Don't! Tell It to the Captain

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Title: Don't! Tell It To the Captain
Publisher: Mardy Lamski
Author(s): Collete Mak, Beverly Zuk, and Mardy Lamski
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): Todd Hamilton
Date(s): May 1983
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links: Don't Tell It to the Captain
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Don't! Tell It To the Captain is a 142-page gen novel by Collete Mak, Beverly Zuk and Mardy Lamksi.


What happens when Dr. McCoy runs into a medical problem he can't handle? Why, the only reasonable answer -- he smuggles aboard an old colleague without anyone's knowledge. Of course, shortly thereafter, everyone on board knows all about it ... everyone except the Captain, who's busy getting the Enterprise ship-shape and Bristol-fashion for an inspection by one of the pickest admirals in the Fleet! Predictably, chaos ensues! [1]
Spock is badly injured in a turbolift malfunction just before the Enterprise is due to have a full inspection by a cranky, by-the-book admiral. Regulations state that any individual who remains unfit for duty longer than 20 days must be rotated to a base hospital, but Kirk knows if Spock is transferred, the Vulcan will be reassigned when he recovers and someone will be assigned to take his place aboard ship. Wanting to avoid that at all costs, Kirk demands McCoy find a way to keep Spock on the ship and certify him fit for light duty before the inspection ends -- not a small task! With the help of the entire crew at one time or another, McCoy and Scotty alternately cover up, mislay and hide a drugged-to-the-gills Vulcan. They make sure that at no time does Kirk ever become aware of their shennanigans so he can truthfully tell the admiral that his first officer is indeed on the ship, but just...elsewhere each time the admiral wants to talk to him. Hijinks abound, and the motto of the crafty crew? "Don't tell it to the captain! [2]

From the Zine's Editorial

Paula Smith wrote a story called "For Sale, Must Sacrifice" in Warped Space #15. Then Jan Lindner wrote a story called "No Deposit, No Return" in Warped Space #37. The stories stirred up sentiments... [The editor and company] always wanted to see the theme handled differently... What would happen if McCoy hit a surgical problem he couldn't handle?... Weeks later, we had a mixed bag of unrelated scenes. By BlooMN' Con, I began to think it might be nice to have a plot... We added an outline. More scenes. Then a revised outline. Then still more scenes. So, as you read this, if you like our version of Security, most of the praise goes to Mandy. If you like our young engineers and the old laundry officer, blame Collette's imagination. If you like our visitors, some of that can be attributed to me. And if you don't like any of it, blame Paula Smith!

From the Zine's Introduction

Every branch of the service, throughout the known universe, knew, and loathed, the most highly developed and (most feared) manifestation of the military mind: the formal inspection. A botched inspection could blight a promising captain's career, consign a whole crew to permanent star-mapping voyages among the barren reaches of the outmost quadrant, cause a ship to be dry-docked. Inspections were rigorous, exacting, potentially the most promising tools available (Klingon attacks and intergalactic disasters notwithstanding) to Starfleet when -- if -- Starlfleet desired to pursue a vendetta...


