Star Trek, The Original Series: “The Corbomite Maneuver”

In his log, Kirk recounts that they are being towed, and that they plan to make a show of resignation in order to conceal their true feelings. Kirk wonders about the heavy drain of power on such a small ship, and whether that will make Balock careless. Beetle reports, "He's pulling out a little ahead of us." In another prairie-dog move, Spock announces, "He's sneaked power down a bit." Sulu announces some technobabble, and Kirk says he wants them to "shear away from [Balock] no matter which way he turns." Sulu understands that he's to accelerate to maximum speed as soon as Kirk names the date. "Engage," Kirk orders. Sulu clicks a button. The whole Bridge Crew puts on intense expressions as Sulu monitors the coolant temps and primary manifolds: "It's a strain, Captain. The engines are overloading," he reports. Kirk orders more power, and Spock reacts by announcing that they are "superheating." While Kirk remains sardonically calm, Spock counts up the intermix temperature levels. The Bridge slants. Bones jiggles himself more dramatically than anyone else. People in the hallway fall from left to right on the set. Why is someone wearing a life-preserver? The Dodge Neon grows brighter and brighter. The Bridge crew jiggle out of sync with one another. "Shear away, Mr. Bailey," Kirk orders. For once Beetle responds when called upon. More jiggling. Spock takes the ship's temperature and announces, "She'll blow soon!" Kirk gives Sulu the order to engage Impulse Two. The hallway extras -- including Life-Preserver Man -- fall from right to left. Oh, my god -- that's Uhura in the hallway! They just didn't want to pay another extra! The ship shakes. A lot. Beetle announces that they are breaking free. In another hallway, other extras fall into each other. The ship stops shaking, and the Bridge crew fall forward in their chairs. Kirk orders all engines stopped.

Scotty immediately enters the Bridge and announces that the engines need some ice packs and ACE bandages. You think? Scotty wants Kirk to hold the ship there for a few hours, but Spock doesn't think that would be a good idea, as the Dodge Neon managed to get off a distress signal to the mother ship. Kirk paces. Uhura reports hearing a very weak signal from the Dodge Neon to the bathing cap, reporting that Balock's engines are out and his life support systems are failing. Kirk asks if there's any reply from the bathing cap. "Negative, his signal is growing weak," Uhura reports. "Sir, I doubt if the mother ship could have heard it." Kirk orders a course plotted for the Dodge Neon. All are agog. That's the second time I've used that word isn't it? I just can't find any other way to describe their mouths. "For it, Captain?" Spock questions. "Dead ahead," Kirk confirms, not thinking he needs to explain his humanitarian motives. Kirk makes a little speech to Life-Preserver Man in the hallway about life being in danger and how they are there to preserve that life. Even if it's alien life. Geddit? Life? Preserve? The guy's wearing a life-preserver? Actually, there was no cut-away to Life-Preserver Man, but I finished typing that sentence before I realized the anvil of my own making. Kirk gives navigational and transporter orders. Bones tries to reason with Kirk. "What's the MISSION of this VESSEL, Doctor? To SEEK OUT and con-TACT ALIEN life. And an opportunity to demonstrate what our high-sounding words mean -- any questions?" Kirk asks. Yeah, I have one: Why is it that when I hear "any questions," I can't get that damn brain-on-drugs ad out of my mind, like, EVER? Kirk says he'll take two men with him -- the doctor in case the aliens are bleeding; and Beetle, for no reason I can think of other than Kirk wants to get rid of him on the Altar of Red Shirt Sacrifice. Beetle pauses a moment before asking, "Sir?" "The face of the unknown -- I think I owe you a look at it," Kirk tells him. Spock starts to disagree with something, but Kirk says, "Denied -- if I'm wrong, if it's a trap, I want you here." I finally have discovered the reason for Shatner's Girth -- it's all that scenery. On the face of it, you'd think it was roughage, but in truth, it's all bad carbs.

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