoning, recently suffered the loss of his hand in an accident. However, rudimentary fingers are growing out of the stump of Hodan’s arm. McCoy is especially amazed as the man’s hand regenerates before their eyes.

Hodan’s people have developed the ability to reform injured cellular groupings to their original structure. McCoy asks that the Enterprise remain at Gideon for a while so he can study this amazing medical phenomena. Kirk grants him twenty-four hours, and Hodan agrees to have six of his people beamed aboard the Enterprise.

When the six arrive, they also wear globe-like medallions. They suddenly draw lethal weapons and hold the transporter room personnel hostage. With Kirk and crew powerless, they beam others aboard, and make known their plans to beam every Enterprise crewmember down to Gideon. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott and Nurse Chapel are the first to be forced onto the transporter pads and beamed away.

ACT ONE

Kirk and crew face Hodan and three Ministers in the Gideon High Council Chambers. Hodan assures Kirk his people are well. He further reassures the captain that he left a skeleton crew aboard the Enterprise, under Gideon guard.

Hodan, quite cordially, admits that Gideon’s petition to enter the Federation was a ruse to lure a starship into a trap. Hodan knows that Federation Code, General Order No. 1, precludes interference in the normal development of life on a planet, and thus the Federation would not willingly help them since what they are about to demand of Kirk would, in fact, be interfering with their normal life cycle.

There is no sickness on Gideon –- no viruses, no germs -– and any injury immediately regenerates and heals. Spock catches on quickly -- "In Earth’s terms, there is no such thing as death on Gideon." Hodan nods, and explains that that is the cause of their over-population problem. When McCoy asks why they have no programs to curtail reproduction, Hodan explains that sterilization will not work since the Gideon bodies will almost immediately revert to their original state.

Since Humans have a host of ailments, Hodan hopes to transfuse Human blood with Gideon blood to introduce a mortality syndrome. McCoy is outraged at the thought of being a living blood bank.

Kirk starts to protest, but an elevator door opens before them. Jets of eye-stinging spray force them into the elevator which shoots upward.

The elevator doors open onto a hexagonal shaped room with several sterile cubicles. Each cubicle contains a metallic bed, diagnostic equipment duplicated from McCoy’s sickbay and individual blood transfusing/circulating units. Each cubicle is watched over by a Gideon guard.

The room is also equipped with a central viewing screen, a tape library and translucent furniture.

Hodan’s image appears on the viewing screen. He welcomes the Enterprise personnel to their new living quarters. When Kirk demands to know how long they are to be kept there, Hodan is evasive. It depends on the outcome of this pilot study group. Since there are of course no doctors or hospitals on Gideon, McCoy will administer the program under Hodan’s supervision.

McCoy refuses to cooperate. In that case, Hodan says, no Enterprise crewmember will ever leave Gideon alive. The screen goes blank.

Kirk, Spock and Scott attack three Gideon guards, and each delivers normally crippling judo blows. The guards are only momentarily stunned. When Spock applies the Vulcan nerve pinch to one, the guard half-collapses, then stands back up. The three attacked guards do not attempt to retaliate.

Hodan reappears on the screen. Should Kirk try such foolish actions again, the guards will not be as kind.

Kirk and crew can only stare at Hodan’s image in frustration.

ACT TWO

In their new living quarters, Kirk confers with his officers. McCoy blames himself. If he had not insisted on staying to study the Gideons they wouldn’t be in their present predicament. Kirk shares the feelings of blame as he was the one who allowed the six Gideons to beam aboard.

Spock searches his encyclopedic mind for an answer. Every living organism, logically, has a fault or weakness. They must discover the Gideons’ and exploit it.

The elevator doors slide open and five very attractive Gideon females enter with trays of food. The hungry crew stares at the food, but Kirk refuses it. They will not eat –- they will not cooperate.

Hodan appears on the screen and reiterates his position. The Enterprise crew must remain healthy in order for the experiments to work. If they will not eat voluntarily...

CUT TO Nurse Chapel bound to an upright bed. A tube from a suspended funnel leads into her throat. The other four, similarly bound, watch in revulsion as she is force-fed.

Hodan apologizes for the crudeness of the force-feeding apparatus. His people have no experience with such medical-like devices and have had to resort to very basic measures to feed them.

Kirk, realizing further resistance is futile, gives in and says they will voluntarily eat.

