Star Trek 1230: Reality's End

1230. Reality's End

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Telepathy War #1, Marvel Comics, November 1997

CREATORS: Chris Cooper (writer), Patrick Zircher and Steve Moncuse (artists)

STARDATE: 50796.5 (follows Star Trek Unlimited #6)

PLOT: The Enterprise-E's crew realizes that they've been on a fool's errand and that the real target is the telepaths' conference on Alaya 2. A Jem'Hadar rebel called Lyb'r delivers the real Admiral Decker to them before they leave the Gamma Quadrant and after Omega Squad's Edam confirms he's telling the truth, he follows as an adviser. The Enterprise reaches Alaya 2 just as the Jem'Hadar attack, but the evacuation of the delegates is delayed when Lyb'r asks pointed questions as to why the Jem'Hadar don't manage to kill any of them. Meanwhile, Bashir and Crusher try to find a cure for whatever telepathic ailment is crossing Troi's wires and making T'Priell (and elsewhere, Spock) lose control (and yet elsewhere, has made the Talosians comatose). The answer lies in Nog who is whistling a tune that's gotten into his head. Edam confirms it, the telepaths have been infected with a contagious thought (or meme) that will disable them all when they each reach their planets. With communications jammed, Sisko boards the Defiant to fly this information directly to the Enterprise, while aboard, Edam finds a counter-thought to the viral meme. The Dominion attack fleet leaves when the two ships are joined by a whole fleet, though this is a powerful illusion cast by the Talosians, freed from their slumber by Edam from a distance. Sadly, though the telepathic delegates are all saved, one, Lwaxana's new Xoxian lover, left early and brought the disease to his planet, which was ravaged and decimated. He took his own life in reaction to his guilt. Spock is contacted one last time by the Talosians who have mindwiped the Jem'Hadar invaders on their planet, leading him to inquire if they didn't manipulate events in the first place to get the slave labor they so wanted. The cadets of Omega Squad are exonerated from all wrong-doing.

CONTINUITY: The crews of DS9, the Enterprise-E and Omega Squad co-star. The antagonists of the piece are the Dominion. Spock has returned to Romulus (Unification) after his participation in Starfleet Academy. Sam Lavelle (Lower Decks) serves as tactical officer on the Enterprise-E. Lwaxana Troi already has a new lover (after the events of Deep Space Nine #11). The Talosians (The Cage) and Nurse Ogawa also appear. Lyb'r is a rare Jem'Hadar not addicted to ketracel-white (known to exist since Hippocratic Oath). The Badlands are currently considered dangerous because of what happened to Voyager (Caretaker).

DIVERGENCES: See Star Trek Unlimited #6 (Lavelle). Nurse Ogawa is pictured as an ensign (one pip); she should be a lieutenant by now (First Contact).

PANEL OF THE DAY - How can you not fall for a man from XOX?
REVIEW: Chris Cooper proves here why he's the most engaging of Marvel's Star Trek writers. The conclusion to the Telepathy War storyline, which he started in the pages of Starfleet Academy, is pretty great, weaving fun personal moments for all three starring casts with some slam-bang action and lots of reversals. Zircher and Moncuse do the story justice as well, with some striking Jem'Hadar and exciting action scenes. Though it started off slowly, the plot kicks into high gear at the end, and the duplicity shown by the both the Founders and the Talosians here is certainly worthy of them. Cooper enters superhero territory on occasion, to good effect in this case as the telepaths network to give the heroes the upper hand against the Jem'Hadar by broadcasting their moves just before they make them. And that "viral meme" idea is inspired, like something from a Grant Morrison comic. And while there's tragedy, with poor Xox taking the hit for more impervious canonical words (Betazed eventually falls though - a great link to this series), there's also plenty of comedy, especially in the various characters' reactions to Omega Squad, Cooper's babies. A big thumbs up.

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