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 chapters 9 & 10
Chapter ten is so short that I’m going to review them both and finish part two of the book. There…well, it says two more chapters but “part four” is like a chapter and three pages so that’s a “part” on a technicality really. Still, I’m kind of curious how this is going to end up in the situation we left part one in. So far everything has gone so well it’s almost harder to believe than faster than light travel. Everybody’s getting along, the war never even began, and despite screwing up at every possible spot the First Contact Office agents here are ahead of the game. We have 14 pages and few paragraphs for it to all go to heck, so the question is whether or not this is going to make any sense. There’s a chore ahead of the authors, so let’s see if they backed themselves into a corner and how they get out of it.
I’m not sure why this needed the extra chapter. They already had one scene break. For the number of pages in chapter 10 they could have just did a second one. Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t understand how chapter breaks work? This is the first time I’ve been confused at chapter length decisions. There are authors out there in the readership, can someone explain if there even is a rule to follow and what it is?
Anyway, we start off with more things going right. Wilforth confirms they did everything right, nobody suspects extraterrestrial involvement, and everything is just fine. Then when Kirk’s on a date (because of course he is…Kirk dates more in other media than he actually did in the TV show) all the missiles on Talin go off at once. They try to intervene again but something is jamming Talin communications, subspace communications, and everything else. It’s such a huge red flag that now I’m going to have to be convinced why there wasn’t a better board of inquiry before we got to where we were in part one. No wonder Uhura was willing to use her situation to fight as long as she did until Spock mysteriously abandoned the attempt. The crew even bring up all the questions for us.
- How did a planet without subspace communications and only barely aware of the budget dilithium having extra properties block them?
- How did every missile go off and why did they all start blowing up the planet?
- Why were only a few missiles going after the Enterprise and how did they know TO shoot at it?
- What was jamming Talin’s own communications network so they couldn’t try to stop this?
- What was jamming the ship’s systems so badly they had to go to warp and eject the warp nacelles (and I’m guessing they had nothing to do with what happened to Talin so the ship itself wasn’t directly responsible for the end of the world) when again nobody in the area should even know about such technology, never mind having it?
Going back to #3, because the Talin seemed to target the ship, Scotty is forced to put Kirk under arrest. It’s a sign that they knew they were up there and violated pre-contact rules and possibly the Prime Directive when previous actions and the aftermath suggested nothing was wrong. However, there are so many questions raised that Starfleet looks like a bunch of lazy jackasses for not looking further into it. Granted we wouldn’t have a book otherwise, at least not with our heroes due to the state of the ship and how investigations work if they don’t want to appear biased, but nobody’s the least bit curious? That rug they want to sweep things under is going to have a big enough lump that they look like chumps over this. Clearly something is strange here and not even the Federation would cover this up unless they were involved.
What’s more I was prepared to have to do this big article about the Prime Directive but judging from this chapter that has nothing to do with the story. Kirk and company are accused of violating General Order One, but unless the real bad guy, and I think we all can tell there has to be one at this point without reading ahead…it’s just a question of who it is and why, is going to make a case about the Prime Directive we have to dissect the title of this book gives false expectations. “Deathworld” would have even worked, or “The Talin Disaster” or something comes up off the top of my head. I guess it depends on what happens next. When we return the story returns to the present, where the former bridge crew seeks answers, Chekov and Sulu are looking to steal a pirate ship that’s carrying Orion sex slaves, Kirk is traveling with a freight captain who used to be with Starfleet, McCoy and Uhura are waiting on Chekov and Sulu, and we don’t know what happened to Spock or where Scotty will be when everyone gets there. We have thirteen chapters (plus the chapter and a half that makes up the final part) to find out.
Next time> Part Three: Talin