"Thorpex" was a 21-page Star Trek: The Original Series comic strip published in 1970. It was the 15th story arc in the UK comic strips series, released in seven parts within issues of TV21 Weekly. This was the third of four stories drawn by Mike Noble.
- Teaser, 15 August 1970
- During a mysterious communications breakdown aboard the starship Enterprise, space Federation strike fighters had launched a baffling and nearly fatal attack on the vessel...
Starfleet receives an emergency distress call from Captain Kirk aboard the Enterprise, reporting the loss of all hands to intruders and requesting that the ship be destroyed. Four strike fighters led by commander Harvey bombard the Enterprise, then prepare to launch nucron missiles. Suddenly they are hailed by Nyota Uhura, and they break off their attack.
A false message sent to Starfleet is signed with Kirk's password, Thorpex. Everyone knowing the password is tested and confirmed not to be under hypnotic control. Meanwhile, a team of robots begin to repair the ship, but one robot leaves the others and begins opening airlocks. It is disabled with a phaser rifle, leaving ashen remains from an extinct felinoid species known as Varkans.
Six small, glowing spheres enter the bridge and aim a floating phaser at Kirk. Through a universal translator, these disembodied Varkans admit to being able to manipulate equipment. They intend to kill the crew, then use the Enterprise to take over machines on Earth and destroy the Human civilization. Montgomery Scott shuts off the bridge lights, and in the confusion the disembodied intruders are vaporized.
Varkans reside on an asteroid, formerly a moon of Varka to which they'd added a propulsion system. To retaliate for Kirk's attack, the Varkan leader aims the asteroid at the Enterprise. The crew quickly dons environmental suits while Hikaru Sulu fires nearly three dozen missiles at it, attempting to alter its trajectory. Kirk loads all of the ship's class F shuttlecraft with bombs, and the combined blast destroys the asteroid along with the Varkans.
- Pavel Chekov • Harvey • Thar Kapta • James T. Kirk • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Nyota Uhura • Zulk • "metal mob" robots • unnamed Starfleet personnel (Starfleet 2nd Fleet officers)
Starships and vehicles
- USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • class F shuttlecraft • Tiger FS-100 • Tiger FS-101 • Tiger FS-102 (strike fighters) • Varkan asteroid • unnamed Alpha and Beta Quadrant starships
Races and cultures
States and organizations
Science and classification
- airlock • bomb • computer • environmental suit • force field • helmet • intercom • jetpack • magnetism • Meissner test • metal mob • missile • nacelle • nucron missile • observation port • phaser • phaser rifle • pliers • radio • robot • scanner • sensor • translator communicator • type-2 phaser • viewscreen • welder
Ranks and titles
- admiral • captain • chief of staff • commander • crewmember • duty watch officer • engineer • ensign • Federation Starfleet ranks (2260s) • rank • skipper • Starfleet ranks • stowaway • traitor
- alert status (action stations • red emergency) • armada • assignment patch • asteroid • beam • blood • boarding party • bridge • briefing room • century • civilization • communications • court of enquiry • extinction • feline • gravity • hour • hull • humanoid • hypnosis • identity transference • metal • minute • moon • S.O.S. • second • second-phase watch • sector • security • space • Starfleet uniform • Starfleet uniform (2265-2270)
- The appearance of nacelle spikes on the USS Enterprise and sciences station printouts might suggest a placement for this story in 2265. However, Ensign Pavel Chekov's role as a bridge officer, one of only seven entrusted with Kirk's password, places the story in 2267 after his promotion to permanent bridge crew duty in TOS comics: "Mister Chekov", "A Little Seasoning".
- In Sector H-100, the Varkan civilization was annihilated by unidentified forces.
- Disembodied surviving Varkans rigged propulsion on a moon and left their star system.
- TOS comic: "Spectre of the Zond" – Disembodied Zonds appeared to manipulate equipment and levitate a communicator, similar to the disembodied Varkans who levitated a phaser.
- TOS episode & Star Trek 11 novelization: The Squire of Gothos – In 2267, the planet Gothos pursued the Enterprise, powered by the will of Trelane.
- TOS episode & Star Trek 9 novelization: Return to Tomorrow – In 2268, disembodied Sargon, Thalassa and Henoch were found residing inside lighted spherical receptacles by the Enterprise.
- TOS movie: The Wrath of Khan – In similar circumstances in 2285, James T. Kirk did not raise shields when "friendly" but uncommunicative Starfleet vessels approached, allowing the Enterprise to be crippled by weapons fire.
- TAS - Log Eight novelization: The Eye of the Beholder – Propulsion systems were added to six moons of Boqu II.
- The story was not printed with a title, but it was given one ("Thorpex") for its reprinting in the omnibus The Classic UK Comics, Volume 1.
- Nyota Uhura took command during the night shift, having done so previously in story arc 8, "Spectre of the Zond". She was also given command in arc 12 "The Marshall Plan" and arc 26 "By Order of the Empire". In this instance, Hikaru Sulu relieved her in the morning.
- Harvey used an environmental suit and an airlock to board the Enterprise rather than land his fighter in the shuttle bay. Possibly the fighters required different facilities for takeoff and landing.
- The universal translator was used according to TOS canon for the first time in the UK comic strips series. Previously, it was a built-in function of a "translator communicator".
- The Starfleet 2nd Fleet admiral and his staff wore 20th century-style jackets and rank braids.
- Strike fighters had registries beginning with "SF" in the comic strip published 1 August, but "FS" in the strip published on 8 August. The registry for Commander Harvey's fighter was barely legible in the earlier strip.
- Turning off lights should not logically affect disembodied entities, as they did not have eyes and ought to have some type of extrasensory perception. Nonetheless, the story explicitly stated that Varkans relied on a sense of vision.
The Ageless One
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- This story was serialized three pages per issue over a period of seven weeks.
- 1 August: Pages 1-3 published in TV21 Weekly #45.
- 8 August: Pages 4-6 published in TV21 Weekly #46.
- 15 August: Pages 7-9 published in TV21 Weekly #47.
- 22 August: Pages 10-12 published in TV21 Weekly #48.
- 29 August: Pages 13-15 published in TV21 Weekly #49.
- 5 September: Pages 16-18 published in TV21 Weekly #50.
- 12 September: Pages 19-21 published in TV21 Weekly #51.
- April 2016
- Reprinted in the omnibus The Classic UK Comics, Volume 1. (IDW Publishing)
- 28 September 2017
- Reprinted in the omnibus Graphic Novel Collection, Volume 20. (Eaglemoss Collections)