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Tomorrow or Yesterday

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SummaryEdit

Captain's log, stardate 3708.2: The Enterprise has just entered the Andrea star system – a vast, unexplored region at the edge of our galaxy – on a mission of extreme urgency! As the result of recent nova activity, Vega radiation – an extremely destructive form of mutant energies – has coalesced into a massive cloud, and has drifted into this sector! Though the cloud will eventually dissipate, it presently endangers the Andrea system. If any of its planets are inhabited they must be evacuated immediately, or their inhabitants will die... horribly!

Andrea IV has a population of about 200 bipeds in a single settlement with limited technology. The Vega cloud will reach the planet in 11 hours and 23 minutes. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and two security ensigns prepare to beam down, although Scotty is concerned that the transporter signal may be affected by a solar energy field surrounding the planet. When Scotty energizes, the transporter circuitry begins to overload. Horrified, Scotty manually boosts the matter transmitter and overrides the circuitry. The transporter console explodes, burning Scotty's hands, but the landing party is safe on the planet. They are greeted by an orange biped with wing-like arms piloting a hovercraft, who tells them that their arrival was expected and prepared for by "Those-who-have-stepped beyond".

Captain's log, supplemental entry: Not wishing to unnecessarily alarm the aliens by our sudden appearance, we had purposely materialized beyond their settlement. We could have saved ourselves the trouble...

All the inhabitants of Andrea IV have gathered to greet the landing party, who are shocked to discover giant statues of Kirk, Spock and McCoy at the settlement.

Captain's log, stardate 3708.3: With barely nine hours remaining to evacuate the inhabitants of Andrea IV, we face a startling enigma! While Ensigns Todd and Zorn prepare the natives for embarkation, Spock's task is to determine the origin of those mysterious statues of us...

According to Spock's tricorder, the statues have stood there for twenty-four thousand years. Todd and Zorn are unable to convince the Andreans of their danger, and discover that they have almost no technology other than the one hovercraft. McCoy discovers that the species is dying out. An Andrean expresses confidence that the landing party will protect them.

Captain's log, supplemental entry: Time is running out for the inhabitants of Andrea IV! Though we harass, cajole and plead... we cannot shake their blind faith in our ability to rescue them from this impending disaster! A starship captain is granted a broad latitude of responsibilities and powers. Unfortunately, omnipotence is not one of them!

Since the Andreans cannot be forced to evacuate, Spock suggests using the ship's phasers to disperse the Vega cloud, a plan which will doom both ship and planet if it fails. Kirk requests beam-up, but Scotty, his hands bandaged, tells him the solar energy field is now more active, disabling the transporters. A shuttlecraft would take an hour to reach them, and the Enterprise must leave immediately if it is to disperse the cloud. Kirk orders Scotty to take the ship toward the cloud.

Captain's log, stardate 3708.4: Unless the Enterprise can disperse the cloud, five and a half hours of life remain for Andrea IV! Yet, using a tricorder as a detector, Spock and I have set out to discover why vast quantities of solar energy are drawn to this planet...

From the hovercraft Kirk and Spock see a gigantic solar collector. Their Andrean pilot tells them that many such artifacts were left behind by "those-who-have stepped-beyond". McCoy contacts Kirk and asks him to return to the settlement.

Captain's log, stardate 3708.5, Commander Scott recordin': The mutant energies of a Vega cloud can destroy a planet's atmosphere in the time it takes a man to down a jigger of whiskey! I donna' know if the Enterprise can survive such radiation...

Scotty orders Sulu to set phasers for proximity explosions. Uhura comforts Scotty in his command uncertainty. The Enterprise fires, resulting in shockwaves hitting the ship and knocking out warp drive. The Vega cloud is still intact, its radiation reaching the Enterprise. Scotty orders all power to the deflector screens. On the planet, one of the Andreans is metamorphosing. A door opens before him in the base of the three statues, and Kirk, Spock and McCoy follow him through it.

Captain's log, supplemental entry: A pneumatic platform awaited us inside the base of the statues and took us and the Andrean deep within the core of the planet. We'd expected evidence of a highly advanced technology. But not this...

In a cavern filled with complex machinery, Spock mind-melds with the Andrean but pulls back, overwhelmed by a vast intelligence. Spock now knows that "those-who-have stepped-beyond", evolved Andreans who live underground as "glowing masses", are temporally transcendental, experiencing all times at once. They have known for centuries of the coming of the Vega cloud and the Enterprise, and built the statues and the solar collectors to prepare. Spock does what the Andreans always knew he would do, pulling a lever that disperses the Vega cloud with the solar energy the Andreans have collected over the eons. The cloud dissipates just before the Enterprise's screens would have failed. On the way back up, Spock expresses regret at the wasted lives of the Andreans on the surface, who do nothing but wait to "step beyond". Spock has no answer to Kirk's question as to whether the planet was saved by their scientific expertise or by the Andreans' foreknowledge.

CharactersEdit

MainEdit

OthersEdit

ReferencedEdit

ReferencesEdit

StarshipsEdit

LocationsEdit

Referenced only 
Ercola VII

SpeciesEdit

States and OrganizationsEdit

Ranks and titlesEdit

captaincommanderdoctorensignlieutenant

Technology and weaponsEdit

communicatordeflector screenhovercraftlibrary computermatter/antimatter drivephaserpneumatic platformradioshuttlecraftsolar collectorstarshiptechnologytransportertransporter roomtricorderviewscreenwarp speed

OthersEdit

alienatmospherebridgecaptain's logClass Mengineengineeringevacuationevolutionhelmlanding partylife-lotterylogicmachinemeditationmetaphysicsMilky Way Galaxymineralmoleculenovaplanetplanetary coreplanetary crustpoisonradiationsectorsecuritysolar energyspace travelspeciesstarstardatestar systemstatuesuicidetimetoolVega cloudVega radiationVulcan mind meldwhisky

InformationEdit

  • Kirk addresses Sulu as "Lieutenent" (sic), even though Sulu is a lieutenant commander by this point. Kirk also tells Sulu to "take the helm" rather than the "conn".
  • Scotty says of the Enterprise transporter, "We've lost two lives to this blasted contraption...", referring to the deaths of Commander Sonak and Lori Ciana. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: The Motion Picture; TOS comic: "Star Trek: The Motion Picture")
  • As a species, the Andreans are in constant evolutionary flux. In their most advanced state, they experience all periods of time simultaneously, so they were unconcerned about the Vega Cloud, because they already know [knew?] Spock will [would? did?] save them.

QuotesEdit

Spock: "Jim, you seem unduly distressed. The Vega cloud will poison Andrea IV, but its inhabitants are few. We can easily evacuate them all!"

Kirk: "True, there'll be no life-lotteries like those on Ercola VII... but, these people will have lost their world! Imagine how they will feel!"

Spock: "Captain... at times like this, I am most thankful that a Vulcan cannot!"

Related StoriesEdit

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TimelineEdit

Published Order
Previous comic:
#6: "The Enterprise Murder Case!"
Star Trek: The Original Series
(Marvel)
Next comic:
#8: "The Expansionist Syndrome"
Previous story:
earliest work
Stories by:
Tom DeFalco
Next story:
"Fragile Glass"
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
"The Enterprise Murder Case!"
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Pawns and Symbols
Chapters 1-4

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