"Space Seed" is a first season episode of Star Trek: T.O.S. It begins with the crew of the Enterprise making a surprising find: an old earth space ship from the 1990's, adrift and broadcasting an automated signal in Morse Code. As they scan the ship, Dr McCoy reports that he can read heartbeats on board, but that they are too slow to be human. Spock reports that there is functioning equipment on board. He also can make out a name on the battered hull: the S.S. Botany Bay. He checks the historical records of the time period, but can find no listing of a ship with that name. However,as he reminds Kirk, the 1990's was the era of earth's last World War- surely you remember it- and records from the period are fragmented. As Spock, Kirk, and McCoy discuss it, we find that it is also referred to as the Eugenics War, sparked when a group of scientists tried to improve the human race through a selective breeding program.
Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty beam down to the Botany Bay, taking Lt. Marla McGivers- the Enterprise's resident historian- with them. They find a bunch of people in stasis chambers, which McGivers says was common for the time period due to the length of time space travel took. Scotty reactivates the power on the ship, and suddenly one of the chambers starts powering up as well. Kirk asks McGivers for her professional assessment of the situation, but has to speak to her several times, as she seems mesmerized by the man behind the glass. Snapping out of it, she says that often the leader's chamber would be programmed to open first, so that he could decide if it was safe to revive the others. As the man regains consciousness, he goes into medical distress, and McCoy beams with him to sickbay to save his life.
As Dr McCoy works to save the man in sickbay, Scotty and his engineering crew go over the Botany Bay. He tells Kirk that twelve of the stasis chambers malfunctioned over the course of the 200 years of their voyage, leaving 72 still functioning ones. Kirk has the vessel put in a tractor beam and towed, setting course for Star Base 12. He then goes to check on the patient. McCoy tells him the man will recover, thanks mostly to his amazing recuperative powers. He says that the man's heart and lung capacity, as well as his strength, is twice that of an average person. Kirk muses that this may be the result of the eugenics project of the 1990's, and McCoy wonders if this superiority extends to the mind as well as the body. Just then, Lt. McGivers wanders in, still looking gaga over the 200 year old guy. Kirk takes the opportunity to reprimand her for her lack of focus while on the away team, pointing out that one must stay alert when in unknown circumstances. McGivers apologizes, saying that it's just that she finds the man so fascinating... from a professional standpoint, of course. Uh huh.
When the patient eventually wakes up, he expresses his gratitude by holding a knife to McCoy's throat. When McCoy merely offers him professional advice on how to dispatch him efficiently, he lets go of the knife, impressed by the doctor's courage. He then arrogantly demands to see the captain. When Kirk arrives at sickbay, he introduces himself and asks the man for his name, which he declines to give. He does, however, demand to know where they're headed, and Kirk amiably tells him Star Base 12, knowing it won't mean anything to him. Their guest then demands that they revive his crew, but if he thinks Kirk is going to be intimidated, he's mistaken. Still amiable, but unmovable, Kirk states that they'll be resuscitated when they reach Star Base 12, and presses him for his name. This time, the man tells him that it's "Khan." Sceptical, Kirk starts to ask him a series of questions about his ship, its mission, etc. But Khan fakes a sudden weakness, and Dr McCoy tell Kirk that his questions will have to wait. Then Kirk makes an error: Khan asks for use of the computer to read up on the ship, etc., and Kirk allows it, which will have grave consequences.
Troubled by his talk with Khan, Kirk asks Spock if he thinks their guest is one of the genetically enhanced men from the 1990's eugenics project. Spock thinks it's likely, reminding Kirk that in 1993, a group of these "super" people rose up in over forty countries and seized power. He says that what the scientists didn't realize was that superior ability breeds superior ambition. He also says that he's been compiling a list of these genetically advanced warriors, and that some 80 or 90 of them were unaccounted for when they were finally defeated in the war. Let's see... 72 functioning stasis chambers and 12 malfunctioned ones makes 84... hmm.
Meanwhile, Marla McGivers has arrived to visit Khan- interested in further "historical research" no doubt. She does attempt to ask a few questions, but he deflects her with personal comments about her appearance, and gets all handsy. Instead of telling him to move 'em or lose 'em, she puts up with his obnoxious ways, appearing to be both nervous of, and excited by, him. No accounting for taste, I guess.
McGivers arranges a fancy dinner party to welcome Khan to their time period. Khan walks- without knocking- into her quarters. Looking about, he sees all the paintings she's done of strong men of the past, and the one she's working on now: his portrait.Khan tells McGivers that such men take what they want, then grabs her and starts kissing her. She doesn't object.
At the dinner, it becomes clear that Kirk has humoured McGivers for purposes of his own. He remains fairly quiet, while Spock asks Khan confrontational questions about the Eugenics War. His reactions and responses are very telling... when Spock says the genetically altered people became a cadre of petty dictators, Khan says that eventually one man would have ruled- as if this was desirable. He stops himself when he realizes what Kirk is doing; he compliments Kirk on his tactics- having his second in command attack while he sits back and watches for weakness. Kirk smiles coolly, not denying it, and then goes on the attack himself. He questions the courage of Khan and his men, leaving earth at its most troubled time, goading him until Khan snaps: "We offered the world order!" Kirk asks quietly, "We?" Khan regains control and then feigns weariness, leaving the dinner.
