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Kirk betrays Spock and Scotty to divert the suspicions of a space pirate! — "The Flight of the Buccaneer" was the 12th issue of the Gold Key Comics TOS series. Published in November 1971, the story was written by Len Wein and drawn by Alberto Giolitti.


When the black art of piracy fourishes once again in the 23rd century, the captain and crew of the starship, Enterprise, are forced to go undercover in an attempt to recover a stolen treasure — and save the United Federation of Planets from oblivion!


Part I

Undercover on a pirate spaceship, Kirk has betrayed Spock and Scotty, who are about to walk the plank...

Captain's log, supplementalIn this, the 23rd century, where man has learned to sail the sea of deep space, the almost-lost art of piracy has risen from the ashes... The universe is vast and the twelve Federation starships cannot guard all of the infinite spaceways – despite our efforts, the merciless marauders continue to strike... Swiftly, violently, the fierce freebooters strip their victims of any and all valuables and then vanish back into the shadows leaving only burned-out shells that once harboured men...
Captain's log, star date: 3264.3 (Lt. Sulu reporting)As per the captain's orders, we are pursuing a small space cruiser in the direction of the planet Tortuga VI – interception imminent...

Although Sulu orders an increase of speed to warp five, the Enterprise loses the cruiser when it enters Tortuga's space boundaries. The cruiser lands on the planet, a haven for pirates; its crew, who declare their intention to trade stolen Jovian fire jewels, are Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty disguised as pirates.

In flashback, McCoy recalls Kirk receiving a message from Starfleet Command 48 hours earlier informing him that dilithium supplies had become dangerously low. Starfleet had found half of a map showing the location of a stolen dilithium shipment; the other half was believed to be held by Black Jack Nova, a pirate captain in hiding on Tortuga, outside the Federation's jurisdiction. Starfleet authorized Kirk to take any action necessary to recover the dilithium.

Kirk's party overhear someone speaking of Nova inside a tavern where the pirate captain is drinking. Scotty starts a fistfight by claiming his own captain is a better man than Nova; Kirk, Spock and McCoy join in and defeat Nova's crew, leaving only Nova himself standing. Kirk shows Nova his half of the map, and they agree on a partnership to find the dilithium – but Nova is already planning to kill Kirk and the others.

Nova and Kirk's group travel in a shuttlecraft to Nova's ship, the Windjammer. Nova's first mate, Kreel, shows them their bunks. Later, Kreel overhears Spock warning Scotty not to be too hostile to Kreel and mentioning that they are Federation agents. Kirk sees Kreel listening to Spock and Scotty and realizes what he must do. On the bridge, Kirk tells Nova that Spock and Scotty are Federation spies. Scotty protests Kirk's betrayal, but Kirk says they betrayed him by claiming to be thieves. Nova sentences Spock and Scotty to walk the plank.

In the airlock chamber, Nova tells the two men to don transplastic spacesuits. Spock asks why he is giving them suits, since they would die in seconds without them; Nova replies that he wants them to die slowly as their oxygen runs out. McCoy urges Kirk to save Spock and Scotty, but Kirk tells him they cannot sacrifice the Federation for their two friends' lives. Spock and Scotty are sent through the airlock and float off into space...

Part II

Captain's Log, Star Date: 3246.8Under Federation orders to recover a stolen shipment of valuable dilithium crystals, Officers Spock, McCoy, Scott and myself have made contact with the infamous space pirate, Black Jack Nova! When the success of our mission was threatened by discovery, I was forced to sacrifice Officers Spock and Scott to divert attention away from myself! Now as I watch my two best friends vanish into the void – I pray their sacrifice will not be in vain!

As Nova's ship sails away, leaving Spock and Scotty behind, they are beamed aboard the Enterprise, which has been following the Windjammer using the Romulan cloaking device. Back on the Enterprise bridge, Spock orders a course for Taos IV, where the dilithium is located. Sometime later, Enterprise reaches the planet. Spock leads a landing party down to the surface, ordering Sulu to take the ship away from the planet so as not to alarm Nova. Spock plans to let Nova find the dilithium and then confiscate it. However, Spock's party is accosted by Ben Cannon, an old man toting a rifle, who has been spacewrecked on Taos IV for almost a year. Nova's shuttlecraft lands, and Spock, Scotty, Cannon and the others head for it.

Debarking from the shuttle, Nova and Kirk put their halves of the map together. The pirates dig at the spot the map indicates, but find nothing. Nova accuses Kirk of finding the treasure first and pulls a gun on him. Spock shoots the gun out of his hand and Nova runs away. Kirk follows, ordering Spock to contact the Enterprise and have the Windjammer captured. As Kirk searches the jungle for Nova, the pirate drops on him out of a tree. The two men fence, and Nova makes it to the shuttlecraft. As he closes the cockpit canopy, Kirk throws his sword at him but misses. The shuttle takes off, but Kirk's sword has struck one of its generator tubes, and it crashes and explodes. Meanwhile, Spock has used his tri-corder to discover that the dilithium has been dug up and stored in a cave by Cannon, the Windjammer's former captain. He was betrayed by his crew, who took the map and left him to die. McCoy receives word that the Enterprise has captured the Windjammer. Back on the starship, McCoy expresses surprise that piracy still exists in the 23rd century; Spock attributes this to humanity's "violent tendencies."



