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This summary is of a story arc from the newspaper comic strip Star Trek.

A medical mission to the planet Sarsithia results in Dr. Chapel being infected and a Sarsithian general attempting to provoke a war with the Klingons.


The USS Enterprise answers a medical distress call from Sarsithia, a planet with an amphibian-like population that has fought alien invaders from the planet Mirmonot for 450 years. The last Mirmonot stronghold has fallen, but a plague has now broken out. Dr. Chapel works on the plague while Kirk and Spock discuss the situation with the Sarsith ruling council in a pool of water (a Sarsith custom). Council member Arvith confides that the entire Sarsith culture is "based on pushing the Mirmonots off the planet." With them now gone "our society and culture have no direction and we are in a state of total economic collapse." During the discussion General Onoth, leader of the elite Sarsith military faction the Brotherhood of Waters enters and informs Kirk that Chapel has been injured and is under his personal doctor's care. What happened was that Dr. Chapel accidentally dropped a hypo of the virus and got it into her system. She got into a transport to fly to pick up some other samples but was affected and crashed in the sea. On the way there, Kirk and Spock see Sarsith fighting over food, and Brotherhood members beating civilians for a loaf of bread. General Onoth does nothing, saying "only the strongest deserve to survive".

A Sarsith

McCoy is already with Chapel when they arrive. He cannot risk taking her to sickbay until they know more, and Spock volunteers to return to the ship to help from there. Onath then takes the Sarsith Dr. Tath aside and tells him it would be very convenient if Chapel's recovery was longer rather than shorter. Suddenly, the stronghold is attacked by Sarsith scavengers, and Chekov beams down with a security contingent. The attackers cease as soon as they see members of the Brotherhood. Despite their surrender and Kirk's protests, Onath immediately kills them all as "weaklings". The Enterprise provides emergency rations and quells the riots near Chapel's location, but it is acknowledged they cannot keep that up forever. Meanwhile, Spock has determined the original unmutated form of the virus and based on that McCoy is able to synthesize a serum for Chapel. But Dr. Tath, wanting to please General Onath, gives Chapel a sedative to slow the progress of the serum. The sedative combines with the serum in an unexpected way such that rather than keeping her asleep Chapel almost immediately awakes. She feels confused and, not remembering who or where she is, fights her way out of the complex and takes to the streets.

Chapel hitting Kirk

At this same time, a small Sarsith ship is in Klingon space menacing a K't'inga-class cruiser. After being fired upon, the Klingons give chase and enter Sarsith space. Kirk leaves it to Chekov and his team to find Chapel and beams back to the ship to handle the situation. Warping out to the fight, Kirk finds the Klingons firing on the Sarsith, and the Enterprise beams the two Sarsith pilots on board just as their ship explodes. The Klingons accuse Kirk of setting a trap for them and making them cross into disputed space as an act of war. Kirk finds out the Sarsith are members of the Brotherhood and fired first, leading him to suspect Onath's involvement. Chekov calls from the planet's surface and advises Kirk that Chapel has just then stolen a Sarsith ship. She is still disoriented and paranoid, taking the ship into the middle of the Federation and Klingon standoff and starting to fire at both ships, believing they are her enemies.

On the planet, Sarsith fighter squadrons take off once the Klingons begin to fire upon one of their ships, even though the pilot is Human. Kirk senses Onath is trying to start a war, any way, and orders Onath to stand down. McCoy meanwhile searches for the possible cause of and cure for Chapel's inexplicable reaction to his serum. They try to beam Chapel aboard, but cannot get a lock on her since she is moving erratically and not wearing her communicator. McCoy finds out about the sedative, determines that she will die soon if not treated immediately, and suggests he be beamed to her ship with an injection that should help. Onath sees his opportunity for a new war with an implacable enemy slipping away, and attacks the Klingon ship with his fleet. So Spock takes the hypo, orders the shields dropped momentarily and beams himself onto Christine's ship without Kirk or McCoy realizing it until it is too late. Spock administers the hypo and the Enterprise drops its shields to beam them back. At that moment, Onoth attacks the Enterprise as well, and the transport has to be aborted. Kirk warns him that he is committing an act of war, but Onath is of the opinion that any war is a good war and does not back down. The Klingons decide to deal a death blow and destroy Onoth's ship with a well-placed photon torpedo. The rest of the Sarsith fleet retreats, as does the Klingon ship since it was damaged. The Brotherhood pilots are returned to the ship Chapel stole to limp home, and the hope expressed by Kirk is that the Sarsith will be able to adapt to a way of life that does not involve constant war. Chapel is treated and the story arc ends with the Enterprise chasing the Klingon ship to explain the situation in hopes of averting the Klingons returning to destroy Sarsithia.

Memorable quotes

"Despite my efforts, this incident has become a matter of honor for the Klingons, and the price of honor is always high."

- Kirk, commenting on the standoff with the Klingons

Background information

  • Because of many nice plot and drawing touches, the idea of a civilization coming apart after its centuries-long war ends because the entire social and economic infrastructure is predicated upon war is convincingly shown and well handled.
  • The Prime Directive is alluded to for the first time in the comic strip when Spock cautions Kirk not to interfere in the bread riot they see.
  • Security guard Umeki and Ensign Hadley from The Savage Within return, although they do not have large parts.
  • Unlike Warkentin, DiVono attempts to write Chekov's lines to mimic his Russian accent ("De Sarsith vill not tolerate beingk on de Federation dole indefinitely, Cap'tin.") Sometimes it works, and sometimes it appears he is simply drunk. He is, however, again in charge of security on the ship.


Regular Cast

Other Characters

  • Ensign Hadley
  • Security Guard Umeki
  • General Onoth
  • Dr. Tath

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The Savage Within Star Trek Comic Strip (US)
Story Arcs
Story Arc #11