Type Book
Date 1981-10
Pages 158
Series Pocket TOS (3)

The Klingon Gambit

The Enterprise is sent to the planet Alnath II, where an archaeology expedition led by Threllvon-da is seeking an underground city. The expedition was brought to the planet by a Vulcan ship, the T'Pau, but when the Enterprise arrives the entire crew of the Vulcan ship is dead, with no sign of the cause.

A Klingon ship, the Terror, is also present, but they deny having anything to do with the Vulcans' fate, and there is no evidence that they were involved. They are interested in the planet because it is rich in topaline, a substance they require for their life-support systems.

Strange things begin to happen as the Enterprise remains in orbit of Alnath II. The crew begins behaving oddly: Scotty becomes obsessed, even more than usual, with eking out every last percent of engine power; McCoy is determined to practice medicine with antique equipment; Chekov agitates to attack the Klingons, despite his orders; and Spock loses control of his emotions.

Eavesdropping on the Klingon ship, they discover that all is not well for them, either. The ship is filled with mutineers, and the captain is barely keeping control of his crew.

Meanwhile, on the planet, tricorder readings are unreliable, one moment showing nothing, and the next showing a giant underground city.


A jewel found on the planet is capable of materializing whatever people desire, and it is reacting to everyone's unfocused urges. So the Klingons, who desire to take power, begin to mutiny; Spock, who wishes to be both human and Vulcan, finds himself swinging between cold logic and violent emotion; and so forth. In fact, even the vast underground city Threllvon-da discovers was materialized because it was exactly what he hoped to find.

This story would have worked pretty well as an episode of the TV series, but the plot's a little thin for a novel. It took me more than a year to finally get through the book, since it didn't grip me, and in the end the resolution was exactly what I thought it would be before I was halfway through the book.



Name Role
Robert E. Vardeman Author