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"The Expansionist Syndrome" was the eighth issue of Marvel Comics' series of Star Trek: The Original Series comics. It was the first of ten comics written by Martin Pasko and the seventh of eight drawn by Dave Cockrum.


Captain's logstardate 7523.5. Upon entering the Agena system on a heading for Starbase 14, the Enterprise has been intercepted by a pair of alien craft. Our presence here has been interpreted as an act of aggression... and the aliens have retaliated by immobilizing the Enterprise! My crew and I are now experiencing the agonizing effects of what appears to be an Agenan weapon! Its nature – and ultimate effect – are as yet unknown! The aliens – whom we have not yet seen – have identified themselves as inhabitants of the planet Agena IV. Their race calls itself the Mox. As the aliens hold us captive without explanation, speculations about their intentions are unavoidable: do they wish merely to punish... or to kill?

The bridge crew feels excruciating pain in their heads. Scotty reports from Engineering that the stasis field in which the ship is caught is disabling the matter/antimatter generators, leaving all other systems working normally. Spock appears to be in a state of Vulcan mind touch, and speaks the words of someone who says the Vulcan is "suited to our needs". Kirk orders Kyle to take over Spock's station.

Captain's log – supplemental: The alien attack threatens to seriously complicate our urgent mission... transportation of a critically ill agricultural engineer to the Starbase 14 hospital...

The patient has Denebian rheumatic fever and will die unless she receives a heart transplant within 24 hours. Dr. McCoy is called to the bridge, where he diagnoses the pain as caused by a high level of electrical activity in the crew's brains due to a mind-scan. Spock disappears, transported to one of the alien ships, his communicator left behind. The ship moves out of sensor range, leaving the other ship maintaining the stasis-field. Kirk orders phasers fired on the ship, but the Enterprise's weapons are rendered non-functional. Scotty reports that the warp engines have been drained of power and are in red-zone-proximity: they will blow up in four hours unless the ship is freed. The alien ship pulls the Enterprise toward Agena IV with a tractor beam.

Captain's log – stardate 7523.6: The Agenans still hold the Enterprise in stasis, but appear to have decided against taking further action – for now. On the assumption that Spock has been taken to Agena IV, I am leading a search party that will scour the surface for my first officer...

Kirk, McCoy, Chekov, DiFalco and two security guards beam down to the surface, where Anderson, one of the Security men, is shot with a projectile weapon. In the ensuing fight with a group of white-skinned, dome-headed humanoids, Phillips, Anderson's partner, receives a flesh wound and DiFalco's phaser is shot out of her hand. McCoy pronounces Anderson dead. One of the defeated humanoids tells Kirk they believed the search party were their enemies, the Mox, in disguise.

Medical log – stardate 7523.6 – Dr. Christine Chapel recording: Our cardiac patient, Professor Lenore Fowler, has awakened. I am continuing treatment with tridigitalis to prevent congestive heart failure before we reach Starbase 14. Prognosis, however, is poor as Prof. Fowler is a stubborn and excitable individual. She is unlikely to rest quietly...

Fowler asks why they have not yet reached the starbase. She guesses that the ship is in trouble and demands to speak with McCoy.

Medical log – supplemental: Although I have not wanted to alarm Prof. Fowler, I have been forced to explain to her the details of our crisis-situation as I have learned them from my periodic communications with Dr. McCoy on the planet's surface...

Scotty still cannot destroy the Agenan ship, and recommends against sending a landing party aboard because sensors cannot penetrate the ship. Kyle locates Spock on the planet's surface, but sensors detect no other lifeforms within a 200-km radius. The search party and their native prisoners, who are called Orgs, approach a high citadel at Spock's coordinates. One of the Orgs says this is the city of the Mox, which no Org dare enter. Kirk disguises the Org with Phillips' helmet and Chekov's jacket so he can guide them to the city.

Captain's log – supplemental: We have left Chekov and Phillips behind at the encampment to guard our Org prisoners! As long as we hold them, their leader – who is called D'vid – will be induced to cooperate...

Kirk, McCoy, DiFalco and D'vid enter a meadow filled with creatures called Kamahr. D'vid explains that the Mox take up so much room on the planet that the Orgs cannot grow food. Kirk asks why the Orgs do not eat the Kamahr, but D'vid says they cannot be hunted except when asleep. DiFalco tries to stun one of the Kamahr for use as a lab specimen. Kirk chastises her for potentially violating the Prime Directive, but the phaser has no effect on the animal, which generates its own force field when awake. In the city, the Mox are demanding that Spock use Vulcan telepathic techniques on the Kamahr, but Spock refuses to violate the Prime Directive.

Captain's log – stardate 7523.7: We have reached the Mox city...

McCoy and Kirk realize that the Mox are machines: the "Machs". The "Orgs" are "organisms". The Machs recognize D'vid as an "Org spy", but he shows the Enterprise people how to fight them off. He lets slip that the Orgs are planning to attack the city that night. They find Spock in the Machs' High Council Chamber.