Reactions and Reviews


DONT TELL IT TO THE CAPTAIN is, quite simply, one of the funniest novels ever to come out of Trek fandom. Upon the decks of the post-V'ger Enterprise, co-authors Collette Mak, Bev Zuk, and Mardy Lamski have dumped a comatose Vulcan, an unauthorized equipment purchase, a shanghaied surgeon, 20 semi-missing Andorian aphrodisiac tablets, the mandatory bubble-headed yeoman, and the wackiest first-class inspection team ever to be turned loose by the Admiralty. The result is 142 pages of skillfully-paced, delightfully-written, giggle-invoking chaos. Todd Hamilton's cartoon-style illos are the frosting on the cake. The story begins on a deceptively somber note with an injury to Mr. Spock which proves to be beyond even Dr. McCoy's considerable talents to repair. An emergency medical transfer to a starbase facility would solve the problem, but it would also mean Spock's reassignment to another ship upon his recovery. Unwilling to accept that scenario, Kirk tells McCoy to "present me with a few McCoy hastily bamboozles an old acquaintance—if not precisely an old friend—into making a highly unauthorized trip to the Enterprise to perform the necessary surgery. Then he has to hide the overbearing Robert Benton Santeen—surely one of the most obnoxious fictional characters ever created—from the gimlet eyes of Admiral 'Gunboats' Ortega, who is bearing down upon the Big E with his inspection team. McCoy also has to hide Spock—or at least Spock's true condition—from the Admiral, or the whole ulcer-making scheme will have been for nothing. What follows is a riotous shell game of now-you-see-him, now-you-don't, as the hapless Vulcan is shuttled from pillar to post, accompanied by a growing collection of contraband. Along the way, the reader meets some old familiar crew members and a motley collection of new ones—from sudsy-but-sleazy Elmo Benson, Lord of the Laundry, to Mary-Mary O'Shaughnessy, whose penchant for fainting at every available crisis is exceeded only by her predeliction for embarrassing entanglements inside Jeffries tubes. DONT TELL IT TO THE CAPTAIN is a delightful romp with the characterizations as sharp as the wit. Put this one on your list of 'must-buys'.[3]
For those of you who relish Trek humor, and are always looking for the silly underside of life on the Big E, your prayers have been answered: (Don't) TELL IT TO THE CAPTAIN is high (and often low) comedy at its insane best. Without presuming to describe creative chaos, the plot runs something like this: Spock is injured in a turbolift crash; Kirk, preparing the ship for inspection and unwilling to have Spock sent to Star Base for treatment, orders McCoy to have the First Officer back in action on time; the good Doctor bends, breaks, and finally annihilates every rule in order to comply without getting caught. In the process, every department of the ship is involved, from Engineering to Laundry. DTITTC is consistently funny, and at times absolutely brilliant -- can't you just see a bewildered star ship captain methodically banging his head against a bulkhead at 0400 hours? And just what is Spock doing with a cabin full of porn tapes, illicit substances, and very small bikini underwear? For all it's "adult" references, this zine is safely PG for those who prefer their crudities veiled. More than anything it's good, crazy, inane fun in the tradition of Tales of Feldman. And it proves undisputedly that, while you don't have to be insane to get into Starfleet, it sure helps! [4]


I borrowed "Don't Tell It to the Captain" which a friend recommended as being terrific comedy. I've got to talk to him about that. I guess some people don't think comedy is supposed to be logical and consistent, but to me, when a story stops making sense, I get annoyed. And I've never found the "everyone's-running-around-trying-to-hide-something" school of humor to be funny, Shakespeare included.[5]
May I take a (small) exception to Lisa's opinion of (Don't) Tell It to the Captain? Her's is the first really negative review I've seen of this zine. Lisa admits that the "Vulcan-Vulcan-Who'a-Got-the-Vulcan?" school of humor isn't a favorite of hers. Personal preference is a valid reason not to like a story. From her indication that Captain wasn't logical or consistent and didn't make sense, however, I must guess that she speed-read through the story. All the dovetails really are there, but they weren't printed in captial letters anywhere. The reader has to read and tie things together. This is not an unreasonable requirement. I, too, object to having to read an author's mind as to the whys and wherefores of a plot. However, I honestly don't think Captain's writers can be accused of expecting that.[6]


I really enjoyed this slightly adult story, again about minor crewmembers involved in hiding things during an inspection tour. Should be rated PG.[7]


Hurrah! The Bureaucrats were hoodwinked! Ladies, I loathe inspections so I enjoyed your tale very much. But did you have to have all those nurses do that stuff to Mr. Spock? For shame. Taking advantage of a defenceless Vulcan! Dr. Santeen is a twit and Mary-Mary is welcome to him. Dr. McCoy, you also are not supposed to fall for your superior officer! Keep it up, girls, a good laugh in all the right places. Very good characters especially Ssfarn. He deserves a whole story to himself. How about it? And all those innocent faces' from the illos, wow! [8]


The creator of this zine, Collete Zak, graciously is allowing me to share this with y’all. This is the Enterprise ship inspection story I see people wishing for on tumblr.

This is the funniest TOS fanzine of all time. Please! Read and enjoy!! And reblog!

[If you intend to share the link elsewhere than tumblr, please make a copy of the PDF on another host. Thanks! Not sure how much traffic google drive is going to allow.] ADDING: Please leave the PDF intact and share that only. That’s what I have permission for. Thanks! [9]
This is one of the greatest Star Trek zines ever made, imho. We are lucky to have the pdf version, because copies of the original zine are hard to find.[10]


  1. from an ebay listing accessed October 13, 2009
  2. from a distributor, Agent With Style
  3. from Universal Translator #20
  4. from TREKisM #31
  5. from Treklink #2
  6. from Treklink #3, in response to the comment in Treklink #2
  7. from Treklink #16
  8. from Beyond Antares #30/31
  9. comment by karajstorm, karajstorm.tumblr, ; archive link, May 3, 2017
  10. comment by Doctor Beth, Doctor Beth: Star Trek TOS and Beyond Story, novel and Fanzines:, Archived version, May 3, 2017