reviewed by Carolyn Kaberline
The Enterprise has just beamed up a group of extremely dangerous prisoners from the planet of Trefolg with plans to take them directly to Starfleet Headquarters, when an urgent plea for help is received from Trellisane, a planet near both the Romulan and Klingon spheres of influence. With the Enterprise the only ship in the area capable of reaching the planet in time, Captain Kirk decides to head directly there and take the prisoners to headquarters laterwithout waiting for Starfleet authorization to change plans.
Upon arrival at Trellisane, Kirk finds that the planets nearest neighbor Sealon is under Klingon influence and ready to wage war on Trellisane. In addition, conditions on Trellisane leave much to be desired: The planet is ruled by representatives of various guilds with the lowest class of the planet believed unworthy of representation because they are considered animals and fit only to be slaves. While Kirk, Spock, and McCoy try to remedy the situation on the planet, an attack on the Enterprise by Sealons causes a power failure that allows the prisoners to escape. Before long the Enterprise is controlled by the prisoners whose leader plans to take her into Romulan space and thus begin a war between the Federation and the Romulans.
To get his ship back, its necessary for Kirk to seek out the Klingons, which leads to the capture of both Spock and himself. Before long the Klingons, with Kirk as their prisoner, head for the Enterprise in an attempt to both obtain a great prize for the Empire and at the same time neutralize the Romulan threat. However, before the Klingon ship can reach the Enterprise, the prisoners have been recaptured and all three partiesRomulans, Klingons, and Federationform an uneasy alliance and head back to Trellisane where the situation has become critical: the Sealons have taken over, and its up to the Enterprise crew to negotiate a treaty among all parties.
While parts of the plot seem somewhat predictable, there are more than enough twists and turns to keep the reader intrigued. It seems impossible that Kirk would ever willingly seek out the Klingons for help with anything let alone to recapture the Enterprise, but thats exactly what he does. Its inconceivable that a civilized planet would promote cannibalism, but thats exactly what the leaders of Trellisane do. In fact, because of the social set up on Trellisane, there are many times that the reader can be found rooting for its enemies.
Characterization is strong: Kirk has disregarded Spocks suggestion that they take the prisoners to secure facilities before heading to Trellisane and now has the equivalent of an "I told you so" hanging over his head. McCoy is horrified when he finds out the true nature of the planetary government, and Spock remains his logical self as he faces the Sealons after his escape from Klingon confinement. The bridge crew under Sulus command is the focus of much of the action and even Christine Chapel has a major role as the action switches from the conflict aboard the Enterprise to the warfare on the planet.
All in all, The Trellisane Confrontation provides plenty of suspense and action, the prime ingredients for a good read.
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