"The Sweet Smell of Evil"
  Issue Number 48

Writers: Arnold Drake, Doug Drexler
Artist: Alden McWilliams
Stardate: 5716.4
Issue Date: October 1977
Cover Price: 30 cents


Cover Blurb:
   MURDER boards the Enterprise!

   The Enterprise is ordered to escort Professor Patrick Moore, Director of the Federation Survey Team on the Planet M-317, to an Interstellar Geophysical conference on Beta Aurigae. Kirk and Spock beam down to the surface of M-317 and are met by Professor Moore's technical assistant, William Terrens. "I'm looking forward to seeing Professor Moore again!" Kirk says. "A delightful gentleman. You'll enjoy him Spock! I was a lieutenant on the Farragut at the time. Professor Moore was prospecting for the American Continent Institute! A brilliant research scientist! His previous investigation of silicon-based life on Janus IV rocked the scientific community! No pun intended, I assure you, Mr. Terrens!".

   The party walks past a large grove of trees in an arboretum that Terrens calls "Tojufu". "If memory serves correct, Tojufu was the heroine of several ophiucan fairy tales!" Spock says. "Ambrosian Bellus", Kirk says. "She sweetened the air with each passing footstep. Lovely!". Terrens takes the two men aboard a small craft. They fly past huge, colored rings in the atmosphere. Terrens explains that 'The Great Rainbow Expanse' is caused by vast colonies of Bivmites - tiny insects that react to changes in the temperature, air pressure, etc. The craft flies past the Rainbow Expanse, and on the other side, Kirk and Spock are awed by a massive field of fire, rolling down a mountainside. "Gentlemen" Terrens says, "Moore's Fire Falls!".

   The craft lands nearby, and Professor Moore comes to greet them. "So, James!" the Professor asks, "My local wonders. What do you think?". "Very impressive Professor!" Kirk replies. "However I wasn't aware that you were a fledgling horticulturist!". "Oh! Ha-Ha... the Tojufu!" says the Professor. "Aromatus Extraordinaire!" adds Spock. "But their perfume is the least extraordinary thing about them, Mr. Spock!" replies Moore. "At any rate, I've been studying and classifying the local plant life for over a year now". He tells them that he has made a discovery that will shock the conference, but will not reveal it. Kirk and Spock beam back up to the Enterprise with Professor Moore and Terrens, and the ship gets underway for Beta Aurigae.

   On the ship, Professor Moore runs into Emilie Bowers, another delegate to the conference. He has apparently met her before, and is quite surprised. He tells Emilie he is glad to see her again, but her reply is short, and she quickly walks away.

   Confused, Moore returns to his cabin alone. There, he finds an Andorian waiting for him. "Aaraka!" says Moore. "What are you doing here?". "Waiting to tell you just what I think of you!" replies the Andorian. "Waiting to make you feel the pain, the anguish, the despair. Waiting to make you experience the utter hopelessness!". "No!" shouts Moore.

   Later at dinner, Kirk questions Professor Moore again about his new discovery. Moore refuses to discuss it. "I cannot blame him" says Aaraka, "The deceitful are breeders of apprehension!". Emilie chimes in with similar insults, and Captain Kirk is forced to break the three apart. Aaraka storms out of the dining area. After dinner, Kirk and McCoy discuss the events on the bridge. "I just don't understand it, Bones!" Kirk says. "I can't believe that Professor Moore has done anything to merit such unreasonable treatment from his fellows!". "They were in a highly agitated state" agrees the Doctor. While going over Professor Moore's cargo list, Kirk notices that he has not brought any Tojufu along. "A plant," he explains to McCoy. "Seems to believe that they are of considerable value! Sure he'd bring them... Hmmm!". The two men are more tired than curious, however, and retire for the night.

   In the middle of the night, security awakens the Captain to inform him that Professor Moore has been discovered near his cabin dead! Kirk, Spock and McCoy rush to the scene. "Reads like a coronary!" McCoy says.

   Spock discovers a torn piece of paper in Moore's hand. "Apparently he was typing the title page of his address to the conference!" Kirk says. "The question is, where's the rest of it?" the Doctor asks. The three men search Moore's cabin, but find that his manuscript has been stolen. Spock suggests that the Professor might not have died of natural causes, but might have been murdered instead. Kirk orders an immediate autopsy of the body.

