In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode Dagger of the Mind which aired on November 3, 1966, Star Date 2715.1.

Story Synopsis

As the Enterprise makes a routine visit to the Tantalus penal colony, transporter technician Mr. Berkeley tries to beam supplies down, only to discover that he is prevented from doing some by a security force shield. After the colony drops the shield, it beams a box of research material aboard the Enterprise. However, the box actually contains Simon van Gelder, former assistant to penal colony director Doctor Tristan Adams. Van Gelder karate chops the transporter technician, then makes his way to the bridge of the Enterprise with a phaser has taken from a security guard. He demands asylum, but Kirk and Spock overpower him. Bones suspects something amiss and wishes to keep van Gelder on board for examination. Kirk and Dr. Helen Noel, an acquaintance from a Christmas party of years past, beam down to investigate.

After Kirk and Helen beam down, van Gelder tells Spock about Adams’ use of a neuroneutralizer to empty the minds of his inmates. He warns that Kirk is in danger, and consents to have Spock mind meld with him to discover the truth. Kirk and Dr. Noel observe the neutralizer being applied to a patient by Adams’ assistant Eli and becomes suspicious. When Kirk and Dr. Noel secretly examine the neuroneutralizer by having Helen use it on Kirk at minimum intensity, Helen suggests that they renew their Christmas party encounter. Adams wrenches controls from her, turns the neutralizer to high intensity and forces Kirk to drop his phaser and communicator. The two are then taken prisoner.

Helen escapes through a ventilation duct and Kirk is saved from having his mind seriously harmed during a second neuroneutralizer session when Helen turns off all power to the colony, including the energy shield. Dr. Noel is waylaid in the shield room but pushes her attacker into a high voltage transformer. Kirk then knocks out Adams and his assistant and goes in search of Helen. Spock, noticing that the shield is off, beams down and restores power to the colony. Adams, still unconscious in the treatment room, is subjected to the neuroneutralizer and is killed of loneliness when the machine empties his mind, despite having only been left at low intensity. Van Gelder is left behind to destroy the treatment room and reconstitute the colony.

Fun Fact

In this episode is the first appearance of the Vulcan Mind Meld.

Compliance Takeaways:

  1. Be careful at Christmas parties.
  2. How do you test new protocols?
  3. How you treat your direct reports is critical for your success as a CCO.


Excruciatingly Detailed Plot Summary by Eric W. Weisstein for Daggerof the Mind the Mind