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KIRK: That's funny. KIRK: Explain. For this to do what it does is impossible by any science I understand. It is operating even now. Putting out waves and waves of time displacement, which we picked up millions of miles away. No sign of Doctor McCoy. Search progressing.

And he pops up from behind a rock after she and her security guard have passed by. It can't be a machine as we understand mechanics. KIRK: Then what is it? Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question. KIRK: What are you? KIRK: Are you machine or being? I am my own beginning, my own ending. A gateway to other times and dimensions, if I'm correct. Your science knowledge is obviously primitive. A gateway to your own past, if you wish. A camel train passing a pyramid, ancient Rome - images appear inside the doughnut.

I won't let you get me! Scott and a guard manage to grab McCoy, and Spock neck-pinches him. An army of lancers charge across the doughnut. KIRK: Spock! This time be certain that the hypo accident is avoided. Look at the speed with which the centuries are passing, Captain. Can you change the speed at which yesterday passes?

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I cannot change. The US cavalry charges. KIRK: Strangely compelling, isn't it? To step through there and lose oneself in another world. My tricorder is capable of recording even at this speed. I've missed taping centuries of living history which no man before has ever But McCoy has woken up, and dashes towards the Guardian. KIRK: Bones, no! McCoy leaps through the doughnut and the pictures stop. He's gone. KIRK: Where is he? I was talking to them. Suddenly, it went dead. No static, just nothing.

KIRK: Earth's not there. At least, not the Earth we know. We're totally alone. Captain's log, no stardate. For us, time does not exist. McCoy, back somewhere in the past, has effected a change in the course of time. All Earth history has been changed. There is no starship Enterprise. We have only one chance. We have asked the Guardian to show us Earth's history again. Spock and I will go back into time ourselves and attempt to set right what ever it was that McCoy changed.

A rather barbaric period in your American history. I believe I can approximate just when to jump. Perhaps within a month of the correct time. A week, if we're fortunate. It's vital we stop him before he does whatever it was that changed all history. It will be as though none of you had gone.

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KIRK: Scotty, when you think you've waited long enough. Each of you will have to try it. Even if you fail, at least you'll be alive in some past world somewhere. Stand by. First World War images. They leap through a wall with a poster for boxing at Madison Square Gardens. Welcome to the Depression. KIRK: I've seen old photographs of this period.

An economic upheaval had occurred. Quite barbaric. Two women give then curious looks, and Spock hides his ears with his hands. KIRK: We seem to be costumed a little out of step with the time. KIRK: Let's get out of here. They are nearly run down crossing the street. Why don't you watch where you're going? They head into an alley with washing hanging out on the fire escape. KIRK: Well, we'll steal from the rich and give back to the poor later. I think I'm going to like this century. Simple, easier to manage.

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We're not going to have any difficulty explaining Then he sees the policeman. KIRK: You're a police officer. I recognise the traditional accoutrements. I see you've noticed the ears. They're actually easy to explain. A crowd is gathering. KIRK: The unfortunate accident he had as a child. He caught his head in a mechanical rice picker. But fortunately, there was an American missionary living close by who was actually a skilled plastic surgeon in civilian life. Drop those bundles and put your hands on that wall there! Come on! KIRK: Oh, how careless of your wife to let you go out that way.

Here, let me help you. And a quick neck pinch in front of witnesses, then they grab the clothes and run off. With whistles blowing, they duck down the alley beside the 21st Street Mission and down the stairs to the cellar.

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KIRK: You were actually enjoying my predicament back there. At times, you seem quite human. KIRK: Sorry. They get changed into jeans and shirts. KIRK: Time we faced the unpleasant facts. KIRK: Arrives where? Honolulu, Boise, San Diego? Why not Outer Mongolia, for that matter? There could be some logic to the belief that time is fluid, like a river, with currents, eddies, backwash.

Locked in here is the place and moment of his arrival, even the images of what he did. If only I could tie this tricorder in with the ship's computers for just a few moments. KIRK: Couldn't you build some form of computer aid here? Excuse me. I sometimes expect too much of you. The lights come on. Spock puts on a woolen hat that was conveniently amongst the clothes Kirk stole. A young woman wearing an apron comes down the stairs. KIRK: Excuse us, miss. We didn't mean to trespass. It's cold outside. It isn't that cold. KIRK: No. We were being chased by a policeman.

KIRK: These clothes. We stole them. We didn't have any money. Doing dishes, sweeping, general cleaning. I need radio tubes and so forth. My hobby. What are your names? His is Spock. You can start by cleaning up down here. Where are we? KIRK: Do you run this place? She leaves them. KIRK: Radio tubes and so on.

