(written from a Production point of view)
|Writer(s):||Paul D. Storrie|
|Series:||Alien Spotlight #3|
|Published:||21 November 2007|
- "Commander Sharad, personal log, stardate 47996.7. Homecomings are supposed to be happy occasions. Instead, I feel nothing but apprehension. Still, when I learned that USS Enterprise-D was on its way to Andoria, I put in for some long-postponed leave and was fortunate enough to secure transport home. It's not how I imagined by first time on the Federation's flagship. I've had little opportunity to look it over..."
Deanna Troi approaches Sharad as he sits in Ten Forward. She comments that she has noticed that he hasn't had much company on the trip and that he's been alone a lot. Sharad tells her that he's been keeping busy with fitness and combat simulations on the holodeck. She tells him that she worried that his solitude wasn't by choice because the Enterprise has not had any Andorian crew members and very few guests. Sharad comments that the crew has been very welcoming, he's just had other things on his mind. She asks him what troubles him, using her Betazoid empathy. He points out that this is likely due to his role in Starfleet Intelligence, he constantly sees new reports about threats to the Federation, including the recent peace with the Cardassians being threatened by the Maquis attacks, the reports from the Gamma Quadrant about the Jem'Hadar and the Dominion, never mind the recent Borg attacks. He excuses himself to take care of some last minute things before their arrival at Andoria.
On Andoria, Sharad stands in his uniform looking out a window when some younger Andorians begin to mock him, calling him a pink skin. Sharad retorts that Andorians helped found the Federation, but that they likely haven't gotten that far in school as yet. They suggest teaching "this fade a lesson," but a nearby guardsman intervenes. It turns out to be Sharad's brother Shaa, and he notes that their family has had guards on all four sides, for five generations, questioning whether that is blue enough for the youths, who hurry away. The two greet each other, and Shaa tells Sharad that "fade" is "the latest slang for an Andorian they don't think is Andorian enough. People with Aenar in their bloodline or the ones they think have sold out to the Humans."
Back at home around the dinner table, Shralla, Sharad's sibling who is also in Starfleet turns the conversation to the fact that Andoria has essentially dropped out of the Federation over the last 200 years, and that back then Andorians realized that more could be accomplished together than apart. Unfortunately, they are now raising their children on stories of the empire of old, emphasizing that the fate of Andoria is primarily determined by others. Thra questions why they cannot find something more pleasant to talk about, and Shralla points out that Sharad encountered "ice snakes spouting the Old Ways party line." His other mother asks when Sharad and Thrynn are going to hunt up another pairing to get married. Sharad, obviously embarrassed, point out that he isn't certain and excuses himself to meet up "with someone who doesn't get quite so much joy out of tweaking my antennae."
Out at a bar, Thrynn asks him what the Enterprise is doing at Andoria. He responds that Picard was sent to talk to the Chancellor in order to try to get Andorians more involved in the Federation. Thrynn points out that he has sympathy with those who believe that Andoria should break free entirely and that Old Wayers got him elected. Sharad looks about and comments that not long ago, half the patrons in the bar were with Starfleet and nobody gave the uniform a second glance. Thrynn tells him that times have changed, and some people now see Starfleet as the whip the Federation uses to keep Andoria in line. Sharad tells her that she sounds like a renegade. She says that the "True Heirs of Andor" are seen as renegades by Starfleet, but that many Andorians view them as heroes. She suggests they leave, and as he tells her about seeing old friends on Deep Space 9, they are confronted by a large group of Andorians, and Sharad is quickly knocked unconscious.
He wakes up on the icy floor of a cell, Thrynn outside the bars – a member of the T.H.A. She tells him that she has changed and tells him that he's been turned from a warrior into "a glorified data interpreter!" He insists on speaking to her superior, telling her that kidnapping a Starfleet officer is too big a risk for a local commander. He suggests that since the Enterprise is in orbit, General Kovan is likely about. Kovan steps out of the shadows, remarking that Starfleet "certainly hasn't dulled his mind" about Sharad's astute observations.
Kovan tells Sharad that Thrynn had hoped that he might be convinced to join them, but that due to his continued defense, that is obviously not going to occur. Kovan tells Thrynn to call four guards down, since they might be able to get some insight into Picard's visit due to Sharad's intelligence background. Sharad notes that he was merely a passenger, but that he'd heard that Picard had been impressed with Kovan told stories about his subterfuge in the Triangulum System to dinner guests.
