Spock announces that they're being probed, and Balock says he's screening his calls, and that if they act in a hostile manner, he will destroy the ship. Kirk ponders, and Spock tells him that the sophisticated entity is managing to shut down many of their systems. When they talk about these "sophisticated" entities, beings, and consciousnesses, do you think they mean "sophisticated" in the sense that they shop at Barneys and buy Jo Malone? I'm just wondering. Kirk orders a recorder marker sent out to warn other vessels. Beetle doesn't react. Sulu looks concerned. "Mr. Bailey?" Kirk prompts. I think I've figured out why we never see this guy again. Beetle finally snaps to and sends out the marker. There's an exterior explosion, and Balock explains that he destroyed their recorder marker. For some reason, it strikes me as really funny that Balock uses the exact term "recorder marker." Balock goes on, "You have been examined." And he's found that Kirk needs to eat much more dietary salad. Balock ignores me and says that the ship must be destroyed: "We make the assumption that you have a deity or deities or some such beliefs, which comfort you -- we therefore grant you ten Earth time periods, known as 'minutes,' to make preparations." Spock tries to locate where the voice is coming from, because he thinks it would be "interesting" to get a visual of their destroyer. Bones enters the Bridge and tells Kirk that Balock's message was heard all over the ship, which prompts Kirk to get on the comm and do a little scenery-chewing pep talk with the aim of bolstering the morale of the crew. Beetle looks like he's close to rocking himself into a fit.
Kirk contacts the alien vessel and tries to tell them they're on a mission of friendship and will just go back the way they came. A high hum sounds all over the ship in the middle of Kirk's transmission. The Bridge crew either grab their ears, look around wildly, or, in Beetle's case, just look supremely bored. Kirk asks Beetle to plot and lay in a course. Beetle acts confused and totally out of it. Sulu The Brown-Noser reaches over, pushes two buttons, and reports, "Course plotted and laid in, sir!" Someone's bed is getting to get short-sheeted tonight. I find it interesting that he can not only plot but also lay in a new course with two clicks of the same button. Aren't there graphs or charts or an axis that should come into play? At the very least, there should be a parametric equation. The warp engines don't react. Neither do the impulse engines or the weapons. Spock suddenly thinks he can get a visual. The viewscreen tunes in a waving image of a blue alien with a pointed chin and gaping mouth. The whole crew stands agog. With jerky head movements, the alien tells them they are wasting their time and have eight Earth minutes left. I wonder what aliens would make of a New York minute. Kirk slumps in his chair as Spock comments, "I was curious to see how they appeared." Kirk responds absently, "Yes, of course you were." This is Beetle's cue to have a complete meltdown. He accuses Spock of wasting time, and everyone else of just sitting around. "Somebody's got to DO SOMETHING!" Beetle shouts. Bones tells him to take it easy. "What do they WANT from us? Let's find out what they want us to DO!" Beetle appeals to the doctor, his hands raised in supplication. Kirk tells Beetle that the alien ship wants them to "lose [their] heads." Beetle bawls that they only have eight minutes left. "Seven minutes and forty-five seconds," Sulu corrects him. Not only is his bed getting short-sheeted, but he's also waking up with one less eyebrow. Beetle freaks about Sulu doing a countdown, and then goes on to freak about a whole lot of other things. Kirk relieves Beetle of duty because he's afraid that if the guy is allowed to go on much longer, there won't be enough scenery left for an amuse bouche. Bones escorts Beetle to his quarters and throws Kirk A Look on his way out. Picking up Beetle's leftovers, Kirk tries to explain to the alien ship their motive for destroying the cube buoy. The alien ship sounds off another high hum, and Balock's blue face tells them they have seven minutes left.