The Let's Play Archive

Star Trek Online

by PoptartsNinja

Part 76: Holiday Update: Let's Read: Planet X - Part 1

STAR TREK The Next Generation / X-MEN: PLANET X - part 1

AKA: The "it's almost Christmas and I don't have time to play the game right now due to RL considerations and Cryptic's laziness" Update.

Written in 1998 by Michael Jan Friedman, Planet X was… a bizarre little novel, but not a badly written one. Mr. Friedman has written dozens of books for the Star Trek universe, and if Planet X was a naked money-grab on the part of CBS and Marvel, they certainly could've picked worse authors for the job. Mr. Friedman has worked on comics (none of them the X-Men), and most of his Star Trek books tend to focus on Picard.

He was also responsible for writing one Star Trek episode, which was (of course) a Star Trek: Voyager episode and, while it's hardly the best episode the show has (far from it), it was pretty inoffensive by Voyager standards or, in more simple terms, it was an episode that was actually watchable. If you enjoy watching mediocrity.

Planet X is not in the same vein. Technically well-written, the book is actually fairly entertaining in that mindlessly particular sort of way that Deadpool would approve of. This book, as you can probably imagine from the title, features the TNG crew (even Worf, who really should be fighting the Dominion on Deep Space Nine at this point; but don't worry, they trot out some excuse to get him on the Enterprise E so he can keep Wolverine entertained). It also features the X-Men's… B-team. Storm, Colossus, Banshee, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Wolverine (Wolverine's also on the A-team. And the C-team. And in every other Marvel team), Archangel, and… probably someone else I'm forgetting, but possibly not. So, all of the interesting X-Men are here, while the X-Men's A-team (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman, Wolverine, etc) are off pestering Kirk and pals in a completely different X-Men / Star Trek crossover comic.

Which is something else I should mention: This crossover started in a comic book. The events of that comic are conveniently summed-up for us in this book, so we don't need to read it which (since I don't own it) is probably for the best.

Look at this thing. I don't even have words to describe this cover. Semi-realistic images of Data, Riker, and Worf coupled with a hilariously cartoonish Storm and Wolverine, and the floating green head of Professor X (who won't appear in this novel. Not really, anyway); the X-Men symbol and Starfleet comm. badge jammed in there to remind you what's going on, and some reddish planet in the background that we can only assume is the titular 'Planet X'.

So, just from the cover, what's going on?
Are the X-Men and Starfleet fighting each other? No.
So who's the bad guy? Who cares! We've got Wolverine and Worf! (the bad guys are actually a pack of throwaway aliens that I suspect they based the Xindi Reptillians on)
How many chapters are there? Thirty-four (they're mercifully short) plus a completely unnecessary prologue and epilogue.

So, without further adieu: Let's Read: Planet X

Planet X starts with a prologue. It's largely unnecessary, as it features neither the X-Men nor Picard and company. It does, however, set up the first Mary Sue of the book, a man named Erid Sovar (whom I will refer to as 'Dongs' from now on, for reasons which will become apparent at a later point).

The author ejaculates this stunning bit of foreshadowing all over our faces with the first three paragraphs of the book:

Planet X posted:

"I will be a new person," Erid Sovar told his friends, savoring the warmth of the afternoon sun on his face. "I will be a person this world has never seen before."

His companions laughed good-naturedly and reminded him that everyone is like that-a person the world has never seen before. And they said this was true even before a person went on his adulthood quest.

But Erid wouldn't have his enthusiasm dampened. "I will be truly different," he said. "I will be so different from anyone else, you won't know me when you see me again."

Erid… sorry, Dongs then climbs up a mountain, because that's how people on his planet become adults. He laments that a specific yet unnamed man should've been there to see him off, but that that person is 'gone forever' and best forgotten. Will we be finding out who Dongs is talking about as the book progresses? Yes, because he's talking about the book's other Mary Sue.

We then learn about his people's mysterious adulthood quest which consists of… climbing up one of a number of (probably vaguely penis-shaped) rock pillars on the top of a random mountain and sitting on top of them, and singing. We are fortunately spared a textual rendition of a 'has no impact without the auditory component' traditional song (this time), although that will not be the case later.

