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(written from a Production point of view)
- "Captain's log, stardate 5466.9. The Enterprise is in orbit around the outpost colony world of Ribol II, on orders from the Federation Agricultural Division, to try and find a solution to the destructive plague of Dranzers, which wipes out seventy to ninety percent of the grain crop every sixth year. A landing party of Doctor McCoy, First Officer Spock, and myself has beamed down to the Ribolian surface to survey the problem first hand. Mister Newt Henderson, of the Ribolian Settlers League, has taken us in hand."
As they fly in an aircraft above a continent on Ribol II, Newt Henderson explains the Dranzer problem to Kirk, McCoy, and Spock. The Dranzers are beasts which normally live in the hilly grasslands of the west, but every six years, the Dranzer herd becomes massively overpopulated and stampedes east into the plains, trampling the majority of the Ribolian settlers' crops in the process. The settlers have managed to recover from the last such attack, but the Dranzers' numbers are once again growing, and another stampede is expected within six months. However, that estimate is optimistic, as the beasts' populations have already reached critical levels, and the stampede could effectively start at any time.
Unfortunately, the Dranzers can't simply be eradicated, as the tall grass in the hills would take over the plains if not kept in check by the Dranzers' grazing. Nor will selective pruning work, as the settlers' last (and presumably, best) attempt – made three years ago – caused a premature stampede that destroyed much of their foothill croplands. Newt – complaining that Ribol has been petitioning Starfleet for help since the last stampede – demands that Kirk and crew help the Ribolians solve this problem; after all, they supply foodstuffs for many other Federation colonies, and they ARE taxpayers.
Spock postulates a possible solution. He explains that for it to work, they must capture one of the largest Dranzers they can find. Apparently they do this, and Spock and McCoy beam to the Enterprise and get to work. Meanwhile, Kirk persuades Newt to – reluctantly – provide some of the Ribolians' high-speed ground vehicles.
Spock and McCoy then beam down with a small container of liquid. As Spock begins to explain the plan, which involves distributing the liquid into the spray canisters on each vehicle, Henderson's assistant Ellie bursts in with information that the stampede has begun. There is no time to further explain the plan.
Three "Control Groups" of the vehicles race out to the 2,000-kilometer-long front of the stampeding herd. They begin to release the liquid in the tanks, and the herd begins to follow the vehicles. As Kirk explains to Newt, the Dranzers follow the musky scent of the herd leaders, and McCoy has synthesized a highly-concentrated version of the Dranzer musk.
After a day's worth of travel, they manage to lead the Dranzer stampede in a circle. The stampeding animals in the front of the herd will now follow the animals in the back of the herd, until they get exhausted and die. The crops are saved for another six years, and the normal number of surviving Dranzer will continue to kill the tall grass of the hills.
Newt contacts Spock and thanks him on behalf of the colony for solving the problem. Spock, however warns Henderson that since they've altered the normal stampede path of the animals, their corpses – which helped fertilize the soil as they decomposed – would now have to be moved from the hill regions to the fields. Newt informs Spock that means moving some 100 million Dranzer bodies, which weigh about two tons apiece. He then turns to Kirk for further aid, but the captain reminds him that they have to help themselves as well, and suggests he coordinate the settlers to start moving the bodies once the stampede subsides, or the smell of all the decomposing bodies wafting down from the hills will be unbearable.
"I fear that government is rarely run according to scientific principles."
- - Spock
"If this doesn't work, they're going to have to scrape us off the ground."
- - McCoy, commenting on Spock's plan for controlling the dranzers.
- Newt Henderson refers to paying taxes to the Federation.
- The Ribolians speak with a Norwegian accent.
- This story was released a total of three times during the Peter Pan Records run. It could be found on Records #2, #10, and #22.
- Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Peter Pan Records characters.
- James T. Kirk
- Enterprise captain.
- Enterprise exec and science officer.
- Leonard McCoy
- Enterprise surgeon.
- Landowner Newt Henderson
- Representative of the Ribolian Settlers League.
- A Ribolian woman who brings news to Newt.
- Federation Agricultural Division
- A department of the Federation.
- Ribol II
- An outpost colony world settled 12 years before stardate 5466.9.
- Ribolian Settlers League
- A group who's membership includes Newt Henderson.
- An animal native to Ribol II, with long black hair and flat quadruple horns. They are about half the size of an Earth elephant, resemble a cross between a pig and a buffalo, and breed like rabbits. Dranzers have very poor eyesight, the herd leaders produce a musky odor which the others follow. They prefer to live in hilly grasslands.
- Delatra family
- Owners of a ranch in the northwest quadrant on Ribol II.
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|"A Mirror for Futility"||Peter Pan Records||"The Man Who Trained Meteors"|