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"World Against Time" was a comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in January 1977, the 42nd issue of their TOS series. It was the 14th comic written by Arnold Drake and the fourth illustrated by Alden McWilliams. In this story, a landing party from the USS Enterprise discovered giant-sized humanoid children living in an abandoned city.


Table of Contents, Key Collection, Volume 5
This edition features… "World Against Time" where the ravages of time and aging work in reverse and its inhabitants get ever younger. So tantalizing a concept that everyone can envision, if only for their own lives, to go backward and be young again. A constant theme within prose since Ponce De Leone discovered the fountain of youth and Ron Howard directed Cocoon. If only the notion had been visited on us all.


Captain's log, stardate 19:29.06.
Space probes of Newly Contacted Planet-137 showed no definite signs of life! But once we set down on NPC-137...

A landing party of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty explored a city on the surface of newly discovered planet 137, one which was built for 12-foot-tall humanoid inhabitants. They found large letter blocks and a doll, then met a six-foot-tall baby named Baboo, who took them to a nursery where at least ten other children were playing with toys. He said Elya provided for them and would be back soon, so the landing party waited. McCoy was clocked on the head when Niki hit him with a rattle. Scott put Niki on his lap and told him a futuristic version of the Goldilocks fairy tale. However, Scott got annoyed when the baby soiled its diaper.


Two young children arrived, Emperor Wenomi and Captain Bedo, one armed with a sword and the other a crossbow, and ordered the landing party to get away from the children. The captain was nervous and threatening, which was too much for Scotty, who pushed aside Bedo, and prepared to spank Wenomi. Then nine-foot tall teenager General Macador appeared and warned them away. McCoy asked them where their parents were. Lady Elya said they were their parents. They were de-aging and would be reduced to infancy and vanish in a few days, a time they called V-Day. They said they were middle-aged 40 days ago. Their oldest survivor, Emperor Wenomi, was 152 years old but appeared like a ten year old.

Captain's log, stardate 1929.06, continued.
On that strange planet populated only by children who play at war and power, we suddenly find ourselves facing a very real firing squad!

Macador's firing squad was stopped by Elya and Kirk. They explained that 193 days earlier, an earthquake exposed a vein of radioactive material within the society’s holy cave of Nooaja. Exposure de-aged animal life about one year per day, although it varied with distance from the cave. Wenomi said all their surviving people were in the city. They showed the landing party their holy Book of Nooaja, which depicted Nooaja, a large, glowing energy within a cavern, and their high priest Sharaba, who first discovered the de-aging effect.

Scott and Spock de-age

McCoy headed back to the ship to make an antidote to the radiation poisoning. Kirk and Spock thought it best to rebury the Nooaja radiation. But Macador interpreted the decision as heretical, so he knocked out Wenomi and ran for the cave. By the time Spock and Scott arrived with a canister of explosives, Macador was half his previous size and falling out of his clothes. As he ran scared into the cave to protect it, he got smaller until he disappeared, leaving only his clothes. Spock and Scott had also de-aged and were now teenagers. They quickly placed beta charges on a rock shelf near the Nooaja and ran for safety, now as six year olds, as the blast sealed the cavern.

Outside, McCoy and Kirk appeared with an injectable antidote. Elya and Wenomi asked not to be inoculated. They preferred that their people aged naturally while they figured out how to rebuild their civilization.



BabooBedoElyaJames T. KirkMacadorLeonard McCoyNikiMontgomery ScottSharabaSootaSpockUzinaWenomi
Referenced only

Starships and vehicles

Referenced only
USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)


Oordon/NPC-137 (Nooaja)
Referenced only

Races and cultures

HumanOordon nativeVulcan

States and organizations


Science and classification

antidotearrowbeta chargebowBow of Many Knivescrossbowelectronicsknifelingua-discmacephaserspace probeswordsyringeteleporterweaponwheel

Ranks and titles

captaincoloneldoctoremperorgeneralguardhigh priestladypoetstatesman

Other references

alienarmorassignment patchbirdBook of Nooajacaptain's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), 2266cavechocolatecitydayde-agingdogdollearthquakeemotionfairy taleFederation Starfleet ranks (2260s)firing squadfountain of youthfluteGardazian bearhelmethigh schoolhourLandu treeleatherlifelog entrymapmemorymilkminutemonthmurdernurserypeaceplaguepoisoningPoji birdpyramidradiationraces and culturesradiumrankreligionrockrubbersecondsnakespankingStarfleet ranksStarfleet uniform (2265-2270)stunteddy beartelepathytimetoyV-Dayyear


Related stories


  • The story took place entirely on the surface, with the ship and its medical database only referenced. The ship most likely provided Spock and Scott with explosive beta charges, though that was not stated.
  • Elya and Wenomi wanted to rebuild their civilization over time, but the story did not delve into the genetic viability needed to make that happen with such a small number of known survivors.
  • Elya was wise not to allow McCoy to give the antidote to her people. The survivors had been the most elderly people on the planet before the crisis. If their mammalian biology was similar to Human, once restored they likely would be unable to reproduce. Unless their technology included gene banks and artificial means of reproduction, and they were very quickly able to learn how to use them, restoring the people to old age probably would ensure the race's extinction.
  • Sharaba said the de-aging phenomenon was planet-wide and mitigated by distance. In that case, the last survivors should have been found on the other side of the planet from the radiation source. Yet oddly they lived within walking distance, probably dramatic license so that Macador could participate in the conclusion.
  • When recorded words from a doll were not translatable, Spock explained that their "lingua-discs are based on telepathy," requiring a living mind for a translation to be heard. Brainwave patterns were stated as being measured by the universal translator seen in TOS episode: "Metamorphosis". The landing party may have been using an earlier or different version of a translator device on this mission.
  • Montgomery Scott said he had a nephew in Glasgow whom he'd once disciplined.
  • On the cover, Kirk and Spock de-aged to children in front of Nooaja. However, in the story, Scott and Spock de-aged.



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:
#41: The Evictors
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#43: The World Beneath the Waves
Previous story:
The Evictors
Stories by:
Arnold Drake
Next story:
The World Beneath the Waves
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
The PsychoCrystals
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
One of Our Captains Is Missing!
Previous comic:
The PsychoCrystals
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Two Next comic:
One of Our Captains Is Missing!
Production history
January 1977
First published by Gold Key Comics
June 2004
Printed in the omnibus The Key Collection, Volume 5 (Checker Book Publishing Group)
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
13 September 2018
Reprinted in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #45 (Eaglemoss)
Dutch: In the omnibus Ruimteschip Enterprise Classics Strip-Paperback #2 (De Vrijbuiter)
German: As "Die Zeit läuft rückwärts" in the omnibus Raumschiff Enterprise Comic Taschenbuch #2 (Condor)
German: As "Die Zeit läuft rückwärts" in some editions of Condor Superheiden #1: Star Trek Jahrbuch (Condor-Verlag)
Italian: As "Il mondo dell'anti tempo" in the omnibus The Gold Key Collection, Volume 10 (Free Books)

External links