Warp Factor Trek

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Worf, Ambassador Spock, Ro Laren, B’Elanna Torres and Lore have now been joined by an unnamed Orion female. Last issue, she mutinied from her pirate ship to help them escape with a crate of trilithium and the transponder code to Emperor Kahless’ ship — or at least the vessel with which the Orion captain had traded.

Thankfully, we’re pretty much flashback-free again this issue. The story continues from a severely wounded Worf — hopped up on concentrated Klingon adrenaline (the same stuff Kahless uses to keep his Red Path cult on the warpath) — discovering Lore in command of the Defiant


Ro Laren and B’Elanna Torres quarrelling

Ro and B’Elanna are still arguing like students desperate to prove who’s more rebellious, as they discover that the transponder code is itself encrypted, so they can’t read it. Lore — claiming he wants to help make amends for his past indiscretions (such as having been buddies with the Borg) — figures that Kahless’ Bird-of-Prey can destroy the most powerful entities but then needs to destroy a planet in order to recharge. He also makes some suggestions about decrypting the transponder code. Together, the three manage to crack one part of the transponder’s encryption and find that it’s not for a Klingon Bird-of-Prey… but a Romulan ship.

The Orion says she sided with them not because of Federation values but because bringing medical supplies to sell on the black market is smarter than joining a cult — as is getting revenge on the Red Path for stealing some of her comrades. Regarding Lore, Worf seems most offended by the fact that Spock let him sit in the command chair. The Orion woman says Worf either needs surgery to prevent his heart chambers collapsing or must have his blood pressure kept elevated by continuing to overdose on the adrenaline.

The Orion woman gives medical advice to Worf while Spock looks on

The discovery that the transponder code is for a Romulan ship fits with another text file report from Commander Sela. She’s refusing orders to return home and monitor freighters, because she has discovered that two new Bloodwing-class vessels are missing and suspects the Red Path’s involvement.

Worf is angered by the Orion woman injecting him with the adrenaline and refuses the surgical alternative. Considering Lore’s theory that the Red Path are using a three-part system of weapon, power hub, and recharging method applied to a Bird-of-Prey’s systems, Worf deduces the logic of a Klingon engineer having to be responsible for it. This prompts B’Elanna to reveal a classified debrief recounting some of the events from the Star Trek: Voyager series finale “Endgame”. As reported in the document, Torres explained to Admiral Jellico that the USS Voyager’s return to the Alpha Quadrant had been accomplished with the help of a future Admiral Janeway — revealing that Janeway had gotten time travel from a Klingon engineer named Korath.

A discussion about time travel

In a briefing on the subject, it’s amusing when the “OMG, the Klingons invented time travel” commentary is quickly put down with, “Everyone has invented time travel at some point.” That statement is definitely true in this franchise. Spock theorises that Korath may be smarter than both himself and Lore. According to Worf’s agent D’Enok on Qo’noS, the present-day Korath has a lab on Maranga IV, near the Klingon-Romulan border.

Worf sends Spock and Lore in the shuttlecraft Chaffee to Maranga IV. Lore is amusingly keen to know what his rank is now.

Meanwhile, the Orion takes time to dig at everyone’s psychology while still refusing to give her name. They are interrupted by the appearance of a Romulan ship decloaking, which instantly decodes the transponder for them: a gesture of good faith from its pilot — Sela. She reveals that her intel suggests Kahless has a small fleet rather than a single Bird-of-Prey. She also suggests that they work together to stop him.

Sela speaks to Worf via viewscreen

On Maranga IV, Spock and Lore find an unmanned facility containing assorted disruptors. They also notice a screen with a red flashing light, and Spock realises he has been right about Korath being smarter — neither of them noticed the trap they’ve walked into. They are both blown off their feet by some kind of explosion…


Rating: 4 out of 5

You can take it as read that the art is still as great as in the previous issues, in terms of pencils, inks, colouring, and photo-referencing. Well, okay, there is a three-panel strip where Lore looks like Brent Spiner, then Nicolas Cage, then Matt Smith. But it somehow fits, so what the hell!

Multiple expressions of Lore

This is a less action-oriented issue, the characters mostly sitting, standing, or lying around various rooms on the Defiant to chat. This is actually an effective and refreshing breather, letting us catch up with the clarity of what’s going on and giving us some good character interplay. All of it is wrapped up in Spock’s “voiceover” monologue about the balance between sanity and madness when logic has to decide between them.

Likewise and frankly related to this, the interactions between Spock and Lore are a real treat, easily the highlight of the issue — and the series so far — putting the random needling between Ro and B’Elanna to shame. Lore’s query about his rank gives some good dialogue, as does the unnamed Orion’s outsider view on things.

All in all, this is another good issue. It’s definitely shaping up to be a good series.

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