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"Error" was the second issue of Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor, a four-issue TOS comic book miniseries written and drawn by John Byrne. This story was set in 2271 and published by IDW Publishing in May 2010.

Publisher's description

From solicitations
Doctor McCoy hates mysterious ailments. He also hates the transporter. Now he finds himself on a world beset with one, where the only means of getting around is the other. John Byrne’s tale set in the period before Star Trek: The Motion Picture continues here with two covers from Byrne.


During a break in the refitting of the USS Enterprise, Montgomery Scott lent a hand upgrading the technology at Gamma Tarses VII, a planet soon to be inducted into the Federation. He asked McCoy to help with a medical problem confounding experts. McCoy was annoyed to find out the only way to get around their city was via transporters, wearing a stabilizer band each time.

Protocol required McCoy and Duncan to abstain from work during a local religious holiday. Considering that so much of the environment and plant life had been modified by genetic engineering, Duncan and Theela wondered about the nature of the Tarseans, who all appeared to be the same age and without children. Meanwhile, McCoy and Scott shared a bottle of Saurian brandy. Frustrated by the medical puzzle, McCoy went for a walk, eventually wandering below the city's hospital into a vast hall full of machinery. He was then stunned and arrested for trespassing. He would be judged when the High Council reconvened in three days.

Before he met with the Council, McCoy recorded a theory about the illness in his medical log. To test it, he took off his stabilizer band before being transported to the Council. When he materialized, he lost all memory of the past week. Transporters were being used as a means of immortality. Each time people beamed, their molecular patterns were reset to a stored base pattern, erasing all passage of time. The stabilizer band saved and restored memories. But over many centuries, a cumulative build-up of non-living atoms would become fatal. While the populace was unaware, the Council had accepted that their choice to live for thousands of years would eventually cause the extinction of their species.

When Scott returned to San Francisco, he gave James T. Kirk a letter from McCoy describing the events on Gamma Tarses VII. They left together to share a drink.



CambridgeThan D'LoraEela'hJon Mikael DuncanJames T. KirkLeonard McCoyShar M'SholoMontgomery ScottTheela
Referenced only
Wyatt EarpBenjamin FinneySpock

Starships and vehicles

Referenced only
Cam TamoUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)


Earth (San FranciscoStarfleet Command) • Gamma Tarses VII
Referenced only
Antos Veria IXEarth (AberdeenManhattanSan Francisco Naval YardsSpacedock) • Mirror UniverseTerran EmpireWrigley's Pleasure Planet

Races and cultures

AndorianAntos Veria IX nativeHumanTarseanVulcan

States and organizations

FederationHigh CouncilHouse TrelahnStarfleet Academy

Science and technology

acetylcholinebexadrilbiobedcommunicatorgenetic engineeringholodeckphaserscannersciencesickbaystabilizer bandstunnerstylustechnologytime traveltransporterweapon

Ranks and titles

admiralcommanderdoctorengineerFederation Starfleet ranks (2270s)hereticNaziNinth CitizenofficerphysicianpilotRomansecurity guardSeventh Citizensh'hab'abaStarfleet rankstechnician

Other references

Alet Cam Tamoatombacteriabraincabincelldaydevildimensiondiplomacyengineeringevolutionextinctionfarmgardengiant amoebagodhelmhologramhospitalhourjaillife forcemedical logminutemonthoceanparallel universeplantq'eesavaradiationreligionSaurian brandyshore leaveslaveryspaceportStarfleet uniform (early 2270s)universevirusyear



Published Order
Previous story:
TOS comics
Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor
Next story:
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:

Production history

12 May 2010
First published by IDW Publishing.
9 October 2010
Reprinted by IDW Publishing in the Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor miniseries omnibus.
4 June 2013
Reprinted in hardcover in The John Byrne Collection omnibus.
29 December 2015
Reprinted in paperback in The John Byrne Collection omnibus.
3 January 2019
Reprinted in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #53 by Eaglemoss.



  • This issue was released in three covers, all by John Byrne. The two primary covers were available equally. The third cover, an uncolored version of the B cover, was available as a retail incentive.


Related stories

Duncan half believed incidents McCoy cited from:


Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor stories and publications
#1: "Weeds" • #2: "Error" • #3: "Medics" • #4: "Hosts" & "Scalpel"

External links