"Chekov's Choice" was the 19th issue of DC Comics' 1984 series of Star Trek comics. It was a special issue written by Walter Koenig. In this story, Pavel Chekov became overwhelmed with guilt from having been unable to save a helpless crew before the ship self-destructed.
En route to meet the Eebrix of Pelham Five, Nyota Uhura intercepts an urgent distress call from a nearby ship. They say their ship will self-destruct in twenty seconds. James T. Kirk requests that transporters lock onto the crew, but Hikaru Sulu warns that they have to depart immediately or be caught in the blast. Kirk orders the ship to warp, and they watch the other ship blow up. That evening, Kirk is unable to sleep and Chekov wakes up in a cold sweat.
The next day, sensors pick up another vessel, but it doesn't answer hails. Chekov fails to respond to Kirk's request for information. He is still distracted by the loss of the other ship and concedes that he is unable to keep his attention on his work. Kirk relieves him of duty, and Chekov goes to his quarters, frustrated. In the recreation room, the crew whines about Chekov's being relieved. Montgomery Scott confronts a lieutenant who won't back down on the subject. Kirk laments to Spock how easy it was in the past to seek out new worlds, but now he feels like he has to protect himself from pain.
Chekov awakes screaming from nightmares. He runs into the hall and bumps into Yeoman Marjorie Hamilton, who sits down with him in the officer's lounge. Chekov says he dreams of people suffering: his father, his captain, his closest friend, the girl that he loved, himself, and the doomed aliens. Hamilton comforts him.
Back on the bridge, Kirk and Spock discuss the new alien vessel as the Enterprise travels through an asteroid field. Kirk second-guesses himself, wondering if the aliens need help but can't or won't help, but McCoy says he is overreacting. Kirk suggests taking a shuttlecraft in case the transporter prompts fear from the aliens. Spock suggests that he pilot the shuttle. Spock requests clearance to dock, but suddenly eight Vulcan warships appear and fire on the shuttle.
Meanwhile, a fight breaks out in engineering and Scott reports overhearing mutinous talk. Ensign Burns reports that Chekov is on the rec deck trying to incite mutiny. Kirk orders Sulu to take two officers and bring Chekov to the bridge. Sulu and Chekov get into a fight, and Burns stuns Chekov, prompting a mob reaction. A crowd of angry crewmembers take over auxiliary control, shut down power to the bridge, including helm control, and leave the ship on a collision course with an asteroid.
Over the intercom, Kirk appeals to Chekov to get control of the mob, since they'll only listen to him. Kirk says if Chekov's motives really are to preserve life, then he has to get control of the ship within eight minutes or the Enterprise will be destroyed. But neither Chekov nor Hamilton can see an asteroid in their viewer.
Spock enters Chekov's quarters, explaining that the nearby alien ship created illusions of Vulcan warships to prevent him from landing. Spock believes the self-destructing ship had also been an illusion, a vision meant to compel the Enterprise crew to act chaotically and destroy themselves. But Chekov says neither he nor Hamilton saw any asteroids. Spock asks who Hamilton is, as there is nobody else in the room. Spock says he was able to overcome the illusions because he knew such Vulcan ships had not existed for 20,000 years. Chekov has to beat the illusions as well. He has to think not with his heart, but just do his duty. Hamilton replies that she loved Chekov. With effort, Chekov sees through the illusion and Hamilton fades away. The two run to auxiliary control and diverts the ship with seconds to spare.
Later, McCoy determines the illusions were not just hallucinations, but for the crew who are most susceptible they were a disease "causing bio-chemical alterations and neurological re-patterning," and he determines that the crew were not responsible for their actions. Still, Chekov feels terrible for his insubordination. Kirk tells Chekov that even while under the influence, he still acted out of compassion.
Uhura receives a transmission from the alien ship. The Illusionists reveal themselves to be defenseless except for their ability to make illusions, having spent 1,000 years hidden from other races. They are afraid that the Federation will discover them after Eebrix came aboard their ships. The Eebrix are unemotional and unresponsive to illusions, which the Illusionists feel will make them susceptible to attack. But as the Illusionists were defeated without Eebrix aboard, they concede defeat. Kirk explains that the Federation is peace-loving, and they can go in peace.
- Captain's log, stardate 6714.3
- We're en route to interview the Eebix of Pelham Five. With no space capability of their own, the Eebix have volunteered their services to Federation vessels...
... They are a single-minded drone species that thrive on long hours and routine, monotonous work that results in space fatigue for so many of our crew.
- Captain's log, supplemental
- Of all the days I've spent in the service, this one may well have the hardest. And the night is proving no easier.
- Captain's log, stardate 6717.
- Our sensors have established the presence of another ship in our sector. Efforts to open communications have so far proven unsuccessful.'
- Captain's log, stardate 6717.7.
- The alien craft is still behind us, still maintaining a discreet distance and still will not or cannot break radio silence.
- Burns • Pavel Chekov • Marjorie Hamilton • James T. Kirk • Leonard McCoy • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Nyota Uhura • unnamed USS Enterprise personnel (2270s and 2280s)
- Referenced only
- Andrei Chekov
Starships and vehicles
- asteroid field
- Referenced only
- Pelham Five • 12th moon of Gormol
Races and cultures
States and organizations
- This is the first comic book story set in the post Star Trek: The Motion Picture era since the first Marvel Comics series ended in 1982.
- Chekov's nightmares provided some compelling background for the security chief. Chekov described the people in the dreams as being those of the girl that he loved, his father, his captain, and his closest friend. There were images of Chekov holding a collapsed blonde woman, a bearded man trapped behind a window in a burning house, a Starfleet officer being shot by a Klingon, and images of two older men. The blonde woman would be the girl that he loved, noting that Julia Crandall and Irina Galliulin both had dark hair. The bearded man would be his father Andrei Chekov. The faces might represent an aging James T. Kirk from The Deadly Years, with Hikaru Sulu being shot by a Klingon.
- On the 12th moon of Gormol, Kirk said Spock had laughed with happiness. Spock said he allowed a smile of appreciation. Kirk implied that the event happened when they would "seek out new worlds," suggesting possibly that it had occurred during the five-year mission. However, it would be more likely for Spock to behave that way that following his encounter with V'Ger in 2273.
- Vulcan warships were established not to have existed for twenty-thousand years.
- The Illusionists did not provide the name of their species, but Kirk addressed them by that name. The race was established to have kept itself isolated from all others for a thousand years (circa the late 13th century).
- The aliens aboard the self-destructing ship were not addressed by name. The Enterprise was en route to meet Eebrix, so coming across an Eebix ship would be expected. But if they looked like Eebix, it's doubtful that they behaved like non-emotional Eebix, as their emotive pleas of desperation prompted a response of sympathy with the crew.
- The winged shuttlecraft with a rocket exhaust port was of an unusual design. It and the Vulcan warships resembled more traditional rocket ships.
- Writer Walter Koenig provided a hint in the story that the self-destructing ship was not real. It had appeared without any warning, and within transporter range of the Enterprise. Sensors would have picked up such a vessel from quite a distance. The emotional impact of the disaster seemed to distract the crew from questioning that it had really happened.
#18: "Rest and Recreation!"
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