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(written from a Production point of view)
- "Captain's log, stardate 6314.9. The Enterprise has encountered a planetary mass of immense size. High levels of radiation, toxic pollutants, and climatic devastation have made all but one of the planets uninhabitable... We are beaming down to investigate."
As the Enterprise travels through space, she encounters a strange series of planets, arranged to look like a strand of DNA floating through space. Spock reports to Kirk that he detects about twenty life signs, but suggests that the entire structure could have supported more than 800 billion in the past.
A small away team made up of Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy, and a security officer, Ensign Alonzo beams down to the surface. Kirk orders Alonzo to keep watch while the other three prepare enter the complex. Just as they are about to enter, a man steps out and introduces himself as Dr. Othello Beck and welcomes them to "The Strand". McCoy recognizes him as one of the greatest medical minds of the era.
Beck tells them that the planetary collective came together over a thousand years ago and that they were "scientifically advanced, but socially aggressive." They destroyed themselves, but left a laboratory that might be the greatest in the galaxy. Beck then introduces them to a woman he calls Una, and tells Spock that she is his daughter, but not by blood. She is a B'Nai he created, and his favorite.
Outside, Alonzo is attacked by a wolf-like creature. The rest of the team races out and Kirk fires his phaser at it, killing it. But they are too late. Alonzo is dead. Beck states that he's tried to suppress the predatory genes, but that won't bring Kirk's man back. Spock beams up to the Enterprise to brief the crew while McCoy and Kirk stay to investigate.
In the laboratory, Beck asks McCoy if he has visited Bajor, a beautiful world. It was there that he heard of The Strand, "a God-like place where sickness had been eradicated!" He devoted his life to finding it, but found only an abandoned string of worlds. McCoy notes that the Federation would benefit from the data, but Beck insists that they will get nothing until he is ready.
On board the Enterprise, Spock learns about Beck's past and discovers that he is attempting to cure his wife of Logan's disease. Later that night, Kirk discovers the same thing when he comes across Beck's dying wife, who asks him to kill her. Before he can do anything, he is clubbed unconscious from behind by Una. At the same time, back in the lab, one of Beck's assistants drops a beaker, ruining months of work. Beck has no hesitation in killing him and tells McCoy not to meddle in his affairs.
As this all takes place, the Enterprise comes under attack by missiles fired from several of the planets at once, old nuclear weapons. They fire back and there is an enormous explosion as the missiles explode, filling the region with radiation. It forces them to move away from the area to avoid the hazard.
McCoy and Kirk wake up, locked in a cell, but unguarded. Their communicators and phasers outside. Kirk reaches into his boot, pulls out a small phaser and blasts the door open. They get out and discover Beck and all of the B'Nai dead from phaser fire. The pair beam up to the ship, relay the details of the discovery to Starfleet and continue on their way.
"He's dead, Jim."
- - McCoy, after checking on Alonzo's body
"When did you start keeping a spare phaser in your boot?"
"You get knocked out and thrown in a cell enough, you start to take precautions."
- - McCoy and Kirk, after Kirk gets his spare phaser and frees them from a cell
"To move forward, man's reach must always exceed his grasp... but he must also acknowledge his limitations, or else his pride will blind him."
- - Kirk, as the Enterprise leaves The Strand
- This story appears to take place during the second season of Star Trek: The Animated Series from the stardate. The presence of Arex and M'Ress also supports this.
- The issue sold an estimated 13,112 copies in comic specialty stores in July 2007.  These figures do not cover copies sold on the direct market (bookstores, etc.).
- Writer: David Tischman
- Editor: Dan Taylor
- Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
- Special thanks to Paula Block of CBS Consumer Products for her invaluable assistance.
- 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 IDW TOS characters.
- James T. Kirk
- Federation captain of the USS Enterprise.
- First officer of the USS Enterprise.
- Leonard McCoy
- Medical officer of the USS Enterprise.
- Enterprise engineer.
- Communications officer.
- Enterprise navigator.
- Pavel Chekov
- Enterprise security officer.
- Hikaru Sulu
- Enterprise helmsman.
- Enterprise communications officer.
- A security officer.
- Othello Beck
- One of the Federation's greatest medical minds. Born 2210, awarded the Phlox Prize for Medicine in 2241. He was forced to resign from the Bajoran Medical Institute in 2250 due to a psychiatric evaluation, and arrested in 2252 for buying Vulcan genetic samples in an attempt to treat Logan's disease.
- Beck's daughter, but not by blood.
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