- A mysterious message draws Mr. Spock on a solo mission to a distant part of the Federation, where an old friend awaits, as well as a menace with the potential to threaten the entire galaxy.
Spock requested a ten-day leave of absence, but was evasive about his reasons. While Captain James T. Kirk and Doctor Leonard McCoy speculated, Spock used civilian resources to travel to Tau Beta IV, where he met Leila Kalomi, a woman whom he'd loved on Omicron Ceti III when spores infected him in 2267. Kalomi had asked for his help: her husband Alan Becker was acting so strangely that he seemed to be someone else.
Becker was a charming host at their dinner. He was chief mission geologist for a terraforming and dilithium mining station on the planet. He and Kalomi were converting the station to automation, as the planet had proved too costly to terraform. The next day, Becker took Spock on a tour of the mines, where he'd made extraordinary discoveries. Spock was intrigued, right up to the point where he was telepathically assaulted by S'uora, an immense maniacal cosmozoan trapped in the center of the planet.
S'uora had been imprisoned there 10,000 years ago. It had possessed Becker as a means of escape. It attempted to possess Spock, but Vulcan mental disciplines were strong and Spock was able to resist. It then took control of Kalomi, but Spock was able to remove all three of them from S'uora's influence. During the struggle, however, Becker was dealt a concussion. After getting back to the surface, Spock called the USS Enterprise for assistance.
- Personal log… The mystery behind Spock's uncharacteristic request for leave is about to be solved. I am beaming down with Dr. McCoy and two security men.
- Ship's medical log, Leonard McCoy, Chief Medical Officer recording. The Enterprise is holding in orbit around Tau Beta IV while I begin what I am already afraid will be an impossible attempt to save Alan Becker.
Becker's mind had been "tunneled out" by S'uora, so much so that his recovery was doubtful. McCoy was able to repair physical injuries from the concussion. Spock then used a mind meld to mend the psychological injuries. However, so much had been removed from Becker that Spock had to infuse portions of his own mind within Becker to help him recover. A part of Spock would remain in Becker, and with Kalomi, forever.
- Captain's log, supplemental. USS Enterprise outbound from Tau Beta IV. Confirmed rendezvous with USS Hannon for transfer of Leila and Alan Becker.
- Alan Becker • Christine Chapel • Pavel Chekov • Leila Kalomi • James T. Kirk • Leonard McCoy • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • S'uora • Nyota Uhura • Q'an Vass
- Alpha Quadrant • Orion Colonies • Rigel • Tau Beta IV
- Referenced only
- Janus VI • Omicron Ceti III • Relay 9 • Starbase 26
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • RD-178 (civilian shuttle) • Rigel Queen (civilian starliner) • TRN-148 (class F shuttlecraft)
- Referenced only
- USS Hannon
Races and culturesEdit
Ranks and titlesEdit
- captain • chief medical officer • commander • director • doctor • Federation Starfleet ranks (2240s-2260s) • first officer • geologist • lieutenant • miner • mining engineer
States and organizationsEdit
- Blue Star Line • Federation Planetary Development Council • Starfleet • Starfleet Academy • United Federation of Planets
Science and technologyEdit
- conveyer unit • database • dilithium mining station • elevator • intercom • landing beacon • medical tricorder • terraforming • transporter • tricorder • warp drive
- boredom • compassion • dilithium • hyperbole • mental shield • mind • mind meld • mining • Omicron spores • pressure • prison • pon farr • sadism • spore infestation • Starfleet uniform (2240s-2265) • telepathy • Vulcan nerve pinch
- The story is a sequel to TOS episode: "This Side of Paradise" and also takes places after TOS episode: "The Devil in the Dark". Alan Becker was familiar with events in both stories.
- This was the only New Visions story with a stardate in the 5000s. Based on author John Byrne's stardates in the series, this story (stardate 5862.5) falls between his 2268 and 2269 stories. "The Survival Equation" (stardate 4991.3) took place in 2268 and "The Traveler" (stardate 6019.3) took place circa 2269.
- It was not specified whether S'uora was unique or belonged to a species of cosmozoans, but the beings who had the ability to imprison S'uora could have been other members of its species.
- Images of Harry Landers, the actor who portrayed Arthur Coleman in TOS episode: "Turnabout Intruder", were used to portray the unnamed captain of the Rigel Queen.
- Christine Chapel appeared without dialogue in sickbay, from the back in two panels and from the front in one.
- Leila wore three outfits in the story, one for each day that elapsed. The day Spock arrived, she wore a shirt with a diamond pattern and dark maroon pants. The next day she wore a patterned blue shirt with a sweater and black pants. After Becker had recovered, She work a pink dress with black boots.
- Alan Becker wore his orange coveralls except while in sickbay, when he wore blue coveralls with a black t-shirt.
Related Stories Edit
- TOS episode: "This Side of Paradise" – Leila Kalomi and Spock reunited in 2267 on Omicron Ceti III.
- TOS novel: Inception – Prequel describing their meeting and relationship in 2261.
- TOS episode: "The Devil in the Dark" – Becker said every geologist and mining engineer had probably read the USS Enterprise's reports of the Horta on Janus VI.
- TOS comics: "The Brain-Damaged Planet", "It's a Living" – Other cosmozoans living within planets.
#8: "The Survival Equation"
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#10: "Mister Chekov"