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"The Patient Parasites" was the third short story collected in the TOS anthology The New Voyages 2 in 1978. Written by Russell Bates in script form, it was based on his first story submission for TAS.


A USS Enterprise landing party is held hostage by a robot probe.

Log entries

Captain's log, stardate 5459.4.
The fifth planet in an uncharted and uninhabited star system has produced a mystery. Our sensor scan detected an intense energy source moving rapidly over the surface. But all efforts to identify it have failed. First Officer Spock has ordered up a landing party to investigate.
Captain's log, stardate 5459.6.
Despite careful and exhaustive analysis, our challenges for Finder remain dangerously few. With most of our time gone, I have reluctantly ordered five planet-wrecker missiles placed on standby, with my First Officer's concurrence. But I refuse to accept Finder's invulnerability.



FinderJames T. KirkLeonard McCoyMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluNyota Uhuraunnamed USS Enterprise personnel (sciences division crew, security officers, transporter chief, ensign)
Referenced only
Pablo Picasso

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)


unnamed planet
Referenced only
EarthStarbase 6Zeta Geminorum system

Races and cultures


States and organizations

United Federation of Planets

Science and classification

carrier missilecommand chaircommunicatorcomputercoordinatescryomemory cubeFeinbergerforce fieldimpulsemachinemedical tricordermemory bankphaserphoton torpedoplanet-wrecker missilerobottractor beamtransportertricorderviewscreenwarp drivewarp power

Ranks and titles

captaindoctorensignfirst officerlieutenantmedical officer

Other references

alloyatmosphereauto destructbeambirdbridgebridge crewbriefing roomcaptain's logcatcosmosdeserteclipseelectricityextinctionflygravityhelmhourionjellyfishkilometerlanding partylightlogicorbitrocksecondshore leavesnakespiderstarsuicidetechnologytransporter roomuniversevegetationwateryear


The Tullvan species died out. (Referenced)
Stardate 5459.4
A USS Enterprise landing party encounters an artificial construct that calls itself Finder on a remote planet. Finder wants warp technology for its creators, the Tullvans. (In-story)
Stardate 5459.6
James T. Kirk considers his options against Finder. The ship and crew prepare to free their associates. (In-story)
Stardate 5459.7
Kirk and crew launch an all-out offensive against Finder, but without much progress. Then Spock learns that Finder's masters might have been Tullvans, and that they are extinct. Finder, forced to face that it is an artifact serving no masters, is defeated by information and logic and releases Kirk's crew before destroying itself. (In-story)


Publication history

January 1978
First published by Bantam Books. (ISBN 0-553-11392-5)
February 2000
13th printing by Bantam Spectra. (ISBN 0-553-27933-5)



Related stories

Intelligent probes were also encountered in:


published order
Previous story:
Snake Pit!
The New Voyages 2
Next story:
In the Maze
Previous story:
How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth
Stories by:
Russell Bates
Next story:
last story
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
The Slaver Weapon
Memory Beta Chronology Next Adventure:
Intersection Point
Previous Adventure:
The Slaver Weapon
Pocket Next Adventure:
Intersection Point