22010 "The Time Trap"

(airdate: November 24, 1973)

Writer: Joyce Kelly
Director: Hal Sutherland

Kor: James Doohan
Xerius: James Doohan

Kuri: George Takei
Devna: Nichelle Nichols

Magen: Nichelle Nichols

Stardate: 5267.6 (but see Whoops!)

Captain's Log: The Enterprise is investigating the Delta Triangle, an area of space where a number of starships have inexplicably vanished over the years. The ship encounters a Klingon vessel there, the Klothos, which disappears when the Enterprise fires upon her. The Enterprise moves to the Klothos's last location, where she is transported into an alternate dimension called Elysia, filled with various ships. Time passes very slowly here, but the dilithium crystals are being drained; if the Enterprise doesn't do something quickly, they will be trapped in Elysia forever. Spock works out that the Enterprise can escape if they join forces with the Klothos, working as a single ship. The Klothos agrees, but they plant an explosive aboard the Enterprise which will go off once the two ships are free of Elysia. The two ships successfully escape, and the Enterprise crew find and dispose of the Klingon explosive before it can go off, leaving the ship safe.

Whoops!: The initial stardate is given as 52.2, which doesn't remotely fit in with other stardates. (The script gave it as 5264.2, so this seems to be a Shatner fluff (or perhaps an edit to cover something like an audio fault) rather than a writer's error.)
     This week's animation nitpicks: Uhura has a sciences double-circle emblem in her assignment patch, and the Klingon ship that displays on the conference room viewer doesn't wrap around the two sides of the monitor like it should. The emblem of the Klingon Empire (the three-pointed logo) inside the Klothos is oriented upside-down from what we've come to expect (and rotated 90 degrees from how it was typically displayed at the time).

Technobabble: The formula Spock displays as the solution to escaping Elysia is literal gibberish.

Library Computer: The Delta Triangle is a vast, uninhabited sector of the galaxy, three weeks (as the subspace signal travels) from the nearest Federation starbase. There appear to be some sort of explosions going off in the sector, although they don't seem to be harmful to any ships in the area; however, sensors don't function reliably while in the Triangle. The Delta Triangle is the location of a high number of starship disappearances, dating back to "ancient times".
     The Delta Triangle was the gateway to a "pocket" of alternate time, a small universe where time passes much more slowly than in "our" universe. This pocket was called Elysia by its inhabitants, the crews and their descendants of ships which had been trapped there. Elysia was full of ships, including several of unknown alien design - with Scott commenting that he recognized some of them only from "crude drawings...in museums" - as well as an old Earth ship, the Bonaventure, and a Klingon battlecruiser, the Klothos, which had been engaged in battle with the Enterprise shortly before the two ships arrived. Ships passing through this gateway appeared to waver out of existence, with the instruments aboard going haywire, while those aboard experienced intense vertigo. The appearance of this gateway is somewhat random within the Delta Triangle, rather than being in a fixed location. Time passed very slowly in Elysia, with some inhabitants (such as the members of the Ruling Council) being hundreds of years old.
     Elysia was governed by a Ruling Council, which consisted of at least twelve members (that we see), which represented 123 races, dating back a thousand years. [Elysian years or "our" years?] The members we see include a Gorn; a humanoid woman with brown hair, wearing a white uniform with a flower-like cross emblem on the left breast [perhaps the Bonaventure's assignment patch?]; a Tellarite; a Vulcanoid with white hair [impossible to tell if he's a Vulcan or a Romulan]; an unknown humanoid woman with large eyes and no nose, wearing some sort of breathing helmet [which the storyboards described as an "Amphibian"]; a Phylosian ("The Infinite Vulcan"); an insectoid creature with four (visible) arms and large yellow eyes; an Andorian; a feline creature with fin-like ears [which the script called a Kzin, although it doesn't quite look like the Kzinti from the upcoming "The Slaver Weapon"]; and a smooth-headed Klingon. Their spokesperson was Xerius, a Vulcanoid [probably Romulan, since his uniform looks similar to the Romulan uniform seen earlier in "The Survivor", but this is never confirmed], and their Interpreter of Laws was Devna, an Orion woman. Her advisor was Magen, a woman with cat-like eyes and psionic powers. [The script says that she's from the Omega Cygni system, and that her home planet has light gravity, but none of this is stated on screen.]
     The Ruling Council has decreed that violence of any kind is forbidden in Elysia; the penalty is for the crew of the offending ship to be held in suspended animation for a century. The Council can do this thanks to the number of inhabitants with psionic powers, who can hold people, ships, and even phaser blasts in place; they do this to serve the peace.
     Elysia had certain properties that made escape almost impossible. Power would rapidly drain from ships, with dilithium crystals rapidly deteriorating, making ships incapable of travelling fast enough to break through the time barrier and out of Elysia. However, the Enterprise and the Klothos were able to break free by combining forces, treating their two ships as one; this provided enough power to escape.
     The Klothos was a standard Klingon battlecruiser, commanded by Commander Kor ("Errand of Mercy"). [The ship looks like a D7 cruiser, but Kor will describe the Klothos as a D5 in the DS9 episode "Once More Unto the Breach". It doesn't really look like the D5-class from Star Trek: Enterprise, though; it might be easier to assume that Kor was misremembering things slightly.] Kor's science officer [according to the script] was Kaz, while another Klingon crewmember, a woman, was named Kali. According to Spock, the Klothos used an S-2 graf unit as its engine, which was roughly equivalent to the Enterprise's warp drive. It also had the ability to cloak. [This is the first time that a Klingon ship is said to have cloaking abilities (although see, if you dare, Star Trek: Discovery). Given that the Romulans were using ships of Klingon design in "The Enterprise Incident", it doesn't seem unreasonable to assume that the Klingons received cloaking technology in exchange.] Kaz devised a plan to sabotage the Enterprise via an explosive capsule that would detonate upon reaching warp eight; however, Magen discovered the plot and warned the Enterprise through Xerius. Upon leaving Elysia, Kor took full credit for escaping.
     Commander Kuri was an officer of the Klingon Imperial Fleet. He commanded a sister vessel of the Klothos.
     The Bonaventure was an Earth ship, looking like a fat version of the Enterprise, with the registry number 10281NCC. According to Scott, it was the first ship equipped with warp drive, and it disappeared on its third voyage. [Star Trek: First Contact establishes the Phoenix as the first Earth ship to break the warp barrier, while the Enterprise episode "First Flight" states that the NX-Alpha was the first ship to break warp 2, eighty years after the Phoenix. Perhaps the Bonaventure was the first non-experimental Earth ship equipped with a warp 1 drive, and its disappearance is part of what led the Vulcans to put the brakes on the humans' warp program. That would put the Delta Triangle pretty close to Earth though, unless the Bonaventure was on a long-term voyage when it disappeared.]

Final Analysis: "This small universe of ours is a curious trap. Time passes here, but very slowly. A century means nothing to us." It's a nice idea, but the plot's a bit too slight, meaning there's not really enough to sink your teeth into - despite their attempts to complicate matters. "The Time Trap" isn't terrible, but it does leave you wanting more.

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