"The Cosmic Cavemen"
  Issue Number 17

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alberto Giolitti
Stardate: 19:24.3
Issue Date: February 1973
Cover Price: 15 cents


Cover Blurb:
   Behold the idol who demands the death of the three strangers!

   While in orbit around the uncharted planet Neesan, sensors detect intelligent life forms on the surface. The life forms are undeveloped, and the planet is in it's "Stone Age." Kirk orders the crew not to interfere with the social and political structure of the planet - especially since it is at such an impressionable time. Scotty comments that leaving even a button behind could change the whole future of the planet. "All they could learn from you, Scotty, is how to play an electronic bagpipe!" McCoy quips.

    Kirk leaves Spock in command of the ship, as he, Scotty, and McCoy transport to the surface (In full Starfleet uniform - the Prime Directive notwithstanding) in order to take a look at the inhabitants of the planet. As soon as they materialize, the landing party hears a loud noise like "10,000 Vulcan palm trees caught in a solar-wind storm", and are attacked by primitive men carrying stone-bladed spears and riding pterodactyls. Kirk orders McCoy and Scotty to fall back and protect themselves, using phaser stun power only. McCoy is hit in the head with a stone axe and falls to the ground unconscious. The cavemen begin to overwhelm them, and Kirk decides the only way to avoid killing the primitives is to surrender to them.

    The landing party is swiftly disarmed and taken captive. Spock's voice is heard calling from one of the communicators, as the cavemen collect them. They quickly smash it to pieces on the ground, and yell "Spirit voice in tiny box! We must kill evil spirit!" McCoy regains consciousness, and the landing party is taken before "Lok-the-wise." (A scantily clad, well-proportioned female with large spikey white hair, and a purple cape) She tells the party that she could "see" them walking on the "sacred soil of Unruho" with the "eye that lives within my head." She condemns the landing party to death for this offense. Lok takes them out of the village to a large stone statue that appears to be carved in Spock's image, and begins to pray to her god, Unruho. (In a rare bit of un-trek-like storytelling, Scotty whispers to Kirk: "Jim! Do you see who..." and Kirk replies "Yes, you fool., I see! Now shut up until we find out what this is all about!")

   The landing party makes a break for it. Scotty runs up to a large flaming pot, and burns away the rope that ties his hands together - and then knocks the heads of two cavemen together as soon as he is free. Scotty, Kirk, and McCoy are about to overcome the primitives, when Queen Lok throws "Backi Powder" (for the "sleep of eternity") at them. The crew begins to cough and choke - and finally pass out. Queen Lok tells them that when they wake, they will be in the "halls of eternal rest." The unconscious Kirk is placed on an execution block, and a caveman wearing a green bug-like mask prepares to chop off his head.

    Just at that moment, Spock beams down into the middle of the scene. The cavemen begin chanting "Unruho! Unruho! He has come!", and bow before Spock - treating him as if he were a god.

   The landing party is taken back to a cave in the village, and given medical treatment and food (served by a bevy of beautiful women). Spock arrives at the cave wearing ceremonial robes, and dismisses the servants. He tells Kirk that the cavepeople are called the Tol, and that a more barbarous tribe called the Kovars are about to attack. The landing party is not allowed to help the Tol, who stand no chance against the Kovars. Kirk turns to ask Scotty a question and discovers that he is missing!

    "[Scotty, as it appears, is in good - and beautiful hands!]" as Queen Lok shows him the Crystal Flowers of Xamgina, and the Golden Fonts of Lydo - wonders of the cavemen's world. All of a sudden, a Kovar rushes out of the trees to attack, riding an animal that looks rather like an enlarged armadillo. Scotty and Queen Lok try to run away. Lok catches her foot on a branch and tells Scotty to go on without her, but Scotty takes her up in his arms and carries her through the forest back to the village, and the others.

    Kirk decides to beam back up to the ship before the crew gets entangled in the coming battle between the Tol and the Kovars. Spock tells the Tol that he is leaving with the others, and says "I shall always be with you in your struggle to survive!" (He is forced to play the part of their god, Unruho, lest they kill him and the others) Scotty says good-bye to Queen Lok, and she bids him "go in peace.... and in love." The entire landing party beams back up to the ship. While Scotty tells Kirk and McCoy how he will miss Lok, McCoy notices that Scotty's phaser is missing. (There is another dose of name calling here, as McCoy says to Scotty: "She took your phaser, you fool!")

    Kirk and Scotty beam back down to the surface in order to recover the lost phaser. They narrowly escape being seen by a large group of Kovars that are on their way to attack the Tol. The battle begins, and the Tol take heavy losses. Queen Lok prepares to use the stolen phaser against the Kovars, but Scotty walks up to her and distracts her, and Kirk knocks the phaser from her hand. Queen Lok despairs that the statue to their god Unruho will be destroyed without the phaser, and Scotty comforts her for a moment. Kirk and Scotty are forced to run away when the Kovars approach. They flee into a nearby canyon, and close the entrance with phaser fire - hoping they will be safe. The Kovars, however, attack from the cliffsides, and knock both Kirk and Scotty out.

   Meanwhile, aboard the Enterprise - Spock ponders why the Tol believe him to be a god, and why a statue of him was made. He finally solves the puzzle. He remembers one of the first missions for the Federation, when he was on the planet Dukar and had been attacked by a huge, horrible creature that "chilled his very bones." Spock had had an uncontrolled reaction, and made a mental cry for help that Lok had "seen" due to her mental abilities. He attempts to contact Kirk and Scotty to tell them what he has learned, but is unable to reach them.

    On the planet - Kirk and Scotty are about to be flung into a huge bonfire by the Kovars, who are also preparing to destroy the statue to Unruho. Spock beams to the surface and shouts "Stop! The strangers must not be harmed! This is my only warning to you all!" The Kovars are stunned, but quickly react and try to attack Spock. He dematerializes just as they swing their stone axes, and the blades pass through him. He re-materializes several yards away and taunts the Kovar chieftain.

   The Kovar chieftain attacks two more times, and each time, Spock dematerializes at the last moment - and appears in a new spot. The Kovar chieftain orders his followers to attack, but they refuse, saying "We have seen the might of Unruho!" They pledge to live in peace with the Tol from now on. Spock tells Queen Lok that "the spirit of the universe is everywhere - in every form, and your finest worship lives in the deeds of your lives." He tells her not to build any idols to him. Scotty says good-bye to Lok, and she gives him one of the Crystal Flowers of Xamgina as a going-away present.

   Aboard the Enterprise, tempers flare! Spock says to Scotty: "I see your cave queen gave you a little posey by which to remember her, Mr. Scott! How touching!" Scotty shouts back: "I'll touch your nose with my fist if you keep that up, Mr. Spock! You've been asking for this for a couple of light-years now! All right, let's go!" Kirk steps in to hold Scotty back and tells them both that the next one who pops off will be "wiping pipes for a month in the nuclear furnace room."

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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