Kirk orders Rand to bring the same dietary salad to Bones. Bones puts a stop to this by saying that he only eats after the crew eats. Is that a take-off on the saying that a captain of a ship sleeps only after his crew sleeps? Kirk thanks Rand, and she leaves. On the comm system, Beetle prepares to put the crew through more paces. "When I get my hands on the headquarters genius that assigned me a female yeoman --" Kirk starts. Either he's trying to invoke the whole asinine "female driver" analogy, which...don't even get me started, or he's saying that the very fact of his irresistibility means female yeomen will hover over and annoy him. Either way, it's sexist. "What's the matter, Jim, don't you trust yourself?" Bones wonders. I love Bones. Kirk pulls a face until we hear Sulu ordering an alert and repeating that it is not a drill. Kirk calls the Bridge, and Spock tells him they're picking up an object. Kirk says he's on his way. He tosses Yeoman Rand's underwear on top of his salad before walking out. Bones just sits there and shakes his head. I agree -- what way to ruin a good plate of arugula.
Bridge. Spock prairie-dogs into view and reports "exceptionally strong contact." Whatever that means, since they can't even SEE it yet. Finally, Sulu's brown nose catches sight of it on the viewscreen and points it out. It's a sphere. Cube, sphere, what's next? An irascible pyramid? The ship shakes, and Beetle announces that they're caught in something's tractor beam. From this distance, the glowing, tendril-covered sphere looks like the blotted-out sun on Angel. Kirk orders phasers at the ready. The sphere gets closer and closer, and it is starting to look like something I'd insist on buying in a science museum gift shop. From outer space, the sphere looks like it's going to net Enterprise in the same bad graphics as "Encounter at Farpoint" did. "This is the United Earth Ship Enterprise, we convey greetings and await your reply," Kirk announces. (Note: He doesn't announce them as "Federation Starship Enterprise.") Radio silence. Beetle listens with an Uhura earpiece. He's the third crewmember to have one of those in this episode alone. Do you think they're standard Starfleet issue? Beetle is picking up a message coming over his navigation beam. Huh? Kirk orders Uhura to tap into it. We hear an echoing voice: "...and trespassed into our star systems. This is Balock, commander of the flagship Fesarius of the First Federation." The echoing voice -- why do bad guys always have echoing voices in these things? Do you think they perpetually live near a canyon? -- goes on to say that they are inferior and destroyed his warning cube buoy, so now they're in deep space caca. Kirk sends out a message to the rubber bathing cap with daisies and tries to explain that they are on a peaceful mission and did not understand the purpose of the cubuoy. In the middle of his explanation, some serious static erupts. The crew grab their ears. I have this vision of Balock on the other end going, "Crrrrkkkk, I'm sorry you're breaking up -- crkkkkkkk -- going through tunnel -- crkkkkkk!"