Husian Gambit is a Star Trek: The Original Series comic strip. It is the sixth story in the US Comic Strips series, published by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. The story was set after TOS movie: The Motion Picture, depicting events from Captain Kirk's second five-year mission aboard the refurbished USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). In this story, shore leave turns disastrous for two starship crews.
An unusual sense of malaise pervaded the Enterprise, leading to pranks such as gravity going out while Sulu and Chekov sparred, food processors on nine decks only providing tapioca pudding, and bagpipe recordings being played loudly throughout the ship. Mistakes and minor fights began to appear. Even Kirk said he was on edge. McCoy diagnosed it as boredom of epic proportions. Kirk said the ship’s biannual maintenance was due, and since Starfleet wanted the ship in this sector, shore leave would be taken in shifts during the repair work at the drydock repair facility at Hus-24.
- Captain's Log: Stardate 7559.0.
- Pursuant to Starfleet directive, we have arrived at Hus-24 to carry out our biannual maintenance duty at this most remote of Federation sanctioned orbiting drydocks.
Approaching Hus-24, the Dockmaster said they were assigned to Slip Three alongside the USS Venture, which arrived that morning. Kirk was interested to meet its famous captain, Morgan Avery, as Sulu brought in the Enterprise “with textbook precision” next to the Venture.
Avery invited their senior officers to dinner on the Venture and were introduced to her Exec and Science Officer, Hathoz, Medical Officer Wu, and Chief Engineer Kraus. Spock was surprised to learn Hathoz had given up 3-D chess “when it no longer presented a challenge.” Kirk told Avery Hus-24 was “the most boring planet in the entire quadrant,” with no arts of their own, and the Husians were friendly but dull.At shore leave on the surface, crews mingled, with Sulu accepting a reptilian Venture officer’s offer of softball. Hathoz dismissed Spock’s suggestion that he could be beaten at 3-d chess, and they began a game. Uhura sang a song with an impromptu band made up of both crews. Scott offered suggestions to two engineers to improve their grain still. Kirk and Avery explored a grain field, then had a romantic evening in Avery’s quarters.
With maintenance finished, Kirk and Spock reported to the Dockmaster to settle their account. But as they turned to leave the office, the Dockmaster stunned them with a phaser. They awoke in a moving ore car with chains tied to thick neck collars. It stopped, and Husians dragged them by chains to be reunited with McCoy and Scott, also chained. Scotty said gas, likely morpheum, was pumped through the ship’s air, knocking out the crew. Edrem, leader of the Husians, wearing platform shoes to tower over others of his race, proclaimed himself in charge of both ships, and its crews his slaves. Starfleet would be deceived into believing the crews had died. The men would work this mine till they died, while the women would harvest grain. Monologuing, Edrem complained about his people being overworked and underpaid, and now they revolted.
Later, Edrem returned and confronted Kirk, giving him two hours to provide access codes to unlock the helm. Considering escape options, Hathoz introduced Kirk to his crewmate, Lt. Tulb, a Distotian. With their brains in their thorax, Distotians had no skulls. Tulb believed he could squeeze his head through his collar. McCoy pointed out he could damage his eyes if not careful. Stretching and pulling, Tulb got his head free. Kirk called for a guard. Tulb lept and fought Lubo, trying to grab his phaser rifle. Two rear guards saw the fight and one aimed his phaser pistol, accidentally vaporizing Lubo. Tulb, realizing his rifle was jammed at the kill setting, was hesitant to fire back. With little choice, Tulb vaporized one of the two rear guards, and the other fled. Kirk yelled for Tulb to fire at him, but Tulb couldn’t “just shoot him in the back.”With the rifle, they broke chains on their collars until the rifle’s charge died. As eight guards returned, the others hid while Kirk tried a bluff, that the rifle was set to wide field and he’d kill all the guards if they moved. They surrendered, and Chekov took their weapons,
Meanwhile, in the grain fields, the women worked the fields but were unchained. Avery showed Uhura a glass earring. With it, she started a fire and lit a wheat torch. Uhura mentioned she held the 100m record at the Pan-African Games, and took the torch, to run fast through the fields and set a blaze between the guards and the women. Expecting the men to be in the mine, the women headed there.
Kirk recalled from a prior visit to Hus-24 years ago that the mine only had one exit. Spock noted that the ore rail train, full and ready to depart, was manually driven. Knowing they would be ambushed by dozens of guards the moment they were spotted, the male crew hid in the ore cars. Outside, Husians heard the train coming and barricaded the tracks with several heavy trucks. But Scott had supercharged the train's engine to blast out of the mine at 110 kph. It smashed through the trucks, overloaded the starboard stabilizer and gyros, and tossed the ore cars off the track.
Scattering under phaser fire, the men fled for rocky cover. Spock noted that despite being poor shots, the Husians would eventually vaporize their cover. Over a hundred phasers were pitted against the nine held by the men. Unable to retreat or advance, they were stuck. To create a distraction, Sulu overloaded a phaser and lobbed it like a grenade to scatter five Husians. Then the men surged across a hill, overpowered a few Husians and took their weapons.Overhearing the phaser fire, the women reached a plateau above the fighting. Avery considered pushing a massive boulder downhill, and thanks to lighter gravity and efforts of two dozen female crewmen, it fell, followed by the women who lept into combat. With fighting on two fronts, the Husians “gave up in droves.” Avery said they didn’t appear warlike, “as if that fanatic had them hypnotized.” Scotty appeared, dragging a meek Edrem, who had collar keys on him.