Medical log – supplemental: Dr. Chapel recording. It has been two hours since Dr. McCoy's last report. I have begun to grow concerned –

The Machs learned of the Org invasion plan with the same mind-probe technology they used on the Enterprise bridge crew. They wanted Spock to mind-meld with the Kamahr and make them use their telekinetic abilities to hold off the invasion. Prof. Fowler knocks Chapel out with a hypospray.

Captain's log – stardate 7523.8: Elsewhere in the chamber, we have discovered a vast Hall of Records whose computers' data banks contain the history of the Agenan races...

Spock learns that the ship holding the Enterprise is automated, with no Machs aboard. Kirk says they can destroy it without killing any Machs; McCoy objects that they are machines anyway, but Kirk points out that they are sentient beings. The Orgs begin their attack. Spock mind-melds with the Kamahr, twelve of whom destroy the ship holding the Enterprise with their telekinetic energy. Kirk orders Scotty to use the ship's phasers to stun the attacking Orgs. Fowler stuns the transporter chief and technician with a phaser and beams down to the city. She tells Kirk she has the solution to the conflict, but collapses. McCoy says she needs an immediate heart transplant.

Captain's log – stardate 7527.9: We are preparing to leave orbit around Agena IV. Professor Fowler's been granted permission by Starfleet Command to remain behind. She has found a way to resolve the conflict between the Orgs and Machs – and in the process, she has been able to save her own life as well...

The Machs' records show that the Orgs are the descendants of Earth refugees from the Eugenics Wars, and the Machs are their robots' descendants; thus Kirk and Spock did not violate the Prime Directive. McCoy has implanted a Mach-designed artificial heart in Fowler, who will teach the Orgs hydroponic techniques. Spock takes satisfaction in the logical Machs having enabled Fowler to resolve the dispute.

Additional logs

Medical log, stardate 7523.6: [Recorded by Dr. Chapel] The Enterprise is being held in a stasis field by an Agenan spaceship. The situation is critical… We have three hours to free ourselves before the matter/antimatter shielding breaks down and destroys the ship. Meanwhile, on Agena IV, Kirk and McCoy, searching for Spock, who's been kidnapped by the aliens, have encountered a race of beings who appear to be their enemies. Meanwhile, I am tending heart patient, Prof. Lenore Fowler, who urgently needs attention at Starbase 14... (Serialized reprint)



AndersonChristine ChapelPavel ChekovMarcella DiFalcoD'vidLenore FowlerJames T. KirkJohn KyleLeonard McCoyPhillipsMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluNyota Uhuraunnamed Machsunnamed Orgsunnamed USS Enterprise personnelkamahr
Referenced only

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class)


AgenaAgena IV
Referenced only
EarthStarbase 14Vega colony

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations

FederationStarfleet Command

Ranks and titles

agricultural engineercaptaincommanderdoctorfirst officerlieutenantprofessorsecurity guardspytechniciantransporter chief

Science and technology

alienanimalantimatterartificial heartAtalskes phaser IVatmospherecommunicationscommunicatorcomputercongestive heart failuredatabankDenebian rheumatic feverecologyenergy-probeevolutionforce fieldgravityheartheart transplanthumanoidhydroponicshyposprayimpulse enginelifeformmachinemattermatter/antimatter generatororbitorganismphaserphaser bankphaser pistolphoton torpedophysiologyprojectile weaponrobotsensorstarstarbasestarshipstasisstasis fieldtractor beamtransportertricordertype-2 phaserwarp enginezoology

Other references

1990s20th centurybridgecaptain's logcitadelcitycivilizationdaggerengineeringEugenics WarsfoodhelmethistoryhospitalKamahrlanding partylinguacodelogicmind-probemind-scanmurderplanetpopulation controlPrime Directivered zone proximitysentiencestardateStarfleet uniformStarfleet uniform (early 2270s)stuntechnologytelekinesistelepathytransporter roomtridigitalisVulcan mind meldVulcan mind touchwaterweapon




Published Order
Previous comic:
#7: Tomorrow or Yesterday
TOS comics
Next comic:
#9: Experiment in Vengeance!
Previous story:
first work
Stories by:
Martin Pasko
Next story:
Experiment in Vengeance!
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Chekov's Choice
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
The Real McCoy

Publication history

November 1980
First published by Marvel Comics
8 April 198129 April 1981
Serialized in b/w in Future Tense #23-26 (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)
14 September 2017
Reprinted in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #19 (Eaglemoss)


German: As Das Expansions-Syndrom in the omnibus Star Trek - R.E. Comic - Taschenbuch #4
24 November 1981
Swedish: As Människa eller maskin in Star Trek 1981 #3 (Atlantic)
3 January 2018
Italian: In the omnibus L'era Marvel – Seconda Parte, the Italian Graphic Novel Collection #19

External Links