Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

When space pirates threaten a famous scientist, Cadet Kirk comes to the rescue!

Cadet Kirk is a Star Trek: The Original Series - Starfleet Academy young adult novel – the third and final novel in the series – written by John Vornholt. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in October 1996.


From the book jacket
James T. Kirk was a "by-the-book" Starfleet Academy cadet. Until he had to throw the book away!
It was a simple shuttle trip – just a quick hop to a nearby planet where renowned computer genius Richard Daystrom will give a lecture. But then a tractor beam forces the shuttle to land at a remote Federation outpost. Medical Intern McCoy, Ensign Spock and Cadet Kirk have been kidnapped by space pirates! They're outnumbered and outgunned. McCoy and Spock simply want to escape and alert the authorities. But Professor Daystrom is the real target, and his shuttle will be entering this region of space soon. For Daystrom's sake, The fiery young Kirk is determined to destroy the pirates' outpost – even if he has to do it alone.

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Background information

  • In Voyages of Imagination, author Carey noted that "Cadet Kirk was the only YA I wrote for Star Trek, and I only did it because they asked me. I had no intention of writing any more books for the YA line." According to her, the key difficulty was that "everything […] has to be 'downsized' to fit the template of a shorter novel with a linear plot and an audience of kids, without treating the readers as if they're immature.". (Voyages of Imagination, p. 688)
  • The Pocket Books Star Trek Novel Timeline, as printed in What Lay Beyond, places this story in 2251; the Voyages of Imagination edition of the Timeline maintains this positioning.


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 Pocket TOS characters.
James T. Kirk 
Starfleet cadet.
Kirk would be approximately 18 years old in this book, according to his 2233 birthdate.


Leonard McCoy 
Starfleet medical intern.
Vulcan Starfleet ensign.
Richard Daystrom 
Christopher Pike 
Starfleet captain.


Starfleet Academy

Previous novel: Series Next novel:
#2: Aftershock Star Trek: The Original Series - Starfleet Academy Final novel in series
Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.