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Thursday, 23 June 2011

(Part Three) Star Trek - Mission to Horatius by Mack Raynolds, 1968

Part one HERE
Part two HERE

Before the Enterprise leaves for the second planet, McCoy suggests that they use Neolithia for emergency shore leave to prevent cafard. Kirk rejects this idea, as he feels they are not welcome and the people on the planet are too primitive and savage. They then find that Sulu and Chekov have accidentally brought a stowaway on board - Grang, the boy who had helped them out on Neolithia and because of that, would be seen as a traitor and a criminal despite his young age. Kirk wants to bring him back down right away, but Spock feels that this returning after they have solved the horatian problem - whatever it is - may be redeeming for him, as he may be seen as a sort of hero. On top of this, they simply do not have the time to return to the planet.

Sulu, having been put in charge of Grang, shows him around the ship. He introduces him to a very bored crew, and Uhura plays what is left of her guitar and sings for him. Suddenly, a second string breaks. Grang was impressed none the less, and before departing states:

"I am sorry the gods broke the string on your... your box of music."

Meanwhile, McCoy has already put two men in Stasis so that their cafard would not spread.

Sulu then brings Grang to meet Lt. Peterson, who tells the small boy that working out would do him good, feeling the boy's biceps. Grang grabs and flips him to the floor.

"I am Grang of the wolves"

He carries on to beat Lt. Peterson in every match.

That'll teach you to touch me like that!
The enterprise approaches Mythra, an M class planet much like Neolithia. From the ship, they find some signs of "civilization". At this point, Spock pipes in (and says, in my opinion, something somewhat uncharacteristic):

"I would compare to a middle ages town. We Vulcan's hardly considered the period civilized."

All of the towns look identical, and the world has simple radios. Kirk hails the planet, and finds that they do, indeed, have a theocratic government.

"How is is that you speak on our sacred airwaves?"

Looking upon them, they see monk-like figures, as well as the man that they were talking to: Warren, Supreme Exarch of Mythra. He had stated that they had come to Mythra to escape Earth's evils, and that he did not want their assistance - the only way he would let them down is if they first took anodyne... all persons on Mythra are required to take it daily (for "religious" reasons). He believes that they are the "space pirates" who have been continually attacking them, raiding them and kidnapping their "churls". Kirk and Spock then discuss the Exarch:

Spock: A most interesting individual.
Kirk: I suspect you would find Lucifer most interesting, Spock.
Spock: Indubitably, Captain Kirk.

Once again, I find that there are many strange dialogues in this book. Anyways...

When they materialize on the planet, nobody pays any attention to them - strange, seeing as they had never witnessed anything like it before. They are met by a man named Pater Stuart, accompanied by two smiling boys. He bumps into one of them (a churl) and then kills him. All of the "churls" seem happy and unaware.

In those robes, from far away, they look like Vulcans.
Spock then tells a captivating story about one of the Gods that ancient Vulcans had worshiped: Maripol. Whenever it would storm, or an earthquake or a flood (floods on Vulcan?) would occur, "he could be placated only with the blood of twins". The twins' hearts would be torn out on Maripol's alters.

When they are taken to the Supreme Exarch, he is upset that they have not taken anodyne, but decides to accept their assistance against the space pirates. He orders refreshments for the crew, which is found to have anodyne in it, which they have figured out must act like LSD. The crew does not partake of the refreshments (all but Chekov, who has a sip before anyone says anything).

Spock: "Evidently a good many scientific discoveries have fallen into disuse on this planet. On the face of it, your culture is going backward, rather than advancing. Your priesthood, which abstains from this anodyne, is not great enough to maintain a high level of science, and your drug-bemused churls haven't the intelligence."

The exarch demands that they be given the Enterprise's weapons so that they can kill the pirates, but Kirk refuses. Chekov gladly gives him his phaser, with the "happy bemusement of those who had taken anodyne".

"All power is in the hands of your extreme Holy. Command me; I obey."

Chekov's dopey LSD face.
The Supreme Exarch threatens to order Chekov to commit suicide they do not surrender all of their weapons. Kirk flips open his communicator and tells him that by federation law his hands are largely tied, so far as doing harm to him is concerned - but if there were any possible way for them to escape, they would. At this point, they shimmer out of view.

The crew decides that neither Neolithia nor Mythra were the source of the distress call, but they are still troubled by the state of the people living there under the control of a drug. McCoy synthesizes an antidote and they beam it down below the surface of the world's reservoir, at least giving the people a chance to revolt.

With that, the continue on to the third planet...

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