The Thing looks around at the Away Team as their tranya remains undrunk. "Gentlemen!" he says, and drinks. From a glass held in a freakishly large hand. MANHANDS! MANHANDS! Are they fake as well? "Ahh!" The Thing breathes. Kirk sips and makes a "hey, not bad" face, and the other guys drink as well. Kirk asks about the blue-faced, needle-chinned mannequin in the front hall. "My alter-ego, so to speak," The Thing explains. The idea that someone as bizarre as this even needs an alter-ego mathematically boggles the mind when I consider how exponentially freakish the alter-ego could get. "In your culture, he would be Mr. Hyde to my Jekyll," The Thing chuckles. Well, he said it, I didn't. The Thing weirds on, "You must admit he was effective -- you never would have been frightened by me!" I beg to differ. I really, really, REALLY beg to differ! Those severely auburned eyebrows alone are worth a nightmare or two. The Thing congratulates himself that his distress signal was "quite clever." "It was a pleasure testing you," The Thing says, settling back on his shot-silk bolster. Beetle gets his back up about being tested, but Kirk smiles as he figures it all out. The Thing said he had to find out their real intentions, and Kirk points out that he probed their memory banks. Please! Don't use the word "probe" in any sense when an embryonic Clint Howard is wearing platinum go-go boots and offering Kirk drinks from a pile of pink pillows and harem curtains. The Thing said the records could have been a fabrication. "And your crew?" Bones asks. The Thing throws his Silly Putty gourd back and laughs uproariously. Activate emergency remote! Activate emergency remote! I'm serious when I ask if you people out there know what I go through for you. The cats -- my two "protectors" -- are now shuddering in their hooded litterboxes. They're down about three lives after that laugh. So am I, if you want the honest-to-Bombay-Sapphire truth. The Thing explains that he has no crew and that he runs everything himself, "but I miss company. Conversation." Dude, have you thought about posting a personal rather than this whole Cirque du Freaque?
The Thing thinks that maybe Kirk would be willing to loan him one of his men to participate in an "exchange of informations -- cultures." Oddly enough, that's exactly what Michael Jackson called it. And note that he suggests one of Kirk's men -- I'll bet it's because if it were a woman, she'd start lactating on sight. UGH! I didn't think it was possible to skeeve myself out after all this! The price you pay for having an overactive imagination is directly related to drinking your weight in the ooze of smashed juniper berries. Since Beetle looks so interested, Kirk volunteers him. Beetle smiles wide from Chiclet-sized teeth. The Thing comprehends: "Ahh, you represent Earth's best, then!" Yeah, or something. Beetle aw-shucks and says he makes plenty of mistakes, but Kirk thinks that The Thing will learn much more from them that way, and he'll get a better officer back. Whatever. Once Beetle falls into that pit of plush pillows and laméd legs, he's never coming back to Enterprise. The Thing throws back his "head" and laughs again. This time much longer. Mathra calls a pet psychiatrist. I call the friendly neighborhood exorcist. The Thing gets up to shake Kirk's hand and says that they think alike. He doesn't let go of Kirk's hand. Beetle and Bones get up as well. Next, The Thing takes Bones's hand and says that before he brings back the Fesarius, he will show them his vessel. "It's not often I have this pleasure," The Thing says, disappearing behind another gauzy curtain. Why doesn't that surprise me? The Away Team follows. "Yes, we are very much alike, Captain -- both proud of our ships," is the last thing we hear The Thing say. You can just read into that what you like -- I sure did. And it haunts me still.