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For other uses, see Child's Play.

A planetful of doomed children – playing their deadliest game! — "Child's Play" was a Star Trek: The Original Series comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1974, their 23rd issue. It was the 21st story drawn by Alberto Giolitti and the last of two stories written by Gerry Boudreau. In this story, an epidemic killed anyone over 13 years of age, infecting a landing party from the USS Enterprise and giving them five days to live.


Time is a simple word. But contained in its four letters is the key to secrets of life, death, and that which lies between. To waste time is criminal, to have it stolen from you is tragic. Thus, when the starship Enterprise landed upon the distant planet Argylus, Captain Kirk faced the most desperate struggle of all – a struggle against time itself!


Captain's log, stardate 17:25.4. Having successfully completed our mission on the planet Kynardi, we now cruise toward the solar system, Zeta Centauri, seeking further class M planets for study...

A distress signal from nearby Argylus prompts Kirk to beam down with Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu and Christine Chapel. They are immediately attacked by knights on horseback that resemble chess pieces. Stun force seems ineffective, but phasers set at a heat setting reveal the knights to be robots. Outnumbered, the landing party surrenders. They are brought into a castle to the throne of King Simon, a boy-king. Simon explains that a plague struck seven years earlier, killing anyone older than 13. Although the natives' intellects mature by age three, allowing child survivors to forge their own civilization, their species faces extinction in six years. Also, Kirk's people are infected and will die in five days.

Aboard the USS Enterprise, Leonard McCoy identifies the virus. The antidote requires a plant which grows on a distant planet.

Captain's log, stardate 17:25.8. First officer Spock reporting. We race toward the planet Ominnus, seeking a rare herb needed to save the lives of Captain Kirk and three of our crew members. But by increasing velocity to maximum speed, we have weakened the power of our deflectors and now face an impending collision with a gigantic meteor!

Spock avoids the collision by briefly reducing speed to warp six. Once in orbit of Ominnus, Spock and McCoy beam down and quickly locate the herbs. But humanoid inhabitants resembling cavemen see intruders poking around their sacred garden and defend it with cudgels. Unable to use phasers due to the non-interference directive, Spock and McCoy fight hand-to-hand, then retreat before reinforcements can arrive. The Enterprise speeds back to Argylus.

On Argylus, child soldiers of Warlord Yago break into the castle. They take Simon and the landing party to a second castle and lock them in a dungeon. When armed guards enter, saying that it is time to kill them all, Kirk jumps them. He grabs a rifle, but is hesitant to fire at the children. But, having no choice, he pulls the trigger. The gun fires a harmless light beam. Yago confesses that this was just a game. Unlike Simon, Yago thinks their situation is hopeless, and spends his final days playing.

They returd to Simon's castle. McCoy beams down with the antidote, leaving a batch with Simon. Kirk promises that other Federation ships will return with larger quantities of the antidote.

Star date 18:32.9. Our mission on Argylus complete, we have set out for points undetermined, yet my thoughts are back with the children. Their civilization shows promise and I suspect that soon the child shall truly be father to the man!



Christine ChapelPavel ChekovJames T. KirkLeonard McCoyRoyMontgomery ScottSimonSpockHikaru SuluNyota UhuraYago

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)


OminnusZeta Centauri star system (Argylus)
Referenced only

Shipboard areas

bridgesickbaytransporter room

Races and cultures

Argylus nativeHumanOminnusianVulcan

States and organizations


Ranks and titles

captainchief engineercrew memberdoctorensignFederation Starfleet ranks (2260s)first officerkinglieutenantnavigatornursephilosopherscientistsquireStarfleet rankswarlord

Science and classification

anatomybeakerchemistryclass M planetcommunicationsenergyextinctionflaskgalaxyindustrial scalelifeformlightlight speedlogicmattermedicinemeteororbitplanetquadrantspacestarstar systemtechnologytimeuniversewarp sixwarp eightweapon


distress signalnon-interference directive



Materials and substances

Food and drink





Technology and weapons

communicatorcomputercudgeldeflectormicroscopephaserradioriflerobotrobot chessmenspacecraftstarshiptransportertricorderviewscreen

Other references

"Babes in Toyland" • beamcastlechesscivilizationclothingcriminalcrowndesertdungeonexecutiongenitum larsgovernmenthelmetinsuranceknightlancelanding partynation-statepalaceraces and culturesrankscienceshieldsports and gamesStarfleet uniformStarfleet uniform (2265-2270)stuntabootitletribeuniform


This story took place over a span of five days, during a period when Pavel Chekov was the ship’s navigator. Since he wore a green shirt, this story could take place prior to his official promotion to bridge duty in TOS comics: "Mister Chekov", "A Little Seasoning", with his role being of a temporary or training nature.

