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"The Trouble with Tribbles" was the 42nd episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, the 13th episode of the show's second season, first aired on 29 December 1967. The episode was written by David Gerrold, directed by Joseph Pevney and novelized in Star Trek 3 by James Blish. It was adapted as the third book in the fotonovels series in December 1977. It was also adapted as the third book in the Little Golden Books series in July 2019.


Fotonovel teaser
When Lt. Uhura's adorable pet tribble shows an incredible capacity to breed, it and its thousands and thousands of offspring take over practically every available inch of space on the Starship Enterprise.
And with each passing day, the Enterprise begins to more closely resemble a maternity ward than a spaceship.
What at first is considered a minor inconvenience soon becomes a galactic crisis as Captain Kirk and his crew discover... The Trouble with Tribbles.


Log entries

Captain's log, stardate 4523.2.
Our path is taking us into a quadrant of the galaxy that has been under dispute between the Klingons and the Federation since initial contact. The Battle of Donatu V was fought near here 23 solar years ago. The results were inconclusive. We are presently approaching Deep Space Station K-7 which is now within sensor range. (fotonovel)
Captain's log, stardate 4523.3.
Deep Space Station K-7 has issued a priority one call. More than an emergency, it signals near or total disaster. We can only assume the Klingons have attacked the station. We're going in armed for battle. (episode and fotonovel)
Captain's log, stardate 4524.2.
A Klingon warship is hovering only a hundred kilometers from Deep Space Station K-7, while its captain waits in the station manager's office. Their intentions are unknown. (episode)
Captain's log, stardate 4524.2.
A Klingon warship is hovering only a hundred kilometers from Deep Space Station K-7, while its captain waits in the station manager's office. Spock and I are beaming down. (fotonovel)
Captain's Log, stardate 4525.6.
A small disturbance between the Klingon crew and members of the Enterprise crew has broken out aboard Space Station K-7. I am forced to cancel shore leave for both ships. (episode and fotonovel)



Episode characters

Nilz BarisPavel ChekovFitzpatrick (Admiral)Jerry FreemanDavid GallowayGralmekBill HadleyCyrano JonesJames T. KirkKoloth, son of LassharKoraxRoger LemliRyan LeslieJohn LurryWalt MathisonLeonard McCoyWade MoodyMontgomery ScottSpockNyota UhuraVinci[1]tribblesunnamed Humansunnamed Starfleet personnel (Starfleet personnel) • unnamed 2260s USS Enterprise personnel (USS Enterprise personnel)
Referenced only
John BurkePeter the Great

Novelization characters

Nilz BarisPavel ChekovJerry FreemanGralmekCyrano JonesJames T. KirkKoloth, son of LassharKoraxJohn LurryLeonard McCoyMontgomery ScottSpockNyota Uhuratribbles

Little Golden Books characters

Nilz BarisPavel ChekovGralmekCyrano JonesJames T. KirkKoraxJohn LurryLeonard McCoyMontgomery ScottSpockNyota Uhuratribblesunnamed 2260s USS Enterprise personnel

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • IKS Gr'oth (D7 class battlecruiser)


Deep Space Station K-7 (the galaxy's Beta Quadrant)
Referenced only
Sherman's Planet (the galaxy's Beta Quadrant) • Canada, Russia (Earth, Sol system, sector 001, (the galaxy's Alpha Quadrant)

Shipboard areas

USS Enterprise

Races and cultures


Technology and weapons

intercommedical tricordersensorsstarshipviewscreentransportertricorder

Materials and substances



quadrotriticaletriticaleRegulan bloodwormtribble

States and organizations

FederationKlingon High CommandStarfleetStarfleet Command

Ranks and titles

admiralassistantbureaucratcaptainchief engineerchief medical officercommandercommanding officercommunications officerdoctorengineerFederation Starfleet ranksFederation Starfleet ranks (2260s)first officerlieutenantlieutenant commanderhelmsmanmedical practitionernavigatorofficerscientistscience officersecond officertactical officerUndersecretary for Agriculture

Other references

Argilian flame gemchicken sandwichcoffeecreditdistress callEartherOrganian Peace TreatySirian glow watersystem locatoranatomyarmbeamingbirthrateBonesbootcaptain's logcaptain's log, USS Enterprise, 2268clothingdressfingerfive-year missiongovernmenthomeworldhumanoidjumpsuitlanguagelifeformlog entrylogicmattermemoryearnation-stateorbitpantsplanetpopulationquadrantraces and culturesrankregulationsandwichspacestarstar systemstardateStarfleet uniformStarfleet uniform (2260s)technologytitletreatytunicuniformuniversevirusweapon


stardate 4523.3, 2267 (2260s chronology, 2264–2270 Enterprise voyages)
Enterprise travels to K-7.


Related media


Video releases


  • This episode was the first to be novelized, then later adapted as both a fotonovel and a Little Golden Book.
  • Kirk mistakenly guesses an over-fed tribble results in a "fat" one. In TAS episode: "More Tribbles, More Troubles", this becomes the end result.
  • The novelization in James Blish's Star Trek 3 makes a number of changes:
    • An introduction on tribbles is added
    • The briefing room scene is removed
    • Spican flame gems and Antarean glow water become Argilian flame gems and Sirian glow water.
    • The brawl between the Klingons and the Enterprise crewmen is removed along with the lineup
    • Scotty's closing line "they'll be no tribble at all" is replaced with "all their tribbles will be big ones."
  • The Little Golden Books adaptation was released in hardcover as "Too Many Tribbles!" It retold the story in 24 pages, omitting Koloth and the political background of the story. Many of the tribbles were colored pink in the artwork, as in their depiction in TAS episode: "More Tribbles, More Troubles".


Episode images

Adaptation images



published order
Previous episode:
I, Mudd
TOS episode produced Next episode:
Bread and Circuses
Previous episode:
Wolf in the Fold
TOS episode aired Next episode:
The Gamesters of Triskelion
Previous story:
first in book
Star Trek 3
Next story:
The Last Gunfight
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Beneath the Skin
pages 12-19
Memory Beta Chronology Next Adventure:
Trials and Tribble-ations
Previous Adventure:
The Galactic Whirlpool
Pocket Next Adventure:
Trials and Tribble-ations
Previous Adventure:
The Galactic Whirlpool
Voyages of the
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
(2264 to 2270)
Next Adventure:
Beneath the Skin

External links

  1. This character was not named in the episode but the same actor, wearing the same operations division Starfleet uniform, was addressed as Vinci in TOS episode: "The Devil in the Dark". The same actor also played the character of Clifford Brent.