Dead planet? Or deadly? — "The Mimicking Menace" was a Star Trek: The Original Series comic book story published by Gold Key Comics in 1975, the 28th issue in the first ongoing series of Star Trek comic books. It was the 26th story credited to artist Alberto Giolitti and the first of ten stories written by George Kashdan. In this story, the Galileo shuttlecraft lands on a barren world harboring a mysterious lifeform.
- 1 Description
- 2 Summary
- 3 References
- 4 Appendices
- What form can life take? In an infinite universe, it can take infinite forms! Now, as the crew of the Enterprise seeks to learn about a wandering asteroid, it is confronted with an unsuspected life form that turns Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Calder against the others!
- Captain's log, star date 34.21.7
- The wandering asteroid Tactis II is now below the Enterprise! Question — does this asteroid pose any threat to the Federation?
From orbit, Spock and Calder found indeterminate life signs. At her request, Kirk, Spock, Calder and two security officers landed the Galileo (NCC-1701/1) near a volcano, where they were surprised to find a duplicate shuttle. The security officers boarded it just as the volcano erupted. They both became dizzy and collapsed — and large, floating molecule chains reformed into copies of their bodies.
Drained of its ion power, Galileo was caught in a lava flow. When it was safe to open the hatch, Spock and Calder spotted the other shuttle flying towards the volcano's crater. Kirk called the security team, but his communicator lost power. Kirk and Calder spotted the team climbing back down the mountain and left to meet them. Kirk and Calder fainted, and floating molecule chains copied them too.
The four duplicate Humans now approached Galileo. Spock felt his own energy draining and with a spark of inspiration retreated into the shuttle. At that moment, Montgomery Scott and Leonard McCoy beamed down to find out why they'd lost contact. The duplicates fired phasers at them. Scott and McCoy returned fire, collapsing the duplicates into molecules. The volcano rumbled. Spock quickly ran out and retrieved the woozy Kirk and Calder, and everyone piled into Galileo to hide from an onslaught of boulders.
- Captain's log, star date 32.21.9
- From the moment our party landed on the supposedly lifeless asteroid, our lives have been under an unexpected threat! Some as yet unexplained life-form drains us of strength, makes a mockery of our form and turns us against each other!
Scott had a video camera robot beamed down. The probe examined the crater, relaying images of spacecraft, skeletons and huge molecule chains of a Tactisian. The transmission cut out, and when the robot returned, Kirk, Calder and Scott inspected it, then collapsed. The robot was a duplicate, and it copied the three officers. As Spock weakened, he ordered the Enterprise to fire negatively-charged ions into the crater. This weakened the Tactisian, reviving the missing security officers, who fled back to Galileo and shot the duplicates with phasers.
- Captain's log, supplement
- In accordance with Federation by-laws, we did not destroy the life-form on Tactis II… But even now, the life-form is probably active again! It will be seeking other energy sources! Be warned!
- Calder • James T. Kirk • Leonard McCoy • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Tactisian • Nyota Uhura • unnamed 2260s USS Enterprise personnel (2 security officers)
Starships and vehicles
- USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • Galileo (NCC-1701/1) (class F shuttlecraft) • unnamed spacecraft
Races and cultures
States and organizations
Science and technology
- circuit • communicator • engine • ion • life-sign • robot • scanner • setting 1 • transporter • video camera robot • viewscreen
Ranks and titles
- amino acid • asteroid • atmosphere • beam • bridge • communications • Federation by-laws • crater • emotion • glass • hatch • hibernation • hull • landing party • lava • life • life energy • lifeform • logic • molecule • parasite • philosophy • protein • security • skeleton • suicide • temperature • universe • volcano • Bio-detection unit
- TOS episode: "Whom Gods Destroy" – Spock was faced with two Kirks and forced to deduce which was the real one.
- TOS episode: "The Man Trap" – Driven by hunger, the M-113 creature duplicated a variety of humans.
- TOS - New Visions comic: "The Hunger" – The Hollow Planet entity devoured life energy on a planetary scale.
- TOS comic: "Planet Ecnal's Dilemma" – Lerows drained life energy from Ecnal in an attempt to save their endangered world.
- The parasite did not provide evidence of sentience, as its actions were entirely based on instinct, driven by hunger. It attempted no contact through its duplicates except to lure and expose others to be drained.
- The parasite lived inside the volcano and apparently drew energy from magma, or else it could not have survived on an otherwise dead asteroid. Expelled lava in the crater and in the lava flow miraculously cooled in moments, for example, as if all its heat were drained away. It normally would take 10-15 minutes just for surface of a lave flow to be cool enough to walk on, and years for its interior to cool. The lifeform may be able to change magma temperatures to trigger volcanic eruptions. (How Long Lava Takes to Cool article at the Oregon State University website.)
- It seemed that the parasite originated from Tactis II, but it could have been brought there. Within the volcano, the video camera robot found an unidentified alien spacecraft. Either the spacecraft carried the parasite to the volcano, or the parasite was in the volcano and lured the ship there.
- The unidentified spacecraft discovered by the robot appeared to be modular, chemically powered and not capable of warp travel. The asteroid was identified as “wandering,” so at some point it must have passed through a star system within range of an inhabited planet that was capable of sending an interplanetary spacecraft to land on the surface.
- The current location of the asteroid was not mentioned in the story, but it must be near or within an important Federation location in order to prompt an investigation by a starship. Stardate 3421.7 was near to stardate 3417.3, citied in TOS episode: "This Side of Paradise", suggesting perhaps that the asteroid might be passing through the Omicron Ceti system or a neighboring system.
- The parasite drained power from the Galileo, Kirk’s communicator, and several humans, but it did not drain or duplicate phasers, a significant energy source and the only one that was able to destabilize the duplicates.
- The unnamed male security officer looked similar to Manning as he was drawn in TOS comic: "The Final Truth". The unnamed female security officer looked similar to Lieutenant Angela Martine.
- Galileo was said to be ion-powered. It withstood being dragged by a lava flow, only scorching the paint.
- Spock deduced which of two Kirks was real by picking the weaker one, as he did in TOS episode: "Whom Gods Destroy".
- Spock hypothesized that, when the lifeform attempted to duplicate him, the process took longer due to his anatomy being different from human. Since the parasite had no trouble with humans, a shuttlecraft or a robot, it was unclear what aspect of the Vulcan’s anatomy would take longer to duplicate.
- Despite her wearing a red operations uniform, Lieutenant Calder was clearly a biologist, whose purpose on the landing party was to study life forms on the asteroid. Previously in canon, Astrobiologist Ann Mulhall had also worn a red operations uniform.
- Hikaru Sulu was given command by Montgomery Scott in dialogue, but Nyota Uhura appeared to be giving commands while Sulu manned the helm.
- The "shuttleship" Galileo and its duplicate were consistently marked NCC-1701/1. This version of the shuttle also appeared in the UK comic strips stories "The Marshall Plan", "I, Emperor", "The Void of Storms", and "Vibrations in Time".
- This story has been released five times in English and translated into German and Italian.
#27: Ice Journey
#29: The Planet of No Return
#27: Ice Journey
|TOS comics (Gold Key original stories)||Next comic:|
#30: Death of a Star
This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit
More of the Serpent Than the Dove
|Memory Beta Chronology||Next adventure:|
More of the Serpent Than the Dove
|Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), Year Two||Next comic:|