Officer's log, stardate 4187.3. The Enterprise shuttlecraft Copernicus
is en route to Starbase Two Five with an important cargo. A Slaver
stasis box discovered by archaeologists on the planet Kzin.
SPOCK: These stasis boxes are the most remarkable
thing the Slavers ever produced. Time stands still inside a stasis box.
A billion years means nothing in there. What is it, Lieutenant?
UHURA: I've studied the history of the Slaver Empire, but it's sketchy.
We know they were masters of all the intelligent beings in this galaxy
a billion years ago, until one race revolted. Are the stasis boxes the
only source of information we have?
SPOCK: The Slavers and all their subjects were exterminated in the war
that followed. Intelligent life had to evolve all over again. The
stasis boxes are the only remnant of those lost civilisations.
UHURA: Why is it glowing like that?
SPOCK: Mister Sulu, what is our position?
SULU: Passing Beta Lyrae, sir. One forty two degrees north east of
SPOCK: Most peculiar. This indicates there is another stasis box
circling Beta Lyrae.
UHURA: Another one?
SPOCK: It would be most illogical that a stasis box would remain here
undiscovered for so long. Beta Lyrae is one of the rare spectacles of
the galaxy. Almost every ship that passes stops to see it.
UHURA: Maybe no one else was carrying a stasis box detector.
SPOCK: Possible. The only known stasis box detector is another stasis
box. Still. Mister Sulu.
SULU: Yes, sir.
SPOCK: Bring us about. We'll investigate the Beta Lyrae system.
SULU: Aye, aye, sir.
SPOCK [OC]: Stasis boxes and their contents are
the only remnant of a species which ruled most of this galaxy a billion
years ago. Their effect on science has been incalculable. In one was
found a flying belt which was the key to the artificial gravity field
used by starships. Another box contained a disrupter bomb with the pin
pulled. As a result, all stasis boxes are now under the jurisdiction of
Starfleet, and only certain key specialists handle them. The boxes are
rare, potentially dangerous, and we seem to have found a second one.
(Spock, Sulu and Uhura are wearing life-support
belts. Spock carries the box)
UHURA: I never did like these little ice-bound worlds.
SPOCK: We are not tourists here, Lieutenant.
SULU: Mister Spock, if it takes a stasis box to find another stasis
box, how did anyone ever find the first one?
SPOCK: As with a number of discoveries, purely by accident, Lieutenant.
The other box seems to be almost under us, perhaps thirty metres below
SULU: We won't have any trouble digging for it. In this low pressure,
the ice should boil as soon as the phasers melt it.
(But they are not alone. Sulu gets shot, then Uhura, then Spock)
SPOCK [OC]: I must take full responsibility for
this event. Instead of being warned by the highly unlikely coincidence
of a second stasis box, I allowed it's possible value to influence my
judgement. The Kzinti now possess our stasis box. Its contents will
determine how much damage my error has done the Federation and its
UHURA: Where are we?
SPOCK: A Kzinti spacecraft.
SULU: That isn't good. Kzinti aren't supposed to have phasers, are
SPOCK: The Treaty of Sirius does not permit them any weapons at all,
beyond police vessels. Obviously, the treaty has been broken.
SULU: A police web. We won't be able to move unless we can turn it off
(A group of cats in spacesuits enter)
SPOCK: The lean, be-draggles one is a reader of minds.
UHURA: I've heard all Kzinti telepaths are unhappy neurotics. He fits
SPOCK: There is no sure way to guard our thoughts from him. Mister
Sulu, he is not likely to deal with me or Lieutenant Uhura. She and I
are inferior beings to them. But the Kzinti are meat eaters. If you
sense him reading your mind, think of eating a raw vegetable.
SULU: Yes, sir. Maybe I can goad them into revealing their purpose.
SPOCK: Lieutenant Uhura. This may be crucial. In the presence of the
Kzinti, do not say anything, do not do anything startling. Try to look
UHURA: Any special reason?
