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For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"
TOS, Episode 3x10
Production number: 60043-65
First aired: 8 November 1968
Remastered version aired: 27 January 2007
66th of 80 produced in TOS
63rd of 80 released in TOS
18th of 80 released in TOS Remastered
63rd of 728 released in all
Fabrini old man
Written By
Rik Vollaerts

Directed By
Tony Leader
5476.3 (2268)
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The Enterprise finds an asteroid that contains a generational ship on a collision course with an inhabited planet.

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

The USS Enterprise is attacked by primitive, chemical-fueled nuclear missiles. The crew of the Enterprise destroy the missiles and trace back to their source. Kirk orders the Enterprise to proceed to the source of the missiles at warp factor 3. Meanwhile, during a routine health check, it is discovered that Dr. McCoy has a rare illness, xenopolycythemia, that has no known cure and that he will die within a year. McCoy insists that he can remain in his post, but Kirk immediately informs Starfleet and asks for a replacement.

Act One Edit

Arriving at the missiles' point of origin, the Enterprise finds only what appears to be an asteroid, 200 miles in diameter, that is not in any orbit but follows an independent course through the local star system. Upon scanning, it is found that the "asteroid" is an atomic-powered spaceship. There are no living creatures detected, leading Spock to presume that the passengers are dead. More seriously, the asteroid's course, 241-mark-17, puts it on a course to collide with Daran V, a planet with a population of 3.724 billion, in 396 days. The Enterprise charts a parallel course to the asteroid/spaceship.

Kirk and Spock prepare to beam onto the asteroid/spaceship, but McCoy insists on joining them. Arriving inside the asteroid, they find a surface that appears geologically active, with a reddish sky, and are puzzled that the builders apparently wanted the inside of the ship to look like a planet. The surface is dotted by large cylinders, from which a band of primitive, sword-bearing men emerges, led by a beautiful woman. After a brief melee, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are captured, McCoy sharing a meaningful look with the woman before he is knocked unconscious.

The beautiful woman introduces herself as Natira, the high priestess and leader of her people. Natira "welcomes" the officers to their world Yonada. The three are taken below the surface, where they encounter a large population of young and apparently healthy people. Natira leads the three into an Oracle Room, where she consults an unseen authoritative entity manifested by a decorative altar and a booming voice. Kirk and McCoy estimate that after 10,000 years in this multi-generational ship, the people no longer realize they are inside a spaceship. The Oracle "punishes" Kirk, Spock and McCoy by shocking them with an energy beam, rendering them unconscious.

Act Two Edit

The three regain consciousness, although McCoy remains out longer due to his illness, in some sort of guest area. Kirk informs Spock about McCoy's condition. An old man gives them an herb derivative to counteract the effects of the Oracle's attack, noting that many people on the ship have been punished in this way. When they tell him they are not from Yonada, he recalls how he once climbed the mountains, "even though it is forbidden," and found that the world of Yonada is not a planet at all. He dies immediately, apparently from a subcutaneous control device in his temple. Natira comes in, and seems to take a special interest in McCoy. Kirk recommends that McCoy use this to their advantage so that they may learn more about the civilization. The captain is faced with a triple dilemma: either risk violating the prime directive by informing the people of Yonada of their situation, destroy the asteroid with them in it or allow it to destroy Daran V. Natira admits she is in love with McCoy and wants him to stay on Yonada as her mate. She speaks of a final destination that is rich and green and notes that the Oracle has promised they shall reach it "soon." When McCoy tells her he has only a year to live, she tells him even a year with him will make her happy.

Spock and Kirk make their way to the Oracle Room, and Spock recognizes the writing as that of the Fabrini, a civilization wiped out 10,000 years ago, when their star went nova. He also sees a symbolic map of the Fabrina solar system. Prior to dying out, the Fabrini had lived underground to protect themselves. They had also built this spaceship Yonada and programmed the Oracle of the People, which is actually a powerful computer, to take it to another habitable planet. The people of Yonada are their descendants. Spock manages to open the door, and the two conceal themselves in the temple as Natira enters. She asks the Oracle for permission to marry McCoy. The Oracle grants it, so long as McCoy agrees to join the Fabrini and submit to the instrument of obedience. As she's leaving, however, the Oracle discovers Kirk and Spock and zaps them. They are arrested and sentenced to death.

