(written from a Production point of view)
|"The Time Trap"|
|TAS, Episode 1x12|
Production number: 22010
First aired: 24 November 1973
|←||10th of 22 produced in TAS||→|
|←||16th of 22 released in TAS||→|
|←||91st of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
|5267.2 - 5267.6 (2269)|
The Enterprise becomes trapped in the Delta Triangle, an area of space where many starships have gone missing. To make matters worse, the ship also has to defend itself from the Klothos, a Klingon vessel captained by Kor.
- "Captain's Log, Stardate 5267.2. We have just entered the Delta Triangle, a vast, uninhabited sector of our galaxy in which a high number of mysterious disappearances of starships have been recorded since ancient times. The Enterprise has been assigned to the mission of surveying this area and if possible determining cause of these disappearances."
Upon entering the Delta Triangle the Enterprise begins to experience mass sensor failure and unreliability. The crew is soon attacked by a Klingon vessel and Kirk orders a return of fire. During the fight, the Klingon ship disappears off the viewer and it can't be attributed to the phaser fire or a cloaking effect. Two more Klingon ships appear ready to destroy the Enterprise, without repercussion because it will look like they vanished in the triangle. When hailed by the Klingons, Kirk orders Sulu to head for the exact coordinates where the Klingon ship disappeared at warp eight. He orders Uhura to pipe the entire exchange back to Starfleet Command. Klingon Commander Kuri orders Kirk to surrender or be destroyed. Kuri claims the Enterprise destroyed their sister ship. Kirk argues, then cuts Kuri off and says, "Now, Mr. Sulu."
They are chased and fired upon by the Klingons and are caught in an ion storm and drawn into a space-time warp. There, they find an interstellar Sargasso Sea, where a starship graveyard is discovered to hold ships from all over the galaxy. Kirk suspects they entered a window to another continuum. Spock determines some of the ships have been in the triangle for centuries, such as the Bonaventure. He also picks up life and energy readings. The Klingon ship fires a torpedo at the Enterprise, which fires phasers in response but both salvos are neutralized.
- "Captain's Log: Supplemental, First Officer Spock recording. We appear to be in an alternate universe. Position undetermined. Captain Kirk has been transported from the ship by an unknown power. His present location, also, is undetermined."
The two ship's captains are brought to a trial by the inhabitants of this dimension, called Elysia. Their ruling council is made up of 123 races from across the universe and dates back over 1,000 years. During that time the races have learned to live together because they must. As a result any act of violence is forbidden and will be dealt with swiftly and with utmost severity.
The captains are responsible for the behavior of their crews. The penalty they must suffer is total immobilization of their ships for a century. The leader, a Romulan named Xerius explains that their small universe is a trap where time passes very slowly. No one has been able to escape this area.
Back onaboard the Enterprise, Kirk announces his determination to leave, Montgomery Scott says they better do it quickly because the time warp is disintegrating the ship's dilithium crystals and they have only four days left. The Klingons divert all their power to the engines and try to leave but ultimately fail. Spock then gets an idea how they might escape. They must link the ships and function as one ship. It requires cooperation by sharing warp power and personnel to reach the necessary speed to break through back to our universe.
The Klingons agree but Spock, by touching them, learns that Kor, the Klingon captain, wants to destroy the Enterprise when they break free of the time warp by using a specially calibrated explosive device in the warp control panel.
- "Captain's Log: Stardate 5267.6. We are in the final stages preparatory to making our escape from Elysia. We must make our escape by tomorrow or our dilithium crystals will be too depleted and we will be trapped here forever."
The Enterprise and Klingon crew celebrate their impending escape but a Klingon slips away to plant explosive in the Enterprise's computer room. The plot is uncovered by Magen while the two ships make their escape, just before Enterprise reaches warp 8. Spock then proceeds to eject the device from the ship and it explodes harmlessly in space. The two ships then leave the time warp and separate, with Kor claiming full credit for saving the two starships.
"Are we in an alternate universe?"
"It is more aptly described as a pocket in the garment of time."
- - Kirk and Devna, Interpreter of Laws
"A century?! We'd all be dead by the end of it."
"This small universe of ours is a curious trap. Time passes here, but very slowly. A century means nothing to us. Our council appears young yet all are centuries old!"
- - Kor and Xerius
"What's wrong, Scotty?"
"It's our dilithium crystals, sir. They're deterioratin' rapidly."
"I don't know, sir. Maybe because of the time warp we went through but we've only four days at the most before power goes."
"Got any miracles in your computer, Spock?"
- - Kirk and Scotty
"Two new ships. In each, beings labor to solve the riddle. The riddle of the time trap escape. Escape..."
- - Magen - file info
"You have the device, Kaz?"
"By my calculations, the time capsule should be triggered at the exact moment our dual ship reaches warp eight. Approximately three minutes after the barrier is pierced and we have disengaged, the Enterprise will disintegrate."
"Excellent. Kali, you know what to do. Tonight, they entertain us. But the gift they will receive from us in return will be their destruction."
