The Trouble With Tribbles
Stardate: 4523.3
Original Airdate: 29 Dec, 1967

[Briefing room]

SPOCK: Deep Space Station K7 now within sensor range, Captain.
KIRK: Good. Mister Chekov, this flight is supposed to provide both experience and knowledge. How close will we come to the Klingon outpost if we continue on our present course?
CHEKOV: One parsec, sir. Close enough to smell them.
SPOCK: That is illogical, Ensign. Odours cannot travel through the vacuum of space.
CHEKOV: I was making a little joke, sir.
SPOCK: Extremely little, Ensign.
KIRK: Mister Spock, immediate past history of the quadrant?
SPOCK: Under dispute between the two parties since initial contact. The battle of Donatu Five was fought near here twenty three solar years ago. Inconclusive.
KIRK: Analysis of disputed area?
SPOCK: Undeveloped. Sherman's Planet is claimed by both sides, our Federation and the Klingon Empire. We do have the better claim.
CHEKOV: The area was first mapped by the famous Russian astronomer Ivan Borkoff almost two hundred
KIRK: John Burke.
CHEKOV: Burke, sir? I don't think so. I'm sure it was
SPOCK: John Burke was the Chief Astronomer at the Royal Academy in old Britain at the time.
CHEKOV: Oh, Royal Academy. Well
KIRK: is the rest of your history that faulty, Ensign? Key points of dispute?
CHEKOV: Under terms of the Organian Peace Treaty, one side or the other must prove it can develop the planet most efficiently.
KIRK: And unfortunately, though the Klingons are brutal and aggressive, they are most efficient.
CHEKOV: I remember once Peter the Great had that problem like that. The
UHURA [OC]: Captain?
KIRK: Kirk here.
UHURA [on monitor]: I'm picking up a subspace distress call. Priority channel. It's from Space Station K7.
KIRK: Go to warp factor six.
CHEKOV: Code One emergency. That's a disaster call.
UHURA [OC]: This is a Red Alert. Man your battle stations. All hands.

Captain's Log, stardate 4523.3. Deep Space Station K7 has issued a priority one call. More than an emergency, it signals near or total disaster. We can only assume the Klingons have attacked the station. We're going in armed for battle.

]Bridge]

CHEKOV: Main phasers armed and ready, sir.
(The space station is on the main viewer, looking intact.)
CHEKOV: But there's nothing there. Just the station.
KIRK: Priority One distress call, and it's just absolutely peaceful. Lieutenant Uhura, break subspace silence.
UHURA: Aye, sir. The channel's open, sir.
KIRK: Space Station K7, this is Captain Kirk of the Enterprise. What is your emergency?
LURRY [OC]: This is Mister Lurry, manager of K7. I must apologise for the distress call.
KIRK: Mister Lurry, you issued a Priority One distress call. State the nature of your emergency.
LURRY [OC]: Well, perhaps you better beam over. I'll try to explain.
KIRK: You'll try to explain. You'd better be prepared to do more than that. Kirk out. Mister Spock, I'll need your help. Mister Chekov, maintain battle readiness. Lieutenant Uhura, see that the transporter room is standing by.
UHURA: Aye, sir. Transporter room, stand by.

[Lurry's office]

(Kirk and Spock arrive in the two man transporter alcove)
KIRK: Mister Lurry, if there's no emergency, why did you issue a priority one distress call?
BARIS: That was my order, Captain.
LURRY: Captain Kirk, this is Nilz Baris. He's out from Earth to take charge of the development project on Sherman's Planet.
KIRK: And that gives you the authority to put an entire quadrant on defence alert?
DARVIN: Mister Baris is the Federation Undersecretary in Charge of Agricultural Affairs in this quadrant.
SPOCK; That gives him the authority.
KIRK: Oh.
BARIS: This is my assistant Arne Darvin.
KIRK: And this is my first officer Mister Spock.
LURRY: Mister Spock.
BARIS: And now Captain, I want all available security guards. I want them posted around the storage compartments.
KIRK: Storage compartments? Storage compartments?
DARVIN: The storage compartments containing the quadrotriticale.
KIRK: What? What? What's quadrotriticale? (Lurry hands him a small packet) Wheat. So what?
BARIS: Quadrotriticale is not wheat, Captain. Of course, I wouldn't expect you or Mister Spock to know about such things, but quadrotriticale is a rather
SPOCK: Quadrotriticale is a high-yield grain, a four-lobed hybrid of wheat and rye. A perennial, also, I believe. Its root grain, triticale, can trace its ancestry all the way back to twentieth century Canada
KIRK: Mister Spock, you've made your point.
LURRY: Quadrotriticale is the only earth grain that grows on Sherman's Planet. We have several tons of it here on the station. It's very important that grain gets to Sherman's Planet safely. Mister Baris thinks that Klingon agents may try to sabotage it.
KIRK: You issued a priority one distress call for a couple of tons of wheat?
DARVIN: Quadrotriticale!
BARIS: Of course, Captain, I realise that
KIRK: Mister Baris, you summoned the Enterprise without an emergency. You'll take full responsibility for it.
BARIS: What do you mean?
SPOCK: Misuse of the Priority One channels is a Federation offence.
BARIS: I did not misuse the Priority One channel. I want that grain protected.
LURRY: Captain, couldn't you at least post a couple of guards? We do have a large number of ships passing through.
SPOCK: It would seem a logical precaution, Captain. The Sherman's Planet affair is of extreme importance to the Federation.
KIRK: Kirk to Enterprise.
UHURA [OC]: Enterprise here.
KIRK: Secure from general quarters. And beam down two, and only two, security guards. Have them report to Mister Lurry. Authorise shore leave for all off-duty personnel.
UHURA [OC]: Yes, Captain.
KIRK: Kirk out.
BARIS: Captain Kirk, how dare you authorise a mere two men for a project of this importance? Starfleet Command
KIRK: I have never questioned the orders or the intelligence of any representative of the Federation. Until now.
(storms out of the office)

