How does the ability of the creature in "The Man Trap" work? Is it a mind trick, as it's indicated during the very first encounter with the away team (since each crew member seems to see a different woman) or does it actually assume the shape of a certain being? If the former case were true, this ability would stand in stark contradiction to the way it got onto the Enterprise, since it must hence be assumed that the crew on board didn't realize that they beamed up not crewman Green but a monstrosity. If the latter case were true, this ability would be in stark contradiction to the first encounter, since the creature must shape-shift continually without anybody nearby noticing it.

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    If it actually changed shape, why did Kirk, McCoy and Scotty all see a different women on the planet at the same time? Commented May 5, 2013 at 0:13
  • You're right - yet, each of the options I mentioned seems to be contradictive to the rest of the episode in one way or the other. Hence my question. Commented May 5, 2013 at 7:23
  • That it would transmit different images seems like a dumb idea since McCoy might say, Nice dress, Nancy! and then Scotty might say, Wait a minute, she's wearing a pants suit! and maybe Kirk would see her dressed like the Orion enslaved girl.
    – releseabe
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 22:30

2 Answers 2


Obviously that being was able to transmit abstract perception images.

At the first encounter, it had no concrete idea about what would be the most effective (defensive) appearance in the current situation, so it might have suggerated to be a "sexual attractive mate", so a woman might have seen a cute guy.

While going onboard the ship, it knew it had to be a certain crew member in order to stay covered, and thus chose a concrete suggeration.

  • Maybe then my assumption is simply wrong: I've always took it for granted that the person at the transporter panel has specifics concerning the subject/object to be beamed: whether it's a man or a thing - or some entity. If this weren't the case, the contradiction I assumed because of this premise would dissolve. Commented May 6, 2013 at 20:24
  • @schlossblick Out of universe, I think that capability was introduced in the TNG era. I don't recall any evidence they could do that in ENT or TOS.
    – Izkata
    Commented May 7, 2013 at 0:28
  • Thank you very much for the clarification - hence your comment and nibra's answer combined solved my question. Commented May 8, 2013 at 14:23

I think that the creature can actually shape-shift but also has telepathic abilities which allow it to appear as multiple women who have the same general body structure, so that if you touch her you wouldn't notice a difference between the three (as opposed to if you touched the creature in its true form). Her telepathic ability is further shown when she is able to speak Swahili to Uhura. Also when her powers are being described in the episode they describe her having the ability to assume any form, implying actual transformation rather than illusion as when they were describing the powers of the Talosians, but obviously she also possesses the ability of minor differences in how she looks depending on who is observing her but keeps the same general body structure.

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