"And a Child Shall Lead Them"
  Issue Number 52

Writer: George Kashdan
Artist: Alden McWilliams
Stardate: 28:11.5
Issue Date: May 1978
Cover Price: 35 cents


Cover Blurb:

   A search for black marketeers of tri-faxichologenic acid (TFA) leads the Enterprise to an unexplored sector of the Organian treaty zone, where it discovers an uncharted asteroid. Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy beam down to the surface to investigate. They find no traces of civilization, however Mr. Spock reports scattered life-form readings, and massive concentrations of TFA. "Jim, do you realize what this means to medical science?" McCoy asks. "Many researchers consider TFA a universal antibiotic, able to cure any disease!" "Easy Bones, first things first!" replies the Captain. "Our primary mission is to track down the black marketeers! I'd say it's a good bet they're located somewhere on this world!"

   The landing party is suddenly attacked by a group of primitive looking men carrying clubs! Kirk and Spock quickly stun the men. McCoy examines one of them, and finds that their eyes are a strange blue color. "It's a symptom of Kurali" the Doctor says, "one of the most addictive drugs in the universe!" "It would be logical to assume that these natives are receiving the narcotic from an outside source" says Spock. "The black marketeers maybe!", adds McCoy. Kirk contacts the Enterprise and orders Scotty to dispatch a combat team in the shuttle craft as a precaution, but tells the Engineer to have it hover and await further orders.

   A short while later, the landing party discovers a large mining operation. Native men and women are hauling tri-faxichologenic acid crystals from the mine, while another group of men wearing red uniforms oversee them. The uniformed men are distributing Kurali juice to the natives as a "reward" for their work. "They're turning those poor people into addicts!" says McCoy, "We can't let this go on, Jim!" The landing party approaches the camp, and Kirk confronts the leader of the uniformed men. "I'm Captain James Kirk of the starship Enterprise!" Kirk says. "You're all under arrest!"

   The leader introduces himself as Pete Flamm. "I'm in charge of this operation" he says, "and I say there's no law against mining TFA!" "Maybe," the Captain replies, "but it is illegal to distribute Kurali!" Kirk orders Flamm to shut down his operation immediately. Flamm refuses, and threatens to run the crew men over with his large mining machines unless they leave. "Have it your way, Flamm" Kirk says, and calls the waiting shuttle craft to execute "plan omega." The shuttle 'Leonardo' soon arrives, and begins destroying Flamm's mining equipment with phaser blasts. As the Leonardo prepares to land, a boulder hits it, causing it to crash. Kirk, Spock and McCoy look to the top of a nearby cliff, and discover that a young boy threw the boulder! The boy swiftly attacks the security guards coming out of the wreck of the Leonardo, throwing punches wildly. "Nice work, kid" says Flamm, "keep them busy 'till we're far away!"

    Kirk tries to stun the boy, but his phaser has no effect. The boy then grabs Kirk's weapon and crushes it within his grip! "And now, let us talk!" says the boy. "You're not like the others of this world" Kirk says, "Who are you? Where did you come from?" "I have no answers" replies the boy. "These people call me 'Klwama', which means 'strongest and wisest'! Those men who you seek to take away, I cannot permit it! The substance they bring, Kurali, as you call it, does much to ease the hardships which we must suffer!" Since the asteroid is outside the laws of the Federation, Spock suggests that the Captain negotiate with the boy.

   McCoy tells Kirk that he would like to take Klwama back to the Enterprise, in order to do a brain-scan on him, and possibly learn his identity. Klwama agrees, provided that Kirk does not pursue the fleeing miners. Kirk agrees, but only until negotiations are completed. The landing party beams back up to the ship with Klwama. A security detachment is left behind to prevent the miners from leaving the planet, however they do not chase after them.

   Back on the ship, the Doctor's tests indicate that Klwama has super-genius thought processes, and that his body can withstand heat up to +312, and cold down to -190. McCoy also learns that TFA is a vital nutrient to the natives of the asteroid, and that they cannot live without it. Meanwhile, Spock searches the ship's computer for information on the boy. "Subject Klwama" recites the computer, "subject bears a strong resemblance to husband and wife explorer team that vanished when subject was an infant."

   Kirk, Spock, and McCoy meet with the boy. Kirk explains that the natives are being turned into drug addicts, and also being robbed of their life-giving TFA. "More important" he says, "those privateers are committing the most serious of all crimes, by violating the prime directive!" "I had no idea" Klwama says. "How foolish I was to permit it." He then pledges his assistance to the Captain to round up the miners. The four beam back down to the surface.

   When they arrive on the planet, Flamm, along with many of the natives, surround them and threaten them with weapons. "It appears your people no longer trust you, Klwama" Spock says. Flamm tells the party that his men had overcome the squad of security guards, and tied them up. Since the natives had feared losing the Kurali drug, they had joined in as well. "How far do you think this will get you, Flamm?" Kirk asks. "Far enough, Kirk" says Flamm. "All I need is time to get off this asteroid and find a safe place to hide!" Secretly, Kirk opens his communicator so that the Enterprise can hear the conversation.

   Scotty immediately dispatches a large combat team, which beams down and surrounds Flamm and his men. "You're outnumbered" Kirk says, "there's no possible escape. Don't waste lives needlessly!" Flamm and his men knock out the natives alongside them, and then aim their weapons at the landing party and the Enterprise guards. "Play time's over, Kirk!", says Flamm, "tell your men to drop their pieces or we start shooting!"

   Kirk tells Klwama he has no choice, and orders the guards to drop their phasers. [Note: There is no apparent reason for Flamm and his men to knock out the natives, since they had shown no loyalty to Klwama. Indeed, they added quite a bit of manpower to Flamm's force!]

   Klwama sneaks up behind Flamm, and grabs his head in a lock. "Tell your friends to drop their weapons," he says, "unless you wish to have your neck snapped!" Flamm orders his men to surrender, and Klwama is once again a hero to his people. Dr. McCoy produces enough antidote to cure all the natives of their addictions. "We will recommend to our superiors that you remain here as leader" Kirk says, "and as a contact with the Federation." "I am honored!" replies Klwama.

   As he watches the Enterprise crew depart the planet in a shuttle craft, Klwama thinks to himself "This 'evolution' he spoke of, perhaps it will happen faster than he realizes. My people will be grateful." "I hope our high-falutin' 'civilization' lives up to the specs!" Kirk thinks as he looks back down at Klwama.

(Summary by Mark Lookabaugh)

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