"Assignment: Earth" is the last episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. It was first broadcast on March 29, 1968, and initially repeated on August 9, 1968, five months later. It is episode No. 55, production No. 55; it was written by Art Wallace, based on a story by Wallace and Gene Roddenberry, and directed by Marc Daniels.
Engaged in "historical research", the Enterprise time travels to 1968 Earth where they encounter an interstellar agent planning to intervene in 20th century events with motives uncertain to Kirk and Spock. The episode served as a backdoor pilot for a proposed spin-off television series, produced by Roddenberry, also to be called Assignment: Earth. Guest performers Robert Lansing, as Gary Seven, and Teri Garr, as Roberta Lincoln, would have continued in the new series had it been commissioned.
The Federation starship USS Enterprise, which has time-travelled to Earth in 1968 for historical research, intercepts a powerful transporter beam originating from one thousand light-years away. A man (Robert Lansing) dressed in a 20th-century Earth business suit materializes, along with a black cat. He introduces himself to Captain Kirk (William Shatner) as Gary Seven, and realizing that he is dealing with people from the future, warns Kirk that history will be changed if he is not released immediately. Kirk, having no proof of Seven's claim, orders him to be taken to the brig and asks Spock to search the history database for any critical events that will soon occur. Among other things, Spock finds that the United States will launch an orbital nuclear weapons platform in a few hours.
Seven, with the help of his "servo", escapes from the brig and beams down to an office in Manhattan, emerging from a vault. Activating a computer, he identifies himself as Supervisor 194 and inquires as to the whereabouts of Agents 201 and 347, who he learns have not been heard from in three days. Seven decides to complete their mission. A young woman arrives, whom Seven mistakes for Agent 201. After some confusion, the computer identifies her as Roberta Lincoln (Teri Garr, credited as Terri Garr), a secretary employed by the missing agents. Seven then tells Roberta he is a CIA agent, and, appealing to her patriotism, asks her to remain and assist him. The computer eventually discovers that Agents 201 and 347 have died in a car accident.
Kirk and Spock track Seven to his office. Roberta stalls them while he and his cat enter the vault and dematerialize. Arriving at McKinley Rocket Base, Seven stows away in the launch director's car as he leaves to make a final check of the pad. Riding the elevator to the top of the gantry, Seven climbs an access arm to the side of the rocket, opens a panel, and begins to rewire the circuits.
Kirk and Spock beam down to McKinley Rocket Base and are immediately detained. As they are questioned, the missile carrying the nuclear weapons platform is launched. On the Enterprise, Chief Engineer Scott (James Doohan) tries to locate Seven. In New York, a curious Roberta explores the office and accidentally discovers the hidden vault. Scotty locates Seven on the rocket gantry and tries to beam him up, but Roberta, randomly operating the transporter controls, intercepts the beam and brings Seven to the office. The computer tells him that he can still take manual control of the rocket.
Seven takes control of the missile, arming its warhead and bringing it off course. McKinley Base controllers frantically try to destroy the missile without success. After a failed attempt to call the police, Roberta bludgeons Seven with a heavy cigar box and seizes the servo. Seven pleads with her to allow him to proceed, "or in six minutes, World War III begins!"
Scotty beams Kirk and Spock from the base to Seven's office. Roberta, now trusting Seven, points the servo at Kirk, but Seven surrenders it, noting that it was "set to kill". He then pleads with Kirk to let him complete his plan, which is to destroy the missile at a low enough altitude to deter the use of such orbital platforms in the future. Kirk decides to trust Seven. With only seconds to spare, Seven retakes control of the computer and safely detonates the warhead at an altitude of 104 miles (167 km).
In the epilogue, Spock and Kirk explain to Seven that the Enterprise was meant to be part of the day's events, citing their historical records. Seven is curious to know more, but they reveal only that he and Roberta will have an interesting future.
In 2008, IDW Publishing launched an Assignment: Earth five-issue comic book series written and drawn by John Byrne. The stories show the characters' lives from 1968 up to 1974, including Seven and Roberta's peripheral involvement in the events of a prior episode, "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" (occurring before "Assignment: Earth" for the Enterprise crew, but after for Seven and Roberta). An epilogue set in 2008 depicts an annual reunion between Roberta and Isis (in her humanoid guise) at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor a friend who had been killed in that conflict.
In 2010, The characters appeared in issues #3 and #4 of Star Trek: Leonard McCoy Frontier Doctor.
Author Greg Cox has included Gary Seven and Roberta in three of his Star Trek novels: Assignment: Eternity; and a two-part novel, The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh. In the latter two novels Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln go on to eventually stop Khan Noonien Singh and his fellow genetically engineered humans from taking over the planet. In the Peter Clines novel "Fold" a character comes from an alternate universe and has a cat named Isis after the cat from her favourite TV series "Assignment Earth" with no knowledge of the show Star Trek. Her version from this dimension has a cat named Spock.
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Real World article
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←56th of 80 produced in TOS
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←67th of 80 released in TOS Remastered
←55th of 744 released in all
The Enterprise travels back in time to 1968, where the crew encounters the mysterious Gary Seven who claims to be sent by advanced beings trying to help Earth. (Season finale)
- "Captain's log. Using the light-speed breakaway factor, the Enterprise has moved back through time to the 20th century. We are now in extended orbit around Earth, using our ship's deflector shields to remain unobserved. Our mission – historical research. We are monitoring Earth communications to find out how our planet survived desperate problems in the year 1968."
After CaptainKirk finishes his log entry, suddenly the Enterprise is rocked, and Spock reports that they appear to have intercepted someone's transporter beam. Kirk remarks that there were no such devices in the 20th century. Spock maintains that someone is beaming aboard. Spock discovers that the transporter beam originates more than a thousand light years away. Scott finds that difficult to believe, stating that no transporter beam could reach that far, not even in their time. Suddenly a man in a dark suit, holding a black cat, appears on the transporter pad.
Act One Edit
The strange man asks Kirk why he was intercepted and who his interceptors are. Kirk identifies himself and tells the man that he is aboard the United Space Ship Enterprise. The man asks what planet they are from, and Kirk says they are from Earth. This the man refuses to believe, because 20th century technology would not allow for a ship like the Enterprise. But when he notices that Spock is a Vulcan, he realizes the ship is indeed from the future and asks to be beamed down to Earth. As security arrives, the man identifies himself as Gary Seven, calling himself a man from the 20th century, and gives his cat's name as Isis. Kirk states, however, that Humans of the 20th century do not go beaming around the universe. Seven explains that he has been on another planet, one much more advanced, and that he was beaming to Earth from that planet when the Enterprise intercepted him. When Kirk asks which planet it is, Seven says that the inhabitants wish their planet to be kept secret and that even in Kirk's time, it will remain unknown. Seven reiterates that he is of this time period and adds that, if Kirk does not allow him to do what he needs to do down on Earth, then Kirk will have changed history. But Kirk, unsure that Seven is telling the truth, decides to keep him aboard the ship until that can be determined. However, Seven tries to escape, overpowering the security guards, and he even shrugs off Spock's attempt at a Vulcan neck pinch. Seven is only subdued by a phaser stun from Kirk. Kirk calls Dr.McCoy and asks him to examine the mysterious man in the brig to determine if he really is Human.