“The Doomsday Machine” Redux Part *1 New Material*


This is something I’ve been thinking of doing for a good portion of my life. “The Doomsday Machine” was the very first “Star Trek TOS” episode I ever saw 50 years ago. I was 8 years old. Being a “spaceship groupie” it’s always been my favorite episode; something I was proud to have in common with the late James Doohan. I even bought an AMT Enterprise kit and built a model of the wrecked Constellation with the help of my dad’s torch-style pipe lighter. This brings me to another reason TDM is special to me. I saw it the first time with my now deceased father, Kermit, who bought and helped me build my very first Enterprise kit. (No, he wasn’t a frog.)

Dad**********************************************My Father, Kermit 1933-2015*********************

The TOS adaptions written by the late James Blish inspired me long ago to try my hand at “FanFic”, but I’d hesitated to try writing a new adaption of TDM because I didn’t think I’d be able to do it justice. Then, later in life (obviously), I got about two and a half years of steady writing experience under my belt playing the part of Dean Winchester in numerous role playing games based on the TV series “Supernatural”. Not bragging here, simply stating a fact: Admins from several “Supernatural” RPG’s read my work and asked me to take the part in their games.  With this ego-boost in mind and encouragement from some fellow Trekkers, I decided to take a shot at TDM.

One of the greatest things about TDM is the music. That, of course, is impossible to depict with the printed word. My favorite scene, the Enterprise’s  attack run, would not be nearly as exciting without Sol Kaplan’s wonderful score. I’m still trying to figure out how to best depict it, so it won’t be posted for while yet. I’m currently writing this in two stages: one beginning with the opening scene and one beginning with the scene in which Commodore Decker is relieved of command of the Enterprise. I plan to fill everything else in gradually. I now know why TV series and movies are usually filmed out of chronological order. For me, it’s the way my creative process works.

The screenplay for this episode was written by Norman Spinrad and is based on a piece he’d written before  Star Trek existed entitled “The Planet Eater”. I make no claims of ownership of the premise, nor do I wish to plagiarize Mr. Spinrad. This is just my version of the story. It is not being written for compensation of any sort. I’ve taken some artistic license in order to flesh it out and “fix” the things I felt were not quite right. No disrespect intended toward  Mr. Spinrad. By all accounts, he wrote it under some duress due to on- set ego clashes between William Shatner and the late Leonard Nimoy. Additionally, the late William Windom apparently didn’t take the episode seriously and made it quite clear on-set. In a StarLog Magazine interview, he called it a “piece of crap”.(No disrespect to those 3 gentleman, either.) So, anyway, I hope you will enjoy my efforts.


   Captain’s log, stardate 4202.9. What began as a routine star charting mission has become a bewildering search for our sister ship, the Constellation. All we have to go on is a garbled distress call which was cut off in mid-transmission. In the course of our search, we’ve discovered several star systems that have apparently suffered some type of cataclysmic event. They show nova-level destruction of all their respective planets, but the stars themselves are intact. My intuition tells me this and the distress call are not coincidental. 

Kirk switched off the log recorder and stood to begin pacing slowly around the bridge. The bridge crew all knew quite well that this was an indication of deep worry.

“Sir?” came Sulu’s voice; “We’re now coming within the limits of system L-374. Scanners show the same evidence of destruction.”

“Every star system in this sector blasted to rubble….” Kirk was almost mumbling as he circled the bridge, “…and still no sign of the Constellation.” He approached Spock. “It’s Matt Decker’s ship.. What the hell could have happened?”

Spock stood up from his scanner. “Captain, the two innermost planets in this system appear to be intact.”

“Captain,” Comm Officer Palmer said, “I’m picking up the Constellation again….” Her voice then lowered dramatically, her eyes meeting Kirk’s. “Sir, it’s a disaster beacon…”

A sobering statement for Kirk and the bridge crew. A Star Fleet vessel’s automatic disaster beacon only activated if the bulk of her crew were dead and the ship was all but destroyed.

“Try to raise her, Lt.” Kirk ordered.

Spock again bent to look into his viewer. “Have her on sensors, Captain….I read extremely low energy output…She appears to be drifting.”

“No answer, Captain,” Palmer said; “All I get is the automatic beacon.” .

“Approach course, Mr. Sulu.” Kirk said.

The bridge crew sat in stunned silence as the Constellation came into view on the screen. Kirk broke the drone of the bridge instruments, speaking in a gruff near whisper.

“My God; look at that.”

USS Constellation


Constellation had clearly been through a war. A sizable chunk of her saucer section was missing. The remainder showed numerous, huge, blackened gouges as did her secondary hull. Her nacelles were charred, fused lumps with the aft part of the starboard one missing as well. She’d obviously been hit repeatedly by some incredibly powerful weapon. Hadley and Sulu exchanged shocked looks, as did Palmer and Leslie. None of them were prepared to see a mighty Constitution Class Starship in this condition. It was quite humbling and more than a little frightening. This poor grand lady could no longer even be thought of as a ship. She was a wreck.

