1187. Secret Lives / As Flies to Wanton Boys
PUBLICATION: Star Trek Unlimited #5, Marvel Comics, September 1996
CREATORS: Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton (writers), Ron Randall, Al Williamson and Art Nichols / Tom Morgan and Kev Sutherland (artists)
STARDATE: 48303.6 (follows the last issue) / 5993.2 (follows the last issue)
PLOT: In Secret Lives, some of the crew of the Enterprise-D board a sensor array where everyone has mysteriously been killed by their own hands. Soon, they too are affected as each experiences their worst fears - Troi can't shut out the voices, Riker fights an assimilated Shelby, Worf is attacked by assassins sent by a bitter Alexander, and the Traveller brings Wesley's body back to Dr. Crusher. They only survive thanks to Data who comes aboard and reveals the existence of a possibly Cardassian bioweapon tested on the array. In As Flies to Wanton Boys, Kirk crashes a shuttle on a planet with a dampening field that limits technology. Its crew is immediately attacked by barbaric creatures. Aboard the Enterprise, Spock drills a hole in the planet's defense screens and beams down to its lone facility. There, an artificial intelligence tells him about the Dhauti, powerful beings who created the violence Xhosa and were exterminated by them. The Dhauti's last act was to lock the Xhosa on the planet, with no way of evolving into a space-faring race. Spock reasons that all the senior races had barbarism in their past and (often) rose above them. He deactivates the field, allowing himself and the shuttle crew to be transported off.
CONTINUITY: The Horus Array seems to be in the same style as the Argus Array (The Nth Degree) and also spies on Cardassians (Parallels). Ogawa appears. Among the hallucinations experienced by the crew, we have an assimilated Shelby (The Best of Both Worlds) and both the Traveler and Wesley (last seen in Journey's End). Among the races used to create the Xhosa are humans, Klingons and Gorn (Arena).
DIVERGENCES: Crusher is scanning for warp distortions, which doesn't really seem like her bag. Scotty's moustache continues to exist, despite the comic being contemporary to TAS.
PANEL OF THE DAY - And a thousand fanboys punch the air.
REVIEW: The TNG story has some nice images, hallucinations though they feel like "what ifs". Unfortunately, the characters do not get to resolve their fears and set pieces are merely that. Worse, each possibility looks like it could have been a story of its own, and so the whole thing seems underdeveloped. The TOS story is more interesting, playing turnabout with Spock and Kirk. Kirk finds himself in a similar situation to Spock in The Galileo Seven, and Spock gets to unplug a sentient computer. Slightly derivative, but the way each character survives in the other's shoes is enough to recommend the story. All in all, however, this is the weakest Star Trek Unlimited story yet. The art is still good, mind you.
Now because of the Telepathy War crossover between Marvel's various Star Trek comics, we'll jump ship at this point to Starfleet Academy until it crosses into the Telepathy War, then to other series, until they're all synced up together.