(written from a Production point of view)
Cast adrift by insane mutineers, Captain Kirk of starship Enterprise is marooned on the alien planet Vultra – a doomed planet ruled by military dictator, Zellar (sic). When the strange Mr. Spock sees Kirk's space wagon blasted apart he goes berzerk [sic] – and invades the mutineers' quarters with a raiding party...
While a landing party of seven explores the planet Crucial-3, Spock's scans determine that the planet is about to explode. The crewmen quickly return to the ship, and the planet explodes within five minutes, with the ship narrowly escaping. In the ship's workshops, crewmen from the landing party express resentment that they are often sent on dangerous missions instead of Spock. They are tired of being ordered around and plan a mutiny. Confronting Kirk and McCoy in a hallway, the doctor determines that the men suffer from a pollen infection. The crewmen shove Kirk, McCoy and a few other loyal men into a space wagon, sabotage the radio, and set them adrift.
Assuming command, Spock orders the bridge sealed off from the rest of the ship and orders a pursuit course for the Space Bug. Kirk crashes his space wagon on the nearby planet Vultra, with only minor damages. He is greeted by Zella, Chief of the Vultran Army. Zella is happy to find Kirk and expresses hope of being rescued from his icy planet. The Vultran star is cooling off, slowly freezing the planet and dooming the inhabitants to death. Suspicious as to why only Zella should escape the planet and not the rest of his people, Kirk puts a voice-lock on the space wagon. Furious over his plan to hijack the shuttle being thwarted, Zella throws Kirk and his men into a holding cell with a group of savage animal-men.
Kirk and his men are beaten with clubs by the savages and then released, but Kirk still refuses to allow Zella to steal the Space Bug. Kirk is escorted to a Vultran scientist, who explains that although his people have spacecraft, they are very limited in range and are thus not adequate for escaping the planet. Zella and the scientist take Kirk on a tour of the frozen wasteland that remains of their planet. They trick Kirk into saying the keyword that opens the Space Bug while they record him. Returning to the space wagon, they gain access and flee the planet.
Back on the Enterprise, the mutineers have nearly taken the entire ship. Seeing the Space Bug approaching and assuming it to be Kirk, they fire on it and destroy it, killing Zella and his scientist companion. Shocked over Kirk's apparent death, Spock makes an unsuccessful attempt to directly engage the mutineers. He heads back to his lab and develops a cure for the pollen effects, sprays it on his uniform, and meets the mutineers face to face. They quickly snap out of their stupor and abandon the mutiny.
On Vultra, Kirk is free to help the remaining Vultrans. Seeing that their space fleet is antiquated and limited in power, he has the ships modified, joining them together to double their power and upgrading their propulsion systems. The recovered mutineers land a space wagon and rescue Kirk and his men. Returning to the ship, they watch the mass exodus of modified Vultran ships leaving the planet.
- "Captain's Log: Star Date 20, 16.45 – A narrow escape! Enterprise felt the cosmic shockwaves as Crucial-3 erupted..."
- "Captain's Log: Star Date 20.23.54... Spock reports mutineers failed in attempt to control ship."
"I have faith in Spock, Jim! He's a genius! He won't fail us!"
- - Dr. McCoy, in an uncharacteristic moment of confidence
"Voice-lock activate! Shut now! Open only when I speak! You'll never get my space wagon, Zella! Your kind deserve to die!"
- - Captain Kirk, securing the Space Bug
"No! It can't be! Oh, Captain... I'll make them pay! Every one of them! Find every last one of them! Kirk is dead! His killers must be destroyed!""
- - Spock, "berzerk" with grief
- This story must occur in 2266 because McCoy and Bailey are both on board.
- No explanation is given for the sudden explosion of planet Crucial-3.
- Despite the urgent need to evacuate the landing party, a shuttle (or space wagon) is apparently used instead of a transporter.
- Instead of labs or stations, the crew areas are called 'workshops'.
- Crew members also suffered from the effects of pollen in "This Side of Paradise" and "Strange New World".
- The mutineers falsely claim that Spock is never sent on planetary missions.
- Instead of a standard shuttle, Kirk and his men are set adrift in a red 'space wagon' called the Space Bug. Later in the story, another space wagon, marked "4", is also called Space Bug.
- The Enterprise here has emergency bulkheads capable of sealing off the bridge (command sector) from the rest of the ship.
- The savage Valtarii tribesmen resemble the Morlocks from The Time Machine.
- The Enterprise is equipped with laser-ray guns, targeted by a single officer and shaped like harpoon launchers.
- Spock's emotional outburst at Kirk's apparent death foreshadows a comparable scene in "Amok Time".
- When Spock confronts the mutineers, what looks like an exploding robot clown inexplicably appears for one panel.
- Zella's name is misspelled "Zellar" in the final strip.
- Kirk's helping the dying Vultrans escape their doomed world is not a violation of the Prime Directive, since they evidently had prior contact with aliens and had low-warp capability.
- There are two Biblical references in this story: Noah's Ark, and the Good Shepherd. "Noah's Arks" of space evacuating planets were a common motif in science fiction of this era.
None of the UK weekly stories had titles. Each installment was two pages in length.
- Part 1: Joe 90: Top Secret #7, 1 March 1969
- Part 2: Joe 90: Top Secret #8, 8 March 1969
- Part 3: Joe 90: Top Secret #9, 15 March 1969
- Part 4: Joe 90: Top Secret #10, 22 March 1969
- Dave Bailey
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