In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode The Omega Glory which aired on March 1, 1968, Star Date unknown.

Story Synopsis

As the Enterprise approaches planet Omega 4, they discover the U.S.S. Exeter in orbit. However, no one is aboard. McCoy, Kirk, Spock, and Galloway beam aboard the ship, and find the ship left on automatic pilot. Empty uniforms are strewn everywhere and seem to be filled with some sort of white crystal. McCoy analyzes the crystals and finds them to contain exactly the contents of the human body when the body’s 96% of water is taken away. The boarding party then plays the medical log and are warned that they are dead men. They are warned that they must not return to their ship and told that their only chance for survival is to beam down to the planet surface and find Captain Ron Tracy.

On the Omega 4, they find Tracy who, together with Lee-Yang and Wu, is in the process of torturing a pair of savage “Yangs.” Kirk, Spock, Galloway, and Bones discover that they have been contaminated with a substance which removes all the water from the bodies of humans, but that the surface of planet Omega 4 provides a natural immunization against the contaminant.

Captain Tracy has apparently become mentally unstable, and Kirk finds he has been interfering with the planet’s development. Spock and Galloway are attacked by Yangs while on a fact-finding mission, but Spock has already discovered the discarded power packs which Tracy has used to slaughter hundreds of Yangs. However, when Kirk attempts to communicate this fact to the Enterprise, he is confronted by a phaser-bearing Tracy. To show he means business, Tracy vaporizes the injured Galloway with his hand phaser. Tracy contacts the Enterprise and claims that the landing party has been found unconscious. Kirk blurts out a warning to Sulu but is instantly knocked out by Coms.

Tracy is convinced that the substance in the atmosphere which protects them from death also prolongs human life and cites the fact that Wu has lived to 462 years old and his father is more than 1000 years old as evidence. He is obsessed by finding the cause and proposes that McCoy isolate it. He wants to sell it to the highest bidder and believes that the significance of the discovery outweighs the force of the noninterference directive. Kirk attempts to overpower him but is himself overpowered and then thrown into a cell with the captured Yangs.

The male Yang attacks Kirk but retreats after Spock nerve pinches the female from a neighboring cell. When Kirk and Spock mention the word “freedom” while plotting a jailbreak, the Yang perks up and tells Kirk that he has spoken a worship word. The Yang then assists Kirk in prying a bar loose from the window, but then proceeds to wield it on Kirk’s head and make his escape with his female friend. 7 hours and 8 minutes later, Kirk regains consciousness. He then helps Spock escape, and they find McCoy.

Bones has discovered that the virus resulted from a biological war in the distant past. Nature has apparently developed a way of conferring immunity to people who stay on the planet long enough. It therefore appears that the landing party is free to return at any time. Moreover, the crew of the Exeter would have survived if only they had stayed on the planet a bit longer. Bones also determines that the inhabitants live to such old ages simply because their ancestors were unusually fit, not because of any age-prolonging serum.

In frustration, Tracy attacks Kirk but Kirk, Tracy, McCoy, and Spock are all taken prisoner by the victorious Yangs. Kirk realizes that “Yangs” and “Coms” are actually distorted forms of “Yanks” and “Communists,” and this somewhat implausible observation is confirmed when the Yangs display a tattered old U.S. flag.

A trial headed by the Yang leader Cloud William follows. Kirk recognizes the invocation as a distorted form of the Pledge of Allegiance and surprises the Yangs by completing it unassisted. Tracy tries to convince the Yangs to kill Kirk by claiming he is servant of evil, as evidenced by his association with Spock, whose pointy ears match those in a picture in his ancient book, and who apparently has no heart—at least not in the correct anatomical location.

Kirk attempts to prove his innocence by completing the “holy words,” since the Yangs believe that a liar who speaks them will have his tongue burned by fire. When Kirk cannot, Kirk and Tracy are pitted against one another in a fight to the death. Kirk is in trouble until Spock uses a mysterious mental power to influence Cloud William’s woman to activate a captured communicator.

A landing party beams down, although Kirk has already turned the situation around and has Tracy at knife-point by this time. Kirk now realizes that the holy words are actually the preamble to the U.S. Constitution and reveals the true meaning of the words to Chief William. Kirk and his landing crew then return to the Enterprise, bringing Tracy along as a prisoner.

Fun Fact

One of the great things about Star Trek are the novels written around TOS. In the novel, Forgotten History, an investigation revealed that the Enterprise logs and scans indicated the American artifacts “were far too intact to be thousands of years old; given the primitive conditions in which the Yang tribe had kept them, they couldn’t have dated back much more than a century.” Moreover, it was discovered that the Yangs had never stated that the “holy” artifacts were ancient and this was a conclusion Kirk had jumped to. It was eventually concluded that in the 2140s an Earth Cargo Service freighter, the ECS Philadelphia had discovered the planet and noting the similarities between Yang beliefs and American ideals and left behind American paraphernalia to inspire the Yangs in their fight for freedom.

Compliance Takeaways:

  1. How well is your staff trained?
  2. How well are your business folks trained?
  3. What is your disciplinary process?


Excruciatingly Detailed Plot Summary by Eric W. Weisstein for The Omega Glory Omega Glory