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A scientist escapes into time with a doomsday bomb! – "A Bomb in Time" was a Star Trek comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1976, the 36th issue of their TOS series. It was the 9th of 21 stories written by Arnold Drake. It was the 32nd story with artwork by Alberto Giolitti. Angelo Todaro worked on pencils and inks.

In this story, James T. Kirk and Montgomery Scott time travel into Earth's past to recover a bomb.


Hunting a needle in a haystack — even one that would rival the pyramids — is child's play compared to the staggering search that occupies the crew of the starship Enterprise as they hunt for — A Bomb in Time.


Captain's log, star date 19:25.9.

We have put in at Research Satellite-5 to examine their latest developments!

Doctor Steckler gives Montgomery Scott, Spock and James T. Kirk a tour of the space station, showing them a variety of inventions. They are interrupted by an alert from the time-study laboratory, where a scientist has found Dr. Lax murdered at the controls of the time travel cabinet. The scientist says Lax's last words were about finding a bomb.

Steckler checks, and the station's prototype N-cycle bomb has been stolen. Minutes later, a tape is discovered, left by Dr. Njam. He says the metaweapon has been hidden in Earth's past by his associate, Professor Andres, and he'll detonate it unless the Federation pays them one billion credits within 24 hours. Apparently Lax had been forced to send Andres back in time, then Njam shot him, blanked the time machine settings, and fled the space station. Spock realizes that Lax restored most of the coordinates before he died, with the machine set for southern California, but the dial for the year was left halfway between 1855 and 1955. While Spock remains to search for Njam, Steckler operates the time machine, sending Scott to 1855 and Kirk to 1955.

Captain's log:

In search of the nitrogen-cycle bomb, Mr. Scott and I time-jumped to separate locations where the bomb might be hidden!

Scott materializes inside a stagecoach in the Old West, surprising its occupants. The coach is soon held up by Billy Clancey’s outlaw gang. As the passengers are being robbed, Scott overhears Waco talking about a doctor new in town who's reputed to perform miracle cures, and Scott thinks this may be Andres using a medkit. Waco demands Scott's money and starts to draw a pistol. Scott can't permit the highwaymen to take his phaser, so he shoots Waco's hat with his "trick gun" and asks for work. Clancey hires him, which lets Scott stick close to Waco to learn more.

Waco proposes that their next robbery ought to be the wagon train hauling Mexican silver to Don Carlos's ranch. Clancey agrees, and manages to steal the phaser while Scott is asleep. When he awakes and discovers his weapon is missing, he pursues the gang on horseback, joining the wagon train's perimeter guards in a gunfight. Clancey drains the phaser's power pack attempting to subdue the guards, then Scott subdues the criminal before he can do any more damage. Waco agrees to take Scott into town to see the miracle doctor, but they discover that he is just a snake oil salesman.

In the 23rd century, Spock apprehends Njam, discovering that the ransom was Njam's idea. Andres didn't take the N-cycle bomb for money.

Kirk materializes in a street in ancient Rome and is nearly hit by a horse-drawn chariot. He wonders if the time machine malfunctioned, then realizes he's actually in Hollywood during the filming of an ancient Roman movie. A production assistant thinks Kirk is the stuntman they've asked for, except wardrobe accidentally dressed him for a science fiction film. He sends Kirk to Bovrille, the film's director, and learns that he is supposed to perform a dangerous stunt. In the scene, Kirk fights an enemy while driving a chariot. During the fight, a sword slashes his horse's reins, and then the uncontrolled vehicle appears to wildly careen over a chasm. However, the chariot has been outfitted with hidden rockets by their gifted special effects technician, and thanks to the miniature engineering, Kirk successfully performs the stunt. His suspicions about the identity of the technician are confirmed when he discovers Andres in the special effects trailer.

Andres flees, leaping onto a chariot, and as Kirk chases him in another chariot along a freeway, the entire pursuit is filmed by Bovrille and his cameraman Zoltan. The two men struggle until Andres learns that Njam betrayed him and killed Dr. Lax. He confesses that he wanted to hide the prototype until he could be reassured by the Federation Council that it would never be used, and turns over the prototype to Kirk.

