(written from a Production point of view)
Visiting planet Stai, Captain Kirk is given a warm welcome by representative Da Nek. He explains that contact with the Federation brings his people hope. Stai is a member state of the Galactic Union, an organisation that is growing increasingly warlike. Stai wants to leave the Union, but they cannot.
During the welcoming reception for Kirk and his men, Ruf of the Galactic Union Patrol interrupts and declares that Earthmen are not wanted there. Kirk stands up to Ruf, telling him that they were welcomed by Stai, but Ruf insists that the Union are the decision makers. Ruf storms away, but not before threatening Da Nek's son. Dak Nek regretfully tells Kirk to leave, explaining that Stai's children are schooled on the Union planet Vrex. Kirk denounces Ruf's blackmail and leaves Stai, intent on liberating the children of Stai.
Arriving at Vrex, Kirk assembles a landing party and sends them down in several Space Bugs. Landing at the school, the crewmen are confronted by several armed monks. The monks request the landing party surrender their weapons as a show of good faith, and Kirk, still aboard the Enterprise, gives them approval. The crewmen are led inside the school, where they are attacked.
When Kirk hears that the landing party has been attacked, he puts Spock in command and transports down with several security men. Kirk's men are attacked by the children, who have been brainwashed for warfare, trained to "fight like tigers". Since they are on a rescue mission, Kirk orders his men not to use weapons, and they push back the children with hand-to-hand combat. Still, the monks are able to trap Kirk and his men with a large net, and throw them into a dungeon.
Ruf has Kirk taken from the dungeon and forced into a brainwashing machine, making him a willing slave of the Galactic Union. Spock orders an invasion force of more security men beamed down, and they recover Kirk. The force subdues the monks and the Union Patrolmen, and Spock send Kirk and the children back through the brainwashing machine, undoing its effects.
The Enterprise returns the children to Stai, and Da Nek promptly quits the Galactic Union. Despite being "surrounded by fierce allies of the Union", Da Nek pledges that Stai will be "forever linked in friendship" with Earth.
- "Captain's Log: Star Date 25:11:23... Approaching planet Vrex. Have alerted landing party to rescue school-boys belonging to Stai..."
"A great pity, Captain! Either we antagonise the Galactic Union or you appear to break your promises! We just can't win!"
- - Spock
"This is the Captain. Landing party report to exit tubes immediately. Operation School-Leaving begins in five minutes!"
- - Captain Kirk
"Hey, they're monks with guns!""
- - landing party crewman
"There's no other way! We've got to recapture this school... and the brain machine!"
- - Spock
"Ingenious! Fantastic! The perfect brainwasher!"
- - Spock
- This story must be set in either late 2265 or early 2266 due to the uniforms and the presence of Bailey.
- Ruf's name seems to be a play on the word 'rough'.
- For some reason, the Galactic Union Patrolmen resemble Roman soldiers.
- The transporter is referred to as a teleporter.
- The narration says that the Enterprise "blasts off" from Stai. Although the ship is not shown on the planet's surface, the coloring implies that the Enterprise had been within Stai's atmosphere.
- A crewman communicates with the Enterprise using a tricorder on speaker mode.
- Kirk was also subjected to a brainwashing machine in TOS: "Dagger of the Mind".
- Spock's second invasion force uses weapons called 'paralyzers'.
None of the UK weekly stories had titles. Each installment was two pages in length.
- Part 1: Joe 90: Top Secret #19, 24 May 1969
- Part 2: Joe 90: Top Secret #20, 31 May 1969
- Part 3: Joe 90: Top Secret #21, 7 June 1969
- Part 4: Joe 90: Top Secret #22, 14 June 1969
- Dave Bailey
- Da Nek
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