Mutiny on the Enterprise
Robert E. Vardeman
reviewed by Randy Landers
The Enterprise returns from a mission in dangerously poor condition. Nevertheless, Admiral McKenna insists Kirk and company immediately depart for a distant star system with three Federation ambassadors aboard in order to secure peace for the star system. While en route, the ship shows signs of strain. Coincidentally enough, the ship encounters a marrooned ship and its sole occupant, a Speaker from the planet Hyla, who soon takes the name Lorelei. The choice of name is not coincidental, and soon Lorelei entices the entire crew to mutiny against Captain Kirk's orders. The ship suffers a complete failure of the warp engines, and encounters a planet which could have the resources needed to repair the ship. A landing party is dispatched, and after Spock tried to mind-meld with one of the inhabitants, they come under attack. Disobeying Kirk's orders, the ambassadors also beam down, but when they try to interfere with the planet's biome, one of them is immediately imprisoned, and the others are incarcerated. With Spock and McCoy on the surface, Lorelei takes control of the Enterprise and beams Kirk down to the planet, trapping them there unless they can figure out a way to return to their starship.
Overall, this novel is frustrating because the villain isn't truly villainous, but her powers are practically invincible. She literally talks people into anything and everything she wants, hence the selection of her name Lorelei. After the ambassadors are killed and the Enterprise liberated, she is used by Kirk and Company to bring peace to the two warring star systems. And I have a problem with that; here you have an alien of incredible manipulative skills, and she's used by our heroes to end the conflict. Now, their intentions are laudable, to be sure, but I think this creates an ethical dilemma which lessens my enjoyment of the novel.
Overall, a rather pleasant read; just try not to think too hard about it.
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