(written from a Production point of view)
Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock save a planet from extinction, but are doomed by its war-mad leaders! Tricked!
- "Captain's log, star date 26:06.4. Enterprise moving deep into galaxy Zelta… We have sighted a strange ringed area… it may conceal a planet… investigation under way…"
Captain Kirk orders the ship taken into the phenomenon, revealed to be a magnetic effect occurring from a concentration of copper material by Mr. Spock's spectroscopic analysis. When Kirk orders the ship's rockets employed, Spock warns the magnetic field may cause turbulence, and Kirk orders the crew to secure their seat belts and to rig the stabilizers for extreme pressure. The ship penetrates the cloud to a depth of two lunar miles, and detects a planet to starboard as the vessel clears the phenomenon.
Spock detects radioactivity impulses coming from the planet, but cannot pinpoint it. He suggests a reconnoiter, but Kirk decides that they should beam down to the surface of the ghost planet. They discover a city in ruins. Spock suggests that it seems to be due to the result of a bombing from a war. A voice echoes out to welcome them and tell them that transportation is en route. Sure enough, a robot controlled vehicle arrives, and Kirk tells the other members of the landing party to keep their phasers ready. The vehicles takes them through the city to a building, and a robot motions them inside and tells them to take their seats.
A giant screen shows the image of two humanoids, appearing to be identical twins. They introduce themselves, "We are the Twin Supremes of Planet Numero Uno! I am Justin!", "And I am Justin! We rule together!"
Kirk introduces himself and tells them to identify themselves properly or he will leave. Justin One apologizes and begins to tell the story of their planet. A lunar sun before, the Terror came upon their planet, enveloping them in the rainbow rings. The emitted radiation that began to kill off the population. This drove them from their home planet as they built two satellites, and a successful exodus from the planet's surface took place. Soon enough, the stations were over-populated, and there were no longer the means to build more stations or weapons to destroy the rings. The Justins ask Kirk and Spock to help them. Spock speculates that laser beams would shatter the rings, but the contaminated matter would still orbit the planet, and thus a magnetic pull might solve the problem.
After the Justins sign off, promising to contact them in a lunar hour, Spock seems troubled that they built two satellites. Before he can continue, one of the security crewmen interrupts them to show them something. Robot guards are all over the complex, but wo are unfriendly, and when they try to enter a door, the robots grab one of the crewmen. The crew cannot shoot the robots for fear of hitting their man, but Spock asks Kirk for his communications transistor, and Denton, the other officer, to splash water from his canteen at the feet of the robots. They do so, and the robots are electrified, saving their man.
With the robots disabled, they enter the room and find what appears to be the Unoite War Room. After rummaging through files, they come across photographs showing that Justin I and Justin II were fighting each other, and almost 500,000 were dead because of it. The Justins are not as peaceful as they made themselves out to be.
When the lunar hour is up, the crew go back to the viewer, they agree to meet in an hour, on the starship. The two Justins fly over in separate ships, and Kirk opens the airlocks for them. When they enter the room, Kirk accuses them of deceiving him and shows him the photographs as proof. The two men immediately go for their weapons, but Spock shoots them out of their hands. Kirk learns that they were fighting for supremacy of the planet and the rings forced them to work together. He tells of their job to bring peace to the galaxies, and that they believe it best to let this civilization die out.
The Justins insist that they have no weapons and that visual detectors can be left in place to observe them from space for years. If they begin to build weapons, time devices left can destroy them. Spock and Kirk send the Justins back to their satellites to consider the problem at hand. After some thought, Spock suggests using the magnetic generators to make a crack in one section of the rings, and hopefully pull the doom rings through that crack into space. Unfortunately, the power of the ship isn't enough, but they fire electronic "rifles" at the magnetic field of the twin satellites and suck in the fields, getting enough strength to break through. The material of the rings rushes toward the Enterprise at the speed of sound, and Spock cuts the power. As he does so, they rush into deep space and mysterious solar actions bursts them all.
Kirk tells the Justins the good news, and tells them that they will need to test the surface for radiation before anyone can return. When they beam down, Spock's Geiger counter detects atomic radiation coming from a nearby hill. They head toward a cave and discover an enormous cache of weapons, separated into two piles, one belonging to Justin I, the other to Justin II.
