Diplomacy is the starting point of Zander Cannon’s story, as the Enterprise attempts to unite two squabbling factions on a planet that has applied for Federation membership. One group seems reasonable and technologically advanced, while the other is aggressive, abrupt and seemingly paranoid. “The Dorosshians are an anarchic tangle of warlords that have no bearing on the future of Allios IV”, claims the Juulet representative. It cleverly toys with expectation as regular followers of Star Trek will expect more than meets the eye.

While discussions occur on the planet, those still aboard the Enterprise attempt to comprehend why a survivor rescued from a damaged ship keeps referring to seeing ghosts.

Cannon’s plot has the room to expand and escalate, as crew members accompany members of both nations to better understand their backgrounds and cultural history, and an extended game of cat and mouse ensues. Cannon has a good handle on the Next Generation cast, and seeds his story with several interesting discussions that have relevance to their core beliefs. He also achieves a tension via experience being at odds with what people are saying.

Artist Javier Aranda creates some stunning alien cityscapes, and copes admirably with breaking down a dense script. His digitally transferring crew likenesses and tinkering leads to some odd distortions in the opening chapters, although he settles into the strip, and, to be fair to him, there are an awful lot of crew likenesses to deliver with most pages hosting six panels. One distortion he never quite shakes is some facial cross hatching more resembling exit wounds.

The manner in which the story progresses is unpredictable, the mystery is sustained for some considerable while, and the ending features quite a surprising lump in the throat moment. It’s likely only those who prefer action in their Star Trek are going to be disappointed with Ghosts, as it’s the one element Cannon sidelines.