Act Three Edit

McCoy agrees to stay on Yonada but begs that Kirk and Spock be released. Natira agrees. As Kirk and Spock prepare to return, McCoy insists on staying. Kirk and McCoy briefly argue about his decision but Kirk agrees to leave him behind. He and Spock return to the Enterprise. In a ritual with the Oracle, McCoy has the instrument of obedience implanted in his head,and he and Natira are married. At the Oracle's command, she reveals to him an ancient book that is to be opened and read when the ship reaches the "New World of the Promise." Meanwhile, Kirk consults with Admiral Westervliet, who relieves him of all responsibility for the Yonada, saying that Starfleet will handle the situation. McCoy calls the ship and tries to explain that by consulting the book Spock can change the Yonada's course. His instrument of obedience immediately sends him a shock of pain. He passes out as Natira enters.

Act Four Edit

Kirk and Spock return to the Yonada and Spock removes McCoy's instrument of obedience, shocking Natira. She tries to call for the guards, but Kirk subdues her and persuades her to give them a chance. He explains the history of the Fabrini and Yonada. She is very skeptical of the story and the Oracle begins to torment her through her instrument. She flees, but does not turn Kirk over to the guards. Kirk and Spock have found that a faulty part of the Oracle computer has caused a change in course. Natira consults the Oracle, which knocks her out. When Kirk, Spock, and McCoy arrive, she says she believes them and McCoy removes her instrument. Kirk and Spock move to take the book out of the temple, but the Oracle fights them, kicking up a storm and increasing the temperature to 120 degrees. McCoy shows them how to open the pylon containing the book and Spock uses the book to disable the Oracle and reprogram the spaceship's course.

McCoy and Natira share a tearful farewell: She must stay to lead her people to the promised land and McCoy is determined to keep traveling the universe in search of a cure for his disease. After correcting the Yonada's course, Spock shows Kirk the vast database of the Fabrini, which contains medical knowledge, including the cure for xenopolycythemia. McCoy undergoes the very painful treatment for his illness, emerging cured, and Kirk promises him the Enterprise will soon return to the area when the Yonada reaches its correct destination.

Log Entries Edit

  • Captain's log, stardate 5476.3. I have just had the sad duty of informing Starfleet about Dr. McCoy's condition and have requested an immediate replacement.
  • Captain's log, stardate 5476.4. We are on a parallel course with Yonada. It is still on a collision course with Daran V. Our failure to correct its course, and the critical nature of Dr. McCoy's illness, made the extraordinary event of contact with Starfleet Command imperative.

Memorable Quotes Edit

"A lot can happen in a year. Please, give yourself every minute."

- Chapel to McCoy, on his illness


"Welcome to the world of Yonada."
"I can't say I think much of your welcome."

- Natira and Kirk, after the ambush on the landing party


"We've come in friendship."
"Then learn what it means to be our enemy before you learn what it means to be our friend."

- Kirk and the Oracle, as it punishes the landing party


"But things are not as they teach us. For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky."

- Fabrini Man's last words


"Forgive him for he was an old man, and old men are sometimes foolish."

- Natira, as she prays by the Fabrini man's body


"But we're strangers to each other."
"But is not that the nature of men and women? That the pleasure is in the learning of each other?"

- McCoy and Natira, as she asks him to be her mate


"Until I saw you, there was nothing in my heart. It sustained my life, but nothing more. Now it sings. I could be happy to have that feeling for a day, a week, a month, a year."

- Natira, before kissing McCoy


"Is truth not truth for all?"

