Off the Beaten Trek (published by Trinette Kern)

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Title: Off the Beaten Trek
Publisher: the second issue was printed by "First Edition Books" (a publishing service also used by Kern for The Climb)
Editor(s): Trinette Kern (#1 and #2), John Dae Check & Jude Pohl with Trinette Kern listed as "Creative Editor" (#3)
Date(s): 1976-1977
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Language: English
External Links:
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Off the Beaten Trek is a gen Star Trek: TOS anthology.

There were three issues, the first two published by Trinette Kern, and the last one by John Das Check and Jude Pohl. See below for some explanation of this change.

In October 1976, Kern wrote of her plans for her zine series, as well as her plans to publish other Trek zines:

Two down and to go! Fill in the blank, I hope you've enjoyed this issue of OFF THE BEATEN TREK. As long as you enjoy it and want to read more of OTBT, I suppose I'll go right on putting it out... as regularly as circumstances permit.

I'm already planning far in advance for issues 5 thru 6, and several contributions have been accepted for those spring and summer of '77 zines. But keep sending your work, I can always find a place for another fine story, poem, song, or work of art.

The next issue is the big one! The special Vulcan custom, culture, tradition and history/Spock issue is due to be printed in December, barring disaster, and I wanted to thank in advance all those who have submitted their works, or who are getting something ready right now for this issue. So far my plans include a full color cover of a Monica Miller painting, and a portfolio of her art work inside. Signe Landon is working on a portfolio for me, and my other artists have also offered their services. Cartoonist Mary Pace has done some really special art work for the Vulcan theme, and I think Alice Jones will be sending some illos for a Leslye Lilker story I'm printing. That means half tones and possibly a centerfold by Connie Faddis (I couldn't resist the painting she's working on!)

Writers are coming up with some clever material, too, Leslye Lilker (IDIC) , has volunteered two stories out of her Sahaj series written just for my zine, and I have at least two, and possibly four stories being readied on the subject, (What would you expect from a Spock person? Vulcan is my major, or haven't you guessed?) Other contributors I expect are Carol Mularski, Eileen McNamara, and Eileen Roy, Diane Steiner said she may even give it a try. This is just to name a few... but absolutely too few. Where-oh-where are the Vulcan specialists out there?! Kraith people? Anti-Kraith people? Historians? Come on. We all want to know what you think and feel about Vulcan and/or Vulcans! OTBT needs you!

Other future plans include a novel by Gayle F, which will be printed in 5 parts starting this spring...with her art work! Jennifer Weston has been writing prolifically, and she has not only completed ASHES OF THE PHOENIX, but also REQUIEM AND RED DUST and THE HUNGER IN THE MOUNTAINS, I'm looking forward to having much of her work to share with you in the future.

Nancy Kippax's haunted CASEBOOK STUDY is hoped for. Work by Amy Falkowitz, Kandy Ray, Alex Potter, Chuck Gannon, John Trentes, and all the rest of you out there who are planning to submit something soon will be cheerfully accepted.


Thanks again to all those who have submitted work for future issues of OTBT...not to mention this month's contributors. I like to think that I get by with a little help from my friends.

Issue 1

cover of issue #1, Monica Miller

Off the Beaten Trek 1 was edited by Trinette Kern. It was published in July 1976 and contains 72 pages. It had "special editing by Michael Amsden," and it was published by Jack Dae-Check.

  • Editorial
  • Novas, this issue (4)
  • Me and Thee by Trinette Kern (James Kirk is discharged from prison after serving 4 years for culpable negligence and gross incompetence. McCoy, Scotty and Spock are there to greet him. Spock has also been discharged from Starfleet and offers Kirk a place with him in the business he has built with that goal in mind. When Kirk accepts it means McCoy must part from his friend once more.) (5-21)
  • The Captain's Chair, Naturally by Leslye Lilker (22)
  • Desert Boy by T. Kern (23)
  • We Are one by Beverly Volker (24)
  • The Long Twilight by Jennifer Weston (25-59)
  • Conversation 2 AM by Christine Gwinn (60)
  • Dog Watch by Leslye Lilker (The Enterprise gets the dubious honor of transporting Admiral Komack's 4 Great Dane dogs which he decrees can only be handled by the senior staff. To make matters more interesting, one of the dogs is pregnant and Dr. McCoy may have a chance to practice his skills as a vet.) (61-69)
  • What Never Was Can Never Be by Anne Golar (70-71)
  • One Liners Caption Contest
  • Up and Coming
  • Requisitions
  • And Another Thing (76)
  • art by Chuck Ellin, Trinette Kern, Monica Miller, and Gee Moaven

