(written from a Production point of view)
Standing on the observation deck of a Romulan shuttle, the Praetor asks a Romulan commander what he thinks of a new starship that has been built and the design of a warbird painted on its hull. The commander asks if it is the new ghost ship that he has heard about, and comments that it is smaller than he had expected. As they land on the deck, the Praetor continues, telling them that it is the finest ship in their fleet with the best crew.
Another Romulan meets them, one that knows the commander; Praxus. Praxus had previously told the commander about a new posting, but could give no more information than that. He explains that there are some power issues then the cloak is active, but is cut off by the Praetor, wishing to continue the tour. As they continue through the ship, it is very crowded with equipment, and likely not suited for long term voyages. The commander quietly says to the centurion with him that "worth all the lives lost in development, I am sure" and the centurion cautions him.
In the command deck, the Praetor urges them to look through the viewscope. Looking through reveals a heavy Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser under tow, the commander's ship. The Praetor presses a button and a strange plasma burst fires out, hits the ship, engulfs it, and causes the vessel to implode. As they re-enter the shuttle and leave the ship, the commander is stunned by his ship being completely destroyed and sits quietly, but is stunned when he looks out the window and the ship they just left is completely gone.
As the shuttle approaches the palace, the Praetor tells the commander that he is to take command of the new ship, that his assignment begins on the following day, and that he will find out the details when he returns to the palace at that time. The commander and centurion leave and discuss the loss of their ship, the centurion expressing his distrust of the current situation.
Back inside the palace, the Praetor watches them from a balcony and complains that the commander "sucks the joy from a room without even speaking a word!" A man in the room agrees and comments that he is the best in the fleet and that the Praetor should not settle for less.
The commander returns home, and is met by his wife in formal attire. She tells him to dress for dinner and then she can share her news with him. At dinner, he is greeted by his wife and son, and his son is wearing a uniform as he was promoted to full serving rank, ahead of his entire academy class. In fact, he has arranged to serve on his father's new ship as his first assignment. The commander is outraged at this and will not allow his son to serve with him on this mission, but cannot share his reasons. His son is upset and storms off. His wife encourages him to follow, but that is not the Romulan way.
After dinner, the commander spends some time thinking. His wife returns and they discuss the situation with his new mission, their son, and she comments that these things are reasons why many in the service do not marry, and that she is glad that he chose otherwise.
In the palace, the Praetor turns off a screen watching them, and asks why he cannot trust anyone. The man with him, a Klingon named Korlat, agrees and tells the Praetor that he understands the burdens of ruling. The Praetor then rants about his father's ease of rule and how that increased his own desire to take the throne. He is interrupted by the entrance of Decius. The Praetor tells Decius that he has a special assignment for him and they move out to the balcony to discuss it. As they walk to the balcony, Korlat reports in and explains that the Praetor is easy to manipulate and that the weapon is everything reported. An alliance might even gain them access to the cloaking device.
The next morning, the commander calls on the centurion, and asks to talk with him, but suggests that they walk outside as the walls might have ears. He explains that he is worried about this new ship as it can serve only one purpose, and that is not defensive. It is an instrument of war, and he is going to have to talk with the Praetor, however, on arrival, he discovers that his wife has been summoned too. The Praetor accuses the commander of holding contempt for him and tells him that he will be taking Decius on his mission. The commander grudgingly accepts and makes to leave with his wife, but the Praetor will not let her leave and insists that she stay at the palace.
Outside of the palace, the commander encounters his son, and tells him that he is proud of his son's achievements and apologizes for his reaction the night before. His son wishes him success and the commander heads toward his ship. He meets up with the centurion, explains the nature of the mission – a preemptive strike against the Federation outposts near the Neutral Zone.
Back inside the palace, Korlat and the Praetor discuss the possible opposition to the mission, a Constitution-class ship, and decide against telling the commander and his crew about it.
"Well, commander? You are strangely silent. Have you nothing to say before we return to my palace?"
"There is… much to absorb Praetor. Including the loss of a ship on which I have served for half my life."
"You are too sentimental, commander."
- - The Praetor and the commander, after the commander's ship is destroyed
"… it is not the Romulan way!"
"Oh-hhh! You men and your 'ways'! Such stubbornness will yet be the death of you!"
- - The commander and his wife, after their son storms out
"We have a saying on my planet, Praetor. 'Heavy lies the head that wears the crown.'"
- - Korlat, showing that he understands the paranoia of command
"If there is a price – it is worth it to wield absolute power!"
- - The Praetor
"It will be… glorious?"
"It will be war, Praetor. War is always glorious."
- - The Praetor and Korlat, as the mission begins
- A limited retailer incentive photo cover was also released for this issue.
- This story takes place not long before the events of TOS: "Balance of Terror", and tells of the events that led into that from the Romulan perspective.
- The issue sold an estimated 9,249 copies in comic specialty stores in February 2008.  These figures do not cover copies sold on the direct market (bookstores, etc.).
- Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
- Special thanks to Paula Block of CBS Consumer Products for her invaluable assistance.
- Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in IDW TOS characters.
- Romulan commander
- Romulan Praetor
- Commander's wife
- Commander's son
- Named "Jannek" in the "Blood & Honor" comic.
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