"The Voodoo Planet"
  Issue Number 45

Writer: Unknown
Artist: Alberto Giolitti
Stardate: 24:17.9
Issue Date: July 1977
Cover Price: 30 cents

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Cover Blurb:
   Voodoo from across space it makes its deadly mark on Earth!

    NOTE: This story is a reprint of Gold Key STAR TREK #7 (March 1970)


Synopsis
   While exploring deep space, the Enterprise discovers a planet that looks exactly like Earth! "Well, Spock", asks Kirk, "What do you make of that?". "Superbly fantastic!", replies Spock. "We could not have returned toward Earth. Perhaps we have passed through a space warp!". The Captain orders the ship closer for a better look, and the Enterprise cuts her power and hovers over the surface of the planet. (Only several hundred feet above the ground!) The ship has homed in on Paris, and the Eiffel tower is visible in the background. Kirk and Spock beam down to the surface to investigate.

   There are no people at all on the surface. The two approach the Eiffel tower to examine it. "Shades of Vulcan!", exclaims Spock, "This girder... the entire structure is paper-mache!". The two discover that the entire city is constructed of paper-mache as well! Just then, a laser beam hits the structure, and the tower begins to collapse. They quickly run for cover. "Welcome to my private world!", a voice booms out. Kirk questions the voice about what is going on. "You will have answers to your questions," says the voice, "If you live to hear them!". "An obviously demented being, Captain." Spock comments. Just then, the Enterprise signals to the landing party. A condition red signal has come in from the 'real' Earth. The Eiffel tower has collapsed! Kirk and Spock immediately beam back to the ship. As they view the scenes of the destruction back on Earth, Spock notes that the times of the events were identical! Apparently there is a link between them. "Could it be some sort of weird, deep space voodoo, I wonder?", McCoy asks. Kirk worries that the entire Earth could be "voodooed to doom", and decides that they must locate the source of the laser beam that destroyed the 'Eiffel tower' replica.

   As the ship leaves, another laser beam comes from space and destroys the paper-mache Colosseum on the planet. Again on Earth, the real Colosseum is destroyed at exactly the same time. The Enterprise gets a fix on the source of the beam, and warps to a small world covered by a cloud of space debris. (Hundreds of abandoned alien-looking spacecraft - which the Captain seems curiously disinterested about.) The ship hides itself in the middle of the debris, and Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to the surface. The landing party discovers a tribe of primitive men throwing spears into human-shaped targets!

   A large advanced structure sits on a hill in the distance. "We've stumbled into an incredible voodoo civilization!" exclaims Kirk. Kirk and Spock sneak into the structure, leaving McCoy behind, and find a hooded man preparing to fire a laser cannon. They try to stop him, but are too late! An instant later, in Egypt back on Earth, the Sphinx disintegrates. As Kirk and Spock try to take the man captive, other natives appear, holding small "voodoo dolls" that look like them. The natives begin stabbing the dolls with needles.

   They are quickly overcome with pain and taken captive. Kirk recognizes the hooded man as Dressler, the mad ruler of a tiny kingdom on Earth. "So this is where you vanished to when half the world was hunting you down, Dressler!" he says. "Precisely!", Dressler replies, "It suited my purposes to flee Earth at the time!". Dressler tells Kirk that he escaped Earth in a rocket, and came upon the voodoo planet. In time, he mastered the minds of the natives, and stole their occult secrets. "But observe, you are just in time for a demonstration!", he says. Dressler throws himself into a trance, and brings a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa up on his view screen. He drinks a strange, green liquid, and then fires a blast from the laser gun. Instantly, the paper-mache replica is destroyed on the other world - as is the real tower on Earth! "That's it!", Kirk says, "The one and only Leaning Tower of Pisa on Earth gone on a voodoo wind!".

   Dressler tells the two men that he will hold them hostage, and voodoo the Earth to utter destruction unless he is granted amnesty to return as a free man. While he is ranting, McCoy sneaks into the room and frees Kirk and Spock from their cell. The crew men are able to grab their phasers and communicators from a table nearby. While Spock and McCoy hold off the native warriors, Kirk contacts the Enterprise and orders them to beam the landing party back to the ship. "But you haven't seen the last of us, Dressler", Kirk says as they dematerialize, "We're going to stop your mad scheme one way or the other!".

   Back on the Enterprise, Kirk and Spock are overcome with pain, as the natives on the planet below continue to use voodoo on them. McCoy takes the two to sick bay and gives them pain killers so they can function. Spock researches an extinct Vulcan clan called the "Pain Casters", who practiced voodoo on his planet centuries ago. He tells the Captain that using their special potion, it will be possible to duplicate the voodoo powers of Dressler.

   He and Kirk go to the ship's lab to synthesize the ingredients. When they are finished, Spock places himself in a trance and drinks the strange liquid. It works! The pain from Dressler's voodoo vanishes.

   Kirk and Spock beam back down to Dressler's stronghold. He attacks them with his voodoo power, but it has no effect on them now. Kirk jabs a "voodoo" replica of Dressler, however, and the man collapses in pain! He and Spock take Dressler out of the building and transport back to the Enterprise, narrowly avoiding the primitive tribesmen who try to kill them. "I suppose a quick execution will be my fate", says Dressler. "We have better plans for you, Count Dressler", Kirk says, "A fate befitting your evil!". "We have a planet in mind for you, one on which you can sustain yourself but where there is no living being you can harm!". (There goes Kirk - abandoning folks on deserted planets again!) "A planetary prison... I'll go mad!", Dressler says. "You might call it solitary confinement, Dressler!" says Spock.

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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