Spock said “High probability she was wrecked by whatever destroyed these star systems.”.

“She was attacked…” Kirk declared as he stepped down to the command chair and pressed the internal comm button. “RED ALERT…RED ALERT…MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS.”


     *****************An Adaption by Stephen Inman******************

As the familiar intercom chatter resulting from his order filled the air, Kirk began pacing again; glancing every few seconds at the view screen. What could have done this to a heavy cruiser? Sulu broke his train of thought.

“Captain, all stations show alert status. Weapons armed and ready.”

“Very good,” Kirk replied. “Initiate a full sensor scan of the immediate area for any other vessels.”

“Aye, sir.”

Kirk moved to the comm station. “Lt. Palmer?”

“I can’t raise the Constellation, sir.” she answered, ” I’m still getting the disaster beacon, but this subspace interference is almost blocking it.”

Kirk gave her a nod. “Keep trying”. He then approached Spock. “Your analysis of the damage to the Constellation?”

“All power plants dead.” Spock replied. “Reserve energy banks operating at a very low power level.”

“Life support?”.

“Also operating at a low power level.” Spock continued. “She obviously has a number of hull breaches including the bridge. It is open to vacuum and uninhabitable.”

“No power for the emergency force fields…” Kirk speculated.

“A logical assumption.” Spock said. “The remaining sections seem able to sustain life.”

“Any life readings?’

“Indeterminate,” Spock replied. “The subspace interference makes readings extremely difficult.”

Sulu spoke next. “Captain, as near as I can tell with the interference, there are no other vessels in the area.”

“Keep a sharp eye out, Mr. Sulu.”

“Aye, sir.”

Kirk moved to the command chair and again hit the comm button. “All hands stand down to Yellow Alert. Go to stand by battle stations.” He then moved toward the turbo-lift. “Lt. Palmer, have Dr. McCoy, Mr. Scott and a damage control party meet me in the transporter room.” He looked at Spock. “We’ll board her. You have the con.”

“Acknowledged.” Spock replied.

The Constellation‘s interior looked almost as bad as her exterior. Kirk and McCoy looked around at the burnt conduit and wiring that littered the corridor they beamed into as the damage control team reported.

“Radiation level normal.”

“Atmospheric pressure eleven pounds PSI.”

“The filtration systems are out, sir.”

Scotty spoke last. “The comm system looks to be shorted out, too, sir.”

“Scotty, get down to Engineering.” Kirk ordered. “And check the weapons. See if they’ve been fired.”

“Aye, sir,” Scott replied. “Come along, lads.” The three followed Scott down the ladder leading to Engineering.

“Bones, with me.” Kirk continued, “See what you can get on your tricorder,” McCoy began scanning as he followed Kirk down the corridor to a briefing room. The doors were partially open. They squeezed through the opening and looked around.

“No clutter,” Kirk said, “No half empty coffee cups. Whatever happened didn’t happen without a warning.” He opened his communicator. “Kirk to Enterprise.”

“Spock here.” came the Vulcan’s voice through a barrage of static. “Having trouble reading you, Captain.”

“Same here. We’ve found no survivors. No bodies, either. Is it possible they beamed down to one of those two planets?”

“Unlikely, Captain.” Spock replied. “Neither is Class M. The surface temperature of the inner one is roughly that of molten lead. The other has an atmosphere poisonous to human life.”

“Alright. We’ll continue our search. Kirk out.”

McCoy closed the screen of his tricorder in disgust. “This thing’s useless, Jim. It won’t scan beyond a few feet.”

“The subspace interference.” Kirk speculated, “I could barely read Spock.”

“Must be.”

They moved back into the corridor just as Scott stepped off the ladder. “Captain? Most of Engineering is a hopeless junkyard.” he reported. “I didn’t even bother with the warp drive. I saw the nacelles before we beamed over. The impulse engines are’t too badly off. We oughta be able to do something with them.”

“Weapons?” Kirk asked.

“The phaser banks are exhausted.” Scott replied. “I sent Lt. Elliot down to check the torpedo bay.”

As if on cue, Scotts’ communicator beeped. “Lt. Elliot to Mr. Scott.”

“Go ahead, lad.”

“Sir, about two thirds of the torpedo load is gone. The only reason they stopped firing is because the launchers took a hit. They’re a mess.”

“Lt., this is the Captain.” Kirk spoke up. “Have you seen any bodies?”

“No, sir. Not a one.”

“Alright, Lt.” Scott said, “Get back to Engineering and start a diagnostic on the impulse reactor.”

“Aye, sir. On my way. Elliot out.”

“Sounds like they put up a hell of a fight.” McCoy said softly.

“Aye” Scott agreed, “With the divil’imself, from the looks of it…”.

Kirk sighed. ” But where are they? I’ve known Matt Decker for 20 years. I can’t imagine him abandoning ship while his life support systems are still operative.”

