Lt. Andrew Stiles
Lt. Robert Tomlinson
Ensign Angela Martine
on patrol along the Federation - Romulan Neutral Zone the Enterprise receives
a distress call from Outpost Four. A Romulan Bird-of-Prey is attacking
it and, despite warning challenges from the Enterprise, destroys the outpost
with an energy plasma blast. Following this the Bird-of-Prey disappears
under cover of its cloaking device to make its escape but the energy consumption
of the shielding is so high that the Romulans cannot use their sensors
to determine the location of the Enterprise.
A momentary sensor blip on heading 111 mark 14 alerts Kirk to its position
and he orders Sulu to steer a parallel course, but the Romulan commander
foresees this and they lose track of the vessel again. Kirk waits patiently
for the ship's reappearance, guessing that it will come back to try an
attack on the Enterprise and that it will have to de-cloak first in order
to have enough power for its weapons.
He is correct, and scores a direct hit on the Romulan ship when it shows
itself, but not before his own vessel is damaged. Kirk commands that the
Enterprise 'plays dead' and both ships hang in space each waiting for
the next action from the other. During this 'cat and mouse' game Lieutenant
Commander Stiles comments on Spock's similarity in appearance to the Romulans
and speculates on his trustworthiness. This was the first time that the
Romulan race had actually been seen, all previous contact having been
carried out via subspace radio.
The commander of the Bird-of-Prey ejects a consignment of damage debris
and dead bodies which conceals a nuclear device. The Enterprise's sensors
detect it late and Kirk, on destroying it, causes further damage to his
injured vessel. Spock and Stiles happen to be in the phaser room at the
time and when a vapour leak, caused by the explosion, overcomes Stiles
Spock drags him to safety, earning the trust and respect of the man. Now
running short of fuel, with little chance of either defeating the Enterprise
or returning home, the Romulan commander chooses to destroy his ship and
crew rather than suffer the shame of being captured by the Federation.