L. A. Graf
reviewed by Diane Doyle
This novel takes place some time during the "second mission" of the U.S.S. Enterprise under Captain Kirk, i.e. after Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It begins with the Enterprise being docked at Space Station Sigma 1 where many of the senior officers were on shore leave. Sulu and Chekov are playing games on a space simulator, with Uhura waiting for them. Captain Kirk is eating dinner with Dr. McCoy and Scotty. Shore leave for all of them was delayed due to the fact that Starfleet auditors were on board the ship and had been reviewing the ships operations for efficiency.
They encounter Orion security personnel overrunning the space station. At that time, the Andorian scientist, Muav Haslev, has disappeared, fueling tensions between the Orions and the Andorians. Chekov, trying to defend a shopkeeper from an Orion policeman, ends up getting arrested. When he finally returns to the ship, an auditor criticizes him about the duty rotation for the security officers under his command. At this time, the Enterprise is assigned to patrol the border between the Andorians and the Orions to diffuse any chance of war breaking out.
Much action ensues, including one of the auditors deliberately setting off a security alarm, a deadly transporter accident, Chekov learning of the death of an Academy classmate on the U.S.S. Kongo, Sulus quarters being ransacked, thefts of engineering equipment, several equipment failures, a bomb being set off, several other incidents of sabotage, a battle between the Enterprise and an Orion ship, and numerous chase scenes.
The novel is a delight to Chekov fans, as he is in the center of most of the action, along with Sulu and Uhura. As Security Chief, he deals with the annoying auditors, who want to restructure his department along with trying to find the saboteur on board the ship. He gets injured during encounters with Orions. By focusing on Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura, the novel is a refreshing change of pace from the novels which tend to focus more on Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Hockey fans should be interested in this book also, given that many of the security officers working under Chekov were named for hockey players on the Pittsburgh Penguins team, circa 1990.
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