Star Trek 101

Star Trek 101

by Terry J. Erdmann, Paula M. Block


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743497237
Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek
Publication date: 09/23/2008
Series: Star Trek Series
Edition description: Original
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 850,393
Product dimensions: 9.08(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

Terry J. Erdmann (with Paula M. Block) have jointly written two previous Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ebook novellas: Rules of Accusation and Lust’s Latinum Lost (and Found). Their most recent nonfiction work, Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History, was the recipient of the Independent Publisher Book Awards’ 2017 bronze medal for best coffee table book. They also are the co-authors of the nonfiction titles Star Trek Costumes: Five Decades of Fashion from the Final Frontier, Star Trek The Original Topps Trading Card Series, Star Trek The Next Generation 365, Star Trek The Original Series 365, Star Trek 101, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, The Secrets of Star Trek Insurrection, The Magic of Tribbles, and Star Trek: Action! Their additional titles include Monk: The Official Episode Guide and The 4400 Companion. During his lengthy career in film publicity, Terry authored The Last Samurai Official Companion. They live in Southern Oregon with their two collies, Shadow and Mandy.

Read an Excerpt



79 hour-long episodes, 1966-1969
"Wagon Train to the Stars"


A few hundred years in the future, a heroic captain and his crew explore the galaxy in a really fast spacecraft known as the Starship Enterprise. The crew's standing orders from Starfleet are recited by the captain at the beginning of each episode:

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.


The U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 is an interstellar spacecraft with a crew complement of 430 men and women. The ship is powered by warp-drive engines that allow it to travel many times faster than the speed of light, covering great distances within a practical time frame. (You don't really need to know this to enjoy the show; just assume you'll be visiting an average of one planet per week.)

Because the ship is large and a bit ungainly, the Enterprise never lands. It wasn't designed for it. Whenever the ship arrives at a strange new world, it stays in orbit while a "landing party" either pilots a small craft down to the surface or uses the transporter to "beam" there (this will be explained later). The transporter, like warp drive, is a great time-saving device; Starfleet clearly employs a lot of efficiency experts.


JAMES T. KIRK (William Shatner), captain

Risk is our business. That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her.

Kirk is the quintessential Starfleet officer, a man among men and a hero for the ages. His adventures are legendary. He has earned the admiration of his peers, the grudging respect of his opponents, and a chest full of commendations for valor. Cunning, courageous, and confident, Kirk is renowned for his ability to think outside the box, manipulating seemingly impossible situations like a master chess player. If he has one flaw, it is his tendency to ignore Starfleet regulations when he feels the end justifies the means. Kirk's unique style of "cowboy diplomacy" has served him well in countless close encounters.

Kirk was born on Earth in Iowa. He proved a very serious student at Starfleet Academy, remembered by a classmate as a "stack of books with legs." As a Starfleet officer, he is a study in contrasts. He depends on the state-ofthe-art twenty-third-century technology that surrounds him but prefers resolving difficult situations with a hands-on approach — bareknuckle brawling or bamboozling sophisticated alien computers with his glib tongue. Kirk openly deplores humankind's ancient instinct for war and killing but has a deep-seated distrust of apparent peace and tranquillity. He dreams of "a beach to walk on" with a beautiful woman but firmly believes that man wasn't meant to live in paradise. Although Kirk has quite a reputation as a ladies' man, no woman has ever come between him and his career; his passion for the Enterprise always comes first. His most serious relationship was with Edith Keeler, a forward-thinking but ill-fated social worker whom Kirk met when he traveled into Earth's past.

Key Kirk Episodes
• "The Enemy Within"
• "Court Martial"
• "Shore Leave"
• "The City on the Edge of Forever"

"You keep wondering if man was meant to be out here — you keep wondering and you keep signing on." — Kirk, "The Naked Time"

SPOCK (Leonard Nimoy), first officer

I have a human well as an alien half, submerged, constantly at war with each other...I survive it because my intelligence wins out over both, makes them live together. — "THE ENEMY WITHIN

The first Vulcan to enlist in Starfleet, Spock (he has a first name, but it's unpronounceable) is the Enterprise's science officer as well as its first officer, and the only man Kirk trusts to second-guess him on all major decisions. Why? Well, for one thing, Spock is probably the smartest man in Starfleet — quite possibly the galaxy. His cerebral abilities are so renowned that they once inspired a group of aliens to invade the Enterprise to steal his brain. (He got it back.)