As the crew is released, one of the guards catches a female servant stealing food from one of the trays. She begs Hodan’s forgiveness. He orders her "nutriment allotment" be cut in half as punishment. When Kirk intervenes on the woman’s behalf, he learns that on Gideon fresh food is a luxury due to the over-population. Their diet is restricted to chemical concentrates. As the envious Gideons look on the Enterprise crew eat with little enthusiasm.

Soon McCoy is conducting the blood transfusions. Three Gideons, two men and a lovely woman named Odona, are the first subjects. Hodan warns them not to discuss the experiments with any other Gideons. For volunteering to be test subjects, all three will be rewarded with fresh food.

From the outline:

McCoy outlines the details of the procedure to Kirk. There will be a blood mix, a complete recirculation of blood between the three Gideons and three of the crew members. Kirk selects the crew members: himself, Spock and Scott. McCoy and Nurse Chapel will be excluded since they must administer the process.

McCoy will not let Kirk participate. He has analyzed the Gideons’ blood. There are certain incompatible elements that may seriously harm the crewmembers. McCoy can’t give Kirk any more definite information than this. Kirk orders McCoy to proceed anyway. It is their only hope of being released.

Kirk is Odona’s circulation partner. She smiles sweetly at him, assured in her indestructibility. Kirk forces a smile in return.

The procedure begins. McCoy is very busy throughout, compensating for differences in Human and Vulcan and Gideon body temperature, blood density, etc.

Once finished, the Gideons are placed in adjoining cubicles, where their systems are monitored by the equipment copied from McCoy’s sickbay. McCoy is ordered to inform Hodan of the first sign of biotic infection.

Spock shows no symptoms. Scott is nauseous, but Kirk is very weak.

When the Gideon servant girls return with the evening’s food, Spock talks with the one who was punished by Hodan. He gives her some of his food, and questions her. Grateful, she tells him everything he wishes to know: the Gideon guards on the Enterprise are replaced at eleven hundred hours. The guards are transported directly to the ship from the council chamber.

Suddenly, Odona is seized in a violent spasm. She experiences increased temperature, erratic pulse fluctuations and rapid breathing. The intermixing of the blood has created a mutant virus which will kill her unless she is treated by antibiotics aboard the Enterprise.

Odona’s skin suddenly glows a bright red.

From the outline:

Spock reasons that the Gideon phosphorescent particle-charged atmosphere reflects the concentrated heat caused by increased body temperature.

Kirk orders McCoy to help Odona until they can get the antibiotics. Spock interjects -- the very purpose of the experiment was to find a way to introduce death to the Gideons. If they save Odona, Hodan will not release them, and they would have to cause the death of another Gideon.

McCoy, as usual, says damn the logic. His Hippocratic Oath demands that he attempt to save Odona’s life.

Kirk is torn between saving a life or assuring their release by allowing her to die.

Suddenly, Kirk is aware that everyone is staring at him.

A bright red glow begins on Kirk’s forehead and begins to spread.

ACT THREE

McCoy determines that Kirk is also a victim of the powerful mutant virus that afflicts Odona. Spock and Scott must have stronger resistances than he does. But McCoy cannot do anything to help until he gets the antibiotics.

Hodan and guards enter. Odona will not be spared. No one will interfere with the experiment.

McCoy explains to him that sooner or later the two Gideon males, and Spock and Scott, will contract the virus. Their resistance can only last so long.

Kirk appeals to Hodan. McCoy is sure Odona will soon die. Isn’t that sure knowledge that Gideon death is possible enough? He begs for McCoy to be allowed to get the antibiotics and save her. Hodan is not swayed. He has no first hand knowledge of death and wishes to see it with his own eyes.

Kirk angrily demands to know what will become of the crew if Odona dies. Hodan assures him that after the entire Enterprise crew has introduced enough of the mutant virus into the Gideon population to insure a mortality cycle, he will consider releasing them.

As Kirk continues to argue with Hodan, Spock and Scott sneak aboard the elevator and make their way to the council chamber. They jam the elevator so the relief guards cannot come down. It is exactly eleven hundred hours.

Onboard the Enterprise, the Gideon guards, unaware of Spock and Scott’s machinations, order the relief guards beamed on board.

Spock and Scott materialize, jump the guards with the help of the skeleton crew. The Enterprise crewmembers are outnumbered, are losing the fight. Suddenly, Spock accidentally tears loose one guard’s globe-like medallion. The Gideon immediately begins to gasp for breath. The others, seeing this, tear the other guards’ medallions from about their necks. They, too, begin to choke for air.

