"The Ghost Planet"
  Issue Number 37

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alberto Giolitti
Stardate: 26:06.4
Issue Date: May 1976
Cover Price: 25 cents

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Cover Blurb:
   Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock save a planet from extinction, but are doomed by its war-mad leaders!

    NOTE: This story is a reprint of Gold Key STAR TREK #5 (September 1969).


Synopsis
   The Enterprise, while moving "deep into galaxy Zelta", encounters a strange rainbow-colored ringed area and moves to investigate. Mr. Spock discovers that the rings are composed of copper, and that they are circulating around a planet. Kirk orders "rockets on full" and the "queen ship of the star fleet plummets toward the unknown planet". Kirk is concerned that the copper content of the rings might pose a danger to the ship, however Spock assures him that the Enterprise has the thrust necessary to overcome the minor magnetic field it is generating.

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   The Enterprise encounters turbulence while traveling through the magnetic field rings. Kirk orders all hands to rig for "extreme pressure". Spock tells Kirk that they must penetrate the rings to a depth of "two lunar miles". Finally off to starboard, a planet comes into view, and the turbulence ceases. Spock detects radioactive impulses originating from the planet, however he can not pinpoint the source. Further inspection of the planet surface reveals an empty city... with not a citizen, vehicle or moving thing. Kirk decides to beam down with Spock and two security guards in order to investigate.

   They arrive in a hollow empty square in the middle of the deserted city. An automated voice booms out "Welcome visitors! Transportation is enroute for you!", and a robot controlled vehicle arrives to pick up the landing party. The party is taken to the central communications building, where they are led by another robot to a room with seats in front of a large viewing screen. Two mammoth bald heads appear on the screen, and they introduce themselves as Justin and Justin - the Twin Supremes of the planet Numero Uno. (In the panel immediately after they introduce themselves, Kirk demands that they introduce themselves.)

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   Justin one tells the party how just one lunar sun ago, the terrible rainbow rings moved in upon their planet - driving them from the planet of their ancestors. The copper radiation emitted by the bands had affected their bodies, and was causing their race to become extinct! To avoid this, two artificial satellites were constructed to hold the population, and the people of the planet were evacuated. However the satellites became overpopulated, and there was not enough food to feed the masses. Justin asks Kirk to help them by destroying the rings. Spock says it may be possible for the Enterprise to magnetically pull the rings away from the planet and into deep space, but he will need time for calculations. The Justins thank the landing party, and say they will make contact again in a lunar hour.

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   As soon as the Justins have gone, one of the security guards summons Kirk and Spock to a door in the interior of the building that is guarded by large robots. The robots refuse to let anyone pass, and attack the landing party. Spock tells the security guards to empty the water from their canteens at the feet of the robots, and then he uses the battery charges of his "transistor" to electrocute the robots. Behind the door, the party discovers a Unoite "war room" holding many weapons. Spock also finds top secret files containing photographs that show that the Justins were once engaged in a deadly war with with each other. The deadly rings that had circled the planet forced the Justins to call a truce. This was the reason two separate space stations had been constructed. Kirk fears that once the rings have been removed from the planet, the Justins will continue to fight each other. He organizes a "summit meeting in space" aboard the Enterprise between the two Justins.

   The Justins arrive on the Enterprise, and Kirk accuses them of deception, and shows them the secret pictures found on the planet. The Justins try to draw weapons, but are disarmed by Spock. The Justins admit to their warring ways. Kirk tells them that he believes it would be best to let their civilization die out rather than help them continue their war against each other. The Justins beg for help, and suggest that the Enterprise leave visual detectors over the planet's manufacturing areas, in order to make sure that no weapons are produced on the planet ever again. Kirk agrees, and Spock prepares to remove the copper rings from around the planet.

   The Enterprise uses it's magnetic generators on the rings, however there is not enough power to draw the rings away from the planet. Spock directs "electronic rifles" at the magnetic fields of the two orbiting space stations in order to draw in their magnetic power as well. It works, and the rings rush away from the planet (at the "speed of sound"!) toward the Enterprise.

Spock cuts off the power, and the rings streak into space, where some "mysterious solar action" bursts them asunder. The Justins thank Kirk, and prepare to return to the planet. Kirk tells them to wait first while he tests the area for dangerous copper content.

   Kirk, Spock, and two security guards transport down to the planet with test equipment. Spock finds not copper radiation - but atomic radiation, coming from a huge stockpile of weapons hidden inside a mountain. The stockpile is separated in two parts, and labeled "property of Justin 1" and "property of Justin 2".

   The Justins, having had their warlike ways exposed again, come down in ships from their space stations to attack the landing party. Kirk calls for the Enterprise to beam them up, but the transporter has been jammed by an electronic field generated by the Justins' space stations. The Justins land the space ships and approach the landing party to attack them.

    Kirk distracts the Justins while Spock tells Dr. McCoy to play back the films of the ring moving operation back into the atmosphere - convincing the Justins that the deadly rings have returned. Spock tells the Justins that the Enterprise has discovered the secret of the bands, and can make them return at any time. (a lie!)

   The Justins throw away their guns, agree to let their stockpile of weapons be destroyed, and the Enterprise moves on after placing monitoring satellites around the planet.

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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