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Star Trek 'The Mission' and Other Stories Offers A Prelude to a Classic Original Series Episode

Read an excerpt from Gary Russell's 'The Guardian' before the hardcover hits stands on February 13!

Illustrated collage featuring Star Trek Explorer Presents 'The Mission' and Other Stories

Following last week's excerpt, Titan has provided us with another excerpt from Star Trek Explorer Presents Star Trek "The Mission" and Other Stories, an anthology issue beaming down to newsstands everywhere tomorrow.

The fully illustrated deluxe collectors' edition anthology featuring 14 original and illustrated stories situations from across the Star Trek universe, including Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager, and starring iconic characters such as Will Riker, Benjamin Sisko, Jonathan Archer, and Kate Pulaski, plus fan-favorite alien enemies including the Borg.

Star Trek "The Mission" and Other Stories features the franchise's finest writers including James Swallow, John Peel, Gary Russell, Greg Cox, Una McCormack, Michael Carroll, Christopher Cooper, Chris Dows, Michael Collins, and Keith R. A. DeCandido. The collection hits shelves February 13; order now on AmazonForbidden PlanetBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million, or wherever you purchase your books.

Star Trek Explorer Presents 'The Mission' and Other Stories cover featuring Jean-Luc Picard, Guinan, and Deanna Troi


Below, read an exclusive excerpt of the short, "The Guardian," by Gary Russell, with art by Louie De Martinis! "The Guardian" is a prelude to the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode "What Are Little Girls Made Out of?"

"We made this happen. We are responsible for everything! And now we’re paying the price…"

Hob looked around, trying to locate the source of the shouting.

"Stupid fool," muttered Takhen. "He’ll bring the Androids down on us in seconds."

Hob nodded. Whoever it was, they needed shutting up, and quickly. For all their sakes.

And in his peripheral vision, he saw a flicker of movement. High above them.

He poked his head round the edge of the doorway, to get a proper view. The yeller was a man in a grey suit, standing atop a burning tower block about thirty meters to their left. Hob couldn’t identify him – it was a sad inditement of their situation that frankly anyone still alive in the city should be known to him as there were so few of them left. But the black smoke was obscuring his face.

Hob closed his eyes for a second.

'The Guardian' cover art by Louie De Martinis from Star Trek Presents Star Trek 'The Mission' and Other Stories

'The Guardian' illustration by Louie De Martinis


"History will judge us harshly," the man called out. Hob knew he wasn’t addressing them directly, he was just screaming out in a sort of primal fear. The sort of rage and frustration the people tended to keep bottled up. But now, as the city died around him, he’d clearly decided he no longer needed to hold it in.

"I think it’s Jorel," Hob muttered to Takhen.

"Figures," she grunted back. "Never could use the brains he was born with." She grabbed Hobs’ arm. "We should go."

"We can’t leave him. It’s Jorel!"

"Yes we can," Takhen hissed, "If he’s lost his mind, then he’s now use to anyone." She looked Hob straight in the eye. "And while he’s screaming his head off, he’s a good…"

She turned away, not wanting to finish the thought.

Hob finished it for her, angrily. "Distraction? Target?" He yanked his arm out of her grip, "Is that what we’ve sunk to? Sacrificing our friends to save our own skins?"

After a beat, Takhen shrugged. "Yes. I want to live. If Jorel doesn’t that’s his decision."

Hob suddenly placed his hand on her mouth and eased them forcefully back into the shadows, dropping closer to the floor, pulling Takhen with him.

She understood why.

Striding through the flames on the streets, the smoke, the carnage, were a group of Androids. Five of them. The orange flames reflected on their hairless skulls, their hairless arms and torsos, their entire bodies, making them seem to glow with an inner light; each one androgenous, naked and with the strength and stamina of four of five people like Hob.

The Androids were, of course, untouched by the fire. Unhurt by the leaking gases and choking plasma. They walked through it all as they would a forest or a meadow.

In the days when there were forests and meadows on Exo III. Before it all went wrong and civilisation fell.

The Androids were looking up and down, left and right, their nostrils visibly enlarging as they sniffed. Every enhanced sense operating as they sought their prey.

Prey like Hob and Takhen. Prey like Jorel.

Read the rest of Gary Russell's short story in Star Trek Explorer Presents: "The Mission" And Other Stories, on sale February 13, 2024.