written by Jerry Sohl

FIRST DRAFT, dated October 11, 1966

report & analysis by David Eversole


As Mr. Sohl’s script is quite different than D. C. Fontana’s rewrite (entitled “This Side of Paradise”), I won’t compare the two. Rather, I will simply synopsize his draft and allow the readers to note the differences for themselves.


Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Scott (referred to as a Lieutenant) and three crewmen, Hornsby, Johnson and Clavell, beam down to the farming colony of Omicron III, which has been out of communication with Earth for three years. They spot a cemetery and go to it. Sulu is shaken when he sees a marker engraved with the name Leila Kalomi. She was a former girlfriend, but they had lost touch. He had heard she joined a colony expedition, but didn’t know which one. He pulls a photograph out of his pocket to show the others. Leila is a beautiful Eurasian woman.


Elias Sandoval, a large bearded man in severe Amish-like clothing, approaches them. “I bid thee welcome,” he shouts.


He is followed by Leila Kalomi, very much alive!



Sulu and Leila embrace warmly, and she explains that three years ago she was very ill and her fellow “Sandovalians” didn’t think she would survive and carved the headstone.


Sandoval is eager to show off his farms, but Kirk asks why there has been no word from the colony.





And if there had been, would thee have come sooner? I think not. No, it is simply that there has been no need.

         (looks to land)

Captain, we came here because we deplore the intrigues and deceits that marked our time. We don’t want computer living and the complex life with machines that rob men of their souls.


This land is our life and our love. For us there is nothing else.

Kirk accepts this and sends out Hornsby and Johnson and Scott and Clavell to survey the settlement.

Hornsby and Johnson find a barn--inside is a dusty old gasoline powered, belt-driven generator with a pitchfork leaning against the belt. And a dust-covered wine press and still. Hornsby uncorks a bottle, tastes it, grimaces, but drinks more.

Suddenly the unused generator starts, and the pitchfork leaning against belt is hurled at them with such force its tines are buried in the barn wall by their heads. Hornsby gulps another drink. The generator cuts off as quickly as it started.

Scott and Clavell approach a different barn. A “farm machine” roars to life and rolls toward them. Clavell is ran over and killed. Scott vaporizes the farm machine with a phaser. He has lost his communicator and Clavell’s is crushed. He cannot call the captain to inform him. He takes off at a run.

Sulu asks permission to go exploring with Leila. Kirk then takes him aside and breaks some bad news. This will be your last mission with the Enterprise, he tells the young helmsman. During your recent physical, scar tissue was discovered on your left lung. Kirk suggests maybe he’d like to stay here with Leila. Sulu says nothing, glumly walks away.

Kirk and Spock witness Sandoval and three other Sandovalians (all of cherubic good cheer) lift a boulder. Spock notes that the colonists do not look like hardened farmers. They don’t even have calluses.

Another farm machine bears down on Kirk and Spock.


Scott rushes up, pushes Kirk and Spock out of the way. Tells them Clavell is dead. Kirk calls Uhura, wants all information on Omicron III sent down to him, nothing is too trivial.

A wooded area. Sulu and Leila kiss passionately. She leads him along a path. Hornsby (drunk) and Johnson watch them from behind a tree.

Leila leads Sulu into a cave, weirdly lighted and pulsating with colors.




                                                    POV SHOT – SPORE CLUSTER

In the center of the cave is a saucer-like depression in which dwell living spores, pulsating spherical entities clustered together, glowing with coruscating iridescence.

One of the spores breaks from the cluster, floats across the cave, hurls itself at Sulu, burrows into his midsection (under his uniform shirt), getting smaller and smaller (burrowing into his body) until it can barely be seen.

Sulu’s expression suddenly becomes beatific.

“Thee and I are one now, Sulu,” Leila tells him. “Soon all thy fellow crewmen will become one with us.”

She leads him out of the cave. We linger on a shot of the “cluster of spores pulsating in happy agitation.”



Kirk learns from Uhura that Omicron III was first colonized 200 years ago. No settler ever lived longer than ten years there before dying. Uhura and others on the Enterprise run checks. The settlers died from Berthold radiation. Kirk is puzzled. The Sandovalians have been here for 13 years. How are they still alive?

Kirk calls for Sulu, gets no answer. Calls Hornsby and Johnson, tells them to find Sulu.

Hornsby and Johnson watch as Sulu and Leila leave the cave. Sulu is vacantly smiling and friendly but refuses to go with them. He and Leila walk off.

