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 7 (final chapter)
Well, final chapter of part one. The novel is split into three parts and this is finally the lead-in to explaining what the heck is going on. For those of you who may have forgotten during yet another forced medical hiatus (if you’re just joining us you may want to start at the beginning), something has happened to the crew of the Enterprise. Kirk is hated by pretty much everyone in the quadrant, the others slowly quit Starfleet except for Uhura since she’s trying to expose what’s going on, and to help her Sulu and Chekov are trying to steal a ship, which we learned last chapter is in the sex trafficking game.
I wish I had gotten to this chapter before the surgery but honestly it could be for the best as it ends part one and goes into the flashback that is part 2, so maybe it will work okay like this. So let’s get back to reading this book and seeing how it transitions to the past without flying around the sun.
It seems Kirk has the same idea as Uhura, Sulu. Chekov, and Uhura got McCoy on board their plan: return to Talin IV and find out what really happened. This seems to indicate that there’s a mystery to what actually happened that cause the ship to cause the death of the planet. Kirk, currently under the ID “Leonard Scott” (notice he uses his friends names), works as a freight handler to earn the money but the captain of the Ian Shelton, Gauvreau, seems to take a liking to him and how he uses 3D chess to help him stack the boxes so fast that just when even he realizes he’s going too fast the station’s tractor beam shorts a coil. So she decides to give him a job on their next trip, despite everything being automated.
Well, that’s not really her reason. Gauvreau is former Starfleet who never got the break she wanted and decided to quit after 21 years to get her own ship the old fashioned way–she bought one. She not only recognized Kirk in the cargo worker pool but thinks he might be innocent. She has no love for the current Admiralty, and even named her pet cats (Earth cats–we’ve seen feline humanoids and the book mentions a space “housecat” who is really big…and for some reason needs some other lifeform inside to reproduce, which is information I really didn’t need) after three of the admirals, including Nogura, who is the only one I recognize because he gets brought out so often in stories. So she doesn’t believe Kirk is a “worldkiller” and wants to help get him to Talin. I wonder if she can pick up Uhura, McCoy, Sulu, and Chekov on the way so they don’t have to go through the trouble of stealing an Orion sex slaver ship?
I like how these two bond. Both had similar paths in Starfleet but while Kirk managed to make Captain, Gauvreau never got past second-in-command and unlike Riker over on Enterprise-D she doesn’t seem to want to settle for it. Kirk thinks he might have done the same thing if he were in her position, only probably with a dog, which I’ll get back to. Unlike so many Kirk stories there doesn’t seem to be any indication that they’ll hook up. It’s mutual respect of two similarly-minded people. This is something I hope doesn’t change when we get back to them. I also hope she survives the story and maybe gets more of her own adventures. I’m not taking bets, though.
As for the dog, we learn how the death of their dog affected Jim and his brother Sam, and that their father wouldn’t let them clone the dog because it was a beloved pet (unlike the livestock on the farm) and it would be treating her more like property than a part of the family. The lesson would actually serve Kirk well in various situations he’s dealt with. The book brings up the events on the Farragut that led to the episode “Obsession“. (Gauverau mentions once serving under Commodore Decker from “The Doomsday Machine” but obviously before the events of that episode.) This is an interesting look into Kirk’s past and some of the events that shaped him into the man we know.
As Jim Kirk is about to tell his new captain about the events that led our heroes to this predicament we close part one of this book. Next time we journey a bit into the past and finally find out what happened.
Next time: Part 2–The Last Mission chapter 1