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Turn back or die – But the Enterprise crew is determined to explore the Haunted Asteroid

"The Haunted Asteroid" was a Star Trek comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1973, the 19th issue of their TOS series. It was the 17th story drawn by Alberto Giolitti and the third written by Arnold Drake.

In this story, the USS Enterprise investigated a mausoleum reputed to be haunted.

Description

Emperor Muro III had a robot army carve an entire asteroid into a memorial to his dead bride! But the jewel-encrusted, orbiting mausoleum became a thing of supernatural dread! And the grave-robbers of space who defied that haunted world either disappeared or returned too mad to tell its sinister secrets!

Summary

Captain's Log, Stardate 2492.5: We are approaching the small but celebrated asteroid Mila Xa, in the thin outer-reaches of the asteroid belt of star system Delta. I have called an orientation briefing...

Senior scientist Krisp briefs the crew about Saeena's tomb, built circa 1669 by her husband, emperor Muro III. The site is purportedly haunted, with 319 people said to have disappeared while attempting to rob the tomb. Starfleet has assigned Krisp and the USS Enterprise to get to the bottom of the mystery. Investigator Jay Nordyke had been sent in first, spending four days on Mila Xa before landing his ship in the hangar bay. He describes nothing out of the ordinary, but Krisp and Kirk both realize Nordyke has omitted a day from his report. Under psycho-probe, frightening memories emerge and Nordyke becomes agitated, but he can provide no useful explanations.

James T. Kirk, Krisp, Leonard McCoy, Montgomery Scott, Spock and Hikaru Sulu beam down to investigate. Projections of three ghostly witches warn the officers to leave. They camp overnight, but Scott and McCoy disappear less than two hours later. The rest split up to search. Over the communicator, Spock reports seeing zombies, then contact is lost, leaving Kirk and Krisp to track down their missing crewmates. When they are not deterred by an eerie projection of Saeena, they are gassed by zombie robots and deposited in a dungeon full of human skeletons.

Captain's log, stardate 24:92.7. That strange world of apparitions and walking-dead has swallowed up four of my crew – and four of the best friends I have ever known! They will be found alive, or whatever foul thing that lies behind it all will be made to pay!

Krisp determines the skeletons are intact and more than a century old. She and Kirk locate the missing officers in a locked cell and blast it open with a miniature explosive hidden in a button on Kirk's uniform. Together they locate an elevator shaft, retrieve an old elevator car, and descend six miles below the terraformed surface into a subterranean section of the tomb. They find environmental and security systems, then make an unexpected discovery: Saeena is there, still alive.

Saeena explains that she had been born a mutant with extraordinary healing factors and an unusually long life-span. To keep her from becoming a spectacle, her husband faked her death, then rebuilt their royal asteroid hideaway into a palace where the two could live out their lives together in secret. Once the mausoleum was finished, Muro III mysteriously disappeared and rejoined his wife. He died there at age 84, in the 17th century, while Saeena lived on, protected by the asteroid's defenses. She says that, while, any intruders are not allowed to leave, they are able to live contented lives in the paradise built on the asteroid, and she has a similar fate planned for the landing party. However, the asteroid is set to automatically self-destruct upon her death, and she is at death's door. The group flees, evading zombie robots to get back to the beam-down point, and watch the asteroid explode from the bridge of the Enterprise.

References

Characters

James T. KirkKrispLeonard McCoyMuro IIIJay NordykeSaeenaMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru Sulu

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • unnamed spacecraft (Nordyke's ship)

Locations

DeltaMila Xa asteroid

Races and cultures

HumanVulcan

States and organizations

FederationSpace Academy

Science and technology

asteroidasteroid beltbraincarboncomputerconcretecrystal treeelevatorgasgymnasticsmercurymicro-crystal recordingmini-bombphaserpsycho-proberadioskeletontombtransporterweight-liftingzombie robot

Ranks and titles

emperorempressprincessscientist

Other references

dartboardfreedomghostgold medalgnomeharpymausoleummemorialoil heaterorchardParvonian camelpool tablerailroadrobotTaj Mahaltombwedding

Chronology

circa 1666
On her wedding day, Saeena was found to be a mutant with an extended lifespan, prompting Muro III to begin building a hideaway on an asteroid.
circa 1669
Muro III reportedly disappeared on a space expedition that year, but instead joined Saeena on the asteroid.
Between 1716 and 1766
Muro III died of old age, aged 84.