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

[1977]: The artwork... is easy to look at and ranges from fair to good. The bright orange cover features a lovely illustration of Kirk and Spock against a starry background, done by Monica Miller. The zine consists of four stories, four poems, and a 'one liner' contest, previews of future issues, and ads for other fanzines. 'Me and Thee' is a what if story that has Kirk dishonored and ousted from the Enterprise and Star Fleet. After serving four years in prison, Kirk fears he faces an empty future -- unaware that Spock has already taken care of that. Somewhat soap-operish at times, with a too-understanding McCoy and a thoughtless Scott: but the Kirk/Spock [reviewer did not intend slash with this abbreviation] fans will love it. A footnote states the possibility of a series of stories taking up where this one leaves off, or one that explains how Kirk got into such a predicament; contributions along this line are requested. 'In the Captain's Chair, Naturally' by Leslie Lilker -- a delightful little ditty, written to the tune of 'Alone Again, Naturally,' is enjoyable and catchy. 'Desert By' (poem) refers to Spock's childhood as told by Amanda; well done. 'We are One'... nicely written and somewhat lyrical poem dealing with mind-melding. 'The Long Twilight' is a Spock-has-an-incurable-fatal-illness with a different, and likely, ending. One of the better Kirk/Spock [reviewer, again, does not mean slash] stories in which emphasis is on how Kirk helps Spock face his darkest hours -- although some scenes stretch the believability a bit. McCoy is handled especially well -- and his contribution, or lack of it, is realistic. It is a realistic story in itself. 'Conversation: 2AM' is a free verse examination of the feelings and truth thereof between Kirk and Spock. 'Dog Watch' -- the Enterprise and her senior officers are assigned to care for four Great Danes belonging to Admiral Komack, and take them to a vague destination. En route, there are the usual problems, and complaints from Kirk ('This is a star ship not a dog kennel') and McCoy ('I'm a surgeon, not a veterinarian') and 'smuggling' of the most unusual nature. But Kirk gets the last word over the Admiral in the end. Characterization slips occasionally, the the writer evidently knows her Great Danes. 'What Never Was Can Never Be' -- a what-happened-after-story concerning Yeoman Rand and Kirk after the 'Enemy Within' incident. In this, Rand shows more intelligence and maturity than she ever did in the series, and she discover just where she stands with Kirk. [1]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Monica Miller

Off the Beaten Trek 2 was published in October 1976 (but not available until November) and contains 100 pages. It was edited by Trinette Kern, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, and Leslye Lilker.

From the zine:

This issue of OFF THE BEATEN TREK is dedicated to my friends and fellow fans, whose support and advice have enabled this fanzine to continue against staggering odds and blossoming insanity. This one's for you!

from issue #2, "The Fanzine Editor and the Disgruntled Reader" -- caption "Can't we talk about this logically?" Under the cartoon: note by the editor: "This little cartoon is dedicated to those of you... and you know who you are... who approached the editor with your various complaints over the past few months. Please do not get upset with me. I am working under a serious handicap -- I happen to be human! So I hereby promise all the Spock fans that I won't do that to Spock in every issue and to the Kirk fans, well... I'll try to be more sympathetic. L.L.& P."

From the editorial:

I can hardly believe it! Two whole issues of OFF THE BEATEN TREK in print...and after all the trouble I had with #1. It took me three months to get the July issue out by October, and this issue, October, 1976, will be out by November. Well, at least I'm getting better. Maybe issue #5 will be out in December, which would be the first miracle of my life!