{K7 Bar]

(Wherever humanoids may travel, someone will set up a bar to have pretty females serve intoxicating beverages. K7 is no exception.) 
KIRK: Summoning a starship on a priority A-1 channel to guard some storage compartments. Storage compartments of wheat.
SPOCK: Nevertheless Captain, the Klingons would not enjoy seeing us successfully develop Sherman's Planet.
KIRK: I guess not.
(downs his drink in one and heads for the door, where they meet Chekov and Uhura coming in.)
KIRK: I see you didn't waste time taking your shore leave.
UHURA: (coldly) How often do I get shore leave?
CHEKOV: She wants to shop, and I thought I would help her.
JONES: (entering) Oh, excuse me. Excuse me.
KIRK: (shows Chekov the packet of wheat) Mister Chekov, what do you make of this?
CHEKOV: Oh, quadrotriticale. I've read about this, but I've never seen any before.
KIRK: Does everybody know about this wheat but me?
CHEKOV: Not everyone, Captain. It's a Russian invention.
KIRK: Ah.
(Kirk and Spock leave.)
BARMAN: I don't want any. I told you before, and I'm telling you again I don't want any more Spican flame gems. Thanks to you, I have enough Spican flame gems to last me a lifetime.
JONES: How sad for you, my friend. You won't find a finer stone anywhere. But I have something better. Surely you want some Antarian glow water.
BARMAN: I use that to polish the flame gems.
JONES: You're a difficult man to reach, but I have something from the far reaches of the galaxy. Surely you want
(from yet another pocket, the trader pulls a what looks like a ball of fluff.)
BARMAN: Not at your price.
UHURA: What is it? Is it alive? May I hold it?
(Jones puts it in her hand and it starts purring)
UHURA: Oh, it's adorable. What is it?
JONES: What is it? Why, lovely lady, it's a tribble.
UHURA: A tribble?
JONES: Only the sweetest creature known to man, excepting, of course, your lovely self.
UHURA: Oh, it's purring. Listen, it's purring.
JONES: It's only saying that it likes you.
UHURA: Are you selling them?
BARMAN: That's what we're trying to decide right now.
JONES: My friend, 10 credits apiece is a very reasonable price. Now you can see for yourself how much the lovely little lady appreciates the finer things.
BARMAN: One credit apiece.
CHEKOV: He won't bite, will he?
JONES: Sir, transporting harmful animals from one planet to another is against regulations, or weren't you aware of that? Besides, tribbles have no teeth.
BARMAN: All right. I'll double my offer 2 credits.
JONES: Twice nothing is still nothing.
UHURA: If you're not going to take him, I'm going to take him. I think he's cute.
BARMAN: Four credits.
JONES: Is that an offer or a joke?
BARMAN: That's my offer.
JONES: That's a joke.
BARMAN: Five?
JONES: You're an honest man. I'll tell you what I'm going to do I'm going to lessen my price to eight and a half credits.
BARMAN: You're talking yourself out of a deal, friend. Six credits. Not a credit more.
JONES: Seven and a half. Seven? All right, you robber, six credits.
BARMAN: Done. When can I have them?
JONES: Right away.
UHURA: All right, what are you selling them for?
BARMAN: Well, let me see, little lady. Six credits. Figure a reasonable mark-up for a reasonable profit, say ten percent mark-up. Ten credits.
JONES: Thief.
BARMAN: In fact, I'll sell you this one.
(the tribble is eating grain spilt from the packet Kirk gave Chekov)
CHEKOV: Hey! He's eating my grain.
BARMAN: That'll be ten credits.
JONES: That happens to be my sample, and I'll do with it as I please. And I please to give it to the lovely lady.
UHURA: Oh, I couldn't. Could I?
JONES: I insist.
BARMAN: What are you trying to do, ruin the market?
JONES: Once this lovely little lady starts to show this precious little darling around, you won't be able to keep up with them.

