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written by David Gerrold
unproduced story outline, dated
February, 1967
report & analysis by David Eversole

Captain Kirk has received several reports of a three-foot tall teddy bear loose onboard the Enterprise. He disregards these stories as pranks until he and Spock come face-to-face with the creature in a corridor.

They follow it, and it leads them back to the quarters of crewman Jones, a transporter technician who has a reputation for laxness in his duties. Jones explains that he found the creature on a planet the Enterprise recently spent a great deal of time surveying. He became attached to it and did not wish to leave it behind. He was able to covertly beam it aboard, and he and a few friends have been sneaking food from the galley for it. He has named it Bandi.

Kirk immediately decides that Bandi must be destroyed as they are days away from any planet. Despite Jones’ protestations, Kirk is firm in his resolve. . . until he stares into Bandi’s huge moist eyes. Kirk suddenly wavers, announces that it can remain aboard, locked in a cage, in the biology section.

Spock asks why Kirk suddenly decided to spare Bandi, why he let his emotions take over. Kirk can only say that he felt a "strangeness" when he looked directly into Bandi’s eyes.

Despite his orders that Bandi be kept caged at all times, the creature is soon spotted in different parts of the ship -- the galley, engineering, even on the bridge. Each time the creature is locked back up, someone, unexplainably, feels the urgent need to release it.

Soon Kirk has another problem. Members of his crew seem to be growing lax, begin to make careless errors. Kirk suspects Bandi is the cause of this lackadaisical attitude on his ship. Other than Spock, no one on the ship understands Kirk’s distrust of the creature. Even the irascible McCoy has taken a shine to Bandi.

After one nearly disastrous mishap, Kirk orders the creature locked in a cell in the brig.

Kirk awakens that night after a nightmare. . . Bandi is perched on the edge of his bed, staring malevolently at him.

Soon, it is discovered that Bandi is an empath. He is an emotional parasite and a telepathic leech. If he is happy, people around him are happy and carefree. If threatened or angry, those around him pick up on his emotional vibrations and react accordingly.

After a crewman is killed in an accident caused by someone in tune with Bandi, Kirk has had enough. He orders it found and killed. Frightened, angry and confrontational, Bandi affects every member of the crew, and they take up arms against Kirk. They’re not sure why but they suddenly hate their captain.

Fortunately, Spock is not affected and is able to kill Bandi before the crew kills Kirk. With Bandi dead, the crew returns to normal. A lesson has been learned by all aboard: do not remove native creatures from their planets of origin.

Spock is determined to press the point home:

From the premise:

Spock turns to the Captain. "This is just an example, Captain, of what uncontrolled emotionality can do."

"Is it?" asks Kirk.

Spock nods. "Fortunately, Captain, I am not burdened by such a disrupting influence."

"Watch it, Mr. Spock. You’re gloating. Pride is an emotion too!"

Spock looks at him, shocked.

The full text is printed in Gerrold’s 1973 "behind-the-scenes" book, The Trouble With Tribbles. He acknowledges that Bandi’s basic nature is the same as the Tribbles -- what appears cute and harmless can often be deadly. Forty years and several thousand books and films on the same theme later, the point doesn’t seem as fresh as it once surely was.

Gerrold also notes that the story is only a premise and would have needed much development had it went to the outline and script stage. For example, why wouldn’t Kirk just kill Bandi outright? Would Kirk’s crew really turn against him so quickly or would their anger work better coupled with a backstory involving their bridling at several of Kirk’s unpopular command decisions?


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