Is it ever explained, in any book or episode, why Flint (from the Original Series episode "Requiem for Methuselah") was immortal? I know he had instant tissue regeneration or something like that, but why?

  • 2
    As far as I recall, it's assumed to be a simple mutation. It's explained as nearly instant tissue regeneration, BUT at the end of the episode, it's mentioned that leaving Earth (to which he is perfectly adapted; something about the magnetic and other fields), he is no longer immortal. It's also be expanded upon, if your read the star trek books. See this page on Memory Alpha. YMMV; some of it involves cross overs with DC Comic characters. – K-H-W Jul 26 '14 at 23:29
  • In the Episode we never find out why he has that ability. Just that he fell in battle and regenerated. But it sounds like like superman were he draws his strength from the Sun so when he leaves earth he looses that ability. – Tasos Jul 27 '14 at 4:37
  • He didn't had to have a reason, immortality with humans is much more then just "perfect cellular regeneration", the point of him being an immortal is to explore the idea of what a human being who lived for most of recorded history can become. think of yourself in his shoes, living all the lives he had, would you stay "human" ? – svarog Dec 24 '14 at 21:47
  • @Lukas - You may want to read the novel "Immortal Coil". Flint is a major character in the novel and more about his life is revealed. No direct explanation is given, but it's still interesting if you like the character. – Omegacron Dec 30 '14 at 14:22
  • @Omegacron- Thanks! Sounds really interesting I'll be sure to check it out if I find it – Lukas Jan 6 '15 at 2:05

In short, no, it's not explained in the script, nor has there been any substantial information provided by the cast or crew.

The sole canon source I can locate that discusses the issue (an interview with show's writer Jerome Bixby in Captains' Logs : The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages) leads to the conclusion that it was simply a fortunate genetic anomaly:

"I always wanted to do a story about a neanderthal who found himself gifted with immortality, who lived up to the present day. Learning, learning, learning throughout this enormous lifetime, mastering the arts and sciences through philosophy.

In this context, the word 'gifted' would generally refer to a natural talent or ability.

As to the manner of his immortality, McCoy simply hand-waves it away as being an artifact of ...

McCoy : Instant tissue regeneration coupled with some perfect form of biological renewal.

... and that it's somehow connected to the planet Earth ...

McCoy : He's dying. You see, Flint, in leaving Earth with all of its complex fields within which he was formed, sacrificed immortality. He'll live the remainder of a normal life span, then die.

Moving down the canon scale, Flint (now going by the name Dr. Evergreen) appears in the Trek Novel The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 1 where Gary Seven identifies his condition as being a "unique genetic mutation", albeit one that is rare rather than singular:

Seven had his suspicions. “You’re an immortal, aren’t you?”

Now it was Evergreen’s turn to look surprised. His head jerked backwards as he stared at Seven with startled eyes. “How the devil do you know that?”

“It’s the only logical explanation,” Seven replied. Although it was incalculably rare, he had encountered this unique human mutation before. “I assume your injured flesh has already regenerated?”

It's worth noting that the same plot device (an immortal cro-magnon telling his story) was recycled by Bixby for the film "The Man From Earth". Again, absolutely no explanation is offered for how the protagonist has survived since the stone age.

  • There's a bit more. It was hypothesized in "The Man from Earth" that the reason for aging, or imperfect cell duplication, lies in the factor of toxicity. If, somehow, the tissues could more effectively detoxify themselves then cell colony degradation over generations would cease. – Tom Russell Jul 6 '17 at 7:16
  • There's also the speculation that our cave man is actually the "inspiration for the prehistoric vampire myth" and that he achieves immortality by drawing the "life force" from others around him. This was both posited by the biologist(?) and given the force of accusation by the psychologist. – Tom Russell Jul 6 '17 at 7:25

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