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Comic Book / Star Trek: Debt of Honor

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"If a starship is an embodiment of her crew and captain, then they likewise are a reflection of the ship. Encompassing both honor and shame. Enterprise was commissioned as a vessel of Starfleet. In Starfleet's service is where she has to earn her place. And my responsibility, my... penance, is to help her do it."
Captain James T. Kirk

Star Trek: Debt of Honor is a 1992 Star Trek Expanded Universe graphic novel by DC Comics, written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by Adam Hughes, Karl Story, and Tom Mc Craw.

The narrative of the novel is told in a series of flashbacks from a Framing Device a few months after Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. As the crew of USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A) join hands with the Romulans and Klingons for a covert mission to eliminate a threat to all their societies, James T. Kirk recalls his prior encounters with his Romulan counterpart, Commander T'Cel.

Part of Volume 2 of the Star Trek (DC Comics) series. Needs Wiki Magic Love.


This graphic novel provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Mom: When she reappears in the movie period, T'Cel has an adult daughter, T'Kir, who serves with her on her ship. It's lightly implied that T'Kir's father may be Kirk himself, sired after they fled the Farragut.
  • The Atoner: Kirk expresses guilt for having stolen and destroyed Enterprise in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and wishes to atone by ensuring that Enterprise-A doesn't share her predecessor's fate.
  • Book-Ends: Kirk goes out boating with Dr. Gillian Taylor from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, who is still working with the humpback whales they rescued and brought to the future to repopulate the species.
  • Call-Back: The book opens on a Kirk having a nightmare of his encounter with Kruge and the destruction of the first Enterprise, which plays a considerable role in Kirk's mindset throughout the story.
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  • Call-Forward: In the epilogue, Jim and Gillian share a toast with champagne from Chateau Picard, Jean-Luc Picard's family vineyard.
  • Continuity Nod: The book is positively riddled with them, but a few standouts:
    • Gracie has her baby.
    • Jame Finney is now a junior grade lieutenant serving aboard Enterprise.
    • Numerous former crewmen from the Original Series such as Riley and Kyle rejoin the crew for the mission.
    • The alien creatures driving the plot were responsible for the final destruction of Farragut. Additionally, the cloud creature which killed Captain Garrovick and many of the crew is mentioned prominently in the flashback to Farragut's destruction.
  • Fantastic Racism: Many examples as the three crews struggle to work together:
    • Internally with the Klingons: Kor's people are smooth-foreheaded TOS-style Klingons, and his remarks indicate an internal power struggle between his subspecies and the more common ridged Klingons.note 
    • One of Kor's officers looks down on humans, particularly Jame Finney. At least until Jame puts her in her place.
    • The Romulans immensely dislike the Half-Vulcan Saavik, considering her a traitor for identifying as Vulcan.
    • Several human security guards on Enterprise harass the Romulan T'Kir.
  • Language Drift: Gillian Taylor mentions that she had to partially relearn English because it's changed considerably in the 200 years since her home time period.
  • Longest Pregnancy Ever: The stardate given puts the main action in 2289, but it also seems to take place in the same year as the Gillian Taylor scenes. Star Trek IV takes place in 2286, but humpback whale's gestation period is only 11 months. So somebody done goofed.note 
  • Military Maverick: Discussed by Sulu at one point. Kirk, T'Cel, and Kor all have one thing in common: they're often politically inconvenient to their governments, and very good at their jobs. Ergo, they get picked for difficult missions that can't really get any public acknowledgement. Their personal bonds are part of this: they can form an off-the-books Enemy Mine despite their governments being in a three-way Space Cold War.
  • Mixed Ancestry: As T'Cel explains, her mother, a full-blooded Romulan, was rescued from an escape pod as a child and mistaken for a Vulcan, as nobody in the Federation knew they were the same species yet. T'Cel, like Saavik, is half-Vulcan, but chose to rejoin her mother's people and embrace her Romulan half (whereas Saavik is shunned by some of T'Cel's crew for hewing to her Vulcan half).
  • Setting as a Character: Actually becomes a plot point. Kirk declines to follow T'Cel in exploring the dimension the creatures came from because he feels he betrayed the original Enterprise in Star Trek III by ending her career as a fugitive from the law. Therefore he feels he has a responsibility to ensure Enterprise-A has a long and honorable career of her own.
  • Shout-Out: At one point Gillian Taylor listens to a recording of the band Cats Laughing, referring to the recording as "the Excalibur Sessions". Chris Claremont has referred to the band a few times during his run on Excalibur, noting that they were Kitty Pryde's favorite band. A lieutenant Emma Bull(named after the science-fiction writer who was also a member of Cats Laughing) was stationed on the Enterprise also.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Although not directly called attention to, there's a number of subtle hints that T'Cel's daughter, T'Kir, may be Kirk's. She remains behind aboard Enterprise when T'Cel takes her Bird of Prey through the dimensional portal to save the others.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Kirk and T'Cel have feelings for each other and share a kiss (and possibly more) before being separated when she abandons their escape pod to draw off Romulans snooping around the site of Farragut's destruction, but T'Cel's disappearance and later reappearance as a Romulan Imperial Fleet officer puts a damper on that. At the climax, T'Cel plans to take her Bird of Prey through the dimensional portal to explore it and invites Kirk along. He declines out of a sense of responsibility to keep Enterprise-A from suffering a similarly ignominious fate as her predecessor.
  • Tuckerization: The minor character Diane Morwood is named after fellow Star Trek EU writer Diane Duane and her husband and occasional co-author Peter Morwood.


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