Star Trek: Divided We Fall 3 (of 4), September 2001.
© WildStorm Productions
Editor: Jeff Mariotte
Star Trek premiered on NBC Television on September 9, 1966. Gene Roddenberry conceived the series, and the momentum of the Star Trek concept has outlived its creator. The original Star Trek TV series is seen continuously in reruns. To date, three more television series have been produced and there is a fourth in the works. In addition, there have been nine Star Trek movies and innumerable novels, toys, lunch boxes, etc. Star Trek first appeared in comic book form not long after its television debut. Gold Key's original Star Trek series debuted with the July 1967 issue and continued until issue 61 in March 1979, far outliving the original run of the TV show. Several comic book publishers, including Gold Key, DC, Malibu, Marvel and WildStorm, have held the Star Trek franchise. Fifty-eight different Star Trek titles are listed in the Grand Comics Database, including continuing series, mini-series, one-shot issues, and even a crossover series with Marvel's popular X-Men.
So how did yttrium find its way into a Star Trek comic book? Here's the message that arrived out of the blue from writer John Ordover:
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 15:54:16 EDT
John Ordover here. Along with my pal David Mack, I'm writing a TNG/DS9 crossover miniseries for the Wildstorm Trek comic book line.
We saw your site, saw that "yttrium" wasn't spoken for yet, so we've worked it into our third issue, which should be on the stands around the middle of July.
Thought you'd like to know.
John Ordover edits Star Trek novels for Pocket Books, and his writing partner David Mack works for scifi.com. Together, they wrote the Deep Space Nine episode "Starship Down" and the story for the Deep Space Nine episode "It's Only a Paper Moon."
Yttrium is a fairly rare element, 29 parts per million by weight in the earth's crust. Interestingly from the perspective of its appearance in a Star Trek comic book, yttrium is quite abundant in moon rocks. Although yttrium is found in many rare-earth minerals on the earth, extraction and separation of the yttrium and the lanthanide metals from one another is very complicated. Modern purification methods involve selective complexation, solvent extractions and ion-exchange chromatography. Pure yttrium is an electropositive, silvery metal that is pyrophoric when finely divided. Two notable uses are in phosphors to produce the red color in picture tubes, and as a component of neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnets used in Nd-YAG laser systems.
The storyline of Star Trek: Divided We Fall concerns the Trill, a humanoid race that coexists with worm-like symbionts. Each of the leaders of Trill society carries a symbiont, whose mind has merged with theirs. The U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, has been called to the Trill planet to deliver the wounded Trill Ambassador Odan. At the same time Lieutenant Ezri Dax, a Trill stationed on Deep Space Nine, arrives on Trill along with some of her crewmates to rescue her former spouse Lenara Kahn. They find a civil war launched by the rebel Verad, who has released an airborne retrovirus that is causing the Joined humanoids to reject their symbionts. Verad has just committed suicide by vaporizing himself with a phaser. Given the relative abundance of extraterrestrial yttrium and its use in powerful Nd-YAG lasers, it's not surprising that analysis shows "traces of yttrium from his phase casing."
If any other comic book writers are inspired to fill in holes in the Periodic Table of Comic Books, please drop us a line!