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Coon Gene L. Harmon David P. “A Piece of the Action.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 12 January 1968. Television. Retrieved:



This discussion focuses on the Prime Directive, also known as Starfleet General Order 1, which was invented purely out of terror that other cultures, like the Iotians, would rise up and put the bag on us. 

Before its creation, immensely gratifying meddling in the natural development of other planetary cultures was a demagogic prerogative of starship captains everywhere. But after implementation, many threw away their commissions in disgust.

But Captain James T. Kirk wasn’t one of them. Though, his encounter with a cultural observer, Professor John Gill, gave him second thoughts. Kirk and crew went looking for Gill on the planet, Ekos. But found a thermonuclear tipped missile instead, headed straight for them. The ship’s phasers could easily handle such a primitive militaristic toy. Yet, an aggressively disagreeable warhead with their coordinates printed on it still put the fear of a horribly excruciating death in them. “Mr. Chekov!” Kirk shouted. “Fire!!”

Kirk suddenly had a strong desire to kick ass on a galactic scale, also a Starfleet regulation, which was in serious need of implementation. He and Mr. Spock beamed down seeking the source of his aggravation. And more blatant specters of hostility confronted them. Ekosians dressed in Nazi Germany Stormtrooper uniforms. Lots of them. Though light years from Earth, they thought, maybe, perhaps, this could be evidence of rampant cultural contamination.

As if this wasn’t puzzling enough, a newsreel depicting John Gill as Führer, leader of the swastika class appeared. There was only one course of action. Steal two SS uniforms, sneak into the local Gestapo beehive, the Chancellery, and find that bastard. Unfortunately, the suspicions of an officiously prickish major exposed Spock’s ears and foiled the plan.

Later, the lashings of a furious Ekosian’s whip crisscrossed the backs of both Starfleet officers. Subsequently, they were thrown into a cell next to Isak, a Zeon, who didn’t quite believe a humanoid with pointed ears was of his species. Chatty, Isak told them his people came to Ekos thinking they “were civilizing the Ekosians.” Spock’s penchant for stating the obvious made a break for it. “It would seem the assumption was premature.” 

“They will attack our planet,” Isak stressed. “They'll use the technology we gave them. And taking life is so repugnant to our people, we'll go down without a struggle.” Kirk and Spock rolled their eyes. Despite his incessant whining, they invented a laser cobbled from their subcutaneous crystal transponders and bed lattice. This sliced through the cell’s iron lock. “Take me with you,” Isak pleaded. Spock shook his head. But, Kirk relented because they had to find the SS weapons laboratory before the murderous Ekosians duplicated their communicators.

Afterward, in the Zeon underground hideout, they met the heroine of the regime, Party Secretary Fräulein Daras. Who tested their veracity by pointing a Luger at them. Which they resented slightly more than Isak’s blathering. But because she looked good in her uniform, they consented to masquerade as the Führer’s special documentary corps. Which helped them enter the Chancellery, where the “Final Solution” was at hand.

Deputy Führer Melakon, Gill’s puppet master was speaking. “Our solar system will forever be rid of the disease that was Zeon,” he preened. “Our space fleet is on its way toward Zeon. This is the time of destiny. Hail victory!”

The Zeons’ interplanetary travel technology! Kirk and Spock were thunderstruck. They looked at Isak. Zeons gave the Ekosians, barbarians generations behind them, the means to reach their planet? Kirk grimaced. His hands clenched into fists. The sheer stupidity of the act enraged him. But finding Professor Gill in his secret Nazi green room, distracted him, saving the Zeon.

“Gill, why did you abandon your mission? Why did you interfere with this culture?!” But Gill was too far out of it. Kirk summoned Dr. Leonard McCoy to inject him with his handy hypospray. Gill came around, groggy but lucid. Then they discovered the odorous consequences which occurred when a Starfleet Academy history professor tinkered with that which went wrong.

Because the Ekosians were on the edge of anarchy, Professor Gill couldn’t resist the urge to play insane social scientist. He took from Earth’s history the epitome of state efficiency. Nazi Germany. Yes, I know. Stupidity walking. But Mr. Spock was kinder than we are. He understood Gill’s aspirations. Editing the monstrous violence from the Nazi administrative genome should have worked. But it didn’t. And why? Because of self-preservation. In Ekosian thinking, the Zeons, after another century of social interaction with them would become as bloodthirsty as they were. Thus, “Death to Zeons!” became an imperative. One humanoid’s hubris was just an impetus for the heart’s prime directive.