He then explains how his planet's version of priests told him to go sit on the (probably vaguely penis-shaped) rock pillars singing the song to 'find the elements that make him unique… the elements that finally and irrevocably made him Erid Sovar.' Dongs then laments once again the absence of Mary Sue #2, gets rained on (probably not the first time he's been on a 'shaft' of rock and gotten 'showered' with something), and I start to wonder if I'm taking these jokes a bit too far.

He then does a passable Jedi impression, 'clearing his mind' of all thoughts and, as the sun rises, he revels in its beauty then falls off his rock pillar.

After that, Dongs transforms into a giant penis monster and starts spraying white stuff everywhere.

I'm not joking.


Planet X posted:

Sensing that something was wrong, he looked down at [his legs]. Was it his imagination, or were the veins in his legs swelling?

As he pondered the question, feeling a tiny trickle of fear running down his spine, he realized it wasn't just his legs that felt heavy. His arms felt that way too.

Weighted down. And thick. Swollen, somehow. And their veins were popping out as if they wanted to burst through his smooth bronze skin.


He swallowed, his throat dry with fear. He could feel the vessels in his neck and his temples were swelling, too, now-and that wasn't all. His flesh was beginning to darken around them, turning a hideous shade of purple-except in his fingers, which remained their natural bronze somehow.


He was hideous, his blood vessels enlarged and darkening all over his face, his long, narrow brush of blue-black hair starting to thin and fall out. As he staggered away from the sight of himself, repulsed beyond words, he heard someone screaming.


[his fingertips] began to glow with a pale, hazy light. Erid studied them, wondering what would happen next. He wasn't left wondering for long.

A brilliant white beam shot out suddenly from one of his fingertips and struck a nearby stack of rocks-shattering it with explosive force. He stared at the stunted pile that remained.

He now looks something like this:

Dongs then sprays more beams everywhere, destroying his people's sacred and centuries-old stone phallus-towers and wonders how 'all this power could have gotten inside of him'. He then falls over and hits his head on a rock, knocking himself stupid for a few minutes which somehow aborts his premature beamjaculation. He then wonders if it's all over but since this is just the end of the prologue, do you really think it could be?

Chapter 1

We then join Security Officer Redshirt at Starbase 88. He's fresh out of the academy and thinks about the Dominion War, but he's stuck on a Starbase well away from anything interesting. In short, he's got the same job Korvat would've gotten if the Federation wasn't currently at war with all of its neighbors-he's making sure nobody breaks into Starbase 88's cargo bays.

He's also bored, and so am I. He contemplates trying to get a transfer to a starship, but laments that nobody really needs redshirts anymore (since Kirk's been dead trapped in the Nexus for a hundred years or so). His Tricorder then Deus Ex Machinas at him, and detects a Temporal Flux Artifact. He's just about to decide his tricorder is broken when his boss, Security Chief Let Picard Handle It calls him and tells him she's detecting a Temporal Flux Artifact, and he decides he should go investigate. Alone.

And then the Jem Hadar eat him.

… no, sorry, that doesn't happen. It would've been funny, though; just a random redshirt on a random station completely unconnected to the plot. Instead, he goes to investigate an empty, unlit cargo bay (he's got a federation-issue flashlight and by god he's going to use it! ) and in the span of six paragraphs takes his tricorder out, puts it away, and takes it out again. Make up your mind, Redshirt!

Then, the X-Men's B-Team Deus Ex Machina themselves into the universe in a flash of blue light. He then puts his tricorder away (again), draws his phaser, and calls attention to himself by shining his light at the intruders. He demands the X-Men freeze, and then (and only then) does he decide to call for backup.

The Federation's been needing a dose of common sense slapped into them for quite a long time.

Wolverine, of course, ignores Redshirt's order to freeze and gets shot in the face with a phaser for his trouble. Colossus then does his thing, says what may be the only line he gets in the entire book which is glossed over because Redshirt practically shits a brick because he transformed and therefore must be a Founder! While Redshirt's busy being retarded, Nightcrawler casually teleports over and steals his gun.

