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A Mirror for Futility

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
PP Mirror Futility.jpg

Cover of Record #2

Writer(s): Alan Dean Foster
Publisher: Peter Pan Records
Series: Star Trek Story Records #6
Published: 1975
Run Time: Approx. 12 Minutes
Comic Pages: 7
Stardate: 5470 (2260s)

Summary

"Captain's log, stardate 5470. The Enterprise is on routine patrol on the outer fringes of Federation territory facing the intergalactic gulf. We are preparing to terminate the patrol. Nothing unusual has been encountered. Log concluded."

Near the end of the patrol, Mr. Sulu reports readings of extremely powerful radiation near the edge of their sensor range. Spock notes that it is unlike any natural phenomenon. Captain Kirk orders them to approach it and investigate when Sulu suggests that there are possibly two centers.

As they approach it, they discover that there are two enormous starships, each at least sixty times the mass of the Enterprise, in combat with each other, using weapons that Spock cannot describe and communicating in languages that Uhura cannot decipher, even with the universal translator.

Finally, one of the ships contacts the Enterprise, identifying itself as Red Worm of the Unified Dray Peoples. It does not recognize the Federation, and tells them that it assumes that they are neutral. Dr. McCoy tells Kirk to confirm that, but before Kirk can, they are contacted by the other vessel, introducing itself as Renderer, a warship of the Nax Empire. Kirk asks Spock if he can find information on either civilization. While he searches, both signals fade, and the two warships concentrate on attacking one another again.

Spock reports that both civilizations can only be found in myth, and are both reported to have died out over 150,000 years ago. Kirk contacts both ships asking to speak to an officer, but both seem to be unmanned. Spock speculates that both are run by computer and have been engaging in such combat for 150 millenia. Unfortunately, the ships are on course to the heart of the Federation.

Kirk contacts the two ships, suggesting they go elsewhere, but both take offense. Spock, McCoy, and Kirk discuss the situation, coming to the conclusion that they need to bluff the combatants. Kirk does so, threatening the arrival of thousands of Federation warships if they continue on their current course. As he sends the message, the Enterprise jumps to warp 8, just as the two ships fire on their previous position and move to pursue.

The two vessels are now headed away from the Federation, but still in pursuit of the Enterprise as they continue to battle each other. The Enterprise slowly increases speed, pulling away from them, but neither of the two ships appear to notice, too involved with each other. The Enterprise sets course for Starbase 14, knowing that the two ships are so evenly matched that they will not likely cause any problems again in the future.

Memorable quotes

"A trick! I see through you now! There is no such thing as a "United Federation of Planets." It was a low ploy of you, blashphemer, to attempt to fool me into assuming a weaker tactical position."
"You are quick, quick, evil monster! Did you truly think to trick me, me, with such a feeble lie! This United Federation, this tiny fabrication masquerading as an inhabited ship, is but a decoy, manufactured in your own perverted factories! You will pay for that. Die, social misfit!"
"I shall extinguish your noiseomness imperial vileness!"

- Red Worm and Renderer, during combat

Background information

  • This story was sometimes accompanied by a comic book telling of the story. The comic book did make some errors in character depiction however:
    • Sulu is shown as a black man in a science uniform (blue).
    • Uhura is shown as a blond Caucasian woman.

Releases

  • This story was released a total of five times during the Peter Pan Records run. It could be found on Records #2, #8, #9 (re-release of #8), #10 (re-release of #2), and #22.

Characters

Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Peter Pan Records characters.
James T. Kirk 
Enterprise captain.
Spock 
Enterprise exec and science officer.
Leonard McCoy 
Enterprise surgeon.
Montgomery Scott 
Enterprise chief engineer.
Hikaru Sulu 
Enterprise helmsman.
Uhura 
Enterprise communications officer.

References

Starbase 14 
A Federation Starbase.
Red Worm 
333rd super-dreadnought spaceship built by the Unified Dray Peoples.
Renderer 
A warship built by the Nax Empire.
Nax Empire and Unified Dray 
Two civilizations that flourished over 150,000 years before, and enemies to one another.


Previous audio production: Series Next audio production:
"To Starve a Fleaver" Peter Pan Records "The Logistics of Stampede"

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