955. To Walk the Night
PUBLICATION: Star Trek Annual v.2 #4, DC Comics, 1993
CREATORS: Michael Jan Friedman (writer), Gordon Purcell and Pablo Marcos (artists)
STARDATE: Unknown (after The Cage)
PLOT: As Spock questions his future in Starfleet, Pike's Enterprise visits a colony where alien possession is suspected. The colonists all have the same nightmare and eventually turn violent and start speaking in tongues. Spock follows a telepathic call to the colony's lifeless exterior where he finds a creature that attempts to duplicate him. Saved by Pike, Spock is able to reveal the truth. The colonists are all alien duplicates whose duplicated human personalities have proven stronger than their true alien selves. The Federation may be ready to let bygones be bygones and embrace this new dupe-species, and Spock has proven his worth to the ship.
CONTINUITY: Crew from the original pilot that appear include Christopher Pike, Number One, Philip Boyce, Yeoman Colt and José Tyler. Scotty was chief engineer aboard Pike's Enterprise (TOS novel: Enterprise: The First Adventure). Spock finds it hard to think of a scenario in which he would commandeer the Enterprise (The Menagerie). This story has more than a passing resemblance to Voyager's Demon and Course: Oblivion.
DIVERGENCES: Why the hell does Captain Pike have a mustache?
PANEL OF THE DAY - Dammit Chris, I'm a bartender, not a wiseass.
REVIEW: First of all, props to Purcell and Marcos for doing their research. The Pike era is well rendered, with the right uniforms, props and sets. I can only surmise Pike's mustache was mandated by... The writer (based on a throwaway line in a novel)? The Jeffrey Hunter estate? It's pretty distracting. As for the story, it's a fairly good Star Trek mystery that could probably have lingered longer on the ethical/philosophical ramifications of its resolution, but it works mostly as a look at what Star Trek would have been like had the original pilot been allowed to become the series bible. Scotty's presence was a nice surprise, and I certainly like Yeoman Colt more than I do Rand. Not sure I understand the whole Spock subplot though. Way too dour and emo compared to his appearance in The Cage, and Pike's lack of trust in him is likewise suspect. It's like Friedman expects the reader to know about some other non-canon story that leads into this, which he really shouldn't.