- Kirk and his crew venture into the past, only to discover it is nothing like what their history books teach—no trace of the devastation of World War III and the Eugenics Wars. What can have caused such a divergence?
Unusual readings from the Guardian of Forever brought the USS Enterprise to Gateway's orbiting Science Station 187, where James T. Kirk, Spock and Leonard McCoy reunited with the ship's former A&A officer Carolyn Palamas. Analysis of scan data suggested that the Guardian reset itself, and even the Guardian could not explain the cause of strange temporal distortions. Spock adjusted their communicators to remain in contact with Palamas and McCoy, and then Kirk and Spock stepped through the portal to investigate.
They arrived in the northeastern United States in the early 21st century, but demonstrably not in their own universe. In this parallel universe, Earth looked peaceful, not at all ravaged by the 1990s Eugenics Wars and World War III as cited in their history books. They were then stunned by Gary Seven, who was reconnoitering the same area.
Seven brought them via transporter back to his office. Being from a different universe, he did not recognize Kirk or Spock, but they provided more than enough details to prove that they knew him. The Beta Twelve computer located an inter-dimensional portal within a small house, so they beamed over to search it. Kirk, Spock and Seven found a sophisticated device in the basement which channeled unrecognizable energies. Soon they were confronted by inventor Allen Rigby and a pair of Sub-Dimensional beings, who built the device. The beings assaulted the intruders, then turned on Rigby.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise struggled against waves of erratic temporal disruptions that threatened to destroy the science station. Having lost contact with Kirk, Montgomery Scott and Palamas traveled through the portal to aid the landing party, but emerged instead on irradiated ruins from their own 21st century. As planet Gateway began to shake apart from temporal stresses, the Enterprise was unable to retrieve McCoy and Uhura, so they also traveled through the portal, locating Scott and a wounded Palamas.
After Spock subdued the beings with a Vulcan nerve pinch, he attempted a mind meld, but was overwhelmed by images of collapsing parallel universes. The inter-dimensional portal threatened all existence, and Rigby sacrificed his life to shut it down. It disappeared, and shortly afterward reality returned to normal. The Enterprise crew were returned to Gateway, and Palamas was treated in sickbay. With all of the criss-crossed timelines, McCoy wondered aloud how they would know if they had been returned to the right one.
- Beta Twelve computer • Pavel Chekov • Guardian of Forever • Hammond • Isis • Willis Keloway • James T. Kirk • Tommy Kovaks • Leonard McCoy • Carolyn Palamas • Elizabeth Palmer • Allen Rigby • Montgomery Scott • Gary Seven • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Tahn Alu • Nyota Uhura
- Earth (Connecticut • New Hampshire • United States) • Gateway (Science Station 187)
- Referenced only
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- automobiles • USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)
- Referenced only
- Botany Bay sleeper ship
Races and culturesEdit
States and organizationsEdit
Science and technologyEdit
- attitude thruster • communicator • computer • coordinates • inter-dimensional portal • laboratory • long distance transporter • Looking Glass • reconnaissance satellite • scanner • servo • technology • tractor beam • transporter • tricorder • weapon
Ranks and titlesEdit
- archaeology and anthropology officer • captain • chief communications officer • commander • doctor • Federation Starfleet ranks (2260s) • first officer • lieutenant • president • rank • Starfleet ranks • supervisor
- 1968 • 1996 • 20th century • 21st century • assignment patch • atom • bacteria • bridge • dimension • Eugenics Wars • galaxy • history • hour • meter • mind meld • minute • month • orbit • orbit • parallel universe • radiation • second • sickbay • Starfleet uniform • Starfleet uniform (2265-2270) • telepathy • temporal distortion • time stream • timeline • time travel • transporter room • universe • Vulcan nerve pinch • war • World War III • year
- This story takes place in 2270, three or four years after TOS episode & Star Trek 2 novelization: The City on the Edge of Forever and at least two years after the birth of Carolyn Palamas' son in "Of Woman Born".
- Writer John Byrne credited Harlan Ellison for story concepts on the title page.
- Byrne appreciated that CBS Paramount Television let him explore a variety of ideas in New Visions, including the divergence between continuity established in 1960s TOS and our modern times as well as the evolving continuity in later Star Trek series. (Story itches discussion at John Byrne's website)
- The Convention Exclusive cover for this issue was the first New Visions cover not produced by Byrne. (New Visions Cover discussion at John Byrne's website)
- This story implicitly, but not explicitly, precluded the existence of other facilities studying the Guardian that were established by other sources. For instance, the Ellison Research Outpost was located somewhat close to the Guardian of Forever, in TOS - The Yesterday Saga novels: Yesterday's Son, Time For Yesterday. A Federation surface installation was also built 15 kilometers from the portal, seen in TAS - Log One novelization: Yesteryear. The orbiting Einstein Station was destroyed by Klingons in 2270, in TOS - Crucible novel: Provenance of Shadows.
- Although Palamas' child with Apollo was stated to be a son in this story and "Of Woman Born", NF novel: Being Human identified their child as daughter Athena Palamas, the great grand-mother of Starfleet Lieutenant Mark McHenry.
- Hikaru Sulu assumed command after Montgomery Scott and Nyota Uhura beamed down to Gateway.
- Images of Commander Willis Keloway originated from actor Jason Evers' portrayal of the Scalosian Rael in TOS episode & Star Trek 11 novelization: Wink of an Eye.
- The scientist Tahn Alu was visualized using images of Arcadians seen in TOS movie: The Voyage Home. Her presence somewhat contradicted FASA RPG module: Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update, which stated that the species did not make first contact with the Federation until 2278.
- Actor Sean Hannon, the photographic model for Leila Kalomi's husband Alan Becker in "The Hollow Man", served here as the body of Gary Seven so that Supervisor 194 could wear 21st century clothing. (Gary Seven discussion at John Byrne's website)
- TOS episode & Star Trek 2 novelization: The City on the Edge of Forever – Introduced the Guardian of Forever and the Gateway.
- TOS episode & Star Trek 3 novelization: Assignment: Earth – Introduced Gary Seven; Kirk recalled events from that story.
- TOS episode & Star Trek 2 novelization: Space Seed – Introduced the Eugenics Wars and World War III.
- TOS episode & Star Trek 7 novelization: Who Mourns for Adonais? – Introduced Carolyn Palamas and Apollo, the father of her son.
- TOS comic: "Of Woman Born" – Featured the birth of Palamas' son.
#21: The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
Dream a Little Dream