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(written from a Production point of view)
- "Captain's log, Stardate 6372.2. The Enterprise has made a detour on its way to Starbase 14, stopping to replenish our supply of dilithium crystals at Aarak 3 – where King Marat has accepted gifts and technology in exchange for Federation mining rights. The planet has one of the galaxy's largest supplies of dilithium – the only substance powerful enough to fuel a starship engine."
Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy are sharing a glass of ice wine with Marat, ruler of the planet. Spock comments on the remarkable change since their last visit, changing the world from a harsh ice planet, to somewhere almost comfortable. As Marat responds, two men in heavy parkas burst in, one stating "Death to Marat...! Death to the Feder..." before he is cut off as Kirk knocks a pillar into him, knocking an explosive out of his hand. Spock grabs it, throws it to McCoy, and he hurls it from the balcony, allowing it to explode harmlessly in the air.
The men are taken into custody, and Marat tells them of a traditionalist group on the planet, wanting things the old way. Kirk contacts the Enterprise, and tells them to inform Starbase 14 of their delay.
On board the Enterprise, Scott shows Marat's daughter, Sharday, the old crystal that burnt out in an ion storm. She shows him the new crystal, 97.4% pure. He admires it, stating "like the first bit of light on a spring morning." Sharday offers to show him some performance increasing modifications, and tells him that it is customary to celebrate with ice wine when finding a crystal of that purity. He apologizes for the lack of ice wine, and suggests a proper drink.
Elsewhere on the ship, Spock and Kirk discuss the traditionalists, and their goals. On deck nine, they encounter McCoy, and he points out that they cannot interfere due to the Prime Directive. Spock notes that the traditionalists believe that the Federation has already violated it when they gave the ecosphere reshaping technology. Spock notes that an overthrowing of the government is inevitable, and that the traditionalists may attempt to ally themselves with an anti-Federation group, such as the Klingons.
Back on the planet, Kirk visits one of the imprisoned terrorists and discusses the attack, noting that it was timed to be when the Starfleet members would be in the palace. He also points out that they know that he can't interfere and wonders why they would risk their lives unless he wanted them to interfere. The guard points his spear weapon at Kirk and releases the terrorist, who takes Kirk's phaser.
Back on the Enterprise, Sharday makes some last minute adjustments to the plasma flow before Scotty escorts her to the transporter room. As they leave, the intermix monitor shows a danger signal. On the bridge, Uhura cannot raise Kirk on the communicator. Spock tells Scotty to take control of the vessel while he and McCoy beam to the surface.
On the planet in an ice cave, Kirk is being held prisoner, hands tied. He attacks the guard, who accidentally frees him, and Kirk knocks him unconscious, just as an explosive goes off. Over at the palace, McCoy and Spock look about in the dark and are surprised as an explosion lights up the sky. Sharday and Marat step out of the shadows, pointing phasers at them and tell them that the explosion was the Enterprise. Kirk steps out of the shadows and shoots Marat in the shoulder. Sharday is quickly disarmed as Scotty steps in, noting that he checked her work before any damage was done. Kirk and Scotty quickly explain things to McCoy, and as they prepare to beam back to the ship, Kirk tells them that the dilithium mine entrance collapsed in the explosion, and that the Araakians have a lot of time to sort out their problems.
"Dammit Spock –! I'm a doctor, not a grenadier!"
- - McCoy, after being passed the hot potato of a charged explosive
"He has a point."
"He always does."
- - Kirk and Spock, discussing Dr. McCoy
"And you knew about this, Spock?"
"Some. The rest I surmised from the available information."
"And when were you going to tell me?"
"I just did."
- - McCoy and Spock, immediately after the situation is defused and explained
- This story appears to take place during the second season of Star Trek: The Animated Series from the stardate. The presence of Arex also supports this.
- The issue sold an estimated 11,484 copies in comic specialty stores in September 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.
- Enterprise navigator.
- Pavel Chekov
- Enterprise security officer.
- Hikaru Sulu
- Enterprise helmsman.
- Enterprise communications officer.
- Ruler of Aarak 3.
- Daughter of Marat, and a traditionalist.
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