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.
- 1 Publisher's description
- 2 Summary
- 3 References
- 4 Appendices
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Andres • Bovrille • Carlos • Billy Clancey • James T. Kirk • Lax • Njam • Smith • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Steckler • Waco • Zoltan • unnamed 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
- automobile • camper • chariot • USS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • stagecoach • pickup truck • wagon
- Research Satellite-5 • Sol system (California • Earth • Old West • Rome • United States)
- Referenced only
- Hollywood • Mars • Yuma, Arizona
Races and cultures
States and organizations
Science and classification
- antigravity interrupter • bomb • camera • cataract • fire-spider • gun • laboratory • mathematics • medicine • medkit • movie camera • N-cycle bomb • pistol • rocket • saddle • six-shooter • snake oil • special effects • spotlight • sword • time travel • time travel cabinet • video tape • weapon • welder
Ranks and titles
- 1st century • 2nd century • 19th century • 1855 • 1955 • AAA priority dispatch • army • bacteria • bank • bear • bed • century • clothing • consumption • credit • devil • dog • dollar • energy • fire • fish • free fall • gold • glass • grass • gravity • hat • heart • heart attack • history • horse • hour • logic • lumbago • marriage • metal • minute • moustache • movie • nitrogen • phaser • pistol • radiation • ranch • recreation hall • rock • second • sigma ray • silver • space • solar system • time • Trail of the Mohicans • tree • wagon train • wedding • x-ray • year • zero gravity
- On his website, Angelo Todaro said that he provided pencils and inks for this story. (Todaro's Star Trek stories article at Angelo Todaro's website.)
- The cover depicted a scene from the story in which a car driver was stunned by the sight of Kirk in a toga riding by in a chariot. In the painting, the car appeared to be a 1975 Dodge Dart Sport. In the story, it was an automobile from 1955.
- Time travel to the 1950s was revisited in TOS - The New Voyages short story: "Mind-Sifter". Time travel to Hollywood was revisited in TOS short story: "Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited".
- The story was reprinted in Dynabrite, Issue 11358, along with "The PsychoCrystals". It was also included in The Key Collection, Volume 5.
- The exterior of Research Satellite-5 was based on Space Station V from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- The design of the control panel on the time travel cabinet was reminiscent of the control circuits of the DeLorean in the Back to the Future film trilogy, which similarly involved seated time travel to southern California in the years 1885 and 1955. Being on a space station, though, the cabinet had an additional dial to set the destination.
- The time travel technology depicted in the story was highly advanced. The inner workings of the technology were not explained, but it might have employed something similar to the formula for transwarp beaming, along with a way of adjusting the arrival time at the destination. (TOS movie & novelization: Star Trek)
- Though Lax and Steckler worked on the time travel project, the exact origin of the time travel cabinet itself was not spelled out. The device, its components, and/or its operating principles could have been discovered elsewhere and adapted by the scientists.
- It was unclear how Scott, Kirk and Andres were returned to the satellite at the end of the story.
- Incidents of time travel such as these prompted the formation of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations in the year 2270. (DTI novel: Watching the Clock)
- 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.
- The Billy Clancey Gang in this story was an example of dozens of such gangs known to have operated between 1855 and 1903 in the Old West.
- Smith's snake oil was representative of medicine at that time, when a variety of potions such as his "Dr. Dunsaney's Magic Elixir" could be sold without prescription or evidence to substantiate their health claims. (19th century medicine article at the University of Victoria website.)
- Don Carlos said his wedding was interrupted by news of the attack on the wagon train. Scott arrived on 3 April 1855, a Tuesday, but as he did spend some time asleep, it's possible that the marriage and the wagon train attack could have been planned for the next day.
- The town where Montgomery Scott found Doctor Smith might have been Los Angeles, a village with a population of 1,600 at that time, or it might have been a similarly-sized town located in that area of southern California. (City & County of Los Angeles Population article at the L.A. Almanac.)
- Scott's phaser was completely drained by Clancey, a limitation noted in TOS episodes: "The Galileo Seven", "The Omega Glory".
- TOS comic: "No Time Like the Past" – Time travel to Earth in 218 BC.
- TOS episode: "The City on the Edge of Forever" – Time travel to Earth in 1930.
- TOS - The New Voyages short story: "Mind-Sifter" – Another trip to Earth in the 1950s.
- TOS short story: "Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited" – Time travel to Hollywood, California in 1967.
- TOS episode: "Assignment: Earth" – Time travel to Earth in 1968.
- TOS episode: "Tomorrow is Yesterday" – Time travel to Earth in 1969.
- TOS comic: "Getting Real" – Time travel to Earth in 1983.
- TOS movie: The Voyage Home – Time travel to Earth in 1986.
- TOS novel: Strangers from the Sky – Time travel to Earth in 2045.
#35: The Peril of Planet Quick Change (reprint)
|TOS comics (Gold Key)||Next comic:|
#37: The Ghost Planet
#34: The PsychoCrystals
|TOS comics (Gold Key original stories)||Next comic:|
#38: One of Our Captains Is Missing!
One of Our Captains Is Missing!
|Memory Beta Chronology||Next adventure:|
Furlough to Fury
|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):
|3 April 1855
(Scott's time travel)
Strange New Worlds 8
Provenance of Shadows
(Timeline 2) Chapter 48, Chapter 50; Chapter 52, Section 1 Chapter 10
|3 April 1955
(Kirk's time travel)
- 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)