Back aboard the USS Enterprise, Scott laments that he didn't get to spend enough time with Don Carlos's lovely sister in 1855.



AndresBovrilleCarlosBilly ClanceyJames T. KirkLaxNjamSmithMontgomery ScottSpockStecklerWacoZoltanunnamed humans (actors, production assistant, station staff, stagecoach riders, wagon train riders, two of Clancey's gang, Carlos' fiancée)
Referenced only
Carlos' sister

Starships and vehicles

automobilecamperchariotUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • stagecoachpickup truckwagon


Research Satellite-5Sol system (CaliforniaEarthOld WestRomeUnited States)
Referenced only
HollywoodMarsYuma, Arizona

Races and cultures

Human (MohicanMexicanNative AmericanSpanish) • Vulcan

States and organizations

StarfleetUnited Federation of PlanetsFederated Planets Weapons Committee

Science and classification

antigravity interrupterbombcameracataractfire-spidergunlaboratorymathematicsmedicinemedkitmovie cameraN-cycle bombpistolrocketsaddlesix-shootersnake oilspecial effectsspotlightswordtime traveltime travel cabinetvideo tapeweaponwelder

Ranks and titles


Other references

1st century2nd century19th century18551955AAA priority dispatcharmybacteriabankbearbedcenturyclothingconsumptioncreditdevildogdollarenergyfirefishfree fallgoldglassgrassgravityhatheartheart attackhistoryhorsehourlogiclumbagomarriagemetalminutemoustachemovienitrogenphaserpistolradiationranchrecreation hallrocksecondsigma raysilverspacesolar systemtimeTrail of the Mohicanstreewagon trainweddingx-rayyearzero gravity


Related media




  • The location of the story was clearly not Hollywood. Kirk assumed that he was in Hollywood because Spock said their time travel destination was southern California and Kirk had materialized in the middle of a movie production. But Hollywood was not a desert, it was an area of Los Angeles, a city with a population of nearly two million in 1955. (City & County of Los Angeles Population article at the L.A. Almanac.)
  • The production assistant assumed that Kirk was a stuntman dressed for a science fiction film "they're shooting in Yuma." Logistically, if a film were being shot in the state of Arizona, a stuntman would not be sent to a shooting location in the state of California. But a mistake like that could happen if such a film were set in Yuma while being filmed at a nearby shooting location in California that looked like Yuma. Such was the case with the 1955 science fiction film Tarantula, shot in locations exactly like those seen in this story, Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley in the Mojave Desert. This story could have been set in one of these valleys.
  • No ancient Roman Hollywood movies were in production in April 1955. However, the musical comedy Jupiter's Darling, starring Howard Keel and Ester Williams, was released in February 1955. Set in 210 BC, the movie poster featured the two actors on a chariot. Similar to the comic story, the movie did contain a risky stunt scene involving a chariot falling off the edge of a cliff. The stunt was so dangerous that the stuntman broke his back during the scene.
  • The scene in this story of chariots racing and fighting along a California highway was suggestive of the epic chariot race seen in the 1959 classic film Ben-Hur, which was set during the first century CE and starred Charlton Heston. Professor Andres even resembled Heston. For comparison, see George Taylor, the character Heston portrayed in Planet of the Apes, whom Kirk met in TOS comic: "The Primate Directive". Pre-production for Ben-Hur began in 1957, and, while a few scenes were shot in California, most of that film was shot on location, including the famous chariot race.
  • It was unknown what happened to the footage shot of Kirk and Andres battling while threading their chariots between automobiles on a California highway in 1955. James T. Kirk may have winded up being the uncredited star of a movie shot by a cameraman named Zoltan and released by a director named Bovrille in the late 1950s.




