"One of Our Captains is Missing!"
  Issue Number 38

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alden McWilliams
Stardate: 19:29.13
Issue Date: July 1976
Cover Price: 25 cents


Cover Blurb:
   Kirk is stranded on a savage planet in One of Our Captains is Missing!

   While Kirk is in the ship's gym, Starfleet Command contacts the Enterprise to inform them that he has been temporarily relieved of command. His replacement, Captain Zarlo, is to arrive by shuttle the following day. No further details are given. The bridge crew is stunned! "H.Q. works in mysterious ways its wonders to perform!" Says Dr. McCoy. "Aye!" Scotty pipes up. "If it were you they were takin' Bones, they wouldn't even have to send us another doctor, just a bottle of aspirin and an automatic noise maker!". Spock and Scotty tell Kirk the news, but he tells them it is simply a routine recall and that he has been expecting it. The following day Kirk wishes the crew well, and they cheer him as he prepares to leave. Captain Zarlo is piped aboard. As soon as Kirk has gone, Captain Zarlo orders a "Nuke Malfunction Drill" each day for five days (The ugliest work on a star ship according to Scotty!).

   Some days later on the planet Mobita, a disguised Kirk is sitting in a crowded bar. Some rough-looking characters pick a fight with him, and the Captain is arrested after he knocks one of them down. He is taken to a dark cell, where an old bald man waits for him. The man introduces himself as Prime Minister Aado. He apologizes for the deceptive way in which Kirk was brought to meet him, but explains that the rebel Togotas have spies among his own people. He asks Kirk why he has asked to meet, since the Federation does not interfere in the development of worlds. Kirk tells him the Federation suspects that Klingons are behind the rebellion, due to the modern weapons that the Togotans are using.

   Aado tells Kirk that Mobita is a young planet, and that only recently was the jungle of Togo explored - and the Togotan people discovered. At first the Togotans had been completely trusting and innocent. They had been nicknamed the "Sweet People" by the Mobians. Soon, however, their people had been exploited by the Mobians for their labor, kidnapped, and even murdered! Aado explains that he tried to meet with the Togotan leaders to make peace, but that the Sweet People would no longer trust him. Then, they began to attack the Mobians with modern weapons! Kirk tells Aado that Starfleet recently intercepted a transmission from the Klingons that indicated they had dropped a team of military advisors on the planet almost a year ago.

   Kirk decides to travel into the forest to prove that the Klingons are there. Aado assists him with a disguise. He tells Kirk that the disguise will only work at a distance, because the Togotas don't talk - but communicate by projecting mental pictures instead. He will be discovered if the Togotas try and communicate with him. Kirk sneaks up to the outskirts of the Togotan village and observes Klingon soldiers training them. As he is taking pictures, a Klingon guard captures him and takes him before the Togotan leader. Kirk tries to explain why he has come, but Chieftain Mwipi orders him to be judged in combat to determine the truth.

   Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Captain Zarlo is still driving the crew hard. He orders Scotty to perform the N-M-E drill yet again. "We've set a new record for the drill in starship service and you're still pushing?" Scotty asks. "Because the previous record was obviously set by a crew even lazier than this one, Mr. Scott!" Zarlo says.

   On the planet Mobita, Kirk faces a large well-muscled Togotan in single combat. The captain is able to knock down the warrior with a kick to the throat. He is then attacked by a several strange creatures, which turn out to be illusions projected by the fallen warrior. Kirk flings himself upon the tribal chieftain, and holds a knife to his throat. The two leave the village together and Kirk warns the chieftain about the Klingons. A space ship arrives to pick up the Captain, and Mwipi watches as the Captain boards the ship and appears to leave. Once the Chieftain is gone, however, Kirk comes out of hiding - still near the village! He is determined to find a way to defeat the Klingons.

   The Enterprise receives a coded message that Captain Kirk has disappeared. Captain Zarlo tells the crew the truth about Kirk's secret mission. The crew demands that Zarlo take the Enterprise to Mobita, in order to help search for Kirk. Zarlo refuses and is only backed up by Spock. When the crew threatens mutiny, Zarlo agrees to turn the ship toward Mobita.

   On the planet surface, Mwipi uses "thought pictures" to tell the Klingon warriors that his people will liberate their planet without outside help. Kirk steps out of hiding and confronts the Klingons. The Klingons call Kirk a lying spy, and Mwipi decides yet again to let the issue be decided by one-on-one combat - this time between Kirk and the Klingon leader. As they fight, Kirk accuses the Klingon of trying to get the Togotan people killed in battle so that the Klingons can invade the planet in the guise of "liberators". Kirk defeats his adversary, and the Klingon threatens to call his ship and have it destroy the entire jungle! At that moment, the Enterprise arrives in orbit around Mobita. It fires a warning shot off the bow of the Klingon cruiser, and the ship quickly leaves the area - abandoning the Klingon soldiers on the surface.

   The Klingons are defeated and Mwipi and Aado are able to make peace between their two peoples once again. They promise to learn to talk together, and to make amends for the past. As the Enterprise leaves orbit, Zarlo tells Kirk "I'd trade six months leave for a crew that would stand by me as yours does!".

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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