In the original episode, the footage of Yonada is a re-use of the asteroid seen in "The Paradise Syndrome". One of the changes in the remastered version is to render two different asteroids for these episodes.
This is the longest title of any episode in any incarnation of Trek.
Guest star Katherina Woodville, who played Natira, was married to Patrick Macnee, star of cult British series The Avengers, from 1965 to 1969.
The Star Trek novel "Ex Machina" shows the Enterprise crew revisiting the Fabrini after their journey is completed. Set after The Motion Picture, the book explores the "Computer as God" idea which Star Trek visited from time to time, as well as following up on McCoy's relationship with Natira.
The idea of the crew on a multi-generational mission forgetting that they were on a ship at all originated with Robert Heinlein in his book Orphans of the Sky.
Kirk beams down to the asteroid, but his party is quickly attacked and overpowered by the inhabitants, who call themselves the Fabrini. He discovers that the entire asteroid is a spacecraft designed to carry a whole civilisation on a centuries long journey through space. The society is ruled over by "The Oracle", an apparently god-like entity that issues commands via a disembodied voice and punishes wrong behaviour by using an implant in the body to cause tremendous pain.
During their time on the asteroid, which the Fabrini call Yonada, McCoy falls in love with Natira, a high priestess of the Oracle, and she with him. He finds that the passengers are entirely unaware of the true nature of their home - indeed the Oracle forbids such knowledge, and punishes any who question the nature of their world or seek to explore it too far. Despite the tyrannical nature of the society McCoy's love for Natira is such that he resigns from Starfleet and recieves an implant so that he may become one of the Fabrini.
Further research discovers that the Oracle is in fact a computer built to pilot the great ship on its journey. Yonada was built ten thousand years ago to preserve the Fabrini civilisation when their sun went nova. Over time a religion grew up around the mission to a new world, and the true origin of the asteroid was forgotten. A fault in the Oracle caused a course change, resulting in the imminent collision. Spock and Kirk are able to disable the Oracle and repair it; Spock also accesses the Oracle's extensive database of medical knowledge, which includes a cure for Xenopolycythemia.
Thus cured, McCoy rejoins the Enterprise. Spock points out that the Fabrini are due to arrive at their destination in 390 days, and McCoy pledges to be there when they arrive.
I'm undecided about McCoy's illness, though. On the one hand it does add a nice twist to the proceedings, and gives him a credible reason why he might want to leave Starfleet and spend his remaining time with Natira. But it is just a little too convenient that the illness appears and then is cured in the space of a single episode; it would have been better if the illness had been diagnosed three or four episodes before and then finally cured here. But the nature of sixties TV was such that multi-episode story arcs were virtually nonexistent, and we can hardly blame the writers for that. Overall I think the episode just about gets away with it.
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