In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode Tomorrow is Yesterday which aired on January 26, 1967, Star Date 3113.2

Story Synopsis

In this episode, USS Enterprise is thrown back in time to Earth during the 1960s by the effects of a high-gravity “black star”. The Enterprise ends up in Earth’s upper atmosphere and is picked up as a UFO on military radar.

A U.S. Air Force F-104 interceptor piloted by Captain John Christopher, is scrambled to identify the craft. Fearing an attack, Captain Kirk orders a tractor beam to be used on the jet, which tears the plane apart. Captain Christopher is transported aboard the Enterprise.

Fearing he could disrupt the timeline if returned to Earth, Kirk at first decides that the pilot must stay with the Enterprise. When Spock later discovers that the pilot’s as-yet-unborn son will play an important role in a future mission to Saturn, Kirk realizes he must return Christopher to Earth after all.

After learning of the existence of film taken of the Enterprise by Christopher’s wing cameras, Kirk and Lt. Sulu beam down to the airbase to recover the film and any other evidence of their visit. They are caught by an Air Policeman, who accidentally activates an emergency signal on Kirk’s communicator and is immediately beamed aboard. Kirk and Sulu continue their search, after which Kirk is captured again and Sulu escapes.

Spock, Sulu, and Christopher, who knows the base’s layout, beam down to recover Kirk. After Kirk’s guards are subdued, Christopher grabs one of their guns and demands to be left behind. Spock, having anticipated Christopher would make such an attempt, appears behind Christopher and disables him with a Vulcan nerve pinch.

After they return to the ship, Spock and Chief Engineer Scott inform Kirk of a possible escape method by slingshotting around the Sun to break away and return to their time. The maneuver is risky, since even a small miscalculation could destroy the ship, or make them miss their own era.

Kirk okays the maneuver, and time on board the Enterprise moves backwards. Christopher is beamed back to his fighter jet at the instant he first encountered the Enterprise, preventing any evidence of the ship being produced, and erasing his memory of his time on the Enterprise. The same is done with the Air Policeman. Enterprise then successfully returns to the 23rd century.

Fun Fact

This was the first of two visits of the Starship Enterprise to Earth, circa 1960s. The second is there they meet Gary Seven and his ‘cat’ in Assignment Earth.

Compliance Takeaways:

  1. Sometimes unexpected developments can cause higher risk.
  2. What is your investigation protocol?
  3. How do you onboard new employees on your corporate culture?


Excruciatingly Detailed Plot Summary by Eric W. Weisstein for Tomorrow is Yesterday is Yesterday