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

Kirk and Spock invade a Klingon warship in – OPERATION CON GAME!


"Captain's log, stardate 3504.7. While exploring a neutral sector near the Klingon Empire, sensors have picked up rare but familiar emanations."

Investigating readings of dilithium crystals near the Klingon border, James T. Kirk and party are stunned by Klingons, who have a mining contract with Harry Mudd.

"Captain's log, stardate 3504.5. We have suddenly found ourselves enmeshed in one of the biggest swindle-schemes in the history of the galaxy."

Mudd has swindled the Klingons by pretending to be the owner of the planetoid the dilithium was deposited on. He also reveals it is an artificial, and unstable, version of the precious crystal developed by a scientist of Mudd's acquaintance. Kirk, Dr. McCoy, and Spock try to convince Mudd to return the gold to the Klingons, and Kirk and Spock beam over to the Klingon vessel, the Ectacus, but Mudd kidnaps McCoy and rats them out. After proving that the dilithium was unstable to the Klingon commander, Kirk and Spock disable them and return to the Enterprise and chase Mudd's ship down to an asteroid and use their tractor beam to draw him in. They return the gold to the Klingons and throw Mudd into the brig.

Memorable quotes

"If Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock were captured aboard that Klingon warship, I wouldn't give a scotch farthing for their lives!"

- Scotty, talking about the Klingons

"Don't you? I'd bet my commission that when I peel away this hood, I'll reveal… Harry Mudd! Arch thief, liar and con man extraordinary!"

- Kirk, as he unveils Mudd's disguise

"Doctor, would you care to escort the prisoner to the brig?"
"With extreme pleasure, captain!"

- Kirk and McCoy

Background information

  • This was the final issue of the Gold Key run.
  • The price on the cover of this last issue was 35 cents. The very first issue cost a mere 12 cents.
  • The stardates seem to go backward in the Captain's Log entries in this story.
  • The art has been traditionally attributed to Frank Bolle [1] or Mike Roy. [2]



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.
Harry Mudd 
A con-man previously encountered by the Enterprise.
Klingon commander 
The commander of the Klingon battle cruiser.
Grand Oaal of Eulus
An alias taken by Harry Mudd to fool the Klingons.


A Klingon battle cruiser.
The Klingon Empire
Synthetic dilithium 
An unstable version of the crystal that was prone to exploding.
The asteroid/planetoid that Mudd was living on and had seeded with the synthetic dilithium.

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#60: "The Empire Man" Gold Key TOS #62: "Trial By Fire"