[Briefing room]

KIRK: Yes, what is it?
UHURA [OC]: Message from Starfleet, Captain. Priority channel. Admiral Fitzpatrick speaking.
KIRK: Put it on visual, Lieutenant.
ADMIRAL [on monitor]: Captain Kirk?
KIRK: Kirk here.
ADMIRAL [on monitor]: Captain, it is not necessary to remind you of the importance to the Federation of Sherman's Planet. The key to our winning of this planet is the grain quadrotriticale. The shipment of it must be protected. Effective immediately, you will render any aid and assistance which Undersecretary Baris may require. The safety of the grain and the project is your responsibility. Starfleet out.
KIRK: Now, that's just lovely.
SPOCK: But not totally unexpected.
UHURA [OC]: Captain Kirk! Captain Kirk!
KIRK: Yes, Lieutenant, what is it?
UHURA [OC]: Sensors are picking up a Klingon battle cruiser rapidly closing on the station.
KIRK: Go to Red Alert. Notify Mister Lurry. We'll be right up.

[Bridge]

KIRK: What is the position of the Klingon ship?
CHEKOV: A hundred kilometres off K7. It's just sitting there.
UHURA: Captain, I have Mister Lurry.
KIRK: Put him on visual.
UHURA: Aye, sir.
KIRK: Mister Lurry, there's a Klingon warship hanging one hundred kilometres off your station.
LURRY [on viewscreen]: I don't think the Klingons are planning to attack us.
KIRK: Why not?
LURRY [on viewscreen]: Because at this moment the captain of the Klingon ship is sitting right here in my office.
KIRK: Cancel Red Alert. We'll beam right down.
UHURA: Security, cancel Red Alert.

Captain's log, stardate 4524.2. A Klingon warship is hovering only a hundred kilometres from Deep Space Station K7 while its captain waits in the station manager's office. Their intentions are unknown.

[Lurry's office]

(False smiles all round as Kirk and Spock are greeted by a Klingon who very closely resembles the Squire of Gothos...)
KOLOTH: Ah, my dear Captain Kirk.
KIRK: My dear Captain Koloth.
KOLOTH: Let me assure you that my intentions are peaceful. As I've already told Mister Lurry, the purpose of my presence is to invoke shore leave rights.
KIRK: Shore leave?
KOLOTH: Captain, we Klingons are not as luxury-minded as you Earthers. We do not equip our ships with, how shall I say it, non-essentials. (makes an hour-glass gesture with his hands)
KORAX: We have been in space for five months. What we choose as recreation is our own business.
KOLOTH: I might also add that under terms of the Organian Peace Treaty, you cannot refuse us.
KIRK: Yes, well, I don't make those decisions. Mister Lurry is in charge of those matters.
LURRY: Captain, may I speak to you a minute? (takes him aside) Look, I don't want them here, but I don't have the authority to refuse.
KIRK: Well, I have the authority to act, and I'm going to use it. My dear Captain Koloth, you may indeed bring your men down on shore leave, but only twelve at a time. And I assure you, for every man you bring down here, I shall have one security guard. There will be no trouble.
KOLOTH: Captain Kirk, there's been no formal declaration of hostilities between our two respective governments. So, naturally, our relationship will be a peaceful one.
KIRK: Let us both take steps to keep it that way.
KOLOTH: Of course.

[Rec room]

(Scott is at a monitor, reading, when Spock and Kirk enter.)
KIRK: Another technical journal, Scotty?
SCOTT: Aye.
KIRK: Don't you ever relax?
SCOTT: I am relaxing.
(There is a crowd at a long table, and there are purring sounds.)
MCCOY: How long have you had that thing, Lieutenant?
UHURA: Since yesterday, Doctor. This morning, I found out that he, I mean she, had had babies.
MCCOY: Well, in that case, you got a bargain.
KIRK: You running a nursery, Lieutenant?
UHURA: Oh, Captain. Well, I hadn't intended to, sir, but the tribble had other plans.
KIRK: Did you get this at the space station?
UHURA: Yes, sir.
SPOCK: (stroking a tribble) A most curious creature, Captain. Its trilling seems to have a tranquillising effect on the human nervous system. Fortunately, of course, I am immune to its effect.
(Everyone stares, he suddenly realises what he is doing, and puts it down. Spock and Kirk leave.)
MCCOY: Lieutenant, do you mind if I take one of these down to the lab to see what makes it tick?
UHURA: Well, all right, Doctor, but if you're going to dissect it, I don't want to know about it.
MCCOY: I won't harm a hair on its head, wherever that is.
FREEMAN: Say, Lieutenant. Seeing as you're giving them away, can I have one?
UHURA: Sure, why not? I think they're old enough. (to all) Go ahead.

