Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
PART ONE: AFTERMATH chapter 4
Thus far we’ve seen what happened to Kirk after whatever it is happened and we’ve seen Scotty, giving us a teaser for what’s coming. Last chapter was Dr. McCoy talking to a kid about space history. While the other two gave us insight into their character we didn’t learn much about the doctor’s character or how he’s responding outside of quitting.
This chapter he’ll show up again but the focus is on Uhura, the only one who ended up in jail. Why? I don’t know. Is it tied to this event we won’t be told about until part two (and if I end up reading this again I’m reading part 2 first…I’ll leave a note for myself) or something that happened after? Look, I’m not saying this isn’t a good storytelling tool, just one that rarely works for me, especially considering how long it’s going to take to get there. We have to finish part one and the “where are they now” parts, and then it will take a good chunk of part 2 before we finally see it. I’m going to spend so much time waiting for the disaster to happen that I’m not going to be able to pick up on anything else…or maybe the fact that I’m reviewing it will allow me to do so, but as a reader I doubt I would. I know I keep harping on it but it’s the biggest negative going into this and they’re going to have to work to convince me otherwise. Lucky for the book it’s so long the opportunity is there.
As for the events of this story: I guess we had to wait here for one aspect of McCoy’s personality, or at least the rest of it, coordinating with Uhura’s character…neither of them are giving up. While Uhura was dead set against letting Starfleet lie about the events at Talin (as she sees it) McCoy had considered it until talking to the girl and realizing that the astronauts didn’t give up even when the odds were against them. The book doesn’t even bring up the failed attempts, some of which killed would-be astronauts who never made it off the launch pad or even the Challenger exploding in mid-air in 1986, which kind of goes up against the constantly reshuffling Trek timeline. (The book pre-dates Columbia in 2003.) You have to wonder how many times the Doctor has been to this universe? (We know of at least two thanks to IDW’s crossover between The Next Generation and Doctor Who.)
Uhura on the other hand never gave up, and refused to sign the document admitting to what she saw as a series of lies as to what actually happened during the incident we don’t know yet. This is what got her arrested as Starfleet was trying to force her to sign. Thanks to the rules they let her go, though McCoy notes there were legal tricks available that could have been used to keep her there. They just want to sweep it all under the rug, as noticed when the judge tries to block the court recordings of her denying Starfleet’s take on the incident we don’t know yet and assigning the usual public defender.
Frankly I’m not sure I like this take on Federation justice…because it isn’t justice. It is coming off as a bit shady, but that’s not how the good guys operate, and I’m not sure it was how Roddenberry intended Starfleet to operate. Don’t bother telling me that’s how our system works because this isn’t our system. That’s the thing about fiction. If you want to write about a judge and top brass who want to know the truth to not make the same mistakes and PR isn’t an issue, you can. That’s the beauty of a fictional world. It doesn’t exist so you can have it be whatever you want, though there are some important rules to pull that off right. This isn’t the article to go into that but my point is that This doesn’t feel right and makes you question other legal incidents from the past and future. Is Starfleet really that reliable? It’s not as bad as Identity Crisis but it’s not a good showing for Starfleet. And with the talk about McCoy’s beard I’m worried that this is the story that is supposed to lead into the movies, explaining why McCoy and Spock left, but if that’s the case I want to see their interpretation of Kirk becoming admiral.
Next time we start seeing what Sulu and Chekov are up to. That means we have even more waiting to do because I really want to know why Spock resigned after learning here that he was supposed to be helping Uhura. Instead it’s looking like she and McCoy are going to be going back to Talin and I’m betting our boys are going to provide the transportation according to a quick skim to see what’s coming next and how to review the next two chapters. The next chapter is a short chapter but the chapter after that is full-length (and from my skimming also focuses on Sulu and Chekov so we’ll have to see why they’re so lucky) so I’ll just be reviewing the one.