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It was the Starship Exeter orbiting the planet Omega.
"It's the U.S.S. Exeter, sir." Lt. Sulu turned to Kirk from his scope. His news was a surprise. Exeter had cruised the area some time back, but Jim Kirk expected she had rejoined star-fleet long ago.

U.S.S. Exeter had been commissioned the same year as Enterprise - she was a sister-ship. Like Enterprise, "Exeter" was a "city" - self-contained in space - bigger than the U.S. Navy cruisers of the 20th century! There were 11 decks aboard Exeter's saucer-like main crew station.

Attempts at radio communication were futile. The Exeter was not responding. Lt. Sulu could find no evidence of damage to the ship, and his reading indicated she still had full power! Clearly, there were questions about Exeter that required answers - answers which could only be guesses until someone boarded her. Captain Kirk made the decision.

"Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Lt. Raintree - please meet in the transporter room. We'll board and investigate Exeter.

  • The above picture, taken from the actual episode, is a very striking one. Unfortunately, as you'll recall, Viewmaster couldn't use any shots from the actual episode. For them to be 3-D, they had to make their own. With most of them, this was easy enough, as they had a representative present at the filming with a 3-D camera. For a space shot however, there was no easy way to do this, and so they were forced... You've already guessed where this is going, haven't you?

    Yes, the awful truth is that they were forced to make their shot of the Enterprise and Exeter alongside each other, and made one by getting two $5 AMT model kits from a hobby shop, rigging up a felt backdrop, and taking a 3-D picture of them. To add insult to injury, they were so proud of this picture that they used it on the cover of the package for everyone to see! Oh, the pain.... the pain and shame...

  • Raintree was the name of the security guard in early versions of the script. When David L. Ross was cast in the part, the character's name was changed to Lt. Galloway, a character he had already played in several episodes. In the televised version, Kirk mispronounces his name as "Galway", apparently confusing him with a similarly named character who had appeared in The Deadly Years.

  • The idea of the Enterprise and Exeter as sister ships is also something introduced here that wasn't in the actual episode.

  • Not a complaint exactly, but is there something slightly perverse about taking famous ships of foreign powers and giving them "U.S.S." names? This episode gives us a U.S.S. Exeter. Another one has a U.S.S. Hood. No doubt there's also a U.S.S. Bismarck, a U.S.S. King George V, a U.S.S. Yamato, a U.S.S. October Revolution, and even a U.S.S. Pinafore out there somewhere. The Making of Star Trek even references a U.S.S. Monitor, which is also known as the U.S.S. Merrimack, depending on your loyalties (!!). One can understand the desire to not limit the fleet to American names, but it just seems to end up as an odd sort of tribute when all these foreign names have a "U.S.S." stuck in front of them.
             I know, I know. U.S.S. doesn't stand for United States Ship, technically. It stands for United Space Ship. Big whoop.

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    by Graeme Cree