(written from a Production point of view)
USS Enterprise lands on the friendly planet of Angom, a planet in hyper space inhabited by a race of gorillas!
Kirk wins a swordfighting contest while visiting with King Kut's gorilla-like Angomen on a mission of diplomacy. While enjoying a feast prepared in the Enterprise's honor, the King explains that his people are ancient and weary, afraid of the warlike species in local space. The meal is interrupted by an Angoman who says that his family has suddenly disappeared. Kut explains that there have been several such occurrences, but his people are too afraid to investigate. Kirk and his men enter the hut where the Angomen disappeared, and are transported away to a zoo, prisoners of giant praying-mantis-like aliens.
Back on the Enterprise, Spock detects the transporter signal and orders the ship to travel to the signal's destination. Kirk and his men make a nighttime escape, and free many other trapped species from their cages. They find a transporter room, and escape to a planet of cannibal men. Despite running and hiding in the local vegetation, Kirk and his men are overtaken and captured.
The Enterprise arrives at the mantis planet, and Spock takes a landing party to retrieve Kirk and the other crewmen. Quickly defeating the mantises they encounter, Spock and his men find the mantis' transporter and beam to the cannibal world. They rescue Kirk and his men, who are tied to stakes and about to become a meal. Scaring the cannibals away, Spock activates a transporter remote. Back on Angom, Kirk and some crewmen play a friendly game of soccer with the Angomen.
"It can't be! Giant praying-mantis! And we're their prisoners!"
- - Captain Kirk
"What's this? How strange... It looks like an intelligent alien..."
"I am, Earthman! I'm a Dobrovian cabinet minister – or was before the mantis took me!"
- - Spock and a prisoner
"Spock! I'd just about given up hope..."
"Really, sir! Do I ever fail you in moments of peril?""
- - Kirk and Spock
- This story must be set in either late 2265 or early 2266 due to the uniforms and the presence of Bailey.
- The giant mantis aliens bear some resemblance to Xindi-Insectoids.
- Kirk and his crew were also put in a zoo in TAS: "The Eye of the Beholder". Captain Pike was in a sort of zoo in TOS: "The Cage".
- Transporters are referred to as teleporters. Although an interplanetary range was involved, the mantises likely did not use subspace transporters, since Spock was able to detect the transporter signal.
- Spock's landing party uses a space wagon instead of a shuttle.
- Kirk's party are armed with laser guns.
- Instead of just setting phasers to stun, Spock issues his team needle-guns with paralyzer charges and instructs them to "aim for their heads!"
- The Dobrovian refers to Spock as an Earthman instead of a Vulcan.
- It is odd that the Angomen, who describe themselves as "an ancient race" that is "afraid of shadows" and gets "weaker every day" would have sword-fights, excel at soccer, and have a stadium in usable condition.
- The film Planet of the Apes was released only a year before this story was published. Similarities include intelligent simians, savage human(oid)s, and a zoo.
None of the UK weekly stories had titles. Each installment was two pages in length.
- Part 1: Joe 90: Top Secret #11, 29 March 1969
- Part 2: Joe 90: Top Secret #12, 5 April 1969
- Part 3: Joe 90: Top Secret #13, 12 April 1969
- Part 4: Joe 90: Top Secret #14, 19 April 1969
- Dave Bailey
- Dobrovian cabinet minister
- Gif – Angoman
- Hinton – Enterprise crewman
- King Kut – of the Angomen
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