[Corridor]

CHEKOV [OC]: Bridge to Captain Kirk.
KIRK: Kirk here.
CHEKOV [OC]: Mister Baris waiting is on channel E to speak to you, sir.
KIRK: Pipe it down here will you, Mister Chekov.
CHEKOV [OC]: Aye, sir. Mister Baris is coming on.
KIRK: Yes, Mister Baris. What can I do for you?

[Lurry's office]

BARIS: Kirk, this station is swarming with Klingons.

[Corridor]

KIRK: I was not aware, Mister Baris, that twelve Klingons constitutes a swarm.

[Lurry's office]

BARIS: Captain Kirk, there are Klingon soldiers on this station. Now, I want you to keep that grain safe.

[Corridor]

KIRK: Mister Baris, I have guards around the grain. I have guards around the Klingons. The only reason those guards are there is because Starfleet wants them there. As for what you want (pauses at a look from Spock) It has been noted and logged. Kirk out.
SPOCK: Captain, may I ask where you'll be?
KIRK: Sickbay with a headache.

[Sickbay]

(There are eleven fluffy tribbles of various sizes and colour in a large container.)
MCCOY: Hi, Jim.
KIRK: Bones, what have you got for a headache?
MCCOY: Let me guess. Klingons? Baris?
KIRK: Both. How many of these did Uhura give you?
MCCOY: Just one.
KIRK: But you've got, er, eleven.
MCCOY: You noticed that, huh? Here. This ought to take care of it.
KIRK: How do they? How do they?
MCCOY: I haven't figured that out yet, but I can tell you this much. Almost fifty percent of the creature's metabolism is geared for reproduction. Do you know what you get if you feed a tribble too much?
KIRK: A fat tribble.
MCCOY: No. You get a bunch of hungry little tribbles.
KIRK: Well, Bones, all I can suggest is you open up a maternity ward.

[Transporter room]

KIRK: All you men going on shore leave to stay in groups. Avoid trouble with the Klingons.
SCOTT: I'll tell them before they go, sir.
KIRK: Aren't you going on shore leave, Scotty?
SCOTT: Why, no, sir.
KIRK: I want you to go on shore leave. Make sure that everybody stays out of trouble.
SCOTT: But, Captain. Aye, sir.
KIRK: Scotty, enjoy yourself.

[K7 Bar]

(Business is good. Scott, Chekov and Freeman take the last vacant table. Two security men leave and Jones enters, whistling.)
JONES: Ah, friend. Can I offer you a charming little tribble?
SCOTT: Uh, no, thanks.
JONES: Oh. Perhaps one of you other gents?
(No reply)
JONES: Ah, friend Klingon. Can I interest you in a harmless tribble?
(The tribble screeches.)
KORAX: Get it away from me.
JONES: I'm sorry. I can't understand it. I've never seen them act this way before.
KORAX: Get out of here with that parasite.
JONES: He's only a harmless little
KORAX: Take it away!
JONES: Yes. Ah, my good friend. How would you like to enter another little transaction? This time, a tribble for a spot
BARMAN: A tribble.
JONES: Indeed.
BARMAN: (starts producing tribbles from all over the place and putting them on the bar) A tribble?
(The pretty lady in yellow brings our group their drinks.)
SCOTT: When are you going to get off that milk diet, lad?
CHEKOV: This is vodka.
SCOTT: Where I come from, that's soda pop. This is a drink for a man.
CHEKOV: Scotch?
SCOTT: Aye.
CHEKOV: It was invented by a little old lady from Leningrad.
(Korax goes over to the bar and shares his drink with Jones.)
KORAX: The Earthers like those fuzzy things, don't they?
JONES: Oh, yes.
KLINGON: Frankly, I never liked Earthers. They remind me of Regulan blood worms.
CHEKOV: That Cossack.
SCOTT: Easy, lad. You ought to be more forgiving.
KORAX: No. I just remembered. There is one Earthman who doesn't remind me of a Regulan blood worm. That's Kirk. A Regulan blood worm is soft and shapeless, but Kirk isn't soft. Kirk may be a swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood, but he's not soft.
(Chekov leaps to his feet)
SCOTT: Take it easy, lad. Everybody's entitled to an opinion.
KORAX: That's right, and if I think that Kirk is a Denebian slime devil, well that's my opinion too.
SCOTT: Don't do it, mister, and that's an order.
CHEKOV: You heard what he called the captain.
SCOTT: Forget it. It's not worth fighting for. We're big enough to take a few insults. Now, drink your drink.
(swaps Chekov's vodka for Freeman's red wine.)
KORAX: Of course, I'd say that Captain Kirk deserves his ship. We like the Enterprise. We, we really do. That sagging old rust bucket is designed like a garbage scow. Half the quadrant knows it. That's why they're learning to speak Klingonese.
CHEKOV: Mister Scott!
SCOTT: Laddie, don't you think you should rephrase that?
KORAX: You're right, I should. I didn't mean to say that the Enterprise should be hauling garbage. I meant to say that it should be hauled away as garbage.
(There's a fight, of course. Scott's first right cross sends Korax flying over a table. After that, it's the Klingons versus Starfleet, with the barman beating a retreat and Jones taking the opportunity to help himself to drinks from the dispensing machine. Finally he decides to leave with his spoils and is about to enjoy his last glass when the Security guards rush in followed by the Barman, who takes the glass just before it reaches Jones' lips. So he takes another out of his pocket instead.)

