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Steel sentries challenge a returning space traveler and his Enterprise guests!"Dark Traveler" was the 13th issue of the Gold Key Comics series of Star Trek: The Original Series comics.


What is the aftermath of utopia? What happens to heaven when it descends into the darkest pits of hell? These are the questions Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the starship, Enterprise, must answer when they pick up an intergalactic hitch-hiker — and are forced to take him home!


Part I

In the ruins of an advanced city, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are being fired upon by a robot in a flying sled, on which their phasers have no effect…

Captain's log, star date 14:83.4—We are passing the uninhabited planet Zeron II on our way through the Sigma star-system—nothing unusual to report…

Spock detects an energy discharge from the planet's surface. A man wearing a dark, hooded robe and carrying a long golden staff appears in Kirk's captain's chair. He claims to be a traveler who wishes for the Enterprise to take him home. He has placed the helm under his own control; when Scotty objects to this, the man stuns him with a beam from his staff. As Kirk threatens the man with a phaser, the ship accelerates to warp eight. Spock realizes that the traveler has altered the ship's atomic structure to enable it to withstand the speed. McCoy arrives on the bridge to be told by Spock that their guest is an "inter-galactic nomad". The man explains that his home planet is a paradise where robots do all the work, allowing the people unlimited leisure and causing them to stagnate. The Nomad left in search of knowledge and has traveled the universe, but is now weary. He would not have commandeered the Enterprise had he not lacked the power to journey home on his own.

The ship arrives at Nomad's planet and establishes standard orbit. Nomad has enabled the computers to guide the ship home. Spock and McCoy, however, express the desire to visit the planet. Nomad transports himself, Kirk, Spock and McCoy to the surface, where, to Nomad's shock, they find themselves in a ruined city. A man approaches, shouting at them to run and pursued by a robot flying in a "porto-sled". The robot fires at the man and mortally wounds him. Nomad pulls the man into cover, but the robot has seen the Enterprise officers. Kirk orders phasers set at destruct level, but they have no effect...

Part II

Captain's log, star date – Unknown – We have been mysteriously boarded by a black-garbed alien we've named Nomad – who has commandeered the Enterprise to return him to the utopian planet he calls home! Upon reaching the planet, First Officer Spock, Doctor Leonard McCoy and I beamed down with Nomad – only to discover that the gleaming crystal towers that once stood here have been reduced to ashes...

Nomad destroys the robot and its porto-sled with his golden staff. The wounded man is still alive and recognizes Nomad, telling him as he dies that he has returned too late. Niklon, Nomad's brother, who ran the robot production plants, took control of the robots and used them to conquer the planet, destroying this city as an example. Nomad vows to stop his brother, and Spock suggests that they use the Enterprise's power to help him. However, Kirk cannot contact the ship, and Nomad realizes Niklon must have control of the Enterprise.

Nomad, Kirk, Spock and McCoy travel to the City of the Thousand Lights aboard a metal craft like a flying carpet. They hide the vehicle and approach the government seat, which is guarded by robots. Nomad uses his staff on the robots, but it needs time to recharge, and the four men are captured and led inside. Niklon, a diminutive man, is seated inside a transparent control dome. He has conquered the planet in revenge for being sent to the robot works so that others would not be bothered by his appearance. The four prisoners are led down to the cells, where other captives recognize Nomad. McCoy tricks a robot into thinking Kirk is ill; when it opens the cell it is short-circuited by the light fixture Spock attached to the door.

The other prisoners, also freed, wish to attack Niklon. Spock devises a strategy: he disguises himself in the robot's casing and escorts Kirk, McCoy and Nomad to Niklon's chamber, which is attacked moments later by the other prisoners. Niklon's control dome rises from the floor, revealing that it is the top of a giant robot. Spock takes Nomad's staff from the robot which had confiscated it, and Nomad uses it to melt Niklon's robot, in the process destroying the controls for all the robots on the planet. The Enterprise is freed, Niklon is turned over to the people for justice, and Nomad remains on his planet to help rebuild it. Back on the Enterprise, McCoy compliments Spock on his success at playing a robot.



