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.
- Teaser blurb
- 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 20 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 Chekov • Dar • Fado • Hajara • Ilana • Nuri Jakarz • James T. Kirk/Bexel Redexa • Krad • Leonard McCoy • Janice Rand • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Dwayne Stiller • Hikaru Sulu • Nyota Uhura • Xana • unnamed Humans (nurse, security officers • supreme chairman)
- Referenced only
- Liji Bragg
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- USS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • Bandit asteroid ships • shuttlecraft
- Referenced only
- Earth (Government House • Home of Nuri Jakarz • San Francisco • Starfleet Headquarters • Supreme Council Hall) • System C-71 (Camel • Ferrous-Asteroid Belt • Kibo/Ndora)
- Referenced only
- Abdar • Drid • Lokauruk • Zeayana
Races and culturesEdit
States and organizationsEdit
- Drid Interstellar News • Federation • N-J Film Effects Studio • Starfleet Command • Starfleet Security
Science and technologyEdit
- brain pattern • cerebot • computer • electro-prober • electro-surgical lab • elevator • engine • environmental suit • film cartridge • guidance system • identity transference • jet pack • life support cabinet • message crystal • missile • phaser • phaser pistol • radar • radi-lyzer • radio • robot • spacesuit • special effects • starship • stasis • tape cartridge • video camera
Ranks and titlesEdit
- captain • chairman • commander • cosmetic surgeon • doctor • Federation Starfleet ranks (2260s) • gunnery • reporter • lawyer • lieutenant • nurse • photographer • pirate • second in command • secretary • Starfleet ranks • supreme chairman • vice chairman
- ant • asteroid • asteroid belt • atmosphere • blood • brain • bridge • century • chamber of commerce • chewing gum • coffee • college • court martial • credit • day • earthquake • energy • Energy Dragon • gold • gold rush • headache • hour • hull • iron • iron rush • jail • mining • minute • money • movie • navigation • oatmeal • orbit • planet • preliminary hearing • profit • replica • rock • sickbay • smuggling • Starfleet uniform • Starfleet uniform (2265-2270) • starship • star system • suicide • trial • water • X-ray • year
- Published in 1974, this story was noteworthy for being the first time a Star Trek story was set primarily on Earth in the 23rd century. Previously, 23rd-century Earth had been seen in canon only in the illusory visit to Mojave experienced by Christopher Pike in TOS episode: "The Cage". Gold Key Comics had set four panels on Earth in "The Voodoo Planet" (#7, 1970). The UK comic strips series had set a handful of scenes on Earth: Starfleet 2nd Fleet's command center in "Thorpex" (#17, 1970); New Pacific City in "Key Witness" (#21, 1971); an alternate Los Angeles in "Gateway to the Future" (Annual 5, 1971); the Starfleet Headquarters area in "By Order of the Empire" (#26, 1971); Maribou Flats in "The Collector" (#29, 1972); and the Federation Council Chambers in "To Rule the Universe" (#37, 1974).
- Three Gold Key Comics written in 1976 would be set explicitly on Earth. "Prophet of Peace" and "Furlough to Fury" took place in the 23rd century, while the time travel story "A Bomb in Time" took place in 1955 and 1855.
- The city was just referred to as the "city" in this story, and the planet's name was unstated. Five years after this story was written, however, Starfleet Headquarters would be established as being located in San Francisco in TOS movie: The Motion Picture, thus retroactively identifying the setting of this story.
- System C-71 couldn’t be that far from Earth, since the Enterprise traveled there and back twice during the story.
- Kirk reported his initial encounter with the pirates to Commander Dar at an unspecified location, perhaps a command base in or near System C-71.
- This story has been released seven times in English and translated into German and Italian.
- Janice Rand appeared prominently in one panel without dialogue as crewmen Xana and Krad reflected on orders to relax, and Pavel Chekov watched in the background. Nyota Uhura was visible on the bridge in one panel, but also had no dialogue.
- Kirk quoted “Ours not to reason why…” That was a line from "The Charge of the Light Brigade", a poem written by Alfred Tennyson in 1854.
- The cerebots contained duplicates of the brain patterns of Spock and McCoy. It was unknown how long these cerebots could function, or what happened to them once the real bodies of Spock and McCoy woke up.
- During his investigation, Kirk discovered 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 said he and Kirk were 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 belonged 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 was named the Federation Supreme Council, led by a chairman and two vice-chairmen, which sounded like a political authority which ordinarily ought to have been outside or above that of Starfleet. On the other hand, the chairmen wore blue Starfleet uniforms, making it unclear whether they were Starfleet admirals (how they looked and acted) or Federation politicians (how they were named).
- The cover spoiled the twist ending, revealing the person behind the conspiracy. It also depicted three cerebots, whereas two were seen in the story.
- Kirk’s skin was made malleable as clay so that he could go undercover. But while disguised he looked like himself with a wig, and he even wore the same shirt color, perhaps so young readers could tell who he was.
- The reprint in The Enterprise Logs, Volume 3 omitted page 7. On page 7, Kirk reported to Dar; Krad, Janice Rand, Pavel Chekov and Xana appeared; the Enterprise was recalled to Earth; and Kirk quoted Tennyson. The edit resulted in cutting abruptly from the asteroid's destruction to Kirk's arrest in San Francisco.
- TOS comic: "One of Our Captains Is Missing!" – In 2266, Kirk went undercover, this time as a Kafrian and as a native Togota, to investigate a potential Klingon conspiracy.
- TOS comic: "Sport of Knaves" – In 2267, Kirk, Spock and Scott went undercover in a D-1 "Buggy" to the non-aligned asteroid Grotus.
- TOS episode: "The Enterprise Incident" – In 2268, Kirk went undercover as a Romulan to steal a cloaking device.
- TOS comic: "The Flight of the Buccaneer" – In 2268, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scott went undercover as pirates.
- TOS movie: Star Trek Into Darkness – In the Kelvin timeline in 2260, Kirk, Spock and Uhura posed as merchants on Qo'noS.
#23: Child's Play
#25: Dwarf Planet
A World Gone Mad
The Animal People
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- 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)