"World Against Time"
  Issue Number 42

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alden McWilliams
Stardate: 19:29:06
Issue Date: January 1977
Cover Price: 30 cents


Cover Blurb:
   The hourglass spins - BACKWARDS!

   Space probes reveal no definite signs of life on newly discovered "planet 137", however when Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scotty beam down to the surface to investigate, they discover a huge abandoned city. "They were giants!" Kirk exclaims. "Look at the size of those doors!" "They must have stood twelve feet tall!" McCoy adds. The landing party finds oversized alphabet blocks lying about, as well as a large talking child's doll and other toys. "Why do you suppose the street is strewn with only toys?" Kirk asks. They discover a "baby" in a nearby alley who stands almost as high as themselves! "No hurt Baboo" the frightened baby cries, "No bad boy!"

   Kirk reassures the child that they are friends (while still pointing a phaser at him!), and Scotty asks where his mother is. The child is confused, not seeming to know what a mother is. "Is that possible?" McCoy asks. "We have found worlds with communal structures where parental models have largely disappeared" Spock replies. Kirk opens a nearby door and discovers a "nursery", with many other children playing. McCoy examines them, and finds them to be in good health. He gets whacked on the head with a rattle by an ill-tempered baby girl for his trouble. "Uggh!" He shouts, "these 'babies' are stronger than they look!" "Yes" Spock answers, "they are very strong, and apparently very healthy! The question is, who is keeping them that way?" After questioning the babies further, the landing party learns that 'Elya' the 'Great Provider' feeds them, and will soon return. They sit down with the children and await her arrival.

   While Scotty is telling the children the story of 'Colonel Goldilocks and the Three Gardazian Bears', the child sitting in his lap wets on him! "Should have worn your rubber apron Scotty!" jokes McCoy. His laughs are interrupted as an arrow hits the ground near him. The landing party turns to the doorway and sees two older children, taller than themselves, with crossbows and swords! "Hear me!" shouts the older one. "I am Wenomi, Emperor of the planet Oordon! Leave the children unharmed and surrender, or you will die!" "Yes" adds the second boy, "and make it fast! It is almost chocolate milk time!"

   Wenomi demands that the landing party come out of the nursery with their hands up. Kirk orders the others to comply. "Are we really doin' this?" asks Scotty. "Surrenderin' to a pair of overgrown brats?" "It's that or bloodshed" Kirk replies, "ours as well as theirs!" As Kirk speaks to Wenomi, the boy tosses a few insults at him. "I'm sorry Captain" the Engineer finally says in frustration, "but I've had all I can take from this mewling brat!" Scotty grabs the child Emperor, bends him over his knee, and delivers a spanking!

   Suddenly, a large metal ball falls nearby with a clank! "That was only a warning!" shouts a newly arrived huge child, who is over twice the height of the Enterprise men. "My next throw will kill! I order you to release the Emperor! Do not mistake me! You are now dealing with General Macador!" Elya (a red-haired girl about the same size as Emperor Wenomi, and also taller than the landing party) arrives shortly thereafter. "Now tell us" Scotty asks her, "where are your parents?" "Haven't you guessed?" Elya replies. "We are our parents!" General Macador orders a younger warrior to get the "Bow of Many Knives" to execute the intruders with.

    When the boy returns, he is carrying a crossbow that fires four bolts at once. Macador levels the weapon at the landing party and prepares to fire. Elya intervenes and begins arguing with Macador that he should spare their lives. Kirk uses the distraction to knock the crossbow out of Macador's hands, and sends him down to the ground. "Now, what did Elya mean" he demands, "you are your own parents?" "Ten days ago we were grown-ups!" Macador replies. "Forty days ago, middle aged!"

   Emperor Wenomi shows them a book with a picture of a huge cave, filled with glowing rocks. "Here is the holy Nooaja" he says. "Visible radio-activity" exclaims Spock, "like radium!" Wenomi explains that 193 days ago, a great earthquake shook the planet. The Nooaja became brighter than normal. Shortly thereafter, the inhabitants of the planet began growing younger at the rate of one year each day, eventually disappearing when they reached their birth. "With each day, we all grew younger" he finishes, "and fewer! The ones you see here are all that are left!" "Fantastic!" a stunned Kirk says. "Wenomi, how old are you?" "I don't remember, of course, because we lose our memory of the old days" Wenomi replies. "But I can still read and the records say I am 152 years old!"

   Kirk suggests that everyone leave the planet aboard the Enterprise, in order to stop the age-reversal. Wenomi refuses, citing his peoples love of their world. Spock formulates another plan. "It seems the earthquake exposed a vast new vein of radio-active materials, causing this plague" he says. "Therefore...." "Why not make the earth rebury it!" Kirk finishes. Just then, McCoy notices that a recently appeared wart on his arm is no longer there. "Then we've begun de-aging too," Spock says. "We've lost at least six months in a matter of hours!" McCoy suggests that he may be able to formulate an antidote in several days. "No!" Elya cries. "In a few days the children will vanish!"

   In order to stop the process as quickly as possible, Spock and Scotty set out for the cave of Nooaja to try and bury the newly-exposed radio-active materials, while McCoy beams back up to the ship to research an antidote. Macador becomes upset at the idea of strangers in his people's sacred place. "You won't destroy the holy cave!" he shouts. "I won't let you!" He then runs away to the cave ahead of the others. When Spock and Scotty arrive at the entrance, a smaller Macador begins throwing rocks down at them from above.

   "Amazin'!" Scotty exclaims. "He's almost half his size now! Bein' this close to the radio-activity is speedin' up the process!" "Come down, boy" Spock calls to him. "You must leave at once, before you vanish!" Macador refuses, determined to stop the intruders from reaching the holy Nooaja.

   Soon Macador vanishes, having reached the age of his birth. "Mr. Spock, would ye look at my face!" Scotty cries. "Fascinating!" Spock says. "You're a teen-aged youth!" "And so are you!" Scotty adds. "We should both be singin' our high school alma maters!" "Hurry man" Spock says as the two run deeper into the cave, "or we'll be too small to finish the job!" "Worse" Scotty adds, "I didn't bring my Teddy bear!" The two men reach the center of the cave and see an enormous deposit of radio-active materials. Scotty plants several "beta" charges on a rock shelf nearby, setting the timer for twelve seconds. The are just barely able to escape the cave before the charges detonate. "We've thopped it, Mr. Spock!" says a very young Scotty. "We thopped the naughty wocks!" "Yeth," an adolescent Spock replies, "but we are little boys now! And who knows how long we will be?" The two return to the city, to find McCoy waiting for them with an antidote. "The medi-computer gave us the answer instantly!" he says. The boys are quickly injected with the antidote, and return to normal.

   Later, Kirk and Spock meet with Elya and Wenomi. "You're sure you don't want us to inject you too, Elya?" Kirk says. "No" Elya replies, "We'll grow up naturally now! It's better for us to gradually learn how to build our world again!" "You are very wise for a child" Spock tells her. "Good luck!"

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

STAR TREK is a Registered Trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Gold Key is a registered trademark of Western Publishing Corp.

Email: cdanhauser@yahoo.com