Star Trek 1405: Hosts

1405. Hosts/Scalpel

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Leonard McCoy - Frontier Doctor #4, IDW Comics, July 2010

CREATORS: John Byrne (writer), John Byrne (artist)

STARDATE: Unknown (follows the last issue)

PLOT: In Hosts, Gary Seven and Roberta return to their time, and Theela and Duncan take a medical team to the clone army's planet. Dr. Chapel needs help from McCoy with a strange disease that makes members of the crew super-intelligent until their brains burn out. She thinks they were infected on a planet where animal life forms seemed to show mathematical aptitude. When the disease accelerates out of control, McCoy takes his cue from an infected doctor and discovers the truth - it isn't a disease, but intelligent DNA. He gets in contact with the brain waves and convinces them to stop what they're doing until they can be returned to their planet. In Scalpel, McCoy visits an old, dying friend who confides in him that he has been using an ancient computer to manipulate the thoughts of natives through the centuries, turning their civilization from a polarized wartorn one to a virtual paradise where his own daughter was not killed. As he dies, he asks McCoy to do the right thing, which for McCoy is using the machine to undo it all. Consequently, his latest letter to Kirk was never written.

CONTINUITY: See previous issue (USS Yorktown, Number One, Christine Chapel, clone army, Gary Seven, Roberta Lincoln). Chapel's patient is the niece of Dr. M'Benga. Scalpel features Kirk and Scotty working on the Enterprise refit (The Motion Picture).


PANEL OF THE DAY - The only reference to gynecology in Star Trek?
REVIEW: It's like the series as planned was a little too long for three issues, and a little too short for four. Sadly, Theela and Duncan do get shuffled off without much fanfare. We do know they were with McCoy for a year, so there's plenty of untold material there if Byrne wants to return to it, but seeing the end undercuts whatever stories could still be written. Ah well. The main plot of Hosts is one of those mad science things that sometimes happens in Trek and orchestrated well enough, but insubstantial, taking up maybe 10 pages. Scalpel is more interesting, a Twilight Zone time meddling story with a perfect anti-climax at its end. The issue is worthwhile if only for this short tale, even if it could have happened to almost any character.


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