"Death of a Star"
  Issue Number 30

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alberto Giolitti
Stardate: 33:33.3
Issue Date: May 1975
Cover Price: 25 cents

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Cover Blurb:
   The last gasp of a dying star.


Synopsis
   The Enterprise is on a mission to observe the death throes of the star Isis. Calculations indicate that the star has only 48 hours before it explodes, destroying everything for billions of cubic miles. The star's solar system is uninhabited according to Federation records, but Mr. Sulu picks up humanoid life form readings on the planet Isis III. Spock estimates that the odds are "87.663125 to 1" that the readings are the result of a system malfunction. "Nonetheless, Mr. Spock" Kirk says. "When that 1 may be a human life, I consider the odds even!". He orders the ship in for a closer look. Uhura reports a massive life force on the planet, suggesting a large population. Oddly, however, the life force is emanating from one spot - as if the entire population of the planet were on the head of a pin!

   Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Lt. Uhura, and Nurse Chapel beam down to the surface of the planet to investigate. Just before they leave, Kirk orders Scotty to wait exactly 23 hours and 59 minutes for them to return, and then warp the ship out of the area immediately. On the planet, the landing party is guided by flashes of energy to a huge religious temple. Nurse Chapel reports that life readings are "going crazy". "There must be an army inside there!" she says. Kirk orders phasers on stun, and the party approaches the front door of the temple. The massive doors swing open by themselves! "Welcome! Beings of earth... and water!" a voice booms. "Enter the temple of the Sun-God incarnate!"

   The Enterprise crew enters the temple and comes before an old woman, glowing with energy, who introduces herself as Isis, the God of the Sun. She tells Kirk that she has summoned them because they wished to see her die. Kirk denies this, and asks the woman where the rest of her people are. She tells him that all of her people left just moments before they arrived. Where? asks Kirk. "There! From whence they came!" she replies, pointing at the ground. ("And you're a warp four loony!", Kirk thinks to himself)

   Kirk orders Nurse Chapel to stay with Isis, while the rest of the landing party looks around for the other inhabitants of the planet. They try to enter the forest, but are blocked by large trees with tentacles. Their phasers prove to be inoperable, so Kirk orders them back in to the temple. There they find Nurse Chapel unconscious. "Looks like sunstroke!" says Uhura. Kirk orders Mr. Spock to have the party beamed back aboard the ship immediately. Spock tries to contact the Enterprise, but solar flares interfere with the communications. He tells Kirk that they are trapped on the planet!

   Kirk revives Nurse Chapel, who remembers nothing about what happened. He then confronts Isis, accusing her of being responsible for the loss of communications. "You have come to record my death," she says. "So be it! But on my terms!". Kirk consults with Spock privately. Mr. Spock suggests that the people of the planet might be in some sort of underground shelter. He and Kirk set out to explore the temple and find the "lost" inhabitants of the planet. Nurse Chapel and Lt. Uhura are ordered to stay behind and try to get more information from the mysterious Isis.

   Mr. Spock discovers a hidden passageway, and he and the Captain enter. A hidden electronic eye activates a trap door beneath their feet. Instead of falling however, the two float gently to the ground in an enormous underground cavern containing the deserted ruins of a city. Spock finds a building containing many record tapes, much like a library. He activates a playback device, and he and Kirk "see" the images inside their heads telepathically.

   The recording shows that long ago, Isis had come to this lifeless planet that had no sun. She had become a star, supplying the planet with light. Then she "seeded" the planet with her "eyes", each of which grew into a living being. These "Isisians" worshipped Isis, and built a temple for her. They lived in happiness. Then one day, it came time for Isis to return to the sky, taking with her the gifts of life and light. The peoples had groped blindly underground and constructed the city as their final resting place. They were not bitter or sad. They knew that one day Isis herself must pass on as well. The tape ends, and Spock tells Kirk that the Isisians have been extinct for 25 millions years!

   On the Enterprise, Mr. Scott has been trying to reach the landing party. He has discovered that the original calculations were incorrect. The star might go at any time! He tells Sulu to keep trying to reach the landing party.

   Kirk and Spock return to the surface of the planet. Lt. Uhura and Nurse Chapel tell Kirk that Isis is very noble, and has a soul. They no longer want to try to convince her not to die. Kirk accuses Isis of bewitching his crew and tells Spock to use logic to reason with her. Isis draws Spock near to her, in order to "set him free". At that moment, she explodes with tremendous energy and the landing party is mysteriously transported back to the bridge of the Enterprise. The entire planet begins to explode! Scotty orders Mr. Sulu to take the ship to warp eight immediately, but it is too late. The Enterprise is caught in the explosion "like a paper airplane in a hurricane". Only a "space pocket" saves the ship from destruction . The planet is completely destroyed.

   Kirk asks Spock what happened when Isis had touched him. "I saw things... inconceivable things!" Spock says. "I saw that a star had taken on human form in its final hours, so that it could talk to us!". "Does that mean that stars are actually living beings Mr. Spock?" the Captain asks. "From what I glimpsed Captain, they may be more alive than we are!" Spock replies. "Mr. Spock," says the Captain, "next time we're in the vicinity, remind me to have a long chat with our 'lucky ole sun' will you?".

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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