This is part 4 of the story. For part one you’ll need to go back a few posts.
Deanna’s scuba diving lessons have paid off, but her instructor is really strict and judgy.
Captain Picard is awakened to the sound of La Forge calling through the intercom. The acting captain informs Picard that Troi is missing.
In the middle of relaying this information, Governor Imlach hails the Enterprise and Geordi puts him on-screen, keeping the comm channel to Picard open for him to eavesdrop as he gets changed out of his night wear.
The governor states the monuments are being dismantled too slowly and insists on more manpower. Geordi states that the work is right on schedule but the governor is insistent. Geordi agrees to see what he can do and the channel closes.
Picard asks how the evacuation of the Lanatosian people is going and Geordi confirms its going swimmingly (i couldn’t resist sorry). Captain Picard decides the rocks can wait; he has a missing officer to look for.
The captain calls down to Data at the monument site and asks the android to look for her.
Deanna remains trapped in the artificial cave set up by the Lanatosians and it turns out its not just one creature inside, but an entire herd.
The telepathic serpents tell Deanna that the Lanatosians trapped them there to hide them from the Federation. They knew if the Federation knew about them, they would want to rescue them, and that would leave no room for the monuments.
On the space rig, Worf and Wesley talk to Darios about reaching the ship with warp drive. The Betazoid explains that none of their own ships in the rig can detach anymore and even if they could they lack the ability to fly anymore.
But with the arrival of the Einstein there’s hope. Not only can it reach that warp capable ship, but the ship is able to hold enough people to take everyone on the Federation side of the rig home.
Worf points out that while thats all well and good, one problem remains: they still don’t know where they are.
On Lanatos, Data has finished checking the entire monument site and found no sign of Deanna Troi. He informs Picard of the situation and as he begins to expand his search he hears an odd sound. Vibrations that seem unnatural.
Picard tells Data to check it out, and the android complies giving us the most hilarious panel I have seen so far.
Governor Imlach immediately hails the Enterprise again to complain. Not only did they fail to send more people, two now have left the site.
Picard confirms that, yes, Commander Troi mysteriously vanished so he sent Commander Data to search for her.
Imlach is not happy about that and throws a fit, ending his communication with a threat to tattle to the Federation.
In the time it took Imlach to throw his hissy fit, Data arrives at the source of the vibrations. (In part due to his ability to swim so fast.) He unholsters his phaser and blasts a hole in the wall. Data is then able to inform Picard that he has found Counselor Troi.
Darios points out to Worf that in addition to being lost, there’s an even more immediate problem. As soon as the shuttle leaves to get to the warp-capable vessel, the other faction will use its tractor beam again. If the shuttle doesnt get out of range quick enough it’ll be a tug-o-war all over again.
What’s more the enemy faction is mounting an attack as they speak. The Betazoid can sense it. Worf asks why we don’t take the fight to them but Darios responds they do better on their own turf where they know the ships.
As if on cue, someone rushes over to tell Darios the hostiles have crossed over to their territory. Worf readies his phaser.
In the cave, Deanna tells Data what she’s learned about the creatures and their situation. They were also the ones creating the sound for Data to follow by banging on the wall with their tails.
A pair of Lanatosians poke their heads through the hole Data had made, and order him to hand over his phaser or the creatures will get hurt. The two had followed Data as he tracked the sound.
Data swims over to hand the phaser to them as they discuss sealing everyone inside once they have it. Data has a better idea though and, once he gets close enough, yanks both men through the hole and disarms them.
Once the men are disarmed, Troi tells them they can leave. In fact, they should. She tells them to let their superiors know that Picard is on to them.
Once the Lanatosians leave, Troi and Data do as well with a promise to the sea serpents that they will be back. The officers exit the cave and beam back to the Enterprise.
Ensigns Crusher and Nigata sit in the middle of chaos while people around them scramble to fight. They have their phasers but Nigata is scared. Wes admits he is as well.
Wesley says that he wishes there was some way to talk to this other faction. Get them to back down and reach some sort of compromise. But according to Darios that’s been tried.
Nigata asks Wes for a favor: to hold her. Just for a second.
Picard, Troi, and Data sit at Governor Imlach’s conference table and he. is. pissed.
Captain Picard informs the governor that the discovery of another sentient species–called the Skriiti–forces a change in plans. They obviously get priority over inanimate objects and so the monument deconstruction will cease and the Enterprise will prepare to take the Skriiti on board.
The governor yells at the captain about the importance of those monuments while also callong the Skriiti a primative, dangerous race.
Deanna points out the only time the Skriiti have ever harmed a Lanatosian is in self-defense. The Lanatosians have hunted them for sport. Governor Imlach doesn’t care, and insists that the Federation made a pact with the Lanatosians not the Skriiti, so they should prioritize the valuable artifacts over the live of useless creatures.
Picard doesn’t take the governor’s shit, and tells him leaving the Skriiti behind ain’t happening. In fact, the governor is lucky the Enteprise doesn’t leave him behind with the way he’s been acting.
A Tellarite points down a corridor leading Worf and several others to where he claims he spotted the intruders. Worf has a bad feeling that they’re walking in to a trap, and that feeling is immediately proven true as a hatch opens and they are set upon by hostiles.
The crew fight well with Worf throwing enemies and Wes and Nigata covering each other, but there’s no clear winner so far.
A Klingon rushes Worf and they lock hands in combat. Worf wins the fight and knocks the enemy off his feet with a right cross to the face.
To be continued (again)
This is turning in to a miniseries! I really thought for sure this issue would be the final one in the story because the annual is coming up next, but turns out the conclusion is after the annual. Oof.
I’m really in to both stories, though (I hope you are as well!), and I especially am enjoying the Skriiti. They’re just so pretty! I wanna ride one.
And of course any time I get to see Data politely kick ass I am happy.
In the letters to the editor, there’s one that captures how I feel about issue 19 pretty well:
I do wish the shows delved more in to just “day in the life” kind of stories. Those always seem to be the most interesting despite the lack of pewpew or explosions. I am surprised that so few novels take this approach. But I’m glad the comic went ahead and did it. And I hope they do more in future issues.
The best thing as a parent is when you can share your interests with your kids. My father is who got me in to Trek. Later, when I became a parent myself, I loved sitting down with my own daughter to watch TNG together and teaching her who everyone is and learning her favorites (DS9 is actually more her style and she loves Garak and Odo).
Also those kids are all grown now. 31 and 33! I wonder if they still watch Star Trek 🖖