Federation Commissioner Nancy Hedford was sent to Epsilon Caneris 3 to prevent a war. She was forced to leave before her job was done because she contracted the incredibly rare Sakuro's disease, a potentially terminal illness. As Captain Kirk (with Spock and McCoy) was transporting her via shuttle to the Enterprise for medical treatment, the shuttle was hijacked by a weird gaseous creature and forced to land on an uncharted world.
Amazingly, they found one human inhabitant there: Zephram Cochrane, who was thrilled to see any human faces at all, but he was particularly pleased to see Hedford, the first woman he'd laid eyes on in over a century.
Hedford was in no condition to enjoy Cochrane's appreciation. She was already in frail health and an ill mood before she had been abducted by a inhuman alien thing, and the knowledge that she was being robbed of her one slender chance at health and life so Cochrane could have a little human company did not make her feel better. She lost control of her composure and became hysterical, so McCoy felt the need to sedate her.
As she lay dying, she confided in Dr. McCoy:
"I don't want to die. I've been good at my job, but... I've never been loved. Never."
Poor, pitiful Nancy!
That lonely world was to be the last one she ever saw. Her condition rapidly deteriorated, and at the end, as she was breathing her last, the creature (known as "the companion") replaced her soul with its own spirit. In effect, the creature stole her body just as she was abandoning it. This is particulary disturbing, because "the companion" had the power to heal her completely, but refused to do it, since it apparently wanted to use her body for its own purposes.
At the end, we are supposed to be happy for Cochrane and "Nancy Hedford 2.0", who decide to stay there on that little world and live their lives out, in secret, together, but one is forced to wonder how Kirk explained the disappearance of Federation Commissioner Hedford!
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