(written from a Production point of view)
This summary is of a story arc from the newspaper comic strip Star Trek.
The USS Enterprise-A, en route to meet the Komar ambassador, has to pass through the Deltan 330 Graveyard Sector. Uhura picks up communications from ahead that sound like a battle in progress. Captain Kirk suggests the authorities be notified and to give what is likely a merchant's "squabble" a wide berth. But the ship comes under attack from the two fighting merchant ships. Returning fire the Enterprise disables one and tractors the other. When the merchant ships are contacted, the only message back is "Butt out!". Furious, Kirk orders the merchant captains brought on board. The first to arrive identifies himself as Captain Krieger of the Latimor Recycling Plant. Two people are beamed up from the second ship, Captain Kro-Regas and his lieutenant and protector Zaia. Zaia is armed, and refuses to part with her weapon. She finally does so, but only to Spock, whom she notices – with some surprise as he is both a man and a Vulcan – treats her with respect.
Regas used to command a large fleet of merchant vessels. As he explains it, "during the Delta wars, the galaxy was filled with debris – a gold mine of recycling parts. The Federation peace missions put a stop to all of that!" The two ships were fighting over what remained. Sulu identifies a strange signal from a mass of debris with a collision time of three hours. Kirk says not to worry, that the ship will be long gone by then. Regas is not so sure about that, but keeps his thoughts to himself.
Kirk suggests that, after "unarming" Zaia, Spock give her a tour of the ship. Zaia, who has already become fond of Spock, thinks it is a great idea. While this is going on, Regas attaches a bomb to the wall of the transporter, unnoticed. As they leave the transporter room, Krieger starts a fight with Zaia to distract everyone. During the fight, Regas attaches his second bomb to the "main circuits". He believes it will knock out power for a few hours, which is all they need. After the fight Kirk finds what he thinks is a bracelet dropped by Zaia. He picks it up to return later. The bridge crew is still concerned about signals and low-level sensor jamming from the debris mass approaching, and asks Kirk to come to the bridge. The captains ask to come along to see, and Kirk agrees when they promise not to do anything improper. Once there they set the third bomb. The bomb in the transporter room goes off, and the merchant ship locks onto the captains' and Zaia's bracelets to beam them off. But since Kirk picked Zaia's up, he is transported off the ship instead of her. Dr. McCoy questions Zaia right away, but Zaia is not in the mood to help, claiming the Federation "was responsible for the downfall of my people". The lack of war and lack of debris has robbed her people of their livelihood; selling the Enterprise as scrap will help with payback. Sulu finally cuts through the interference and determines the debris field is a hundred ships coming for them.
A captive on the merchant ship, Kirk watches as the second bomb goes off, disabling fire control and power. The first cut off transporter control, and "the third bomb is set to destroy your ship's master life support panel", killing everyone on board. Regas suddenly shouts that the third bomb should not be exploded as Zaia is his daughter. He had not told anyone before since he thought it would make her a target of competitors. Tired of Kirk's lectures and uncertain what to do with him, they lock him up. Fortunately, they do not remove his communicator, and Spock finds the third bomb. Regas then offers to help Kirk escape to save his daughter. They leave the ship via an escape pod that is brought into the Enterprise's landing bay. Zaia rushes to her father, already knowing their relationship in her heart. Regas cannot help disarm the bomb on the ship, but has placed one on Kreiger's ship in retaliation. Spock succeeds in disarming the one on Enterprise. Just then, the merchant ship suffers an explosion and begins to limp away. Kirk hands over Regas and his daughter to the local authorities, but promises to put in a good word for them about their last-minute help.
Memorable quotes Edit
"Lieutenant, notify those two scoundrels and have them brought aboard!"
- - Kirk, demanding the merchant captains be brought before him
"No one unarms Zaia and lives!"
- - Zaia, giving fair warning
"You blood-thirsty parasite."
- - Kirk, expressing dismay at Kreiger's unfeeling nature
"I guess we'll have to make that tour a little later cute stuff!"
- - Zaia to Spock as she leaves
Background information Edit
With this story arc the uniforms from the second film began to be used. The time period it takes place in is unclear, though. Kirk is referred to as an admiral, yet Uhura is called a lieutenant, Chekov is on board, and Spock is alive. Krieger refers to Zaia as a "Deltan witch", although she has a full head of hair; given no other similarities to canon Deltans, it may have been a coincidental use of the name. On the other hand, the character of Jedda, from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, was indicated to be Deltan in the screenplay, but had hair as well. There is no explanation as to why the merchants didn't target the ship's warp drive, or why the crew didn't appear to consider it a viable option to use it to escape the merchant fleet. Unfortunately, the change in creative team resulted in neither art nor story being up to the standards set by prior creators of the strip, and the quality of this particular story can be fairly judged from the above.
This story was given the title "A Merchant's Loyalty" in Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics, Volume 2.
Regular Cast Edit
Other Characters Edit
- Captain Krieger
- Captain Kro-Regas
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