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Worldsinger * A Special Tale


"Captain's personal log, stardate 3040.2: Initial five-year mission. Data-crystal program start: We've achieved low-altitude orbit around Theta VII. My God, it's a mess down there… Ecosystem's collapsing, tectonic plates colliding, internal stresses ripping it apart at the seams… In a few hours, it'll be dust. Five million people to evacuate in three years! I wasn't sure even the Federation could pull it off. Glad I'm not down there. Glad no one is. It's got to be Hell…"

The USS Enterprise arrives at the dying planet, Theta VII. Over the prior three years, the Federation has evacuated all five million inhabitants of the planet. When the Enterprise enters orbit about the planet, Spock reports to Captain Kirk that "total collapse in five hours, seven minutes, twenty-nine seconds. Approximately." Kirk notes that he is disturbed and feels like a pallbearer at a funeral. As he ruminates, Spock interrupts him to report that a lifesign has been discovered on the planet. Kirk tells Uhura to inform the transporter room and Dr. McCoy that they will be forming a landing party to head to the surface.

Down on the surface, Spock's tricorder picks up a lifeform reading, straight ahead. McCoy spots a starship, its drives powering down, suggesting a very recent arrival. With four hours, forty-three minutes remaining, a telepathic voice tells the trio to "Leave… This… Place…" McCoy reacts the most strongly, ending up with a nosebleed. A being appears before them, telling them of his empathic abilities and the "world-song", and how it gives his life meaning. He proceeds to show the three images of the world-song, informing them of his name at the same time, Rell.

Quakes begin on the surface, and Scotty informs the captain that the planet is breaking up faster than expected, and that he is having trouble keeping the Enterprise steady. He also informs them that they have two hours, fifty-seven minutes left to find Rell and get him off of the planet.

"Captain's Log, supplemental. The records of this world told us everything – and nothing. In my travels I have seen places of great beauty – but none to rival the tragic magnificence of this world. We saved its people, and now, abandoned, it awaits death. Do we have the right to take him away? I have to believe that we do. Life is too precious to throw it away, even on so moving a cause. What were they like, I wonder?"

As the captain records his log and gives it thought, Rell tells him that his "thoughts pluck at my own" and shows Kirk, Spock, and McCoy visions of the planet's life and populace. Kirk tells him that they could remove him from the planet by force, but Rell tells him that if forced to go with them, he would die.

After a quick discussion, McCoy and Spock beam back up to the Enterprise, and Kirk stays with Rell. On board the Enterprise, the crew can do nothing but wait for the planet to disintegrate, and hope that they can save Kirk before the end.

On the planet, Kirk and Rell sit by a campfire as the world slowly dies about them. As the planet breathes its last breaths, Kirk tells Rell of a way that Rell's life can be saved, even though Rell "sings the songs of a dead world." Kirk asks Rell to trust him, and reaches his hand out to him.

Back on the Enterprise, a force ten gravity shock wave hits the ship, and the orbit begins to deteriorate. Just as Scotty tells Spock that they must leave now, the call comes from Kirk to energize. As the transport begins, Sulu engages the warp engines at warp five, moving away from the planet. Scotty rushes to the transport room and pulls Kirk and Rell through the transport.

The ship meets up with the Copernicus at Ramedes III and Rell transfers to the science vessel as a new crew member, ready to start a new life. Of sorts.

"Captain's Personal Log, supplemental: Have rendezvoused with the Copernicus at Ramedes III, and turned over our special guest to their care. She's a science vessel, one of the best. A fine crew. He'll make a good addition. I'm told he's already started. Ramedes III. Another dying world. They'll take all the readings. But Rell will get what their sensors could never find. The smell of the wind. The scent of soil, the cycle of life and death. He'll touch the planet. Learn its song… and the songs of all the other worlds, alone and soon to be forgotten, swallowed by silence. He'll learn their songs. Record them for generations yet unborn. And they'll live on."

Memorable quotes

"Gravitational field on the planet's lurching like a drunk on his way home at dawn."

- Scott, to Spock discussing the planet's impending doom

"It's like threading a needle on a roller coaster."
"Then let us hope your skills at stitching are substantial as your piloting."

- Sulu and Spock

Background information

  • This is the only issue of a Star Trek comic written by J. Michael Straczynski, better known for his work on Babylon 5. He noted that he wrote it "mainly out of curiosity and because I like the original characters a lot. It was fun." [1] and that "I've always liked the original Trek series, and always will." [2]
  • Spock's comment about McCoy being sensitive to telepathy foreshadows the events at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when Spock transfers his memories (etc.) into McCoy before dying.
  • This story must take place between 2267 and 2269, due to Chekov being the navigator.



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 DC TOS volume 2 characters.

Regular and recurring characters

James T. Kirk
Enterprise captain.
Vulcan Enterprise exec and science officer.
Leonard McCoy
Enterprise surgeon. It is discovered that he has a sensitivity to telepathy.
Enterprise communications officer.
Pavel Chekov
Enterprise navigator and security chief.
Hikaru Sulu
Enterprise helmsman.
Montgomery Scott
Enterprise chief engineer.

Other characters

A worldsinger – a race sensitive to the fluctuations of dying planets.


USS Enterprise
Federation starship.
Theta VII
Dying world, five million residents evacuated by the Federation over the previous three years.
Psi 2000
A previous dying planet.
Ramedes III
A dying planet.
USS Copernicus
A Federation science vessel.
A Rigellian animal sensitive to seismic tremors and storms.

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