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<center>According to Memory Alpha's In Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
The Corbomite Maneuver : The Man Trap : Charlie X.
In the Remastered Episodes Chronology, the release sequence is
The Conscience of the King : The Man Trap : What Are Little Girls Made Of?.
</center>

Summary

Kirk, McCoy and Crewman Darnell beam down to a routine visit of the planet M-113, where Prof. Crater and his wife Nancy are working all alone on excavations. All the two ask for is supplies of salt. McCoy once had a relationship with Nancy, but he does not notice that something is wrong with her. Soon Darnell, who was waiting outside the house, is found dead.

Kirk has more people beam down to investigate what is going on, but Nancy and Crater vanish. One more crewman is found dead, while Nancy Crater morphs into another man she has just killed and is beamed aboard the Enterprise. After killing yet another crewman there she enters McCoy's quarters, and while the tired physician is sleeping she assumes his shape.

In the meantime Kirk and Spock have found Prof. Crater. He admits that the creature killed his wife and has replaced her. The creature is the last of its kind and needs large amounts of salt for its survival that is sucks from the bodies of its victims. But then the creature strikes again in McCoy's guise, and Crater is dead too. When it attacks Kirk, the real McCoy has to shoot the salt vampire that finally shows its true form.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Darnell acting in such an undisciplined manner. He might not be able to resist the image projected by the creature.
  2. Darnell's failure to cry out when attacked. Maybe the creature managed to paralyse Darnell's vocal cords before he could cry out.

Equipment Oddities

  1. Kirk wanting to return to Enterprise, in order to use the ships sensors to scan for life signs, instead of McCoy doing it with his tricorder. The ship sensors are - presumably - more powerful than the tricorder.
  2. The ship's infra red sensors not detecting the body heat from the freshly murdered crewmembers. The creature may have the ability to reduce the body temperature of the victims as it attacks.

Internet Movie Database

Incorrectly regarded as goofs

  1. The "vampire" has lived without salt for a year, yet once prey shows up, it seems to desperately need salt every few minutes. (IMDB) It could be stocking up on salt supplies within its body just as a camel stocks up on water, or as humans and many animals store calcium and other rarer minerals into bone tissue.

Plot holes

  1. When the landing party is beamed up to the Enterprise, the transporter would have detected that crewman Green was an alien creature and not human.The creature could have used it's abilities to disguise it's internal physiology.

Nit Central

  1. Alan Hamilton on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 10:11 pm: While scanning for the Craters, Kirk says they're looking for two people -- "Professor and Nancy Crater". Spock replies, "We get a reading on only one person, probably Crater." Er, which one, Spock? Benn on Tuesday, July 01, 2003 - 11:21 pm: To a certain degree, it is customary to refer to men by their last names. "Hamilton, old boy." Women are seldom referred to in such a manner. This may have been how Spock meant it.
  2. Benn (Benn) on Sunday, March 06, 2011 - 1:01 am: I'm not sure how much salt is in the average human body or what the Salt Vampire's dietary requirements are, but Darnell, Sturgeon, Green, unknown crewman and Professor Crater, not to mention an attempt on Kirk's life, all in fairly rapid succession, doesn't it seem the Salt Vampire has a bit of a voracious appetite? And if it has that big an appetite, needs to consume that much salt, how did ever survive all that time on a mere 25 pounds of salt without finally killing Professor Crater before the Enterprise arrived? Josh M (Joshm) on Sunday, March 06, 2011 - 3:32 am: Perhaps it gorges, allowing it go for an extended period of time without consuming anything or feeding on very little.


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!
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