Meanwhile, the Justins have been tele-screening the crew's actions and send space fighters down that fire on the landing party. The ships land and the aliens surround the crew. Kirk calls up to Dr. McCoy to transport them up, but it seems to be jammed. Spock quickly tells Kirk to stall the aliens while he contacts the Enterprise. After a moment, he leaps up and tells them that if they kill the crew, they will be killing themselves. He points to the sky, and the rainbow bands have returned. The Justins drop their weapons and raise their hands over their heads.
Kirk and Spock destroy the space planes and the weapons before returning to their starship. Spock tells Kirk that he had McCoy play films of the bands back into their atmosphere, fooling the Justins with a reflection in the sky, thus saving the civilization from destroying themselves.
"Our magnetic pull has smashed the deadly rainbow bands, Captain Kirk!"
"Yes, Mr. Spock! But cut power before those bands reach us of they'll penetrate the Enterprise!"
"The visitors appear to have freed our planet… and if so they must die!"
- - Spock, Kirk, and the Justins
"It's working Mr. Spock! We're sucking in the magnetic fields!"
- - Kirk
"Great space ghosts! They cached their weapons for future use!"
- - Kirk, upon discover the instruments of war
"Now! Either drop your guns or fire! If we die your entire civilization perishes!"
"No… no! You may go free! Just take your deadly bands with you!"
- - Spock and the Justins
- This story was reprinted (with a new cover) in issue 37 of the Gold Key series, as well as Enterprise Log 1 and a later reprint of that volume from the Star Trek: The Key Collection series.
- The original cover image was a photographic collage, the image of Captain Kirk was a recolored photographic still from TOS: "Dagger of the Mind", and the image of Spock was reversed, from a photo still from TOS: "The Galileo Seven". The reprint cover was a painting depicting two scenes from the comic.
- One of the buildings on the planet that can be seen behind the landing party when they beam down bears a striking resemblance to Toronto City Hall, an image later seen through the Iconian gateway in TNG: "Contagion".
- Based on Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
- Writer: Dick Wood
- Artist: Alberto Giolitti, Giovanni Ticci (inks)
- Cover artist (reprint issue): George Wilson
- 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.
- Half-Vulcan Enterprise exec and science officer.
- Leonard McCoy
- Enterprise chief medical officer. Kirk orders McCoy to stay in contact with his team. When the weapons cache is discovered, Kirk asks McCoy to activate the transporter, and then Spock has McCoy play back holograms of the radiation rings. McCoy is erroneously shown wearing a command division lime-gold Starfleet uniform in one panel.
- Justin I
- One of the twin supremes of Numero Uno, leader of the Orange Army, forced into a truce by the rings about the planet.
- Justin II
- One of the twin supremes of Numero Uno, leader of the Green Army, forced into a truce by the rings about the planet.
- Command division Enterprise crewman.
- Enterprise crewman
- Another unnamed command crewman was snagged by the robots, before Denton's water was used to free him. This crewmember was pictured on the reprint edition cover.
- USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
- Federation starship. The narration refers to the Enterprise as "queen ship of the Star Fleet".
- An interplanetary language known both to the Enterprise crew and to the inhabitants of the Justins' world.
- Green Army
- Justin II's military force, which suffered 103,000 casualties in the war.
- lunar mile
- Unit of measurement of penetration into a planetary orbit's area, by the name, apparently a relation to a moon's orbit. The rainbow rings circled Numero Uno at a distance of about two lunar miles.
- magnetic generator
- Device used to pull the copper-rainbow material away from the planet. This seems very similar in function to a tractor beam.
- The copper rings exerted a considerable magnetic force, which Spock suggested be used to drag them away from their chokehold on the planet.
- Numero Uno
- The planet in the story. Surrounded by rainbow rings of copper that give off a slight magnetic force and a radiation that was causing the population to become extinct.
- Orange Army
- Justin I's military force, which suffered 37,000 casualties in the war.
- The Justins use robots to guide visitors around the city, and also to guard the war room.
- Mentioned as a common example of a ringed planet.
- Also called a spectrometer, a device for measuring light and radiation. Spock's spectroscopic analysis indicated the presence of copper in the multicolored magnetic rings.
- Kirk orders the stabilizers rigged for extreme pressure while penetrating the magnetic cloud.
- Kirk orders transistor batteries from communicators used to charge water a guard robot is standing in. Other Star Trek productions mention that transistors are out of date and transtators are used in their place by the 23rd century.
- Species which inhabits Numero Uno.
- Uranium detected in the weapons cache indicates to Spock that there ware weapons of mass destruction present.
- Star group (incongruously called a "galaxy") the Enterprise explored deep into.
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