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Eighteenth Story Arc

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Story arc 18 comic.jpg

Cover image

Writer(s): Gerry Conway
Artist(s): Dick Kulpa
Series: Star Trek #18
Published: 4 July 1983 - 13 August 1983

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

Summary Edit

"Captain's log, Stardate 9620: Yesterday a thief aboard the Enterprise stole one of our shuttlecraft. The theft remained undetected for hours because the thief had drugged the duty officer and apparently knew enough about the Enterprise to avoid alerting the rest of the ship. The medical staff has failed to revive the duty officer, so I had Dr. McCoy paged – but he hasn't responded..."

After this log entry Kirk, unable to enter McCoy's quarters or contact him, blasts the door open. The room is empty, but a sealed message disk is there for the Admiral's eyes only. In the conference room, Kirk plays the message for the command crew. McCoy has contracted a contagious disease, and with no hope of cure and only six weeks to live has left the ship to totally isolate himself. McCoy blamed himself for what happened, which he summarizes in his recording.

The ship had responded to an extraordinarily virulent epidemic of unknown origin on Circe VI twelve days prior. Almost every colony member was dead by they time they arrived: thirty thousand colonists wiped out in less than two months. The landing party wore environmental suits to prevent contamination. In examining the bodies, McCoy tore his suit and cut his hand on a sharp decoration on the clothing of one of the dead colonists. He tried to believe it was nothing, but it quickly became clear that he had contracted the disease. The message ends with McCoy saying he sterilized his lab and quarters, donned an environmental suit, and left in a shuttle. Spock quickly concludes that McCoy must be suffering early effects of the contagion. "Quarantine could have been effected aboard the Enterprise without difficulty. McCoy had no reason to leave the ship." Kirk then decides the sole course of action is to find McCoy and bring him home. Spock disagrees; he thinks that a cure must be found as well and he volunteers to find it. After reviewing McCoy's notes, Spock requests permission to return to Vulcan in a shuttle because he believes that it is the same killing virus that struck Vulcan two hundred years ago and almost wiped out his entire race. Kirk allows it.

Spock shuttle comic

Spock leaving in a shuttle

What Spock does not reveal is that there is a 0.57808 chance that he will die obtaining the cure. He arrives on Vulcan, in the desolate out-region known as Kendha-Ya, "The Dead Ocean". It was there that the "Red Plague" killed over a million Vulcans. The only thing that saved them was the nectar of a flowering vegetation called Shin-Ka-Ti, "The Flower of Mercy". Spock finds and collects one, but is attacked by a giant, worm-like creature that he stuns quickly with his phaser. The worm falls on him, but he blasts his way out.

Kirk tries to figure out where McCoy would go, and decides that it would be Circe II, since the infection is already there. Scotty points out it is a big planet, though. Wearing environment suits, Kirk, Scott and Dr. Chapel beam down and start the search. Spock then arrives in his shuttle with what he believes is a cure. The landing party has in the meantime found McCoy, but can't get to him; he is shooting at them from inside a building when they approach. Spock decides to lie to McCoy, to take off his helmet and tell McCoy he is immune to the disease. McCoy, confused by Spock's actions, stops firing and is subdued. Chapel then injects both men with the cure, as Spock is already suffering the effects of the plague. Both recuperate in sickbay, with Kirk calling them heroic for the risks they took to help their friends. Spock demurs, stating he was simply trying to save Starfleet's investment in McCoy.

Memorable Quotes Edit

"Most illogical, even for Dr. McCoy."

- Spock, commenting on McCoy's firing at the landing party rather than allowing them to help

Background Information Edit

The strip begins in an unusual way, with a series of flashbacks before the story itself begins. It is refreshing for the comic to have characters actually comment on illogical actions like McCoy not having to leave the ship to be in quarantine; all too often the plot elements do not address such matters and simply happen. This is Conway's third story for the strip, and like his first two is centered around friendship. It also shares with the first story a climax where crewmates fight each other because of mental incapacitation. But unlike the first, this one has the characters acting out of a genuine concern for each other rather than circumstances simply forcing unmotivated actions.

Quarantine (Story Arc #10) from two years prior has broad and major plot points that are mirrored in this one: an Enterprise doctor is accidentally exposed to a plague, contracts it, becomes paranoid, fires on friends, and Spock finds the origin of the plague that allows it to be cured. And as in TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky", McCoy leaves the ship in the belief he has an incurable disease.

This arc also marks the first contribution by Dick Kulpa as artist, and in some ways his work most closely resembles Warkentin's. Kulpa follows Colón's original design contribution from the previous arc for a new Starfleet shuttle, which Kulpa refines to resemble the aircar from The Jetsons more than anything else. This is the shortest of the story arcs for the comic strip.

This story was given the title "Terminally Yours" in Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics, Volume 2.

Links Edit

Regular Cast Edit

Other Characters Edit

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Goodbye to Spock
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