Like must Vulcans, Spock worships at the altar of logic. His decisions are always "flawlessly logical." Kirk feels safer about Spock's guesses than he does about most other people's facts. That's because Spock doesn't let emotions cloud his judgment. In fact, Spock has no emotions. Or so he says.

Spock is only half Vulcan. His father, Sarek, was a Vulcan diplomat; his mother, Amanda, a human schoolteacher from Earth. He was raised on his father's world, where the inhabitants are trained from birth to lock away their feelings and lose the key.

Growing up, Spock was torn between the stern discipline of his father's Vulcan teachings and the free-range emotions of his mother. The Vulcan children tormented Spock at school. His father didn't speak to him for eighteen years because Spock opted to join Starfleet rather than attend the Vulcan Science Academy. And Spock's fiancée, T'Pring, spurned him at the altar in favor of a more traditional Vulcan.

Spock is married to his career, which is just as well since he claims to be immune to the charms of women. He has experienced romantic yearnings only under unusual circumstances triggered by alien spores and Pon farr.

Key Spock Episodes
• "The Naked Time"
• "This Side of Paradise"
• "Amok Time"
• "Journey to Babel"

LEONARD "BONES" McCOY (DeForest Kelley), chief medical officer

He's dead, Jim. — "THE ENEMY WITHIN"

Given half a chance, Leonard McCoy is far more likely to explain what he isn't than what he is. He's not a bricklayer, psychiatrist, escalator, engineer, coal miner, or moon-shuttle conductor. He's "just an old country doctor" who happens to know a lot about twenty-third-century medicine. Born in Georgia, on Earth, McCoy still retains a touch of the charming Southern gentleman about him, which balances out his often cantankerous nature.

More than a little old-fashioned, McCoy isn't convinced that humankind should be gallivanting across the galaxy in a warp-powered starship. He loathes having his atoms "scattered back and forth across space" via the transporter, and he is disturbed by the fact that neither computers nor Vulcans have a clue about compassion. As might be expected, Spock's slavish devotion to technology, logic, and statistics drives McCoy crazy, and he's constantly trying to punch holes in Spock's cool Vulcan reserve. However, Spock is just as good at getting a rise out of McCoy, playing the good doctor's emotions like a concert pianist.

If Kirk represents the soul of the Enterprise and Spock the mind, then McCoy is undoubtedly the heart. The good doctor's insight provides the captain with a touchstone to his own humanity. He's the guy Kirk seeks out when he needs to let his hair down, generally over a drink.

Key McCoy Episodes
• "Shore Leave"
• "The City on the Edge of Forever"
• "Friday's Child"
• "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"

"I signed aboard this ship to practice medicine, not to have my atoms scattered back and forth across space by this gadget." — McCoy, "Space Seed"

MONTGOMERY SCOTT (James Doohan), chief engineer

I can't change the laws of physics.

Montgomery Scott — known to one and all as "Scotty" — is the ship's miracle worker. He's also its chief engineer, but those titles might as well be one and the same when you have a fellow like Scotty keeping your starship ship-shape. There's no one you'd rather have at the controls of the transporter when you're ready to beam up.

Born in Scotland, Scott retains a bit of the highlanders' Gaelic lilt in his dialect. He refers to the ship's engines as his "bairns" (children) and is prone to calling junior personnel "laddie" or "lass." Scott's affection for the Enterprise may be a bit stronger than his devotion to the captain. He once started a brawl because someone likened the NCC-1701 to a "garbage scow." The fact that earlier Kirk was described as "a swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood" hadn't bothered him.

Although he enjoys an occasional nip of Scotch, Scott generally prefers an evening with a technical manual to a night on the town.

Key Scott Episodes
• "Wolf in the Fold"
&#!49; "The Trouble With Tribbles"
• "The Lights of Zetar"

"Fool me once, shame on you — fool me twice, shame on me." — Scott, "Friday's Child"

SULU (George Takei), helm officer

Richelieu, beware!