James T. KirkLeonard McCoyNiklonMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluThe Traveler

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • metallic monstrosityporto-sled


Sigma systemZeron IIunnamed planet (City of the Thousand Lights)
Referenced only
Delta IIIHeavenHell

Races and cultures

HumanVulcanunnamed species
Referenced only

States and organizations


Science and classification

cement mixerchemicalcommunicatorcomputerenergyenginegalaxyorbitphaserrobotsensorstarstar systemstarshiptransporterwarp factor

Ranks and titles

captaindoctorfirst officer

Other references

captain's logcrystalfactorygnomegodgoddessgoldgolfhelmintergalactic combatlogicparadiseplanetprayerstardateutopiawater


Related media


  • Due to artists unfamiliar with the Star Trek series, this issue features Dr. McCoy wearing a command division green-gold Starfleet uniform, rather than his proper sciences division blue uniform. Scotty is also shown, with reddish-brown hair, wearing such a command uniform, although in his case the uniform is explainable – as second officer, he can properly wear command colors as an alternative to his regular operations division uniforms. Scotty makes switches between command and operations uniforms in his last few movie appearances.
  • Scotty is at the helm of the Enterprise in the opening scene.
  • Although Nomad comes from an unknown alien planet, people there are seen playing golf, and Niklon alludes to the Earth parable of the prodigal son.
  • Kirk's inability to determine a stardate on Nomad's planet supports the theory that stardates are partly a function of position in the galaxy.
  • Spock's suggestion that the Enterprise help Nomad free his people is in blatant violation of the Prime Directive.
  • This story has been released ten times in English and has been translated 12 times into other languages: French (3x), Italian (3x), Portuguese (2x), Dutch, German, Spanish, and Turkish.



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:
#12: The Flight of the Buccaneer
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#14: The Enterprise Mutiny
Previous story:
The Flight of the Buccaneer
Stories by:
Len Wein
Next story:
The Enterprise Mutiny
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
The Zodian Sacrifice
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
The Cosmic Cavemen
Spock's visit to Dukar
Previous comic:
The Zodian Sacrifice
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year One Next comic:
The Cosmic Cavemen
Spock's visit to Dukar
Production history
February 1972
First published by Gold Key Comics
Printed in hardcover in Star Trek Annual 1973 (World Distributors Limited)
Abridged in Dan Curtis Giveaway #6 (Western Publishing)
August 1976
Printed in the omnibus The Enterprise Logs, Volume 2 (Golden Press)
July 1978
Printed b/w in Australia in Star Trek #28023 (Rosnock Publications)
July 1978
Printed b/w in Hong Kong and the Philippines in Star Trek #28023 (South Pacific Publications)
June 2004
Printed in the omnibus The Key Collection, Volume 2 (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 3 (IDW)
6 July 2017
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #14 (Eaglemoss)
October 1973
French: As "Le Voyageur de L'Univers" in Star Trek #7 (1st series) (Remparts)
October 1973
Italian: As "Il Nomade delle Galassie" in Star Trek Albi Spada #13 (Edizioni Fratelli Spada)
French: In the omnibus Star Trek Album #4 (Remparts)
German: Serialized over three issues as "Überfall im All" in Zack 1973 #46-48 (Koralle)
Spanish: In Domingos Alegres #1111 Viaje a las Estrellas (Editorial Novaro)
Dutch: As "De Zwarte Reiziger" in b/w in Star Trek #5 (De Vrijbuiter)
Italian: As "Il Nomade delle Galassie" in Raccolta Superspada #7 (Edizioni Fratelli Spada)
March 1978
Portuguese: As "O Nômade do Espaço" in the omnibus Jornada Nas Estrelas Special (Abril)
19 June 1978
Portuguese: In b/w in O Caminho das Estrelas #14 (Aguiar)
January 1983
French: Part 1 in the omnibus Présence de L'Avenir #2: Les Mutinés de L'Espace (Sagédition)
April 1983
French: Part 2 in the omnibus Présence de L'Avenir #3: Le Voyageur du Cosmos (Sagédition)
Turkish: Part 1 in Star Trek #1 (Alfa)
Turkish: Part 2 in Star Trek #2 (Alfa)
Italian: In the omnibus The Gold Key Collection, Volume 4 (Free Books)

External links