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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

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Star Trek: The Khitomer Conflict (Part 1) Star Trek
"The Khitomer Conflict" Part 1
Star Trek #25 (IDW)
Written by: Mike Johnson
Story Consultant: Roberto Orci
Art: Erfan Fajar
Cover by: Erfan Fajar

 

Encouraged by Section 31, the Romulans launch an attack against the Klingon colony on Khitomer.

 

Read the story summary at Memory Beta

 

Notes from the Star Trek Chronology

 

This story opens about a year after the events of the previous issue ("Here Today, Gorn Tomorrow"), as evidenced by the stardate 2261.147. This means the Enterprise would be about 1.5 years into the 5-year mission it began shortly after Into Darkness.

 

Didja Notice?

 

This issue opens on stardate 2261.147 on the planet Khitomer. In the original timeline in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, in 2293, a peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire was reached on Khitomer called the Khitomer Accords. The title "The Khitomer Conflict" is probably an intentional opposite-reference to the Khitomer Accords, "conflict" being an antonym of "accord".

 

Several Klingonese phrases are spoken on pages 2 and 3. The translations provided in the footnotes of this issue are roughly accurate, based on the official Klingon language developed by the linguist Marc Okrand for Paramount. (Thanks to the online Klingon Pocket Dictionary for translations!)

 

The Romulan ships seen in this issue are a cross between the Bird of Prey seen in the original series episode "Balance of Terror" and the Warbird seen in episodes of ST-TNG. The weapons mounted to the ships and brought to bear against the Khitomer colony are similar to the Section 31 gun mounts seen on the Federation warship Vengeance in Into Darkness.

 

The Romulan Commander L'Nar is believed by some fans to be the same Romulan commander seen in the classic ST-TOS episode "Balance of Terror", based largely on the name "L'Nar" being similar to the last name of actor Mark Leonard who played the Romulan commander in that episode, and that his junior officer, Decius, is the same name used for a similar character in that episode. In argument against this, L'Nar has Romulan tattoos on his face, appears to be younger, and seems to be much more war-loving than the war-weary commander presented in that episode.

 

The Romulans in this story are all seen to have tattoos on their faces, similar to those sported by Nero and the crew of the Narada in the 2009 movie Star Trek (also see "Countdown" Part 3). Yet, the novelization of the film states that the tattoos were "a tradition on Romulus that when a loved one died you would paint your grief upon your skin. Ancient symbols of love and loss. In time the paint would fade, and with it the period of mourning..." (though the Narada crew burned them in so they would never fade in honor of the lives lost with the destruction of Romulus in the original timeline from which they came). So, there is really no reason for your average Romulan in the new timeline to be sporting these tattoos.

 

On page 5, the Enterprise docks at Deep Space Station K-11 as a final Federation stopover before heading into uncharted space on its 5-year mission. This is the first mention of K-11 in the ST universe, but several other K-series space stations have appeared in ST stories of various media, most famously K-7, in TOS episode "The Trouble with Tribbles". The design of K-11 is similar, but different, to that of K-7.

 

Lt. Yuki Sulu, sister of Hikaru, transfers from the Armstrong to the Enterprise as an engineering officer in this issue. She previously appeared as a Section 31 agent in "Khan" Part 4; "The Khitomer Conflict" Part 3 reveals that she is, in fact, still with the disgraced Section 31.

 

On page 7, Yuki tells Chekov his reputation precedes him and he responds with surprise, "I haf a...reputation?" Kirk asked the same thing of Carol Marcus in Into Darkness.

 

Yuki likes to call her brother "Hiki" rather than "Hikaru".

 

On page 8, Kirk states that Yuki is the highest-rated technician in the fleet and top of her class at the Academy.

 

On page 10, panel 6, Chekov's tunic has the Starfleet emblem on the wrong side of his chest!

 

The Section 31 agent tells L'Nar to rejoin the Romulan fleet at the Hectori system. This is the first mention of the Hectori system in the ST universe.

 

The Narada-inspired Klingon ships seen here were first glimpsed in "After Darkness" Part 2. On page 16, Spock surmises that the Klingons were not idle during the years they had Nero and the Narada in custody, a reference to events in "Never Bet Against the Romulan". But how did Spock know about the captivity of the Narada and its crew by the Klingon Empire? As far as I can tell, it was never stated to any Starfleet personnel, though I guess it's possible Nero mentioned it to Captain Pike while he was held aboard the Narada briefly in "The Vengeance of Nero".

 

The leader of the Klingon fleet that responds to the decimation of the Khitomer colony is Commander Kor. He previously appeared in the current timeline (erroneously called "captain"), 25 years earlier (!) in "Second Chance". I suppose we could argue that the earlier Captain Kor was a different Klingon, perhaps the father of the Commander Kor seen here. In the original timeline, Commander Kor appeared in the Star Trek original series episode "Errand of Mercy".

 

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