(written from a Production point of view)
The Enterprise becomes trapped in the Delta Triangle, an area of space where many starships have gone missing. To make matters worse, the ship also has to defend itself from the Klothos, a Klingon vessel commanded by Commander Kor.
- "Captain's log, stardate 5267.2. We have just entered the Delta Triangle, a vast, uninhabited sector of our galaxy in which a high number of mysterious disappearances of starships have been recorded since ancient times. The Enterprise has been assigned to the mission of surveying this area and, if possible, determining the cause of these disappearances."
Upon entering the Delta Triangle the Enterprise begins to experience mass sensor failure and unreliability. The crew is soon attacked by a Klingon vessel and Kirk orders Sulu return phaser fire. During the fight, the Klingon ship suddenly disappears from the viewscreen and its disappearance cannot be attributed to the phaser fire or a cloaking effect. Two more Klingon ships appear ready to destroy the Enterprise, without repercussion because it will look like they vanished in the triangle. When hailed by the Klingons, Kirk orders Lieutenant Sulu to head for the exact coordinates where the Klingon ship disappeared at warp eight. He orders Uhura to pipe the entire exchange back to Starfleet Command, although Uhura explains to the captain that the message will take three weeks to reach the nearest starbase. Klingon Commander Kuri orders Kirk to surrender or be destroyed. Kuri claims the Enterprise destroyed their sister ship. Kirk argues, then cuts Kuri off and says, "Now, Mr. Sulu."
They are chased and fired upon by the Klingons and are caught in an ion storm and drawn into a space-time warp. There, they find an interstellar Sargasso Sea, where a starship graveyard is discovered to hold ships from all over the galaxy. Kirk suspects they entered a window to another continuum. Spock determines some of the ships have been in the triangle for centuries, such as the Bonaventure. He also picks up life and energy readings. The Klingon ship fires a torpedo at the Enterprise, which fires phasers in response – but both salvos are neutralized. Just after Sulu provides Kirk with a report that their weapons caused no damage, Kirk is beamed away from the bridge. Spock raises his eyebrow.
- "Captain's log, supplemental, First Officer Spock recording. We appear to be in an alternate universe. Position undetermined. Captain Kirk has been transported from the ship by an unknown power. His present location, also, is undetermined."
The two ship's captains, Kirk and Kor, have been brought to a trial by the inhabitants of this dimension, called Elysia. Their ruling council is made up of 123 races from across the universe and dates back over 1,000 years. During that time the races have learned to live together because they must. As a result, any act of violence is forbidden and will be dealt with swiftly and with utmost severity.
The captains are responsible for the behavior of their crews. The penalty they must suffer is total immobilization of both of their ships for a century. The leader, a Romulan named Xerius, explains that their small universe is a trap where time passes very slowly. No one has been able to escape from this area.
Back aboard the Enterprise, when Kirk announces his determination to leave, Montgomery Scott says that they had better do so quickly, because the time warp is rapidly disintegrating the ship's dilithium crystals and they have only four days left. The Klingons divert all their power to the Klothos' engines and try to leave but ultimately fail. Spock then gets an idea how they might escape. They must link the ship's warp and navigation. The two ships have to function as one ship. It requires cooperation by sharing warp power and personnel to reach the necessary speed to break through back to our universe.
The Klingons agree but Spock, by touching them, learns that Kor, the Klingon captain, wants to destroy the Enterprise when they break free of the time warp by using a specially calibrated explosive device in the warp control panel.
- "Captain's log, stardate 5267.6. We are in the final stages preparatory to making our escape from Elysia. We must make our escape by tomorrow or our dilithium crystals will be too depleted and we will be trapped here forever."