SPOCK: Are you forgetting Kzinti females are dumb animals? In an
emergency the Kzinti may forget a human female is an intelligent
UHURA: Thanks. Thanks a lot.
SPOCK: Lieutenant, I value your intelligence, but we may be able to
seize an opportunity to escape if the Kzinti believe you have none.
UHURA: Yes, sir.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Identify yourself.
SULU: Lieutenant Sulu of the Starfleet vessel Enterprise. This is First
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: You're a Vulcan. I feel no pressing need to talk to an
roots and leaves. Humans at least are omnivorous. I am Chuft-Captain.
You are prisoners aboard the privateer Traitor's Claw, a stolen police
SULU: Stealing must be a habit with you. This ship, two stasis boxes.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Kzinti archaeologists found both boxes, but the one we
to keep was empty. It served us well as bait to draw you here, but the
Slavers had weapons that could devastate a galaxy. There could be one
in that box.
SULU: The Kzinti fought four wars with humankind and lost all of them.
The last one was two hundred years ago, and you haven't learned a thing
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Guard your speech. None of my crew has yet tasted human
our ancestors did. We would welcome the opportunity. Always you have
had superior equipment. We seek a weapon that will defeat you at last.
SULU: Then you're really working for the Kzinti government.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: The records will show the Traitor's Claw is a stolen
ship. If we are captured, the Highest of Kzin will repudiate us. But if
we succeed, you are meat for our tables.
(They fire a beam at the stasis box, then open it. Chuft removes a
picture of a one-eyed green crocodile standing on it's hind legs)
SULU: Could that be a picture of a Slaver?
SPOCK: If so, it is the first ever discovered. An important historical
(There are other things in the box)
UHURA: It looks like fresh meat. Over a billion years in that box, and
it looks fresh.
(Then, a green pistol-shaped thing)
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Nothing like this has ever been found. We are the only
have it. Look at it, human. This weapon may well mean the end of
First Officer's log, supplemental. The Kzinti now
possess a weapon potentially deadly to the entire galaxy. The extent of
its power remains to be seen.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Have the humans moved to the
surface and be
sure they're secured in the police web. We will use them to test the
FLYER: Yes, Chuft-Captain.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: You have observed the aliens. Can you read their minds?
TELEPATH: I can read Sulu with difficulty, Chuft-Captain. The other
human is only a female. The third is a pacifistic herbivore. Surely you
would not force me to delve such minds?
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: If it is necessary. I realise the time you need to
KZIN 5 [OC]: Chuft-Captain, we have finished testing
the meat that was in the stasis box. It is protoplasmic and poisonous.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: What of the picture?
TELEPATH: The human, Sulu, believes it to be a Slaver.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: So do I. It would have made a worthy enemy.
(He tries the weapon, but nothing happens)
FLYER: Perhaps the toggle.
(The weapon glows, then changes to a more pointed shape. Chuft-Captain
again. Still nothing)
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Telepath! Am I not affecting him at all? Is it the life
TELEPATH: No, Chuft-Captain. He hears a faint whine, but he feels no
ill effects. There is a vibration in the metal of his belt.
Chuft-Captain, he is too alien. He makes me taste yellow root munched
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Be glad if you need not read the Vulcan's mind. It may
communications device, or a sonic stunner designed to affect members of
a race now dead.
(He changes its shape again)
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: A good serviceable telescope. They built well, these
FLYER: It is of no use to us. We already have small telescopes.
(Another shape change, and this time it does fire a beam)
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: I give you credit, human. You are not afraid to die.
SULU: Merely a laser. The Federation has had a more effective model for
over one hundred years.
(Another shape change, and the device becomes a hand-held rocket,
pulling Chuft-Captain along with it. He knocks Uhura off the web, and
tiptoes away. Meanwhile, Chuft hits the telepath)
KZIN 4: Telepath's suit has ruptured.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Never mind that. The female is escaping!
