Star Trek: Early Voyages #7
Marvel/Paramount Comics (August, 1997)
“The Flat, Gold Forever”
WRITERS: Ian Edginton & Dan Abnett
PENCILER: Patrick Zircher
INKER: Greg Adams
COLORIST: Marie Javins
LETTERER: Janice Chiang
EDITOR: Bobbie Chase
Pike thinks he’s racing home to check on his sick father, but the transmission was faked by Kaaj, who is looking for revenge against Pike. He’s also clearly willing to murder his own officers for messing up and forcing the shuttlecraft to crashland on the farming colony of Prairie, but one of his lieutenants pushes the blame elsewhere in order to gain a future favor from another crewman. Pike is rescued from the crash by Clare Thorn, head of one harvesting ship and a former Starfleet officer until a tragedy grove her to a simpler life. Kaaj sends his men to find Pike and Clare comes to his aid. Kaaj is even willing to kill his own men if his blood debt can be settled from orbit, until the Enterprise shows up and chases them off. The excitement renewed Clare’s interest in Starfleet and she petitions to return to duty. The Enterprise found out about the fake message, but they don’t know who sent them the coordinates to find Pike. Is she their friend or just another enemy for Kaaj?
What they got right: While character development would have benefited from a second part, at least for Clare as I’ll get to, the action fits in just fine within the space. There’s a mystery as to who helped the Enterprise find Pike and why that I hope will be explored later.
What they got wrong: I’m not sure what about this adventure helped Clare get past the incident that drove her to leave Starfleet and want to return. Her harvester is attacked after Kaaj’s men butchered a nearby one looking for Pike (or just having fun as these seem to be the really bloodthirsty kind) and she gets knocked out. Her team disappears almost as soon as the Klingons beam onto the harvester so for all I know they were killed. Considering how little growth we see in her, having her decide to stay might have made more sense for her character.
Recommendation: A good story in the continuing Pike/Kaaj feud and I’m looking forward to their next encounter. Worth picking up.