A plague erupted on Argylus, killing anyone older than 13.
The USS Enterprise successfully completed a mission on Kynardi.
2267 (Stardate 1723.4)
The Enterprise arrived in orbit of Argylus.
2267 (About two days later)
The Enterprise retrieved samples of the herb genitum lars from Ominnus.
2267 (About two days later, stardate 1832.9)
Leonard McCoy provided the Argylus natives with a batch of the antidote.


Related media

  • TOS episode: "Miri" – A plague killed anyone who was not a child and significantly prolonged the lifespan of those who were children.
  • TOS comic: "World Against Time" – A temporal anomaly produced a de-aging phenomena on the planet Oordon, leaving its only survivors as children.


  • The plague was very similar to the one seen in TOS episode: "Miri". Given that the cure for the plague was in the ship's medical database, and that this story occurred after Miri (since Chekov was navigator), it's possible that this was a variant of the same plague seen in Miri.
  • The title of the story, which Kirk stated in dialogue, was from line 318 of "The Merchant’s Tale", one of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • Chapel quoted a verse, "Backward, turn backward, O time in your flight … make me a child again just for tonight." That was the first couplet from a poem by Elizabeth Anne Chase called "Rock Me to Sleep, Mother", written in 1859.
  • In his final log, Kirk hoped "the child shall truly be father to the man." That was a reference to "My Heart Leaps Up", a poem written by William Wordsworth in 1802. (My Heart Leaps Up article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
  • King Simon was a dead ringer for Prince Raviki of Nukolee in TOS comic: "A World Gone Mad".
  • Spock correctly stated that warp eight was 512 times the speed of light and warp six was 216 times the speed of light. Since the story was so specific about the ship's capabilities, it raised questions about McCoy’s claim that Ominnus was "on the other edge of the galaxy," which was "a two-day journey each way." Nonetheless, the landing party would be dead in five days, during which, at warp eight, the Enterprise would be able to travel a distance of 7.01 light-years. Ominnus could be no further away than 3.5 light years from Argylus, making McCoy’s dialogue hyperbole. (Warp Speed Calculator at the Star Trek Minutiae website)
  • When Kirk cited titles and positions for those in his landing party, he referred to Sulu as a navigator.
  • The ship was reportedly headed for a collision with a meteoroid while traveling at warp eight. This story established that the deflectors' effectiveness was reduced at that velocity, but even a minor course correction should have been sufficient to avoid the hazard. Possibly it was too massive, or detected too late.
  • McCoy described specifics of the Prime Directive, without naming it explicitly, when he and Spock faced the Ominnusians.
  • This story has been released six times in English and translated into Finnish, Italian, and Portuguese.



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:
#22: Siege in Superspace
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#24: The Trial of Captain Kirk
Previous story:
Siege in Superspace
Stories by:
Gerry Boudreau
Next story:
last Star Trek story
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Project Iceberg
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Prophet of Peace
Previous comic:
Project Iceberg
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Two Next comic:
Prophet of Peace
Production history
March 1974
First published by Gold Key Comics
August 1976
Printed in the omnibus The Enterprise Logs, Volume 3 (Golden Press)
June 2004
Printed in the omnibus The Key Collection, Volume 3 (Checker Book Publishing Group)
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
August 2014
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Gold Key Archives, Volume 4 (IDW)
4 January 2018
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #27 (Eaglemoss)
Finnish: As "Lasten Leikki" in Avaruusmatka Star Trek #11 (Apulehti)
March 1978
Portuguese: As "Brincadeira Mortal" in the omnibus Jornada Nas Estrelas Special (Abril)
Italian: In the omnibus The Gold Key Collection, Volume 6 (Free Books)

External links