KZIN 4: What of it?
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Fool! Human females are intelligent.
(So Uhura gets shot and put back on the web)
FLYER: Telepath's suit lost considerable pressure. We reached the ship
in time to save him.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Good. We will need him later. What is this?
FLYER: Perhaps a personal rocket motor. One could place one's foot on
the pedals and balance. It appears to be transportation, not a weapon.
SULU: Nice try.
UHURA: I'm slowing down. I used to run the hundred in record time. How
long was I out? Did I miss much?
SULU: Not much. A lot of good they'll get out of that rocket setting.
SPOCK: We are fortunate none of the settings so far have been superior
to the technology now available to the Federation.
UHURA: Uh oh.
(Now the weapon is a ball with loops sticking out on either side)
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: No gun sight. No obvious was to aim it.
(So he holds it at arms length. Behind him, the lights go out in the
cavern where their ship is parked)
UHURA: Mister Spock, I can move.
SULU: So can I. The police web is off.
SPOCK: The fifth setting seems to be an energy absorber. Fascinating. I
had no idea the Slavers had such things.
SULU: Mister Spock, we
SPOCK: Yes. When I give the word, make for the shuttle. Remember to
zigzag. Ready? Go.
(Sulu and Uhura run, while Spock jumps the Kzinti and grabs the weapon
before following. Uhura gets shot again)
FLYER: Chuft-Captain, what happened?
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: I would rather not discuss it. Help me into the ship.
SULU: (hiding) Mister Spock! I thought it was one of the aliens.
SPOCK: I have the weapon.
SULU: They've got Uhura, and subspace radio. They can call for help
from the Kzin planet if they think the weapon's worth it.
SPOCK: No, they cannot. Or rather, will not.
SPOCK: Because I kicked Chuft-Captain. Consider. Chuft-Captain has been
attacked by an herbivorous pacifist, an eater of leaves and roots. One
who traditionally does not fight. And the ultimate insult, I left him
alive. Chuft-Captain's honour is at stake. He must seek personal
revenge before he can call for help.
SULU: That gives us some time. You did plan it that way?
SPOCK: Of course.
SULU: As long as you stay free, the Kzinti can't or won't do anything.
But they could use Lieutenant Uhura as a bribe.
SPOCK: Agreed. However, to this point, we have not seen anything more
powerful than equipment Starfleet already has.
SULU: Yes. But I have a feeling, Mister Spock. This weapon must have
belonged to a spy, an espionage agent.
SPOCK: I acknowledge your expertise in the field of weapons, Mister
Sulu, but I do not see how you can determine probable ownership.
SULU: Well, here, look at it. All these settings. We don't know a
common Slaver soldier couldn't handle them, but as a weapon, only the
laser is effective. The others aren't necessary for the line soldier's
one purpose, to destroy the enemy.
SPOCK: Assuming it's a spy weapon then, the Slavers would have wanted
to keep it a secret weapon. If so, it is logical to assume it has a
self-destruct setting too.
SULU: But we've seen all the phases.
SPOCK: Perhaps not. There is the null setting. It seems to do nothing.
But why should it be there? It does not correspond to a safety lock.
(He pushes the toggle back up to the top, and it turns into a globe
with a handle)
SULU: It may be the key to another setting.
(The Kzinti ship takes off through the ice)
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: This is the Traitor's Claw calling
CHUFT-CAPTAIN [OC]: We have the female prisoner.
bargain, or must we take harsh action? It will not be pleasant for her.
I repeat. We have the female prisoner as hostage. You have something we
want. We will trade her life for the Slaver weapon.
SPOCK: Answer him, Lieutenant.
SULU: Lieutenant Sulu here. What about Mister Spock?
CHUFT-CAPTAIN [OC]: He must surrender. I will offer him single combat.