Wanting to know what is going on, Johnson and Hornsby enter the cave. Johnson is taken over by a spore, but the spore approaching Hornsby suddenly stops, turns and floats back to the cluster. Hornsby grabs Johnson, tries to pull him out of the cave. Johnson casually brushes Hornsby off. The movement causes Hornsby to fly through the air, crash into a wall of the cave. He scrambles to his feet and runs out of the cave.

Scott leads Kirk and the others to where Clavell was killed. But his body is not there. Kirk orders McCoy beamed down and asks him how these people can be so healthy when they should be dead, why they are able to lift boulders, why they don’t have calluses. McCoy has no answers.

Sandoval meets Sulu and Leila. Explains that the spores allow a telepathic link between all people joined with them. After a bit of practice Sulu is able to connect to all the colonists.

At the cemetery, Kirk and Spock note that there are no markers within the last three years. What happened three years ago to stop the deaths?

Hornsby joins the group at the cemetery. Tells Kirk what happened to Sulu and Johnson. Kirk tells him he has obviously been drinking. Hornsby swears it is the truth.

Sulu approaches, then turns and runs away, wanting them to follow him. They do so and Kirk stuns him with a phaser. McCoy examines him, discovers the spore attached to his abdomen. “Looks like an overgrown nerve cell... It has taken over his nervous system.” He advises against trying to remove it, as it might kill him. But McCoy is amazed that the scar tissue is gone from Sulu’s lung.

Spock realizes the spores are keeping the colonists healthy, so healthy it won’t even allow the build up of calluses on their hands. Leila must have really died, and a marker was prepared for her, but she was restored to life.

Sulu jumps up, runs off, dashes past the tipsy Hornsby. Kirk orders McCoy to beam up with the inebriated crewman.

Kirk, Spock and Scott chase Sulu to the cave, pull their phasers. Johnson sneaks up behind them with his phaser. And Clavell, who has been restored to life, levels his phaser at them.

Sandoval explains that the spores landed on Omicron III three years ago after floating for millennia in space. They found his people dying and joined with them, even brought the recent dead back to life. On their own, the spores have little purpose. Symbiosis makes both beings better--gives humans strength and perfect health, gives spores purpose. But there are lots of spores. They need more bodies to attach to.

Sandoval, Johnson and Clavell force them inside the cave. A spore attaches itself to Spock. Scott wrestles with his spore. A spore approaches Kirk, suddenly stops and floats away.

As Kirk watches, Spock seems overcome with awe at what is happening to him. “How do thee feel?” Sandoval asks him.




Genuine tears of happiness run from his eyes, down his cheeks. In a voice choked with emotion.



I feel... for the first time in my life... I -- belong.



He nods with happy solemnity.




That is the way of the spores.



He watches the exchange with astonishment.



Spock turns away, speaks as if he is addressing the world, shaking his head with happy bewilderment.



I am no longer -- lonely.

Kirk jumps to his feet runs out of the cave. Scott has freed himself and is waiting. They run off together as Spock assures Sandoval that they will be able to take the Enterprise and use its crew as hosts for the remaining spores.


Kirk and Scott hide from their pursuers, call the Enterprise. Spock has already called and said he was taking command since the captain was injured. Kirk countermands the order.

Spock and Sandoval wonder why Kirk was not taken over. They hope that there are not others like him on the Enterprise whom the spores will refuse to join.

Kirk and Scott are beamed aboard. Kirk leaves Scott in the transporter room with the two young crewmen on duty there, tells him to let no one beam up or down.

Kirk and McCoy work on the problem. Why were Hornsby, Scott and Kirk refused by the spores. Some natural immunity?

In the transporter room, the two crewmen on duty go about routine tasks. Without any animosity, Scott pulls his phaser and stuns both of them, turns to the transporter controls.

Kirk and McCoy continue working on what the immune have in common.

Scott beams up a cluster of spores.

Kirk and McCoy determine that men with blood type AB are immune to the spores. Kirk has that type and is immune. As they look at the crew charts Kirk realizes that Scott doesn’t have AB type blood!

Scott opens the transporter room doors and many spores float down the Enterprise’s corridors.

Uhura reports that guidance systems have been taken over, as well as life sustaining systems and stabilizing systems.

Slowly the spores take over every crucial department. Sandoval calls Kirk: “Captain Kirk, we have taken over control of thy ship.”




