1020. Forbidden Fruit
PUBLICATION: Star Trek: The Next Generation #18, DC Comics, April 1991
CREATORS: Dave Stern and Mike O'Brien (writers), Mike Manley and Robert Campanella (artists)
STARDATE: 43131.4 (between Evolution and The Survivors, but see Divergences)
PLOT: Wesley invents an alternative to the transporter, the hyperport, that promptly beams an alien named Pierce from a plague-ridden planet. He tries to convince Wesley not to pursue the invention and when that doesn't work, infects the ship's water supply with a plague. He explains that he is from the future where Captain Wesley Crusher's use of the hyperport allowed the unfiltered disease to infect his world. He was allowed to go back in time to stop Wesley. Now, the uninfected Data uses the machine to return to the same point and self-destruct, taking the contraption with him and scaring Wes into abandoning it.
CONTINUITY: To create his hyperport, Wesley borrowed ideas from the Iconian Gateway (Contagion).
DIVERGENCES: Despite the stardate to the contrary, the comic it's set between Who Watches the Watchers? [sic] and The Bonding.
PANEL OF THE DAY - One of Starfleet's holy grails was an invention that combined the delicious brewing of coffee and the time-honored hobby of constructing model ships.
REVIEW: I'm not entirely certain why the one-off story has to take place outside the series' framework like that, but it's only one of many questions I find left unanswered. Well, you do bring it on yourself when you attempt a temporal paradox. For example, it's never clear why the machine is said not to work - leading to the assumption that it was the future hyperport that did the job - but does for Data. Just who gave Wesley the classified Iconian technology? Are we sure Captain Crusher WON'T create the hyperport later, causing the same epidemic? Because the story kind of leaves me thinking he will. And if the difference is that this time, he'll consult experts in other fields (presumably medical), does that mean Starfleet started using the damned thing WITHOUT getting it checked out? An alien named Pierce? Like many time travel stories, it's clever until you start really looking at it. Nice enough art from Manley and Campanella, though a bit sketchy in spots where clarity would have been better.