I approve of hobbies, Mister Spock. Kirk and Spock collect their bowls of soup and pieces of bread, and sit at one of the long tables. She steps up onto a small stage with a piano. MAN: You'll be sorry. KIRK: Why? MAN: You expect to eat for free or something?

You got to listen to Goody Two-shoes. Shut up. I want to hear what she has to say. I'm not a do-gooder. If you're a bum, if you can't break off of the booze or whatever it is that makes you a bad risk, then get out. Now I don't pretend to tell you how to find happiness and love when every day is just a struggle to survive, but I do insist that you do survive because the days and the years ahead are worth living for.

One day soon man is going to be able to harness incredible energies, maybe even the atom. Energies that could ultimately hurl us to other worlds in some sort of spaceship.

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It's a terrible double-bind, and I'm not sure if the scenario offers a way out of it. No, I think it's a great reading and definitely a valid one and that's very much the train of thought I wanted to provoke by putting Organians here. It's just I would argue that's not the only relationship on display here: The agent and Ayelborne were not meant to be quite so This may well be my fault for not making it clear enough in the structure of the post, though.

I'm starting to feel I should start providing reading guides for this kind of post Why on Earth would you do something like that? The ambiguity of interpretations is what makes it good art. And the best analysis good art is itself good art. Personally I wouldn't mind a reading guide every now and then :T If it could be spoiler'd somehow. Ambiguity is all well and good, but it can be a hindrance if you're not getting everything you can out of the work in question as a result; I found this one a bit difficult to parse at first, but that's just me.

And hey, an excuse to re-read :. Adam My sentiments exactly, but it's nice to hear them from someone else on occasion-Validation is good sometimes Hi - been reading all your current posts since you began - keep up the good work! Thanks for a good read with this essay. I got something interesting from the essay that perhaps was unintended - I love these moments in good art, either accidents creating new moments of magic, or conjunctions occurring that the artist did not themselves see at first. As I scrolled down with my trackpad, I started reading your essay and was very taken with the image of the Guardian as it was superimposed upon that of the Earth below.

I noticed something, and this was underlined when further images of the Guardian were repeated as I continued to scroll, but with new visions within. What it looked like to me was that the Guardian was creating an opening into the hollow Planet Earth, which then with each scroll down, contained new worlds or civilisations. Interestingly this could not happen in the same way if this was in a book and was an artefact of reading and scrolling on a computer with some images superimposed over others.

It also obviously depended on my eye placing the images at the right point on the dark part of the planet for it to work - and the first three or four worked best my designer eye wanted also to NOT have the image cropped at the bottom. Anyway what it made me think of was all of the Hollow Earth tales propagated by many cultures and myths of the Black Sun Aztecs, Sumerians and many more.

What interested me was how groups and individuals use ideas such as this for their own means - such is seen at Wewelsburg Castle in Germany, where the SS redesigned the castle, as for them it sat on the axis point of the "Center of the World" - giving access to the power of the Black Sun in the Hollow Earth. Anyways, group have their stories, their myths and even their conspiracies that get out hand and grow a life of their own - such as the idea of this being the best Original Series episode ever.

Spock deduces that the Guardian is a time portal — a gateway to other times and dimensions, which the Guardian confirms is correct and activates its portal, offering Kirk and Spock a gateway into Earth 's past. Suddenly, McCoy cries out — he has been cornered by the search parties.

Still madly convinced they are killers and assassins, he tries to escape, but is subdued by a Vulcan nerve pinch , courtesy of Spock. Kirk ponders if they could use the Guardian of Forever to take McCoy backwards a day in time to make certain that his accident never happens. However, the portal's speed is moving fairly quickly, jumping from century to century. Spock suddenly realizes that his tricorder is capable of recording images at the same speed and activates it, just as McCoy regains consciousness. As the landing party is transfixed on the Guardian and the images it is showing, McCoy hears the Guardian explain that this portal will allow people to go anywhere in time.

With the landing party momentarily distracted, McCoy jumps up and runs towards the portal until it is too late to stop him. The doctor jumps through it and the portal shuts down. When Kirk wonders where he went, the voice of the Guardian explains " He has passed into… what was… ". Uhura suddenly discovers that she's completely lost contact with the Enterprise. Scott finds nothing wrong with the communicators , but the Guardian further explains that " Your vessel, your beginning, all that you knew is gone. Uhura tells Kirk she's frightened, but, Kirk is equally as disturbed.

The tricorder scans Spock took just as McCoy left reveal that he jumped back to the early 20th century and can approximate when they should jump through the portal, putting them possibly a month or a week prior to McCoy's arrival. Kirk wonders how they will return to the their own time, but the Guardian tells him that if he is successful in mending the timeline, they will all be returned, as if none of them had gone. Scott and Uhura are skeptical about their chances, but Spock logically states that there is no alternative. Kirk, however, out of concern for his officers, tells each of the landing party to jump through the portal if they feel like they've waited long enough for he and Spock to return, allowing them to live in Earth's past rather than be stranded on the Guardian's planet should they fail to find the time date McCoy jumped to.

