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For DC Comics, "The Trial of James T. Kirk", click here.

Sky pirates raid the stars — and Captain Kirk is charged with treason! — "The Trial of Captain Kirk" was a Star Trek: The Original Series comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1974, their 24th issue. If was the fifth of 22 stories written by Arnold Drake and the 22nd illustrated by Alberto Giolitti. In this story, Captain Kirk was charged with accepting bribes from bandits illegally mining a rich asteroid field.


A brilliant service record and a heroic commander face public disgrace and imprisonment as Captain Kirk battles vainly against a shadowy conspiracy! Can he and the crew of the starship Enterprise crack the mystery before the prison door shuts behind him?


Captain's log, star date 19:26.2. Approaching the Ferrous-Asteroid Belt on special assignment as per command order J-1786…

The USS Enterprise hunts iron smugglers in System C-71's historic, iron-rich asteroid belt. Excessive mining has destabilized the belt and threatens the orbits of nearly planets, so it has been outlawed. Spock notices an asteroid not on the charts, so Kirk and Montgomery Scott inspect it in environmental suits. It suddenly fires its engines — it is a spacecraft. Rather than surrender, the smugglers retaliate with phaser fire, so the Enterprise destroys the ship.

Kirk reports the encounter, then is recalled to Earth. As he disembarks, Kirk is arrested by security officers to face a preliminary hearing pursuant to a court martial. Video evidence shows Kirk accepting a bribe of seven million credits from the leader of the bandits, Liji Bragg. The supreme chairman and vice chairmen Fado and Hajara tell Kirk not to leave the city.

Captain's log, star date 19:26.3. I have the freedom of the city and a limited time in which to fight back against the charges aimed at me. What I need desperately is information — and the anonymity with which to gain it!

Cosmetic surgeon Dwayne Stiller makes Kirk's face temporarily look like a Dridian. Disguised, Kirk shares coffee with Fado's assistant. She reveals that the video had been taken by Nuri Jakarz, and that Kirk's indictment might lead to Fado becoming supreme chairman.

Meanwhile, Spock arranges for the Enterprise to test some new navigational equipment, which will allow the starship to return to the asteroid belt without telling Starfleet. With X-ray radar a second pirate ship is exposed. It flees, then fires a missile towards an inhospitable planet, possibly dumping incriminating evidence. Scott uses identity transference equipment to copy the brain patterns of Leonard McCoy and Spock into cerebot probes. The "Spock" robot tracks the missile's guidance system, and the "McCoy" robot salvages the evidence.

On Earth, Kirk sneaks into Jakarz's house. Jakerz owns a special effects company, and Kirk recognizes miniatures of two cities from movies he'd seen. He finds tapes of himself and Liji Bragg, inserts them into a projector and merges them — forming the fake evidence. Jakarz catches him red-handed, but Kirk identifies himself as a reporter for Drid Interstellar News. Jakarz promises to do an interview and lets Kirk leave.

Vice chairman Hajara catches Kirk outside Jakarz's house, just as his face reverts to normal, and brings him inside at gunpoint. Hajara explains that he paid the bandit leader to be exposed in order to frame Kirk. Either Fado or Kirk will get convicted, leaving Hajara as the next supreme chairman. Before Hajara can fake a suicide for Kirk, however, the captain strikes him with miniature city props and knocks him out. The confession, supported with evidence provided by Spock and McCoy, exonerates Kirk.



Pavel ChekovDarFadoHajaraIlanaNuri JakarzJames T. Kirk/Bexel RedexaKradLeonard McCoyJanice RandMontgomery ScottSpockDwayne StillerHikaru SuluNyota UhuraXanaunnamed Humans (nurse, security officerssupreme chairman)
Referenced only
Liji Bragg

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • Bandit asteroid shipsshuttlecraft
Referenced only


Earth (Government House • Home of Nuri JakarzSan FranciscoStarfleet HeadquartersSupreme Council Hall) • System C-71 (CamelFerrous-Asteroid BeltKibo/Ndora)
Referenced only

Races and cultures

DridianHuman (Scotsman) • Vulcanunnamed races and cultures (Fado, Hajara)