Gill insisted his social augmentations worked. At first. Before, Melakon screwed things up. He phased out of consciousness again. But McCoy didn’t dare give him another shot because it could mercifully kill him. But Kirk had to get him to reverse that order!

Just then, the Party Chairman, Eneg, burst in upon their green room wizard chat. Secretly a Zeon sympathizer, he bought their story that Spock really was a pointy-eared Zeon whose freakishness should be taken directly to Melakon.

Melakon was amused. “Note the low forehead, denoting stupidity. The dull look of a trapped animal.” Spock’s left eyebrow lifted. A well-known precursor to opening up a canister of whoop-arse. Meanwhile, Kirk had had enough of Gill’s self-deception. These people, with their nuclear weapons, tried to blow up his ship! So, he took Bone’s hypospray and pumped him full of super-speed. When that didn’t work, he slapped him silly, hard, several times. “Gill!!!”

Finally, the Nazi era addict straightened up and addressed the planet. “I order the immediate recall of the space fleet. This attack must stop. All units are to return to base. This was not an aggression of the Ekosian people. Melakon is a traitor to his own people.”

Melakon couldn’t take even that much belittling. He grabbed his underling’s machine gun and shot down the Führer. But Isak shot the Deputy. Then Gill closed a thoroughly hideous and unentertaining chapter in Starfleet history. “I was wrong. The non-interference Directive is the only way.”

Daras and Eneg bid Kirk and crew farewell, assuring them that Gill’s final words put a stop to their impending doom. Back on the Enterprise, Spock was puzzled that Gill could risk taking such drastic actions. Bones reminded him that absolute power corrupted someone some time long ago absolutely. This, fortunately, distracted Kirk from the fact that the Ekosians still had nuclear weapons. And the Zeons still were perilously pacifistic with a lunatic tendency to give away a tactical military advantage.

However, the Ekosian’s cultural contamination was mitigated due to the diligence of Starfleet officers armed with the Prime Directive’s clarity. But, in the next historical example, these same officers barely escaped the idiotic disregard of Starfleet’s General Order 1 with their lives.

Before the Prime Directive was formed, there were unfortunate exploratory slip-ups that emphasized the need for a non-interference order. For example, the Iotians’ societal abnormalities threatened the sanity of Starfleet personnel due to the flagrant disregard of the influential books prohibition. 

So, without further ado, let’s explore this misstep in Federation history which highlights the seriousness of contamination without (maybe) its especially dire consequences.

Captain James T. Kirk and crew intercepted a hundred-year-old radio report received near Sigma Iotia II. The sender, the Horizon, destroyed. Before Kirk interpreted the thin circumstantial inconclusive message properly, the Enterprise was contacted by the Ioation, Bela Okmyx, designation “Boss”. “Hello, Captain! You're from the same outfit as the Horizon?” the Boss asked excitedly. Little did they know that Oxmyx’s colorful vernacular was an early indication of the Horizon’s profound carelessness.

Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. Leonard McCoy materialized onto a city street which looked surprisingly like Earth, early 20th century. Two very aggressive individuals accosted them, machine guns raised to eye level, “Okay, you three, let's see you petrify.” They were stunned but not by phasers. “Huh?” Spock implied. “I want to see you turn to stone. Put your hands over your head, or you ain't going to have no head to put your hands over.”

These gentlemen represented the lighter side of the Iotians’ welcoming committee. The dark side arrived in short order in a drive-by shooting. An old-style form of assassination utilizing transportation designed to be slow enough to accomplish the goal. However, 23rd century Federation dexterity proved too fast for the maneuver. Nevertheless, as Tommy guns rat-a-tat-tattled, one of their sluggish escorts lay dead.

In his Northside billiard room slash office space, Okmyx greeted them warmly. Telling his henchman, Kalo, to put down his “chopper.” Another ominous manifestation of his culture’s deteriorating linguistic skills. He wanted to make a deal. What deal, pray tell? “You give me all the heaters I need,” he suggested, “Enough tools so I can knock off all those punks at once. Then I'll take over, and all you'll have to deal with is me.”

This thuggish autocratic rule wasn’t repugnant to Kirk, but it presented a problem because it was deeply rooted in Starfleet contamination. Spock, after an exhaustive visual search, discovered the source of the contamination in that very room. A book. But not just any book. THE Book. Chicago Mobs of the Twenties. Which, not only, explained the lunacy of Okmyx’s request but also his proclivity for tortuous colloquialisms.