Kirk decides to fire ship’s phasers on Omicron III, destroying all life there. McCoy talks him out of it. The spores have not been acting in a truly evil way. They have saved and prolonged the lives of the Sandovalians.

They go over the list of 26 people who have blood type AB. Hornsby isn’t on it. Why is he immune? Because he was drunk, Kirk says!

Kirk takes a bottle of whiskey and beams down to talk with Spock.





I find that life has now an added dimension. I feel that I am one with something larger than myself.


I know you can’t understand that because of your immunity, but there must be a way to get around that. We’ll work it out. With all the resources of the ship -–



No. It’s you who doesn’t understand. The spores –- they’ve changed you into

something else, something –-


Something what, Captain?






Better is the word, Captain.  And you have no right to deny this to the others.


Not that it matters. We are both patient and understanding. You will see when you are one with us.


Kirk asks Spock to have a drink with him. Spock refuses. Kirk says, “You’re going to drink this--”

They fight furiously. Spock has greater strength but Kirk trips him against a tree and Spock is knocked unconscious for a moment. Kirk pours the whiskey down Spock’s throat. Spock shoves him away, pulls his phaser, levels it at Kirk’s chest... but he cannot pull the trigger. The alcohol is working. The spore attached to his midsection comes loose, falls to the ground, disintegrates into the earth.

“Are you all right?” Kirk asks.

“Let me alone,” Spock grunts. He finally mumbles, “It’s all true, Captain... Everything I said.” He seems ready to weep, kneels and drops his head to his knees before gathering control of himself.

Sandoval approaches, tells Kirk that he and the spores have decided that it would not be wise to join with Kirk’s crew. Therefore, all spores who are joined with Enterprise personnel will disengage and let their hosts go free.

Sulu asks Leila to come with him, but she is being kept alive by her spore, like all the Sandovalians. She will stay.

Uhura calls to let Kirk know that Scott has beamed all the spores on the Enterprise back down to Omicron III.

Sandoval asks Kirk to remember them, then walks away with Leila as they beam up.



I am a fan of Jerry Sohl’s work, and have many of his novels in my personal library. Most are very competent 1950s/60s pulp Science Fiction but one, “Costigan’s Needle,” is a bloody classic of the genre. So, I may be lenient on the failings of this first draft.

Amazingly, this script almost happens in real time. Act Two actually begins a few minutes before Act One ends. Kirk and crew beam down and a couple hours later, mystery solved, they beam up.

Though it is never stated outright, Uhura seems to have been left in command of the Enterprise. All of Kirk’s commands and requests go to, and through, her. She is explicitly in charge of gathering data for Kirk.

There are serious lapses in logic. Why allow colonists to keep coming to this world for 200 years when each group dies after 10 years?

Why would Kirk wait to tell Sulu of his condition? Surely McCoy would be better practiced in breaking bad news.

Would Kirk really contemplate opening up on the colonists with ship’s phasers?

Even though Sulu has the romantic subplot, Spock still has the majority of dramatic scenes.

This draft was obviously too expensive—farm machines, etc. Might be able to make a 1966 tractor look futuristic but not worth the cost.

Jerry Sohl disliked the rewrites so much he put “Nathan Butler,” his frequent pseudonym, on the final episode. In an interview in Starlog #136, November, 1988, he said: “I didn’t like that she [D. C. Fontana] took out all the things that I did. It was, typically, what was wrong with television, which is that the story editor takes your script and then rewrites it to please him or herself... When I got the script, I threw up my hands and said, “Well, the hell with this! I don’t like this, and I don’t want my name on it.”

Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Sohl?


Interview with Sohl, Part 1: Starlog Magazine Issue 135 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Interview with Sohl, Part 2: Starlog Magazine Issue 136 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive


JERRY SOHL (Gerald Allen Sohl, Sr.) (1913-2002): American Science Fiction writer, best know for his novels The Haploids and Costigan's Needle. For television, he first ghost-wrote episodes of The Twilight Zone for Charles Beaumont (when the latter was suffering from Alzheimer's), nine episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, then later wrote for The Outer Limits and The Invaders. For Star Trek he wrote "The Corbomite Maneuver," provided the story for "This Side of Paradise" (under his pseudonym Nathan Butler) and provided the story and co-wrote "Whom Gods Destroy." Sohl also served on The Committee of science fiction writers hired by Desilu to evaluate the original pilot of Star Trek and make improvements.

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