Star Trek 1313: Beneath the Skin

1313. Beneath the Skin

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Klingons - Blood Will Tell #2, IDW Comics, May 2007

CREATORS: Scott Tipton and David Tipton (writers), David Messina (artist)

STARDATE: Unknown (framing story during The Undiscovered Country; actual story during The Trouble with Tribbles)

PLOT: Kahnrah tells the story of Gralmek, a rare ridged Klingon born with a small stature. Trying to prove himself, he volunteered to go on an espionage and sabotage mission at Station K-7. He was irreversibly transformed into Arne Darvin and sent to replace the real Darvin. When Koloth showed up, Nilz Baris called Starfleet and Gralmek panicked. He poisoned the grain early, was caught and spilled the beans when faced with a tribble. The failure did not fall on Koloth's head, as he hadn't been informed of the covert operation. The Klingons eventually traded back for Gralmek, not to imprison him, but to exile him for his cowardice.

CONTINUITY: See previous issue (The Undiscovered Country, QuchHa). The Klingon name of Arne Darvin (The Trouble with Tribbles) is revealed as Gralmek. He dreams of getting a statue for his deeds, and there's a cameo by Sisko (Trials and Tribble-ations). Gralmek suffers discommendation (Sins of the Father).

DIVERGENCES: Again, no title in the issue itself; it comes from the previous issue's "next issue" blurb.

PANEL OF THE DAY - It was all happening simultaneously!
REVIEW: Instead of giving us Koloth's point of view (and attempting, perhaps unconvincingly, to show why the "ice man" was such a dandy), the brothers Tipton instead opt for Arne Darvin's story. Good choice! It helpfully creates the idea of "small fish" within the Klingon Empire, warriors born a little too small to realize their full potential, and has the character undergo a painful surgery. The Trouble with Tribbles is opened up visually as it shows Gralmek assassinate the real Darvin, skulk through ducts to deliver the poison, and meet his final fate, setting up his DS9 appearance. Speaking of which, Sisko's cameo was much appreciated, though I'd have loved something subtler, in the background. But that's just how I would have done it. Nothing wrong with the actual execution. Plus: We see Koloth receive the tribbles from Scotty! Once again, Blood Will Tell has filled an episode's plot holes without making it look like an exercise in fanwank, and put its protagonist, Kahnrah, a little closer to accepting Gorkon's ideals.

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