(written from a Production point of view)
|Writer(s):||Scott & David Tipton|
|Series:||Alien Spotlight #4|
|Published:||21 December 2007|
It is the mid-2260s, and Knox finds himself in Club Aknar, waiting to watch Leata, the Orion dancing girl. After her act, he goes backstage to see her, and she's left word to let him through. Upon entering her chambers, he tells her that he has the information she wanted and that "He's on Babel..." Leata takes her time to thank him for the information.
On Babel, Christopher Pike, having been retired from active starship duty and now serving as Fleet Captain of Starfleet, is being introduced to various dignitaries. He is introduced to Sorak, the Vulcan Undersecretary for Agricultural Affairs. As Sorak begins to speak to him, Pike excuses himself and leaves the room even though his aide, Spence, wishes to introduce him to more people. Looking out of the windows, Pike wonders to himself how soon he will be available to leave the station. Spence rushes out and tells him that he is needed in the reception line shortly, and Pike tells him that he just wants to stretch his legs for a minute.
Pike heads down to the Esplanade into the marketplace and sees an Orion woman pull a knife on a Tellarite. He runs over and knocks it out of her hands, knocking the Tellarite down in the process. The Tellarite, Muso, begins threatening Pike until he learns that the Orion woman, Leata, had pulled a knife on him. Muso pulls out a laser pistol and takes aim at Leata, but Pike knocks his aim astray. As she acrobatically leaps away, Leata tells Pike that she is in his debt, and she always repays her debts. Muso introduces himself to Pike and tells him that he carries the weapon for self-preservation. Pike suggests returning to the reception.
Back at the reception, Pike is bothered by the incident with Leata and contacts Commodore Mendez to get more information about Muso. He discovers that Muso is highly placed in political circles and Mendez asks Pike to keep an eye on Muso until extra security arrives. While watching Muso, Pike overhears a business deal that sounds suspicious and shares those suspicions with Mendez. After the conversation, he heads to Muso's quarters, overriding his security code. While there, he overhears another conversation between Muso and his cohorts discussing a 10,000 credit bounty on a Rigellian, dead or alive. The tail of the conversation turns to plans to kill Pike himself. As Pike turns to leave, he spots Leata sitting on Muso's bed and they discuss the situation, with Leata suggesting that they work together to kill the Tellarite. Pike breaks her hands free and tells her "That won't work on me, lady. I've been mind-controlled by the best in the Galaxy. I know all the tricks."
As they leave, they encounter Muso's cohorts. Pike pushes Leata behind him, but she flips over him and attacks their opponents, flattening two of them quickly. While Pike admires her handiwork, his arms are grabbed by two opponents. He head-butts the Tellarite in front of him and breaks free, just in time to face the Tellarite's phaser. As the Tellarite utters a threat, Leata plunges a knife into his back, without killing him.
They are about to leave the scene and report to Starfleet when Muso grabs Leata from behind and aims his pistol at Pike. Leata grabs his arm and flips him over her head onto the ground. She attacks him, remembering his killing of her sister previously on Rigel II. Pike stops her and takes the laser pistol from her before she can kill Muso. Pike calls station security and points the pistol at Muso. Leata pulls out a memory record containing information on all of Muso's bounties and crimes over the past three years and gives it to Pike.
When security arrives and takes hold of Muso, she embraces Pike, asking if her "charms still hold no favor." As he's about to respond, one of the security men interrupts to tell Pike that Mendez wants an update. Pike turns to ask Leata if she minds coming along, but she has vanished. He heads down the hall after the security man, thinking to himself "maybe these diplomatic functions aren't so bad after all. There may be hope for Babel yet."
"Babel. The last hurrah for used-up starship captains. You put in years in the captain's chair, and at the end you get trotted around at diplomatic functions, introduced to aliens who barely know who you are. The glories of being 'Fleet Captain'."
- - Pike, showing ennui at his new role in Starfleet
"Don't you have anything better to do than watch me enjoy my meal, Pike?"
"It is a sight to see, Muso."
- - Muso and Pike, as Pike keeps an eye on the proceedings
"We'll fetch him either whole or in parts."
"And that Human, Pike... he's been watching me too closely. We need to do something about that."
"Boss, Pike's a high-profile target. He's a guest of honor here. Are you sure..."
"Kill him discreetly. Leave no trace of him behind."
"He's a Starfleet hero. But I'll find a way."
- - Tellarite and Muso, discussing Pike's future
"'Maybe you won't kill the woman.' Was that what you said on Rigel II? She had the sweetest soul, my sister did. The likes of you, however, won't be missed."
- - Leata, attacking Muso before being stopped by Pike
- This issue was originally to be written by Dan Taylor, but when he left IDW Publishing to work freelance, he was forced to pull out of the project.
- There was a limited photo cover version released.
- The issue sold an estimated 7,724 copies in comic specialty stores in December 2007.  These figures do not cover copies sold on the direct market (bookstores, etc.).
- Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
- Special thanks to Paula Block of CBS Consumer Products for her invaluable assistance.
- 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 IDW TOS characters.
- Christopher Pike
- Fleet Captain of the Starfleet, past Captain of the USS Enterprise.
- An Orion slave girl. A dancer at Club Aknar.
- A patron of Club Aknar, and an information contact of Leata.
- Vulcan Undersecretary for Agricultural Affairs.
- Pike's aide and handler.
- A Tellarite administrator, and Leata's target for assassination. Muso serves as the liaison between Tellarite military and industrial conglomerates and interplanetary commercial enterprises. Highly placed within Tellarite political circles.
- José Mendez
- Starfleet Commodore and contact of Pike's.
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