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The Light Bulb Series: “Who Shall Bring Us Light?” (The Original Series)

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Captain’s Log, Stardate 5187.8. Having cleared up the diplomatic crisis on Politico, I’ve managed to obtain a leave for my ship and crew. They are looking forward to this much-needed vacation.

Scene: The Bridge

Kirk
Mr. Sulu, set course for the planet Luxuria.
Sulu
Yes, sir!

Suddenly, the ship is rocked by a violent explosion, which causes everyone to fall out of their chairs.

Kirk
Mr. Chekov, report on all Klingon ships in the area.
Chekov
Negative, keptin. Sensors show no enemy wessel in sight.
Kirk
Your analysis, Mr. Spock?
Spock
I assure you, Captain, I am not operating under the influence of illicit mind-altering substances. However, if you think it necessary, regulations do stipulate that—
Kirk
I meant your analysis of the current situation.
Spock
My apologies, Captain. I am still sometimes unable to compensate for the vagaries of human enunciation. It would appear, Captain, that a visional catalyst source has malfunctioned to the critical overload stage. (Noticing Kirk’s blank stare, he shakes his head almost imperceptibly.) To rephrase my statement into what I believe you humans call ‘the vernacular’ a light bulb blew in Engineering.
Kirk
Sulu, you have the Bridge. Spock, come with me.

Scene: Engineering

A medical team is dragging off an injured engineer in a red shirt. Scotty is surveying the damage and shaking his head. He spots Kirk and Spock.

Scotty
Ca’en, sair, seen a’ th’ bulb ha’ burn oot, I kinna see to oper’a’ me engines!

Kirk smiles and nods.

Kirk
(whispering to Spock) What did he say?
Spock
I believe, Captain, that Mr. Scott wishes to register a complaint to the effect that there is insufficient illumination to perform the duties requisite in his capacity as Chief Engineer.
Kirk
Oh. Well, Scotty, get a spare from storage.
Spock
I fear such action would be inappropriate, Captain. Starfleet Regulation 171.34c requires us to travel with a full complement of spare parts at all times. If we were to remove a bulb from storage, then we would not have a full complement, and hence be in direct violation.
Kirk
Damn the regulations, Spock, I’ve got a ship with 430 people aboard to think of! At least I think there are 430; come to think of it, I’ve never actually seen more than a couple dozen. Oh well, where is the nearest source of light bulbs?
Spock
I believe the planet Luminos satisfies the specified parameters.
Kirk
Scotty, do we have enough power to make it to Luminos?
Scotty
Ach, I dinna righ’ly ken, Ca’en; we’re runnin’ a wee bit low. However, if we go strai’ thar and dinna hurry, I thin’ we migh’ possibly duit.
Kirk
Thank you, Scotty. Spock?
Spock
Mr. Scott has formulated the opinion that there is insufficient data for complete analysis; current fuel capacity is scarcely in excess of minimal standards. However, probability dictates our vessel has the capability to sustain the journey under the following two constraints: a direct course must be set and maintained throughout and the ship’s velocity must satisfy a maximal condition.
Kirk
Then I’m afraid our little pleasure trip will have to wait.

Scene: The Bridge

Sulu and Chekov are engaged in conversation.

Sulu
I think it was Thomas Edison.
Chekov
No, you are wrong; the light bulb is a Russian inwention.

Kirk and Spock enter.

Kirk
Mr. Sulu, set a direct course for the planet Luminos.
Sulu
(startled) But, Captain, that’ll take us straight through the Romulan Neutral Zone!
Kirk
It’s a risk we’ll just have to take!

EXTERNAL SHOT: Enterprise hurtling through space.

Sulu
We are now approaching the planet Luminos. I guess the Romulans didn’t notice us. Mind you, I did pick up funny blips on our sensors that seemed to follow us.
Kirk
Probably nothing important. Assume standard orbit.
Sulu
Aye, sir.
Kirk
(punching intercom) Kirk to Supply. Supply, send down someone to get some light bulbs.
Spock
Captain, may I remind you of Starfleet Regulation 14.2b? ‘In order to prevent a ship from abandoning a crewmember on a planet, each landing party must contain enough high-ranking officers so that the ability of the ship to function without them is reduced below minimal standards.’
Kirk
Of course, Spock. We’ll have myself, you, Dr. McCoy, and three guys in red shirts. I’ll get the doctor, you attend to the others.

Scene: Sickbay

McCoy is tending to the injured engineer. Kirk enters.

Kirk
Hello, Bones.

McCoy grunts inarticulately.

Kirk
What’s the matter, Bones, aren’t you going to say hello?
McCoy
Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a casino greeter. I’ve got sick people to attend to, do you hear me, sick people, people whose very lives hang in the balance and depend upon my every action! And you come in here with such high contempt for human life that you expect me to neglect all my patients just to trade some weak social banalities!
Kirk
Come on, Bones, your only patient is this engineer who got temporarily blinded and he looks fine. How are you, son?
Engineer
Gosh, sir, now that I’ve met you I’m all better! We younger crew members thrive on your godlike aura.
McCoy
Shut up, you! I’m the doctor, and I’ll make the diagnoses around here! By the way, Jim, just what the hell did you want?
Kirk
I’m taking a landing party down to Luminos and I want you along.
McCoy
What in blasted blue blazes are you thinking of, Jim? What about my patient?
Kirk
He seems to have snuck away just now.
McCoy
Again? Damn! Why do they always do that?
Kirk
There, there, Bones. Maybe there are sick people down on the planet.
McCoy
Do you really think so? Oh, okay, I’ll come. But if I don’t get someone to operate on, you’re next in line.