A lot has happened to me in the past few months since last I had this opportunity to gripe. Bear with me and I'll tell you what a few of an editor's problems are like: lost zines, missing pages, upside down printing, printer problems, financial setbacks. Letters of Comment - good and bad, broken typewriters, impatient fans, friends who want a letter to know I'm still alive, and eight unedited manuscripts sitting on my desk. I attended two cons, made many new friends, discovered a few new talents, wondered fervently why I'd ever gotten into active fandom, lost me phone and my part-time job, and I am going crazy in slow degrees. Being a fanzine editor ain't all fun and games, you know. I guess when all the bitchin's done, I wouldn't trade this for the world and 2/5 of the galaxy....for Spock...maybe...but, I love this stupid effort. Does it show?

I tried to make this issue of OTBT less tragic and heavy, and a bit more diverse than the premiere issue. My feature story, THE COMING OF AGE OF CINDY, by Ellen Blair, is more than a Star Trek story. It is a thought-provoking and frightening science fiction tale about man and machine, and the essence of the human soul. This is a different kind of Trekfiction - profound, sensitive, intense, and symbolic. With Ellen's blessing, and a few understandable misgivings, I took some editorial liberties with "Cindy". I and two of my readers agreed that the symbolism was too profound and cryptic for the general readership. This might be something of an honor for Ellen. Too many of us have been accused of not being deep enough, and she had to sacrifice depth to her audience in more than one symbolic scene. I'm grateful for Ellen's willing compliance to the needs I felt were important. I do think that her essential messages are intact. If Ellen doesn't think so, I may be writing my next editorial from Outer Mongolia!

I'd like to say something about this 'rolling stone' of a series built on my little story, ME AND THEE. What happened?! Gosh, folks! All I did was write (and that was a first draft, too) a simple, seven- handkerchief story, and suddenly at least two people are proposing sequels! UNTIL THAT TOMORROW is part 2, where we meet Spock's family on Eskar...with a neat little twist that I think is quite ingenious.

I may do a short-short follow-up on this story for the special Vulcan issue coming out in December (?), and then I'll expect the plot to thickeneth with Jennifer Weston's part 3, ASHES OF THE PHOENIX. I've read the story outline for that one, friends, and all I can say is, WOW! It promises to be a Star Trek Watergate! Jenny's got such a terrific imagination, and a great style, it should be really fine. After that, it's up to you out there where this 'Grand what-if?' will go. I started it. I leave it in your capable hands.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Nancy Kippax for her contribution this time around. You could not possibly know all the problems that have beset her in her quest to contribute something to this month's issue. The original story, of CASEBOOK STUDY #15, was under a spell, it seemed, and so OTBT got INFINITE AND IMMORTAL. BUT...Nancy tells me she's going to start working on a revised version CASEBOOK STUDY...and with the witchdoctor I've hired to break the curse perhaps it will end up as a future offering of this zine. I sure hope so, Nancy! May the Great Bird favor both author and editor/publisher with good fortune. We deserve it.

I feel that the poetry and art work in this issue art exceptionally fine. I want to especially thank all my artists for their beautiful illos, so swiftly rendered. Signe...Gee...the fastest illustrationists in the West and East, respectively...I owe you guys my life a thousand times over. Many, many thanks. And to Monica Miller, my cover artist, much gratitude for her time and effort. (You didn't said you'd do all my covers from now on, did you?) I appreciate the offer.


My offering in this issue is something I dredged up out of my files from years ago. It's one of my early Star Trek works, refitted with some rewriting, and some editing, and some hopeful though; I'll let you judge the merits of the work, and now will put CONTINGENT to rest. Why Pittsburgh, you might ask. (You couldn't care less. Well, bear with me.) College writing coaches used to tell me to write whatI knew about...and as a Sci-fi and Trek writer, this was the absolute closest I could come. If we all just wrote what we knew and had experienced. Gene wouldn't have written Star Trek, would he?


I want to thank Leslye Lilker, editor of IDIC, and dearest friend, for canning one poem, and agreeing that we could both print Paula Greenberg's UNSPOKEN TRUTH at the same time, because neither of us wanted to give up our layout. Thanks for all the opinions, editing, and advice, too. I really do miss having something of hers in this issue, but I understand how she might be busy, as we are publishing our zines simultaneously again...and we both have about 6 stories in the works.


And while I'm on the topic of delays, if you're waiting for your copy of my novel, THE CLIMB, I'm afraid you'll just have to wait a few more weeks. It is being professionally published, and my publisher tells me that it won't be released for another 4 to 6 weeks...apparently in time for the Christmas sales. Publishers take time, so while we re going crazy with impatience, please believe that I'm probably excited and anxious than you are about it. It will be a paperback book, and the cover's by Signe Landon.

