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“But it wasn't any use. Nobody came.”: The Enterprise Incident # 5

Connected to the Preserver interface device, Spock relives an encounter with his father on Vulcan where they both exhibit a manner of tension over Spock's decision to stay in Starfleet instead of returning to work at the Vulcan Science Academy. In the present, Kirk, McCoy and Scotty monitor the experiment from one of the Enterprise's science labs. After Arex detects a massive random energy spike centered around the device and McCoy warns him that Spock's central nervous system is about to collapse as a result, Kirk has the interface destroyed and beamed out into space, but not before Spock was able to determine that it was the Preservers who constructed the galactic barrier (a ribbon of energy at the boundary of the Milky Way galaxy that was the focus of a number of Original Series episodes). While he wasn't able to determine the exact purpose, Spock believes the Preservers intended it to protect the younger peoples of the galaxy, and that they hoped one day it would no longer be necessary.

</The Galactic Barrier evokes a number of episodes, but perhaps the most telling are “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and “Beyond the Farthest ...

“Dream not of today.”: The Enterprise Incident # 4

</I am now convinced I am being haunted by Margaret Armen. I keep running into her just after I think I'm finally rid of having to square away her influence for good. All that said, she has indeed cropped up once more so it's time to look at her work yet again. I have to say, invoking Margaret Armen in any capacity other then “vehemently trying to pretend her scripts didn't happen” is always going to seem a bit suspect to me. Nevertheless, she was one of the most seasoned and experienced writers of the period of Star Trek history, and considering she contributed almost as many stories to the Animated Series as she did to the Original Series it would seem D.C. Fontana was considerably more enamoured of her work than I am./>

Beneath the surface of Loren 5, Kirk and the Enterprise away team discover what Sanderson and his team had found while mining for Dilithium and what Kor's crew was after: A sprawling underground city that seems ancient and deserted, and yet built around scientific and technological concepts far beyond the comprehension of any of the major galactic powers. As ...

“Confessions of a King”: The Enterprise Experiment # 3

Commander Kor is not happy. He sits soliloquizing on the bridge of his battlecruiser reflecting on his humiliating defeat the the hands of the Organians and the Federation three years ago, a defeat which brought shame and dishonour upon his house. Decoding a message from Starfleet Command about a rich Dilithium deposit and mysterious and ancient archaeological ruins discovered on Loren 5, Kor sees this as the perfect opportunity to test the resolve of the Organians and the Federation both and moves to launch a full-scale invasion of the mining colony.

</As if the brutal fistfight between Captain Kirk and a Klingon on the cover of this month's Star Trek: Year Four-The Enterprise Incident wasn't a tip-off, the Klingons are back because of course the Klingons are back. In particular Kor, and in particular the pacifism debates from “Errand of Mercy” and “Day of the Dove”. But even so, what little we see of Kor in this issue is indicative of a minor, yet significant, reconstruction effort Fontana seems to have pulled. He's behaviour is naturally very much more in keeping with the post-“Heart of Glory” or “A Matter of Honor” Klingons (or I suppose ...

“Is that what we have become?” The Enterprise Experiment # 2

We open on a flashback explaining how the Romulan Commander managed to escape “processing” in “The Enterprise Incident”. It seems she was involved in some form of prisoner exchange that was part of negotiations between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire. Sarek makes a brief appearance, expressing hope that the Romulans and the Vulcans would come to some sort of understanding given their shared lineage, but doubtful given the Romulans' capacity for deception. Back in the present day of this story, the Commander remarks that it's a appropriate she would find Kirk attempting to test a Federation cloaking device based on the one he stole from her.

</We open with another pointless continuity reference. Sarek's presence at the exchange is obviously intended to foreshadow “Unification”, and as a result cheapens it by removing Spock's personal desire to see the Vulcans and the Romulans reunited, and thus his primary motivation. Attributing this to Sarek not only diminishes Spock by attributing his character's defining aspiration in the latter half of his life to “following in his father's footsteps”, it also makes no sense because that dream was very much meant to come from Spock *himself ...

