(written from a Production point of view)
Science vs Sorcery: The Enterprise and her crew are snared in a wizard's magic!
- "Captain's log: Stardate 12:48.6 – We are proceeding through Sector Vega 6 toward a rendezvous with space ambassador Mason at Starbase 10 – nothing unusual to report..."
Sulu reports something on the viewer, a nebulous mass heading toward the starship. Suddenly the Enterprise is caught in space and just stops. An enormous genie is standing in space, holding the vessel in his hand. Spock notes that sensors show that nothing is there, and as he does smoke fills the bridge, and Dr. McCoy, Spock, Scotty, and Captain Kirk vanish, finding themselves in an ornate throne room.
Seated on the throne ahead of them is a man who introduces himself as Chang, a sorcerer. With merely a word, he freezes Scotty in his tracks. He tells the crew that many miles from their current location, there is an artifact called the "Sceptre of the Sun" that he requires in his war against another sorcerer, Xanadu. Outside the palace, a giant flaming sword hangs in the sky, one that will destroy the city if Chang makes any aggressive move.
Spock questions why he chose them when his powers totally overwhelm their own, and Kirk questions why Chang feels that he can manipulate them like puppets. Chang responds by threatening to crush the Enterprise with his genie. He introduces Marla, a woman that will act as a guide for them.
The crew heads out, and Marla warns them that they must tread "softly on this grim path." Spock notes that he does not sense anything, but that things are too quiet. Suddenly, Scotty notices that the cliff walls are moving and morphing into two giant stone warriors. The warriors attack, swinging their clubs at the crew. Unfortunately, the phasers used by the Enterprise crew have no effect on the creations. Kirk and Spock race toward the giants, rushing between the legs of one. It reaches down toward them, and the other giant hits the one destroying them both.
The crew continues, but before long, stops for the night. Kirk questions Marla about Chang, and finds out that Marla's people were quiet and peaceful before his arrival, and that his mystic powers bent them to his will and he made himself king. As she tells the story, a number of warriors race into the campsite and attack the quintet. After a scuffle, the crew is outnumbered, and Kirk is captured by one of the attackers.
- "Captain's log: Stardate 12:48.9 – Officers Spock, Scott, McCoy, and I have been mysteriously transported to a planet still in its dark ages to do the bidding of the black wizard called Chang! While seeking the secret sanctuary of the mystical Sceptre of the Sun, we have been attacked and overpowered by a band of barbarians who have threatened us with surrender or death..."
Kirk submits to the barbarians. The leader introduces himself as Brand and asks for Kirk's help. He tells them that he and his people are from Earth in 1997. The Eugenics Wars were occurring at the time, and he was part of a small peace movement. Eventually, they built a spaceship and fled Earth, drifting in suspended animation. Eventually, they found themselves on this planet, and they dismantled their ship, having found their new home. They had no problem joining the population, and one day, one of their own, Chang became bored and headed for the mountains. Several months later, he returned, but he had changed into someone sinister.
The barbarians join the quintet and continue to search for the Sceptre. They trudge onward for miles, until they turn a bend, and find the temple and Sceptre. When Kirk retrieves the Sceptre, a huge robot approaches them. Kirk tries to use the Sceptre, but nothing happens. They attempt to distract the robot as Spock tries to approach it from above and behind. He does so, jumps onto its head, and rips a panel off its back. He pulls out some wires and the robot crashes to the ground.
Kirk and Spock question why the Sceptre wouldn't work and wonder why a scientific product guards a magical object. They return toward Chang's castle through thunder and lightning, overpower the guards, and scale the ramparts. In the throne room, Chang greets them and turns Brand into a toad as Brand approaches him. Chang explains that he is using a tractor beam to draw the Enterprise down to the planet so that he can spread his empire across the stars. Spock moves toward Chang, and Chang conjures a guard into a giant beast, but Spock marches clear through it, as it is merely an illusion.
Spock explains that Chang is a fraud and that everything is an illusion, including the war against Xanadu. He was trying to get rid of the command crew so that it would be easy to take over the Enterprise. Chang orders his guards to attack and attempts to make his escape. Kirk chases him. As Kirk reaches him, Chang knocks Kirk's phaser out of his hand with his sword. He readies himself to strike Kirk down when a lightning bolt hits his sword, electrocuting and killing him.
He quickly returns to the throne room to discover that Spock cannot disable the tractor beam. They abandon the castle and Kirk radios up to the Enterprise telling them to aim their phasers at the castle, destroying it, and freeing the Enterprise from its pull.
"Jim, the phasers have no effect on these things!"
"Keep firing, Bones– if we don't stop the rock giants, the Enterprise is doomed!"
- - McCoy and Kirk
"I don'a care if yer name's Chang or me great Aunt Tilie, I'm gonna..."
- - Scotty, threatening the sorcerer.
"Nyaah! Nyaah! Your mother wore an asteroid wig!"
"An' ye're father flew a space scow!"
- - McCoy and Scotty, distracting the robot guardian
"Ye did it, Mr. Spock!"
"Your enthusiasm is unwarranted, Mr. Scott! Under the circumstances, it was the only logical chance to save our lives!"
"Well, that was a compliment, Spock..."
- - Scotty, Spock, and Kirk, after the robot is disabled
- This story was reprinted in Enterprise Log 2 and a later reprint of that volume from the Star Trek: The Key Collection series.
- This was the first painted cover in the series, as the first nine issues all featured photo covers. The cover was a creation by George Wilson, who would continue to do so for the rest of the series.
- Based on Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
- Writer: Len Wein
- Artist: Alberto Giolitti, Giovanni Ticci (inks)
- Cover Artist: George Wilson
- James T. Kirk
- Enterprise captain.
- Vulcan Enterprise exec and science officer.
- Leonard McCoy
- Enterprise chief medical officer.
- Montgomery Scott
- Enterprise chief engineer.
- Hikaru Sulu
- Enterprise helmsman.
- A space ambassador.
- An apparent Arabian sorcerer.
- An opposing sorcerer.
- Guide to the Enterprise crew.
- Leader of a group of warriors.
- Starbase 10
- A Federation starbase.
- Eugenics Wars
- A series of conflicts fought on Earth in the mid-1990s.
- Sceptre of the Sun
- A mystic device possessing powers unmatched anywhere in the universe.
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