Gold Key Comics stories and publications
Issues "The Planet of No Return" • "The Devil's Isle of Space" • "Invasion of the City Builders" • "The Peril of Planet Quick Change" • "The Ghost Planet" • "When Planets Collide" • "The Voodoo Planet" • "The Youth Trap" • "The Legacy of Lazarus" • "Sceptre of the Sun" • "The Brain Shockers" • "The Flight of the Buccaneer" • "Dark Traveler" • "The Enterprise Mutiny" • "Museum at the End of Time" • "Day of the Inquisitors" • "The Cosmic Cavemen" • "The Hijacked Planet" • "The Haunted Asteroid" • "A World Gone Mad" • "The Mummies of Heitius VII" • "Siege in Superspace" • "Child's Play" • "The Trial of Captain Kirk" • "Dwarf Planet" • "The Perfect Dream" • "Ice Journey" • "The Mimicking Menace" • "Death of a Star" • "The Final Truth" • "The Animal People" • "The Choice" • "The PsychoCrystals" • "A Bomb in Time" • "One of Our Captains Is Missing!" • "Prophet of Peace" • "Furlough to Fury" • "The Evictors" • "World Against Time" • "The World Beneath the Waves" • "Prince Traitor" • "Mr. Oracle" • "This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit" • "Murder on the Enterprise" • "A Warp in Space" • "Planet of No Life" • "Destination... Annihilation!" • "And a Child Shall Lead Them" • "What Fools These Mortals Be.." • “Sport of Knaves” • "A World Against Itself" • "No Time Like the Past" • "Spore of the Devil" • "The Brain-Damaged Planet" • "To Err Is Vulcan" • "The Empire Man!" • "Operation Con Game"
Additional stories "James T. Kirk: Psycho-File" • "A Page From Scotty's Diary" • "Spock: Psycho-File" • "From Sputnik to Warp Drive"
Collections Star Trek Annuals (1969197019721973197419751976197719781979198019831986) • The Enterprise Logs (Volumes 1234) • The Key Collection (Volumes 12345) • Gold Key Archives (Volumes 12345) • Gold Key 100-Page Spectacular
Related media "Voyage of Discovery" • "The Exile" • "The Red Hour" • "The Tunnel of Death" • "... Wild Goose Chase!" • "A Hint of Life" • "Space Chase" • "Escape from the Clinging Dags" • "Eye of the Beholder" • "The Menace of the Mechanitrons" • "Trial by Fire!"


Published Order
Previous comic:
#35: The Peril of Planet Quick Change
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#37: The Ghost Planet
Previous comic:
#34: The PsychoCrystals
TOS comics (Gold Key original stories) Next comic:
#38: One of Our Captains Is Missing!
Previous story:
The PsychoCrystals
Stories by:
Arnold Drake
Next story:
One of Our Captains Is Missing!
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Dwarf Planet
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Space Chase
Previous comic:
Dwarf Planet
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Two Next comic:
Space Chase
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2266.
The Memory Beta Chronology places events from this story in 2 other timeframe(s):
Previous adventure:
Elusive Salvation
Chapter 3
3 April 1855

(Scott's time travel)

Next adventure:
Strange New Worlds 8, Sections 1-4
Previous adventure:
From History's Shadow
Chapter 10
3 April 1955

(Kirk's time travel)

Next adventure:
Provenance of Shadows
Crucible (Timeline 2) Chapter 52, Section 1
Production history
March 1976
First published by Gold Key Comics.
August 1976
Printed in the omnibus The Enterprise Logs, Volume 4 (Golden Press)
Printed in hardcover in Star Trek Annual 1979 (World Distributors Limited)
Printed in Dynabrite, Issue 11358 (Western Publishing)
June 2004
Printed in the omnibus The Key Collection, Volume 5 (Checker Book Publishing Group)
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
5 July 2018
Reprinted in Graphic Novel Collection #40 (Eaglemoss)
German: As "Die Zeitbombe" in Zack 1976 #16 (Koralle)
Dutch: As "Een Bom in de Tijd" in the omnibus Ruimteschip Enterprise Classics Strip-Paperback #1 (De Vrijbuiter)
German: As "Die Zeit-Bombe" in the omnibus Raumschiff Enterprise Comic Taschenbuch #1 (Condor)
Italian: As "Una Bomba in Tempo" in the omnibus The Gold Key Collection, Volume 9 (Free Books)

External links