Captain Kirk is haunted by a creature from his past when conducting a mining survey on a planet. He first encountered it as a lieutenant aboard the U.S.S. Farragut and blames himself for freezing in a moment of crisis, causing the death of many crewmen. The creature is a cloud-like, gaseous being that lives on the red blood cells found in humans. Obsessed by his desire for revenge and to erase the memory of 11 years ago, he pursues the creature relentlessly, putting in jeopardy an assignment to collect essential medical supplies.