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- Spock is meeting with Kirk and Bones in Kirk's quarters. Kirk wants to know what's been up with his buddy.
- Spock finally explains that he's been receiving messages from the consciousness/alien cloud. He describes them as "thought patterns of exactingly perfect order."
- After Spock leaves, Bones says that he's skeptical of his motives, but Kirk has full trust in his right hand man.
- There's no time to think about it, however—a red alert starts blasting. Kirk rushes to the bridge.
- It's the "intruder." Uhura sends out messages of peace while it scans the ship. Spock says it's more powerful than anything he's ever seen.
- Decker wants to get into defensive mode, but Kirk doesn't want to risk provoking the entity. He heads the Enterprise straight towards its center.
- As they move closer, Spock falls into a trance. After waking up, he tells Kirk that he detects "puzzlement" from the entity. It wants to know why they haven't responded to its message.
- The entity lets loose one of its signature blasts. It collides with the Enterprise, and though it does a bunch of damage, it doesn't disintegrate the ship.
- Once they recover, Spock announces that he's identified the entity's communication system. He just needs to figure out how to send messages back on the same frequency.
- That is, if he has enough time. The entity shoots another glowing orb our heroes' way. This is not a friendly entity.
- Somehow, Spock manages to send out his message and the orb dissipates before it hits the ship. Phew.
- Decker wants them to cut their losses and turn back, but Spock wants to push forward into the cloud. After some wonderfully Shatnerian scene-chewing, Kirk decides to head into the belly of the beast.
- So they do. It's actually kind of beautiful in there: like being inside a brilliant, blue kaleidoscope. Everyone is amazed.
- Finally, they reach the center of the cloud. It's difficult to discern, but it looks like a large, mechanical structure.
- They try to contact Starfleet, but no luck.
- As they get closer, they realize that the orb is way bigger than they thought. Kirk tells Sulu to bring them within 500 meters of the "alien," which is met with a lot of consternation.
- This thing is so large it's hard to get a good view of it. It's even hard to tell whether it is mechanical or biological.
- At the center is what looks like a giant conduit of electricity. Could that be where the blasts shoot from?
- Farther and farther they go.
- They reach a dead end. Suddenly, an intruder alarm starts blaring and a bright stream of electricity appears in the bridge.
- It doesn't seem interested in the people, however: it just seems interested in the ship. It starts poring through Starfleet records, many of which could be crucial for security purposes.
- Spock manages to break the computer before the entity learns too much, but he's punished with shock treatment. The entity then turns its attention to Ilia, who it seemingly disintegrates.
- Decker's mad. Before they have time to deal with their issues, however, there's another alarm: the Enterprise has been "seized by a tractor beam."
- The tractor beam is pulling the ship inside a large opening. Decker suggests blasting their way out of there, but Spock tells him there's no point.
- Once they're inside, the door closes behind them. Well that's just great.
- The tractor beam releases the ship. They try to use their sensors to learn more about the entity, but all of their signals bounce back at them.
- They see a door ahead of them then seems to pulse at regular intervals. Weird.
- Of course—another intruder alarm sounds. Kirk and Spock rush off to see what's happening.
- To their shock, they find Ilia. She happens to be naked and standing in a stream of purple energy, with a glowing red implant in her neck, but besides that she looks swell.
- She asks the "Kirk-Unit" to help her. Huh? As if to explain, Ilia says that she was "programmed by V'Ger to observe and record" these strange life forms who are "infesting" the Enterprise.
- Ilia emerges clothed. While Kirk asks her questions, Bones realizes that she's a machine.
- Kirk asks her why V'Ger is heading to Earth. Ilia says that it's trying to "find the Creator." It wants to "join with him."
- The crew performs analysis on Ilia and is shocked by the technology inside her. Strangely, she refers to Decker by his real name, rather than by "Decker-Unit."
- Spock suspects that Ilia's actual identity is buried within the android. He also thinks that Decker might be able to bring it out of her, given their past relationship.
- Ilia interrupts this conversation by punching through a wall. Really. Kirk sends her off with Decker, hoping that he will be able to bring her back to the light side.
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