Hope you'll all enjoy this issue of OTBT. It's different, but good, I think. Would a mother say less of her child?

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[1977]: This zine has an extremely wide range, by which I mean it goes from the ridiculous to the sublime, and back again. Actually, it is not too bad. Kern's vision sometimes seems to exceed her grasp, in that she obviously has marvelous ideas, but somehow cannot completely carry them out as solidly as they ought to be. The style of Kern's editorials, and of her one story in the zine, 'Contingent,' is often so prosaic and cliche-ridden as to be trite: golly! and gosh! and 'really' accent her prose, about as welcome as raisins in mashed potatoes and are about as necessary. Still, even though she has loaded 'Contingent' down with a Mary Sue nurse, a setting in Pittsburgh (and in 1973...), two quarts of blood 'n guts, and the Old Dream Ending, the story manages to be quite compelling. Kirk and Spock are not stick figures; their problems are real, not puzzle boxes. Kern is not yet a Good Writer, but she will be. Her ideas are good, her vision is strong. 'Until That Tomorrow' would have benefited from a consistent point of view. [Not having one] can be disconcerting, Spock's thoughts popping up in the middle of what are apparently Kirk's as if somebody pulled a mindmeld. 'Until' could have also benefited from a different artist. Kern's figures' arms, heads, and necks all appear to have the same girth. Jennifer Weston has an exceedingly short story in issue #1. In #2, she has a 2-pager. A shame, becoz she is much the best writer in the zine. She understand and cares about her characters; she knows that a man is not God, that he has his limits. And she knows that limits -- broken, crossed, fallen short of, are the stuff of drama. #2 costs $4.00. It is probably worth it, especially to the Get-Together fans. Once could do worse. [2]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, Monica Miller
back cover of issue #3, Merle Decker

Off the Beaten Trek 3 was published in 1977, contains 90 pages and was edited by John Dae Check & Jude Pohl. Trinette Kern is listed as "Creative Editor."

This issue is an !All Vulcan Issue!.

The zine was published under the auspices of new editors after what Kern described as a falling out with other contributors. In a personal statement published in Warped Space #27 she explained:


My dear friends and fellow fans: Due to circumstances beyond my control, differences of opinion, and concern for the integrity of the STAR TREK fan universes, I shall no longer be connected in any capacity with my former fanzine. The new owners will continue to publish this item as a professional magazine, and they have informed me that all subscriptions and orders for back and single issues will be met as they are on file.

However, I refuse to go underground. Carol Mularski, my assistant editor, and I are presently planning a new fanzine to continue the original concept of printing the best of new and established fan material. Planned title for this zine is NEW BEGINNINGS. As soon as we have established any definite dates or prices for NB, we will get that information to the fanzine editors who will, we hope, pass it on to you. Promised novels and series from my former publication will continue in this future zine, hopefully coming out in late August of this year. All authors and artists who have sent material to me for review or editing will have the opportunity to go with either the former publication, with NEW BEGINNINGS, but these people should let me know as to the disposition of the materials at once. My address is below. I will handle all inquiries concerning contributions, while Carol will accept s.a.s.e.s for information, when we have it, on the price and availability of our new zine. Please use the addresses listed below. I thank you for your understanding and your support. May you all live long and prosper.

The editorial in issue #3 does not mention this strife, but does describe the current staff and situation:

I think by now, judging by the number of inquires that have come into OTBT..that word has shot across the universe regarding Trinette Kern leaving the Command Bridge of the good starship OTBT. Well, it is true. Trinette has now gone to the planet of former Editors and is now a free-lance writer. In a word, Trinette is a gem. She is a fine jewel that cannot be replaced and she knows it. I miss her very much and she knows that too. Thus, I find myself in the dual role of publisher/editor and a tough role it is.

For those who have been wondering just what a Jack Dae Check is, I am about to inform you. A JACK DAE CHECK is a 30 year old Sci Fi writer and publisher. He looks like a Klingon but has all the attributes of a Federation lawyer. A Jack Dae Check is sensitive and kind. The sad part about a Jack Dae Check is that they are not logical. The printing bills and expenditure of money for color inserts for OTBT are proof of that. Now that a Jack Dae Check is the editor of OTBT, there are rximors that OTBT is looking for stories (short stories) about Klingons and Romulans as well as Spook/Kirk stories. That rumor is true.

