|cover artist unidentified|
They end up in the Alps in 218 BC, when Hannibal invading Italy. They soon find out that Trengor has become Hannibal's advicer and is helping the Carthiginians crush the Romans and prevent the Empire from ever rising. The guys from the Enterprise are unable to stop this. History will be changed.
When Kirk and Co. get back to their own time and beam back to the Enterprise, they learn that Trengur had started a chain reaction of historical changes. The plot now mirrors the episode "Mirror, Mirror," with the crew of the Enterprise now evil. The Federation apparently still exists, but the Enterprise belongs to another faction that is planning on destroyng the Guardian of Forever.
It's interesting that an early version of the script for "The City on the Edge of Forever" included scenes in which the Enterprise was still around after history changed, but was now crewed by space pirates. I've no idea if the comic story was deliberately lifting ideas from either this or "Mirror, Mirror," but it makes for a fun plot twist.
It's a plot twist that also makes Kirk, Spock and McCoy work to earn their pay for the day. Spock suddenly nerve pinches his captain, but this is merely the first step in an improvised con job that would have made the Mission Impossible team proud. Evil Scotty is soon convinced that Kirk has caught an incurable plague. Since Spock and Bones might also be carriers, he forces all three to beam back down to the Guardian's planet, where a planet-destroying bomb is ticking away.
That, of course, is exactly where Kirk and his friends want to be. They jump back to 218 BC again, this time getting their a little earlier than they did the first time. They nab Trengur before any history-changing can be done and the day is saved.
It is a fun, clever story, with Spock's con job on evil Scotty being a real highlight of the tale. But all the same, somebody has got to tell Star Fleet to restrict access to the Guardian. Maybe a rope strung in front of it? Anything is better than nothing.
Next week, we'll visit with Lee Hunter and Reb Stuart for the third of their four stories.