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In the Cyrano Jones and Tribbles story arc, The Trouble with Tribbles is followed by More Tribbles, More Troubles.
In the Arne Darvin story arc, The Trouble with Tribbles is followed by Trials and Tribble-ations.
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The Enterprise is called to Deep Space Station K7 by a distress call. It is near Sherman's Planet, a world whose ownership is under dispute between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. On arrival, Captain James T. Kirk becomes furious when he finds out the reason for the distress call, which was made by Nilz Baris, the under-secretary of agriculture for the sector: Baris wants someone to guard the shipments of Quadrotriticale (related to triticale) grain bound for Sherman's Planet, since Quadrotriticale is the only Earth grain that would grow on Sherman's Planet and thus is required to resolve the ownership issue. Kirk assigns two crewmen to guard the grain, but afterwards he finds out the Starfleet Command share Baris' concerns. In addition, a Klingon ship commanded by Captain Koloth arrives, who requests permission for his crew to board K7 for shore leave. Kirk agrees, but limits the number of Klingons at any one time and they must travel under Starfleet guard while on the station.

Meanwhile, an independent trader, Cyrano Jones, arrives on the station with some tribbles. He gives one to Lt. Uhura, who brings it on board the Enterprise, where it and its quickly produced offspring are treated as adorable pets. The animals purr a relaxing trill that the crew find soothing. Klingons, however, find tribbles annoying, and the feeling is mutual: tribbles hiss and shriek whenever they are near Klingons.

Doctor Leonard McCoy is concerned that the increasing numbers of tribbles threaten to consume all the onboard supplies. It is discovered that they are entering ship systems, interfering with their functions and consuming any edible contents present. Kirk realizes that if the tribbles are getting into the ship's stores, then they are a threat to the grain aboard the station. He examines the holds but learns that it is already too late: The tribbles have indeed eaten the quadrotriticale, and Kirk is literally buried in grain-gorged tribbles when he opens a grain hold with an overhead hatch. Spock and McCoy discover that about half the tribbles in the hold are dead and many of the rest are dying, alerting them that the grain has been poisoned.

Baris stubbornly holds Kirk responsible for this apparent fiasco, and Koloth additionally demands an apology from Kirk after some of the Enterprise crew were provoked into a brawl with the Klingons in the station's bar. However, the tribbles incidentally give away the identity of a Klingon agent surgically altered to resemble a human: Arne Darvin, Baris's own assistant. He had infected the grain with a virus that becomes an inert material in an organism's bloodstream which eventually prevents the organism from taking in enough nourishment to survive.

After Darvin's exposure and arrest, Cyrano Jones is ordered to remove the tribbles from the station (a task that Spock estimates will take 17.9 years) or he will be imprisoned for 20 years for transporting a dangerous life form off its native planet. Just before the Klingons depart, all the tribbles on the Enterprise are transported onto the Klingon vessel by Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott where, in his words, "they'll be no tribble at all."[1]

Errors and ExplanationsEdit

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit

Plot OversightsEdit

  1. Apparent lack of Enterprise security guards in the bar when the fight starts, despite Kirk sending them to K-7 to keep watch on the Klingons. There were probably either out of shot, or busy watching the other Klingons on the station.
  2. Two blue shirted crew members in the line up being disciplined by Kirk, even though there were no blue shirt crewmembers in the fight. They could be in the line up for another reason.
  3. Presence of an overhead door on the base of the grain locker. This would normally only be opened when there was a sack or container below, waiting to collect the grain.

Continuity and Production ProblemsEdit

  1. The Klingon captain resembling Trelane. Perhaps Trelane used the Klingon captain's face as the basis for his own.

Internet Movie DatabaseEdit


  1. Chekov's drink repeatedly changes hands between shots. Lots of people shift their drinks between hands.


  1. The Trouble with Tribbles at Wikipedia

The Original Series Season 2
Catspaw I Metamorphosis I Friday's Child I Who Mourns for Adonais?I Amok Time I The Doomsday Machine I Wolf in the Fold I The Changeling I The Apple I Mirror, Mirror I The Deadly Years I I, Mudd I The Trouble with Tribbles I Bread and Circuses I Journey to Babel I A Private Little War I The Gamesters of Triskelion I Obsession I The Immunity Syndrome I A Piece of the Action I By Any Other Name I Return to Tomorrow I Patterns of Force I The Ultimate Computer I The Omega Glory I Assignment: Earth