(written from a Production point of view)
|Series:||Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Space Between #5|
|Published:||30 May 2007|
At the poker table, Riker raises the stakes by fifty. O'Brien and La Forge fold. Data turns to Wesley Crusher and asks what he is doing. Wesley looks at his cards carefully and calls. Riker has two pair, Queens high, while Wesley shows his full house, Jacks over Fours. La Forge comments that he was completely unreadable, and Data concurs.
- "Captain's log: Stardate 42317.1. The USS Enterprise-D has been called to the Armada, a colony of agricultural domes built on the Maltese asteroid belt. The fruits and vegetables grown on these farms feed millions of people in this sector... but unexplained crop failures now threaten that food supply, and Starfleet has asked the Enterprise to investigate. On a more personal note, Commander Riker informs me Wesley Crusher is having difficulty adjusting to his mother's absence. Wesley is an exceptional young man, and he has become a valued member of my crew. I hope our time at the Armada is a breath of fresh air, for all of us."
On the Armada, Picard and Riker take note of the situation, commenting on the fact that the crop is completely ruined. Riker suggests a mutation due to pesticides or fertilizer, and Hommun, one of the overseers points out the Federation-approved methods and systems they are using. As Hommun rides off, Data notes that his "scans confirm a cellular breakdown of the minerals in the soil." He heads back to the Enterprise for further research. Riker heads off to get a jar of uttaberries that he promised to Troi.
In another portion of the dome, Wesley watches a young male, Kori, fire off a model rocket, similar in style to the Phoenix flown by Zefram Cochrane, and as it reaches its acme, it explodes. He asks the point, and the response is "that is explodes." His friend Cumin comments that there's little else to do. Astra, a girl tells Wesley that he's young to be an ensign, and she tells him that Cumin was accepted to Starfleet Academy, but his father wouldn't let him go. Cumin offers Wesley some grain alcohol made from the quadrotriticale crop in a still created by Kori out of the condenser from an old Romulan missile. Astra notes that she prefers uttaberry wine, but they don't have any berries to spare. Wesley promises that Picard will figure out the crop problem and finds out that none of the three enjoy their time there, even though it seems idyllic to him. Wesley notes that space isn't much better noting that family is the most important thing. Wesley heads off and beams back up to the Enterprise.
On the Enterprise, Dr. Pulaski contacts the brige to complain about Data taking over sickbay so that he could research soil samples. Data apologizes and tells her that he will endeavor to use another lab next time. Worf takes offense at Pulaski's tone, complaining to Riker about her attitude toward Data, but Data seems to be unmoved by her comments, stating "Sticks and stones may break my pollyalloy infrastructure... but words will never hurt me." He then reports that he found very low levels of chroniton particles in the samples. He was also unsure as to what effect ingesting the particles would have.
On Armada, Picard is helping Hommun with some manual labor, especially as Hommun's children "never seem to have the time." Picard notes that he never wanted to help his father when he was younger, but regrets the lost opportunity now that he is older. Riker beams down and joins them, commenting on the particles found. Hommun admits to his guilt, stating that times have changed and that he did what he thought he had to for his family.
Back at the homestead, Cumin and Kori are preparing to leave with his bags when Wesley confronts them, asking them if they even care what will happen to their father, Hommun. Kori stated that they hadn't done anything wrong, and Wesley agrees, giving them a long look. He points out that they found the particles in the torpedo and that if the growing time was sped up, they might have more free time and want to stay. However, he points out that Kori had tinkered with the formula so that the food would rot and that his brother could join Starfleet. Kori asks if Wesley is going to tell on them, and Wesley points to Cumin telling him that he will be the one to 'fess up. Cumin tells Wesley that he is bluffing and punches at him, hitting only air. Wesley deflects the next punch and kicks Cumin in the side, knocking him to the side, then punches him, knocking him flat on his back.
In the fields, Pulaski reports to Picard and Riker that the jam was uncontaminated. Riker tells Picard that they alerted Starbase 112 before beaming down. Kori and Cumin approach the pair and Kori tells the truth, that the farmers started the process, but that he and his brother had made it worse. Picard tells them to find Worf and tell them the same story. Wesley approaches and Picard tells him that Kori was brave to come forward like that and asks if Wesley felt that they were involved at all. Wesley states that he didn't, and tells Riker that he didn't notice Cumin's black eye when Riker asks him about it. Wesley heads off back to the Enterprise and Picard notes the oddity of the situation. Riker asks if he means the teenager telling the truth without being asked, but Picard meant Wesley not noticing the black eye and asks if it was possible that Wesley just lied to them. Riker isn't sure, but notes that Wesley has "one hell of a poker face."
Picard wakes up from a deep sleep as the starship is at warp speed and immediately calls Data to meet him in the conference room. In the conference room, Picard finds a log entry he was looking for about a Cardassian colony forced to abandon a planet in the Neutral Zone after their crop was contaminated by chroniton radiation, very similar to the Armada situation from five years earlier, but they could never find the source of the torpedo. Picard asks Data to cross reference the Enterprise logs with the rest of the fleet and reports from the Klingons and Vulcans too.
After a search, Data reports that he found two other corresponding events — the technology from Tigan-7 was used to change election results on Langer 14, "and a Maquis ship destroyed itself days after finding a cache of Harmonic Diamonds." It appears that someone is taking their logs and creating weapons from the information, and only Starfleet officers have access to the log entries. Picard is determined to find out who...
"– And you can smell the fertilizer."
"Loud and clear."
- - Hommun and Riker
"– Make sure you wipe your feet before you beam up."
- - Picard and Riker
"Traveling at warp speed makes the trip go faster – but when you get there, it has to mean something. Without your family, there's no point."
- - Wesley, sharing his pain with Cumin, Kori, and Astra
"This may take some time, captain."
"It's important, Data. Take as much–"
"There are two other instances from the Enterprise's logs that have corresponding events..."
- - Data and Picard, underestimating the computation time as usual
- This story is set early in the second season. By its stardate, it is set between "Elementary, Dear Data" and "The Outrageous Okona".
- This is the fifth issue of Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Space Between.
- The issue sold an estimated 9,262 copies in comic specialty stores in May 2007.  These figures do not cover copies sold on the direct market (bookstores, etc.).
- Writer: David Tischman
- Editor: Dan Taylor
- 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.
- Jean-Luc Picard
- Enterprise-D captain.
- William T. Riker
- Enterprise-D first officer.
- Enterprise-D officer, and android.
- Wesley Crusher
- Enterprise-D acting Ensign.
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|#4: "Light of the Day"||Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Space Between||#6: "An Inconvenient Truth"|