The U.S.S. Enterprise answers
an old distress
signal to find an unnamed planet that is almost an exact duplicate of
in the 1960s. A landing party beams down and discovers that 300 years
the natives of the planet conducted experiments to prolong life, but
instead created a deadly virus. The virus killed all adults by rapid
and madness. In children, the virus slowed the natural aging process
leaving them in a state of prepubescence for centuries.
are no adults on
the planet, only children, and they survive the best they can without
to aid them. The landing party contracts the virus, except for Spock,
becomes a carrier of the disease. Until a cure for the disease can be
and created, the landing party is confined to the planet. To return to
U.S.S. Enterprise would mean a rapid spread of the disease.
landing party attempts
to make friends with the children, but they vividly remember the
deaths of their parents and refuse to have anything to do with them.
of the older children, Miri, falls in love with Kirk and tries to help
with the other children until she begins to see Yeoman Rand as a rival
the captain's affections. Stung, Miri helps Jahn, one of the boys, to
the children in a campaign to harass the U.S.S. Enterprise crew
When Kirk tries to reason with the children, he is badly beaten.
of the older children
begins to exhibit symptoms of the disease and Kirk convinces them that
all will get the virus and die horribly, when they finally reach
Using himself as a guinea pig, McCoy creates an antidote from old
notes found in the planet's lab, and finds the cure. The doctor says
the Federation will probably send supervisory personnel to colonize the
and take care of the children.