- Natira, challenging the Oracle


Background Information Edit

  • The idea of a multi-generational spaceship or "interstellar ark" is an old one that was first proposed in an unpublished paper by Robert Goddard in 1918. Goddard's fellow rocket pioneers Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and J.D. Bernal also considered the idea in the 1920s. Olaf Stapledon and Don Wilcox wrote stories about the idea in the 1940s, and Robert Heinlein originated the notion that inhabitants might forget they were on a ship in his book Orphans of the Sky, a concept later reused by Harlan Ellison in his story Phoenix Without Ashes, which was adapted into the 1973 television series The Starlost starring Keir Dullea and guest-starred Walter Koenig in a recurring role. The energy, ecology, and life support needs of such a ship would be considerable.
  • The Book of the People is the same as Chicago Mobs of the Twenties in "A Piece of the Action".
  • The metal helical staircase is recycled from "The Empath".
  • The scenes of Yonada are reused footage of the asteroid from "The Paradise Syndrome", and the helical staircase in the control room at the end of this episode seems to be the same one used inside the Obelisk in that same episode.
  • This is the only series episode to feature three actors who appeared in the original pilot "The Cage": Leonard Nimoy (Spock), Majel Barrett (Nurse Christine Chapel) and Jon Lormer (old man) (not including "The Menagerie, Part I" and "The Menagerie, Part II", which features much footage from "The Cage"). Barrett and Lormer played Number One and Theodore Haskins, respectively, in the pilot.
  • Whether by chance or design, the music that accompanies the appearance of the old man played by Jon Lormer is the same music by Alexander Courage that played during some of his lines as Dr. Theodore Haskins in "The Cage".
  • To give more depth to the planet set, the entrances to the underground civilization were built in two sizes: those in the distance were constructed much smaller, thus creating an illusion of distance.
  • The bridge scene that runs under Kirk's voiceover at the start of Act One – where Kirk enters the bridge from the turboshaft – is the same footage from the very beginning of the episode.
  • The field reader tube, normally used to take a medical patient's vital signs, is used in this episode by Spock to extract the instrument of obedience from Natira. This marks the only apparent close-up use of this prop in the series.
  • In the beginning of Act One, the stock footage of Chekov at the nav station is altered. If you watch closely, they looped the footage so that Chekov's usual gaze down at the console to push a few buttons is omitted, so that he appears to be looking straight ahead at the viewscreen. This shows up especially well on a bigger screen.
  • In the trailer, the scene where the Oracle turns on the heat plays without the red overlay or the heat-wave distortion effect.
  • In the same scene, the reference to the temperature being "120 degrees" presumably refers to the Fahrenheit scale; while an ambient temperature of 120°F (48.9°C) would be very uncomfortable, an ambient temperature of 120°C would not only cause skin burns to all parties present and considerable damage to the book, it would also be hard to achieve without an exceptionally powerful heating element.
  • According to a call sheet, Dick Geary appeared as a security guard in this episode, but it seems his appearance ended up as a deleted scene. [1]
  • This episode has the longest title of any episode in any Star Trek series.
  • In an early story outline (2 May 1968) it was Scotty who was ill.
  • According to the the novel The Sorrows of Empire, McCoy's mirror universe counterpart died of xenopolycythemia in 2269, as the ISS Enterprise either never encountered or destroyed the Fabrini ship. He was succeeded as chief medical officer by the mirror universe counterpart of Dr. M'Benga, who continued to serve in that position until at least 2287.

Remastered Information Edit

  • The remastered version of this episode premiered in syndication the weekend of 29 January 2007 and featured shots of a digital version of Yonada, more closely resembling real asteroids. The battle between the Enterprise and the missiles was also revamped digitally.
The next remastered episode to air was "Journey to Babel".

Production timeline Edit

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also Starring Edit

And:

Guest stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt double Edit

References Edit

asteroid; atomic power; "Bones"; Book of the People, the; Creators; Daran V; electrical shock; Fabrina; Fabrina solar system; Fabrini; fuel; heating element; hemoglobin; instrument of obedience; high priestess; logic; mile; missile; nurse; Oracle of the People; oxygen; physical examination; Prime Directive; red alert; spaceship; star system; Starfleet Command; Xenopolycythemia; Yonada

External link Edit


Previous episode produced:
"The Tholian Web"
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3
Next episode produced:
"Day of the Dove"
Previous episode aired:
"Day of the Dove"
Next episode aired:
"The Tholian Web"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Where No Man Has Gone Before"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"Journey to Babel"
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