Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever, Issue 5 was the last issue of a five-part Star Trek: The Original Series miniseries published in 2014 which adapted Harlan Ellison's original script for TOS episode: "The City on the Edge of Forever". It was adapted by writers Scott and David Tipton and painted by J.K. Woodward.
- Solicitation text
- The final act of Harlan Ellison’s Hugo and WGA Award-winning Star Trek teleplay! Is James T. Kirk willing to sacrifice the woman he loves, to save the universe as he knows it?! You may have seen the episode, but you only think you know how it ends! From the mind of literary legend Harlan Ellison!
That evening, Kirk and Keeler share dinner but Kirk's sombre mood is unable to be ignored. Though Edith cannot grasp the full picture, she can tell Kirk is going away and it has to do with the "Chinese fellow". As Edith professes to losing faith that things will ever get better, Kirk reassures her that things will get better, that her philosophy will eventually win the argument and that... he loves her.
Spock then arrives and silently departs with Kirk. Leading him to the Verdun veteran, Kirk offers the man further financial compensation before the two officers stalk into the alley. As they search, a trashcan falls on Spock, the noise alerting Beckwith who targets Kirk with the phaser. Seeing this, the veteran lunges at Kirk, knocking him clear of the beam but winding up disintegrated as a result. Spock uses everyone's collective shock to throw the trashcan at Beckwith, scaring him off for now. As Kirk picks himself up, the two ponder what effects the cripple's death may have before Spock wonders why a man would perform such an act for someone he barely knew. A downtrodden Kirk knows. Because they were nice to him.
As the two set a sad course home, they pass by another of Edith's sermons. And even Spock has to admit, she is a remarkable women with ideas far ahead of her time. Spying Kirk across the street, Edith cross to him, unaware of an approaching truck. Seeing the imminent disaster, Beckwith lunges at her only to be tackled away by Spock. With only a second to look at the vehicle, Edith Keeler unceremoniously dies.
As he mourns, Kirk is whisked across time and space back to Gateway while everything reverts to what it was.
With Kirk too sad to speak, Spock confers with the Guardians who confirm that all is as it was, despite the cripple's death. He counted...just not enough. With that, Beckwith wrestles himself free of Spock's grasp and jumps back into the vortex, the portal sealing itself. Though Spock believes it was all for nothing, the Guardians inform him that the vortex cannot be set for the same space/time coordinates twice. But Beckwith has not escaped. He is now forever trapped in the heart of an exploding star, doomed to remain trapped in a single second. Like the Möbius strip, he has no beginning or end. He wanted forever and he got it.
Back aboard the USS Enterprise, Spock manages to break though Kirk's melancholic shell by calling him "Jim". After a brief philosophical discussion, Spock asks if Kirk can explain why Beckwith, a man so blatantly corrupt and self-serving, felt the urge to save Keeler's life even if it might have potentially cost him his own. Well Kirk can't explain it but he knows the pattern of behaviour. So often has the human race looked at itself and despaired over its infinite capacity for cruelty, welcoming extinction so someone better could have a go at it. But then, those who seem beyond help demonstrate an infinite capacity for good by doing something so wonderfully noble and selfless. And if that's the case, then perhaps humanity can endure a bit more suffering if it means utopia. But even that does little to soothe the blow of the cripple's death. A veteran of World War I and he was "negligible". But Keeler was not. The woman who had more love to give than perhaps anyone in the universe. But who lived at the wrong time for love.
With that, Spock takes his leave. With a sad gaze, Kirk watches the stars streak by at warp speed. Now powerfully humbled regarding his place in the universe. That he is ultimately one "negligible" man, in one tiny room, in an insignificant starship, streaking through the ever expanding void.
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- angel food cake • apple • Battle of Verdun • bird • cent • cockroach • coordinates • dollar • history • logic • meat • mineral • money • nova • observation port • star • Starfleet uniform • Starfleet uniform (2265-2270) • sun • wine • World War I
- An observation port was seen in Kirk's quarters.
- TOS episode: "The City on the Edge of Forever" – the episode as aired.
- TOS - The New Voyages short story: "Mind-Sifter" – Fleeing from Klingons through the Guardian of Forever, Kirk became trapped in a mental hospital on Earth in the 1950s.
- TOS comic: "Getting Real" – In 2279, the USS Enterprise time traveled to Earth in 1983 to avert the Icarus plague, a disaster which killed five million people in Florida.
Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever, Issue 4
- Harlan Ellison's The City on the Edge of Forever, Issue 5 article at Memory Alpha, the wiki for canon Star Trek.