Captain's Log, stardate 4525.6. A small disturbance between the Klingon crew and members of the Enterprise crew has broken out aboard Space Station K7. I am forced to cancel shore leave for both ships.

[Briefing room]

(Ten men are lined up. Chekov has a nice bruise on his cheek.)
KIRK: I want to know who started it. I'm waiting. Freeman, who started the fight?
FREEMAN: I don't know, sir.
KIRK: All right. Chekov. I know you. You started it, didn't you?
CHEKOV: No, sir, I didn't.
KIRK: Who did?
CHEKOV: I don't know, sir.
KIRK: I don't know, sir. I want to know who threw the first punch. All right. You're all confined to quarters until I find out who started it. Dismissed. (the men file out) Scotty, not you. You were supposed to prevent trouble, Mister Scott.
SCOTT: Aye, Captain.
KIRK: Who threw the first punch, Scotty?
SCOTT: Um.
KIRK: Mister Scott?
SCOTT: I did, Captain.
KIRK: You did, Mister Scott? What caused it, Scotty?
SCOTT: They insulted us, sir.
KIRK: Must have been some insult.
SCOTT: Aye, it was.
KIRK: You threw the first punch.
SCOTT: Aye. Chekov wanted to, but I held him back.
KIRK: You held? Why did Chekov want to start a fight?
SCOTT: Well, the Klingon, sir. Is this off the record?
KIRK: No, this is not off the record.
SCOTT: Well, Captain, the Klingons called you, uh a tin-plated, overbearing, swaggering dictator with delusions of godhood.
KIRK: Is that all?
SCOTT: No, sir. They also compared you with a Denebian slime devil.
KIRK: I see.
SCOTT: And then they said you
KIRK: I get the picture, Scotty.
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
KIRK: After they said all this, that's when you hit the Klingons?
SCOTT: No, sir.
KIRK: No?
SCOTT: No, I didn't. You told us to avoid trouble.
KIRK: Oh, yes.
SCOTT: And I didn't see that it was worth fighting about. After all, we're big enough to take a few insults. Aren't we?
KIRK: What was it they said that started the fight?
SCOTT: They called the Enterprise a garbage scow, sir.
KIRK: I see. And that's when you hit the Klingons?
SCOTT: Yes, sir.
KIRK: You hit the Klingons because they insulted the Enterprise, not because they
SCOTT: Well, sir, this was a matter of pride.
KIRK: All right, Scotty. Dismissed. Scotty, you're restricted to quarters until further notice.
SCOTT: (big grin) Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. That'll give me a chance to catch up on my technical journals.

[Sickbay]

(There are a lot more than eleven tribbles now.)
MCCOY: What's the matter, Spock?
SPOCK: There's something disquieting about these creatures.
MCCOY: Don't tell me you've got a feeling.
SPOCK: Don't be insulting, Doctor. They remind me of the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin. But they seem to eat a great deal. I see no practical use for them.
MCCOY: Does everything have to have a practical use for you? They're nice, soft, and furry, and they make a pleasant sound.
SPOCK: So would an ermine violin, but I see no advantage in having one.
MCCOY: It's a human characteristic to love little animals, especially if they're attractive in some way.
SPOCK: Doctor, I am well aware of human characteristics. I am frequently inundated by them, but I've trained myself to put up with practically anything.
MCCOY: Spock, I don't know too much about these little tribbles yet, but there's one thing that I have discovered.
SPOCK: What is that, Doctor?
MCCOY: I like them better than I like you.
SPOCK: Doctor?
MCCOY: Yes?
SPOCK: They do have one redeeming characteristic.
MCCOY: What's that?
SPOCK: They do not talk too much. If you'll excuse me, sir.