The Enterprise and Klingon crew celebrate their impending escape in one of the Enterprise's recreation rooms, but a Klingon slips away to plant an explosive in the Enterprise's computer room after the Klothos's first officer Kaz gets into a fight with McCoy. Xerius neutralizes Kaz's disruptor that he aims at McCoy and brings Kirk, Kor, McCoy, and Kaz to their council. Xerius reminds them that violence is forbidden here and suggests placing the Klothos and its crew in suspended animation for a century. Kirk manages to convince them to let the Klingons go and Xerius releases Kor into Kirk's custody.
The plot to destroy the Enterprise is uncovered by Magen while the two ships begin to make their escape, just before the Enterprise reaches warp 8. Spock and Scott run down to the computer room, locate the explosive, and then Spock proceeds to eject the device from the ship. It explodes harmlessly in space. The two ships then leave the time warp and separate, with Kor claiming full credit for saving the two starships. McCoy grumbles at this, calling Kor a scoundrel, but Kirk tells him it does not matter; they are back among the stars of home.
"When the Federation investigates, we'll be recorded as just another mysterious starship disappearance."
- - Spock
"Are we in an alternate universe?"
"It is more aptly described as a pocket in the garment of time."
- - Kirk and Devna
"A century?!? We'd all be dead by the end of it!"
"This small universe of ours is a curious trap. Time passes here, but very slowly. A century means nothing to us. Our council appears young, yet all are centuries old."
- - Kor and Xerius
"What's wrong, Scotty?"
"It's our dilithium crystals, sir. They're deterioratin' rapidly."
"I don't know, sir – maybe because of the time warp we went through, but we've only four days at the most before power goes."
"Got any miracles in your computer, Spock?"
- - Kirk and Scott
"Two new ships. In each, beings labor to solve the riddle. The riddle of the time trap escape. Escape..."
- - Magen - file info
"You have the device, Kaz?"
"By my calculations, the capsule will be triggered at the exact moment our dual ship reaches warp eight. Approximately three minutes after the time barrier is pierced and we have disengaged, the Enterprise will disintegrate."
"Excellent. Kali, you know what to do. Tonight, they entertain us. But the gift they will receive in return will be their destruction."
- - Kor and Kaz
"Get away from her, Human! This is my woman!"
"Now just a minute! All I did was ask her to dance. She didn't have to say 'Yes'."
- - Kaz and McCoy
"Elysia is, in many respects, a perfect society. But with all its virtues, it is not home. And home, with all its faults, is where we prefer to be."
- - Kirk
"No! The Klingons have hidden an explosive aboard the Enterprise...she will be destroyed!"
- - Magen
Story and script
- Writer Joyce Perry remembered how she came up with the story for this episode; "I had this idea that a Klingon ship and the Enterprise would get trapped in a Sargasso Sea of space and be forced to cooperate to escape."  Evidently, Perry embellished the episode with references to her real-life inspiration of the Sargasso Sea; not only is the area mentioned in this installment but the name of the region where the episode's anomaly occurs is an obvious reference (albeit, a less direct one) to the Bermuda Triangle.
- Telling Gene Roddenberry of her idea for the Enterprise's means of escape was challenging for Joyce Perry. "I remember telling Gene this bizarre notion that two ships could combine engines and became more powerful as one than they were separately," stated Perry. "I explained it with a straight face, but was afraid he might laugh me out of his office. Instead, he was quiet for about 30 seconds, then said, 'That's pretty good, do it!'" 
- The first draft of this episode's script was issued on 26 August 1973.
- The final draft of this episode's script was issued on 19 October 1973.
- For its depiction of the Klingon character Kuri, this episode reused animated footage from TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles", in which the footage was used to represent Koloth. Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 17, p. 71 mistook the recycled footage as having been used to depict Kor, not Kuri. The same publication also stated the reuse of the footage was due to "the show's limited budget."
- Although the character of Klingon Commander Kor was most frequently played by John Colicos (in both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), the role was voiced by James Doohan in animated form.
- This is one of two TAS episodes that feature the most characters voiced by Nichelle Nichols (the other installment being "The Lorelei Signal" for which, in common with this episode, Nichols provided the voices for a total of four different roles).