Kirk kept the collar as a reminder of what had happened. The Husians would stand trail. Back aboard as the two ships left drydock, Spock and Hathoz finished their chess game, a draw.
- Morgan Avery • Christine Chapel • Pavel Chekov • Edrem • Glynko • Greywolf • Hathoz • James T. Kirk • Kraus • Lubo • Leonard McCoy • Numbo • Saldo • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Itaka Sulu • Taskul • Tulb • Ubo • Nyota Uhura • Wu • unnamed Husians • unnamed USS Enterprise personnel
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- USS Enterprise (Enterprise-class refit) • Husian ground car • ore train • USS Venture (Constitution-class)
- Referenced only
- intra-system tripper
Races and culturesEdit
States and organizationsEdit
Science and technologyEdit
- airlock • alcohol • artificial gravity • atmosphere seal • brain • code-phrase • distillery • fire • grenade • gyros • hinge and tumbler lock collar • meter • morpheum • ore car • ore train starboard stabilizer • phaser • phaser overload • phaser rifle • rifle • skull • sleeping gas • space station • thorax • Widgin pins type 302
Ranks and titlesEdit
- captain • chief engineer • crewman • dockmaster • doctor • executive officer • lieutenant • mess officer • science officer • senior medical officer • slave
- 100 meter dash • art • bagpipes • Class A uniform • collar • Denebian dust-pup • dress uniform • earring • farm • glass • helm • metal • mining • music • Pan-African games • planet • plomeek soup • Rigellian tarpon • science • shore leave • softball • song • tapioca pudding • tri-dimensional chess • triticale
#5: "Aberration on Abaris"
|Star Trek: The Original Series|
(US Comic Strips)
#7: “Heads of State”
"Aberration on Abaris"
“Heads of State”
"Pawns and Symbols" (Chapter 8)
|Memory Beta Chronology||Next adventure:|
"To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh" (Chapters 19-21)
- TOS movie: The Motion Picture - Described the starship refit, crew changes, and technology updates that occurred prior to the events of this story.
- Biannual maintenance was required for the Enterprise, per Starfleet order and with no disagreement from Scott. Biannual means twice a year at six-month intervals. That sets this story no less than six months after the events of TOS movie: The Motion Picture, in February 2274. It could be 12 months later, or 18, or 24, but as this was the only reference given for this maintenance cycle, the first incidence of it seemed more likely.
- As a result of setting this story in 2274, subsequent stories from this portion of the second five-year mission would also be set in 2274.
- This is the sixth of 20 story arcs set after the events of TOS movie: The Motion Picture, and is set during Captain Kirk's second five-year mission aboard the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701).
- This story arc was not printed with a title. The title was provided from Warkentin's original script by his widow, Rosie Warkentin Ford, for the story's reprinting in The Newspaper Comics, Volume 1. (ST reference: New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics).
- This is Thomas Warkentin's longest newspaper comic strip story, which ran daily over 19 weeks (133 days), just over a quarter of his entire run of 73 weeks. It is nearly twice as long as his second longest strip, TOS comic: "Aberration on Abaris".
- The USS Venture was a Constitution Class I starship under the command of Morgan Avery, with Executive & Science Officer Hathoz, Senior Medical Officer Wu, and Chief Engineer Kraus. The ship’s registry number was not included in the story. Wu was featured in one of Warkentin's 1978 sample strips, reproduced on page 6 of The Newspaper Comics, Volume 2.
- Native American Ensign Greywolf, introduced in TOS comic: "Aberration on Abaris", appeared without dialogue in five panels. A male Zaranite was seen in two panels. A female Zaranite appeared once, and a male Andorian appeared once. All wore uniforms signifying they were part of the Enterprise’s crew.
- An Arcturian addressed as a chief appeared in a dropped panel from the strip published on September 14, 1980, and was overseeing the cargo holds. Dropped panels were optional illustrations produced for Sunday strips which could be included or removed depending on the panel arrangement used in each newspaper's Sunday comics section. (Dropped panels)
- An Arcturian also questioned Kirk's order to set weapons to stun in a dropped panel from the strip published on Dec. 7, 1980. He also appeared without dialogue in other three panels. Given his continued proximity to the command crew and his comfort in conversing with Admiral Kirk, this Arcturian mostly likely was Ensign Taskul, who was featured in Dilithium Dilemma and also appeared in Double Bluff.
- References to prior stories: Spock said there were always alternatives; McCoy said he remembered what happened the last time Spock said that, a reference to TOS episode: "The Galileo Seven". Uhura said she held the record for the 100 meter dash in the Pan-African Games, a reference to TAS episode: "The Slaver Weapon".
- A death toll number was not given, but several crewmembers from both ships were disintegrated by the Husians during the escape.
- In the first panel of the story, the strip gives Sulu's first name as "Itaka," which was given to him in the unauthorized USS Enterprise Officer's Manual.
- Ron Harris and Dan Spiegle are credited with art assists on this story. (http://www.hassleinbooks.com/pdfs/TrekComics.pdf) Harris' credit appears alongside Warkentin's on September 25, 26, 27, 30, October 1, 2, 5, 6, 12, 13, 29, 30, 31, November 1, 2, of 1980 and, Jan 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 of 1981. Spiegle's credit appears alongside Warkentin's on September 8, 10, 17, and 19, 1980.