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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Star Trek: The Redshirt's Tale "The Redshirt's Tale"
Star Trek #13
Writer: Mike Johnson
Artist: Stephen Molnar
Cover by Tim Bradstreet
September 2012


Lt. Hendorff records a letter to his parents, detailing his life aboard the Enterprise.


Read the full story summary of this issue at Memory Beta


Didja Know?


This issue does not have an actual title. The title I've used for this story, "The Redshirt's Tale", was seen in solicitations for the issue by publisher IDW. The reprinting of this story in the Star Trek, Volume 4 TPB refers to it as "Hendorff".


Pages 12-21 feature elements from the original series episode "The Apple". In that story, Hendorff is killed almost immediately by the plant spines. In our current story, he survives thanks to a transfusion of Spock's immune blood.


Didja Notice?


Hendorff remarks on his parents' fat Labrador. A Labrador is a breed of dog.


The reverse side of Hendorff's holoscreen as he recites his letter to his parents reveals that the current stardate is 2259.23. The holoscreen also reveals that Hendorff's first and middle initials are G.P.


Page 3, panel 1, presents a scene from the Star Trek movie (see study "Parallels") when Kirk got into a barroom fight with Hendorff (otherwise known as "Cupcake"). Panel 5 is also a scene from the movie, set a few years later (see study "The Vengeance of Nero").


Page 4, panel 5 is a scene of Kirk's promotion to captain and official assignment as commander of the Enterprise from the end of "The Vengeance of Nero".


Page 5, panels 2 and 4 and page 7, panel 1 also depict scenes from "The Vengeance of Nero".


On page 7, Hendorff remarks that he's not even sure Chekov is old enough to drink Romulan ale yet. This would imply that Romulan ale is legal in the Federation at this point of the altered timeline. In the original Star Trek timeline, the beverage is illegal, at least from 2283 upwards.


Page 8 reveals that Sulu used to play ball for the Phoenixes. Exactly which sport and who the Phoenixes represent is unrevealed. Possibly the team represents Starfleet Academy and is named after Earth's first warp drive ship, Phoenix (as depicted in the ST-TNG movie First Contact).


This issue implies that Uhura has a close friendship with Hendorff.


Page 9 implies that the crew of the Enterprise does not, in general, know of Spock's romantic relationship with Uhura.


On page 9, Hendorff mentions having contracted Levodian flu some time back. Levodian flu seems to be a common disease in the Federation, similar to the traditional Earth flu. The Levodian flu was an element of the ST-Voyager episode "Tattoo" and the ST-Enterprise episode "Affliction".


On page 10, Hendorff presents Scotty with a bottle of Islay malt from the bazaars of Elithia Domus. Islay malt is a type of Scotch whisky made on the Scottish island of Islay. This appears to be the first mention of Elithia Domus, presumably a planet in the Federation.


On page 11, Hendorff remarks to his parents in his letter that Mrs. Brannon told them it's bad luck to be a redshirt. This is a reference to the common joke among Star Trek fans that the redshirts in any given episode of the original series are the ones most likely to die in that episode. The reference to Mrs. Brannon may be an in-joke to Brannon Braga, a producer/writer on ST-TNG, ST-Voyager, and ST-Enterprise.


Also on page 11, Hendorff mentions a Starfleet ship called the Feynman. This may be a reference to the USS Richard Feynman from the original series ST novel The Better Man. Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was a real world theoretical physicist who was known for his theories on quantum computing and nanotechnology.


According to the original series episode "The Apple", on which pages 12-21 of this story are loosely based, the planet Hendorff and the rest beam down to is Gamma Trianguli VI. The blond woman who beams down with the party is presumably Yeoman Martha Landon, as named in the episode. Chekov was part of the landing party in the original episode; here, he is replaced by an unnamed, dark-haired woman.


On page 13, Hendorff uses a tricorder similar to the one used by Spock in "Return of the Archons" Part 1. Apparently, this is now the official tricorder design, despite the more traditional-looking one seen in "Operation Annihilate" Part 1.


Here, the natives of Gamma Trianguli VI are depicted with pointed ears and without corneas or pupils in their eyes. In the original series episode "The Apple", their look was more human. 


Possibly, the native woman who is seen caring for Hendorff here is meant to be Sayana from the original episode "The Apple", judging by the similar facial markings depicted. (Though note that the original Sayana's eyebrows are white, not dark as seen here.)


On page 16, Dr. McCoy refers to Spock as a hobgoblin. In "The Vengeance of Nero", he referred to Spock as a "green-blooded hobgoblin".


On page 20, Hendorff remarks on aspects of the mission on Gamma Trianguli VI, while he was recuperating, that he read in the report, including lightning strikes, exploding rocks, and hostile natives. These are all aspects from "The Apple".


On page 21, an Enterprise crewmember (possibly Yeoman Rand), remarks on the death of classmate Yeoman Chen on the Shepherd, killed in a shuttle crash on Calder II. This is the first reference to Chen and the Shepherd. Calder II is the planet that was seen in the ST-TNG episode "Gambit" Part 1. 


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