   A hearing is convened on the ship as to the questionable death of Professor Patrick Moore. Kirk, Spock and McCoy are present, along with Emilie Bowers, the Andorian Aaraka, Moore's assistant, William Terrens, and several security guards. "Autopsy has revealed traces of poison similar to potassium cyanide" says the Doctor. "Rather obvious, but deadly nevertheless! The substance carries an extra molecule that so far has eluded the ship's bio-comps!". Emilie and Aaraka both make thinly veiled accusations at each other, but Kirk interrupts them, and tells the doctor to continue. "A half eaten portion of pudding discovered in Moore's stateroom came up analysis positive!" McCoy says.

   The ship's steward is called in to testify. He tells Kirk that while he was bringing the pudding to Dr. Moore's room, Dr. Aaraka asked him for help with the lock on his room door. While the steward assisted Aaraka, he allowed Dr. Emilie Bowers to hold the tray for him. All eyes turn to Emilie and Aaraka. "There you have the 'how' of it Captain" says Emilie sarcastically, "the 'why' is certain to follow. However another steward then casts doubt on the matter, telling them that he had been with Dr. Bowers the entire time and had seen her do nothing out of the ordinary. Without clear evidence, Kirk recesses the meeting, places both of them under arrest along with Terrens, and meets with Spock and McCoy alone.

   On a view terminal, Spock shows them the paper he recovered from Dr. Moore's body. Since the scrap of half-torn paper was the title to a manuscript, the words on it were centered. Spock tells them that he has calculated the optimal spacing, and shows the two men how it would appear with all the letters intact, using X's to fill in the missing letters. "Well done, Mr. Spock! Have analysis sector stand by to study and complete!" says the Captain. "Gentlemen, the killer must be maneuvered into revealing himself! The person responsible was intent on preventing Professor Moore's presentation at Beta Aurigae! He, or she, must be led to believe that there is another copy of the report, and that it is in my possession!".

   Emilie, Aaraka, and Terrens are later released from their rooms, and Kirk tells them that he has another copy of the manuscript in his cabin for safekeeping. "Upon arrival at "Beta Aurigae, I will see that it is turned over to the proper authorities!" he says. Kirk bids then good night, and returns to the bridge. Spock tells the Captain that he has been maintaining an electronic vigil on his quarters, and that he has nothing to report. On the way back to their quarters for the night, however, Spock warns the Captain about the danger. "Jim, as your friend, I ask you to exercise extreme caution!" he says. However, as the Vulcan goes to open his own door, he is wounded by a bomb blast!

   Later in sick bay, McCoy accuses Kirk of risking Spock's life, and endangering the crew with his tactics. At that moment, security calls over the intercom to inform him that items have been stolen from Dr. Moore's consignment. "All right, carry on ! I'll get to it later!" says Kirk. The ship soon reaches Beta Aurigae III. Emilie, Aaraka, and Terrens beam down to the surface under guard for the conference. "And, Mr. Terrens" Kirk says as they leave, "I will be reading Professor Moore's paper tomorrow night!".

   In sick bay, Kirk and McCoy meet with Spock. They learn that the item stolen from Moore's belongings was actually the poison used to kill him! "The murderer would have to be well acquainted with Moore's work" says the Doctor. "Our killer is William Terrens!" agrees Spock. He also explains that has fed the scrap of paper through the library computer to have it try and complete the title, with 63 possible results. "Of these 63, only 2 fall within the realm of possibility! The first of which reads: 'Tojufu trees, discovery of an unprecedented commercial plant form'!". "Frankly, I find it hard to believe that a scientist of Dr. Moore's caliber would call that an unprecedented discovery!" says McCoy, and the Captain agrees. "As do I!" Spock continues. "Solution 2 however, offers the word 'communicating' as a replacement for 'commercial'!". "A communicating plant form!" Kirk says. "In other words, intelligent!". McCoy offers that harvesting the plants for their sweet smell would be murder. "Correct Doctor!" says Spock. "By interstellar treaty, M-317 would have to be left undisturbed! The end of Terren's commercial dreams! Reason enough for him to kill!"

   Lt. Uhura reports from the bridge that Terrens has escaped from his guard on the planet below. Undeterred, Kirk beams down to the conference and addresses the conference. "Gentlebeings" he says, "Several days ago while enroute to this conference, a great man was struck down at the height of his scientific career! Known to all of us, loved by some, Patrick Moore was a tribute to the scientific community... a tribute to life itself! By the reading of this paper, we deny his murderer the very goal he so desperately sought - the destruction of Professor Moore's last great work!". At that moment, Terrens tries to sneak up from behind the stage and phaser the Captain in the back.

Spock, who is waiting in the shadows, uses a Vulcan nerve pinch on him and he is subdued. "Gentlebeings" Kirk continues, "A moment of silent meditation... Thank you!".

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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