After the Gideons are secured with bonds, Spock determines that the medallions are respirators that neutralize the nitrogen in the air on the Enterprise. Nitrogen gives the Gideons "the bends." At last Spock knows this race’s weakness.

Hodan is informed of Spock and Scott’s ruse, and told that the jammed elevator has been fixed. He contacts the Enterprise. Spock demands that Hodan release the Enterprise crew in return for the Gideon personnel on the Enterprise. Hodan refuses. In this stand-off, he knows he has the advantage.

Kirk orders Spock to go to the nearest starbase with the skeleton crew. Spock refuses. Since Kirk has such a violent fever, he is no longer capable of giving command orders. Spock takes command of the Enterprise. He will remain in orbit.

Kirk reaches an agreement with Hodan -- if one of the Gideons dies, Hodan will allow Scott to beam down from the Enterprise with the antibiotics to save the other two.

Kirk and McCoy’s eyes lock. McCoy seems to know what Kirk is planning. He and Nurse Chapel enter the cubicle of one of the male Gideons and pretend to take monitor readings. McCoy manages to inject the Gideon with a drug that simulates death as Kirk diverts Hodan’s attention.

A few minutes later, McCoy informs Hodan that one of the Gideon males has died. Hodan curiously inspects the man, confirms his death via readings on the monitor. McCoy then begs him to allow Scott to beam down immediately, as Odona is also near death.

Hodan is about to give the order, but declares that he has one last test. He suddenly produces a knife, slashes a long gash in the arm of the "dead" Gideon. The wound heals itself.

Hodan is furious that they have tried to trick him. The next time they pull such a stunt, they will be restricted to their cubicles and treated like laboratory animals.

But he calms somewhat. Judging by Odona’s fever-wracked state, he will not have to wait long to see a real Gideon death.

ACT FOUR

Hodan has left. Kirk orders McCoy to prepare a hypodermic full of mixed blood.

When Hodan returns with his three Ministers to witness Odona’s death, Kirk, using all the strength he can muster, jumps him. McCoy quickly injects Hodan with the mixed blood. Hodan stares at his arm. Though the needle mark is soon gone, he knows very well that he has been infected with the mutant virus.

On the Enterprise, Spock and Scott work out a plan to rescue Kirk. We don’t know the details, just that Spock has devised the plan with knowledge of the Gideons’ vulnerability to nitrogen.

Hodan asks McCoy if he will die from the virus. McCoy tells him there is no way he can know. It depends on his level of resistance. Some Gideons will die from it, some will be able to resist it fully and live. "Survival of the fittest," McCoy says.

From the outline:

Hodan fiercely protests that he can’t die. None of them can. That’s how he planned it. The council members and their families were to remain immortal.

The Gideon guards look shocked at this. Kirk now knows why Hodan warned the test subjects not to discuss the experiments with other Gideons. While the general population dies, those selected few will continue to live forever.

Hodan’s resistance collapses. He passes out. Kirk contacts the Enterprise and Spock and Scott beam down with the antibiotics.

Suddenly, one of the Ministers collapses and his face glows red even though he was not injected with mixed blood. McCoy surmises that like many viruses, this one can be transmitted through the respiratory system and since the Minister was in close contact with Hodan he caught it.

The guards aim their weapons at the crew. Kirk reminds them that Hodan and the council planned to introduce death to them but not themselves. The guards waiver, and Kirk and crew attack and take their weapons. They leave, taking Odona with them.

From the outline:

Aboard the Enterprise and heading for Starbase, Kirk and Spock discuss the merits of their personal theories.

Spock’s convinced that the physical flaw in the Gideons’ physiological makeup was responsible for their downfall. Kirk’s equally convinced it was the psychological flaw. Scott thinks it was a combination of both. Before the debate can be decided, McCoy appears with a recovered Odona –- and there’s no better way to change the subject.

Three words: Condoms, condoms, condoms.

Okay, so we are never told if the Gideons’ genitalia are in the same place as Humans or if they interact in the same manner. But judging by Odona’s televised appearance, they are mammalian. And even if the genitals are on their knees, and assuming one partner releases sperm, or the Gideon equivalent, and the other has an egg, seems like there should be a way to stop the fertilization from occurring. Some type of barrier, a Gideon condom, to stop A from reaching B.

The aired episode solves this problem when Kirk offers the Federation’s assistance in providing "devices" to prevent conception. Hodin (note the changed spelling from the outline) lectures Kirk on his people’s love of life and desire not to interfere with normal reproductive cycles.