“Persistence of Memory”: The Enterprise Experiment # 1

It's such a perfect idea one wonders why it wasn't done sooner. D.C. Fontana was the script editor for the lion's share of the Original Series and had worked on the show since the beginning. She penned a number of the most popular and best-received episodes of the show and played a large part in shaping Star Trek into the form we now recognise. Even without taking into account reprising her role for the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, contributing to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with Peter Allan Fields and writing three video games, Fontana is simply a no-brainier to handle Star Trek: Year Four: It's obvious, really-excepting the deceased Gene Coon, she's without question the heir apparent to carry on the mantle of the Original Series.

</Although not D.C. Fontana's first Star Trek work since The Animated Series, “The Enterprise Experiment”, a five-issue miniseries from 2008 that was a part of IDW's Star Trek: Year Four line of titles, is at least the first to explicitly interact with this era of Star Trek's history. For this project, Fontana reunites with her longtime collaborator Derek ...

“Mars ain't the kind of place to raise a kid.”: Year Four # 6

This isn't quite the end of Star Trek: Year Four: There's a follow-up series that went out under this banner and, of course, IDW's later “Year Five” series Star Trek: Final Mission (which are, spoiler alert, next on the docket), but this issue does mark the end of the initial run of the project. This means it somewhat begs to be read as a “season finale”, and what this does is cause us to wonder right from the outset which side of Year Four's instincts this story is going to fall on.

As we've discussed previously, this series exists at an odd juncture between trying to fill a gap in the history of Star Trek and doing Original Series-style Star Trek for 2007 and 2008, and it's been on the whole a bit changeable on both fronts. Way back in the post on “Operation -- Annihilate!” I mentioned that the season finale it as we now conceptualize it didn't really exist at this point in the history of television. Most finales were, if not simply average episodes of the series, “big” episodes that were only subtly larger in scope or stakes than the norm ...

“The future is now, thanks to SCIENCE!”: Year Four # 5

It is said our visions of the future tell us the most about the present. In the case of Star Trek, the futurism it imagines is oftentimes most revealing about what the loudest voice in its fandom currently is.

The Enterprise is overseeing a large-scale deep space particle acceleration experiment using a gigantic collider made up of twin space stations. The goal is to scale up similar experiments done by twentieth century physicists in an attempt to create quark-gluon plasma, a kind of primordial matter that existed at the birth of the universe, the theory being this would give them a unique insight into what the universe looked like at the dawn of time. While Spock oversees the experiment on the stations, Chekov takes his place at the Enterprise science station while his own relief officer Arex (that orange three-armed extraterrestrial we first saw in issue 1) expresses concern the experiment could have disastrous side-effects. Kirk dismisses Arex's worries, stating that taking risks in the name of furthering science is what their mission is all about. However, Arex's concerns prove to have merit as no sooner does Spock initiate the acceleration then the ship is hit by a ...

“It's showtime!”: Year Four # 4

If any television show were to take four months to get off the ground, chances are likely that it wouldn't see out its first season. That is an unacceptably long time to force an audience to wait for something to actually get good.

Thankfully for absolutely everyone, Star Trek: Year Four is not a television show.

On a mission of cultural exchange to Viden, a planetary society organised entirely around television under the tyrannical rule of two competing monolithic networks, Kirk is suddenly thrust into the global spotlight after a public altercation with a network executive who shot and killed an eighteen-year-old actor in cold blood when he tried to to quit the sitcom he was starring in. Kirk, Spock and McCoy are arrested by Viden authorities (but not until after their faces are plastered all over the news, as the anchors sensationalize the incident to garner ratings) and try to effect escape, but instead wind up on The Doctor Marv Show, a daytime talk show ostensibly about solving people's personal problems where the host seems more interested in drumming up gossip he can use as a bit of cross-promotion with the tabloids. Because of their new celebrity ...

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