[[caption-width-right:350:[[Series/DoctorWho The Doctor's]] never had a Companion like this.]]
Kirk, Spock, Bones, and our GirlOfTheWeek, Nancy Hedford, are flying around on the ''Galileo'' shuttlecraft. Nancy is some [[TheFederation Federation]] bigwig and apparently also a 1960s mod fashion aficionado. She was on an important mission when she contracted a rare space disease and is being brought to the ''Enterprise'' so [=McCoy=] can fix her right up again. But, of course, something goes wrong. No sooner has Kirk told Hedford that they'll get her back to her mission in no time, the shuttlecraft gets zapped by a NegativeSpaceWedgie and pulled off course. It's [[BlatantLies like nothing Kirk and Spock have seen before]]! Like all Federation officials who get stuck in unfortunate situations with ''Enterprise'' crew members, Hedford immediately starts acting demanding and unreasonable.
The ''Galileo'' gets deposited on some planet. Kirk and Spock can find nothing wrong with the shuttlecraft and yet nothing works. Suddenly, a man runs in wearing an orange jumpsuit. As we will learn later, he is Zefram Cochrane. Yes, that BrokenPedestal guy who will invent warp drive in ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact''. Or rather has already invented warp drive in... [[TimeTravelTenseTrouble no, that's not right either]]. He now looks a lot younger than he did when he flew the ''Phoenix'', but this actually gets explained. He introduces himself as just "Cochrane" ([[FridgeBrilliance still doesn't like being a hero apparently]]) and flirts with Hedford. Explaining that he's been marooned on this planet for ages, he offers them his hospitality with an offer of a hot bath directed specifically at Hedford. She shuts him down with The Power Of Sarcasm. Evidently he hasn't gotten any more subtle since the drunk Troi days. Cochrane takes them all to his settlement, where Kirk, Spock, and Bones see the entity which brought them to the planet. After failing to convince them that it's a hallucination, Cochrane admits that "the Companion", as he calls it, brought him to the planet and rejuvenated him, as he was an old man near death. This effectively resolves a PlotHole which won't exist for thirty years, but there's a less resolvable plot hole coming up. He admits to being Zefram Cochrane and Kirk asks "[[ContinuitySnarl Of Alpha Centauri?]] The discoverer of the space warp?" Cochrane agrees, apparently too lazy to say "That's Bozeman, Montana. Don't you know where [[Film/StarTrekFirstContact First Contact]] happened, genius?" In any case, [=McCoy=] gasps that Zefram Cochrane died a hundred and fifty years ago, but Spock concedes that they NeverFoundTheBody. Cochrane reveals that he can communicate with the Companion and that it brought the rest of them there because he complained about being lonely. Trouble is, Nancy is now dying of [[ChewingTheScenery overacting]] and [=McCoy=] says she only has hours left.
Kirk orders Spock to create a viable weapon to use against the Companion. Cochrane agrees to cooperate, admitting that "[[WhoWantsToLiveForever immortality consists largely of boredom]]". Kirk figures that the Companion might be able to cure Hedford, so he gets Cochrane to ask it. It turns out Cochrane and the Companion communicate with each other using some kind of nonverbal symbiosis. Unfortunately, the Companion can't do anything to help Hedford. Yes, rejuvenating a near-death 87-year-old man into a thirties-looking guy is a piece of cake for this Companion thing, but it's out of the question for it to cure the same disease which [=McCoy=] says he could cure in a jiffy if he only had the equipment in Sickbay. Meanwhile, Spock determines that the Companion is mostly electricity, so he creates a device to scramble it. Cochrane fears this may kill the Companion, but he reluctantly goes along with it, though not without throwing a guilt trip at Kirk. However, the device only succeeds in making the Companion mad. [=McCoy=] does [[TheMcCoy his thing]] by suggesting that they try to reason with the entity instead and Kirk tells Spock to modify a UniversalTranslator. Meanwhile, the ''Enterprise'' reaches the point where the shuttlecraft was grabbed by the Companion and Scotty's solution appears to be flying in a random direction which he for some reason supposes was the course they were pulled off on. Back on the planet, Kirk talks to the Companion with the universal translator. When the translator gives the Companion a woman's voice, Kirk realizes it must be a female. It's immediately presumbed that this means the Companion is in love with Cochrane as apparently a male human and his female entity couldn't possibly be PlatonicLifePartners. So what would that say if [[HoYay the Companion had been male]]? Kirk tells the Companion that they need to leave or one of them will die, but she says they need to stay to keep her dear Zefram company and refuses to hear of any holes in this plan.
But for the past one hundred and fifty years, Cochrane has been ObliviousToLove and failed to notice that his best friend was a girl (typical guy). Cochrane insists that SheIsNotMyGirlfriend and [=McCoy=] replies that EveryoneCanSeeIt. But for Zefram, it's drunk ship's counselors and islands of naked women, thank you very much! The Companion's just not his type and he storms away. Nancy, however, seems to be jealous of Cochrane for being loved as she is MarriedToTheJob and seems to regret that now that she's dying. Kirk talks to the Companion again and plays the "if you really loved him" card. He ends up telling her that she can't properly "join" with Cochrane anyway since their forms are incongruous. This prompts the Companion to join herself with Hedford, curing her of her disease and making them one being. Spock mentions that the Companion can't create life and Hedford/Companion replies that "that is for the maker of all things". So... [[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan Carol Marcus]] then? In any case, this means she no longer has the power to keep them on the planet, having given it all up because she is such a LoveMartyr. Kirk contacts the ''Enterprise'', which apparently happened to follow the right course, and Sulu lays in a course for the planet. When Hedford/Companion tells Cochrane that she can never leave her planet, he [[IChooseToStay chooses to stay]]. Kirk points out that there is a whole galaxy out there waiting to honor him. Yeah, great idea, Kirk. Cochrane just ''[[SarcasmMode loves]]'' it when people make a big deal out of his accomplishments. Giving Cochrane his word that he won't tell the galaxy what became of him, Kirk takes the shuttle back to the ''Enterprise'' with Spock and Bones.
!!Tropes for this episode include:
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: We're introduced to Zefram Cochrane, whose backstory would be heavily retconned by the time we met him again in ''First Contact''. For instance, Kirk says he's of Alpha Centauri, while he would later be shown to be from Earth. In addition, Cochrane only discovered warp drive for humans; other species discover it on their own.
* GrandTheftMe: The Companion takes over Nancy's body when she's dying, stating "we are one" but there doesn't really seem to be much of Nancy left in her personality.
* MoralDissonance: No one seems to have a problem with the aforementioned GrandTheftMe. Made worse by the fact that Nancy is a diplomat and was supposed to stop a war.