Star Trek TOS: Never Trust a Booming-Voiced Oracle

Star Trek TOS: Never Trust a Booming-Voiced Oracle
Star Trek Tos: For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

Star Trek: The Original Series

Season 3, Episode 8

For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky started chaotically, like many Star Trek: The Original Series episodes. Missiles were hurtling toward Enterprise,  but Kirk and Sulu blew those out of the galaxy. 

Unrelated to the opening sequence, McCoy revealed to Kirk he had a terminal disease. McCoy asked Kirk for leeway to continue his job until “the end” as the captain wrestled with the news. Kirk then informed all Starfleet brass of McCoy’s malady, requesting his eventual replacement. 

The crew discovered an asteroid barreling toward a planet called Daran V, risking the lives of three billion people. After some discovery, Spock determined the asteroid was actually a spaceship, complicating the situation even more. So, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beamed down to the asteroid-spaceship for a closer look. 

Unsurprisingly, the initial exploration went pear-shaped when a group of men plus one woman attacked the Starfleeters. Like many episodes before, Kirk and his pals were seized as prisoners. 

The group was led by a woman, Natira, and she forced Kirk, Spock, and McCoy to kneel and observe one of her rituals. Natira spoke to a god-like voice, detailing what she considered bad deeds perpetrated by her peaceful invaders. The god voice responded by zapping Kirk, Spock, and McCoy as retribution. McCoy later called the voice an “oracle.”

In an odd twist, Natira had the hots for McCoy, professing her ardor aloud. Meanwhile, Kirk contemplated the dilemma of possibly destroying the asteroid-ship with everyone in it, allowing it to obliterate Daran V, or circumventing the Prime Directive by notifying the passengers of their plight. 

McCoy outlined to Natira his terminal illness, but that didn’t faze her. The two passionately kissed. Natira petitioned the oracle to allow McCoy a stay on Yonada (the asteroid-ship) She loved the guy and sought to secure her beau. Kirk and Spock eavesdropped on the conversation with the oracle. They were immediately zapped [again] for doing so. More punishment awaited. 

But McCoy negotiated his friends’ release — with the stipulation to Natira he would personally stay if they were allowed to beam back to Enterprise. Kirk pleaded with McCoy to return to Enterprise, even mentioning the stakes involving blasting the asteroid-ship to smithereens. McCoy remained steadfast on staying behind. 

As soon as Kirk and Spock vamoosed, McCoy and Natira married. Back on Enterprise, Kirk notified Starfleet of dealings on the ship (it was called Yonada). Starfleet quickly relieved Kirk of responsibility from the Yonada ordeal, indicating they would handle it. Soon after, McCoy radioed Kirk, telling him how to push Yonada off course from the collision course with Daran V. 

Then, McCoy collapsed, and Kirk hurried back to Yonada. There, he convinced Natira that Yonada was actually a ship, not an asteroid. He also explained the oracle was a fraud. McCoy and Natira had “instruments of obedience” implanted in their bodies, so Spock ripped those out real quick. 

Serendipitously, Spock found books stuffed with medical knowledge, conveniently containing a cure for McCoy’s illness. 

The episode was warning on blind faith to a god or dogma such as the oracle. Star Trek was never a big fan of those entities — omni-powered beings with booming voices. This time, the writers interwove a rare McCoy love story to question the unabashed devotion of a deity. 

Interestingly, this installment was similarly themed to The Paradise Syndrome

Themes: Distrust in God-like Authority

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).