"Dwarf Planet"
  Issue Number 25

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alberto Giolitti
Stardate: 19:24.8
Issue Date: July 1974
Cover Price: 25 cents


Cover Blurb:
   Miniature people under a strange sun threaten the lives of the Enterprise crew!

   Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura (whose name is misspelled "Uhuru" throughout the entire comic) take a shuttlecraft to the surface of an unknown planet in sector 199-D, in order to investigate intelligent radio signals received from the area. They discover a highly advanced city and land in the middle of it, but the city is deserted. The landing party moves on to a nearby town (smaller than the first), and finds it empty also. They set out to explore more of the planet, and discover another city less than a mile away from the first two. It is a miniature city! The buildings and trees are only waist-high and abandoned vehicles are scattered about. (Including several classic cars in the 50's style, complete with tail fins!) That city, too, is abandoned. "A midget city!" exclaims Uhura. "Could there have been two races here of different sizes?". "And both abandoned" Kirk continues, "All intelligent life gone? What about the radio signals?". In order to explore more territory, Kirk orders Mr. Spock and Uhura to follow another path. They agree to meet again in three hours.

   As Kirk explores the area, a miniature craft flies past him, and lands behind a nearby hill. He quickly moves to investigate. "A toy rocket!" he exclaims, finding the vehicle parked on the ground. "Amazingly detailed! Still warm, too! Then the child who flew it must be nearby!". He picks the craft up to examine it, but it suddenly flies away, and he is unable to hold on to it. Several minutes after the first ship disappears, a large group of small ships arrives. The miniature ships begin firing weighted wires at Kirk. Soon, he is hopelessly entangled on the ground, unable to move. One of the ships lands, and a group of tiny soldiers emerges!

   A soldier shoots Kirk in the face with a strange gas as he tries to escape. The leader of the tiny group climbs up on Kirk's chest, and talks to him. "Do not struggle!" the tiny man says. "Every muscle has been immobilized! Contact is now established between us through the device on my forehead! I am Supreme General Kwy, and you are my prisoner! You would like to say, 'I come to Planet Kujal in peace! Why do you treat me so?'. Because you are a giant! And where one has come, others will follow! My people will become slaves to yours! Household pets or worse, sideshow freaks! Not while I live, Giant, never!". Kirk is loaded on a large flat wagon and moved to another city, even smaller than the others. His wagon is moved in front of the palace, and he is introduced to the leader of the miniature folk, Madame President. Lt. Uhura and Mr. Spock are nearby, having also been captured.

   "Allow me to explain" Madame President begins. "My people are all three civilizations you have seen! Once we were as tall as you! We were a happy world until sudden explosions rocked our sun with fantastic intensity! But in time, these ceased and life resumed as before!". However, the people of her world soon discovered that they were shrinking with each passing day. "Investigations were swiftly ordered" Madame President continues, "but still the strange shrinking continued!

    Fara-2 city was built, and the next generation was forced to build Fara-3! The old cities were museums of the past! In time, our scientists learned the cause, but by then it was too late! Our ships were much too small to reach the sun , even if we knew how to stop those rays! Each generation grows successively smaller! In time we will be microscopic! All our advanced tools and machines will be lost to us! We will vanish!".

    Uhura suggests using the Enterprise to transport the inhabitants of Kujal away from the planet, but Madame President refuses, citing her people's love of their homeworld. Kirk offers his help to resolve the situation, and Madame President takes time to think about it. Meanwhile, she allows the Enterprise crew to meet with each other. "Obviously the only hope lies in understanding the strange new waves that emanate from that sun and building some antidote or defense" Kirk says. "I propose that we fly close to their sun and gather as many samples of its rays as possible!". "And have you thought what those rays might do to us?" Uhura replies. "Probably shrink our cells as it did theirs" Kirk answers. "And the closer we get, the faster the process!". Madame President and General Kwy have been listening in, and they agree to the plan. Kwy demands that a hostage be left behind, so that Kirk and the others don't simply try to escape.

