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 5
This is an odd way to intro one of these, and it’s because I’m running out of limited spoilers for the intros (so that someone going through the homepage or just looking at the beginning of the article isn’t spoiled before reading the book or the chapter), but think about entertainment in the Star Trek universe. I mean the classic continuity because at least Discovery had a nightclub. And yet there is no television (but somehow still a news service), no movies, the only video game we see outside of the holodeck wouldn’t fly as a mobile game, and music choices are very limited. Paper books are an anachronism along the lines of vinyl records in favor of books on whatever they use for computer storage, and comics don’t even get that luxury. The future’s only enlightened if you’re a media snob. (Though it is odd that on a futuristic TV show nobody makes TV shows anymore.)
That has nothing to do with the book. That was just padding. Kirk made his choice but we already know things are going to go wrong. At least for me it’s a distraction to get to the important part, like a bad prequel, to sit through the build up for the next four chapters after this, and this is a longer chapter than the previous one. So I’m just sitting here waiting for the flashback to finally finish its story. Let’s see how that story unfolds.
A lot of this chapter is setting up the mission and as many protective measures as they can, while monitoring to see if the Talins are aware of anything. And I just thought of something else slightly off-topic. Talins. The way I’m pronouncing it in my head sounds like “talons” and what they may not be the authors’ intended pronunciation it makes me wonder if these should have been bird people instead of insect people or if that was too on the nose? Beak? Antennae? Never mind, moving on.
Of interest is that Scotty is using Mr. Spock’s station to use the tractor beams in a very tight beam to disable the probe’s nukes. I didn’t know tractor beams could go into objects. There could be an interest use there. Use the beams to make people inside a building drawn to the ceiling and leave the structure itself alone has to have a use or two. He’s also using sensors like eyes to target the tractor beams. I’m not even sure the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver could pull this off and that does everything short of brushing your teeth. (There’s a comic story that actually used that example.) It works outside of the ship taking a surprise turn, leading to one other mystery going on here, and I expect that will play into part 3.
Kirk notes how many odd coincidences there are: the ship’s turning, the probe being there around the same time as the Enterprise, the lack of markings on the ship (actually, Richter brought that one up), the communications failure despite no evidence of equipment failure on either side…alone it’s possible but this and a few other events just happening to happen is making Kirk suspicious. There was also apparently an unauthorized fly-by from one of the Talin sides though they deny it. It does look like McCoy may be right about someone purposefully messing with the Talins, at least to me. The FCO officers deny anything on their part accidental or on purpose but Richter becomes suspect when he’s shown a distaste for the Prime Directive, and remember that this is the guy responsible for setting up the scale that helps decide when first contact is a good idea.
An interesting thing about the Talin is that they seem to be trying to do everything to keep a war from happening. No war mongers, the disputes are between people who at least respect each other. I’m not used to that but it’s nice to see.
This was a really good chapter. There’s good set-up, a tense moment or two, and we’ll see what happens next time, as Kirk has invited himself on the away mission. Is this when disaster strikes? Join us and find out. Or read ahead if you don’t have Talin’s patience.