(written from a Production point of view)
Kirk betrays Spock and Scotty to divert the suspicions of a space pirate!
- "Captain's log, supplemental – In this, the 23rd century, where man has learned to sail the sea of deep space, the almost-lost art of piracy has risen from the ashes... The universe is vast and the twelve Federation starships cannot guard all of the infinite spaceways – despite our efforts, the merciless marauders continue to strike... Swiftly, violently, the fierce freebooters strip their victims of any and all valuables... And then vanish back into the shadows, leaving only burned-out shells that once harbored men..."
- "Captain's log, stardate: 3246.33 (Lt. Sulu reporting) – As per the captain's orders, we are pursuing a small space cruiser in the direction of the planet Tortuga VI – interception imminent..."
The USS Enterprise races after a small vessel but cannot catch the ship before it crosses Tortuga's space boundaries. The Enterprise cannot pursue because they would violate interstellar law. The ship lands on the planet's surface, and the crew ask for sanctuary, which is granted.
Dr. McCoy tells Captain Kirk that he feels ridiculous in his pirate's outfit, but Spock insists that the disguises are necessary. Forty-eight hours before, Starfleet Command had contacted Kirk to let him know that a shipment of dilithium crystals had gone missing in the area twelve months ago, and that the Federation's supply was getting dangerously low. Kirk was told that they had half of a map to the location of the stolen crystals, and that the other half is in the possession of Black Jack Nova, an infamous pirate on Tortuga VI.
The disguised crew wander, looking for the pirate captain, and come across a bar, and find him inside. In retort to a pirate boasting about his captain, Black Jack Nova, Scotty boasts abouut his own captain, putting down Nova at the same time. In short, a bar fight ensues, and only Kirk and Nova are left standing.
Kirk approaches the pirate captain and shows him the half map that he claims he found on Pollux IV. He also notes that Nova has the other half, and together they can find the dilithium cache. Nova agrees and offers a partnership. Kirk agrees, as long as he can bring along his mates. Nova agrees, and suggests that he pay them out of his share. As the two captains shake hands on the agreement, both are thinking of how they're going to get all of the treasure.
They head toward a small shuttlecraft, and fly up to Nova's ship, the Windjammer. Aboard the ship, Nova tells Kirk that his first mate Kreel will show Kirk and his men where they can bunk. Kreel shows them and tells them not to expect much sleep. Scotty retorts with a comment that they're not under his captain's orders. As the voyage begins, Spock suggests to Scotty that he watch what he says to Kreel. Kirk spots Kreel spying on Scotty and Spock, and realizes that he has overheard Spock mention that they are Federation agents.
Kirk heads to meet Nova at the ship's wheel, just beating Kreel there. He cuts off Kreel's attempt to tell Nova, and then informs Nova himself that Spock and Scotty are Federation spies. He apologizes to Nova for bringing them aboard, noting that when he found them on Omega III, they told him that they were thieves and that he should have shot them then. Nova suggests that they should walk the plank instead.
They head to the airlock, and Nova tells Spock and Scotty to put on transplastic suits and get into the airlock. Spock tells them that they "will survive only seconds in the vacuum of the deep sea!" McCoy tells Kirk that he has to stop Nova, but Kirk notes that the Federation cannot be sacrificed for the lives of two men. The two are forced into the airlock, the doors shut, and the two flushed into space.
- "Captain's log, stardate: 3246.8 – Under Federation orders to recover a stolen shipment of valuable dilithium crystals. Officers Spock, McCoy, Scott and myself have made contact with the infamous space pirate Black Jack Nova! When the success of our mission was threatened by discovery, I was forced to sacrifice officers Spock and Scott to divert attention away from myself! Now as I watch my two best friends vanish into the void – I pray that their sacrifice will not be in vain!"
As the two float away from the ship, the ship fires up its rockets and pulls away into the void. Just as Scotty and Spock begin to consider their immediate problem, a ghostly aura surrounds them and they fade from view, appearing on transporter pads aboard the Enterprise. Sulu greets them, and Spock congratulates him on the use of the Romulan cloaking device as ordered by Captain Kirk.
