L. A. Graf
reviewed by Diane Doyle
This novel is the third book in the "Lost Years" saga, a series of novels taking place during the time frame between the original television series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
At the beginning, Chekov, Uhura, and Sulu have gotten together for dinner at the New Harborplace in Baltimore, Maryland. Chekov is taking security classes at the Security Academy in Annapolis. Sulu is a test pilot at the White Sands Experimental Flight Center. Uhura, meanwhile, is teaching a graduate level communications class at Starfleet Academy. They end up joining Dr. McCoy and Dr. Piper for dinner. While there, Dr. Piper recruits Chekov to help him work on a project for him at Johns Hopkins two days a week, being as Chekov possesses a Class A security clearance, has experience on a starship, and is close geographically. The project is to research the medical effects of the Klingon disruptor.
The book describes the experiences of Chekov, Uhura, and Sulu in their current assignments. It is rough for Chekov at the Security Academy being as most of the cadets there have experience in Security while he lacks it. He encounters a security lieutenant named Leong who goes out of his way to make life difficult for him.
When working with Dr. Piper at Johns Hopkins, Chekov learns that he is to serve as Pipers mole, being as Piper does not trust one of the employees working for him, Peter Broad. Piper plans to discuss Broads poor performance with him and supplies Chekov with recording devices so he can eavesdrop on the conversation. However, that plan is foiled when members of Dr. Pipers team discover him. It turns out most of the members of that team and several personnel at the Security Academy, including his nemesis, Leong, are involved in a conspiracy which results in Piper being murdered and Chekov identified as the main suspect.
The book details the circuitous journey he takes as he flees from Annapolis, with the only person helping him, Commander Gloria Oberste, getting killed herself. He ends up breaking his arm in a fight with one of the conspirators. He takes public transit trains, transferring between different lines at random to evade capture by any of the conspirators or the police. Eventually, he tries to contact Dr. McCoy from a comm station, fainting before he can talk to the doctor. The doctor finds him, takes him to an hourly motel and sets his broken arm, being as they cant take him to a hospital for fear hell be arrested. When McCoy departs from the motel, Chekov leaves and continues to flee his potential captors.
Incidents happen to other members of the crew as well. The plans for the cloaking device being tested by Sulu get stolen, with Sulu and his partner being linked to the crime. While on a test flight, the craft Sulu is flying disappears, and Sulu is presumed dead. Dr. McCoy and Uhura both get injured in an explosion. These incidents lead the crew to figure out that the conspiracy is meant to discredit Admiral Kirk. The challenge is for them to uncover the truth before the conspirators close in on them and possibly destroy the Federation.
The novel is full of action and adventure and suspense. It is definitely of interest to Chekov fans, as most of the action revolves around him. There are good roles for Sulu, Uhura, and McCoy, and Kirk, as well. There are good character moments for crew members, such as Dr. MBenga, Riley and Rand, along with references to Christine Chapel and transporter operator Kyle. The only regular Star Trek character without a major role is Spock.
In reading it nearly fifteen years after its original publication, some of the references are now dated, such as a comm station which sounds like the 23rd century equivalent of a phone booth. With cell phones in common use, phone booths are rarely used any more, rendering this reference obsolete. Yet, in spite of this one instance of obsolescent technology, I would still recommend this story.
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