(written from a Production point of view)
Trial By Fire was an unpublished script for Gold Key Comics due to the series being canceled.
- Captain's log. Stardate 3708.2. The Enterprise had just completed its yearly inspection at Hub Station Six! We were completing some test maneuvers for the Hub Engineers...
On its way out of Hub Station Six, the USS Enterprise is contacted by Varrik Trine from the Orion Platform, and sets course for the platform. When they arrive, a large fireball is heading toward the station. Photon torpedoes are fired at the fireball, but to no effect. Spock determines that the fireball is on course for the planet Orgone.
With Varrik in tow, the Enterprise heads toward the planet, and a landing party beams down to the surface. On the surface, they encounter Talon, the leader-priest of the Orgonians. Captain Kirk tells Talon about the fireball, but Talon insists that it is merely a test of his magical powers and tells his guards to imprison the landing party.
Aboard the Enterprise, Scotty and Spock are trying to find a way to stop the fireball. Lieutenant Uhura tries to contact Kirk on the planet, but is unsuccessful due to their capture. Meanwhile, Spock and Scotty decide to fire antimatter through the photon torpedo tubes at the fireball to attempt to stop it, however, when they do, the ship loses all power, and there is no effect on the fireball.
- Ship's log, supplemental. Spock in command! Captain Kirk, Varrik and the landing party are on Orgone! We have lost radio contact! My plan to utilize an antimatter implant failed! We are left with a sharply reduced power level! All we can do is wait! If only we knew what was happening to Captain Kirk!
On the planet, Talon collapses in pain and the party watches the fireball approach when it suddenly vanishes. Dr McCoy and Varrik are stunned. On the Enterprise, Spock reports that he is receiving new readings from the fireball and that it is changing. The Enterprise, however, has no shields. Spock tells Uhura to contact Starfleet Command.
Back on the planet, Kirk appeals to the villagers to release the landing party and he contacts Spock. Spock reports that Varrik was involved in negotiations for Galactic Shares to purchase a portion of Orgone and was turned down. Kirk looks for Varrik and discovers that he has gone to Talon's hut.
Kirk takes Byrne and Cockrum to the hut and finds McCoy waking up in a daze and Varrik preparing to murder Talon. Kirk confronts him and the two security guards grab Varrik. Kirk punches Varrik in the gut and accuses Varrik of sabotaging a ship that was testing a new starship fuel, thus creating the fireball.
- Captain's log. Stardate 3708.2. The Enterprise has been met by the Federation Starship Exeter! We were beamed up off of Orgone and preparations are being made to tow the Enterprise with the Exeter's Tractor system!
Aboard the Exeter, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy encounter an alien named Py'nath Cyrgeth, corporate executor for Galactic Shares, Inc. Py'nath tells Kirk that Varrik is going to be put into confinement and tested psychologically, and that his company will make things better with the Orgonians. With that, the two starships head toward Hub Station Six.
"I canna believe anyone would create such a thing!"
"It was apparently created by accident, Mr. Scott! A momentary chemical mutation!"
"Aye! And once you have this stuff, there's no gettin' rid of it!"
- - Scotty and Spock, about the chemical makeup of the fireball
"The fireball burned out – and my darlin' ship help through it all!"
"Mr. Scott, I find your peristence in anthropomorphizing this vessel most puzzling!"
- - Scotty and Spock, after the Enterprise survives the fireball
"No people have the right to stand in the way of essential Human progress!"
"You're mad! Was the fireball progress?"
- - Varrik and Kirk, as Kirk discovers the reason behind the fireball
"He;s over the edge, Jim! You won't get any more out of him – I'd best give him a sedative!"
- - McCoy, about Varrik.
- This script was finished by John Warner, but the publication was canceled before the book could be published. Frank Bolle was scheduled to be the artist for the book, and nineteen pages were lettered and completed with pencil breakdowns but were never delivered.
- The final script is available online at the Star Trek Comics Checklist.
- This would have been Frank Bolle's first interior artwork for the series. He had previously done the covers for #60: "The Empire Man" and #61: "Operation Con Game"
- The two security guards were named after two of John Warner's colleagues, artists John Byrne and Dave Cockrum.
- Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Gold Key TOS characters.
- James T. Kirk
- Enterprise captain.
- Enterprise exec and science officer.
- Leonard McCoy
- Enterprise surgeon.
- Montgomery Scott
- Enterprise chief engineer.
- Enterprise communications officer.
- Hikaru Sulu
- Enterprise conn officer.
- A young but wise shaman.
- Varrik Trine
- Operation President in charge of the Orion Platform.
- An Enterprise security officer.
- An Enterprise security officer.
- Py'nath Cyrgeth
- Corporate executor for Galactic Shares, Inc.
- Hub Station Six
- A Federation support station.
- A planet similar to Earth, very pastoral.
- Orion Platform
- One of the largest research platforms.
- Consolidated Galactic Shares Inc.
- Owners of the Orion Platform.
- USS Exeter
- A Federation starship.
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