Warp Factor Trek

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Following the second issue, Nog, Jake and Alexander remain stuck in an alternate universe, aboard the USS Avery, while the ship is being boarded by Breen troops who are capable of cloaking themselves. While Nog questions how he – as a Ferengi – can be helpful in Starfleet, will it be Starfleet or the Breen that will prevail?

Log Entry

Nog recalls an experience he had before being whisked into the alternate universe. Back then, he was serving aboard the USS Alemany.

In the present of the alternate universe, Nog and Shaw examine the USS Avery’s engine room. As a result of the ship performing the Curzon Maneuver, the vessel’s dilithium needs to be recrystallized, so the pair discuss how to do so. Shaw mentions that there are numerous Ferengi serving in the Starfleet of this universe, which motivates Nog into wanting to return home. They witness Alexander beam into engineering and kill a formerly cloaked Breen. Shaw reckons that the personally cloaked Breen are from a rumoured super-powerful Breen ship called the Chimera. Nog realises that they can use the fallen Breen’s equipment to recrystallize their dilithium.

Alexander tries on a Breen helmet

Captain Dukat meanwhile holds a briefing, at which Q Junior is finding that snapping his fingers no longer changes things. Dukat plans to eject the warp core and arm it with explosives in order to defeat the Chimera when it arrives. Jake encourages Dukat to put all the Avery’s efforts into restoring Q Junior’s powers. However, based on Tuvix commenting that Q Junior is untrustworthy, Dukat vehemently decides against this. Shortly after the briefing, the unjoined Jadzia sympathises with Q Junior, as he’s now stripped of his powers.

Shaw, Nog and Alexander equip themselves with Breen helmets – except for Nog, that is, since his Ferengi earlobes are too big to fit into one of the helmets – and weaponry before preparing the dilithium to be recrystallized. Shaw advises Nog, as a Starfleet officer, to embrace his differences as a Ferengi, though Nog is unsure how to do so. More Breen appear, shooting Shaw into unconsciousness. Nog and Alexander fire at more Breen troops.

Dukat apologizing to Jake

Alone with Jake, Dukat apologizes for his earlier outburst. Jake explains that it doesn’t really matter to him, since this version of Dukat might just as well be a fictitious character, and that Prime Dukat is essentially the face of all his problems, which this Dukat also apologizes for. He pledges that, once the Avery is safe, he will do everything he can to ensure the boys’ return to their universe.

Thanks to the efforts of Nog and his colleagues, the dilithium starts recrystallizing, much to Nog’s delight. Alexander continues battling the Breen. Nog calls for reinforcements, so Dukat, Tuvix and Morn rendezvous with Alexander. Neither Q Junior nor any of the others are able to prevent one of the downed Breen troops from shooting Dukat.

Status Report

The face of a Starfleet officer, who seems to be Barclay, at the start of this issue

At the beginning of this issue, it’s great to see the apparent return of Barclay in a cool flashback sequence. The issue leaves unexplained precisely what he’s doing aboard the USS Alemany after the Dominion War.

As events in the alternate universe resume, Nog and Shaw do a good job of establishing the predicament that the USS Avery is now in. This pairing is an enjoyable and unusual one.

Q Junior snapping his fingers

There are a few panels where Q Junior is portrayed clicking his fingers but nothing consequent happens, a cleverly subtle way to show that his Q powers are no longer working before it’s referenced in dialogue. Jake’s advice to Dukat that Q Junior provide assistance is odd, given that – as Jake knows – Q Junior is the culprit for placing him, Alexander and Nog into this alternate universe. Drawing a parallel between Q Junior without his powers and Jadzia without the Dax symbiont is a well observed similarity.

Unfortunately, the comic pointing out that Nog’s lobes won’t fit inside a Breen helmet comes across as unintentionally funny. However, it is good that Nog’s strengths as an engineer, a Starfleet officer and a Ferengi are represented well here, making this issue feel like a fitting tribute to Aron Eisenberg.

Nog proudly surrounded by fallen Breen and the unconscious Shaw

The comic includes some insightful tidbits of information about the alternate universe, such as that Jadzia is wise even without the Dax symbiont and that there are multiple Ferengi serving in Starfleet.

Although this issue ends by apparently killing off Dukat, this has relatively little importance to the reader, given that either Nog, Jake or Alexander could have been shot instead. Jake even points out, a few pages earlier, that Dukat lacks importance, leading the reader to question why we should care. That said, the shooting of both Shaw and Dukat have interesting reverberations with how their Prime counterparts are portrayed in canon Star Trek. Also, Q Junior being unable to stop Dukat from being shot clearly presents an existential concern for the Q boy. Ultimately, it’s a weaker ending than those of the previous two issues.

There are three covers for this issue. Unusual for an IDW Star Trek issue, the B cover (by Aaron Harvey) is the most relevant to the story being told (specifically, Rom and Quark don’t ever show up in the story but are featured on the retailer incentive cover). This as well as the slightly more generic A cover, by Jake Bartok, and the almost totally irrelevant retailer incentive cover, by Andy Price, look beautiful, as is the norm with IDW covers.

The two alternative covers for this issue
Rating: 3/5

This issue is a bit too wordy and narratively complex. The likenesses of the characters to their on-screen looks are generally lacking in authenticity, though accurate enough to tell who is supposed to be who. What action there is in the story is entertaining, making the comic a fun read that continues to delve into how the characters we know are different from their on-screen personas. There is a general sense that the story is being rushed to a promising final part which will need to do a lot to wrap up all the loose plot threads.

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