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‘The Corbomite Maneuver’ by John Maier

‘The Corbomite Maneuver’ by John Maier
‘The Corbomite Maneuver’ by John Maier
James George

‘In the Falls Church Arts ‘Bold & Bright’ show, near the gallery front door is a small sculpture titled “The Corbomite Maneuver” by John Maier. “What the heck is that?”

Well, you have to know your Star Trek history going back to 1966, I guess. The sculpture is a stack of translucent cubes with colorful cylinder disks arrayed inside each cube.

The spacecraft, USS Enterprise encountered a colorful cube that emitted threatening levels of radiation.

“Mr. Spock compares the situation to a game of chess: "In chess, when one player is outmatched, the game is over." He regrets that he can find no logical answer. Kirk replies that the solution is not chess, but poker. He bluffs, telling Balok that the Enterprise has incorporated into it a protective substance known as Corbomite which, when the ship is attacked, creates an equal force rebounding on the attacker.

Apparently falling for the ruse, Balok does not destroy the ship as previously announced. During the pause, Bailey, now calmer, returns to the bridge and requests to return to his station, to which Kirk agrees. Afterward, Balok makes direct contact with the Enterprise, requesting details on the Corbomite device. After allowing sufficient time, mostly to cause Balok to worry the details, Kirk refuses.

A tug ship then detaches from the Fesarius and tows the Enterprise deep into First Federation space, where Balok announces he will intern the crew and destroy the Enterprise. Under tow, Kirk orders theEnterprise to increasingly resist the tug ship's tractor beam. Just as the Enterprise's engines are about to explode from the overload, it breaks free. This disables the alien vessel. With the power supply nearly drained, the tug cannot even call for help from the bigger ship.

Rather than flee, Kirk, McCoy, and Bailey form a boarding party to render assistance. Spock remains on the Enterprise to assist them, in case this was a trap. Scott, operating the transporter, tells them to bend down, as the scan on the alien ship reveals it has a very low ceiling. Upon arrival they discover that the "Balok" who appeared on their monitor is just a dummy, and the real Balok resembles a hyperintelligent human child. He enthusiastically welcomes them aboard, offering them "tranya", his favorite beverage.

Balok explains that he was merely testing the Enterprise and its crew, to discover their true intentions. Although he had read the Enterprise computer records, he felt they could have been a deception. He created his dummy alter-ego, as he knew his true appearance would never frighten anyone.
Kirk and company finally relax. Balok says that he runs the Fesarius entirely by himself and greatly misses company and conversation. He expresses his desire to learn more about humans and their culture, and Lt. Bailey is volunteered by Kirk to remain on Balok's ship as an emissary of the Federation, an assignment Bailey happily accepts.”

Back on earth, at Falls Church Arts, one may relive the experience. Take a real close look. Locate fellow trekker, John Maier.

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