[Bridge]

(Kirk walks to his chair, preoccupied by his last conversation. When he sits, there is a squeak. He has sat on a large tribble. Then he notices that there are fluffy balls everywhere.)
KIRK: Doctor McCoy, would you mind coming up to the bridge? (he takes a walk around then) Lieutenant Uhura, how did all these tribbles get on the bridge?
UHURA: I don't know, sir. They do seem to be all over the ship.
(McCoy enters, stroking a tribble.)
KIRK: Doctor McCoy.
MCCOY: Yes? Did you want to see me, Jim? Don't look at me. It's the tribbles who are breeding. If we don't get them off this ship, we're going to be hip deep in them.
KIRK: Explain that.
MCCOY: The nearest thing I can figure out is they're born pregnant, which seems to be quite a time saver.
KIRK: I know, but really
MCCOY: And from my observations, it seems they're bisexual, reproducing at will. And, brother, have they got a lot of will.
SPOCK: Captain, I am forced to agree with the doctor. I've been running computations on their rate of reproduction. The figures are taking an alarming direction. They're consuming our supplies and returning nothing.
UHURA: But they do give us something, Mister Spock. They give us love. Well, Cyrano Jones says a tribble is the only love that money can buy.
KIRK: Too much of anything, Lieutenant, even love, isn't necessarily a good thing.
UHURA: Yes, Captain.
KIRK: Get the maintenance crew to clean up the entire ship, and then contact Mister Lurry and tell him I'm beaming down.
UHURA: Aye, aye.
KIRK: Have him find Cyrano Jones and hold him.
UHURA: Aye.
KIRK: And get these tribbles off the bridge.
UHURA: Aye, aye, Captain.

[Lurry's office]

JONES: Captain Kirk, I'm mystified at your tone of voice. I've done nothing to warrant such severe treatment.
KIRK: Oh, really?
SPOCK: Surely you must have realised what would happen if you removed the tribbles from their predator-filled environment into an environment where their natural multiplicative proclivities would have no restraining factors.
JONES: Of course. What did you say?
SPOCK: By removing the tribbles from their natural habitat, you have, so to speak, removed the cork from the bottle and allowed the genie to escape.
JONES: If by that, you mean do they breed quickly? Of course, that's how I maintain my stock. Breeding animals is not against regulations, only breeding dangerous ones. And tribbles are not dangerous.
KIRK: Just incredibly prolific.
JONES: Precisely, and at six credits a head, well, that is, a body, it mounts up. Now if you'll excuse me.
KIRK: You should sell an instruction and maintenance manual for this thing.
JONES: If I did, what would happen to man's search for knowledge? Well, I must be tending my ship. Au revoir.
(He meets Baris and Darvin at the door.)
DARVIN: Go ahead, sir. Tell him.
BARIS: Captain Kirk, I consider your security measures a disgrace. In my opinion, you have taken this important project far too lightly.
KIRK: On the contrary, sir. I think of this project as very important. It is you I take lightly.
BARIS: I am going to report fully to the proper authorities that you have given free and complete access to this station to a man who is quite probably a Klingon agent.
KIRK: That's a serious charge. To whom are you referring?
BARIS: To that man who just walked out of here.
KIRK: Cyrano Jones, a Klingon agent?
BARIS: You heard me.
KIRK: I heard you.
SPOCK: He simply could not believe his ears.
KIRK: What evidence do you have against Mister Jones?
BARIS: My assistant here has kept Mister Jones under close surveillance for quite some time, and his actions have been most suspicious. I believe he was involved in that little altercation between your men and the men from
KIRK: Yes, yes. Go on. What else do you have?
DARVIN: Well Captain, I've checked his ship's log, and it seems that he was within the Klingon's sphere of influence less than four months ago.
BARIS: The man is an independent scout, Captain. It is quite possible he is also a Klingon spy.
SPOCK: We have already checked on the background of Mister Cyrano Jones. He is a licensed asteroid locator and prospector. He's never broken the law, at least not severely. For the past seven years, with his one-man spaceship, he's obtained a marginal living by engaging in the buying and selling of rare merchandise, including, unfortunately, tribbles.
BARIS: But he is after my grain!
KIRK: Do you have any proof of that?
DARVIN: You can't deny he's disrupted this station.
KIRK: People have disrupted stations before without being Klingon agents. Sometimes, all they need is a title, Mister Baris. Unfortunately, disrupting a space station is not an offence. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a ship to tend to. Au revoir.

