STAR TREK: The Khitomer Conflict #3 & 4

Greetings, Visionary Trekkies!

I’m going to wrap this series up today, as I want to get on that IDW 5-part Khan story. I was reluctant to go there, (having my doubts, after the disappointing ‘Countdown To Darkness’ fiasco), but my FB friend, Lindsay Fredette, has assured me, that she thinks it’s worth it. I’ve heard mixed-results about it, but, I’ll admit, my curiosity is getting the better of me.

So, we left off with Captain Kirk and the escaping landing-party, confronted by angry Klingons (when, aren’t they angry, for Hell’s sakes) and a squadron of Section 31 operatives, who’ve just beamed-into the High Council chamber. They’re not sure if Section 31 is friend, or-foe, either. Spock and crew are warping towards Kronos, in spite of their orders to stay at Space Station K-11, in a last-ditch effort to save their captain and friends. The Romulans are bombarding Kronos with the help of Section 31 and some secret Starfleet technology Section 31 has provided them with; but, Section 31 is burning the proverbial candle at both ends, playing the Klingons, as well…

With the U.S.S. Enterprise hurtling through the void, Dr. Leonard McCoy is begging Spock to save Kirk from a Klingon roasting. Spock is adamant, in his resolve to follow orders (even though he’s disobeyed said orders, by going to Kronos to begin with.) Meanwhile, Captain James T. Kirk is in the midst of Hell. He tells his subordinates to high-tail-it out of there and find him a ship, “any ship” to get them back to Enterprise. It’s while they’re fleeing, that Kor shows up, demanding to know why he should trust Kirk, or-the Section 31 team, currently blasting the capital to bits. Kirk insists that they’re not together and that Section 31 will kill them all! Kor decides to kill Kirk… Too-late, Kor hits the floor; he’s on his way to Sto-vo-Kor, having been phasered into the Klingon afterlife by the leader of the Section 31 squad. (So-much, for the Darhar Master, I guess…) *raises eyebrows* Needless-to-say, the S31 operative declares, “the fight’s over.” (Ya think..?)

On Enterprise, Spock, Scotty, Uhura and Chekov are finding new clues and trying to piece everything, they know, together. They conclude that Section 31 is still operating in the shadows and Starfleet may be compromised. It’s Uhura’s belief, that Adm. Marcus has made contingency plans for S31 and, that he (even in death), is at the root of the Khitomer massacre and it’s subsequent efforts to wipeout the Klingons “permanently”. Their fears are confirmed, on Kronos, as Kirk faces the S31 attack-force. In a surprise move, however, Kirk and team are beamed-up to a Romulan ship (for their own safety, of course).

Now, ‘guests’ aboard Raptor One, Kirk meets the unnamed commander of S31 and finds out the truth and he vows to stop them ALL! But, before he can do anything, the Romulan warbird is attacked…the rest of the Klingon fleet has arrived, to fight for their planet’s, (as well as, it’s species) survival. The Enterprise warps-in, at that time, too. The Romulan commander wastes no time, hailing the ship and offering Spock an ultimatum: help them dispatch the Klingons and he’ll hand over his captain or, be destroyed. (They really need to stop giving Spock ultimatums, ya know. He always wins…) Having located the captain and crew, aboard the Romulan ship, Spock beams them back to Enterprise through the Raptor’s weakened shields. (Morons…)

No-sooner, is Kirk safe, than he informs Chekov to beam him back to Kronos. Spock is uncertain why the captain would be so reckless, so, Kirk explains what he’s learned and, deduced; he’s going to stop Section 31 from using Red Matter to destroy the Klingon homeworld. Kirk assigns another team to beam down with him, giving Spock orders to get the hell out of the fight; “…we’re the only hope the Klingons have left.”

Captain Kirk, Sulu, Kai and Zahra are kickin’-ass and takin’-names, determined to find the rest of the squad and the Red Matter, when, guess-who shows up… Yuki Sulu and, she’s got ’em by the balls, pointing a double-handful of phasers at the would be rescuers; seems, Hikaru wasn’t the only-Sulu to be offered a spot in Section 31…

Jumping right-into Issue 28, (the conclusion), we step back four years: Yuki Sulu and a Vulcan named T’Pan are having a long-distance chat about Hikaru and T’pan’s crush on the newly-assigned Enterprise helmsman, planning their reunion as roomies at Starfleet Academy, when Yuki loses the signal… (Of course, we know that’s when Nero turns Vulcan into a black hole.)

