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 captained by 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 cause of these disappearances."
Kirk questions, "Situation Mr. Spock?"
Attacked by a Klingon vessel, Kirk orders a return of fire. During the fight, the Klingon ship disappears off the viewer and it can't 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 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. 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 guesses they entered a window to another continuum. Spock determines some of the ships have been in the triangle for centuries. 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.
- "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 are 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 utmost severity.
The captains are responsible for the behavior of their crews. The penalty they must suffer is total immobilization 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 this area.
When Kirk announces his determination to leave, Montgomery Scott says they better do it quickly because the time warp is disintegrating the ship's dilithium crystals and they have only four days left. The Klingons divert all their power to the engines and try to leave, but ultimately fail. Spock then gets an idea how they might escape. They must link the ships and 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 but a Klingon slips away to plant explosive in the Enterprise's computer room. The plot is uncovered by Magen while the two ships make their escape, just before Enterprise reaches warp 8. Spock then proceeds to eject the device from the ship and 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.
"Are we in an alternate universe?"
"It is more aptly described as a pocket in the garment of time."
- - Kirk and Devna, Interpreter of Laws
"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!"
- - 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 Scotty
"Two new ships. In each beings labor to solve the riddle, the riddle of the Time Trap. Escape! Escape!"
- - Magen
"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." " - Captain James T. Kirk
- In the captain's logs, the initial stardate is given as 52.2, but later corrected to 5267.6.
- Although not credited, this episode is based on Gold Key TOS Star Trek comic book Issue #15 "Museum at the End of Time" dated August 1972. The comic story was written by Len Wein and its plot was virtually identical to this episode which aired a little more than a year later.
- The name of the region where the anomaly occurs is an obvious reference to the Bermuda Triangle.
- Another species called an Aquan was seen in this episode, but it definitely wasn't the same type as seen in "The Ambergris Element". However, given how slow time is for persons trapped in the Delta Triangle, it is possible that this species could have been a ancestor of the Aquans in "The Ambergris Element".
- A Limited Edition Collectors Cel inspired by this episode was once available from Tuttle Enterprises numbered ST-14.
- The council of Elysia includes an Orion woman, a Vulcan, a Klingon, a prototype Kzinti creature with the familiar bat-wing ears, (TAS: "The Slaver Weapon") an Andorian, an unknown insectoid race, a Phylosian, (TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan") two uncertain humanoid races, a Tellarite, a Human and a Gorn.
- Klingon Commander Kor was originally seen in TOS: "Errand of Mercy". Kor was played by John Colicos in TOS but was voiced by James Doohan in animated form. John Colicos did later reprise his role of Kor 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 reappeared in DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations" when the Defiant traveled back in time to the time frame of the original series and ENT: "Divergence" when the Klingons are afflicted with Augment DNA.
- The Bonaventure is claimed to be the first ship fitted with warp drive capabilities.
- This episode has a similarity to Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force, in that the Voyager is transported to a "graveyard of ships".
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
Links and references
- George Takei as:
- Nichelle Nichols as:
- James Doohan as:
- Klothos bridge officer
- Klingon councilor
- Feline councilor
- Andorian councilor
- Insectoid councilor
- Phylosian councilor
- Non-airbreather councilor
- Vulcan councilor
- Tellarite councilor
- Human councilor
- Gorn councilor
13th century; alternate universe; Andorians; Bonaventure; class 2 signal; cloaking device; computer room; Delta Triangle; dilithium; dilithium vault; duty personnel; Elysia; Elysian Council; Elysian Council Chamber; explosive capsule; Gorn; Interpreter of Laws; ion storm; Klingons; Klingon battle cruiser; Klingon Imperial Fleet; Klothos, IKS; Kzin; mouse trap; Orions; Orion; psionic powers; Romulans; S-2 graf unit; Sargasso Sea; Tellarites; time barrier; time warp; vertigo; warp control panel; warp drive; yellow alert
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