arrives to investigate reports of an unknown monster deep in the mining
tunnels of Janus VI. The being is apparently destroying machinery and
killing the miners, and has the ability to burrow through solid rock.
Janus VI is a source for the rare mineral, pergium.
the landing party
arrives on the planet's surface, a reactor pump is stolen and the
colony is in jeopardy from fluctuating life support functions. However,
this convinces Spock that they are dealing, not with a mindless
monster, but with an intelligent lifeform.
Spock, along with members
of the ship's security team, enter the mines to find the creature. They
discover a large, rock-like creature that burrows easily through the
stone walls, as a mole might burrow through dirt. Wounded in a phaser
blast, the bulky creature manages to escape through the stone wall.
continue pursuit and
eventually Kirk is trapped by the creature. When it doesn't attack,
Spock attempts a Vulcan mind meld with the entity and discovers that it
is, in fact, an intelligent being. A native of the planet, the creature
is normally peaceful, and called a Horta. It doesn't mind sharing the
planet with the miners, but when the men broke into the Horta's
hatchery and unknowingly destroyed many of her eggs, it attacked to
protect its remaining unborn children.
acting as interpreter,
the miners explain that they thought the eggs were some king of silicon
nodules and that no hostility had been meant.
treats the silicon-based
creature with a trowel and patch material, and heals it. An alliance is
formed between the Horta and the miners; the young, newly-hatched
Hortas will mine the pergium at a far faster rate than the humans could
and the miners will be extremely rich. Kirk retrieves the missing
reactor and the landing party leaves the inhabitants of Janus VI living
in peaceful co-existence.