- From solicitations
- After answering a call for help from a most unexpected source, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise return to the site of a previous mission, where they make a shocking discovery, one that may force James T. Kirk to make a decision like no other! It all comes together here!
In the cargo bay of the Orion cruiser, Jason Thompson attempts to hack back into the communications system before the doors open revealing Kirk's away team and some very confused Orions. Exhaustion taking over, Thompson collapses into McCoy's arms. After Kirk thanks the Orions for their help, the group beams away.
As McCoy and Chapel monitor Thompson's recovery, Kirk speaks with Lieutenant Thompson about his mysterious twin. McCoy's examination reveals that, whatever that man may be, he is Jason Thompson right down to the DNA, dental records, and scar tissues. Aside from a minor concussion, the duplicate is indistinguishable from the original. As Thompson is dismissed, Spock enters to reveal his findings on the duplicate's uniform. It too is identical, a perfect copy of standard Starfleet issued clothing. However, given that the Orion ship was last in the Mygdalian system, and that the same aliens patched Thompson up, answers to this mystery may lie there.
As the USS Enterprise slides into orbit above Mygdalus III, Spock notes the planet makes substantial usage of cloaking technology. And in the few sections he's managed to break through, Spock is picking up numerous human life signs along with other species that have no business on the planet. Accompanied by both Thompsons, along with Spock and McCoy, Kirk beams to the compound where the alien life signs are coming from.
As the five walk, the duplicate notes that the surroundings look familiar. When Kirk forces open a door, the crew finds 2472 Klingons, or rather 2472 copies of the same Klingon held in stasis. And the chamber across the hall holds 2472 Gorn. And the next one holding 2471 copies of Thompson. Collapsing to his knees as his memories return, the duplicate explains that his stasis field failed, disorientating him, whereupon he managed to evade the guards and board the Orion ship. McCoy's analysis confirms that they're not looking at clones. They're looking at transporter duplicates. Which neatly explains how the Mygdalians are such proficient doctors. They can mass produce an endless supply of spare parts and test subjects.
Before the group can beam away with the information, Weis arrives with his entourage. Outgunned, Kirk frees all the Thompson clones causing the Mygdalians to flee. As Kirk, Spock, and McCoy pursue it is found Kirk's gambit has also freed the Klingons and Gorn who instantly begin killing each other. As the compound descends into chaos, Kirk orders a beam out.
Once aboard, Kirk orders all the Thompsons to be beamed up before he contacts Weis again to offer a warning. The Federation now knows their secret and they can tell that secret to the Klingon Empire and the Gorn Hegemony. But if the practice is stopped, then Kirk is willing to aid them in at least regaining control of the compound.
In Cargo Bay 3, Kirk announces that all the Thompsons will be allowed to go their separate ways and live their own lives. As Spock wonders about the diverging paths the identical men will take, McCoy fears for the day when they all can be duplicated by transporter, especially since the technology is not so far removed from their own. Though McCoy worries that they will go down the path of the Mygdalians one day, Kirk reassures him that, while knowledge is an admirable pursuit, without the compassion so essential to the Federation's principles, it is a meaningless one.
- Christine Chapel • James T. Kirk • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Jason Thompson • Nyota Uhura • Weis
Starships and vehicles
- Mygdalus III
Races and cultures
States and organizations
A Matter of Perspective
Burden of Knowledge
Final issue of the series
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