"The Trial of Captain Kirk"
  Issue Number 24

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alberto Giolitti
Stardate: 19:26.2
Issue Date: May 1974
Cover Price: 20 cents

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Cover Blurb:
   Sky pirates raid the stars - and Captain Kirk is charged with treason!


Synopsis
      On special assignment the Enterprise approaches Ferrous-Asteroid Belt that 100 years ago was the location of a mad mining rush when it was discovered that the asteroids there were almost pure iron. The operations established whole cities overnight to strip the asteroids. When it was discovered that the possible destruction of the belt by mining would endanger neighboring planetary orbits, all mining operations were outlawed. Kirk mentions that there is one large pirate operation that has still eluded capture. Kirk and Spock regard a recognizable large camel-shaped asteroid and notice a nearby rock that isn't on any charts of the belt. Kirk and Scotty make an extravehicular excursion to investigate the rock. After determining that it is just a hunk of iron, Scotty decides to phaser off a piece for a souvenir. Suddenly the "asteroid" shakes and then changes orbit. It is actually a space ship disguised. Kirk and Scotty roll off of the ship which rockets away.

  Kirk, back aboard the Enterprise which has caught up with the poacher ship, announces via radio, "Attention! Starship Enterprise to bandit ship. We have you within attack distance and we are closing! I prefer to avoid combat!" The bandit ship fires at the Enterprise. The great starship takes evasive action and returns fire - utterly destroying the rogue ship. Upon returning to headquarters, Kirk is placed under arrest and brought before an inquiry board within the great domed Supreme Council Hall. The chairman of the council is joined by Vice Chairmen Fado and Hajara. Fado states that Kirk is charged with accepting money in return for protecting a pirate iron mining ring.

  He presents evidence that Kirk's bank account had a recent deposit of seven million credits. Next Fado presents a video tape of an alleged meeting between Kirk and a pirate leader, Liji Bragg, on planet Zeayana. The chairman finds that Kirk should be bound over for a court martial and that Kirk is under city detention, with Kirk presenting that it was a frame up and a conspiracy.

  Later, after consulting a lawyer, Kirk meets in his hotel room with Spock, McCoy and Scotty. All agree that somebody set up that evidence to take the heat of the illegal mining operation. McCoy suggests that Liji Bragg confessed to incriminate Kirk and to protect the other men within the pirate operation. Scotty excitedly says, "Then what are we waiting for? Let's find out who Mr. Big is!" But Kirk tells them all to stay out of it lest they be incriminated as well.

  Later, Spock, Scotty and McCoy hold a meeting that lasts into the night wherein Spock announces that he has volunteered the Enterprise to test navigation equipment so that they can patrol the iron rich asteroid belt at will. They surmise that while attention is diverted by the court martial, illegal mining operations would continue unabated. After using their "radi-lyzer" x-ray scanner to examine various suspicious asteroids, they discover one which is ultimately revealed to be a pirate ship. The pirate asteroid disguised ship changes course and heads to ram the Enterprise. The Federation starship moves to avoid the ramming bandit ship which then takes off with the Enterprise in hot pursuit.

  Back in the city where Starfleet Headquarters was located, Kirk visits an old doctor friend of his, Dr. Dwayne Stiller, who changes Kirk's appearance with cosmetic treatment in a "electro-surgical" lab. Kirk's visage is soon transformed into that of a native of the planet Drid.

  In his new disguise, Kirk stages an accident in an elevator so that he can cozy up to a woman who is secretary of Vice Chairman Fado. He invites her to coffee with him.

  Meanwhile, the Enterprise has just overtaken the pirate ship when the starship crew notices the bandit launch a missile toward the planet Kibo. On the hunch that the missile contains evidence that the pirates are anxious to get rid of, the Enterprise staff decide to go to Kibo to retrieve it. Kibo, Spock explains, is a planet bathed in deadly high energy such that no living thing can venture there and live. So Spock decides that he and McCoy should use cerebots to get the possible evidence. Cerebots are robots which contain recorded brain patterns of a person so that the cerebot "becomes" them. Spock and McCoy are transferred into the two silver behemoths and leave the sickbay while their flesh and blood bodies are placed into stasis.

  The disguised Captain Kirk has coffee with Vice Chairman Fado's secretary and he learns that Fado is ambitious and intends on ascending to the post of chairman by smashing the iron smuggling ring and indicting Captain Kirk. Kirk also learns that the video tape that incriminated him was supposedly filmed by accident by amateur photographer Nuri Jakarz while on vacation.

  Later, Kirk sneaks into Nuri Jakarz's home where he quickly finds that Jakarz was a professional special effects photographer. Kirk searches the abode further and finds two film cartridges, one of Kirk and the other of smuggler Liji Bragg. Clearly they were combined by Jakarz's expertise to form the video evidence of Kirk's supposed meeting with Bragg. Just as Kirk makes this discovery, Nuri Jakarz appears behind him and says, "Stop right where are! There's a phaser pointed at your head, ready to burn your brains out!"

  Above the surface of the dangerous planet Kibo, the two cerebots fly on jet packs after the missile that was fired by the bandit ship. When it touches down, they quickly retrieve it and are about to depart when one of the giant amorphous energy Dragons of Ndora approaches them. The two phaser the beast repeatedly and eventually destroy it, but not before the cerebot that McCoy was inhabiting is blown up by a release of energy by one of the dragon's tendrils. Spock grabs the head component of McCoy's cerebot and jets off toward the Enterprise.

  Back in the city, Kirk eventually convinces Nuri Jakarz that he is a news reporter interested in doing a feature story on him. Kirk leaves, and not a moment too soon, since his face reverts to its normal appearance in the corridor. Just then, Vice Chairman Hajara, who was lurking outside Jakarz's home, gets the drop on Kirk with a phaser pistol. Kirk is lead back inside by the duplicitous high official. Once inside, Kirk explains to Hajara and Jakarz, "Your scheme worked well! You had me convinced that it was Vice Chairman Fado who was framing me!" Hajara, still pointing the phaser at Kirk, answers, "Of course! I couldn't afford to do it myself for fear that the doctored tapes of you might be exposed!" Kirk continues to unravel the intricate plot while stalling for time. He confirms that Hajara promised a large sum of money to Bragg to implicate Kirk. Also, if the doctored tapes were discovered, Fado would be removed - paving the way for Hajara. With the plan exposed, Hajara decides, "Precisely. Now I shall have to opt for Plan-B! 'Disgraced starship commander takes own life!'" Kirk chooses that moment to push over a miniature underwater city special effects model over - splashing water onto Hajara knocking him off balance. Kirk then knocks him out by hurling the whole model on him.

  Later, in the Supreme Council Hall, with Kirk, Hajara and Fado present, the chairman pronounces, "--And the records recovered by the starship crew tell the whole foul story! Your disgrace is the disgrace of this council, Hajara! It will take much to repair the public distrust you have sown!" Outside in the hallway, Kirk thanks Spock and McCoy, "A great piece of work, friends! I hope I never have to -- But I am ready to do the same for you both one day!" Then, Spock, in an uncharacteristic touch of sentimentality offers, "Though no lab test would show it, we are Blood Brothers, Captain." Just then, Fado's pretty secretary comes by, "I'm going to give you all day to apologize for that stunt you pulled, Captain!" Kirk heads off with her and McCoy quips, "Yeah! Sure! Brothers in blood! Chums to the end!" Spock adds, "Well then, Doctor -- I guess there are some things even brothers don't share."

(Summary by Curt Danhauser)

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Email: cdanhauser@yahoo.com