Star Trek (TAS) “The Pirates of Orion” (part 3 of 3)
The Orions insist the Enterprise stop following them, claiming they’re a neutral power, which according to their definition means they can shoot anyone they like, sort of like those evil South Africans in Lethal Weapon 2. Kirk points out that Orion neutrality has been in dispute ever since the affair of the Coridon planets and the Babel incident. I… I’m stunned. Did the writer just break out a canon reference to the original series? Can it be that the person who wrote this may have actually sat down and watched the original series?
The mind boggles.
Kirk says the ship must submit to a search, as per Babel resolution A-12. Wow. Shatner phones in his performances in a lot of these episodes, but for this scene, he’s really selling Kirk’s anger and desperation. The Orions claim they’re innocent, and Kirk has Uhura put them on hold to talk to Sulu.
Sulu says the dilithium is on board the Orion ship, but he can’t tell whether or not the strobolin is. Kirk calls the Orions back and tells them they’re looking for the drug, and the Orions get all coy, inquiring that, if they had these drugs, how valuable would they be? Kirk basically is willing to pretend they never found the Orions, even going so far as to wipe the Enterprise’s logs and throw in a shipping container full of her own dilithium to sweeten the deal. The Orions say they’ll consider it, and they call back with a counterproposal: the Orion captain and Kirk will beam down on a nearby asteroid and make the drug exchange, and Kirk doesn’t even have to give them the extra dilithium.
Hey, Kirk, some friendly advice from Admiral Akbar:
In the meeting room, McCoy and Scotty agree with Akbar. Probably that whole you-don’t-have-to-give-us-the-extra-dilithium thing was a clue. Kirk says it “could” be a trap, and he’s gotta go through with it, but he tells Scotty to keep a channel open to listen in, and to maintain a transporter lock on him, just in case.
On the Orion ship, the Orions are skeptical of Kirk’s offer. Honestly, who can blame ‘em? It’s like if a state trooper pulled you over and offered to let you go if you gave up the two kilos of cocaine you have hidden in your car, and he was willing to throw in the joint he has in his pocket as an incentive. The lieutenant points out they can’t outrun the Enterprise, and they can’t out-shoot them either, but maintaining Orion neutrality is their number one priority, so they have to destroy the Enterprise to hide their criminal actions. The lieutenant’s plan is to blow up the unstable asteroid with a bomb, and the captain says he’ll take it down with him; he wants to see the look on Kirk’s face when he presses the button.
Kirk calls the Orion vessel and says he accepts their terms. Soon, he and the Orion captain beam down to the asteroid. Kirk uses a tricorder and determines the Orion has the pure, uncut strobolin. Part of me really wanted to see Kirk dip his fingertip into the box so he could taste it for purity. The Orion now begins to monologue, explaining how he can’t afford to let Enterprise go back and report this incident. He then tells Kirk about the bomb, and reaches down to push the button on his belt.
And Kirk attacks!
On the Enterprise, Arex has detected the dilithium, and Scotty has figured out the Orions’ game. He calls down to the transporter chief (sadly, it’s not Chief Kyle and his epic mustache this week) and orders him to snatch the dilithium. The Orion captain kicks Kirk off and presses the button… and is shocked when there’s no kaboom. There was supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom! Kirk jumps on the Orion captain and has Scotty beam them up.
And then Scotty shows off his new breast implants. Oh, wait, sorry. That’s the dilithium. On the Orion ship, a crewman reports to the lieutenant that Kirk and their captain are gone, and the guy’s voice sounds like Pee-wee Herman when he says “Gone?!” I can’t tell whether or not that was intentional. If they were going for a cheap laugh, then yes, it was.
On the Enterprise, the Orion captain tries to down a pill and Kirk stops him. Kirk deduces it was poison, and he tells the man he doesn’t get the easy way out, and the Orions’ “little game” of neutrality is over. He tells the captain to call his ship and stop them from self-destructing, because there’s no point. The Orion captain reluctantly agrees.
Later, the Enterprise has the Orion crew in the brig and their ship in tow, and McCoy is gloating that Spock’s green Vulcan blood almost killed him this time. Spock says that despite this incident, he still prefers his physiology over McCoy’s, probably because the average Vulcan has a twelve inch penis. Hey, don’t laugh; it would explain why Nurse Chapel has been after him all these years. Kirk and McCoy then share goofy expressions.
Everything is back to normal… except for those dead Huron crew members. And the fact that Kirk’s offer to let the Orions slide with the dilithium after murdering Starfleet personnel must be on record somewhere.
This episode was as much fun to watch as last month’s episode was painful. It had a decent plot, made good use of canon material, and it was a pleasant surprise to see a non-Enterprise crew get so much screen time. On top of that, there were a minimum of visual gaffes this time around. Enough to make me chuckle, but not enough to make me facepalm.
The script for “The Pirates of Orion” was penned by Howard Weinstein, a science fiction writer who was only 19 years old when he submitted this script, making him the youngest person ever to write for the franchise. Over the years, he’s written numerous Star Trek novels and comics, and was given a special credit on Star Trek IV, because the script originally started out as a short story he had written for his high school’s annual science fiction magazine. It sounds like East Meadow High must have been one awesome high school for nerds if they produced stuff like that.
As to the Orion’s skin color, it was suggested that Orion males have blue skin, instead of the green skin of the females, and that in the original series episode “Journey to Babel”, the Orion male we saw disguised himself as an Andorian by just slapping fake antennae on his head. That to me is an interesting theory.