- - Kor and Kaz
"Get away from her, human! This is my woman!"
"Now just a minute! All I did was ask for her to dance. She didn't have to say "Yes"."
- - Kaz and McCoy
"Elysia is, in many respects, a perfect society. But with all its virtues, it is not home. And home, with all its faults, is where we prefer to be."
- - Captain James T. Kirk
"No! The Klingons have hidden an explosive aboard the Enterprise. She will be destroyed."
- - Magen
Story and Production
- Writer Joyce Perry remembered how she came up with the story for this episode; "I had this idea that a Klingon ship and the Enterprise would get trapped in a Sargasso Sea of space and be forced to cooperate to escape."  Evidently, Perry embellished the episode with references to her real-life inspiration of the Sargasso Sea; not only is the area mentioned in this installment but the name of the region where the episode's anomaly occurs is an obvious reference (albeit, a less direct one) to the Bermuda Triangle.
- Telling Gene Roddenberry of her idea for the Enterprise's means of escape was challenging for Joyce Perry. "I remember telling Gene this bizarre notion that two ships could combine engines and became more powerful as one than they were separately," stated Perry. "I explained it with a straight face, but was afraid he might laugh me out of his office. Instead, he was quiet for about 30 seconds, then said, 'That's pretty good, do it!'" 
- Although the character of Klingon Commander Kor was most frequently played by John Colicos (including in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series), the role was voiced by James Doohan in animated form.
- This is one of two TAS episodes that feature the most characters voiced by Nichelle Nichols (the other installment being "The Lorelei Signal" for which, in common with this episode, Nichols provided the voices for a total of four different roles).
- The editors of Trek magazine collectively scored this episode 2 out of 5 stars (a rating that they termed "fair"). (The Best of Trek #1, p. 110)
- In the unofficial reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (p. 243), co-writer Mark A. Altman rates this episode 3 out of 4 stars (defined as "good") while fellow co-writer Edward Gross ranks the episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars (described as "average").
Continuity and Trivia
- In the captain's logs, the initial stardate is given as 52.2, but later corrected to 5267.6.
- The council of Elysia includes an Orion woman, a Vulcan, a Klingon, a creature that has bat-wing ears and looks like a prototype Kzinti (pre-empting TAS: "The Slaver Weapon"), an Andorian, an unknown insectoid race, a Phylosian (from TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan"), two unidentified humanoid races, a Tellarite, a Human and a Gorn.
- This is the second of five appearances of Klingon Commander Kor. He was originally seen in TOS: "Errand of Mercy" and later featured in DS9: "Blood Oath", "The Sword of Kahless", and "Once More Unto the Breach".
- The fact that Kor commanded the IKS Klothos is one of several facts from TAS that later became official "canon" because it was later mentioned on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- This episode marks the final appearance of the smooth-forehead version of the Klingons. Six years and two weeks later, Star Trek: The Motion Picture hit cinemas with a new look for the Klingons; the look was changed again for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and this look was used in all future Star Trek series. However, smooth-headed Klingons reappear in the later-produced DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", once the Defiant travels back in time to the time frame of the original series, and in ENT: "Divergence", when the Klingons are afflicted with Augment DNA.
Apocrypha and Merchandise
- This episode has a similar plot to the Gold Key TOS Star Trek comic book Issue #15, "Museum at the End of Time", which was written by Len Wein. Dated August 1972, the comic story was printed a little more than a year before this episode was first aired.
- This episode also has a similarity to Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force, in that the USS Voyager is transported to a "graveyard of ships."
- A Limited Edition Collectors Cel inspired by this episode was once available from Tuttle Enterprises, numbered ST-14.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (CIC Video): Volume 3, catalog number VHR 2537, 20 January 1992
- As part of the The Animated Series DVD collection
Links and references
- George Takei as:
- Nichelle Nichols as:
- James Doohan as:
- Klothos bridge officer
- Klingon councilor
- Feline councilor
- Andorian councilor
- Insectoid councilor
- Phylosian councilor
- Non-airbreather councilor
- Vulcan councilor
- Tellarite councilor
- Female Human councilor
- Gorn councilor
13th century; alternate universe; Andorians; bluff; Bonaventure; class 2 signal; cloaking device; computer room; Delta Triangle; dilithium; dilithium vault; duty personnel; Elysia; Elysian Council Chamber; Elysian Ruling Council; ejection chute, explosive capsule; Gorn; Interpreter of Laws; ion storm; Klingons; Klingon battle cruiser; Klingon Imperial Fleet; Klothos, IKS; Kzin; logic; Milky Way Galaxy; mouse trap; Orions; Orion; psionic powers; red alert; Romulans; S-2 graf unit; Sargasso Sea; Tellarites; time barrier; time warp; vertigo; warp control panel; warp drive; yellow alert
| Previous episode:|
"The Terratin Incident"
| Star Trek: The Animated Series|
| Next episode:|
"The Ambergris Element"