The Deadly Years - The Alternative Factor - The Return of the Archons.


The Enterprise, completing a mapping assignment, is rocked by an energy pulse. Science Officer Spock informs Kirk that the gravity pull of the planet fluctuated to zero and says that the surrounding space seemed to momentarily "wink" out of existence. Sensors locate a human presence on the planet that wasn't there before. Spock and Kirk beam down to the planet and find a one-man spacecraft. A disheveled, bearded man appears and accidentally slips off a cliff. The man survives the fall but is injured, and Kirk has him beamed to the Enterprise for examination.

Back on the ship, Lt. Masters informs Captain Kirk that the mysterious disturbance has drained the dilithium crystals in the warp drive. A message from Starfleet reports that every quadrant has been subjected to the same winking effect and electronic disruption as the Enterprise. Starfleet fears that the disruption may be a prelude to an invasion and has ordered all ships — except the Enterprise — to leave the area. Kirk is ordered to find the cause of the disturbance, alone.

Doctor McCoy notifies Kirk that the fallen man is awake and Kirk questions him. Kirk learns that the man, who calls himself Lazarus, is chasing down the "monster" who destroyed his civilization. He describes his nemesis as a murdering beast, existing only to destroy. Periodically, Lazarus fades in and out of existence, encountering his adversary in a kind of dimensional corridor. Each time he does so, another energy wink occurs that ripples through the universe.

Kirk takes Lazarus to the bridge when Spock reports an amazing discovery on the planet: a "rip" in space and time has formed near where Lazarus was found. Lazarus insists that his enemy, trying to destroy the universe, is causing the phenomenon. He demands that Kirk give him some dilithium crystals so he may fix his ship and continue to fight his enemy. Kirk refuses, so Lazarus steals some dilithium from the ship's engines. Once Lazarus is caught, Kirk takes him to the briefing room for interrogation. Lazarus denies doing it, saying his enemy must have stolen it.

Kirk beams back to the planet with Lazarus and a security team to seek this "hidden" enemy. Lazarus has another dimensional episode and is returned to sickbay, where Kirk demands the truth. Lazarus explains that he is a time traveler, and the planet below was once his homeworld. He claims his counterpart destroyed his civilization in the past, for which Lazarus chased him for centuries.

Spock concludes that Lazarus's enemy is an "anti-Lazarus", possibly from a parallel dimension; if Lazarus and his anti-self contact each other within either physical universe, they would destroy each other and annihilate both universes. Lazarus, prepared to continue his mission, slips away from sickbay and creates a diversion in engineering to acquire dilithium. With the stolen crystals, he beams down to the planet to repair his ship. Kirk follows, but Lazarus activates his time machine just as Kirk tries to stop him. Stepping into the portal, Kirk is accidentally teleported to the other anti-dimension where he encounters the anti-Lazarus.

This Lazarus seems sane and admits to stealing the dilithium the first time. He informs Kirk that his people believed two universes existed, tried to prove it but failed, thus causing their own destruction. Lazarus confirms Mr. Spock's hypothesis that breaking the barriers between the matter and anti-matter universes may trigger doomsday.

He explains that only one Lazarus can exist in a universe at a time and his opposite went mad to the point of seeking the double's destruction, even if that meant the end of the world. If not stopped, their constant encounters will destroy both universes. The anti-Lazarus tells Kirk that the "dimensional corridor" — Lazarus's ship — connecting them must be severed. Kirk must send the mad Lazarus back into the corridor and close off the portal for good.

Kirk returns to his universe and confronts the insane Lazarus, pushing him into his dimensional portal. Kirk heads back to the Enterprise, ordering the phasers to target the dimension ship. The two Lazaruses meet once more and fight as phaser beams vaporize the ship. Both Lazaruses are now trapped between universes, apparently doomed to fight each other for eternity..

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  1. Lazarus's easy access to vital areas. The crew probably don't expect him to be able to cause too much trouble before he can be subdued.

Changed PremesisEdit

  1. Commodore Barstow stating that the energy distortions were felt in every quadrant of the galaxy and beyond, indicating that contact across the whole galaxy is considered normal in The Original Series era, but regarded as almost impossible almost a century later in the TNG era. It is more likely that Barstow's comments relate to sensor projections of the energy distortions.

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit

Audio/visual unsynchronisedEdit

  1. Kirk tells Lazarus, "Let's have it. The truth this time." His lips do not move during the second sentence. Kirk could be a natural ventriloquist.


  1. When the code factor one transmission comes through from Starfleet Command, before Commodore Barstow appears on screen or is otherwise identified, the bridge screen is still showing the planet below, and while the planet below is still showing, Kirk says "Kirk here, Enterprise standing by Commodore," although Kirk would have had no idea whether he was about to be speaking with a Commodore or an Admiral. Barstow could be the local representative for Starfleet Command in the area, making him the most likely source of orders to Kirk relating to the survey of the barren planet which served as the focus of the energy distortions.

Nit CentralEdit

  1. Alan Hamilton (Alan) on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 - 1:13 pm: The other issue is that even if both Lazurii were totally converted to energy, it still wouldn't be a Universe-shattering kaboom. If they both weighed 180 pounds, that would create 1.47 x 1019 joules, equivalent to a 3500 megaton bomb. By comparison, the Sun gives off 3.83 x 1026 joules per second. So if the Lazurii met, it could potentially render a planet uninhabitable, but would not affect much beyond that. Francois Lacombe (Franc0is) on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 11:29 am: I don't think that was the problem. Sane Lazarus explains that the magnetic corridor between the two universes acts like a "safety valve", keeping the two from completely annihilating each other. Further dialogue implies that the two Lazarus meeting outside the corridor would destroy that safety valve, let the two universes come in actual contact and trigger their complete destruction.

The Original Series Season 1
Pilot episodes: The Cage I Where No Man Has Gone Before
Regular episodes: The Corbomite Maneuver I Mudd's Women I The Enemy Within I The Man Trap I The Naked Time I Charlie X I Balance of Terror I What Are Little Girls Made Of? I Dagger of the Mind I Miri I The Conscience of the King I The Galileo Seven I Court Martial I The Menagerie Part 1 I The Menagerie Part 2 I Shore Leave I The Squire of Gothos I Arena I The Alternative Factor I Tomorrow Is Yesterday I The Return of the Archons I A Taste of Armageddon I Space Seed I This Side of Paradise I The Devil in the Dark I Errand of Mercy I The City on the Edge of Forever I Operation: Annihilate!