Spock and Scotty head to the bridge, and Spock tells Scotty that they have to get to Tao IV before Nova's ship to have a chance of saving both McCoy and Kirk. Scotty heads back to the engine room, and the ship fires up its impulse engines and they head toward the planet. Upon reaching it, Spock orders Sulu away from the planet so as not to scare Nova and his crew and then beams down with a landing party.
On the surface, they discuss their plan and are interrupted by an old man with a rifle. He introduces himself as Ben Cannon, and tells them that he was space-wrecked there for a year now. Before he can tell the rest of his story, they spot a shuttlecraft coming down toward the surface.
Where the shuttle lands, Nova and Kirk put their halves of the map together to find the crystals and head toward the location, two miles north of their current location. They get there and begin digging, but there is no treasure there. Nova accuses Kirk of getting to the treasure beforehand, and notes that the map is useless, just like Kirk, and that now Kirk is going to die.
Nova aims his pistol at Kirk when it gets knocked out of his hand. Nova looks up and sees Spock and is shocked by the matter. He pushes Kirk out of the way and runs off. Kirk tells Spock not to fire at Nova and chases after him, telling Spock to order the Enterprise to capture the Windjammer.
In the jungle, Kirk catches up with Nova and they begin fighting with electron cutlasses. Kirk shows that he is skilled, having been a member of the Starfleet Academy fencing team. Nova head-butts him and heads for the shuttlecraft, climbing aboard. Kirk throws his cutlass at the pirate desperately, but misses. The ship takes off, and as it begins to climb, but suddenly the engine begins to shriek and the shuttle crashes to the ground and explodes. Kirk must have hit one of the generator tubes with his sword.
The landing party converges on Kirk, and they head off to a cave where Spock's tricorder had picked up readings of the crystals. Kirk is introduced to Ben Cannon, who is the former captain of the Windjammer, and Cannon tells them that he'd dug up the crystals himself. The Enterprise reports that it has captured the Windjammer, the Federation is saved, and the crew heads toward home.
"Cap'n, ye canna let them do this!"
"Do not be absurd, Mr. Scott – of course he can! After all, he's the one who betrayed us!"
"And so die all traitors! Prepare to walk the plank!"
- - Scotty, Spock, and Black Jack Nova
"Come on, you space-scum – who'll be the first to step up and shake the hand of a real man? Black Jack Nova – The scourge of the stars!"
"Ahhh, quit your hammerin' ye drunken fool – Black Jack Nova couldn't hold a candle to my cap'n in the middle of an Altarian fog!"
- - A pirate and Scotty, trading boasts
"Well, captain – have I lied to ye? There's my proud lady now... the good ship Windjammer – floatin' feather-light on the soft, sweet stellar winds!"
- - Black Jack Nova, talking about his ship to Kirk
"Right now, survival is the thing! There's still the shuttlecraft waitin' to carry me off, bucko – an' I aim to make the tide!"
- - Nova, during his climactic fight with Kirk
"I see that the matter is suitably climaxed, captain! It's a shame you could not have handled it less violently!"
"Mr. Spock, right now I've no patience for your smug logic!"
- - Spock and Kirk, after the shuttle crashes
- This story was reprinted in Enterprise Log 2 and a later reprint of that volume from the Star Trek: The Key Collection 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. Member of the Academy fencing team.
- Vulcan Enterprise exec and science officer.
- Leonard McCoy
- Enterprise chief medical officer.
- Montgomery Scott
- Enterprise chief engineer.
- Hikaru Sulu
- Enterprise helmsman.
- Black Jack Nova
- A well known pirate on Tortuga VI.
- Black Jack Nova's first mate.
- Ben Cannon
- An old man on Taos IV, former captain of the Windjammer.
- The Windjammer
- Black Jack Nova's ship.
- Dilithium crystals
- Items that regulate the matter/antimatter reactions in a starship's warp core.
- Tortuga VI
- A planet, pirate port.
- Pollux IV
- A planet, upon which Kirk reportedly found a "treasure" map.
- Taos IV
- The planet where the "treasure" is reportedly hidden.
- Centuri II
- A planet where the Enterprise crew previously encountered armed savages.
- Venusian Waldorf
- A fancy hotel, possibly on Venus.
- Transplastic suits
- Transparent plastic spacesuits, without an air supply.
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