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Kirk and Spock invade a Klingon warship in—Operation Con Game. – "Operation Con Game" was the sixty-first and final issue of Gold Key Comics' 1970s series of Star Trek comics. The issue was written by George Kashdan, drawn by Alden McWilliams and featured the return of Harry Mudd.


It began as a petty, almost laughable crime... but behind it was a foe whose cunning and treachery would swiftly lead the galaxy to the brink of war!


Captain's log, stardate 3504.7.
While exploring a neutral sector near the Klingon Empire, sensors have picked up rare but familiar emanations.

Detecting dilithium crystals on a class M planetoid in neutral territory near the Klingon Empire, James T. Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy beam to the surface to investigate. Quickly they are ambushed and stunned by three Klingons, but the landing party overcomes them and follows a path toward a gathering. They arrive just after natives sign a mining treaty with a Klingon warship commander. The Klingons pay in gold bars and then transport to the IKS Ectacus with a case of sample dilithium. But Spock's tricorder reports that the material is in a state of flux, indicative of unstable synthetic dilithium, and nearby is an Earth human reading. Pulling the hood from the native's Grand Qaal exposes swindler Harry Mudd.

Captain's log, stardate 3504.5.
We have suddenly found ourselves enmeshed in one of the biggest swindle-schemes in the history of the galaxy.

Mudd confesses that he acquired the fake dilithium cheaply from a scientist who knew it had no value, then set himself up as the leader of Eulus expecting Klingon patrol ships to visit. He tosses a keepsake crystal near Kirk, and it blows up. Mudd is shocked — unaware that manufactured crystals are explosive. The case of sample crystals are capable of destroying the Klingon battlecruiser, which could spark a war. Spock uses his communicator to warn the Klingons, but they don't believe him.

With Mudd under McCoy's supervision, Kirk and Spock hope to retrieve the samples, so Montgomery Scott beams them into a hold aboard the Ectacus. But Mudd manages to warn the Klingons, and the commander apprehends Kirk and Spock. Before they can be interrogated, however, Spock explodes a crystal against the hull, and in the ensuing confusion, the two officers escape back to the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Scott has lost contact with McCoy. The natives subdued him, and now he's a prisoner aboard Mudd's transport. Mudd hopes to abandon McCoy on an uncharted asteroid, but the Enterprise tracks and seizes the ship with a tractor beam.

Later, Scott uses the transporter to return Mudd's gold to the Ectacus, and the commander admits that he's disposed of the dangerous crystals. Mudd denies that conning Klingons is a Federation crime, but Kirk cites kidnapping and jeopardizing starship personnel as charges worthy of placing him in the brig.



James T. KirkSpockLeonard McCoyMontgomery ScottNyota UhuraHarry Muddunnamed Klingonsunnamed USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) personnel

Starships and vehicles

IKS Ectacus (D7-class warship) • USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • space buggy


Shipboard locations

USS Enterprise
bridgebrigtransporter room
IKS Ectacus

Planets and planetoids

Referenced only

Stellar locations

the galaxy

Races and cultures

Eulus nativesHuman (Scottish) • KlingonVulcan

States and organizations

FederationKlingon Defense ForceKlingon EmpireStarfleet

Science and classification

class Mcommand chaircommunicatorcoordinatesdeflector shieldsforce fieldhyposprayimpulse enginemedkitphasersciencesectorstar chartstarshiptechnologytractor beamtransmittertransportertricorderviewscreenwarp driveweapon

Ranks and titles

captainchief engineerchief medical officercommandercommanding officercommunications officerdoctorengineerfirst officerGrand Qaallieutenantlieutenant commanderscience officerscientistsentry

Materials and substances

gasglassdilithiumgoldmattersynthetic dilithium

Other references

alert status (invasion alert) • asteroidatmospherecactuscaptain's logcrewdayenergyfarthingFederation Starfleet ranksFederation Starfleet ranks (2266-2270)governmentheartholdhumanoidinsignialawlifeformlog entrylogicminingminutemountainnation-stateOrganian Peace Treatypeanutsplanetplanetoidraces and culturesrankrank insigniasign languagesnakespacestarstardateStarfleet uniformStarfleet uniform (2265-2270)systemtitletreatyuniformVulcan nerve pinchwarworship





Media featuring Harry Mudd
Episodes "Mudd's Women" • "I, Mudd" • "Mudd's Passion" • "Choose Your Pain" • "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad" • "The Escape Artist"
Miniseries The Return of MuddThe Return of Harry Mudd
Novels and collections Mudd's AngelsMudd's EnterpriseMudd in Your EyeThe Light Fantastic
Short stories "The Business, As Usual, During Altercations" • "A Sucker Born" • "Dilithium Is a Girl's Best Friend"
RPGs and Video games 25th Anniversary25th Anniversary (NES)Starfleet Academy (game)Through a Glass, Darkly mTrexelsStar Trek TimelinesFleet Command
Comics "Operation Con Game" • "It's a Living" • "When You Wish Upon a Star...!" • "Mudd's Magic!" • "Mission: Muddled" • "The Sky Above...The Mudd Below" • "Target: Mudd!" • "Made Out of Mudd" • "The Survival Equation" • Discovery - Succession, Issue 1 mYear Five, Issue 15Year Five, Issue 16
m : Mirror universe
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 story:
#60: The Empire Man
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next story:
final issue
Previous story:
The Brain-Damaged Planet
Stories by:
George Kashdan
Next story:
last story
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
What Fools These Mortals Be..
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Siege in Superspace
Previous comic:
What Fools These Mortals Be..
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Three Next comic:
Siege in Superspace
Previous story:
Mudd's Women
The adventures of Harcourt Fenton Mudd Next story:
I, Mudd
Production history
March 1979
First published by Gold Key Comics.
Printed in hardcover in Star Trek Annual 1983. (Stafford Pemberton)
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD. (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
23 May 2019
Reprinted in Graphic Novel Collection #63. (Eaglemoss)

External links