SULU: Not interested.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: I am as the Vulcan left me, with
broken. I have not set them nor bandaged myself. He may conceivably
SPOCK: Kzinti ribs have some vertical bracing. But
I kicked him over one heart. I compute the odds of my defeating
Chuft-Captain in combat at sixteen to one against.
SULU: Offer refused.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: They think very little of you.
UHURA: Wrong. They don't think much of you.
(Sulu turns the globe, and it becomes more
SPOCK: A self-destruct mechanism would not have a gun sight.
SULU: No. Let's see what this does do.
(He points it at the horizon, and there is a massive explosion)
SULU: We can't give them that!
SPOCK: Fascinating. No world in the Federation has produced anything so
powerful. Almost beyond theoretical limits. Total conversion of matter
to energy at a distance.
SULU: If the Kzinti had that, the whole galaxy would be their dinner
(The eruption caused by his firing of the weapon is continuing)
SULU: Hit the dirt!
(The wind from the blast hits them, knocking them over. Sulu drops the
weapon, and it turns back into a globe)
(Spock, Sulu and Uhura are on the police web while
Chuft-Captain plays with the globe. It forms another new shape)
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: What would this be?
FLYER: I have no idea. It is generating power.
SPOCK: There is a grid. It may be another communications device. But
that seems redundant.
(The device starts beeping)
SULU: It has the Kzinti frightened.
SPOCK: The Kzinti have legends of weapons haunted by their owners.
UHURA: Could it be a voice-activated mechanism?
SPOCK: No, it appears to be conversing with them. A reasoning computer
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: How long has it been since you were turned off?
WEAPON: I do not know. When I am off, I have no sense of passing time.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: What is the last thing you remember?
WEAPON: We were on a mission. I may not tell you of it unless you know
certain code words.
FLYER: If you could describe the positions of the stars in your
sector, we would know how much time has passed since then.
WEAPON: Without certain code words, I may not describe our location.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: One of the settings on this weapon was a total
We saw it. Tell us how to find it.
WEAPON: Twist me widdershins until you reach the null position. Then
SULU: They've got it.
UHURA: There must be something we can do.
SPOCK: Most peculiar.
(The weapon is a different shape entirely, with two large prongs. The
Kzinti leave with it)
SPOCK: That was not the total conversion beam setting.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Like others, this form seems to
FLYER: It may be a broad-beam weapon, for use only from orbit. We saw
its power. I suggest you fire at a very distant target.
CHUFT-CAPTAIN: Very well.
UHURA: We can't let them have that weapon.
SPOCK: They are not about to get it, Lieutenant.
UHURA: Why not?
SPOCK: Assume you are a Slaver war computer. You've been turned off.
You do not know for how long, but when you were turned off, there was a
war on. Now you are awakened by aliens you never saw before. They do
not know any of the military passwords. They ask you so many questions
it is obvious they know little about you. Your owner is nowhere about.
What would you think?
UHURA: I'd think I'd been captured by the enemy. Or an enemy, at least.
SULU: And when they asked you how to find your most powerful weapon
setting, what would you give them?
(Outside, Chuft-Captain pulls the trigger. KaBOOM! There is a crater
was standing and part of the ship's hull has been blown away)
SPOCK: Activate life support belts.
UHURA: A disrupter field.
SPOCK: Yes. Another conventional weapon. It appears the total
conversion beam was the only thing the Slavers had that we do not.
SULU: No sign of the weapon, of course. It would
have looked nice in some museum.
SPOCK: It never would have reached the museum, Lieutenant. There was
too much power in that one setting. If not the Kzinti, the Klingons or
some other species would have tried to possess it.
SPOCK: Strange, how the past sometimes breaks
through into the present. That ancient war could have sparked a new war
between man and Kzinti.
UHURA: Didn't you say the Kzinti have legends of weapons haunted by
their dead owners?
SPOCK: Yes, an ancient superstition.
UHURA: At this rate, they'll never get over those old superstitions.