The Kessler colony has been out of contact for nearly six years. Kirk is gravely injured while investigating. What is the colony's dark secret, and how far will Spock go to save his captain?
"Not of That Feather" by Nancy Kippax and Beverly Volker was published in 1975 in Contact #1. It may be read online.
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to check on a colony that hasn't been heard from in nearly six years--since a year after it was first set up. Upon arriving at the Kessler Colony, they're greeted by Leon Kessler. He explains that their transmitter was "destroyed in a small fire six years ago", hands them his reports on paper, and urges them to hurry away. They become suspicious and investigate a bit; when they are a little away from the colony, Kessler arranges a landslide to kill them. They escape death, but Kirk is trapped. Already suspecting foul play, Spock returns to the village for aid, but Kessler's aid has a price: "Will you beg, Spock? For your Captain's life, will you get down on your knees and beg?"
Eventually, the details are revealed: a plant was discovered on the planet that has the effect of "[making] people passive, obedient, like slaves". Kessler has been giving it to the colonists, and killed any dissenters. Eventually, Kessler is killed (by his sister, Lydra, who had been aiding Spock), his co-conspirators are captured, and Kirk safely returned to the Enterprise for treatment.
The story ends with a reference to Shakespeare's Timon of Athens, which also supplies the title.
The basic plot is okay, reminiscent of the sort of thing we saw on the show, but the scene where Spock is made to beg for Kirk's life and initially refuses--not because he believes it will not help, but out of mere pride--feels rather out of place, and generally Kessler's characterization feels off.
According to a post by Nancy Kippax on 2008-05-06, the plot of this story was stolen from an episode of The Big Valley called "The Iron Box".
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