(written from a Production point of view)
|Writer(s):||Tim Jones and Mike Johnson|
|Published:||25 February 2009|
- Stardate 64390.1. Deeper in Romulan territory... where only a few have gone before...
Aboard the USS Enterprise-E, Captain Data orders his crew to continue firing on the Reman weapons array and to move the Enterprise closer to the Narada. Aboard the Narada, the Reman infiltrators are preparing to kill Ambassador Spock, Nero, and his Romulan crew. Before they can do so, however, Data has the Enterprise beam the Remans' weapons away. With the Remans now defenseless, Nero and his crew subdue them and take back the Narada.
With the situation resolved, Data beams aboard the Narada, where he is greeted by Spock. Data explains that Enterprise came as soon they picked up Spock's identification beacon. Data then informs him that the Reman ships have been disabled and are being held in a tractor beam. After being introduced to Data, Nero asks Ayel for their status; Ayel reports that they only have 78% of the decalithium needed to carry out their plan. Drilling is no longer possible as the plasma power conduit was destroyed in the Reman attack, and repairing it will take time they do not have. At this, Data reveals that there are significant amounts of decalithium aboard the Reman ships, and since it is likely contraband, it would be within Federation law to confiscate it. Nero tells Data that he may be a machine, but he likes the way he thinks.
The Enterprise helps to repair the damage to the Narada and then escorts the mining ship to Vulcan. Nero and Spock are invited to spend the journey aboard the Enterprise, with the promise that Nero will be granted full access to the starship. Aboard the Enterprise, Nero searches the Federation database and begins to read on the commanding officers of past starships named Enterprise, including the legendary James Tiberius Kirk.
That night, Data asks to see Spock. Spock notes that he and Data have not seen each other since before Data's "resurrection"; Data, however, believes "return" to be a more apt description since it denotes the fact that his neural nets were successfully imprinted onto the existing programming of B-4 (see Star Trek Nemesis). Spock notes that he and Data share a unique experience... but that is not why Data called for him. Data informs Spock that the Federation has authorized a covert operation to the Hobus system – in Romulan space – to drill directly into the star to prevent it from going nova.
Meanwhile, on Romulus, members of the Romulan Senate observe that the Hobus star is increasing in mass and is growing more unstable... meaning Spock was correct. A scientist predicts that it will take a few weeks at most for the shockwave to reach Romulus once the star goes Nova. Believing that the fate of the Romulan Empire should not be left in the hands of Spock and the Vulcans, it is suggested that the Romulans invade Vulcan and take the "red matter" weapon by force. The Praetor proclaims he will put the matter up for vote in the Senate, then gives the order to begin evacuation protocols for Romulus.
In orbit of Vulcan, Enterprise is contacted by Vulcan security forces. They are greeted by the head of Vulcan security, M'Kan, who tells Captain Data that, while he and the Enterprise crew are welcome, Spock and the Romulans are not. A moment later, however, M'Kan is told that the Romulans have been cleared by the Vulcan High Command. M'Kan then transmits transport coordinates to the Enterprise, informing them that the Federation Ambassador to Vulcan will be there to meet them.
Data, Spock, and Nero then beam down to Vulcan, where Spock receives a cold welcome from M'Kan. M'Kan tells Spock that his decision to leave Vulcan and live on Romulus has left all of Vulcan mistrusting and suspicious of him. Since no one on Vulcan trusts him, Spock wonders why he was permitted to transport to the planet. He is answered by Jean-Luc Picard, now the Federation Ambassador to Vulcan. Picard explains he was the one who convinced the High Command to allow Spock on Vulcan, calling it "an old captain's prerogative."
Spock is taken to address the Vulcan Science Council. The ambassador presents a compelling case, but the council is reluctant to give their "red matter" manipulation technology to the Romulans. The council recesses to make a decision, but ultimately decides not to turn over secrets of Vulcan science to the Romulans. This enrages Nero, who proclaims that they should have taken what they needed rather than ask for it. Picard then informs Nero that the Romulan Senate has issued an evacuation order for Romulus and that Federation ships are en route to lend assistance. Nero, still angered, begins to storm away, wishing to return to his wife and child before it is too late. Before he leaves, however, Spock asks him to leave the decalithium on Vulcan, promising to do whatever they can to carry out their plan. Nero agrees, but warns Spock that if Romulus dies, he will hold the Vulcans responsible.
After the decalithium is transported to the Enterprise, Nero orders Ayel to prepare the Narada for warp back to Romulus. Ayel asks what happened to the weapon they were supposed to bring back to save Romulus. Nero states they will return to Vulcan once they have evacuated as many Romulans as possible, again threatening Vulcan if they are too late.
In Picard's quarters on Vulcan, Picard and Spock discuss the plan to use red matter to stop the Hobus star from going nova. Picard notes that even if they managed to convert the decalithium into red matter, delivering it would be a suicide mission. Spock replies that his path had been set the moment he learned of the star, and despite his work over the years, he knew that even the threat of mutual destruction might not have convinced the Vulcans to help. At this point, Captain Data contacts the ambassadors to inform them that the Hobus star has gone nova.
The Narada arrives in Romulan space. On the viewscreen, Nero witnesses the shock wave from the Hobus star heading towards Romulus. As Nero recalls the last time he talked with his wife, the shock wave strikes Romulus, obliterating the planet.
- A model of the USS Enterprise-D is seen on display in Picard's room on Vulcan on page 22. Also seen in his room is a small red robot, which is actually the robot character used in the logo for Bad Robot Productions, the company which produced 2009's Star Trek and is associated with all of J.J. Abrams' projects.
- The issue sold an estimated 11,359 copies in comic specialty stores in February 2009.  These figures do not cover copies sold in bookstores, etc.
- David Baronoff (creative consultant)
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