Scene: Transporter Room

Scotty is at the controls and Spock and the red shirts are standing on the pad. Kirk and McCoy take their places.

Kirk
Ready to beam down. Mr. Scott, you have the con.
Scotty
Tha’ ya, sair. I ha’ always wanned ta gi’ ordairs, but so far nay one has e’er lissend ta me.
Kirk
Sure, whatever. Energize.

Scene: A lush jungle near rocky terrain

The landing party materializes.

McCoy
Well, this looks like a safe enough place.

A huge hole opens up in the ground and swallows one of the men in red shirts.

Kirk
Yes, Bones, and the vegetation makes a pleasant change from the ship.

Another guy wearing a red shirt reaches out, touches a plant, and explodes. Kirk, Spock and McCoy turn and stare expectantly at the third guy in a red shirt. Spears comes whizzing through the air and one lodges in his chest. McCoy bends over and examines him, then shakes his head.

McCoy
He’s dead, Jim.
Kirk
Well, at least that’s over with. Did anyone see where the spears came from?
Spock
Not directly, but perhaps inferentially. Analysis of relevant data yields a 99.4% probability that the fusillade emanated from that direction. (He points.) Observe the grouping of antagonistic aboriginals evincing primitive projectile weaponry.
McCoy
You mean savage-looking tribesmen waving spears! Why can’t you just come out and say what you mean? Criminy, sometimes you really get on my nerves! Hey, my phaser’s jammed!
Kirk
Now, Bones, you shouldn’t be shooting at the natives anyway.
McCoy
Who said anything about natives? Let me borrow your phaser, Jim.
Spock
All our phasers are inoperative. It would appear to be a combined result of local atmospheric and geologic conditions. Or possibly the tribesmen’s tacky hairstyles.

Scene: The Bridge

Scotty enters and sits in the captain’s chair.

Scotty
Sta’us rapor’.
Sulu
Hunh? What’d he say?
Chekov
(excitedly) Comrade Scott! My sensors indicate an approaching Romulan wessel. It is trawelling straight for us and moofing wery fast. I vould have reported it earlier, but I had a hard time thinking of a sentence vith enough wee’s and double-oo’s to comically mispronounce.
Scotty
Ta’e us oot a arbit an the dibble!
Sulu
I hope he said to get the hell out of here, ’cause that’s what I’m doing!

The Enterprise leaves orbit. Unfortunately, three other Romulan ships decloak around them. A Romulan admiral appears on screen.

Admiral
Intruders, we have found you in direct violation of the accords governing travel through the Neutral Zone. Under the rules of the accords, your ship is now forfeit to us. Are you prepared to surrender, or will we be forced to destroy you?

Scene: The Planet

The tribesmen are approaching and encircling the landing party.

Kirk
Well, looks like it’s time to get out of here. (flipping open communicator) Kirk to Enterprise. Kirk to Enterprise...

Kirk shakes his head and closes the communicator. He nods to Spock and McCoy and they begin to fight the tribesmen. Kirk’s shirt gets torn. They manage to knock out five or six, but are overwhelmed and captured.

Kirk
Wait! We come in peace. We mean you no harm.

The tribesmen turn and look at their fallen comrades, then look back at Kirk.

Kirk
Uh...

The one with the tackiest hair moves forward.

Chieftain
You do not belong to my tribe. You are prisoners!
Kirk
Listen. We are members of the starship Enterprise. Our seemingly never-ending mission is to explore strange new worlds, seek out slimy blobs and poorly-dressed weirdos, to boldly—
Chieftain
Shut up. Our tribe is bored by pompous talk.
Spock
Logic suggests that we should not attempt further action until we obtain more data.
Kirk
Excuse me, Spock, but you keep saying ‘probability dictates’ and ‘logic suggests.’ Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Spock
Fascinating. I will have to further explore this idiosyncratic linguistic anomaly. Meanwhile, I believe I may be able to simplify the current situation. I shall now ascertain which aspect of Earth’s cultural history these people mirror completely except of course for one minor but nonetheless significant difference. Tribal Chieftain, how do you live?
Chieftain
We are a free people. We travel much and live off the land. We hunt animals for food and dig for roots. We weave to make clothes and manufacture light bulbs for religious purposes.
McCoy
Light bulbs? Great! We’ll take a dozen.
Chieftain
Sacrilege! You will all die painfully for this.
Kirk
Well, Bones, you’ve put your foot in it now. Hey, Chief, are there any scantily-clad ingenues on this planet? Just thought I’d ask.
Chieftain
Why, yes, my daughter Arianna is one. Here she comes now.