[Rec room]

(There are tribbles on the walls, the floor, the tables, even as chess pieces. Kirk gets a tray from the food dispenser. It has tribbles on it.)
KIRK: My chicken sandwich and coffee. This is my chicken sandwich and coffee.
SPOCK: Fascinating.
KIRK: I want these off the ship. I don't care if it takes every man we've got, I want them off the ship.
(Scott enters, carrying an armful of fluff.)
SCOTT: They're into the machinery, all right, and they're probably in all the other food processors too.
KIRK: How?
SCOTT: Probably through one of the air vents.
SPOCK: Captain, there are vents of that type on the space station.
KIRK: And in the storage compartments. (goes to a table monitor) This is Kirk. Contact Manager Lurry and Nilz Baris. Have them meet us near the storage compartments. We're beaming down. Come on, Spock.

[Transporter room]

(The tribbles are all over the pads too. Kirk picks one up but there's nowhere else to put it.)
KIRK: Energise.

[Lurry's office]

LURRY: What's wrong?
KIRK: Plenty, if what I think's happened has happened.

[Storage compartments]

KIRK: Is that door secure?
GUARD: Yes, sir. Nothing could get in.
KIRK: Good. Open it.
GUARD: It's not working, sir. It seems to be stuck.
KIRK: Here. Let me try it.
(But he can't open it either, so he tried one of the overhead doors instead. That does open, and a whole load of tribbles fall out, burying the gallant Captain up to his shoulders. Spock examines one.)
SPOCK: They seem to be gorged.
BARIS: Gorged? On my grain? Kirk, I am going to hold you responsible. There must be thousands of them.
KIRK: Hundreds of thousands.
SPOCK: One million seven hundred seventy one thousand five hundred sixty one. That's assuming one tribble, multiplying with an average litter of ten, producing a new generation every twelve hours over a period of three days.
KIRK: That's assuming they got here three days ago.
SPOCK: And allowing for the amount of grain consumed and the volume of the storage compartment.
BARIS: Kirk, you should have known. You are responsible for turning the development project into a total disaster.
KIRK: Mister Baris
BARIS: And I'm through being intimidated, Kirk. You have insulted me, you have ignored me, you've walked all over me. You have abused your authority, and you've rejected my requests. And this, this is the result. I'm going to hold you responsible.
KIRK: Mister Baris, I'll hold you in irons if you don't shut up.
MCCOY: Jim, I think I've got it. All we have to do is quit feeding them. We quit feeding them, they stop breeding.
KIRK: Now he tells me.
SPOCK: Captain this tribble is dead. And so are these.
MCCOY: A lot of them are dead. A lot of them are alive, but they won't be for long.
SPOCK: The logical assumption is that there is something in the grain.
KIRK: Yes. Bones, I want the tribbles, the grain, everything analysed. I want to know what killed these tribbles.
MCCOY: I haven't figured out what keeps them alive yet. All right, if I find out anything, I'll let you know. (leaves)
BARIS: That isn't going to do you any good, Kirk. This project is ruined, and Starfleet is going to hear about it. And when they do, they will have a board of inquiry and they will roast you alive. And I am going to be there, Kirk, to enjoy every minute of it.
KIRK: Until that inquiry, I'm still the captain. And as Captain, I want two things done. First, find Cyrano Jones, and second (as another tribble hits him on the head) close that door.

[Lurry's office]

