Journey to Babel

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"Journey to Babel" is an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. It is episode #44 and was first broadcast on November 17, 1967 during the second season. It was repeated on July 5, 1968. It was written by D.C. Fontana and directed by Joseph Pevney.

It features the first appearance of Sarek and Amanda, the parents of Mr. Spock.

Quick Overview: The Enterprise must transport dignitaries to a peace conference, with an assassin on the loose.

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On stardate 3842.3, the starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk is transporting Federation ambassadors to the Babel Conference to discuss the admission of the Coridan system into the Federation. The system is home to many warring species whose hostile attitude would normally keep them out the Federation; however, the system is a prime source of dilithium crystals and would be an asset to Starfleet operations. The Federation would also like to see an end to the illegal mining that is being conducted by the alien outsiders known as the Orions.

Ambassador Sarek from Vulcan, comes aboard with his human wife Amanda, and to Captain Kirk's surprise, he discovers the two are Mr. Spock's parents. Kirk is also surprised at how coldly Sarek views his own son, apparently because Spock chose to devote his life to Starfleet instead of Vulcan science against his father's wishes.

The negotiations are to take place on a neutrally aligned planet called Babel, but some talks have already begun on the Enterprise. The ambassadors hotly debate one another with the Tellarite representative being particularly obnoxious demanding Sarek's position on the key issue. Pushed to responding, Sarek accuses the Tellarites that their reasoning for wanting Coridan out of the Federation is so they can plunder the dilithium for themselves. The Tellarites take severe offense to this allegation to the point of getting physical until the starship crew restrains them with Sarek seeming to make veiled threats himself.

Meanwhile, Uhura has detected an encoded transmission beamed from the Enterprise to a vessel just outside of sensor range. Soon, the Tellarite ambassador Gav is found murdered. Checking the body, Dr. McCoy discovers the ambassador's neck is broken in a way consistent with the Vulcan death strike Tel-Shaha. Instantly, Sarek is under suspicion for the murder, since he was the only one involved in the earlier altercation with the Tellarite. Kirk begins asking Sarek questions, but then Sarek suffers from a cardiovascular malfunction, the Vulcan equivalent of a heart attack, and is rushed to sickbay.

Uhura picks up another encoded transmission, this time from the pursuing ship to the Enterprise where it is received somewhere on board. Spock, however, makes an unsuccessful attempt to decode a fragment of the message Uhura recorded.

While in sickbay, Sarek reveals that he has had three previous "heart attacks", which includes one during the time of the murder, and has been taking medication to combat it. However, McCoy determines that he will require immediate surgery. The ship stores however have an insufficient supply of Sarek's rare "Negative T" Vulcan blood type. Spock volunteers to donate his blood for the operation and subsequently presents information on an experimental stimulant to increase blood production, which allow him to do it safely.

Meanwhile, the Andorian Thelev attacks Captain Kirk on deck 5, and stabs him. Kirk is seriously wounded and taken to sickbay. Spock assumes command of the Enterprise despite Sarek's need for his blood transfusion. Over the objections of Dr. McCoy and his own mother, but with the agreement of his father, Spock states the mission, which now has various elements endangering it, such as an assassination and the unknown ship following the Enterprise, is far too important to leave in the command of a less experienced officer in the present situation.

Finally Kirk recovers enough to pretend that he is well and may resume his duties long enough for Spock to participate in the procedure. Against objections from McCoy, Kirk returns to the bridge and orders Spock to sickbay for Sarek's operation. However, before Kirk could be relieved, Uhura then picks up another encoded transmission from the Enterprise and locates the source as the Andorian assassin in the brig. When a search is conducted, they find a transceiver hidden inside one of the alien's "fake" antennas and discover he's not an Andorian at all, but one of the Orions in disguise.

The unidentified vessel that was following the Enterprise now closes in to attack while Sarek and Spock are on the operating table, endangering both their lives. The ship moves too quickly to accurately target it, but it is able to damage the Enterprise and take out the shields. Kirk decides to make the Enterprise appear to have been crippled, and orders all internal power and remaining shields shut down. This lures their enemy in closer and slower to make the final kill, but then suddenly the Enterprise comes to life again, and fires her weapons point blank disabling the alien ship. Kirk orders the enemy ship to surrender; however, its crew activates a self-destruct, and the ship explodes.

The Orion prisoner, who was brought to the bridge to witness the confrontation, also dies of a slow acting poison administered not long after he was captured. It is discovered that he was trying to sow distrust among the Federation members, and the alien ship is identified as having been an Orion vessel, who do not want to see Coridan fall under Federation control, and jeopardize their dilithium smuggling operations.

Back in sickbay, Spock recovers from the blood transfusion, and his father looks like he will pull through from the delicate operation. Father and son make peace, realizing they have a common bond that transcends their differences. Kirk returns to sickbay as well to finish the treatment of the stab wound, getting an earful from McCoy in the process who makes the most of being able to silence his patients to get the last word for once.

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