(written from a Production point of view)
Despite an uneasy peace treaty that had lasted for several years, the warlike powers of the Klingon Empire had secretly longed for the means of smashing their sworn enemies in the Space Federation. Now, at last, their ruthless leaders were ready for a supreme act of treachery...
Prepared for a dramatic encounter, a Klingon Strike Raider intercepts the starship Enterprise, provoking Captain James T. Kirk with hit-and-run weapons-fire. Kirk, incensed by the Klingons' audacity, orders return fire, while a few officers remark that the Klingons are attempting to start another war. Kirk orders a pursuit course, taking the Klingons' bait. Uhura deduces that they are heading for Seggor, an uninhabited planet that the Klingons may be using as a base. The Raider arrives almost a half hour ahead, and lands in a hidden underground hangar.
The Enterprise sends down a shuttlecraft, and the landing party spread out. Observing everything from their secret lab below, the Klingons abduct crewman Hoskins. One of the other men report back to Kirk that he has disappeared, and Kirk suggests there may be a hidden underground complex, explaining where the Raider and Hoskins had gone. Down below, the Klingons continue to observe, unimpressed with Kirk. Having completed their plans for Hoskins, they lift him on a platform, strapped into restraints, and doors in the ceiling open to reveal him to his fellow officers. Relieved but wary, Kirk slowly walks over to Hoskins and touches him, only for Hoskins to crumble to dust.
Clearly distrurbed, Kirk orders the rest of the landing party to return to the Enterprise to prevent further casualties, though Sulu stays behind with the captain. Kirk decides to scoop up Hoskins' dust for Spock to analyze, but a group of armed Klingon warriors appear. Kirk and Sulu put up a valiant struggle, but are soon overcome by sheer numbers. The Klingon commander orders Hoskins' dust collected, and Kirk and Sulu are taken underground. The Klingons fire their 'granulator' at the dust, and Hoskins rematerialises. The commander reveals that the Klingons have the ability to destroy and create matter at will, and gives Kirk the ultimatum to return to Earth and surrender or be destroyed.
Providing another demonstartion, the commander directs attention to Kirk's shuttle, on the surface, protected by a force field. Snapping his fingers, a gun-like apparatus springs to the surface, and tears the shuttle into a pile of smoldering powder. Aghast at the Klingons' destructive power, the commander sends him back to the Enterprise via transporter, warning him against any tricks. Bitter and dejected, Kirk calls an immediate conference of all senior officers. Crestfallen, Kirk refuses suggestions, announcing that they are powerless and must do as they are told. Scotty protests that there must be something, but Kirk snaps back that there is nothing and orders an immediate course set for home.
Walking through the corridors with Doctor McCoy, Scotty questions Kirk's thinking. Knowing how devious the Klingons can be, he suggests that the captain could have been hypnotized. McCoy says that Sulu also saw the same demonstrations of power, and Scotty refuses to listen. Inspired by the fortitude of his ancestors, Scotty beams down to Seggor, ignoring McCoy's protests. The Doctor immediately informs Kirk, who is further upset, reasoning that they all have only moments to live, explaining that the granulator's rage is limitless and there is nowhere the Enterprise can move to for safety. On Seggor, Scotty manages to find a way into the hidden base, and knocks out several Klingons. He sees those of high rank watching the Enterprise on their scanners, musing that Kirk must be planning something. They hail the ship, nudging it to move along or face destruction.
Sick at heart over having to abandon Scotty, Kirk reasons that whatever happens to Scotty is his own fault, and engages the ship on its course to Earth. Scotty makes his way to the large granulator, and rewires its circuitry. Finishing his task, Scotty makes his way back to the surface, fighting off the Klingons who have regained consciousness. He is found out by another Klingon while escaping and hails the Enterprise for an emergency beamout. The Klingon commander orders the Enterprise's destruction just as Scotty is rescued, and the underground complex explodes, taking with it a dozen square miles of the planet's surface.