(A security guard is picking up tribbles.)
JONES: Really, Captain Kirk, I must protest this treatment.
KIRK: Ah, Mister Jones, with an armful. A few questions.
KOLOTH: Captain Kirk!
KIRK: What do you want?
KOLOTH: An official apology addressed to the Klingon High Command. I expect you to assume full responsibility for the persecution of Klingon nationals in this quadrant.
KIRK: An apology?
KOLOTH: Yes. You've harassed my men. You've treated them like criminals. You've been most uncourteous, Captain Kirk. If you wish to avoid a diplomatic incident
BARIS: No, Kirk. You can't let him. That will give them the wedge they need to claim Sherman's Planet.
SPOCK: I believe that more than the word of an aggrieved Klingon commander would be necessary for that, Mister Baris.
KOLOTH: Mister Spock, as far as Sherman's Planet is concerned, Captain Kirk has already given it to us.
KIRK: Well, we'll see about that, but before I take any official action, I'd like to know Just what happened. Who put the tribbles in the quadrotriticale? What was in the grain that killed them?
KOLOTH: Captain Kirk, before you go on, may I make a request?
KIRK: Yes.
KOLOTH: Can you get those things out of here?
(The guards take Jones' tribbles from him. They get to the door as Darvin enters, and the tribbles shriek.)
SPOCK: Remarkable.
KIRK: Hold on a minute. I thought you said tribbles liked everybody.
JONES: They do. I can't understand it. The last time I saw one act this way was at the bar.
KIRK: What was in the bar?
JONES: Klingons. Him, for one. (points at Korax)
(Kirk takes two tribbles from the guards and brings them near Korax. They shriek.)
KIRK: You're right, Mister Jones. They don't like Klingons. (McCoy enters) But they do like Vulcans. I didn't know you had it in you.
SPOCK: Obviously tribbles are very perceptive creatures, Captain.
KIRK: Obviously. Mister Baris, they like you. Well, there's no accounting for taste. (and back to Darvin) They don't like you, Mister Darvin. I wonder why. Bones?
MCCOY: (scanning him) Heartbeat is all wrong. His body temperature is. Jim, this man is a Klingon.
BARIS: A Klingon?
KIRK: I wonder what Starfleet Command will say about that. What about the grain, Bones?
MCCOY: Oh, yes. It was poisoned.
BARIS: Poisoned?
MCCOY: Yes. It's been impregnated with a virus. The virus turns into an inert material in the bloodstream. The more the organism eats, the more inert matter is built up. So after two or three days, they reached a point where they couldn't take in enough nourishment to survive.
KIRK: They starved to death. In a storage compartment full of grain, they starved to death.
MCCOY: That is essentially it.
KIRK: Mister Darvin, are you going to talk?
DARVIN: I have nothing to say. (Kirk thrusts the tribbles into his face) All right, I poisoned the grain! Take them away.
KIRK: And the tribbles had nothing to do with it?
DARVIN: I don't know. I never saw one before in my life, and I hope I never see one of those fuzzy miserable things again.
BARIS: I'm certain that can be arranged, Darvin. Guards? If you'll excuse me, Captain.
(Baris leaves with the security guards and Darvin.)
KIRK: Captain Koloth. About that apology.
KOLOTH: Yes?
KIRK: You have six hours to get your ship out of Federation territory.
(The tribbles shriek, Koloth makes a hasty bow and practically runs out of the room with Korax.)
KIRK: You know, I think I could learn to like tribbles.

[K7 Bar]

(The face of an unhappy barman peers out from a pile of tribbles.)
JONES: Well, Captain, I suppose I'm free to go now.
KIRK: No, you're not. There's something I want to show you. You know what the penalty is for transporting an animal proven harmful to human life?
JONES: Captain, one little tribble isn't harmful. Captain, you wouldn't do a thing like that to me, now would you? Would you?
SPOCK: The penalty is twenty years in a rehabilitation colony.
JONES: Captain Kirk. Friend. Friend Kirk. Surely we can come to some sort of mutual understanding. After all, my tribbles did put you wise to the poisoned grain, and they did help you to find the Klingon agent. You saved a lot of lives that way.
KIRK: There is one thing you can do.
JONES: Yes?
KIRK: Pick up every tribble on the space station. If you do that, I'll speak to Mister Lurry about returning your spaceship.
JONES: It would take years.
SPOCK: Seventeen point nine, to be exact.
JONES: Seventeen point nine years.
KIRK: Consider it Job security.
JONES: Captain, you're a hard man. All right! All right!
KIRK: You'll do it?
JONES: I'll do it.
(He starts stuffing tribbles into his many pockets.)

[Bridge]

SPOCK: Captain, Starfleet was able to divert that freighter.
KIRK: Good. That means Sherman's Planet will get its quadrotriticale only a few weeks late. I don't see any tribbles around here.
MCCOY: And you won't find a tribble on this entire ship.
KIRK: Bones, how did you do it?
MCCOY: I cannot take credit for another man's work. Scotty did it.
KIRK: Scotty! Where are the tribbles?
SCOTT: Oh, er, Captain, it was really Mister Spock's recommendation.
KIRK: Of course. Spock.
SPOCK: Based on computer analysis, of course, taking into account the possibilities of
KIRK: Gentlemen, I don't want to interrupt this mutual admiration society, but I'd like to know where the tribbles are.
MCCOY: Tell him, Spock.
SPOCK: Well, it was Mister Scott who performed the actual engineering.
KIRK: Mister Scott. Where are the tribbles?
SCOTT: I used the transporter, Captain.
KIRK: You used the transporter?
SCOTT: Aye.
KIRK: Where did you transport them? Scott, you didn't transport them into space, did you?
SCOTT: Captain Kirk, that'd be inhuman.
KIRK: Where are they?
SCOTT: I gave them a good home, sir.
KIRK: (shouting) Where?
SCOTT: I gave them to the Klingons, sir.
KIRK: (a whisper) You gave them to the Klingons?
SCOTT: Aye, sir. Before they went into warp, I transported the whole kit and caboodle into their engine room, where they'll be no tribble at all.

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