States and organizations

Drid Interstellar NewsFederationFederation Supreme CouncilN-J Film Effects StudioStarfleet CommandStarfleet Security

Science and classification

brain patterncerebotcomputerelectro-proberelectro-surgical labelevatorengineenvironmental suitfilm cartridgeguidance systemidentity transferencejet packlife support cabinetmessage crystalmissilephaserphaser pistolradarradi-lyzerradiorobotspacesuitspecial effectsstarshipstasistape cartridgevideo camera

Ranks and titles

captainchairmancommandercosmetic surgeondoctorFederation Starfleet ranks (2260s)gunneryreporterlawyerlieutenantnursephotographerpiratesecond in commandsecretaryStarfleet rankssupreme chairmanvice chairman

Other references

antasteroidasteroid beltatmospherebloodbrainbridgecenturychamber of commercechewing gumcoffeecollegecourt martialcreditdayearthquakeenergyEnergy Dragongoldgold rushheadachehourhullironiron rushjailminingminutemoneymovienavigationoatmealorbitplanetpreliminary hearingprofitreplicarocksickbaysmugglingStarfleet uniformStarfleet uniform (2265-2270)starshipstar systemsuicidetrialwaterX-rayyear


Related media




  • This story has been released seven times in English and translated into German and Italian.
  • Janice Rand appears prominently in one panel without dialogue as crewmen Xana and Krad reflect on orders to relax, and Pavel Chekov watches in the background. Nyota Uhura is visible on the bridge in one panel, but also has no dialogue.
  • Kirk quotes "Ours not to reason why..." This is a line from "The Charge of the Light Brigade", a poem written by Alfred Tennyson in 1854.
  • The cerebots contain duplicates of the brain patterns of Spock and McCoy. It is unknown how long these cerebots can function, or what happened to them once the real bodies of Spock and McCoy woke up.
  • During his investigation, Kirk discovers a video editor capable of electronically merging and masking video, presaging the development of consumer video editing software such as Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere.
  • Spock says he and Kirk are blood brothers.


  • The author did not distinguish between Starfleet and the Federation, which made certain aspects of the story unclear. The authority to call hearings and courts martial belongs to Starfleet, requiring a board of three officers of flag rank, as specified in TOS episodes: "Court Martial", "The Menagerie". However, the ruling authority in this story is named the Federation Supreme Council, led by a chairman and two vice-chairmen, which sounds like a political authority which ordinarily ought to have been outside or above that of Starfleet. On the other hand, the chairmen wear blue Starfleet uniforms, making it unclear whether they are Starfleet admirals (how they looked and acted) or Federation politicians (how they were named).
  • The cover spoils the twist ending, revealing the person behind the conspiracy. It also depicts three cerebots, whereas two were seen in the story.
  • Kirk's skin is made malleable as clay so that he can go undercover, but while disguised he looks like himself with a wig, and he even wears the same shirt color (perhaps so young readers could tell who he was).
  • The reprint in The Enterprise Logs, Volume 3 omits page 7. On page 7, Kirk reports to Dar; Krad, Janice Rand, Pavel Chekov and Xana appear; the Enterprise is recalled to Earth; and Kirk quotes Tennyson. The edit resulted in cutting abruptly from the asteroid's destruction to Kirk's arrest in San Francisco.



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 comic:
#23: Child's Play
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#25: Dwarf Planet
Previous story:
A World Gone Mad
Stories by:
Arnold Drake
Next story:
Dwarf Planet
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
The Animal People
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Prince Traitor
Previous comic:
The Animal People
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Two Next comic:
Prince Traitor
Production history
May 1974
First published by Gold Key Comics
August 1974
Printed in hardcover in Star Trek Annual 1975 (World Distributors Limited)
August 1976
Printed (minus page 7) in the omnibus The Enterprise Logs, Volume 3 (Golden Press)
June 2004
Printed in the omnibus The Key Collection, Volume 3 (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 4 (IDW)
18 January 2018
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #28 (Eaglemoss)
German: As "Alarm im Planetensystem C-71" in the 228-page omnibus Zack Parade #14
Italian: In the omnibus The Gold Key Collection, Volume 6 (Free Books)

External links