Star Trek 1263: Future Tense

1263. Future Tense

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Early Voyages #13, Marvel Comics, February 1998

CREATORS: Ian Edginton and Dan Abnett (writers), Patrick Zircher and Steve Moncuse (artists)

STARDATE: Unknown (follows the last issue)

PLOT: Yeoman Colt appears at the tail end of the Movie Era, aboard the original Enterprise, now a museum piece. She escapes the guards who take her for a trespasser, but is intercepted by James T. Kirk, freighter captain. It seems her disappearance from history changed events. Kirk was drafted as Pike's yeoman, but they never got along and Kirk left the service. Now he's running freight and regretting his decision, but he's a sucker for lost causes and pretty faces (some things never change) and agrees to help Colt get back to Algol to find a way to return her to her time, even if it's now sitting deep in Klingon space. On the way, they're attacked by Klingons commanded by General Chang and rescued by Pike's Enterprise-A, and he's really angry at them...

CONTINUITY: See previous issue (Algol). The Phoenix Tavern is undoubtedly named after Cochrane's first warp ship (First Contact). In an alternate timeline, Kirk and Scotty have a ship called the Bounty (The Voyage Home). One of Kirk's crew is a Trill, another is Andorian. It is implied that without Captain Kirk fulfilling his role in history, the Klingon Empire has spread wider and survived the destruction of Praxis. We remember General Chang well from The Undiscovered Country. The Enterprise-A is crewed by Captain Pike (who never suffered his injury), Uhura, Spock, Saavik (ST II version), Sulu and... Kyle?

DIVERGENCES: None.

PANEL OF THE DAY - Try doing that with a TNG tricorder.
REVIEW: I wasn't expecting the story to go into alternate timelines and what if territory, but seeing as I'm a sucker for those... In a peripheral way, this is Kirk's Tapestry, in which a great man is sidelined for having made a bad choice. Remove a Starfleet Captain Kirk from history and what changes? Pretty much everything, it seems. The writers don't dwell on the details and don't turn the issue into an exposition-fest (the Watcher isn't on hand, after all). They just let the story invoke the changes. We're either before Praxis blows or it doesn't seem to matter because the Klingon Empire is more powerful. Likely, there was never an Organian Treaty in this timeline. Pike's continuing journeys (not undercut by his famous accident - which will be the true, unknown, tragedy of resetting the timeline) possibly took him on a different route. And while it's fun to see the alternate TOS crew, this is still a Colt story, so it's full of daring action as well. She's a better match for Kirk than Janice Rand ever was. (Still, jeers for how these covers keep spoiling surprises. The issue tries hard to keep back Kirk's reveal, but if you've seen the cover, you already know.)

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