On his first surface assignment in months, Sternbach was left to guard the crates of supplies being brought to the Federation colony on the planet Valerian. He was knocked unconscious by two diminutive creatures who appeared to be goblins but were actually the Kuwalden Osvald and Ekdahl. While Sternbach was unconscious, the two Kuwalden hid inside the crates.
After Sternbach regained consciousness, he beamed up to the transporter room with the supplies. The Kuwalden burst out of the crates armed with bolas and flying on bats. Sternbach and three other security men battled them, but they escaped into the corridors of the Enterprise. (TOS comic: "There's No Space Like Gnomes'!")