Ben CannonJames T. KirkKreelLeonard McCoyBlack Jack NovaMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru Suluunnamed Starfleet admiral

Starships and vehicles

cruiserUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • shuttlecrafttransportWindjammer


Centuri IIPollux IVOmega IIITaos IVTortuga VI

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations

StarfleetStarfleet AcademyStarfleet CommandUnited Federation of Planets

Science and classification

airlockblack holecloaking devicedilithiumelectron cutlassgalaxygenerator tubeimpulse engineoxygenrocketsensorspacesuitstarstarshipstellar windstratospheretransportertri-corderviewscreenwarp drive

Ranks and titles

admiralcaptaindoctorfirst matelieutenantofficerscience officerspy

Other references

23rd centuryAltarian fogbanyanbridgecaveCenturian shakesdiamondfencinginter-stellar lawJovian fire jeweljunglepiracyplanetprayerpriority oneratshovelsilversoulStar DateswordtaverntransplasticuniformvacuumVenusian Waldorf


Related media


  • Due to artists unfamiliar with the Star Trek series, this issue features Scotty wearing a command division green-gold Starfleet uniform, rather than his proper engineering division red 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.) However, the other members of Spock's landing party also wear green-gold uniforms, even though they are presumably Security personnel who should wear red uniforms.
  • McCoy is not actually present for the events of his own flashback.
  • Kirk tells Nova his real name.
  • Perhaps influenced by the nautical ambience of Nova's ship, Spock refers to "the vacuum of deep sea".
  • Surprisingly, Kirk refers to Spock and Scotty (not McCoy) as "my two best friends" in his log entry.
  • Kirk mentions that he was on the Academy fencing team.
  • Kirk's log on page 2 establishes the setting as the 23rd century prior it being established in canon in TOS movie: The Wrath of Khan.
  • This story has been released nine times in English and has been translated 14 times into other languages: French (3x), Italian (3x), German (2x), Portuguese (2x), Dutch, Serbian, Spanish, and Turkish.
  • The reprint in The Enterprise Logs, Volume 2 omitted page 2, which contained the initial captain's log by Kirk describing the state of piracy in the 23rd century.
  • The striped-shirt pirate clothing in this story was revisited in TOS comic: "A Thousand Deaths". The Sustainer created a simulation in which Kirk was captain of the HMS Enterprize during an attack by Spock’s pirate ship.
  • The civilian transport raided by the Windjammer was reminiscent of the Leif Ericson galactic cruiser, a.k.a. the Interplanetary UFO Mystery Ship, a cruiser designed by USS Enterprise designer Matt Jefferies for AMT.



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" • "Spock: Psycho-File" • "A Page From Scotty's Diary" • "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:
#11: The Brain Shockers
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#13: Dark Traveler
Previous story:
The Brain Shockers
Stories by:
Len Wein
Next story:
Dark Traveler
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
The Enterprise Incident
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
And the Children Shall Lead
Previous story:
The Enterprise Incident
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Four Next story:
And the Children Shall Lead
Production history
November 1971
First published by Gold Key Comics
Printed in hardcover in Star Trek Annual 1973 (World Distributors Limited)
August 1976
Printed in the omnibus The Enterprise Logs, Volume 2 (Golden Press)
Printed b/w in Australia in Star Trek #26002 (Rosnock Publications)
Printed b/w in Hong Kong and the Philippines in Star Trek #26002 (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 2 (IDW)
22 June 2017
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #13 (Eaglemoss)
German: Serialized over four issues as "Das Piratenschiff" in Zack 1972 #47 - 50 (Koralle)
June 1973
French: As "La Planète Pirate" in Star Trek #6 (1st series) (Remparts)
September 1973
Italian: As "Il Pianeta dei Pirati" in Star Trek Albi Spada #12 (Edizioni Fratelli Spada)
French: In the omnibus Star Trek Album #3 (Remparts)
Spanish: In Domingos Alegres #1103 Viaje a las Estrellas (Editorial Novaro)
Dutch: As "De Vlucht van de Boekanier" in b/w in Star Trek #5 (De Vrijbuiter)
Italian: As "Il Pianeta dei Pirati" in Raccolta Superspada #6 (Edizioni Fratelli Spada)
December 1976
Portuguese: As "O Piratas do Espaço" in Jornada Nas Estrelas #6 (2nd Series) (Abril)
German: As "Das Piratenschiff" in the 228-page omnibus Zack Parade #19
23 May 1978
Portuguese: In b/w in O Caminho das Estrelas #10 (Aguiar)
13 December 1978
Serbian: In Denis #135
Turkish: In b/w digest-size in Uzay Yolu #4 (Alfa)
April 1983
French: In the omnibus Présence de L'Avenir #3: Le Voyageur du Cosmos (Sagédition)
Italian: In the omnibus The Gold Key Collection, Volume 3 (Free Books)

External links