Rumor also has it that the Jack Dae Check at OTBT has appointed Simone Mason of Sussex, England as our new Overseas Correspondent. That rumor is also true. Simone is 45 years of age, a housewife, and mother of a 6 year old son. The rumors that Darla Twale is OTBT's new correspondent for readers' inquiries and that Chuck Ellin is our new Art Director are also true. Darla is 25 years of age and a part time college instructor. Chuck is 21 years of age and just graduated from Ivy School of Art. The drawing on page two is Chuck's uncredited contribution to our Vulcan issue and is entitled Escape From a Confused Humanity.

The rumor that our OTBT copies are mailed with the help of a Federation computerized mailing system is not true. Your copy is in your hands only because our office manager Ken Rider mailed it personally. Ken is 75 years of age and is the anchor that keeps OTBT steady when the storms come at the end of every month.

Finally, our resident Commander Spock is my Co-Publisher Jude C. Pohl. Jude is 32 years of age and is disgustingly logical. I am sharing the response of OTBT's Command Structure with the readers concerning this collection of rumors because it is important. It is important that we all recognize that there is an incredible variety of humans caught up in the world of Spock and Kirk. The ages of our staff members alone range from 21 to 75. There is an incredible collection of galaxies to explore together... and I hope all of you will aid in expanding our means to do so.

Together. With Hope. Jack Dae Check

art from issue #3, dedication page, artist uncredited

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

[1977]: Out of the 3 issues Trinette Kern has been associated with, this is the best (of course being a Spock-nut, Vulcano-phile helps). Trinette, of course, has pulled out of association with the zine and according to what she has told me and others, I will probably not purchase future issues. The publisher strikes me as someone who knows next to nothing about zines and fandom. The cover is a lovely Monica Miller piece, though the proportions on the male Vulcan look a little odd. It loses some of its effectiveness by the big blurb 'All Vulcan Issue.' Interior illos vary in quality from good to excellent with Gee Moaven's, Signe Landon's and Connie Faddis' being outstanding. Not to mention the special treat of a color insert by Monica Miller of T'Pring. My least favorite illo is the one on the dedication page by an artist whom the publisher is pushing, and who strikes me as putting forth a rather pseudo-symbolic abstract that a lot of 'modern' art students of art employ and which generally leaves me cold. Trinette's opening poem doesn't quite work but as I said, poetry is definitely one of those things that effects each person differently. 'And Never Parted' by Carol Mularski was somewhat stilted but is interesting in that it explores Surak, his time, and just what some of his famous reforms besides the generally known ones were. I think the story will be something of an interesting surprise with its major distraction being it is printed in italic type. 'Baptism by Fire' by Trinette was one the best things she has done. It is a manhood test beyond the Kahs-wan that Spock must go through. It is well-conceived, well-written, and the ending is not quite what you would expect. 'Three Steps Behind Him' by Eileen Roy was totally unsatisfying for me. I have a feeling I missed the point. 'Regere Annis' by Jennifer Weston uses some very interesting imagery to describe our favorite Vulcan. 'The Sun by Day and the Moon by Night' by Zena Plenty was intriguing. It seemed a bit jumpy in places, and I wish there was a better intro of T'Sar-she -- she just seems to suddenly appear, but the reader in the meantime has more mysteries than necessary. This is a very different kind of Spock-Kirk story. Leslye Lilker has a Sahaj story, a nice but slightly sad piece called 'No One On this Planet Looks at Rainbows.' Connie Faddis' 'The Birthing Place' is another one of her lovely shorter pieces. It raises some intriguing questions about Spock, the Vulcans, and intelligent-spirit-life. Altogether, a worthwhile zine and recommended. [3]


Off The Beaten Trek. #3, is by far the best issue yet. The theme of this copy is Vulcan - its past & present, and its people. It doesn't deal exclusively with just Spock, the most well-known Vulcan. It takes him into consideration, but the zine is not built around him. He doesn't dominate the issue.

