“But it wasn’t any use. Nobody came.”: The Enterprise Incident # 5
Connected to the Preserver interface device, Spock relives an encounter with his father on Vulcan where they both exhibit a manner of tension over Spock’s decision to stay in Starfleet instead of returning to work at the Vulcan Science Academy. In the present, Kirk, McCoy and Scotty monitor the experiment from one of the Enterprise‘s science labs. After Arex detects a massive random energy spike centered around the device and McCoy warns him that Spock’s central nervous system is about to collapse as a result, Kirk has the interface destroyed and beamed out into space, but not before Spock was able to determine that it was the Preservers who constructed the galactic barrier (a ribbon of energy at the boundary of the Milky Way galaxy that was the focus of a number of Original Series episodes). While he wasn’t able to determine the exact purpose, Spock believes the Preservers intended it to protect the younger peoples of the galaxy, and that they hoped one day it would no longer be necessary.
</The Galactic Barrier evokes a number of episodes, but perhaps the most telling are “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and “Beyond the Farthest Star”, the first episodes of both the Original Series and the Animated Series. In the former episode, crossing the barrier caused Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner to suddenly transform into Godlike beings who, drunk on their newfound power, immediately set about trying to crush the entire universe beneath them. While it wasn’t mentioned in the latter episode, recall that a key aspect of the reading we afforded “Beyond the Farthest Star” was that the Enterprise crew, and thus Star Trek, had grown to a point where it could leave the galaxy behind and begin the next stage of its journey. In other words, leaving the galaxy can be seen as a sign of a particular wisdom and maturity, but also a source of great power that is inconceivably dangerous and destructive if misused, a reading reinforced by the presence of Ayelbourne at the last Preserver outpost./>
Determining the location of the last Preserver outpost, Kirk has the Enterprise race to try and beat Kor to it. However, as soon as they arrive, Kirk, Spock and Arex are whisked away to a chamber bathed in soft white light by Ayelbourne, the elder Organian who played a pivotal role in forcing the Klingons and the Federation to sign the Treaty of Organia in “Errand of Mercy”. Kirk and Spock are furious that Ayelbourne refused to show himself earlier, but Ayelbourne counters that his people have decided their intervention in the affairs of the galactic empires has done more harm then good. The Organians, he reveals, are one of a handful of peoples who are tasked with preserving the knowledge and memory of the Elder Races, infinitely old cultures from the dawn of time, of whom the Preservers are one, who left behind relics that, it was hoped, could be of use to the younger civilizations were they to reach specific points in their development.…