Monday, December 17, 2012

Five year mission? More like a sixty-five year mission, I'm guessing.

We haven't checked out a Star Trek comic in some time, so today we'll remedy that: Star Trek #63, "The Alone, part two" Written by Kevin Ryan, pencils by Rod Whigham, inks by Arne Starr. The cover is a bit of a spoiler on this one.

This is a flashback issue: the older Captain Kirk is reading leaves, that relate to a mission from twenty years prior, towards the end of the Enterprise's original five year mission. Kirk describes it as "facing death in a way I had never faced it before...and that some changes were endings and not beginnings."

In the previous issue, while investigating a highly advanced alien transporter, Kirk accidentally was sent to another planet...and back in time. While Kirk is more than capable of surviving (he mentions picking up helpful skills during "A Private Little War" and "The Paradise Syndrome") he realizes he may be beyond rescue, and may spend the rest of his life there.

Meanwhile, Spock negotiates with the alien Wumbar, who attacked the alien structure out of fear: their race has been under siege by another alien race, the Drasalle. Spock also receives orders from Starfleet Command, to write off Kirk as lost and return to base. As always, Spock obeys...after a fashion.
In the past, after an attack by the wolf-like predators of that world, Kirk adopts a lost cub as a pet. He is mildly concerned that the creature may grow up and turn on him, but it's better than being alone; and names the creature "Gary" after his old friend. Building a cabin near a plateau, Kirk finds enough raw materials for his plan, lugging a pile of rocks up the plateau.

The Enterprise continues their survey of neighboring class-M planets for the captain; and Spock continues to win over the Wumbar commander. Spock also attempts to open relations with the Drasalle, who open fire on the Enterprise, then run like hell.

After five hundred days on the planet, Kirk has befriended Gary, created crude paper and ink and other tools, and begun carving steps into the plateau as well as multiple loads of rock a day. Although it seems hopeless, he never gives up; until years later Kirk finally dies of old age, with Gary mournfully howling besides him.
With the Wumbar now also looking, the Enterprise finds Kirk's signal. And his corpse. Kirk lived his whole life there, about a hundred and sixty-seven years prior. Scotty laments losing the captain, but Spock points out there was no intelligent life on that planet, so they can just slingshot around the sun back in time and get him. Which they do, although McCoy points out the paradox, which they also work around: they'll have to use the transporter to move rocks and set up the message.

Back in the present, after spending less than a day in the past, Kirk reads the logs he wrote of a life he never lived. He knows he got a second chance, and contemplates a change after the end of his mission. (This was a point a number of DC issues seemed to hammer on, to retroactively establish why Kirk took the admiral's position, since that rarely seemed a good fit for him.) Further in the future, the Enterprise-A visits the Wumbar, who are doing well for themselves, having just settled Gribbin-II, taking care to preserve a local landmark.

This was about when I fell off reading DC's Star Trek regularly, although I'm not sure why, since I love this one.


1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Interesting. Not a bad story either; surprised Peter David didn't write this since this stuff seems more his bag.