Sulu is a Renaissance man, counting among his passions botany, fencing, ancient handguns...and a subconscious desire to emulate Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling literary hero D'Artagnan. He's the ship's main helmsman, which essentially means he's the driver.

Key Sulu Episodes
• "The Naked Time"
• "Mirror, Mirror"

UHURA (Nichelle Nichols), communications officer

Hailing frequencies still open, sir.

As the ship's communications officer, Uhura spends much of her workday sending transmissions to Starfleet Command and responding to Captain Kirk's requests to open hailing frequencies to new life and new civilizations. Still, there are probably worse jobs on a starship, and Uhura is the only female permanently assigned to the bridge. Her name means "freedom" in Swahili. When she's off duty, Uhura enjoys singing for her fellow crew members.

Key Uhura Episodes
• "The Changeling"
• "The Trouble With Tribbles"

PAVEL ANDREIEVICH CHEKOV (Walter Koenig), navigator

It's a Russian invention.

Ensign Pavel Chekov is an excellent navigator, despite the fact that his internal magnetic needle is permanently stuck on his homeland, Russia. He attributes — correctly or incorrectly — most scientific discoveries to that country and praises the virtues of native Russian products over all others. One of the Enterprise's youngest bridge officers, Chekov has a plucky sense of bravado, but he has his limits, particularly when it comes to physical discomfort.

Key Chekov Episodes
• "The Deadly Years"
• "Day of the Dove"

"I transferred the whole kit and kaboodle into their engine room, where they'll be no tribble at all." — Scott, "The Trouble With Tribbles"


CHRISTINE CHAPEL (Majel Barrett), nurse

I'm in love with you, Mister Spock.

Chapel is the primary nurse in sickbay. She originally signed aboard the Enterprise to search for her missing fiancé. When she discovered that he had turned himself into an android, she transferred her attention to Mister Spock (an emotionally lateral move at best).

Key Chapel Episode
• "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"

JANICE RAND (Grace Lee Whitney), yeoman

Captain, look at my legs.
— "MIRI"

As the captain's personal assistant, Yeoman Rand attends to many of Kirk's small needs, bringing him coffee, meals, and reports that he needs to sign. She sports a unique basketweave hairdo and has a bit of a crush on her boss. Key Rand Episode
• "Charlie X"

"The most cooperative man in this world is a dead man — and if you don't keep your mouth shut, you're gonna be cooperating." — Bela Oxmyx, "A Piece of the Action"

KEVIN THOMAS RILEY (Bruce Hyde), navigator

Never fear, O'Riley's here!

Riley is the relief navigator on the Enterprise. As a boy on Tarsus IV, he was one of the few eyewitnesses to a massacre that killed his parents and thousands of other colonists. He fancies himself the descendant of Irish kings and once usurped command of the Enterprise while under the intoxicating influence of an alien virus.

Key Riley Episode
• "The Naked Time"

THE FIRST PILOT. "The Cage." Written by Gene Roddenberry. "The Cage" was the original pilot for Star Trek. In it, a starship captain is kidnapped by a group of aliens who hope to breed him with a female human for their private zoo. It stars Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike (Kirk's predecessor). Deemed "too intellectual," the episode never aired. A second pilot was commissioned by NBC, with the mandate that it contain "more action." The broadcaster also asked writer Gene Roddenberry to get rid of the guy with the pointy ears, but he refused. Numerous scenes from "The Cage" were later worked into the two-part episode "The Menagerie."



A highly intelligent humanoid species native to the planet Vulcan. With the exception of their pointed ears, Vulcans look a great deal like humans. Internally, it's a different story: their hearts are located where a human's liver would be; their blood is green rather than red; and they have an inner eyelid that protects them from the intensity of the sun on their home planet.

Vulcans are much stronger than humans, and they live longer, well past the century mark. They tend to be calmer than humans, having bottled up their emotions. Thousands of years ago, the Vulcans were as violent and passionate as all the other species in the galaxy — that is, until a Vulcan philosopher named Surak taught them to forswear passion and embrace logic.

Vulcans live their lives by logic. They plan their careers with it, pick a mate with it, set their clocks by it. They eat, sleep, and breathe logic. And that leaves zero room for emotions, because emotions, as any Vulcan will tell you, are irrational, unpredictable, and inconvenient.

