(written from a Production point of view)
When a strange flash of light paralyzes the entire crew of the Enterprise, they begin to shrink. Kirk beams down to the nearest planet, Cepheus, and discovers a miniature race (of descendants of a lost Earth colony) desperate to leave their volcanic homeworld.
- "Captain's log: Stardate 5577.3. We are approaching the remains of the burned out supernova, Arachna. Requested updated survey will begin with measurements of its radiation and volume expansion."
Spock reports from his station that Arachna has reached its cycle of strongest emissions. Kirk orders "Uhura, inform Starbase 23 we have arrived at the gas cloud and are starting to map." The USS Enterprise receives a garbled message. Uhura reports interference and there is only one comprehensible portion of a signal, which emanates from the star Cepheus, although that particular area has not produced any radio transmissions before. Transmitting in intersat code, a code that has not been used in centuries, is the word 'terratin.'
Kirk has Sulu set course for Cepheus. Upon the Enterprise's arrival and subsequent investigation, the starship encounters a planet of crystalline structure, barraged by volcanic activity. While in orbit, a flash of light passes through the ship, paralyzing the crew. Scotty reports that the dilithium crystals are unpeeling like the rind of an orange and all connections are busted. Kirk asks, "Spock, are you slumping?" The Vulcan replies, "I have never slumped in my life, captain, but I was about to ask you the same…" Kirk interrupts and insists the ship must get away from the planet as fast as possible.
- "Captain's log, stardate 5577.5. Our limited power attempt to escape the planet's gravity has failed. Undefined wave bombardment continues resulting in a contraction of our bodies or an expansion of the ship by a factor of 0.3."
Uhura reports, "No reply to our mayday, captain. I don't believe we have enough power to transmit to Starbase 23." Kirk asks McCoy for answers. He shows Kirk that they are indeed degenerating. The space between the molecules of their body is diminishing so they retain their original weight. Spock notes all organic matter on the ship is shrinking.
- "Captain's log, stardate 5577.7. We will lose effective control of this vessel at the point when we have become one centimeter tall. At the present rate we will reach this less than fingernail length in 32 minutes."
Spock calculates that in a matter of minutes the entire crew will stand 1/16 inch high, well past the operative point of ship's controls. By using man-made ladders, the crew manages to get to their consoles and use their collective strength to press the transporter buttons. Kirk orders Scott to set automatic return for him in ten minutes. Kirk then orders Scott that a crew be sent down to the transporter room to beam himself down to the surface. Upon materialization on the surface of the planet, Kirk immediately grows back to full size, since the transporter retained a memory of his body's molecular structure and changed it to previously detailed size and shape.
While on the planet, Kirk encounters a miniature city, but is beamed back to the ship by the transporter's automatic settings. Upon returning, he discovers that his bridge crew has been transported off the ship to the planet's surface. Kirk opens a channel and threatens the city with all the ship's armament locked onto it if his crew is not immediately returned unharmed. The leader, the Mendant, informs Kirk that the lightning attack was the only way he could get the full attention of the starship, and apologizes. He informs Kirk that their city is being threatened by volcanic activity and their adoptive planet is dying.
Spock discovers the Terratin natives to be mutated descendants of a missing early scientific expedition; the survivors named the planet Terra Ten. The crew is transported back to the ship, but since the Terratins cannot be restored to the size of their ancestors, they and their entire city are beamed aboard the Enterprise to be taken to a more stable planet. The leader shows the appreciation of all Terratin inhabitants by naming all the Enterprise crew honorary Terratins now and for all time to come. Spock notes "We came rather close to more than honorary." Kirk says, "Yes, I'd say just about a sixteenth of an inch close."
- "Captains log, supplemental. The Lilliputian city is to be taken to Verdanis and relocated on a fertile and well watered plain. Then we'll be able to call the Terratin Incident closed."
"Spock – are you slumping?"
"I have never slumped in my life, captain."
- - Kirk, noticing that Spock is getting smaller
"Visual sweeps are already impossible, sir. My eyes no longer fit the opticals."
