"A Warp in Space"
  Issue Number 49

Writer: George Kashdan
Artist: Alden McWilliams
Stardate: Not Given
Issue Date: November 1977
Cover Price: 30 cents


Cover Blurb:
   The Companion plunges the Enterprise into a starless void!

    The Starship Enterprise is on a routine mission to find missing experimental hyper-warp ships which were lost in the vicinity of the Gamma Canaris star system. No meteor storms, novae or cosmic mishaps were detected which could have wrecked them. The ships approached warp 13 with no problems reported then simply vanished.

Upon reaching the Gamma Canaris region, Kirk and Spock recall the events of Stardate 3219.8 when they were in the same vicinity. During that mission they were ferrying Federation Commissioner Nancy Hedford to planet Espilon Canaris III aboard the shuttlecraft Galileo when they were pulled off course by an electromagnetic cloud-like life form called the Companion. Unfortunately, Hedford had contacted deadly Sakuro's disease. The shuttlecraft was forced down to the planet where Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive, has been living with the Companion for some 150 years. The Companion diverted them to Cochrane's planet to provide human company for Cochrane who has been kept young by the Companion's powers. Despite Hedford's fatal disease, the Companion did not let them leave. The Enterprise men communicated with it via a modified universal translator and the Companion finally understood the situation. During the interchange, all realize that the Companion is female and is in love with Cochrane. The Companion eventually chose to merge with Hedford to both save her life and to be able to know human love with Cochrane. Kirk, Spock and McCoy used the shuttlecraft to leave the couple to live on the planet in peace.

   The current situation with the lost ships requires and that they contact Cochrane and Hedford again to request their assistance.

   Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down and tell Zefram and his mate the situation. Cochrane is interested in the problem which worries Nancy, because she is afraid that their peace will be destroyed. Zefram states that she's fearful of anything that might separate them, but he decides to help the Federation men so he can get back to his life with her.

   After hours of analysis which Nancy tried to disrupt with her mental powers, Cochrane suggests they modify the Enterprise's engines to approach the speed at which the experimental ships disappeared. The Companion leaves Nancy's body - risking her mortal life - and goes into space to help the Enterprise. Aboard the Enterprise, the Companion takes the ship and whisks it off at amazing speeds.

   The starship ends up in a starless world and they see that cloud beings like the Companion are there along with the five missing warp ships. The first warp ship is hailed by Kirk, "Attention, X-1! This is Captain James Kirk of the Starship Enterprise ... what is your status?" He is rebuffed by the reply, "X-1 here, Enterprise! Do not ... Repeat, Do Not attempt further contact!" Kirk rejects this and tells them to prepare to receive boarding parties. This causes all five missing ships to assume a combat formation.

   The five ships bombard the Enterprise with strange rays that cause the ship to shrink around the crew. Soon the shrinking stops and mysteriously they are restored to normal. On-screen they see cloud beings leave the ships. Kirk exclaims "Those ships were piloted by more cloud creatures." The beings communicate with the Enterprise crew telepathically and explain that the crews of the experimental ships died when their incredible speed formed a rent between normal space and the realm of the cloud creatures. The Companion announced her presence on the Enterprise and explained, "You, too, might have perished had you achieved a speed of warp 15! By transporting you here... the way I came out long ago... I was able to protect you!" The others of the Companions kind tell the Enterprise crew that they are not welcome, and must leave. Kirk agrees, but the other beings chillingly announce, "But she who brought you all here ... the one you called the Companion ... must remain!"

   Kirk and crew decide to try to help the Companion get back to her life with Cochrane, but the other cloud creatures threaten to "terminate" them if the Companion doesn't stay.

   With the 10 minute time limit imposed by the cloud creatures ticking away, Kirk orders Scotty to implement Cochrane's engine modifications - he intends to use warp 15 to get them back out to their own universe, trusting that the Enterprise's sturdier construction will protect them from the deadly transition. When the time limit is up, the cloud beings warn them a final time, just as Scotty makes the final modifications. Kirk orders warp 15, and they have a rough ride.

   Finally back in normal space, the ship immediately heads back to Gamma Canaris N. As the Companion re-enters Nancy Hedford's body, McCoy exclaims, "If we'd arrived only seconds later, Nancy would've been dead!" Kirk declares that to prevent any future loss of high-warp ships, he would recommend to star fleets they suspend any further experiments. Cochrane agrees with the idea. The couple are left to live alone together, and as Kirk and McCoy beam up Nancy turns to Zefram, "Forgive me, Zefram, for not having been more open with you!" Zefram looks in Nancy's eyes lovingly and replies, "What's more important, Nancy, is that they brought you back to me."

(Summary by Curt Danhauser)

  • The story of this Gold Key STAR TREK comic was a sequel to the original STAR TREK episode "Metamorphosis" written by Gene L. Coon. That episode marked the first appearance of the Companion and more importantly the inventor of warp drive, Zefram Cochrane, played by actor Glen Corbett. Cochrane was seen again in the very successful 1996 movie STAR TREK: First Contact.

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Email: cdanhauser@yahoo.com