I’m not a doctor, never played one as a kid or on TV, normally don’t watch ones on TV, though Dr. House has his moments, but correct me if I’m wrong. Aren’t germs and bacteria and so forth essential components in cellular biology? And ain’t it dangerous to mix blood of two species who have just met? And can a being really live on chemical nutriments? Don’t living creatures need bulk in their systems? Again, my ramblings are Human-centric, I know, and the Gideons just look very very Human...

Dr. Jim Ausfahl, M. D., the medical advisor for Orion Press, was shown a copy of this review and my layman medical ramblings. Jim was kind enough to write:

1. The Gideonites, to be disease free and able to regenerate totally, will have an amazingly robust immune system. Foreign matter, like Human blood, won't stand a chance in the Gideonite blood stream. Putting them in parabiosis (the sharing of blood circulation, here) isn't going to do a thing, and might well kill the Humans.

2. Intermixing the blood is not going to create a mutant virus. Now, the Human's leukocytes might attack the Gideonite cells, but create a mutant virus? I think not.

3. Body heat does not get to the point where it's going to cause atmospheric particles to go phosphorescent. Well, not at levels Humans reach, anyhow. And it sure isn't going to generate much in terms of ion pairs, either. Gotta get it hotter than Humans can endure for that.

4. Medallions neutralizing the nitrogen to prevent the bends... Ah, no. You'd have to remove the nitrogen from the atmospheric mix. "The Bends" is nitrogen bubbles forming in the bloodstream as nitrogen that is dissolved in it under high pressures suddenly is under lower pressure and pops out of solution. It'd be one whale of a medallion that would handle that!

5. Humans subsist on synthetic diets; sometimes orally, sometimes intravenously, when there is massive damage to the small bowel, rendering it incompetant to absorb enough. Bulk can be added synthetically. Spell that Hydrocil, Metamucil, Efferpsyllium, Konsul.

6. There are two basic types of phallus out there in reality land; the Human "plunger" type, and the dog's "sharp stick" type. The latter would be quite hard to produce a satisfactory condom for.

7. There are rats that have been raised in microbe-free environments, and are (until they are purposely contaminated) germ free. Germs are not necessary for survival--just helpful.

8. A race that regenerates everything back to the way it was would have a whale of a problem handling memory, you know... That involves cellular changes that would tend to achieve reversal.

My thanks to Dr. Ausfahl.

But, all that aside, this early version of the episode is another of what I call the "Three Acts In A Basement" stories, wherein all the action centers around one set, with people simply entering and leaving on occasion. It lacks the aired episode’s extremely suspenseful first three acts, but is without the fallacy of a faux ship duplicated solely to fool Kirk. Though that was one hell of a good Twilight Zone-ish shocker back when I was ten or twelve, it really serves no logical purpose.

The late Stanley Adams is said to have been a man deeply concerned with the problems of over-population. Trek lore has it that in a casual conversation with Gene Roddenberry he suggested Star Trek should do a story to reflect those concerns and was given an immediate green light to write one himself.


George F. Slavin (1916-2001): A prolific writer of film and television, whose career spanned the years 1947 to 1980, the first ten of which he wrote mostly low-budget films, the best known of which is I Married A Communist. He then increasingly turned his talents to television and wrote for programs such as Maverick, Bonanza, The Virginian, Combat!, Happy Days, Charlie's Angels and Hawaii Five-0. "The Mark of Gideon" was his only sale to Star Trek.

Stanley Adams (1915-1977): Actor who made nearly 200 film and television appearances between 1952 and 1977. Films for which he is best remembered are Death of A Salesman (as the Bartender) and Breakfast At Tiffany's. Star Trek fans know him as Cyrano Jones in "The Trouble With Tribbles." He also provided the voice of Jones for the animated episode, "More Tribbles, More Troubles." He appeared in The Twilight Zone, Gilligan's Island and Lost In Space (as a giant intelligent carrot of all things), among many others too numerous to mention. As a writer, he penned episodes for several series, including Bonanza, Mannix and The Flying Nun. Sadly, Mister Adams took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot. A complete listing of his credits is at: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0011366/


main.gif (11611 bytes)


Free counters provided by Andale.

banner.gif (754 bytes)

Click here to return to the Unseen Elements Page.
Click here to return to the Articles Page.
Click here to return to the Main Index Page.