Just as the crew is finally able to communicate with their Tholian passenger, the Enterprise runs into a new obstacle -- a Tholian web! But as the crew works with other trapped ships to figure out how to escape, new questions about what the Tholian Assembly is planning darken the horizon.
Tholia. Capital planet of the Tholian Assembly. In their chambers, the Tholian Elders meet with a shapeshifter they dub "Trespasser" who has taken on the form of a black Tholian. Being the one who gave the Tholians their new weapon, Trespasser tells of how the USS Enterprise destroyed the Tholian ship testing out the doomsday device and how the time has come for the Assembly to move beyond the safety of its borders and strike at the United Federation of Planets. As one, the Elders agree.
On board the Enterprise, Bright Eyes tells Kirk and Spock about the attack on Lloyd Zeta-9 and how they felt the deaths of their fellows being a pseudo-hive mind that all Tholians share. It is because of that connection that all three are shocked that any Tholian would attack one of their own, surely the attackers felt the deaths they were causing. Spock asks if the colony might have had some negative stigma that might have made it a target but Bright Eyes confirms that the Tholians are "consonant" and have no prisoners or outcasts. All of a sudden, the ship lurches.
Coming onto the bridge, Kirk finds that the ship has been trapped in a Tholian web, right in the flight path back across the border. Engineering confirms that all momentum has stopped and that their dilithium supplies have become inert. Unlike the incident with the USS Defiant, Spock cannot break them free of this web as their exists no dimensional interphase to exploit and this web is more of net, rather than the cage they last faced. Uhura tries to raise Starfleet Command but finds her frequencies blocked. However, she is detecting a nearby source of radio waves, her and Spock tracing it to a nearby disabled ship. Taking Sulu with him, Kirk goes to investigate the ship, leaving everyone else on watch for the spider that spun the web.
As the two space jump to the ship, the web arrests Sulu's momentum, Kirk grabbing him and the using centrifugal force to recapture the kinetic energy. As they approach, the airlock opens and deposits them into a watery environment, being greeted by the ship's sole passenger Ayal. Ayal explains that her crew of six were returning home after a long journey before they were caught in the web. With their food stores almost depleted, she consumed the other five, something her species views as allowing the dead to live on inside the living. After confirming that Ayal is willing to sacrifice her ship for freedom, Kirk announces his plan.
Aboard the Enterprise, an alarm warns of seismic activity on deck eight. Running to the source, Spock is met by McCoy and Christine Chapel frantically attending to Bright Eyes who is screaming in horror. Despite the risks, Spock initiates a mind meld. Though the process burns his hand and the differing neurological makeup is quick to force Spock out, Spock knows what is causing the child such distress. The ones who attacked the colony are here.
On Ayal's ship, she and Sulu spacewalk to enact Kirk's plan. By detonating the craft, Kirk aims to super-freeze the interior water and hopefully punch a hole in the web, shattering it. Assuming that the web works in the same way as other Tholian structures. As Ayal and Sulu attach the charges, they discuss the history of their species and the long road to becoming a space faring society, Kirk warns of incoming danger. Just as Bright Eyes warned, they came out of the dark and brought death from the sky as Tholian elites scuttle along the energy beams of the web towards the disabled ship.
- Ayal • Bright Eyes • Pavel Chekov • James T. Kirk • Leonard McCoy • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Trespasser • Nyota Uhura
Starships and vehicles
- Referenced only
- Lloyd Zeta-9
Races and cultures
States and organizations
- TOS episode: "The Tholian Web": The Enterprise is caught in another Tholian web. The environmental suits from the episode return.
Year Five, Issue 6
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Year Five, Issue 8