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Sixteenth Story Arc

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Cover image
Writer(s): Gerry Conway
Artist(s): Bob Myers
Series: Star Trek #16
Published: 14 February 1983 - 7 May 1983

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

SummaryEdit

Admiral Kirk is called back from vacation to Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco. He is told by a high-ranking officer that, with all due respect for Captain Spock, there is a mission Spock cannot perform. Protocol requires that a full Admiral deliver a diplomatic message that could mean an end to the war with the Sangdor Principality and "the galaxy will be completely at peace for the first time in generations." Kirk confesses he has never quite understood why the Federation and Sangdor were fighting at all. The other Starfleet officer says that no one does. In this mission Kirk is to use "the most secure method of transmitting sensitive diplomatic messages known to science": courier clones. Young, blond, female, beautiful, and clad in identical clothing; they are both ready to go.

Back on the Enterprise in spacedock, Kirk and the clones beam directly onto the bridge. Kirk apologies to Spock at taking command from him. But Scotty immediately notices the twin clones and demands to know what those "heathen monsters" are doing on the ship. Kirk explains they are courier clones, but Scott storms off the bridge saying to keep them out of his sight or he cannot be held responsible for what might happen. Everyone is puzzled at his reaction, but the clones say they are accustomed to negativity toward them. Kirk sits in the captain's chair, confides that he likes it better than Starfleet Command, and launches the ship from spacedock.

During the trip, Kirk learns more about the clones in hopes of understanding Scott's reaction. They are both named Lyssa. As they explain it, courier clones are created from the brain tissue of a diplomat volunteer. Two clones are created, and the diplomatic message is added to the genetic structure of all three. "Only by combining the three elements of the code can our peace message to the Sangdor Principality be decoded." The third of the group is already on the planet Sangdor.

Spock has done research in the meantime, and discovered that Scotty's nephew Brian volunteered for the courier corps and died during the cloning operation. Kirk discusses it with Scotty over some of McCoy's Romulan brandy, and Scotty confesses that it is true: he blames all clones for what happened to his nephew. After the conversation is over, McCoy blames Kirk for stealing his medicinal brandy. Kirk reminds him that possession of Romulan brandy is illegal, and that "it died in a noble cause".

As the ship approaches the demarcation zone between the Federation and the Sangdor Principality they are attacked by a Sangdor warship. The warship uses a standard Sangdor tactic: lock the opposing ship in a tractor beam and ram it. The reinforced hull of the warship being built for the maneuver destroys the opponent. Kirk calls down to Engineering for Scotty to engage full reverse power, but Scott isn't at his station and no one knows where he is. At the last second, the Enterprise breaks free, but both it and the warship suffer injury to their main converters. Kirk goes to find out why Scott deserted his battle station, and finds him standing over one of the Lyssas' body with a bloody knife in his hand. She is dead, stabbed through the heart. The other Lyssa is found catatonic in the closet. Kirk now has a problem: if the surviving Lyssa cannot testify the evidence against Scott is conclusive. "He'll be court martialed for murder – and as ranking officer I'll have to sentence him to death!!" Worse, the diplomatic mission will fail. But Kirk has a plan.

Neck pinch comic
Spock calming down a crewman

Kirk and McCoy go to talk to Scotty in the Enterprise brig. Scott claims that he went to see the clones to warn them not to wander in off limits areas. He was then struck and, when he came to, found the girl dead and the knife in his hand. Kirk believes him.

Spock reminds Kirk of the warship, which is now repaired and headed toward them. Uhura tries to raise them on subspace, but all frequencies are jammed. The warship then fires and hits the Enterprise. It is followed by a message from the warship requesting unconditional surrender. But Kirk has a plan. He asks Spock to find out both the diplomatic message and the identity of the killer through a Vulcan mind meld with the surviving clone. Uhura's task is to stall the warship. She feigns an inability to find the captain yet, since they have taken too much damage. Spock commences the link but is violently thrown backward by Lyssa, who then gets up, claims she hates all the "solos", and runs from the room. Kirk remarks that he knew the clones were bred to be stronger than everyone else, but he is amazed at how strong. Spock concludes that she will now go and kill Scotty, since she is the one who killed her clone sister. There is a firefight near the ship's brig where Lyssa is stunned. Scotty, however, has survived by hiding.

The warship issues one last ultimatum, and Spock tries a desperate move. If he can mind meld with the injured clone, he can bypass the security code that requires all three to be present and access the diplomatic message. He succeeds, tells the warship the message, and the warship immediately returns to the Lords of the Sangdor Principality with it. Kirk estimates there will be a peace treaty inside of a month. The surviving clone slips into a real catatonic state, which McCoy feels is fitting. Then Kirk and McCoy enjoy the last of McCoy's Romulan brandy and drink a toast: to peace.

Memorable QuotesEdit

"I've committed an incredible faux pax. Two beautiful women... and I don't know your names!"

- Kirk, inquiring as to the names of the courier clones


"Scotty imprisoned for murder - I still find it hard to believe"

- Kirk, momentarily forgetting Argelius II

Background InformationEdit

Smoking man comic
Starfleet HQ smoker

This is the first – and last – story arc drawn by Bob Myers. Myers had a very different style than anyone who came before or after him, and his unique approach created some very unusual images. For example, Starfleet officers smoking cigarettes, Scotty as a helmsman, Spock with ears tilted 45 degrees outward from his head and with every appearance of being asleep most of the story. There were courier clones whose initial uniform appears to be designed to look like a swimsuit with a neckline that plunges to the navel, engineering crewmen wearing sunglasses in the engine room, a captain's log written in a spiral notebook in longhand, phasers that resemble .45 automatics, and many others. The resemblance from a story standpoint to TOS: "Wolf in the Fold" is fairly obvious, but it is unknown whether it was done intentionally. Also unknown is the means by which the two clones and the original diplomat combine to decode and deliver their message, or why they were even necessary. By every measure of story and art, this is the one arc that is so extraordinarily different from every other as to almost be unrecognizable as Star Trek.

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

LinksEdit

Regular CastEdit

Other CharactersEdit

  • Lyssa


Previous:
Story Arc #15
Star Trek Comic Strip (US)
Story Arcs
Next:
Goodbye to Spock
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