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Dilithium Dilemma

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Dilithium dilemma comic.jpg

Cover image

Writer(s): Thomas Warkentin
Artist(s): Thomas Warkentin
Series: Star Trek #2
Published: 13 January 1980 - 8 March 1980

This summary is of a story arc from the newspaper comic strip Star Trek.

The Enterprise competes with a Klingon ship to obtain dilithium after both vessels nearly exhaust their supplies.

Summary Edit

In breaking free from the tractor beam in the prior story arc, the Enterprise fused nearly all its reserve dilithium and has to drop out of warp. Ilia estimates that at impulse power it will take 4.2 years to get to the nearest starbase for additional supplies, and even that requires going through the "Romulan/Klingon Neutral Zone". She has an alternative, though: a "played-out" dilithium mine on Forma VI can be reached in just nine days; there might be just enough left to get the warp drive working. When the ship arrives, they find a Klingon battle cruiser in orbit as well. Kirk fakes having plenty of power, and the Klingons fake leaving. Kirk, Spock, and Ensign Taskul (an Arcturian and mining expert) head down to the mine in a shuttle. McCoy and Sulu tag along, Sulu mainly to view the famous flora. The landing party does not find any dilithium in the mine. However, they do find a baby with its hands and feet bound, used by the Klingons to lure the crew deeper into the mine to take them hostage. In exchange for dilithium - which they Klingons are also low on - they promise to let them go.

In the meantime, McCoy and Sulu have found an old crashed Klingon battle cruiser with dilithium on board. The Klingons overhear their report and, after a daring escape by the Starfleet officers, the race is on to the ship. Enterprise uses its last reserves to beam it up while the Klingons ambush Sulu and the others. After restarting the engines, Chekov beams down with a security detail and secures the area. Everyone gets back to the ship, and Kirk sends the Klingons a gift in a transport pod: enough dilithium to return home along with their missing crew. To everyone's surprise the Klingons destroy the transport, killing their own crewmembers and vaporizing the dilithium.

Memorable Quotes Edit

"Just Sulu to my friends."

- Sulu, suggesting his surname as the most familiar way to address him

Background Information Edit

  • There are numerous continuity touches here: Sulu's interest in botany, the look of the Klingon K't'inga bridge, noting the Enterprise is a Constitution-class vessel, an Arcturian crewmember, a Klingon agonizer, and not being able to start the matter-antimatter mix cold.
  • In the end McCoy complains that the Klingons, fearing a trap, destroyed the transport because they think everyone thinks like they do. Spock's remark of "Only Klingons, Doctor?" is one of the few instances in Trek where Human assumptions that everyone is ultimately fair and rational are brought into question.
  • This is the last appearance of Lt. Ilia as a character in the comic strip.

Links Edit

Regular cast Edit

Other characters Edit


Previous:
Called Home
Star Trek Comic Strip (US)
Story Arcs
Next:
The Real McCoy

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