But Okmyx wasn’t interested in his culture’s contamination. He wanted an answer to his insane request. “That’s quite impossible,” Spock told him cheerfully. Okmyx’s response was characteristic. “I'm gonna give you just eight hours to give me what I want. If I don't have it by then, I'm gonna call up your ship and have them pick you up in a box!”

After Okmyx “put them in a bag,” they discussed their predicament while watching his henchmen play cards. Kirk still thought it was a bad idea to give Okmyx his heaters. Instead, teaching Kalo a fictitious card game called Fizzbin might be entertaining. But, “It’s probably a little beyond you. It requires intelligence,” Kirk warned him. Kalo drooled in delight, even after learning that a “sralk” could only be played at night on a Tuesday, proving his point. But Kirk ruined the game by throwing punches and escaping.

Spock and McCoy hurried back to the ship, while Kirk ran off to go knock some sense into Okmyx. But he was captured by yet another (yes, you guessed it) Thompson submachine gun. This time escorted to Jojo Krako’s Southside Territory. No, I didn’t just make that up.

Krako fixated on the same deal Okmyx wanted. Kirk counteroffered with mass discussions among the various bosses on the matter. But Krako was a religious man. “You watch it, Kirk! The Book tells us how to handle things!” Kirk replied, “I think your behavior is arrested.” To which Krako responded, “Listen, pally, I haven't been arrested in my whole life!!” It was a lost cause.

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Spock and McCoy discussed their limited options. Because “no record of a culture based on a moral inversion” and stupidity existed, the sociology computer was unable to form a plan. Okmyx, preternaturally sensing the computer’s ineptness, contacted them with an offer of quid pro quo. So, over Dr. McCoy’s strenuous objections, they returned to Okmyx’s billiard room and were once again promptly surrounded.

Spock strongly protested that they had an agreement. Okmyx said, “I was hoping you'd think that, dummy. Nobody helps nobody but himself.” Humiliated, Spock shouted, “Sir, you are employing a double negative!” He then sought to enlighten him on the joys of cooperation. “The most co-operative man in this world is a dead man!” Okmyx shouted. “And if you don't keep your mouth shut, you're going to be co-operatin'.”

But Kirk, a tad bit less logic-whipped, managed to escape his mental persecutor. Then machine-gunned his way to rescuing Spock and Bones from the heater-obsessed Okmyx. And after further mind-altering dealings with Krako, they returned to the harmony of the billiard room. But Okmyx still couldn’t see the light of Federation might. So, Kirk explained it to him. “Now listen, sweetheart. The Federation's moving in, taking over. You play ball, we'll cut you in. You don't, you're out. All the way out. You know what I mean?” Finally, speaking in the gibberish Okmyx understood, he agreed. “Why didn't you say so in the first place? All you had to do was explain it to me.”

Prattling to the other bosses also proved successful. But after much debate, the numbskulls reversed themselves, concluding there was no Federation. Though molecular dematerialization was like magic to them, let alone the fancy heaters, they rebelled and took the Enterprise trio hostage. Yet again, pointing those freaking guns at them.

Then Okmyx’s and Krako’s henchmen arrived, shooting up the place. But Kirk promptly ordered a smack-down one-block radius burst of stun fun around his coordinates and all the Tommyknockers lay down. “A syndicate makes sense to me. I'm a peaceful man at heart,” Okmyx implored. Nevertheless, vengefully, Kirk crowned Krako, Lead Mobster and, Oxmyx, his First Lieutenant, forming Sigma Iotia II’s first syndicate. And that was that.

However, later, Kirk confronted a much-annoyed Mr. Spock and a brooding Dr. McCoy. Spock, pissed-off that Kirk left “a criminal organization in charge” and Bones fearing he’d left his communicator in Okmyx’s office. The technological basis for “every important piece of equipment” Starfleet had. Kirk and Spock were flabbergasted. “Is it serious?” Bonehead asked. Kirk exclaimed, “Serious? Serious?! Do you know what this means?! In a few years, the Iotians may demand a piece of our action!!”

Thereby, illustrating the importance of strict adherence to non-interference principles. Especially, in regards to the possibility that belligerent undeveloped cultures may transform themselves too quickly and affect the exclusivity of certain clandestine Federation lucrative practices. Which would, to say the least, put the bag on all of us.


Lucas, John Meredyth. “Patterns of Force.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 16 February 1968. Television. Retrieved:

Hey, did I just lose again and again and again?


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