Star Trek 1297: Forgiveness

1297. Forgiveness

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: The Next Generation - Forgiveness, Wildstorm Comics, November 2001

CREATORS: David Brin (writer), Scott Hampton (artist)

STARDATE: Unknown (between First Contact and Insurrection)

PLOT: In the mid-21st century, Colin Blakeney invents the transporter in the midst of controversy over whether it creates a soulless copy. He is attacked in his lab and accidentally transported... to the Enterprise-E. The ship is on a mission to possibly renew ties with the Panani, a race that accidentally released a deadly virus a hundred years ago and has been quarantined since then. As Picard tries to deduce why they have built so much infrastructure in the meantime, and whether they are friends or foes, Blakeney lays dying in a kind of amnesia. Crusher and Troi attempt an experimental procedure that uses the holodeck to project the patient's memories and allow him to relive and recover the most recent. In so doing, they discover how he built the first true transporter a hundred years before such a thing was officially created as various social and corporate forces worked against him. After regaining his identity, he realizes that his attacker was also beamed into space and because it is now proven (to him) that the soul is transmitted, he thinks it's important to recover the second beam, which is heading for the Palami sun. Data mounts a rescue with a shuttle, in the middle of a standoff between the Palami fleet and the Enterprise. They allow him passage, and when he gets into trouble with the star's gravity, Picard breaks the standoff and rescues both him and Blakeney's materialized business partner. The Palami were waiting for this show of trust and renew ties with the Federation, offering many goods to help the war effort as their act of contrition.

CONTINUITY: Flashes of the Dominion War show Jem'Hadar.

DIVERGENCES: This history of transporter technology may or may not be contradicted by Daedalus (Blakeney's technology might well have been destroyed after his apparent death).

PANEL OF THE DAY - And John Barrowman as Colin Blakeney
REVIEW: Forgiveness has a pretty impressive pedigree, with noted SF author David Brin and Scott Hampton, one of comics' best and most subtle painters, on art. And I'm happy to say it doesn't disappoint! Not only is it gorgeous, but Brin uses his talent as a hard sf writer to realistically touch on the development of transporter technology. We discover, for example, what kind of opposition there was and how it fitted in the "business market". It more than makes up for the way Brin plays fast and loose with holodeck technology (though some of that is quite clever and logical). The B-story featuring the Palami fits very well into the graphic novel's theme and is just as intriguing. Crusher and Troi are the clear heroes of this tale, and it's how I wish they'd been used on the tv series itself (even if the whole romance subplot turned out to be a red herring). Forgiveness explains a few things, not only about transporter tech, but also as to why the Enterprise wasn't seen during DS9's Dominion War arc. Sumptuous.



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