844. Double Blind, Part One
PUBLICATION: Star Trek #24, DC Comics, March 1986
CREATORS: Diane Duane (writer), Tom Sutton and Ricardo Villagran (artists)
STARDATE: Unknown (follows the last issue)
PLOT: When Excelsior is told to surrender by a low-powered ship of the Ajir Empire, Kirk does! It's a ploy, of course, but his instincts tell him there's nothing to worry about. Put in the brig by the awkward bug-like aliens, the bridge crew is released when the alternate crew, including a Horta lieutenant with a passing resemblance to both Brainiac and Castle Grayskull......stage a show of their own incompetence running the ship. The senior officers are instructed to show each Ajir how to work the ship and they make it seem extra complicated and start to collect information. Just hen they realize the Ajir are naive simpletons with little taste violence or technical knowledge, the Ajir ship is destroyed by the Grond...
CONTINUITY: The Horta are from Devil in the Dark, but "one of the first Hortas in Starfleet", Naraht, is from Duane's TOS novels, from My Enemy, My Ally onward. Janice Kerasus and Carver are also crewmen she's used in her novels, though the latter also appears in the TAS episode The Lorelei Signal. Kirk invokes the Great Bird of the Galaxy, a reference to Gene Roddenberry.
DIVERGENCES: Looking at the TNG era, it's hard to believe there were ever multiple Hortas in Starfleet.
PANEL OF THE DAY - What it would actually be like to serve on a starship
REVIEW: Diane Duane, better known for her Trek novels, writes a pretty fun comedy here. She brings in her own characters, which helps solidify the overall non-canon Trek continuity, but doesn't forget to include the comic series' original characters (Konom gets a scene, for example). I don't really like how the Horta is drawn, but My Enemy, My Ally was one of the first Trek novels I ever read, and I marveled at the diverse alien population on the Enterprise it depicted. Fun to see it in pictures regardless. Maybe the danger will be ramped up in the second part of the story, but for now, Double Blind stands out as one of the better uses of humor in the comics.