Scott and Uhura bid them good luck as Kirk and Spock simultaneously jump through the portal, backwards through time. They arrive in New York City , circa Kirk recognizes the period from old photographs , which Spock clarifies that an economic upheaval had occurred at this point in time. As passersby scrutinize Kirk and Spock's unusual appearance, they make for a back alley to get out of sight.

Kirk notices some contemporary clothes on a fire escape and elects to steal them, as their Starfleet uniforms are not suited for the time period. However, they are approached by a police officer , caught red-handed. As Kirk awkwardly tries to explain Spock's Vulcan ears, the policeman prepares to arrest them.

However, Spock disables him with a nerve pinch and they escape to the basement of what they soon learn is the 21st Street Mission. After changing clothes, Spock laments that locked in his tricorder are the images of how McCoy will change history. Unfortunately, he would need to tie it into the Enterprise computer to access the information. Kirk wonders if he could build a computer aid using contemporary materials, but, Spock is dubious as to its success. As their voices carry, they are accosted by the proprietor of the mission, Edith Keeler.

Kirk apologizes for their intrusion and tells her the truth as to why they came down there — that they had stolen their clothes because they had no money and were being chased by a policeman. Believing them to be victims of the poor economy, Edith offers them jobs at the mission doing chores at fifteen cents an hour for ten hours a day. Kirk and Spock agree and set to cleaning up the basement.

Hours later, they are eating their complimentary dinner of soup and bread with the other poverty-stricken citizens, when Keeler takes the stage and gives a motivational speech about how she believes the days ahead are worth living for, theorizing that one day soon, man will be able to harness the power of the atom , which could ultimately propel them into outer space, where they will be able to find ways to feed the hungry millions of the world, to cure their diseases, and give mankind hope and a common future.

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Kirk is impressed with her foresight into the future, while Spock believes it to be merely intuition. Afterwards, Keeler compliments Kirk on his and Spock's work in the basement and offers them further work and sets them up with a " flop " an apartment in the building where she lives. Several days later, Spock is hard at work attempting to build the computer aid to access the information in his tricorder, but he laments the speed at which the work is progressing as the technology of the 20th century is barely adequate for his needs. The next day, Spock observes a man using tools for finely detailed work and steals them from the mission's toolbox using his sensitive Vulcan ears to break the combination.

Keeler quickly discovers the theft and is very upset that Spock did it, but Kirk is able to convince her that Spock meant no ill will, and would return the tools when he was finished. Edith agrees, as she has become fascinated by Kirk, and asks him to walk her home. The two become close as Keeler questions where Kirk comes from and how he sees the world the same way that she does.

As they walk away, Spock looks concerned. After a few more days, Spock is finally able to access the information in the tricorder, where he discovers Edith Keeler's obituary — her death the result of a traffic accident. As Kirk enters, he attempts to replay it for him, but another image appears — a newspaper article from , detailing a meeting Keeler has with President Franklin D.

Unfortunately, the strain on the computer aid overloads it, requiring extensive repair work before it can be used again. Kirk believes within six years, Keeler will become nationally famous, but Spock tells Kirk their caretaker will die this year. Spock tells Kirk of Keeler's obituary, and that Edith Keeler is the focal point in time that both they and Dr.

McCoy will be drawn to. Kirk ponders what the correct course of history is, if she lives or dies and what role McCoy, especially in his cordrazine-induced condition will play in it — does he kill her or prevent her from being killed? Spock asks Kirk the most pressing question of all: Suppose they discover to set history right, Edith Keeler must die?

Kirk cannot answer and he wrestles with his growing affection for her and the role she will ultimately play in history. In a back alley elsewhere in the city, Dr. McCoy arrives, screaming out to the "assassins" and the "murderers", garnering the attention of a homeless man , awestruck with fear.

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He runs, but McCoy pursues him, promising he won't kill him. He eventually catches up to him, but, McCoy soon wonders where he is. The constellations in the sky lead him to believe that he's on Earth, but, even in his manic state, he believes it's some kind of trick. He begins sobbing hysterically at how hospitals in the past needed to use needles and sutures to attend to people and loses consciousness. The derelict picks McCoy's pocket and takes his phaser.

Unfortunately, as he examines it, he activates the overload circuit and disintegrates himself. The next morning, McCoy looks in terrible shape. As he staggers around the streets, still suffering the effects of his cordrazine overdose, he discovers the 21st Street Mission. He goes inside, where Edith is serving coffee.