No joke this is some fantastic cover art. I want this as a poster. Setting high expectations for this story.
We start with a view of the Federation colony Beta Hydros Four. An illness of some kind has swept the population with many people laid out in hospital beds. A little girl asks her mommy if they’re going to die.
The mother assures her daughter that everything is fine and help is on the way. The child asks a few “are you sure?” kind of questions to really drive the point home that sweet, innocent lives are at stake.
The Enterprise is on its way and going as fast as they can in order to get the colony help with the Zelaznan flu before it claims any lives.
There are actually two colonies. One at Beta Hydros Four and a larger colony on Alpha Hydros Five. No one is sure where the disease originated but both colonies have a lot of contact with each other so both have become stricken by it.
In order to get both colonies swift treatment, Riker is leading a team of specialists (along with Wesley Crusher and Worf) to the Beta colony on the shuttlecraft Einstein while the Enterprise enters orbit around the Alpha colony and Dr. Crusher leads the effort there.
Dr Selar is among the specialists joining Riker’s team for this mission along with a few Ensigns. One of whom doesn’t trust flying in a shuttle at all.
Worf assures the man that not only is the shuttle sealed tightly, but it is piloted by the best pilot around: Wesley Crusher. Which of course Wes doesn’t argue with.
Dr. Crusher beams down to Alpha colony with a team including Data and they begin to set up while the colonists happily greet their saviors. She directs Data to help move some particularly heavy containers while she assesses the progression of the disease.
Luckily it seems the disease hasn’t progressed all that much at all. Assuming Beta colony is in the same shape, Riker and team should be back on the Enterprise before you can set up a poker game.
Speaking of poker, aboard the Einstein, the crew has set up a game to pass the time until they reach Beta colony in under an hour. Will sits up front with Wes rather than participate in order to avoid distractions while he is in command.
Selar chooses not to participate as well, preferring games like chess to ones that rely heavily on luck.
The game is interrupted when a spacial vortex opens up right in front of the shuttle! Ensign Crusher tries to go around or back out but its no use. The anomaly is too wide and is sucking them in. The ship is thrown in to the swirling void.
During the incident, Commander Riker smacks his head hard. He’s knocked out and bleeding profusely from his right temple. Luckily the crew is mostly doctors so at least he has access to immediate care.
The Enterprise loses the Einstein’s signal but can’t rush off to investigate until they are done at Alpha colony. Picard hopes it’s just a simple equipment malfunction but worries nonetheless.
Dr. Selar has Riker patched up and laid back in one of the shuttle seats. He’s at least stable, but there’s no telling how long he will remain that way. He’s knocked out cold with no sign of waking.
Wes tries to figure out where they are, but nothing matches any starcharts. The anomaly could have dropped them anywhere. And without a familiar reference point, they’re lost.
To add to their list of problems, not only are they lost with no way of knowing where to go, but their stardrive is burned out as well. They’re stuck on impulse. Even if they did know where to go, it could take them decades to get there.
While the rookies panic, Selar focuses on treating Commander Riker. Worf orders the ensigns to quit whining and start planning.
Captain Picard informs Beverly that the Beta colony confirmed the Einstein never arrived. The shuttle is currently lost.
The good news is there’s no debris or any signs that would indicate the shuttle has been destroyed. What little comfort that may give a worried mother is not enough. Dr. Crusher leaves to inform her team that they will need to prepare to help the Beta colony as well.
Picard seems to take the news even worse than his CMO. Wesley being in danger only serves to remind him of the danger he put the boy’s father in. And how that turned out. The last thing Jean Luc wants is to have to tell Beverly that not only has her husband died under his command, but now her son.
On the Einstein, the crew try to determine their next course of action. Staying put isn’t likely to mean someone happens to cross their path, but without knowing where they are they could end up even farther away from help if they pick a wrong direction.
Selar points out that Riker needs a medical facility. They can’t do any more for him on the shuttle. Worf makes an executive decision to have Wesley pick a direction and go.
And off they fly.
Ok so why is Guinan on the cover? She has literally not appeared in a single panel of this comic. This is false advertising and I’ve been bait and switched!
Since this is at least a two-parter my guess is she will show up in the next issue. But why? Will she know something about the strange anomaly?
I enjoy seeing other people like Worf take command. It’s fun seeing the different styles they take and Worf’s style is distinct. I look forward to seeing more of it in the next issue (assuming Riker doesn’t wake up).
The letters to the editor this time is mostly gushing on the artwork and story of issue 16. But the editors do have some bad news:
Considering the price of comics now, these issues are still a steal. Especially with how good they are. In fact, for the ones I had to order later in life I paid double the cover price anyway!
Something I continue to love about the comics is the way they give us more than just the main characters. Selar is getting some good “screentime” in this very story as a matter of fact, so this fan must be thrilled.
I can’t wait for Ro Laren to start showing up.