“Barely operative, Jim.” McCoy said. “The shape they’re in, they  wouldn’t have sustained the entire crew for more than a few hours.”

“Lemli’s checking the computer system.” Scott said. “We may be able to get a captain’s log in auxiliary control.” He again opened his comm unit. “Scott to Ensign Lemli.”

“Lemli here, sir. I was just about to call you. Except for some peripherals, the computer system appears to be intact.”

“Fine, lad.” Scott replied as he followed Kirk and McCoy toward auxiliary control, “You and Washburn start a diagnostic on the control systems. I’ll be back down there shortly.”

“Aye, sir. Lemli out.”

The doors to the auxiliary control room were also partially open. Kirk squeezed through and was astonished at what he saw. Sitting slumped over the helm console was a disheveled Commodore Matthew Decker. He immediately moved to grab Decker’s shoulders and sat him upright.

“Matt?” Kirk said softly, “Matt, It’s Jim Kirk..”

McCoy came through next and approached Decker, placing a hand under his unshaven chin and turning his head to face him. Scott sat down at the navigation console and began accessing the computer banks..

“Commodore?” McCoy said softly, “Commodore Decker?”

The commodore’s eyes were glazed and seemingly staring at nothing. McCoy pulled his med scanner from his kit, running it over the Commodore’s upper body. He then produced a hypo spray, injecting him in the shoulder. Decker’s eyes gradually became aware. He looked at Kirk.

“It’s Kirk…Oh, it’s Jim Kirk..”

“What happened here, Matt?” Kirk asked. “What did this to your ship?”

“Ship?” Decker mumbled. “Attacked…that…that thing..”

“What thing?” Kirk pressed. “What was it?” Decker remained silent, his face now showing raw horror. Kirk’s patience expired. He gripped Decker’s shoulders and shook him. “Answer me! What was it? What happened, Matt?”

“Jim!” McCoy snapped in his authoritative voice. “Ease off! He’s in shock! Give him a minute!”

Scott spoke next . “Ready with the log, sir.”

“Go.”Kirk replied, still looking at Decker.

Decker’s voice came from the speaker. “Captain’s log, stardate 4202.1. Exceptionally heavy subspace interference is still blocking all comm channels. We’ve been unable to inform Star Fleet of the destroyed star systems we’ve encountered. We are now approaching system L-374. Science Officer Masada reports that fourth planet seems to be breaking up. We are going to investigate.”

“Fourth planet..” Kirk said. “And there are only two left now. Scotty, pull the microtapes from the sensor memory banks and beam them over to Spock. I want a full report of what happened when they approached that planet.”

“Aye, sir.”

*****NEW MATERIAL*****

“We tried to contact Star Fleet…” Decker said raggedly,”…but the interference was like hitting a wall….We overloaded the subspace transmitter trying to penetrate it…  We…we couldn’t run….”

“What happened to your crew?” Kirk said softly.”

“Oh, I had to beam them down…” Decker continued. As he spoke, his voice began noticeably emotional. “We were dead….No weapons………On emergency life support….I stayed behind…..Captain…Last man aboard the ship…..That’s the tradition, isn’t it? And then it hit again and the …the transporter went out….and I’m stuck here.””

“Matt,” Kirk pressed, “Where’s your crew?”

The Commodore’s voice was barely above a whisper as he replied.

“On the third planet.”

“Matt, there _is_ no third planet….”

Decker’ eyes were full of pain and grief as they met Kirk’s. His voice remained a deep almost whisper.

“Don’t you think I know that?” he said as he began to sob. “There was…They called me…they begged me for help! Four hundred of them!!…..I couldn’t…”

His voice trailed off as he dropped his face into his hands. Scott had been quietly conversing with Washburn who stood inside the auxiliary control rooms’s circuitry bay.

“Captain…” he said softly, “Washburn has a report…”

Kirk walked slowly over to the bay’s mesh wall as his eyes remained on the inconsolable Commodore. He slowly tuned to face his two engineers.


“We’ve run a a full check on power and control systems, sir,” Washburn reported. “The warp core was automatically ejected when they lost anti-matter containment; probably after the second or third hit from some massive energy beam. After that, it came through the deflectors like they weren’t even there.”

“Any ideas about the weapon?” Kirk queried.

“Yessir, ” Washburn continued,” Like nothing we’e ever scene….the energy signature reads as anti-proton…”

“It is..” Came Decker’s voice again. “It’s absolutely pure…”You’re right, Lt.. The deflectors withstood three hits before they were gone… ”

He took a long deep breath and went on slowly.

“Then it started tearing chunks of out us….”

“What’s it look like?” Kirk asked.

“Well, it’s roughly cone-shaped…..and it’s miles long. The open end is big enough to swallow half of Star Fleet…”

“What is it?” Kirk  began, “An alien ship? or is it alive? Or…”

“Both!” Decker interrupted, “Or neither; I don’t know…”







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