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Star Trek: Leonard McCoy, Frontier Doctor (#1-4)

Space, the final frontier… and on that frontier and beyond, humans and aliens alike need medical care. Enter Leonard McCoy, Doctor of Space Medicine, late of the U.S.S. Enterprise. This is John Byrne’s tale set in the period before Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

While overseeing a refit of the Enterprise, Admiral James T. Kirk receives a handwritten letter that can only have come from one person. Dr. Leonard McCoy has joined Frontier Medics, a Federation program that provides medical care wherever its needed. With a stowaway aboard, McCoy and his partner, Dr. Jon Mikael Duncan, fly their antique shuttle, named Joanna, from an Andorian outpost to Ophiucus III, a human agricultural colony struggling with an outbreak of infectious disease. As the disease mutates and spreads, McCoy has to rely on his medical instincts and Theela, a bratty and well-armed Andorian girl, to find a cure. Much to his chagrin, McCoy learns that he and Duncan will be babysitting Theela for some time to come.

In Issue 2 McCoy sends another letter to Jim Kirk telling him of his latest adventure. Theela has settled in comfortably with McCoy and Duncan, eagerly listening to the veteran doctor’s stories and finding a little romance with the younger doctor. Arriving on Gamma Tarses VII at the request of Montgomery Scott, McCoy encounters the Tarseans, whose rigid cultural protocols make investigating deaths from a mysterious ailment, very difficult. Forced to take a break from his research for a holy day, McCoy stumbles on a secret, then he and his team deduce the stunning cause of the deaths from Scotty’s remarks about the Tarsean transporters.

In issue 3 McCoy and his team are asked to visit and report on a planet under routine Starfleet observation. On arrival, their ship is fired upon and damaged. Only Duncan’s sure-handed piloting gets them down alive. On the ground, they find themselves in a war zone. Theela and McCoy are separated from Duncan, then captured by soldiers. McCoy’s interrogation is interrupted by Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln. It seems that Seven’s employers are partly responsible for the surprising situation on the planet. Klingons are responsible for the rest.

In Issue 4, aboard the Yorktown, McCoy says goodbye to his friends, Theela and Duncan, who are joining a new research team. Then he says goodbye to new friends, Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln. Afterwards, Dr. Christine Chapel asks him for help diagnosing an ailment that has caused the death of several crewmembers recently returned from Sigma Thernia 38. McCoy’s knowledge of DNA and evolution lead him to a startling discovery.

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