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 3: Talin chapter 4
All spaceways lead to Talin. It’s time to check in on Kirk’s trip. Part 2 of this book was all Kirk telling the story of what happened on Talin IV and why he and his command staff were mistreated by Starfleet, but the first few chapters of this book focused on other characters, including Sulu and Chekov last time. Now it’s finally time to see what Kirk himself is up to and how he’s getting to the planet. Apparently they all have the same idea but they’re not working together, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. One of the interesting parts about Star Trek III: The Search For Spock was seeing them work together to swipe the Enterprise and here they’re working independent of each other.
If you forgot, Kirk took the worst of it, being called a “worldkiller” so Starfleet could sweep things under the rug. It’s nearly impossible for him to find work at a time when the franchise still believed in money. (Because we all know Gene didn’t accept a penny for doing Star Trek: The Next Generation and neither did the writers.) He found a friendly person (or just someone disenchanted with Starfleet) to help him get back to the planet, but now that his tale is told what happens to him next? I have a feeling part 3 should have led with this chapter but it’s here now so let’s see how it’s going.
For those of you who don’t remember, the intro to these Chapter By Chapter articles are written before I read that installment’s chapter. It keeps the homepage version of the open vague enough to draw someone in, especially if they’ve decided to read along. I keep the major spoilers for the full article after the “read more” text, which I believe is referred to as the “jump”. So now I can say that this chapter actually is in the proper spot for the story as the events with Scotty and Spock should at least come before this chapter, while the bit with Sulu and Chekov could have gone either way.
I like Gauvreau as a character. She has her issues with Starfleet but she’s a good person overall. We join in as Kirk finishes his story and they talk about whether or not the inquiry board was right, did Kirk violate the Prime Directive with the first time he shot the missiles down. They said yes, and because they didn’t get to see the full impact of their actions they got sloppy the second time. I don’t buy that. There’s no proof, at least that we readers were shown, that indicates the second and more volatile launch was another accident and we know everyone was scrambling for peace both before and after the accidental launch. It’s like how Superman supposedly had to kill Zod to know not to kill after Man Of Steel. No he didn’t, that’s what his upbringing was for and the morals instilled by his Earthly parents. In the same vein we saw the two Talin faction racing to avoid a war from happening after the accident. It’s a theory they’re treating as fact despite the evidence saying otherwise. She also asks what happened to the orbiting ship, which makes me think this is another clue by the authors. Apparently nobody knows if it landed or where but they can’t find evidence of it.
While unloading the cargo Kirk gets ready to leave but Gauvreau gets some of her old friends still in Starfleet to get her some updates while she also gets some stuff from the legal civilian channels. This is how she learns about Scotty’s finding evidence of targeted systems, Spock suing Starfleet, groups demanding the Federation lends aid to Talin IV, and how the others have gone underground. Scotty’s also saved the ship…again…and they’re getting it ready to move under her own power, with the crew all being dragged back. Of course the main crew is still either kicked out or retired from Starfleet but it appears they’re all finding ways back to Talin IV. So maybe this does work seeing the crew still working to come together. Kirk makes the comment that even apart they’re still a team, and I can buy that.
Also of minor note is an attempt to explain, and I didn’t see this coming so mentioning it in the intro is a coincidence, why Earth is less dependent on currency as various advancements have all but eliminated want and the rest can be bartered for. It’s at least an attempt to explain the currency-less society better and with less jerkishness than TNG did in the early seasons with the Ferengi and that one cryo-sleep guy who used to be a stock broker or something. Meanwhile the outer reaches that don’t have access to replicators and stuff still use money. It’s not even really forced into the story as Kirk is waiting for pay, which is something he rarely would care about. I’m not sure I completely buy it but at least it’s an attempted explanation.
Next time we check back in with Spock and see what the next part of his plan is.