- Many of the vessels in this episode's graveyard of ships were unapproved early designs for the insectoid ship from TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star". (Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek: The Original Cast Adventures, p. 156)
- The editors of Trek magazine collectively scored this episode 2 out of 5 stars (a rating that they termed "fair"). (The Best of Trek #1, p. 110)
- In The Star Trek Files magazine, John Peel remarked, "A so-so story, without much subtlety or wit. The concept of the Delta Triangle is clearly based upon the famous Bermuda Triangle mystery – and rather without thought. A triangle is two-dimensional, and space is three-dimensional – they should have called it the Delta Pyramid, or something like that!" Regarding the variety of aliens shown in the Elysian Ruling Council, Peel enthused, "It's a nice touch of continuity that helps the tale somewhat." (The Star Trek Files: The Animated Voyages End, pp. 18 & 19)
- In the unofficial reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (p. 243), co-writer Mark A. Altman rates this episode 3 out of 4 stars (defined as "good") while fellow co-writer Edward Gross ranks the episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars (described as "average").
- In the "Ultimate Guide" in Star Trek Magazine issue 163, p. 26, this episode was rated 4 out of 5 Starfleet arrowhead insignia and was highlighted as the third best installment of TAS. The magazine commented, "A graveyard of ships plus a who's-who of Star Trek aliens living within this time trap make for a geeky smorgasbord."
Continuity and trivia
- In the captain's logs, the initial stardate is given as 52.2, but later corrected to 5267.6. The final draft of the script states that the correct date in Kirk's initial log was supposed to be 5264.2.
- The council of Elysia includes an Orion woman, a Vulcan, a Klingon, a creature that has bat-wing ears and looks like a prototype Kzinti (pre-empting TAS: "The Slaver Weapon"), an Andorian, an unknown insectoid race, a Phylosian (from TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan"), two unidentified humanoid races, a Tellarite, a Human, and a Gorn.
- This is the second of five appearances of Klingon Commander Kor. He was originally seen in TOS: "Errand of Mercy" and later featured in DS9: "Blood Oath", "The Sword of Kahless", and "Once More Unto the Breach".
- The fact that Kor commanded the IKS Klothos is one of several facts from TAS that later became official "canon" because it was later mentioned on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- This episode marks the final appearance of the smooth forehead version of the Klingons. Six years and two weeks later, Star Trek: The Motion Picture hit cinemas with a new look for the Klingons; the look was changed again for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and this look was used in all future Star Trek series. However, smooth-headed Klingons reappear in the later-produced DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", once the Defiant travels back in time to the time frame of the original series, and in ENT: "Divergence", when the Klingons are afflicted with Augment DNA.
Apocrypha and merchandise
- This episode has a similar plot to the Gold Key TOS Star Trek comic book Issue #15, "Museum at the End of Time", which was written by Len Wein. Dated August 1972, the comic story was printed a little more than a year before this episode was first aired.
- This episode also has a similarity to Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force, in that the USS Voyager is transported to a "graveyard of ships."
- A Limited Edition Collectors Cel inspired by this episode was once available from Tuttle Enterprises, numbered ST-14.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (CIC Video): Volume 3, catalog number VHR 2537, 20 January 1992
- As part of the The Animated Series DVD collection
- As part of the The Animated Series Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- George Takei as
- Nichelle Nichols as
- James Doohan as
- Kaz's woman
- Klothos bridge officer
- Andorian councilor
- Gorn councilor
- Human female councilor
- Insectoid councilor
- Klingon councilor
- Kzin councilor
- Non-airbreather councilor
- Phylosian councilor
- Tellarite councilor
- Vulcan councilor
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- "The Time Trap" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Time Trap" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Time Trap" at Wikipedia
- "The Terratin Incident" & "The Time Trap" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
"The Terratin Incident"
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"The Ambergris Element"