(written from a Production point of view)
The starship Enterprise continued its exploration through the uncharted deep space of Astral Sector IV. It was the voice of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura that broke the calm silence of the command centre...
Uhura reports an unidentified vessel passing by, and the crew discovers that it is on a collision course for a nearby planet. Assuming orbit of the world, Kirk heads a landing party aboard the shuttlecraft Galileo to search for survivors. As they reach the surface, they find a great many discarded vessels abandoned in a sort of junkyard. Concluding that the crashed ship was unmanned and sent on autopilot for disposal, the men are suddenly approached by a group of pink humanoids. Their leader identifies himself as Captain Thax, and says that his crew have been stranded for six months. Kirk offers Kandok and his men passage back to Thax, and invites them aboard the Enterprise.
Once the passengers are assigned quarters, they are brought to the bridge to determine a course for Thax. Kirk asks Kandok if they should contact Thax to inform them of the rescue, but Kandok turns on him, demanding that no communications be made. Kandok's men disarm the bridge crew, and he reveals they are actually exiled rebels. Kirk tries to fight Kandok, but he and Spock are overpowered and subdued. Kandok takes Uhura hostage and has the rest of the crew removed from the bridge and locked up.
Kirk and Spock are sealed in a storeroom, but they crawl through a ventilation shaft to Kirk's quarters. Kirk contacts authorities on Thax, but they decide to destroy the Enterprise with nuclear missiles rather than risk Kandok's return. Determined to retake the ship before it can be destroyed, Kirk and Spock pipe knock-out gas through the ventilation system. Once the gas is released, they don gas masks and storm the bridge, only to find that Kandok's men are immune.
A firefight erupts on the bridge, and before Kirk can explain the threat of incoming missiles from Thax, a stray phaser-shot destroys a communicator, removing the ability to translate language. Kandok and his men flee the bridge and steal a shuttlecraft. Kirk manages to turn on the Enterprise's shields, disintegrating two missiles, but the third destroys the fleeing shuttle.
"By Jupiter! This is crazy! Everyone on Thax is as heartless as Kandok!"
- - Kirk, going from the frying pan into the fire
"Hurry, for pity's sake! The missiles are here - they're right on top of us!"
- - Spock, getting a bit emotional
- The title of this story seems to refers to the abandoned spacecraft as well as the exiled rebels.
- Kirk wears a red uniform and Sulu wears a blue one.
- The spare radio in Kirk's quarters resembles machinery seen in "Tomorrow is Yesterday". On that occasion, Kirk said "Primitive computer; I've seen them demonstrated in museums." It is possible that he acquired this radio after that episode as a memento. This would date the story between 2267 and 2269.
- Kirk swears by Jupiter.
- Kandok - Rebel from Thax. Although he describes himself as a Captain, this may only have been part of his deception.
"Captives in Space"
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