Back on the Enterprise, Scotty says that he jammed the doors so that the weapon fired back on itself. Kirk says that he was going to have Scotty court martialed, but has changed his mind. Scotty says that, this time, he will accept his captain's decision.
"These Klingons never give up in trying to provoke the Federation into another war!"
"Aw, the skipper will lodge a complaint, and it'll get buried in red tape as usual!"
- - Two Enterprise crewman lamenting bureaucracy
"For Pete's sake, Scott! You can't afford to be so emotional!"
- - McCoy, sounding a lot like a certain Vulcan
"There they go! On their way to tell the universe that the Klingons are the masters!"
"You know, I would have expected Kirk to try something. He has quite a reputation, that man!"
- - Two Klingons, watching the Enterprise leave Seggor for Earth
- Although Kirk wears a red uniform and jeans on the cover, he sports a standard uniform in the story.
- Scotty wears a blue uniform.
- Kirk acts a bit out of character in this story. First, after losing one member of his landing party, he orders the rest of his men to return to the ship, so as not to lose any more. This is contrary to his reputation for losing men in landing parties. Still, Kirk mentions that Hoskins is one of his "best men", so he may have been especially close to this crewman. Second, he offers no resistance to the Klingon ultimatum and virtually surrenders, leaving it to Scotty to save the day.
- Spock wears a grin after the Klingons are defeated.
- Scotty says his ancestors were highlanders who never accepted defeat.
Setting and technology
- The opening narration refers to an uneasy peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingons that lasted for several years. This may refer to the Treaty of Organia of 2267. However, it is more likely that this story is set prior to the Federation-Klingon War (2267), since the possibility of the Klingons employing weapons of mass destruction still existed. This places the story between "The Corbomite Maneuver" (2266; due to the style of uniforms) and "Errand of Mercy" (2267). This leaves unresolved the issue of what the crewmen meant by "another war".
- The story is ambiguous as to how high up in the Klingon Empire the granulator plan originated. It could be understood that the "leaders" of the Empire were members of the High Council. On the other hand, the leaders could just have been high ranking officers of the Klingon Defense Force. More scientists were depicted than warriors, who would more likely have preferred to defeat the Federation using less passive methods than the granulator.
- The Klingons are depicted with purple skin. The officers wear typical Klingon Defense Force uniforms, though some lower-ranking warriors wear green tunics. They have an identical appearance, with mustaches, goatees, and receded hairlines, but no visible forehead ridges. Instead of the typical green Klingon paint scheme, the ship is bright red.
- The Klingon Strike Raider is a small vessel similar in function to a Bird-of-Prey, but with a retro-futuristic rocket ship design.
- Kirk orders "upper stations" to fire at the Klingons, and a manned weapons control room is shown.
- The concept of a reversible weapon changing its victim into powder evokes the Kelvans' distillation weapon.
- The Klingon captain swears "by the powers", though Klingon religion teaches that they slew their gods.
- Scotty employs common tools in innovative ways - he uses his communicator for acoustic location, and uses his phaser on a low power setting to perform sabotage on delicate machinery.
- Since the Klingon granulator weapon is never seen again, the demonstrations were apparently classified prototypes.
None of the UK weekly stories had titles. Each installment was two pages in length. The last two pages of this story were published in black and white, a first for the weekly UK story arcs.
- Part 1: TV21 & Joe 90 #18, 24 January 1970
- Part 2: TV21 & Joe 90 #19, 31 January 1970
- Part 3: TV21 & Joe 90 #20, 7 February 1970
- Part 4: TV21 & Joe 90 #21, 14 February 1970
- Part 5: TV21 & Joe 90 #22, 21 February 1970
- Part 6: TV21 & Joe 90 #23, 28 February 1970 (black and white)
- Captain James T. Kirk
- Doctor Leonard McCoy
- Montgomery Scott
- Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
- Lieutenant Uhura
- Hoskins - Enterprise landing party member
- Meng - Klingon warrior
- Sondar - Klingon warrior
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