The story began with James T. Kirk and Klingon Commander Kring separately being tried for their actions in a collapsing tritanium mine on the planet Angrena. Kirk was charged with violating a Starfleet directive applicable in wartime and threatened with the loss of his command. Kring was charged with cowardice and threatened with execution. During the trial, each described what happened from their point of view.
- Wil Wheaton returns with a Klingon confrontation that may test Kirk's resolute hatred of them.
- Captain's log, stardate 3905.7.
- We have received a distress call from the Federation mining colony on Angrena. Our scheduled visit to Starbase Six for some much needed rest and relaxation will have to be postponed until the rescue operation is completed.
An explosion of hydrogen reserves deep underground killed 89 miners and destabilized the planet’s tritanium mine. Facing imminent collapse, mining Chief Ripley had issued a distress call and requested emergency evacuation. The Enterprise responded at maximum warp speed.
- Captain's log, stardate 3905.9.
- We have reached the mining colony on Angrena. I have assembled a medical and engineering landing party to treat any wounded, and prepare the survivors for evacuation. I have asked my chief engineer, ship's doctor, and first officer to accompany me.
Beaming down, Leonard McCoy rushed to care for the injured. Kirk and Ripley were wondering how the explosion might have happened when a Klingon landing party materialized and started attacking everyone in sight. During the fight, the ground gave way and Kirk and Commander Kring fell into the mine, separated by rubble.
With radiation disabling their communicators, Kirk and Kring each followed directions to a way out. In the dark, each was being attacked stealthily, seemingly by the other, until their paths ran into each other, and they realized their common enemy was a Jeru, a large, vicious creature that infests mines. They fought it together, with Kring killing it while seeming to save Kirk. “You’re next,” Kring said, launching into Kirk. The cliff edge gave way, and Kring held on with one arm. Kirk pulled him up.
Saying Kring owed him a life debt and would not kill him out of honor, Kirk suggested they work together to get out of the mine. They constructed a bridge with planks to climb out of the area to the lift. While climbing out, they saw hundreds of Jeru eggs around the bottom of the mine and realized that the Jeru likely had inadvertently triggered the mine explosion.
After arriving on the surface, both captains ordered fighting to stop. Spock reported that several Klingon prisoners were ready to be transported to Starbase Six. Kirk asked Kring if he were going to attack the Enterprise, which would trigger all-out war, but Kring said he had no interest in violating the cease fire. On that basis, Kirk released the captured Klingons to Kring and both crews left the planet. Before beaming up, Spock said that releasing the Klingons was a violation of Starfleet Directive 72, and that he would be forced to report it, leading to the court martial.
Starfleet Directive 72 prohibited “willing failure to capture an enemy commander and freeing enemy prisoners without cause” during wartime. However, no declared state of war existed with the Klingon Empire, so technically Kirk could not have violated the order. The tribunal said showing mercy to the Klingons might help prevent war in the future and called Kirk’s actions unorthodox. Kirk was reprimanded, however, and required to file a full report upon arrival at Starbase Six.
Meanwhile, Kring had been accused of cowardice. His judge said, “considering everything we know to be true about Human behavior,” the events couldn’t have happened as Kring said. Kring’s subordinates, angling for promotions, did not support their captain. Kring stood his ground resolutely and proudly as he was killed.
- Captain's personal log.
- I told Kring "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." I didn't tell him the rest of that lesson: "If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat." We are so certain that we know the Klingons, and they are equally certain that they know us, but we haven't made much of an effort to challenge our mutual conviction. Just as I don't represent all men, Kring can't represent all Klingons, yet the symbolism of working together to build a bridge is not lost on me. I hope it was not lost on him.
- Pavel Chekov • James T. Kirk • K'Ley • Kring • K'Toth • Leonard McCoy • Reyes • Ripley • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Nyota Uhura • Wellman
- Referenced only
- Kahless the Unforgettable • Montgomery Scott
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- Referenced only
- Starbase 6
Races and culturesEdit
States and organizationsEdit
Ranks and titlesEdit
- egg • Jeru • Klingon code of honor • Organian ceasefire • Starfleet Directive 72 • Sun Tzu philosophy • tritanium • tritanium mine
- TOS episode: "Court Martial" - Established settings and procedures for a Starfleet court martial.
- TOS episode: "Errand of Mercy" - Defined terms of the cease fire with the Klingons.
- TOS episode: "Day of the Dove" - Examined cultural attitudes between humans and Klingons.
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