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The Savage Within

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Savage within comic.jpg

Cover image

Writer(s): Sharman DiVono
Artist(s): Ron Harris
Series: Star Trek #9
Published: 26 April 1981 - 21 July 1981

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

Factions on board a generational starship threatened by a neutron star involve the Enterprise crew in their struggles to command the vessel.

SummaryEdit

The Enterprise is on a mission to chart Epsilon Anubis, a double star system "in the unexplored region of the galaxy". Upon arrival, they find a very large, sublight, derelict starship in close orbit around the star Epsilon Anubis A. Life support and low-level power are operational on board the ship, though, as are many lifeforms. Spock's survey of the star system shows that Anubis B is a neutron star, which is beginning its closest encounter phase with their present position. When that happens, X-ray and gamma ray levels will be dangerously high. Spock gives it 37 hours until the "encounter phase" begins and, as Kirk says, "everyone aboard the derelict dies." Scotty rules out a tractor beam as the ship is too fragile and too large. Kirk wonders whether its own drive could be repaired in time to push it out under its own power. Just then Sulu discovers another starship – much smaller – that has attached itself to the larger vessel. Kirk decides to beam over with Spock, McCoy, Umeki (a security guard), and Ensign Hadley (a young engineer).

Tricorder readings show the lifeforms to be carbon-based and distributed in clustered groups throughout the ship. The ship's interior shows signs of having been the site of a pitched battle, and it is rotting away with age after three hundred years. Hadley scouts ahead, following power lines to find the drive. The balance of the party is suddenly attacked by numerous humanoids in loincloths and with bladed weapons, and Umeki fires a phaser set to kill. He is brought down by the mob and left for dead. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy explain to the female leader Korm Nal that they are from the Enterprise and that the derelict ship is in grave danger. The crew is led away, and Nal speaks to a male named Cha Ton about the men. The secret that their world is a ship has been kept for generations, and she worries about the visitors' knowledge and predictions of disaster. Ton suggests they kill them as they might be spies for Captain N'gal, but Nal thinks they have more value alive.

Unable to contact the rest of the landing party, Hadley nonetheless sets to work. Montgomery Scott worries that if he reveals the truth to Hadley – that the party is out of contact with everyone – he will panic. As the captives walk along, giant caterpillar-like creatures called the Eloksi appear and begin to take some of the humanoids. Spock curls up into a fetal position due to pain from telepathic overload, but Kirk seizes his chance and reclaims his phaser and communicator during the struggle. Before he can say much, the Eloksi spit some kind of glue on him and scurry away with McCoy and others. For some reason the humanoids no longer consider the Starfleet members to be captives and Kirk finds out about Hadley's progress from Scott. He then orders Hadley to stop his work and see to Umeki's body. Hadley does so, and discovers that Umeki is still alive, but is captured by forces of Captain N'gal.

Korm Nal reveals then to Kirk the stories that three clans were killed after looking upon the stars, and that the Eloksi have always been their enemy. Spock and Kirk theorize the groups nearest the hull were killed by the radiation in a prior pass too close to the star, and that the Eloksi are the crew from the other starship they found. Korm Nal also tells him that Captain N'gal is the leader of all the clans, while privately confiding in Cha Ton that they need allies to overthrow N'gal. During that time, Captain N'gal fires on the Enterprise with simple lasers for failing to respond to hails, but Scotty does not fire back. Without getting to N'gal there is no hope of moving the ship or stopping the weapons fire, so Kirk volunteers to help reach the bridge. Korm Nal turns all planning over to Kirk, and using Vulcan nerve pinches and a few right crosses, Kirk, Spock, and Korm Nal's group seize the bridge. The Eloksi show up and this time Spock is able to communicate with them such that the Eloksi release McCoy. It turns out the Eloksi had come to the ship to help, but inadvertently started a war since every time they tried to communicate telepathically, a humanoid died. They have been trying to reach their ship to leave ever since. The Eloksi were not able to fully communicate with McCoy, but he somehow lived ("My mind must be stronger"). At that point it is reveled to Kirk that Nal intends to be the new Captain, taking away the generations-long rule of N'gal's family. Kirk tries to explain the situation again, and shows Nal out the window what is happening. The prior Captain invokes a ritual to fire the engines; the Enterprise and the Eloksi ship use tractors on the derelict to guide it, and they escape. The story ends with Korm Nal telling Kirk "I'm glad you talk too much."

Memorable QuotesEdit

"A... neutron star?"

- Chekov, wondering what this strange word means


"There are more ways to solve a problem than by killing... by releasing the savage within us!"

- Kirk, using the strip's title in a speech to Korm Nal

Background InformationEdit

  • This is the first story arc in which Warkentin did not participate at all.
  • There are many similarities in the story to TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky": a multi-generational ship whose nature is kept a secret from its inhabitants and in a type of danger only action from the Enterprise can avert. Elements of David Gerrold's Star Trek novel The Galactic Whirlpool can be seen too.
  • Harris made some minor uniform changes in his first full outing. For instance, McCoy's collar now has points rather than being squared off, and the landing party jackets used during the walk to V'Ger in the first movie are back (although Harris erroneously does not have the crew wear the coordinating jumpsuits underneath the jackets as in the film; they simply wear whatever they happened to have on).
  • Pavel Chekov appears to no longer be in charge of security, and is sitting at his old navigator's station. He also seems to have lost all knowledge of astronomy, asking Kirk what a neutron star is.
  • It is not explained why the Eloksi have been unable in years and years to simply get back to their ship when their very thoughts incapacitate the humanoids, nor is it explained how a sublight ship can outrun radiation that is traveling at the speed of light.
  • The story ends without resolution regarding the future of the clans on their failing ship beyond being towed to temporary safety.

CharactersEdit

Other charactersEdit

  • Umeki
  • Hadley
  • N'gal
  • Korm Nal
  • Cha Ton


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