Just then, reinforcements arrive. Shadowcat phases through the floor (doubtless destroying thousands of isolinear computer chips in the process), Wolverine starts to get his murder on, and Storm stops everything before it can get interesting. Banshee then points out that they're wearing Federation uniforms, and asks if Security Chief Let Picard Handle It happens to know Captain Picard. In broken English, because Banshee is from Ireland and if they don't cram that in your face every time he speaks, you might forget.

Planet X posted:

"What do you want with him?" Clark asked the man with the brogue.

The Redhead smiled. "Believe it or not, he's a friend o' ours."

This establishes the X-Men characters appearing in this book, listed here in order of renown: Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Archangel, Shadowcat, and Banshee. This list will change only once, and approximately 1/4th of an additional character will be added.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 opens with Praddis Amon, Chancellor of the planet Xhaldia (whom I will be calling Chancellor Palpatine of the planet Not-Earth). Apparently, dozens of humans Xhaldians are mutating transforming into X-Men freaks of nature, and developing strange powers. It's casually mentioned that one of them is our friend Dongs.

He also casually mentions that every one of them is twenty-two years old.

Security Minister Tollit then enters, and they make social niceties then comment about how terrified the public is. Chancellor Palpatine then says he expects one of these youths will kill someone, probably by accident, but when it happens his people will riot.

Tollit then suggests they need to find a way to prevent this from happening

Chancellor Palpatine then says he's having them all sent to a concentration camp ancient fortress where they can be locked away forever. His security minister tells him that's stupid, and that they don't have the right to keep anyone locked up forever.

Planet X posted:

Amon sighed deeply. "I'm afraid this goes far beyond the issue of anyone's rights, Tollit. Though, as you must know, I don't like that idea any better than you do."

He then rubber-stamps the proposal through because Not-Earth is populated by idiots and their executive has no checks on his power.

We then join Commander Worf on the Defiant. He murders a million Jem Hadar, and escapes being in this book entirely has a conversation with Miles O'Brien. Jadzia is still alive (although doesn't appear) so Worf thinks about her for the first (and only) time in this book, then beams over to the Enterprise where he is greeted by… nobody.

Worf then wonders if they're upset that he didn't invite any of them to his wedding, while the Defiant activates its cloaking device simply isn't mentioned ever again.

Picard then shows up, and we learn that Worf is here because Starfleet is letting Picard hold a diplomatic conference with the Klingons and for some reason that means Worf gets to go too, even though pretty much everyone in the Klingon Empire hates him. It's all just Deus Ex Machina to have Worf in the book, which, to be fair, is more explanation then Wolverine usually gets for being an active member of nearly every Marvel superhero team except the Great Lakes Avengers.

Worf then gets sulky because Picard is cordial to him, but not friendly; and doesn't seem upset that he wasn't invited to Worf's wedding. It turns out, deep down, that Worf is emo.

Planet X posted:

[Picard's] tone said he was telling the truth. He really did understand. And as far as the Klingon could tell, it didn't matter much to Picard that he had missed the wedding.

So, anyone care to guess that the crew of the Enterprise is pranking Worf again? He falls for this pretty much every goddamned time. They are, Worf is comically surprised. Picard then comments that he 'loves acting, but it's not his forte'. I immediately want to kill the author for breaking the fourth wall. Data, Troi, and Geordi then spooge approval for Picard's brilliant acting.

Planet X posted:

"I didn't think I'd be able to pull it off," Picard admitted. "As you know, Mr. Data, I love acting, but I'm afraid it's not my forte."
"On the contrary," said Deanna, "you were flawless, sir."
"A regular one-man show," Geordi added.

Then, apparently not yet tired of being completely out of character, they make fun of Worf being married for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, but leave off 'until death do you part'. Worf grunts at them, but secretly touches that place deep down inside himself that basks in the warmth of his friends' company. The comedy idiocy is then interrupted by Admiral Unimportant of Starbase 88, and the chapter ends on a cliffhanger. What could he possibly be calling about?

If you don't realize the Admiral is calling about the X-Men, get out of this thread. Get out right now. I'll see you in Part 2 (if you don't talk me out of it, anyway).