"Day of the Inquisitors"
Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Mr. Chekov and Public Relations Officer Claire are returning to the Enterprise in the shuttlecraft Galileo, after a diplomatic mission to Tarsus IV. Spock picks up a cluster of spheroid objects on the sensor, which are hurtling toward the shuttlecraft at tremendous speed. "Then set up the deflector shields, Mr. Spock" Kirk says, "and get us out of the way!". "Impossible Captain!" Spock replies, "There is a malfunction in the system. We are no longer in control of this ship!". The Galileo is battered severely by the meteor storm. After it has passed, Spock reports that the shuttle is far off course, and unable to steer at all. The shuttle is caught in the gravitational field of a nearby planet and begins to be pulled down into the atmosphere!
As Mr. Spock desperately tries to regain control, the shuttle plummets through the atmosphere of the planet, leaving a flaming trail in the sky. Just before they smash into the ground, Spock is able to pull the nose of the shuttle up, and bring them to a hard landing in a forest. The passengers of the Galileo are all right, however the shuttle is wrecked beyond repair. The communications system is also damaged, so the party is unable to contact the Enterprise for help. The group sets off looking for help. Mr. Chekov discovers a road, and the group follows it to the edge of the forest, where they discover a city.
Two men wearing medieval costumes and carrying swords are guarding the gates to the city. Kirk and Spock sneak up on them, and knock them both out with punches. (No reason given why they don't simply ask for help) Once inside the city, the group sees several figures wearing black, hooded robes dragging an old man down the street. "Those short odds have never appealed to me", Kirk says, "I think I'll see what I can do to even them up a bit!". He and the others attack the hooded men, driving them away. "Flee! Flee! The Dark One guides their hand!", the men shout as they run away. The old man thanks Kirk for saving his life, and the Captain asks him why the robed men were carrying him away.
"They were three of the Inquisitors, those who rule my land" says the man. "A plague of madness covers the land my friends, and t'was the inquisitors who spread the seeds! They hold the people in a tightly clenched fist, and they refuse to let go! Anyone who opposes them is dragged off to their castle's darkest chambers and made to confess to his 'crimes'! That is where they were taking me when you intervened. I am called Corben! The inquisitors have branded me a heretic!".
On the Enterprise, Scotty is preparing to initiate emergency procedures to find the shuttle craft, when Uhura receives a message from Starfleet Command ordering the ship to head to Sigma Quadrant, where a planetary disaster has occurred. Scotty refuses to abandon the search, and orders Mr. Sulu to adjust sensors for "sectional space probe". "We ain't leavin' here till we locate the Cap'n" Scotty says, "even if it means I risk a court martial doin' it!
It is night on the planet surface. Kirk and the others don local clothing in order to blend in, and then Corben cautiously leads them through the city alleyways in search of needed parts to repair the shuttlecraft's damaged communications equipment. Corben tells the group that he will take them to a nearby rebel camp in the mountains, for assistance. Just then, the party sees a number of robed Inquisitors passing nearby - carrying the damaged radio equipment from the shuttle craft to their castle! Spock recommends that they make contact with the rebels before trying to enter the castle and rescue the radio gear. "By that time, it might be too late!" Kirk says, "We can't take that chance! Corben will lead McCoy and me to the rebel camp while you three head for the castle! Don't do anything foolish, Mr. Spock! I don't want the Enterprise to rescue a bunch of dead men!".
Meanwhile, the Enterprise continues its search for the shuttle. Mr. Sulu reports that the ship has covered less than half of the possible alternative flight paths of the shuttle craft thus far. Uhura receives a signal from Starfleet Command, ordering the ship to abandon the search. "Give up our search?" Scotty asks, "Then they've just ordered me to let my best friends die!".
Inside the castle, the Inquisitors torture Spock with whips. "Astounding!" one says, "Never before has anyone withstood such punishment without uttering the slightest sound! You are truly cursed with demon powers!". "No", Spock replies, "I have no mystic talents, only my Vulcan ability to disregard pain". Enraged, the Inquisitor threatens to beat Claire instead. To save her, Spock agrees to tell him everything he wishes to know.
Kirk and McCoy arrive with the rebels at the Inquisitor's castle. Using their phasers, the two men blast away the castle doors, and the rebels pour inside. "Our phasers are useless, Bones!" the Captain shouts, as hand to hand combat breaks out, "From this point on we make it on sheer muscle power!". "Then I hope I can remember my intergalactic judo lessons!" McCoy replies. Kirk watches stunned, as the Doctor lifts one attacker above his head, and throws him to the side! The two men fight their way to the room where Spock and the others are being held captive, and break inside. They quickly take the Inquisitors and their guards prisoner, and the rebels capture the castle.
Spock is able to get the radio equipment operating, and calls the ship for help. "We'd almost given ye up fer lost, Mr. Spock!" Scotty shouts over the radio, "What happened to ye?". "Time enough to discuss that later on, Scotty!" the Captain answers. "Just beam us out of here now!". As they dematerialize, Kirk wishes the leader of the rebels, Karad, good luck with his new found freedom. Once back on the Enterprise, Kirk orders the ship to Sigma Quadrant at warp eight to answer the distress signal. "What will you report to Star Fleet about the past day's adventure?" Spock asks the Captain. "That we accomplished our mission on Tarsus IV" Kirk replies, "and that we crash-landed on a planet with a medieval civilization, which just took step one out of the dark ages!". "Let's hope, Captain, that it was a permanent one!" Spock adds.