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"Errand of Mercy" is an episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. It was first broadcast on March 23, 1967. It is episode #26, production #27, written by Gene L. Coon and directed by John Newland. It was the first episode in which the Klingons appeared.

"Errand of Mercy"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 26
Directed by John Newland
Written by Gene L. Coon
Featured music Alexander Courage
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 027
Original air date March 23, 1967 (1967-03-23)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

With a war with the Klingons declared, Captain Kirk and his First Officer, Mr. Spock, attempt to sway the incomprehensibly placid population of a planet to resist an invading military occupation.



Relations between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire have reached the breaking point, and recent negotiations have collapsed. The starship Enterprise has been sent to the world of Organia, a non-aligned planet near the Klingon border, to prevent the Klingons from annexing it. As the Enterprise approaches Organia, Spock briefs Kirk, calling it a primitive society. Without warning, the Enterprise is attacked by a Klingon vessel, which is quickly destroyed when the Enterprise returns fire.

Upon arriving on the planet, Kirk leaves his helmsman, Lieutenant Sulu, in command of the ship with instructions to withdraw if a Klingon fleet arrives. Kirk and Spock then beam down to the planet surface and find themselves in a primitive town, with ruins in the distance. Kirk tells the Organian council what the Klingons will do if they capture the planet, but the Organians are unconcerned. Instead, the Organian leader says that the Enterprise and her crew are the only ones in danger. A Klingon fleet appears, firing on the Enterprise. Kirk orders Sulu to withdraw, which strands Kirk and Spock on the planet.

The Organians disguise Kirk as one of them and have Spock pose as a Vulcan merchant of trillium. The Klingons seize control of the planet without resistance and install the ranking Klingon officer, Kor, as the military governor. Kor, noticing that Kirk is the only Organian who doesn't smile all the time, takes a liking to him and demands that he act as the Organian liaison. Spock is taken for questioning to verify his background as a trader but resists the "mind sifter" device that the Klingons use.

The Organians do nothing to resist the occupation. Kirk and Spock start guerrilla operations of their own by blowing up a munitions dump outside town. The Organians in the council strongly object to the action, while Kirk protests their lack of action. Meanwhile, Kor listens to Kirk's speech through a hidden camera, discovering that he is the saboteur.

When the Klingons threaten to torture them as suspected insurgents, the Organians reveal the true identities of Kirk and Spock and allow them to be arrested. Spock is imprisoned while Kirk is taken to Kor's private chambers, where Kor tells Kirk that he has twelve hours to answer questions about the Federation fleet. After that, if Kirk still refuses, he will undergo the mind scanning technique, leaving him a vegetable. Also, Spock will be dissected to determine how he was able to resist the mind probe.

With six hours before the deadline, the Organians free the pair and hide them in the council chamber. While Kirk and Spock try to comprehend the natives' contradictory actions, Kor orders the executions of two hundred Organians. Still, the Organians protect Kirk and Spock, but remain otherwise unperturbed by the Klingons' actions, leaving the Federation officers and Klingons baffled.

As Federation and Klingon fleets are converging on the system, Kirk and Spock raid the Klingon headquarters in hopes of rousing the population into resistance. They capture Kor and prepare to make a last stand, while the fleets are ready to clash. The Organians then reveal their true nature: they are not primitive humanoids, but are highly advanced incorporeal beings. They instantly incapacitate both sides, forcing the two sides to agree to the Organian Peace Treaty. Both sides protest, but the Organians say the rivals will get along far better in the future. When Kirk says to Kor that it looks like they won't have their war, Kor responds, "A shame, Captain. It would have been glorious!"


Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a 'B+' rating, describing it as "fun" but noting "logical holes throughout".[1]


  • Commander Worf mentions Kor's encounter with Kirk when he first meets Kor ("The Sword of Kahless").

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Handlen, Zack (April 17, 2009). ""Errand Of Mercy" / "The Alternative Factor"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 2, 2010. 

External linksEdit