“A Taste of Armageddon” is the twenty-third episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.
In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise visits a planet engaged in a completely computer-simulated war with a neighbouring planet but the casualties, including the Enterprise’s crew, are supposed to be real.
The Federation starship USS Enterprise travels to Eminiar VII, bringing Ambassador Robert Fox (Gene Lyons) to establish diplomatic relations. Little is known about Eminiar VII, beyond the fact that they have been at war with a neighbouring planet, Vendikar.
Nearing Eminiar VII, the Enterprise receives a message from the planet warning them not to approach, but Ambassador Fox orders Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) to proceed. Kirk, First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and additional security personnel beam down to the planet, where they are met by representatives Mea 3 (Barbara Babcock) and Anan 7 (David Opatoshu). During a supposed attack by Vendikar, the landing party learns that the war is conducted as a computer simulation, and that the Enterprise has been “destroyed” in the attack. It is explained that the two planets have a treaty, according to which they only simulate war, and have to kill the “victims” of every pretended attack. The crew are expected to report to Eminiar’s disintegration chambers for execution per the treaty, and Kirk’s party is taken captive.
The Enterprise receives a message, allegedly from Kirk, ordering the crew to transport down. Scotty (James Doohan), sceptical of an order to beam the entire crew down, has the ship’s computer analyse the message and confirms it is fake; Kirk’s voice was impersonated. Soon after, the ship is fired on, but the attack is deflected by the ship’s shields. Anan 7 then contacts the Enterprise, claiming the attack was due to a malfunction. Ambassador Fox, deciding to believe Anan, beams down and is quickly taken captive and ordered to a disintegration chamber along with Mea 3, who had also been “killed” in the war simulation. Spock and the security officers, having escaped, rescue them.
Kirk, meanwhile, is taken to the Eminian council chamber and told to order the crew to beam down. With the channel open, Kirk instead orders Scotty to execute General Order 24 before being cut off. Kirk explains that he just ordered the ship to destroy everything on the planet within two hours. Panic ensues, which Kirk takes advantage of to disarm the guards. After Spock arrives Kirk destroys the war simulation computers. Arguing that the simulated war insulated both societies from the horrors of real war and had given them little reason to end it, he convinces Anan 7 to call a ceasefire and begin peace negotiations, and Fox agrees to act as a neutral mediator between the planets.
As the Enterprise prepares to leave orbit, Kirk defends the logic of his actions to Spock: the people of Eminiar VII had enjoyed order and stability for so long that they would do anything to avoid an actual war.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Joseph Pevney.
- Production: Desilu Productions (1966-1967) and Paramount Television (1968-1969).
- Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures (1966-2006), CBS Paramount Television (2006-2007), and CBS Television Distribution (2007-Present).
- Original Network: NBC.
- Release Date: 16 February 1967.
- Running Time: 50 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.