"And I can't reach the dial I turned five minutes ago!"
- - Lieutenant Arex and Uhura
"We've got twenty-nine minutes before we're too small to operate ship controls!"
- - Kirk
"Spock's theory is right, we're contracting."
"That's why our weight remains the same. Same number of atoms. The effect is just reducing the space between the molecules. It's something I've never seen before."
- - Kirk and McCoy
"What is the composition of this decoration?"
"It was an arm bracelet, more like a necklace now."
"Yet the uniform on which you wear it fits as well as ever. Uniform made of algae-based xenylon, I believe."
- - Spock and Nurse Chapel
"Scotty, is it you?"
"Aye, captain. For the love of heaven, be careful where you step!"
- - Kirk, restored to normal height, finds Scotty the size of a dot on the bridge
- This episode's writer, Paul Schneider, previously wrote two TOS episodes: "Balance of Terror" and "The Squire of Gothos". According to Schneider, "The 'Terratin Incident' was based on a one-paragraph story idea that Gene Roddenberry had. I took it from there with Dorothy Fontana, the show's associate producer. I just loved the concept of doing something related to Gulliver's Travels. I enjoyed that, as well as watching the process of animation develop. Overall, I thought the episode turned out rather well." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 98)
- The editors of Trek magazine collectively scored this episode 2 out of 5 stars (a rating that they termed "fair"). (The Best of Trek #1, p. 110)
- In the unofficial reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (p. 236), co-writer Mark A. Altman rates this episode 2 out of 4 stars (defined as "mediocre") while fellow co-writer Edward Gross ranks the episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars (defined as "average").
- In Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide" (Star Trek Magazine issue 163, p. 26), this episode was rated 3 out of 5 Starfleet arrowhead insignia.
- The idea of some of the crew being miniaturized by a form of scientific phenomenon was used again in DS9: "One Little Ship", wherein Jadzia Dax, Julian Bashir, and Miles O'Brien get shrunk and then have to save the USS Defiant from the Jem'Hadar while in a runabout.
- One of the Terratin colonists appears to be a re-use of the animation for Carter Winston.
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (CIC Video): Volume 5, catalog number VHR 2539, 17 February 1992
- As part of the The Animated Series DVD collection
- As part of the The Animated Series Blu-ray collection
Links and referencesEdit
Also starring Edit
- George Takei as Sulu
- Nichelle Nichols as
- Majel Barrett as Chapel
- James Doohan as
Background characters Edit
- Two Enterprise engineers (too small for their tools)
- Five Enterprise crew (in mess hall)
- Three Enterprise engineers (in transporter room/bridge)
- Twenty-two Terratin inhabitants
- Three Enterprise crew (miniaturized on Terra 10)
21st century; 2069; aquarium; algae; Arachna; atmosphere; atom; automatic return; bone-knitting laser; "Bones"; bracelet; cell; centimeter; Cepheus; chair; class M; colony; compound fracture; computer banks; coral; crust; crystal; deafness; dilithium; DNA; double helix; ear; Earth; electric eye; fertility; fingernail; gossamer mouse; hairpin; halo fish; height; honorary; inch; infrared; intersat code; invasion defense antenna; kitten; knitting (medicine); lab; lava; Libra; Lilliputian; macroscope; mantle; mapping mission; mayday; mendant; mess officer; meteoritic rock; microscope laser; miniature laser; miniaturization; molecular structure; nitrogen; nucleus; orange; oxygen; planetary core; purr; radiation; ring; shock; silverware; speaker; splint; spiroid epsilon wave; spiroid wave analysis; star; star chatter; Starbase 23; Starfleet uniform; subspace; supernova; table; tadpole; Terra 10; Terratin; timer; titanium; titanium smith; transporter beam; transporter controls; transporter mechanism; Transporter Room 3; Verdanis; volcano; volume; xenylon
- "The Terratin Incident" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Terratin Incident" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Terratin Incident" at Wikipedia
- "The Terratin Incident" & "The Time Trap" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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