The Savage Curtain: President Abraham Lincoln, Intergalactic Warrior

In the previous post we discussed the concept of Abraham Lincoln as a Vampire Hunter based on a 2010 book and film version premiering this month.  Let’s explore Abraham Lincoln as an intergalactic warrior.

It was March 7, 1969 that NBC aired the Star Trek episode—The Savage Curtain.  The story was by Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.

While orbiting Excaliba, a planet devoid of carbon-based life, the crew encounters a being claiming to be Abraham Lincoln.  To all appearances he is—right down to his outfit, charm and wit.

The Excalibans want to understand the concept of good and evil which humans and Vulcans share.  They transform part of their planet into a carbon based habitat where this morality play on their stage will be watched by the Enterprise and the Excalibans.

Kirk, Spock, Lincoln are joined by Surak, Vulcan’s Socrates.  On the other side of the fence are Kahless, founder of the Klingon Empire; Genghis Khan; Zora, a deranged female scientist from Tiburon; and Colonel Philip Green, the Adolph Hitler of the 21st Century Earth.

It is a physical fight with primitive weapons—rocks, sticks, etc.  Surak, a Vulcan of peace, attempts to reason with Green and his cohorts, but the notorious, psychopathic Green kills Surak.  Lincoln attempts a daring rescue of Surak without knowing that he is dead already.

Of course Lincoln is killed as well.  Kirk is outraged, and he is able with Spock’s assistance to defeat Green and his party.

The Excaliban spokesperson states: “You are the survivors. The others have run off. It would seem that evil retreats when forcibly confronted. However, you have failed to demonstrate to me any other difference between your philosophies. Your good and your evil use the same methods, achieve the same results. Do you have an explanation?”

Kirk does not give the Excaliban a direct answer.  The probing question remains unanswered.

Perhaps, it is found in what Lincoln said to Kirk and Spock, “We fight on their level. With trickery, brutality, finality. We match their evil. I know, James. I was reputed to be a gentle man. But I was commander in chief during the four bloodiest years of my country’s history. I gave orders that sent a hundred thousand men to their death at the hands of their brothers. There is no honourable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war except its ending. And you are fighting for the lives of your crew.”

It seems over the millennia the lines between good and evil have blurred.  At one time it may have been clear cut, but distinctions become distorted with human perceptions and values.

Religions of the world define the dichotomy of good and evil. Societal norms and mores are specified.  Breaking of these norms and mores has dire consequences to the malefactor. From a religious viewpoint being evil has eternal consequences.

What is good?  What is evil?  How do you define these concepts?  On what standard do you and your family choose to live on this planet traversing the cosmos?

These are essential questions for us to ponder on the road of life.

G. D. Williams       © 2012



3 thoughts on “The Savage Curtain: President Abraham Lincoln, Intergalactic Warrior

  1. You are wrong. Captain Kirk gave him a direct answer.

    Captain Kirk: What did you offer the others if they won?

    The Excaliban: What they wanted most– power.

    Captain Kirk: You offered me the lives of my crew.

    The Excaliban: I perceive you have won their lives.

    The Excaliban got it. It was WHY THEY FOUGHT. That was the difference between Good and Evil,


  2. Evil fought for power.

    Kirk fought for the lives of his crew. And that makes all the difference.


  3. Steve
    You make an excellent point about the difference between good and evil that the Excaliban got from Kirk.
    Thanks for reading and commenting,
    May you have a good day.


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