(written from a Production point of view)
This summary is of a story arc from the newspaper comic strip Star Trek.
While investigating unusual seismic disturbances on a mining planet, the crew runs into their old friend and new owner of the planet: Harry Mudd.
The USS Enterprise is sent to the Argus system, where mining colony Argus IV is complaining of unusual seismic activity. Shortly after they leave a space station, they are informed that a long-range shuttlecraft had just arrived with a passenger for the ship, bearing a letter of transit signed by Admiral Nogura. The passenger is beamed aboard and needs no introduction, as she is the "best known journalist in the quadrant": Jo Williams. Williams explains that she has been granted special access by Nogura to do a documentary on Starfleet. Nogura hopes the special will raise public support for Starfleet's mission as recent budget cuts have left the organization "under-allocated". When they reach the planet, Williams insists on accompanying the landing party after they cannot raise the miners on radio. Upon beaming down, Kirk speaks to Max Vargas who, until an hour before, owned the mining rights to the planet. He has just sold them to Harcourt Fenton Mudd, who steps out and greets Kirk. Mudd is quick to point out that this sector of space does not permit extradition.
Spock has been taking readings and reports that there are massive lifeform readings emanating from under the planet's surface. Unable to localize the readings, and having experienced another quake, the miners (and Mudd) are all eager to accept Kirk's recommendation that they evacuate. After reaching the safety of the ship, Kirk remarks to Williams that Starfleet personnel are just people doing a job, not always battling mysterious alien forces "like characters in a 20th century comic book strip". He hopes her documentary reflects that. Shortly thereafter, the planet literally cracks open and a giant lifeform emerges. The planet turns out to have been an egg, placed there to be warmed by the star. Mudd rushes from the bridge and sells the mining rights back to Vargas, who is unaware the planet is in shards. But as Spock points out to Mudd's horror, the valuable thermium that had been mined was still in the planet's floating crust and much more accessible than before. Vargas was thus about to become a very wealthy man. The ship leaves various probes and warps out of the area, with Kirk saying that he is willing to find out some things second-hand, "such as what it eats."
"Kirk! How depressing to see you here."
- - Harry Mudd, upon viewing Kirk
- This is the fourth Warkentin comic to have as a critical plot point a planet which is either important because of its raw materials and/or mined for them.
- Ron Harris, who took over from Warkentin as artist on the next story arc, provided a single strip on this arc: a Sunday color one on 4/12 that, for some reason, is unusually poorly done – his later work is much more polished.
- The journalist Jo Williams vanishes from the storyline about two-thirds of the way through. We never find out how she will report on this adventure or whether it helped or hurt Starfleet funding levels.
- Harcourt Fenton Mudd
- Jo Williams
- Max Vargas
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