Enter a gorgeous blonde with perfect teeth wearing a fur bikini and way too much eye make-up. Switch to soft focus. She catches sight of Kirk.

Kirk
Hello.
Arianna
No man has ever spoken to me with such tender beauty. Oh, kiss me, kiss me passionately, Stranger! Father, you can go ahead and disembowel the other intruders, but spare this one if you would spare your daughter.

Switch to regular focus.

Chieftain
Go to your hut, Arianna; we will talk later. Bring the prisoners to the Deathcave where my son lies. They will stay there while the sacrifice is made ready. Perhaps they will find my son Ranor fitting company during the hour of preparation.
Kirk
Listen! I am Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise and I demand you release us.
Chieftain
Your former titles mean nothing here, Captain.

Scene: A Gloomy Cave

Kirk, Spock and McCoy are standing by a boulder that has sealed off the entrance.

Kirk
Captain’s Log, Stardate 5188.2. I have made contact with a lady named Arianna. She’s a foxy blonde and she’s really hot for me. They all are. I sometimes wonder: is it my good looks, or my terrific personality? Not that I really care; just so long as they know the score. Oh, also Dr. McCoy, First Officer Spock and myself beamed down to Luminos in attempt to secure much needed light bulbs and are trapped in a cave awaiting sacrifice at the hands of savages while the Enterprise appears to have left planetary orbit.
McCoy
(eagerly pointing) Look, Jim, it’s a sick guy! Oh boy, this is great! (adopting a professional tone) There, there son. I’m a doctor and I’m here to help you. What seems to be the trouble?
Ranor
(moaning) I have... a hangnail, which is fatal to the people in our tribe. Our witch doctors have searched... many generations (aaagh) for a cure, but have not found one. Do (ungh) do you have the knowledge and medical skill to remove it?
McCoy
Astounding! Our culture solved that problem centuries ago. Now, I’m just a simple country doctor with advanced surgical training and high-tech equipment, but I’ll have you cured in no time.

McCoy sets to work, and Kirk turns to Spock.

Kirk
Let’s see, the chieftain made a remark that we would have an hour until the sacrifice. How much time do we have left?
Spock
I would estimate about 7 minutes 17.4 seconds.
Kirk
(amused) Thank you, Spock. I don’t suppose you could come up with a ‘rough sketch’ of an escape plan?
Spock
Actually, Captain, I have formulated 13 different plans of escape, with probabilities of success ranging from near-certainty to 342,984.6 to 1 against. However, extrapolation based on estimated psychological profiles suggests that none of them would involve another passionate interlude between Arianna and yourself.
Kirk
(pounding his fist on a rock) Well, then, we’ll just have to find another way! There must be... another way.

The boulder moves and tribesmen enter.

Chieftain
Now, strangers, we disembowel you. We will start with the one my daughter has the hots for.
Ranor
Look, father, I’m better!
Chieftain
Ranor! The strangers have healed you! Strangers, you must possess great mystic powers. In gratitude for returning my son to life, I free you and give you a dozen sacred light bulbs. You who can perform such miracles will be worthy caretakers.

A witch doctor grudgingly hands over some light bulbs. Suddenly, Kirk’s communicator beeps. He flips it open.

Uhura
Enterprise to Captain Kirk, Enterprise to Captain Kirk.
Kirk
Yes, Token Female Communications Officer Uhura, we read you.
Uhura
We are back in orbit and ready to receive you.
Kirk
Acknowledged. Stand by to beam us aboard.

Switch to soft focus. Arianna enters and flings herself on Kirk.

Arianna
Say you won’t go!
Kirk
I’m sorry, but I have to. I have other, greater responsibilities.
Arianna
(wiping away tears) I understand. But I will always remember you! I will remember you until this jungle withers away. (She kisses him passionately.) I will remember you until the mountains become flat. (Another passionate kiss.) I will remember you until the stars shine no more in the night sky. (A final long firm kiss, reluctantly tearing her lips away.)
Kirk
Yes, and I’ll remember you until the next cheap bimbo comes along. Energize.

Scene: The Bridge

Kirk is back in the captain’s chair, with McCoy, Spock, and Scotty gathered around.

Kirk
Tell me, Scotty, how did you escape the Romulan battleships?
Scotty
I dinna rightly ken, sair. I star’e’ ta try an’ negotia’ wi’ ’em, an’ th’ Ramoolans ga frus’ra’ed an’ sel’-destruc’ed.
Kirk
Uh, whatever. (begins scratching.) Ugh. What is it, Bones?
McCoy
(also scratching) Apparently we all picked up a minor rash on the planet. It should go away in a couple of hours, but it’ll be extremely uncomfortable.
Spock
I appear to be unaffected, Gentlemen.
McCoy
Damn that green blood of yours!
Kirk
Now, Bones, settle down. Yes, Mr. Chekov, what is it?
Chekov
Keptin, my chair by the veapons console has lost a ball bearing and von’t rewolve anymore.
Kirk
Don’t worry, Chekov, we’ll take care of it and get a new ball bearing right away. Mr. Sulu, set course for the planet Metallicus. Warp factor three.

The End

This page was last modified on Wednesday, July 04, 2012.