- With the crew at each other’s throats due to the Truth Artifact, Captain Kirk decides to head back to the dead planet it came from to find answers before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Uhura has found that the artifact allows her to communicate with their Tholian passenger. The final voyages of the five-year mission continue here!
- Following an archaeological mission on the long dead planet of Hespiredes I, the crew of the Enterprise finds themselves in the grip of a mysterious affliction - communicators are untrustworthy, people are hearing things that others never said, and tensions are hitting a boiling point.
Captain Kirk instructs Uhura to investigate the cause of this communications breakdown before she can begin, she's shocked shocked when Bright Eyes addresses her in Federation Standard!
While Uhura is understandably shocked at Bright Eyes speaking Federation Standard, she is more surprised that the young Tholian doesn't even know what Standard is. Likewise, they are surprised that Uhura can't speak Tholian. Scuttling back into the heat shield, Bright Eyes says that they didn't hurt the ship, letting Uhura figure out what's going on. After she rushes out, Bright Eyes pats themselves on the back for doing good.
In the observation lounge, Uhura recruits Kirk, Spock, and McCoy for an experiment. Handing Kirk a card, she asks Kirk to read out what he sees on it while the other two write it down. And though Kirk only says "a dog," everyone else hears "It's a cat. But I'm supposed to say "dog."" The problem lies not in everyone's ears, but that they're unconsciously saying whatever's on their mind, which means that, yes, Spock did hear McCoy's latest comment about Vulcan ears.
After Uhura explains that the phenomenon is cross-species, Spock theorizes that a clear mind can combat the effects and that the artifacts from Hesperides I are the cause. Kirk orders a course set back to the planet while ordering everyone on ship to be quiet and communicate by written text. As the eerily quiet ship sails, the archaeological team performs another sweep of the artifacts while Uhura works to decipher the Tholian language. Though the process is humiliating, it is risk-free. That is until a Klingon ship appears directly ahead of them.
While Spock worries that the Klingons could also be affected by the communication issue, Kirk decides to play it to his advantage. After all, the Klingons are astonishingly blunt creatures and always say what's on their mind. This might be the key to opening firm diplomatic ties with them. A channel is opened to the Klingon U'Jahl, whose disfigurement causes Kirk to make a rather tactless comment, before the captain begins explaining. Though U'Jahl initially scoffs at the idea of "ghosts," he is convinced when one of his own crew-members attacks him, letting Kirk pass but warning that he'd better not find the USS Enterprise here again.
As the Enterprise slides into orbit around Hesperides I, the archeologists confirm to Kirk that they a device that is the probable cause of all this, its energies penetrating every quarantine protocol. With a heavy heart, Kirk returns all the artifacts, even as Scott and Spock wish that he would have allowed them to examine the device. As the captain ponders why such technology would have been invented in the first place, and if it led to the destruction of Hesperides I, he returns to visit Uhura and Bright Eyes, the latter now playing with toy molecules. Uhura announces to the captain that, thanks to the device, which surprised even Bright Eyes in affecting them, she's very close to cracking the Tholian language.
Kirk smiles at that. The alien technology not allowed them to speak Bright Eyes' language, but gave them a glimpse into human psychology. With any luck, such an intimate look at the Federation's intentions is hope for the future.
- Bettie Bennett • Bright Eyes • Campbell • Alton Daugherty • James T. Kirk • Leonard McCoy • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Nyota Uhura • U'Jahl
Starships and vehicles
Races and cultures
Year Five, Issue 5
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Year Five, Issue 7