Now: Yuki is trying to reason her betrayal away, with Sulu and Kirk, when the Romulans beam onto the scene, holding the last remnant of Red Matter (known to exist, anyway…) and they’re ready to employ it’s deadly results. (The destruction won’t be as total, as with Vulcan, though, as they’re detonating it from Kronos’ surface.) Hikaru tries to beg Yuki one more time to change the course she’s taking…

Above Kronos, the Enterprise is getting creamed by, both-the Romulans, and the Klingons, as they try to take each other out. Spock has his orders, and disengaging from the battle is the best option; yet, he confers with Mr. Scott as to how best defend themselves, so they can return later. L’Nar lets the flagship leave, vowing to find them later, as well. It’s then, that the Section 31 leader tells L’Nar his own plans (which, doesn’t allow for the Enterprise’s capture). The rogue commander makes it clear, that he should choose his next move ‘wisely’, as it’s the endgame for all of them.

On Kronos, the Romulan leader is preparing the High Chancellor for his planet’s demise, when Yuki turns the tables, again; she orders the Romulans be taken out! (WHAT?!) We should’ve expected no-less; she is a Section 31 agent, after-all and, they’ve been manipulating both empires from day one…right? However, Yuki is still ready to use the Red Matter. She asks the chancellor what reason she shouldn’t. Kirk tells her he has two.

Space: The Romulans are facing-off with the Enterprise, again and (here we go with another ultimatum), the landing-party is still, off-the-scanners; the situation is dire. As they’re haggling, Chekov picks up a new-ship uncloaking. It’s Section 31’s TOP SECRET Vengeance-class vessel, with it’s mysterious commander in the captain’s chair. He’s a picture of complete control, as he informs the Romulan commander that the alliance is over. On the surface, Kirk lays it out for Yuki: if she uses the devise, it will make the Klingons even-angrier and they will stop at nothing to exact vengeance on the Federation, plus, Section 31 will lose the ‘threat’, which is a more-powerful weapon, than the Red Matter is, itself-(against ANY enemy).

You know, the Romulans are pretty-stupid… Here’s L’Nar threatening to blow the Section 31 ship out of the stars, after they’ve just decloaked in front of his very eyes; I mean, if S31 didn’t share that tidbit, don’t you think they would’ve held other technology back, when they were sharing? Sure-enough, the S31 leader beams Captain Kirk’s team up from Kronos, then he activates a sleeper program that’s on ALL of the Romulan ships. “I’m talking about ending all threats to Earth…” he tells L’Nar. Checkmate! The entire Romulan fleet is, (as, L’Nar threatened Spock, earlier), blown out of the stars! Kirk is furious, arguing that the commander is a maniac, the Romulans will retaliate! But the agent uses Kirk’s logic against him: the ‘threat’ of the Red Matter will guarantee the Federation’s safety and that peace will prevail and, the empires are in pieces, to boot. Kirk is, then-surprised, that S31 would just let them go back to the Enterprise and, even more-so, when the operative admits Adm. Marcus was a madman, who set S31’s work back, years, and that contrary to Kirk’s beliefs, they are on the same side…

Just-before departing, Yuki asks Kirk what the second reason was, for not using the Red Matter device. Kirk tells her, that she and Hikaru share the same heart and, she’d never be able to forgive herself, no-matter, how-noble the reasons she might give, for doing so. (Now, haters…THAT is the ‘old’ Kirk, we ALL know and respect. Tell me I’m wrong!)

And, so-with the Red Matter in Section 31’s hands, Spock absolved of all charges, Sulu torn between his loyalty to Starfleet and his rogue-agent sister, Kirk ponders what is to come next, as they set-out on their five-year mission…to seek out new life and new civilizations…to boldly go where no man has gone before… *queue the theme-music*

This was a great bit of storytelling! I enjoyed the Hell out of it! But, then, I’ve never shied-away from admitting my love for this ‘new’ STAR TREK, either. I’ve been one of it’s most-avid defenders, from its premiere in ’09. To the folks at IDW: “Well-done, ladies and gentlemen! I am impressed.” Now…with that being said, can we PLEASE have some Kirk, Spock and Bones stories?! We’re dying of anticipation, out here and, we’re overdue for our trio of iconic heroes to bond. You’ve got some loyal fans, now, saying: (I’m quoting ‘God’, here…) “Give me what I want!” -ST:V

The artwork was beautiful, the production and editing was brilliant, the writing was incredible; you really pulled this off, guys! Thank you…

On an aside: As I mentioned in my last blog, I am now a character-namesake, in Dayton Ward’s phenomenal, #NYTimesBestSelling ‘Peaceable Kingdoms’; the epic conclusion to The Fall series. I can’t thank Mr. Ward enough, for this incredible honor. I am, now-immortalized in (non-canon) STAR TREK lore, at Memory Beta… If you haven’t read #TheFall, please, check-it-out and do so. It was an explosive, mind-blowing, Federation-changing, bittersweet, beautifully-written saga! I highly recommend it!

Hey, folks…’til, next-time, then…

See ya, out there.

Lt. Eric Cone

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