(written from a Production point of view)
This summary is of a story arc from the newspaper comic strip Star Trek.
The Enterprise is sent to discuss Federation membership with the leader of Zeta-Atez, who alternates his position regarding staying with or leaving the Federation.
The Enterprise visits the planet Zeta-Atez, where the new Imperator Dykranus - who has been shielded from public view since birth - has alternately said he would secede from the Federation or celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his planet's membership in it. The strategic importance of Zeta-Atez is Lozite-M, a bio-metallite which is used in Federation weaponry. Prime Minister Chak meets with the crew himself, but resists the idea of their meeting directly with Dykranus. Eventually, Dykranus allows Kirk, Spock, and Doctors McCoy and Chapel to be led through a maze of Lozite-M, which is razor sharp, to a building where he has spent his whole life. He vehemently wants to leave the Federation. He also gets very tired, very quickly - taking naps and complaining of weariness. The crew is dismissed, but are concerned about Dykranus's mental and physical state. So they sneak back as Spock remembers how to get through the maze. They access the royal chamber and discover that Dykranus has two heads, only one of which is awake at any one time. This is a condition unusual for his species and one that McCoy thinks will eventually drive him mad. Dykranus attacks them with a staff of Lozite-M, but falls on it, cutting off one of his heads. They beam up to the ship for treatment, with Kirk and Spock cleaning up evidence they were ever there. The treatment is a success, the Imperator is grateful, and the ship leaves orbit.
"I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw a Horta."
- - McCoy, expressing suspicion over Prime Minister Chak
"It feels so... odd to only have one head."
- - Dykranus after his operation
- As in The Real McCoy, we again we see the theme of secession from the Federation being advocated by someone who has to be medically treated by McCoy. Also repeated is the concern over how it would look if the person died while in McCoy's care.
- Kirk's orders to engage in covering up the accident with Dykranus and not to inform his government are unusual but not questioned by anyone.
- The dual nature of the leader is an idea telegraphed to the reader through the name of the Imperator, his flip-flop on Federation membership, and the planet's name itself.
- There is no resolution at the end of the story; we never find out if the gratitude the Imperator feels leads him to stay with the Federation or whether he still wants to leave.
- Imperator Dykranus
- Prime Minister Chak
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