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 TWO: The Last Mission chapter 4
Tonight’s chapter is rather short, barely nine pages, compared to some of the others. I’m guessing not much is going to happen here, just a lot of discussion. That actually makes sense given our cliffhanger last chapter. If I did book before, and the fact that I use one of it’s alien curse words as part of my list of pseudo-swears it seems likely, I may have realized why I don’t remember it. Honestly it’s not all that memorable. Part one had me wondering what was going on. Part two three chapters in has been a lot of worldbuilding. I have nothing against it. As a creator myself I’m a fan of worldbuilding. I just personally wasn’t interested in the biology of the aliens while the culture seems to be not as thought out as the biology. It’s a simple culture and it may prove to work for the story (we’re not even halfway through part 2) but so far the most excitement in this book as been Sulu and Chekov planning to swipe a starship only to learn it’s being used for sex trafficking. I’m convinced there are people who would get into this story, it’s not wowing me personally. My only critical position is that had this been part one I might be more forgiving but from a personal perspective I’m not as invested as I want to be. Part of me just wants to see what led to part one.
So now the decision being dropped on Kirk’s shoulders seem to happen a bit fast, but this is the kind of decision-making moral discussion that Star Trek was famous for. Do we say hello now and risk something, try to wipe out info of their existence, or get out of there and hope things return to everyone getting relatively along? I am curious how this is going to go. I’ve seen it done well and I’ve seen “The Apple and it’s comic follow-up” so hopefully this is closer to the former.
One reading later…
The scene is actually just Kirk telling Spock and McCoy what he’s planned. Kirk is very much aware what’s at stake. He’s operating on a wing and a prayer, and starships don’t have wings while “godslayer” Kirk doesn’t pray. As it is Kirk has two major issues to deal with.
PROBLEM 1: THE LUNAR EXPLORER
Kirk managed to send a tightbeam transmission to Scotty. If the ship doesn’t have anything that will react to their sensors he needs to do a full scan to see if the Talin version of the space shuttle is armed. There’s worry that one side is convinced the other has a moon base and is prepared to blow it up. If so they’re going to have to deal with it and get everyone on the base off to safety without revealing themselves. It’s not going to be easy.
PROBLEM 2: THE EVIDENCE
Kirk also needs to get the evidence from the military bases or at least determine how much they have. My concern is that simply by scrubbing that info it may cause further mistrust, accusing the other side of sending spies to cover up their deceit. (Both sides are convinced the other’s military is hiding advanced vehicle technology.) Kirk’s solution is dangerous and I’m betting may lead to the aftermath seen in part one. Going to extremely low orbit to transport a team to get the information out of the base. Kirk’s worried about the team being caught and as McCoy points out they can’t just run away in such low orbit. That’s not going to be easy either.
McCoy tries one explanation that might be brought up in part three if the writers go that route, but they also use Spock to shut it down. Maybe the FCO aren’t the only aliens watching the planet. We have seen aliens mess with other planets before and the various Enterprise crews have to sort that out. However, only the Klingons and Romulans (who both have cloaking technology) are mentioned and not only is the planet too far into Federation space but there’s no known significant value on that planet. Or at least none the crew know of. Also, who’s to say other aliens with their own reasoning wouldn’t have their own cloaking device? Even in Federation space there are aliens in the Alpha quadrant they haven’t met yet in this point in Trek history. These were not considered so it may be an indicator that the Reeves-Stevens are not going that route.
There is some good dialog. Where the authors shine here is giving voice to the characters. Even when they don’t work in “said (insert name here)” you can tell when Kirk, Spock, or McCoy is speaking and I heard the actors in my head performing the lines. Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens are fans of the show and it shows in how they write the characters and when we read their thoughts.
Overall it wasn’t the chapter I thought it would be but it works well enough. Still, we don’t see Kirk really anguishing over the decision since technically by the time McCoy and Spock come to check on him he didn’t just come up with a plan but started Scotty running the numbers and preparing to execute it. Will it work? Find out next chapter.