   Uhura volunteers to be the hostage. "I was hoping the woman among you would show that courage!" Madame President says, "Congratulations Lieutenant!". General Kwy gives Kirk a small box. "A gift from our grateful planet" he says, "Some fruit which will not be ripe for several days". Kirk thanks him, and then he and Spock beam back aboard to begin the research. Later, on the Enterprise, two miniature soldiers crawl out of the box! "Time to find another hiding place, Imarta" says one. "Yes, Delo!" replies the other, "We must learn the best way to sabotage this expedition before we strike!".

   The Enterprise approaches the sun of the planet Kujal, using special "anti-radio wave" shielding to protect itself against the harmful rays. Sulu attempts to raise the radio energy analyzer dish, but it jams. Scotty volunteers to go outside and repair it, wearing a special protective suit. "Dinna worry" he tells Kirk, "The foil will protect me!". Scotty is able to free the jammed dish, but collapses outside the ship as soon as he is finished. "Break out another foil outer gear!" Kirk tells Spock. "I'm going after him!". Kirk exits the ship, and finds that Scotty's suit is empty! Later, as Spock and McCoy examine the suit with him, they discover Scotty inside, shrunken down just as small as the people on Kujal! Kirk finds a rip in the fabric of Scotty's suit. "Here's the answer" he says. "The edge of the dish tore this tiny hole in your foil gear and the shrinking rays poured through!"

   Spock warns the Captain that Scotty is shrinking much faster than the Kujal, since he was exposed to a higher dose of the rays. "At the rate his body is continuing to shrink" he says, "he may actually become microscopic in size very soon! At that point, the very bacteria in the air will menace him as much as a prehistoric mammoth would us! We must act at once!". Dr. McCoy constructs a small glass bubble, and places Scotty in it, to protect him. Soon, Scotty shrinks so small that he is no longer visible! "He's gone!" McCoy thinks to himself, "Yet I know he's still in there, to small for the eye to see! Without that sterile atmosphere, aerial bacteria would have destroyed him the moment he shrank to their size!". Just then, the two Kujal spies, Imarta and Delo rush out of hiding and attack the air hose leading to the bubble! "You two little murderers!" McCoy shouts. He captures both of them, and places them in a storage box for safekeeping. He then quickly repairs the broken air hose. "There's no way of knowing what kind of microscopic matter might have floated in!" he thinks.

   At that moment, in the microscopic world that Scotty has entered, he ponders his situation. "Then here I am" he thinks, "Smaller than a salt grain with nothing else as far as my eyes can see, which is probably an inch!". Just then, a monstrous germ appears, and tries to eat him! Scotty runs away, narrowly avoiding huge rocks falling from above. "Boulders!" he thinks, "Bits of microscopic dirt of course! But big enough to kill me! Some sealed system!". Scotty uses the rocks to attack and kill the germ. Then, a huge pole lifts him up off the ground and carries him into the air!

   In the world of "giants", McCoy looks at the microscopic Scotty, who is on the end of a needle! "Are you sure you've got him Doctor?" Spock asks. "Yes" replies McCoy, "I can see him clearly through these micro-specs! He's struggling like a demon!". Spock places the microscopic Scotty on a glass slide, and fires an experimental "anti-shrink ray" at him. Within seconds, Scotty begins to grow large again! "Listen" says Spock, straining to hear. "He's trying to tell us something!". "The first report by a human returned from the land of microbes!" Kirk adds. Scotty is less than amused by his situation, as he grows larger. "Get me some clothes, mon!" he shouts, "I'm poppin outta this silly thing!".

   The Enterprise returns to Kujal, and Kirk tells Madame President about their breakthrough - and about Kwy's treachery. "We will see to it that enough machines are shipped to you for the entire population to be restored within a year!" he tells her. "Thank you Captain" she replies. "As for General Kwy, I have a special fate reserved for him! He will be the last man on our world to be returned to full size!". "A marvelous punishment" Spock adds, "for a 'big man' like him!".

   Later on the Enterprise, Scotty discusses events with Kirk and Spock. "And I'll tell you one thing" he says to them, "I'll never make fun of another man's size again!". "Experience is a great teacher!" says Spock. "Teacher?" Kirk answers, "This kind of experience is a full professor!".

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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