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Ambassador Phral was alive when he beamed up to the planet… He was dead when he reached the Enterprise! Impossible!! – "The Enterprise Murder Case!" was the sixth issue of Marvel Comics' series of Star Trek: The Original Series comics. It was the second of 33 comics written by Mike W. Barr and the sixth of eight drawn by Dave Cockrum.

Publisher's description

Prior issue teaser
A baffling murder aboard the Enterprise endangers interplanetary peace – and the career of Captain Kirk!


Captain's log stardate 7420.1: At last the Enterprise has established orbit in the crowded skies over the planet Yannid VI, and we can proceed with our mission... the transportation of Ambassador Phral to the treaty signing that will admit his planet to the Federation. Interplanetary diplomacy is a delicate matter and I have taken special precautions to insure that there are absolutely no slip-ups. However, a freak transporter malfunction may render all my precautions useless!

Phral materializes in the Enterprise transporter room, but falls dead with a dagger in his back. The royal palace from which he was beamed informs Kirk that no one assaulted him on the planet.

Captain's log supplemental: If Ambassador Phral was alive when he left the planet, and dead when he reached the Enterprise, he must have been stabbed while in transit. Yet a transporter functions by separating its subjects into their component atoms and reassembling them elsewhere!

Kirk asks McCoy to perform an autopsy and Spock to investigate the death. McCoy, who is concerned that Kirk seems irritable, discovers that Phral has been dead for at least fifteen minutes, even though he beamed up five minutes ago. The computer tapes of Phral's arrival have been erased by an energy surge; when Spock reviews a tape of his beamup from the surface, he finds another discrepancy. Prince Storf and Princess Minax inform Kirk that their planet's agreement with the Federation is non-binding until their uncle's murder is explained. They demand the immediate return of his body and advise Kirk to recall his crew on shore leave, who may be in danger from rebels who want the planet to join the Klingon Empire. They reveal that Phral was formerly known as Prince Arlph, unsettling Kirk.

In a tavern on Yannid VI, Sulu, DiFalco and Chekov are confronted by rebel sympathizers who blame the Federation for Phral's murder. Other bar patrons defend the Federation, and a brawl ensues, with the three Enterprise officers joining in until they are signaled to beam up. As they dematerialize, one of the rebels who was injured in the fight says, "Just get me to Dr. Loroc..."

Admiral Fitzpatrick grants Kirk authority to handle the situation as he sees fit, but notices that Kirk seems edgy. Kirk finally tells Spock, McCoy and Sulu what has been bothering him. In flashback, he recalls how he visited Yannid VI as an ensign on the USS Republic. Rebels had murdered King Geror and taken his son, Prince Arlph, hostage. When Kirk led a landing party to rescue the Prince, his warning shot ricocheted and struck Arlph himself, putting him in a coma. Arlph's brother became king and cut off ties with the Federation, and when Arlph awoke years later, he blamed Kirk for his losing the throne. He changed his name and became an ambassador. After the king's death negotiations were reopened, but are now imperiled by Phral's death, for which Kirk appears responsible.

Spock theorizes that the murdered man was not Phral, who was seen alive at the time the victim died, but was a surgically altered duplicate. The body was not wearing a ring of great sentimental value to Phral. Spock suggests that the real Phral wishes to be thought dead and may be undergoing plastic surgery, leading Sulu to remember the mention of "Dr. Loroc". Kirk requests three native disguises from the quartermaster.

Captain's log, stardate 7420.4 We are beaming down to the planet's surface, attempting to obtain information from "Dr. Loroc". Our disguises are serviceable... but not perfect!

Beaming down with Kirk and Spock, McCoy complains that the disguises leave their human hands visible. At Dr. Loroc's clinic, Spock nerve-pinches the man who meets them at the door. Dr. Loroc herself confronts them with a gun, but is shot from behind and killed. Kirk and Spock find three patients in a room at the end of the corridor, while McCoy is apprehended by Prince Storf, Princess Minax and a group of guards. They join Kirk, Spock and the three patients, one of whom, Kirk points out, must be Phral, who killed Dr. Loroc after she changed his appearance. Spock claims to have made a telepathic scan of the patients and to know which one is Phral. Spock explains that when Phral seemingly beamed aboard the Enterprise he was actually intercepted by a rebel vessel, while the body of the duplicate killed ten minutes earlier was beamed aboard the starship. The computer tapes were wiped by an energy surge fired from the planet. Phral wanted to humiliate Kirk and disappear with his personal fortune.