As soon as I received my copy in the mail I ripped open the envelope to scan it. Much to my surprise a full-color insert fell out. I picked it up & it was beautiful! Monica Miller drew T'Pring in such a way that she captured the essence of T'Pring's whole being. And since it is an insert, it is definitely suitable for framing. In fact, most of the artwork inside the zlne is good. There is a great composite drawing by Chuck Ellin entitled Escape From A Confused Humanity, and you can just Imagine what that looks like.

The fiction covers a wide range of Vulcan subjects spanning many centuries from Surak to Sumi to Spock as a boy to Spock as First Officer of the Enterprise. And Never Parted relates em important event In the life of Surak & how It affects him & his philosophy of Peace. Why & how did the Betrothal Bonding tradition begin? What logic lay behind it? This story explains how the beginning concept was formulated & eventually carried out.

A Sahaj story has even been included in the zine. After all, an anthology on Vulcan would definitely not be complete without at least one Sahaj entry. No One On This Planet Looks At Rainbows relates just one of Sahaj's many experiences In trying to adjust to his new environment, his new home, and his new family on Vulcan.

In The Sun by Day, The Moon by Night Spock makes a somewhat drastic decision that almost costs him his life. Sutak, an "underground" Vulcan healer, had been experiment ing on Vulcan subjects; seeking an alternate solution to Pon Farr; before he was exiled from Vulcan. Spock, with his natural curiosity, decided to risk his life for the chance of being free from Pon Farr forever. His reasoning behind his action just might surprise you.

My favorite story in the zine is The Birthing Place. Certain ancient Vulcan records were lost to Vulcan forever when Sumi had died centuries before. Sumi was a follower of Surak's Constructs, & who was born seven centuries after Surak's death. Sumi had lived In a time of particularly savage nature on Vulcan. A rulership had formed that used hard cold logic to govern, & woe to anyone who disagreed with the rulership's interpretations of Surak's Constructs. The Corollaries were written as a rebuttal to the rulership & Sumi was labeled as a dissident, fleeing into the inner-lands, where he eventually died. Spock, home for a short leave, decides to try to find the lost Corollaries that other Vulcans had been searching for for centuries. It had been said that the only ones who actually knew where they were hidden were the 'skelpis, an antelope-like animal native to Vulcan. But to touch one was to risk certain madness. Documented proof attested to that. 'Skelpis retained memories from generation to generation & by initiating a mindllnk, Spock would learn where Sumi had last hidden the Corollaries.

Baptism By Fire Is yet another Vulcan ritual that the child Spock must pass to "prove" both to his parents & to himself that he Is a true Vulcan. It would be a day of meditation, of lessons, of judging right from wrong. Spock had suffered a mild concussion just days before the ritual & was not permitted to go. But against the Healer's orders (& those of his parents) he had slipped out of the house, and joined the group of boys already assembled. To fail was no disgrace. But to Spock, failure would mean more than just disgrace.

There are several pieces of poetry in OTBT. And they are all quite good. They leave you with a feeling of deep insight into Vulcan. Vulcans are a complicated race. Advanced, yet they still retain old traditions that seem out grown, out of place.

Off The Beaten Trek, issue #3. Get it soon! [4]


I have only read Vol 1, No. 3, but found it of a very high standard. No bad stories at all - quite a record. In And Never Parted by Carol Mularski, Surak meditates on the waste of life in the Koon-ut-kal'lf'fee challenge and fights to modify the tradition. Baptism of Fire by Trinette Kern tells of a young Spock defying his parents by going out on a maturity test, In Three Steps behind Them, Sarek and Amanda grow to respect and honour each other's customs. The Sun by Day by Zana Plenty is a story of a triad - Spock, his wife and Kirk, who also loves her! No One On this Planet Looks at Rainbows by Leslie Lilker is a Sahaj story - one of a series about Spock's son (yes, really!). In the Birthing Place by C.R. Faddis, Spock's mind melds with an antelope to obtain a secret.

If you like stories about Vulcans, this zine is definitely for you! [5]


  1. ^ from The Halkan Council #23
  2. ^ from Implosion #3
  3. ^ from Scuttlebutt #3
  4. ^ from [Fleet]] #17
  5. ^ from Enterprise Originals #10 (1989)