The guards arrive, and Kovan tells them to take him to the interrogation chamber. Sharad asks if Kovan expects him to break, and Kovan responds in the affirmative, "in this day and age, commander, no one can hold out forever." Sharad's antennae flatten and he declares his honor insulted, demanding a duel by the code of Ushaan. Thrynn tries to stop Kovan from participating, but Sharad points out that this is what Kovan stands for. Sharad continues to goad him until Kovan strikes him across the face and tells Thrynn to prepare him because he has nothing to fear because "his time with the pink skins has filled him full of their love for peace and compromise and talk!"
In the arena, Kovan congratulates Sharad on a well-played ruse as even if Kovan wins, he loses because Sharad's information will be out of his reach, because the fight is to the death. He asks if there is any chance that Sharad will drop the challenge because Andoria could use a man like him. Sharad refuses, insisting that he does what he does for Andoria already. Kovan offers him the choice of Ushaan-tor and salutes him as a worthy foe, despite his loyalties being misplaced. Sharad retorts "I wish I could do the same, general, but you are a dangerous lunatic whose madness would drag Andoria into destruction."
The battle begins, the opponents trading blows. Sharad draws blood first, but Kovan retaliates quickly. After more fighting, Sharad guts Kovan, killing him, and leaving himself covered in blue blood. Thrynn charges in, telling him that he will not live. He tells her that living was never part of his plan and that her transmissions had given her away. He had let himself be captured by the Heirs so that he could force Kovan into a duel. Thrynn accuses him of being a spy, but he points out that Starfleet would never risk an agent on such a gamble, and that he acted alone, despite there being a good chance of his being kicked out of Starfleet. He acted so that Starfleet would not have to worry about the renegades continuing to be a distraction on Andoria. She tells him that Kovan's death will not stop them, and that they will wring the information from him. He points out that Kovan was their best leader, best strategist, and much more important than the information he holds, and that he will not let them take him alive...
"Times change. People change. I got tired of watching our people taking orders from your precious Federation. Dying in their battles had no benefit for Andoria."
"I'd say not being wiped out by the Romulans or the Borg or the Cardassians is a benefit for us."
"Is it enough to merely survive? There was a time when Andorians took the battle to our enemies. When we were conquerors! Your Federation has stripped that from us!"
- - Thrynn and Sharad
"In accordance with the code of Ushaan, I challenge you!"
"I thought your precious Federation didn't allow dueling, Commander!"
"There have been exceptions before, General. Besides, what do you care? You believe in the old ways, don't you?"
"General, don't! You're too important to risk over the questionable honor who has turned his back on his own people!"
"Ha! It's not a question of my honor, Thrynn. It is a question of his. This is supposed to be what he stands for. What he's fighting for."
"He's right. This is our way. The old way. The way of Andorians since the dawn of time."
- - Sharad, Kovan, and Thrynn, as Sharad goads Kovan into a duel
"You cannot win the future by hiding in the past."
- - Sharad, to Thrynn as he prepares to duel
"I have done what I set out to do by cunning and skill, passion and honor! I am a true Andorian and I am prepared to die! Are you?"
- - Sharad, facing certain death against the massed ranks of the T.H.A.
- This issue is subtitled "The Old Ways" and is set not too long after the events of TNG: "All Good Things...".
- There was a limited photo cover released.
- The issue sold an estimated 7,730 copies in comic specialty stores in November 2007.  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 TNG characters.
- Ortees Sharad
- Andoria Commander aboard the USS Enterprise-D. He is an analyst in Starfleet Intelligence. His favorite foods are redbat and tubers.
- Deanna Troi
- Counselor aboard the Enterprise-D.
- Jean-Luc Picard
- Captain of the Enterprise-D. (referenced only)
- Ortees' younger brother.
- Shralla, Tora, Trajun, Thra
- Ortees' other family members.
- Ortees' semi-"girlfriend", member of the "True Heirs of Andor" (T.H.A.), and commander of her unit.
- Tahryn and K'Stran
- Two Andorians aboard Deep Space 9. (referenced only)
- Andorian general and leader of the T.H.A.
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