[floatboxright:
Series: Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries\\
Episode: Season 1, Episode 19\\
Title: Arena\\
Previous: The Squire Of Gothos\\
Next: The Alternative Factor\\
Recapper: Tropers/{{Scooter007}}]

The Enterprise is invited to visit an outpost near the edge of Federation space; Kirk, Spock, [=McCoy=] and three {{Redshirt}}s beam down at the outpost commander's behest -- only to discover that the invitation is a pre-recorded ruse; the outpost has been destroyed.

Almost immediately Kirk and co. are beseiged by unseen aliens. Simultaneously, the Enterprise is attacked in orbit by an alien vessel, so the away team cannot beam up. Two of the Redshirts are killed (one is allowed to die offscreen), but Kirk finds a mortar-like weapon among the rubble and manages to repel the alien attackers. Beaming back up to the Enterprise, Kirk initiates a pursuit of the alien ship, which was clearly responsible for the outpost's destruction, and he means to [[{{Revenge}} avenge]] that attack.

However, as the two ships fly through space, they are seized by a group of SufficientlyAdvancedAliens called the Metrons, who are not pleased with the war-like goings on. But, as Sufficiently Advanced Aliens typically do, the Metrons have the solution, and Kirk abruptly vanishes from the bridge.

Kirk finds himself out at KirksRock, sans weapons but with a recording device/universal translator/short-range transciever, where he is to engage in a ForcedPrizeFight [[DuelToTheDeath To The Death]] with the alien captain (called a Gorn, and [[IThoughtItMeant no, it's not]] '''that''' kind of {{Gorn}}), with the loser's ship also being destroyed in the bargain. Kirk has no weapons but is told that the environment has been "prepared" with everything he might need to make one. Kirk quickly begins casting about for a phaser or some sort of technological gizmo as the Gorn captain (a huge reptiloid creature) comes after him. Just for good measure, the Gorn is not only bigger than Kirk, it is [[SuperStrength much stronger]] and [[NighInvulnerable tougher]] as well.

The Metrons, by means of their Sufficiently Advanced-ness, somehow allow the Enterprise bridge crew to follow the action on their viewscreens (and presumably the Gorns as well). As Kirk futilely fights off the Gorn, the Gorn raises the accusation that the outpost was in Gorn territory and that they thought it might be the foothold of a Federation invasion -- a possibility which shocks [=McCoy=], thinking that the Federation might actually be in the wrong this time. Despite Kirk's denial of the accusations, the Gorn keeps coming, [[TheDeterminator relentless]] and seemingly unstoppable.

Finally an exhausted and nearly defeated Kirk begins to notice the various mineral deposits all around, and eventually recalls that these can be used to formulate a crude form of gunpowder. Kirk quickly assembles a makeshift mortar using a bamboo shoot and crystal shards for bullets as the Gorn approaches, firing it off JustInTime. The Gorn is pierced, and falls immobilized and helpless.

Kirk is the victor and is ready to deal the death stroke... and abruptly announces to the Metrons that he refuses to kill the Gorn, whom Kirk believes was only defending his territory. [[ProjectedMan An image]] of a Metron appears and expresses surprise at Kirk's mercy, noting that were the tables reversed the Gorn would not be so merciful. "You are still [[HumansAreBastards half-savage]]. But there is hope."

[[AC:Recapper's Note:]] According to WordOfGod, the ForcedPrizeFight was indeed a SecretTestOfCharacter, but not quite as it comes across: The script includes a bit of dialogue (not aired) which reveals the Metrons had planned to destroy the '''winner''' of the fight rather than the loser, considering the winner to be a bigger threat to them. Luckily for us, Humans really Are Special. (The line is, however, included in the novelization by James Blish.)

Compare to "Duel", an early episode of ''Series/BlakesSeven'' that is practically a remake of this story.

----
!!This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

* BambooTechnology: Kirk's cannon.
* DangerousForbiddenTechnique: Kirk's orders to increase speed to Warp 7 and then Warp 8 are played up as risk-taking that seriously worries the bridge crew.
* DisproportionateRetribution: We're meant to think the Gorns may have been justified in repelling what they saw as an invasion of their territory, but this kind of ignores their killing helpless women and children.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: A minor example--the sound effect of the ''Enterprise'' firing phasers is different from what it will end up being.
* ForcedPrizeFight: The plot.
* GadgeteerGenius: Kirk shows hints of this when he cobbles together a crude cannon out of the elements in the landscape.
* HumansAreSpecial: The Metrons' justification for sparing the ''Enterprise.''
* InsultBackfire: Spock accuses Bones of being a sensualist. "You bet your pointed ears I am!" the good doctor says proudly. It isn't often one of Spock's insults backfires on him!
* TheJuggernaut: The Gorn.
* LateToTheTragedy: The outpost was destroyed at least a day before the ''Enterprise's'' arrival.
* LizardFolk[=/=]TheReptilians: The Gorn again.
* LockingMacGyverInTheStoreCupboard: The Metrons announce that the planet has been stocked with "everything [the fighters] might need to make [a weapon.]" Luckily, our good captain is extremely resourceful.
* TheMainCharactersDoEverything: A striking example: the Enterprise is under attack in orbit while Kirk is planet-side. Although Kirk is himself under fire, he takes time out to micromanage the space battle over the communicator (with such insightful tactics as 'fire phasers' and 'fire torpedoes'), rather than just letting Sulu do his job.
* MightyGlacier: The Gorn may be much stronger than Kirk, but is also much slower.
* OtherworldlyAndSexuallyAmbiguous: The Metron who talks to Kirk at the end has an androgynous appearance[[note]]and is one of several aliens in the series where the body and voice are provided by actors of different genders[[/note]] and wears a shimmering dress-like garment.
* Really700YearsOld: The Metron Kirk deals with is 1500 years old.
* {{Redshirt}}: The first man to die is wearing a red shirt. A yellow-shirted man dies offscreen.
* ReptilesAreAbhorrent: Kirk admits "Like most humans, I seem to have an instinctive revulsion to reptiles."
* {{Revenge}}: Kirk's goal for the first part of the episode. When given the opportunity to take it, however, he refuses.
* SssssnakeTalk: The Gorn says "I weary of the chasssse. Wait for me. [[YouWillBeSpared I ssshall be mercccciful and quick.]]"
* SheatheYourSword: Kirk refuses to kill the Gorn.
* SwordOverHead: Kirk, in this position with the Gorn, refuses to kill him.