McGivers goes to Khan's quarters and apologizes to him for the behaviour of Kirk and Spock, in her most stomach- turning scene. Khan plays her like a fiddle... he demands her compliance and obedience, telling her she must ask his permission to stay in his presence. Staggeringly, instead of telling him to go pound sand, she obeys, even when he forces her to he knees in front of him. Khan tells her that he intends to take over the ship, demanding that she help him. She demurs at first, but then tearfully gives in, agreeing to help.
Meanwhile, the senior officers are meeting, having discovered exactly who their guest is: Khan Noonien Singh, the most powerful of the genetically advanced overlords who, for a three year period in the '90's, ruled over a quarter of the world's population. Spock is surprised when the other men admit to a certain respect for the man. He points out that Khan was- is- a ruthless tyrant who denied freedom to millions. Kirk laughs and tells Spock that they can be totally against someone, yet still admire his abilities. Spock finds this highly illogical.
There is no hint of this admiration, though, when Kirk goes to confront Khan. Khan takes umbrage at the fact that Kirk has had him locked in his quarters with a guard posted outside. Dropping all pretense of affability, Kirk tells Khan that he knows who and what he is. He demands to know the purpose of the S.S. Botany Bay, and Khan says it was for them to start a new life on a new world, for a variety of reasons Kirk couldn't possibly understand. Kirk says why- because he's not a genetically engineered human? Khan bluntly tells him that he is inferior both mentally and physically, and says that humans have changed very little over two centuries, concluding ominously that it appears "we" will do very well in this time period.
After Kirk leaves, Khan puts his plan into action, using his great strength to force open the door, and hitting the guard, sending him flying through the air. Meanwhile, McGivers has taken control of the transporter room, and she and Khan beam down to the Botany Bay, revive Khan's men, and beam themselves into the Enterprise's engine room before anyone realizes what is going on. From there, they override control, trapping Kirk and his officers on the bridge and cutting off their life support. Khan demands that Kirk surrender the ship or be suffocated.Well, it's obvious how that's going to turn out... Kirk surrenders his ship to no one. Eventually the entire bridge crew lapses into unconsciousness from oxygen deprivation.
Khan gathers all the senior officers in the briefing room, and tries to convince them to join him, telling them that opposing him is futile. The crew, however, will not cooperate, even when Khan turns on a view screen to show them Kirk in the decompression chamber, being slowly suffocated. Increasingly frustrated, Khan tells them that the same thing will be done to each of them, but still no one will comply. As Khan threatens everyone with violent death, it is slowly dawning on McGivers just what she's become party to. She excuses herself, manages to turn off the view screens, and makes her way to the decompression chamber where she knocks out Khan's man with a hypo and frees Kirk.
Spock has been chosen as the next candidate for execution, and as they enter the room, Kirk leaps out from hiding and he and Spock overpower his guard. Kirk tell Spock to flood all the decks except the one they're on with a knock-out gas while McGivers pleads with them not to kill Khan. They ignore her. Khan is increasingly agitated because he's lost contact with his people in other sectors of the ship, and then as gas begins flooding through the vents in the room, he swiftly runs out the door. The rest of his men and the Enterprise crew are incapacitated. Spock reports to Kirk that someone has entered the engine room and closed all the vents, so Kirk heads there immediately.
Having overheard Scotty's communication to Spock that Kirk was headed for engineering, Khan is waiting for him and overpowers him, demonstrating his great strength by squashing up Kirk's phaser. Then, as an alarm starts to sound, he tells Kirk that he has started an overload which will cause the ship to explode in a matter of minutes. This is the wrong thing to say to Kirk if you want him to submit. He attacks Khan despite the man's great strength, and gets thrown around the room painfully. Eventually, though, he manages to grab some sort of metal pipe which he drives into Khan's solar plexus and then pummels him repeatedly over the back of the head with it until he collapses. Kirk then races to the console, shutting down the overload and saving the ship.
Khan and his people incarcerated, Kirk convenes a hearing to decide what to do with them all. He decides to drop them off on a remote, uninhabited planet called Ceti Alpha V. The climate there is harsh but habitable, and Kirk asks Khan if he's up to the challenge. Khan responds by asking Kirk if he's ever read Milton, and Kirk says he understands. He then offers Marla McGivers the option of going with Khan or facing court martial. She chooses to go with him... no accounting for taste. After they leave the hearing, Scotty asks Kirk what Khan was referring to, in Milton. Kirk tells him that, in 'Paradise Lost', when Lucifer fell into the pit, he said that it was better to rule in hell than serve in Heaven. Spock remarks that it would be interesting to return to the planet in a hundred years and see what crop had sprung from the seed that Kirk had planted that day. Fateful words, indeed.