In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode The Alternative Factor which aired on March 23, 1967, Star Date 3087.6
The Enterprise is rocked by an energy pulse. Spock informs Captain Kirk that the gravity pull of the planet fluctuated to zero and says that the surrounding space seemed to momentarily “wink” out of existence.
Sensors locate a human presence on the planet that was not there before. Spock and Kirk beam down to the planet and find a one-man spacecraft. A disheveled, bearded man named Lazarus appears and accidentally slips off a cliff. The man survives the fall but is injured, and Kirk has him beamed to the Enterprise for examination.
Back on the ship, Lt. Masters informs Captain Kirk that the mysterious disturbance has drained the dilithium crystals in the warp drive. A message from Starfleet reports that every quadrant has been subjected to the same winking effect and electronic disruption as the Enterprise. Starfleet fears that the disruption may be a prelude to an invasion and has ordered all ships except the Enterprise to leave the area. Kirk is ordered to find the cause of the disturbance.
Lazarus frequently fades in and out of the universe, encountering his look-alike enemy in a “dimensional corridor”, creating an energy wink, rippling through the universe. Spock reports a “rip” in space and time on the planet. Lazarus insists that his enemy, trying to destroy the universe, is causing the phenomenon. Lazarus demands dilithium crystals so he may fix his ship and continue to fight his enemy. Kirk refuses; Lazarus steals dilithium from the Enterprise and is caught. Lazarus denies the theft and blames the theft on his yet unseen nemesis.
Kirk beams back to the planet with Lazarus and a security team to seek this “hidden” enemy. Lazarus has another dimensional corridor episode and is returned to sickbay. Lazarus explains to Kirk that he is a time traveler; the planet below was once his home world. Lazarus claims his enemy destroyed his civilization in the past, for which Lazarus has chased him for centuries.
Spock develops a hypothesis that Lazarus is two men, and his enemy is his counterpart from an anti-matter universe. If he and his anti-self contact each other within either physical universe outside the dimensional corridor, they would destroy each other and annihilate both the matter and anti-matter universes.
Lazarus slips away from sickbay and creates a diversion in engineering to acquire dilithium. With the stolen crystals, he beams down to the planet to repair his ship. Kirk follows, but Lazarus activates his time machine just as Kirk tries to stop him. Stepping into the portal, Kirk is accidentally teleported to the anti-matter universe, where he meets the Anti-Lazarus.
The Anti-Lazarus calmly admits to stealing the Enterprise’s dilithium. He also explained that the dimensional corridor was like a safety valve that protected the two universes from blowing up. He informs Kirk that his people believed two universes existed, and when his matter counterpart learned about it, he went insane and became obsessed with destroying him. He tells Kirk that only by destroying the ship with the two Lazaruses inside the dimensional corridor which links the two universes can both universes be saved. Kirk realizes this would trap the two men in the corridor forever.
Kirk confronts the matter Lazarus and pushes him into the dimensional door. Kirk heads back to the Enterprise, ordering the ship’s phasers to target the dimension ship. The two Lazaruses meet once more and fight inside the dimensional corridor as phaser beams vaporize the ship.
Actor John Drew Barrymore (father of actress Drew Barrymore) was originally contracted to play Lazarus but didn’t show up to work when filming began. The grievance filed against him on this account by the Star Trek production team led to him being unable to obtain acting work for six months in 1967. Robert Brown was a last-minute replacement.
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