DID YOU KNOW...that Vulcans are strict vegetarians?...that most male Vulcan names begin with S and most female names with T followed by an apostrophe?...that "Live long and prosper" is the Vulcan equivalent of "shalom"?

VULCAN NERVE PINCH is a martial arts technique that requires great strength. Applying finger pressure to a cluster of nerves located at the base of the neck instantly renders a person unconscious.

VULCAN MIND-MELD is a mind-reading technique that allows a Vulcan to establish a telepathic link with another individual and share that person's consciousness. Vulcans don't enter into this ritual lightly, because it is a deeply personal, intimate experience. With an unwilling participant, the mind-meld can be highly invasive and psychologically violent, akin to mental rape.


SURAK (Barry Atwater), father of Vulcan philosophy
Surak's teachings of logic and peace put an end to the destructive civil wars that plagued Vulcan centuries earlier. To modern-day Vulcans, he's Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln rolled into one.

SAREK (Mark Lenard), father of Spock and Vulcan ambassador to the Federation
As a scientist and a diplomat, Sarek is unrivaled. He disapproved of Spock's chosen career path but ultimately came to accept it (see "Journey to Babel," p. 32). Sarek is married to Amanda, a human schoolteacher.

PON FARR is the drive that allows little Vulcans to keep coming into the world. It is the time of mating. Birds do it. Bees do it. Vulcans do it too. They'd prefer not to, but they have to. If they don't, they risk dying. Once every seven years, their carefully constructed veneer of logic is ripped away and they become savage. They can't eat or sleep. They are consumed by the Plak-tow, or blood fever, and ultimately must take a mate. Apparently a good fight to the death also can provide an appropriate "release."

T'PAU (Celia Lovsky), big-shot Vulcan political figure
We're never told what office T'Pau holds, but she commands great respect among Vulcans and humans alike. Kirk refers to her as "all of Vulcan in one package." T'Pau presided at Spock's ill-fated wedding ceremony (see "Amok Time," p. 30).

T'PRING (Arlene Martel), Spock's intended mate
T'Pring was telepathically bonded to Spock when they were both seven years old, in a ceremony that was a precursor to the couple's arranged marriage. At the actual ceremony decades later (see "Amok Time," p. 30), T'Pring revealed that she preferred another man.


An aggressive, warrior civilization with great military power and immense territorial ambition. They are the Federation's most formidable opponents and the alien species James Kirk is least happy to see when he beams down to any planet.

Klingons are human in appearance, generally with swarthy complexions and distinctive eyebrows. Many of the men sport facial hair, goatees that would have fit right into Genghis Khan's era. Most non-Klingons would say that their personalities also are reminiscent of the Mongol hordes, right down to their thirst for conquest of alien lands. At one point in the twenty-third century, territorial disputes between the Federation and the Klingon Empire became so volatile that the two sides almost went to war. Only the benevolent intervention of the powerful Organians prevented combat (see "Errand of Mercy," p. 29).


KOR (John Colicos), Klingon commander
Kor is an ambitious Klingon who invaded the planet Organia and set himself up as its military governor (see "Errand of Mercy," p. 29). He was unaware that Organia's peaceful inhabitants were actually extremely advanced lifeforms.

KOLOTH (William Campbell), Klingon captain
The haughty captain of a Klingon warship encountered by Kirk at Deep Space Station K-7 (see "The Trouble With Tribbles," p. 33). Although Captain Koloth claimed that all he wanted at the station was a little rest and relaxation for his crew, the discovery that a large supply of grain stored on K-7 had been poisoned made everyone suspicious of Koloth's motives.

KANG (Michael Ansara), Klingon captain
A strong captain and a devoted husband, Kang was the victim, along with Kirk, of an energy-based life-form that sought to feed on the hostile emotions generated by both men's crews (see "Day of the Dove," p. 36).

KAHLESS THE UNFORGETTABLE (Robert Herron), a major figure in Klingon history
The Vulcans have Surak and the Klingons have Kahless, the bravest warrior ever and the guy that every Klingon seeks to emulate.

"Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is." — Kirk, "This Side of Paradise"


They look just like Vulcans — and there's a reason for that. Several thousand years ago, they were Vulcans, but they abandoned their home planet. Exactly why and how this diaspora occurred isn't clear, but the most accepted theory is that they didn't embrace the philosophy spread by peace lover Surak.

As in many dysfunctional families, the Vulcans put the memory of their not-so-dearly-departed brethren out of their collective minds. It didn't occur to them that they might one day reappear in another guise. Earth and its allies had fought a bitter war against the Romulan Star Empire in 2160, but because all the fighting was conducted with spaceships, no one knew what the enemy looked like. It was only after Kirk's crew caught a glimpse of them on the view screen during a deadly encounter in 2266 (see "Balance of Terror," p. 27) that everyone discovered that Romulans look just like Vulcans.


This unnamed commander took his starship into Federation territory to test Federation defenses (see "Balance of Terror," p. 27). Had he succeeded in his mission, a Romulan-Federation war might have transpired, but the Enterprise crew managed to best the commander in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. The commander admired Kirk's strategic skills.

The officer in charge of the Romulan vessel that captured the Enterprise when the Federation ship crossed into Romulan territory (see "The Enterprise Incident," p. 35). Unaware that the Enterprise's mission was to steal a Romulan cloaking device, the commander inadvertently gave Kirk the opportunity to do just that while she attempted to maneuver Mister Spock into a rather personal Romulan/Vulcan détente.

"A question — since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question." — the Guardian, "The City on the Edge of Forever"

DID YOU KNOW that Romulans once were Vulcans? That the Romulans had a brief strategic alliance with the Klingons that allowed them to share technology and ship design?

ROMULAN NEUTRAL ZONE was established as part of the peace treaty following a war between Earth and the Romulans. The Neutral Zone is a region of space that serves as the buffer separating the Romulan Star Empire from Federation space. Entry into the zone by either party is considered an act of war.

ROMULAN BIRD-OF-PREY is a small but powerful starship equipped with a deadly plasma energy weapon and a cloaking device. The ship has two weaknesses: it can't travel very fast, and it must turn its cloaking device off in order to fire its weapons. The belly of the ship is decorated with a painting of a large predatory bird.

ROMULAN CLOAKING DEVICE renders a ship invisible to sensors and the unaided eye. Because it requires a great deal of power, the cloak must be deactivated before the ship can fire its weapons or use its transporter.

"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting." — Spock, "Amok Time"



Ill-tempered, gorilla-like apes with long, white fur, poisonous fangs, and a big horn sticking out of the top of the head (see "A Private Little War," p. 34).


Big, green, and mean, these bipedal lizards sport dazzling multifaceted eyes and a bad attitude. The Gorn have little patience with trespassers. After they wipe out a Federation colony over a territorial dispute (see "Arena," p. 28), Kirk is forced to fight one mano a mano, emerging the bare-chested winner.


Tellarites are stubborn and argumentative — one might even say pigheaded (see "Journey to Babel," p. 32). They also look pigheaded, with their prominent snouts and vacant eyes.


An intelligent silicon-based life-form that looks like a cross between a lava flow and an extralarge pepperoni pizza (see "The Devil in the Dark," p. 29). Horta live underground on the planet Janus VI, ingesting minerals as they tunnel through solid rock. Every fifty thousand years, all the adults die off, with the exception of one caretaker, who looks after their eggs and raises the hatchlings.


Andorians have baby blue skin, silver-white hair, and pert antennae. They tend to stand out in a crowd, even amid a motley group of Federation ambassadors (see "Journey to Babel," p. 32). They describe themselves as a "passionate, violent" people.


Highly territorial — and highly punctual — Tholians don't take kindly to Federation ships passing through their space. Their appearance is a mystery; we don't know if their heads are shaped like multifaceted hunks of crystal, or if they just wear helmets of that shape. While their small ships aren't much of a threat on their own, two ships can create a powerful tractor field, ensnaring their enemies within a deadly web (see "The Tholian Web," p. 36).


They "are the sweetest creatures known to man," at least according to their chief promoter, trader Cyrano Jones (see "The Trouble With Tribbles," p. 33). The more tribbles eat, the more they reproduce. They can produce as many as ten offspring every twelve hours. They seem to like everyone — except Klingons. Copyright © 2008 by Paramount Pictures Corporation.

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