Appendices

Related media

Background

  • Saeena and Muro III come from a planet in the Delta system. Delta IV is the home of the Deltans.
  • The three ghostly witches which tried to scare the landing party are characters in William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Another trio of witches materialized in TOS episode: "Catspaw".
  • Sulu says he had once been a gold-medal winning gymnast. Scott says he had once been a weight-lifter.
  • Spock calls the robot guards "zombies." Although they walk upright with arms outstretched while repeating phrases, they do not resemble corpses in any way. Perhaps the gas they emit is a hallucinogenic, prompting visions.
  • Uses for a psychotricorder and psychoscan were described in TOS episode: "Wolf in the Fold".
  • This story has been released six times in English and translated into Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • The reprint in The Enterprise Logs, Volume 3 excluded pages 7 and 24. On page 7, Krisp twice insists that she go on the landing party, Kirk explaining her addition to the team in the transporter room, and the team beams down. On page 24, during the team's escape from the asteroid, Spock is burned by jets of flaming gas, but McCoy smothers the flames.

Images

Connections

Gold Key Comics stories and publications
Issues "The Planet of No Return" • "The Devil's Isle of Space" • "Invasion of the City Builders" • "The Peril of Planet Quick Change" • "The Ghost Planet" • "When Planets Collide" • "The Voodoo Planet" • "The Youth Trap" • "The Legacy of Lazarus" • "Sceptre of the Sun" • "The Brain Shockers" • "The Flight of the Buccaneer" • "Dark Traveler" • "The Enterprise Mutiny" • "Museum at the End of Time" • "Day of the Inquisitors" • "The Cosmic Cavemen" • "The Hijacked Planet" • "The Haunted Asteroid" • "A World Gone Mad" • "The Mummies of Heitius VII" • "Siege in Superspace" • "Child's Play" • "The Trial of Captain Kirk" • "Dwarf Planet" • "The Perfect Dream" • "Ice Journey" • "The Mimicking Menace" • "Death of a Star" • "The Final Truth" • "The Animal People" • "The Choice" • "The PsychoCrystals" • "A Bomb in Time" • "One of Our Captains Is Missing!" • "Prophet of Peace" • "Furlough to Fury" • "The Evictors" • "World Against Time" • "The World Beneath the Waves" • "Prince Traitor" • "Mr. Oracle" • "This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit" • "Murder on the Enterprise" • "A Warp in Space" • "Planet of No Life" • "Destination... Annihilation!" • "And a Child Shall Lead Them" • "What Fools These Mortals Be.." • “Sport of Knaves” • "A World Against Itself" • "No Time Like the Past" • "Spore of the Devil" • "The Brain-Damaged Planet" • "To Err Is Vulcan" • "The Empire Man!" • "Operation Con Game"
Additional stories "James T. Kirk: Psycho-File" • "A Page From Scotty's Diary" • "Spock: Psycho-File" • "From Sputnik to Warp Drive"
Collections Star Trek Annuals (1969197019721973197419751976197719781979198019831986) • The Enterprise Logs (Volumes 1234) • The Key Collection (Volumes 12345) • Gold Key Archives (Volumes 12345) • Gold Key 100-Page Spectacular
Related media "Voyage of Discovery" • "The Exile" • "The Red Hour" • "The Tunnel of Death" • "... Wild Goose Chase!" • "A Hint of Life" • "Space Chase" • "Escape from the Clinging Dags" • "Eye of the Beholder" • "The Menace of the Mechanitrons" • "Trial by Fire!"

Timeline

Published Order
Previous comic:
#18: The Hijacked Planet
TOS comics (Gold Key) Next comic:
#20: A World Gone Mad
Previous story:
The Hijacked Planet
Stories by:
Arnold Drake
Next story:
A World Gone Mad
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
A Page From Scotty's Diary
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Museum at the End of Time
Previous comic:
A Page From Scotty's Diary
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Two Next comic:
Museum at the End of Time
Production history
July 1973
First published by Gold Key Comics.
August 1976
Printed in the omnibus The Enterprise Logs, Volume 3. (Golden Press)
June 2004
Printed in the omnibus The Key Collection, Volume 3. (Checker Book Publishing Group)
September 2008
Included on The Complete Comic Book Collection DVD. (Graphic Imaging Technologies)
August 2014
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Gold Key Archives, Volume 4. (IDW)
26 October 2017
Remastered in hardcover in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection #22. (Eaglemoss)
Translations
1974
Finnish: As "Kummitusasteroidi" in Avaruusmatka Star Trek #12. (Apulehti)
1975
Dutch: As "De Spookasteroïde" in b/w in Star Trek #8. (De Vrijbuiter)
1976
German: As "Der Fluch von Mila Xa" in Zack 1976 #13. (Koralle)
1970s
Spanish: As "El Asteroide Encantado" in Aventura #903 Viaje a las Estrellas. (Editorial Novaro)
2005
Italian: In the omnibus The Gold Key Collection, Volume 5. (Free Books)

External links

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