Type Story
Date 1975
Pages 9
Tags science fiction

Recant - and Die (Link)

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to a world and are immediately called witches; they are to be burned for their crimes. Kirk and McCoy are taken, but Spock, who the people take to be a devil, abandoning his beguiled followers, escapes. He meets up with a group of rebels led by Feorah. "We are the Rejected," she says. Their people are kept in an iron grip by the priests, she explains:

We - our people - are priest-ridden. The priests have all the power - yet still they want more.

All children are tested by them at eight years of age - tested for intelligence. Those the priests deem suitable are taken to be trained as priests, regardless of what their parents may want, regardless of what they themselves might wish. Some prove unsuitable for training; those with imagination or initiative, or who dislike...bullying...others; and there are always some whose instincts for kindness cannot be destroyed by training in selfishness and inconsiderateness. The failures are simply returned home. A few children develop their intelligence late, too, and are missed by the check. But to be intelligent and not to wear the robes of a priest is to be living under a perpetual sentence of death. To the masses, to be intelligent is a mark of the devil, unless the devil has been tamed by the church and subordinated to its will; the robes are the outward sign of that taming. It is the conditioning of generations. Priests are to be obeyed; anyone else with intelligence, initiative, originality, imagination, is a creature of the devil, to be denounced as a witch.

For those who are returned home, for those who develop late, there is a life of hiding their abilities, their potential, until at last they betray themselves, and are burned.

She explains to Spock that they will be burned in six days. He cannot rescue them; his appearance betrays him. So, on the eve of their execution, when no other plan has been conceived, Feorah offers her aid: Spock will return to the Enterprise leaving his communicator with her, and she will attend the execution and get the communicator to Kirk and McCoy so that they can be beamed to safety. This she accomplishes.

It turns out that Klingons have influenced the priesthood with promises of power, and Feorah arranged before beaming away with Kirk and McCoy for some of her followers to raise a cry that the Klingons were witches. This, too, is accomplished, and the Klingons--along with the head priest--are burned in place of Kirk and McCoy, who the crowd reason must have been saved by the angels, since no devil would have bothered to save them.

Once this has resolved, Kirk, McCoy, and Spock beam back down and arrange for Feorah's group of rebels to run the planet, "with Federation help, of course", so that the mineral rights, or whatever it was the Federation wanted with the place, are secured. When they leave, Spock expresses some regret:

"I hope Feorah will be all right," Spock said softly. "Captain, at last I understand why my father married my mother. For we have just left behind a girl that I could love."

Character Type
James T. Kirk Main
Leonard McCoy Main
Spock Main
Name Role
Sheila Clark Author


Relation Sources
Contained in