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Year Five, Issue 20 is the twentieth issue of IDW Publishing's TOS comic miniseries, Year Five. It was released in May 2021.


As the crew of the Enterprise moves toward an uncertain future, one of their own will be pulled into a violent past! While investigating a mysterious structure on Vulcan, Spock vanishes. As the crew tries to find him, Spock must fight to survive as he navigates the painful past of his home planet. The final voyages of the original crew continue in this time-hopping adventure from writer Brandon Easton (Transformers: War for Cybertron, Thundercats) and artist Silvia Califano (Star Trek: Year Five, X-Files: Case Files).


As the Enterprise continues her journey toward Earth—and the Federation election and Kirk's new life as an admiral that awaits the crew there—her crew must investigate a mysterious energy signature on Vulcan

Still sailing back to Earth, the Enterprise makes a detour to Vulcan, tracking a signal that only Bright Eyes can hear. Arriving in orbit, Bright Eyes insists that they must go down to the source on the surface. As no one else, not even the Enterprise, can hear the signal, Spock suggests that it is resonating with the Tholian's crystalline structure. Before Kirk can even give the order, Uhura adjusts the sensors to match, letting them hear the message. Though Bright Eyes worryingly takes note of echoes overlapping the organics, they eagerly sign on to the away team.

The away team materializes at the base of an anomalous metal tower in the Vulcan desert. Though the tower has been there since Spock's childhood, he now finds it is emanating a series of interspatial tachyon bursts, making it essentially a time travel beacon, whose signals begin and end in the past. As Bright Eyes insists that the anomaly be deactivated, the tower flares to life in a burst of light that consumes Spock.

In the same place, Spock awakens seeing two Vulcans engaged in a passionate duel to the death and speaking in an ancient, and forbidden, tongue. When the victor turns his rage on Spock, the first officer is hesitant to blame this on time travel before his attacker is impaled. Turning, he sees his rescuer's party is led by none other than Surak. Somehow, Spock has returned to the Time of Awakening, the era of the Vulcan civil war, predating the schism between his kind and the yet to form Romulans. As Surak sends his forces to round up the dissidents, Surak takes note of Spock's odd clothing and orders him taken to a prison camp. Something that the Kir'Shara never mentioned. As he is loaded onto a transport, Spock wonders how much of the historical record Surak has white-washed.

On the transport, Spock meets Zhat and Rihan. After a philosophical discussion, a shelling overturns the transport. Zhat and Rihan take the chance to escape, encouraging Spock to join them. After a moment's hesitation, he follows.

Back in 2270, the Enterprise crew debates the mystery of their missing Vulcan and the anomalous tower. However, everyone but Bright Eyes has memories of the tower, leading the Tholian to theorize that this is due to the differences in how Tholians and organics view time. Organics subscribe to linear mathematics, viewing time as a straight line with a beginning and an end. Tholians by contrast view time as essentially triangular in design, viewing "the structure behind the structure". While a human's memories would adjust to any temporal distortion, a Tholian's perspective of space/time allows them to see the original structure behind the changes. And even now, Bright Eyes can still the ghostly echoes of the crew that should be surrounding the crew that is.

Before the discussion can proceed further, multiple ships, a hybrid of Vulcan and Romulan designs, decloak and surround the Enterprise.

In a rebel camp, Spock watches the stars, keeping a watch out for the Great D'Shiar comet while reflecting that he must return to the tower if is to have any hope of returning to the 23rd century. As Zhat and Rihan invite Spock to a meal, they reveal their opposition to Surak. They fight for a world where natural emotions and self-expression would be virtues instead of vices. When Spock tries to play devil's advocate, Zhat angrily reveals she was once taken in by Surak. While she originally purged her emotions, she fell in love with Calin, the man who nearly killed Spock, and rediscovered emotional joy and passion. As Rihan comforts her, he notes the flaw in Surak's philosophy; how healthy is it to repress emotions whose processing are good for mental health? A question that gives Spock pause.

Inviting his new friend to see the conflict for himself, Rihan offers Spock traditional Vulcan robes as the two guide him to a re-education facility. With the situation's portentous position in history weighing heavily on him, Spock can only watch the camp in silent horror, again questioning how many atrocities his world was built on.

In 2270, the Enterprise flees from the Vulcan fleet, Scott theorizes that Bright Eyes has protected the ship from the changes to the timeline. And if the Federation as they know it no longer exists, then they must find a way to contact Spock, whenever he is.

Though Spock is readily to leave the nightmarish facility behind, his guides wish to a head to a nearby temple and claim an artifact to topple Surak: the Stone of Gol. Concluding his mental debate, Spock notes that the awesome power of the Stone cannot be allowed to interfere with history. Arriving at its shrine, Spock tries to surreptitiously warn Zhat and Rihan of the Stone's trap before Surak and his guards arrive, citing logic above the honor of leaving the temples as neutral ground.

As Zhat's rage builds, Surak baits her by bringing up Calin's death, even as Spock points out that Surak's desire for conquest has an emotional origin. Unable to answer, Surak instead offers peace. Zhat can take the Stone if the resistance is dismantled, calmly revealing that he has infiltrated it and that surrender is the only logical option. Fed up with logic, an enraged Zhat fires the Stone only to fall victim to it. As Spock tried to warn her, the Stone of Gol amplifies any emotions. And the negative ones will kill the user.

Impressed by Spock's grasp of logic, Surak offers him a place in the new world. The pedestal however has been broken. Morally disgusted by Surak's tactics and cold logic, Spock can no longer ignore his own morals. Refusing to be part of a world built on so many deaths and lies, Spock applies the Vulcan nerve pinch to Surak, powerfully aware that he has just altered history.

Log entries

First officer's log, stardate 7283.4
At the behest of our Tholian guest—colloquially named "Bright Eyes"—the Enterprise is being directed toward my home world of Vulcan. Bright Eyes claims to hear a repeating signal originating in close proximity to the Vulcan capital. Strangely, none of our sensors can detect this signal. However, in the brief time we've become acquainted with Bright Eyes, the Tholian has more than earned the benefit of the doubt.



Bright EyesCalinPavel ChekovJames T. KirkLeonard McCoyRihanMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluSurakNyota UhuraZhat

Races and cultures




Related media

  • TNG episode: "Gambit": The Stone of Gol appears. And those who use the Stone in anger will be caught in a backwash of its power.


Star Trek: The Original SeriesYear Five
Omnibuses/Issues Odyssey's End 123456
The Wine-Dark Deep 789101112
Weaker Than Man 13141516171819
Experienced in Loss 202122232425Captains of Sea and War
Creators Brandon EastonJackson LanzingCollin KellyJody HouserJim McCann
Cover artists Greg HildebrandtStephen ThompsonCharlie KirchoffJ.J. LendlMarc Laming
previous comic:
Year Five, Issue 19
The Original Series (Year Five) next comic:
Year Five, Issue 21

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