Phral seizes a guard's phaser and takes Minax hostage, but McCoy knocks him out with a hypospray. As Phral is taken to prison, Storf agrees to sign the treaty to join the Federation.

Captain's log stardate 7421.1: The Federation has added a new member to its roster, and I have, at last, made amends for my earlier visit to Yannid VI! The Prince and Princess are returning to their planet, secure in the knowledge that they have the full support of the Federation, both in peace, and, should it become necessary – in war!

Spock tells Kirk and McCoy that his "telepathic scan" was merely a series of deductions; as McCoy puts it, he bluffed. The Enterprise warps away.



Arlph's brotherPavel ChekovMarcella DiFalcoFitzpatrickJames T. KirkLorocLeonard McCoyMinaxPhral/ArlphJanice RandMontgomery ScottSpockStorfHikaru SuluNyota Uhuraunnamed Yannid VI natives
Referenced only
GerorSherlock Holmes

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • USS Republic (Baton Rouge-class)


Yannid VI

Races and cultures

HumanVulcanYannid VI native

States and organizations

FederationKlingon EmpireStarfleetStarfleet AcademyStarfleet Command

Ranks and titles

admiralambassadorcaptaincriminal investigatordetectivedoctorensignheir apparenthostagekingmedical examinerprinceprincessquartermasterrebelscience officerwarrior

Science and technology

atomautopsycannoncomacomputerenergy surgehyposprayknock-out drugnervous systemorbitphaserphaser pistolplastic surgeryriflespacestarshiptransporterturbolifttype-2 phaserwarp factorwarp drive

Other references

anagrambeardbeerbridgecapecaptain's logclinicdiplomacyemotionfencingfictionknifelanding partylawlogicmilkmind meldmoustachemurdermysteryofficepalacepeaceplanetpolicepoliticsprisonringroyal familyshore leavestardateStarfleet uniformStarfleet uniform (early 2270s)swordtaverntelepathytransporter roomtreatyvodkaVulcan nerve pinchwar



  • Kirk refers to Yannid VI as "Yannid IV" at one point.
  • It's hard to believe that Sulu overhears the reference to "Dr. Loroc" while dematerializing several feet away.
  • To create space in Marvel UK's serialized reprint for a title and short introduction to part two, the bottom two panels of the 9th page were shortened (cutting off the bottom of the Saurian bridge officer's head) and dialogue balloons were moved up. Pages 13 and 14 were also printed out of sequence in the reprint.

Related stories



Published Order
Previous comic:
#5: The Haunting of the Enterprise!
TOS comics
Next comic:
#7: Tomorrow or Yesterday
Previous story:
The Haunting of the Enterprise!
Stories by:
Mike W. Barr
Next story:
The Long Night's Dawn!
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
The Haunting of the Enterprise!
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Missions 9-10

Publication history

September 1980
First published by Marvel Comics
4 March 1981
First 8 pages serialized in b/w in Future Tense #18 (Marvel UK)
11 March 1981
Last 9 pages serialized in b/w in Future Tense #19 (Marvel UK)
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
May 2009
Reprinted in 6"x9" format in the omnibus Star Trek Omnibus, Volume 1 (IDW Publishing)
22 June 2017
Reprinted in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #13 (Eaglemoss)


German: As Mord an Bord der Enterprise in the omnibus Star Trek - R.E. Comic - Sonderheft #3
8 September 1981
Swedish: As Mordfall på Enterprise in Star Trek 1981 #2 (Atlantic)
22 November 2017
Italian: In the omnibus L'era Marvel – Prima Parte, the Italian Graphic Novel Collection #13

External links