"Mr. Oracle" was a comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1977, the 46th issue of their TOS series. It was the 7th of 22 stories drawn by Alden McWilliams and the 15th of 20 stories written by Arnold Drake.
In this story, a society was threatened by a nova.
- A planet was dying, but the civilization upon it was about to be reborn on a new world! All they required was a man of superior intellect whose brain could be expanded to encompass all their knowledge! And the advanced brain they chose belonged to … Mr. Spock!
- Captain’s log, stardate 23:19.2.
- I have received orders from Star Fleet Command to execute a new long range probe technique…
The USS Enterprise dropped out of warp in a region less populated by star systems, but Spock locates a class M planet of interest, a world with an advanced civilization orbiting a star that will soon become a nova. James T. Kirk, Spock, Leonard McCoy and Montgomery Scott beam down hoping they might be able to assist the society's relocation efforts, but run into humanoids with spears seemingly from a tribal culture. The landing party is led up a rope bridge and locked up. However, Spock deduces that they are in an escape room and figures out how to open the cell. It opens, revealing a large, modern room.
They are introduced to the Grand Riza, the society's leader, who explains that solving the riddle qualifies Spock for a critical medical experiment to save their cultural heritage. He explains that, before they can abandon their world in colony ships, they need to back up their master computer, Wotam. They've grown helplessly dependent on it as their only source of knowledge. Their solution is to expand a humanoid brain to carry the computer's data. None of their people are biologically capable of the procedure, and it isn't guaranteed to be reversible, but Spock is willing to proceed.
- Captain's log, supplemental.
- The “operation” lasted some three hours. Mr. Spock was in no apparent pain or danger. But the rest of us could only gape in amazement and fear as the ray process ended!
The process expands Spock's skull and brain capacity, giving him a headache, and he recovers while the rest of the landing party tours the capital city. They return to find that Spock's self-identity has blurred with Wotam's. In his paranoia, he orders guards to secure them in a force field prison. The Grand Riza's second in command sneaks into the cell, offering a strategy for capturing Spock. When confronted, however, Spock confesses not to know who his attackers are. He raises a knife to kill Kirk, but halts when Kirk gives him a direct order as his commanding officer to stop, his Vulcan dedication overriding Wotam's conditioning.
Using some technology and a mind meld, Spock is able to safely embed Wotam's data split among three members of the population in a fully reversible procedure, and Spock returns to normal. Several days later, their ships launch to colonize another planet. Kirk hopes they've learned their lesson not to depend so fully on a computer.
- Christine Chapel • Grand Riza • James T. Kirk • Leonard McCoy • Riza One • Montgomery Scott • Spock
- Referenced only
- Tycho Brahe • Albert Einstein • Hikaru Sulu
Starships and vehicles
Races and cultures
States and organizations
Science and technology
Ranks and titles
- 2-B civilization • architecture • cannibals • code • cranium • culture • dagger • haggis • headache • Latin • magic wand • mind meld • mineral • monkey • mushroom • nitric acid • nitrogen • nova • oxygen • practical joke • prison cell • radioactivity • religion • Riddle of Ikor • roulette • skull • slavery • sorghi • star • U-235 • warriors • water • witchcraft
- TOS comic: "A World Against Itself" – Diminutive yellow-skinned humanoids attempted to enlarge Spock’s brain capacity, but the demonstration backfired, turning him into a vengeful tribesman and leading to a one-on-one fight with Montgomery Scott.
- TOS comic: "The Hijacked Planet" – An impending nova in 2267 prompted the Federation Science Council to launch Project Atlas, in which the planet Styra and its population were taken to another system by transferring their dematerialized patterns within a compact sphere.
- TOS comics: "The Evictors", "The Planet of No Life" – The Sanoora dealt with societal consequences of migrating to another star system, also written by Arnold Drake.
- TOS episode: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" – Nova of the Fabrini's home star Ganidra prompted an exodus to Daran IV via Yonada, a hollowed-out asteroid.
- The planet’s name and star system were not provided, though its people were referred to as Rizas.
- Hikaru Sulu was referred to in dialogue only, assuming command of the ship while Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scott beamed down.
- A 2-B civilization exhibited basic to heavy industry, man-made radioactivity, high concentrations of artificial heat and nitric acid. This ranking seemed to be from a system other than the Richter Scale of Culture or the technological/sociopolitical index.
- This story has been translated into Dutch and German.
- The Enterprise assisted other emigrations, including those from Vultra in 2266 and Styra via Project Atlas in 2267. (TOS comics: "The Crucial Element", "The Hijacked Planet")
- Other races forced to emigrate included the Fabrini, Sanoora and Koa.
- Some cultures did not have the technology for an exodus. In 2269, the people of Sarpeidon used time travel to survive the nova of Beta Niobe. And while the people of Kataan died from a nova, their culture survived aboard a probe through interactive memory transfers of the life of Kamin to Jean-Luc Picard in 2368. (TOS episode: "All Our Yesterdays"; TNG episode: "The Inner Light")
- The cause of unusually high numbers of nova in the Milky Way Galaxy was addressed in TOS novel: The Wounded Sky.
- Wotam was shown to be an extremely large mechanical computer. However, there must have been more to it in order to explain why a humanoid brain had to be augmented to contain it, rather than just copying its files to the ship’s computer.
- Leonard McCoy cited Tycho Brahe’s observations of a supernova in the constellation Cassiopeia in 1572. McCoy said that it happened in the 17th century, but it was in the 16th century. (Nova article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
- The diminutive Riza were green-skinned on the cover but yellow-skinned in the story.
- Two pages were spent discussing preparations for a “new long range probe technique,” which was treated among the crew like a special event, but it was just travel at warp speed. Possibly the story ran short and this was needed as a filler.
#45: The Voodoo Planet
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- May 1977
- First published by Gold Key Comics.
- September 2008
- Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD. (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
- 25 October 2018
- Reprinted in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #48. (Eaglemoss)
- Dutch: In the omnibus Ruimteschip Enterprise Classics Strip-Paperback #2. (De Vrijbuiter)
- German: As "Das Orakel" in digest size in the omnibus Raumschiff Enterprise Comic Taschenbuch #2. (Condor)
- German: As "Das Orakel" in digest size in some editions of Condor Superheiden #1: Star Trek Jahrbuch. (Condor-Verlag)
- Mr. Oracle article at Memory Alpha, the wiki for canon Star Trek.
- Mr. Oracle article at Curt Danhauser’s Guide to the Gold Key Star Trek Comics.