Thursday, May 2, 2013

Trek Novels - Star Trek: Prime Directive

'Sup, guys! Here is the first novel I'll be talking about this month: Star Trek - Prime Directive. I actually have an interesting story with this book. I had found a large print version of the book at a used book store in Columbia. The title and the quick blurb about it intrigued me, so I got it. I read it for a while, and then it, along with other things in my old bag, got stolen. This was one reason I was so peeved about that bag being stolen! Anyway, I was able to find a small print version of the book at McKay's in Nashville for a really cheap price and I was able to finish it.

 This new segment will move a lot like my Graphic Novels segment with a brief blurb, a somewhat detailed synopsis, and an opinion on the book as a whole.

And for a reminder... 200TH POST!!! YOO HOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I've made to 200 posts after three years. Nice!

Star Trek: Prime Directive
Writers: Judith and Garfield Reeve-Stevens 

Because of a catastrophe that involved the planet Talin IV, the main crew of the Enterprise is blamed and forced out of Starfleet. Shamed and with nowhere to go, the crew must band together and find out what really happened during the mission.

The overall book is split up into four parts and is supposed to take place during the last year of the five-year mission. We start out the story with the main crew of the Enterprise already forced out of Starfleet for disobeying the Prime Directive. We actually don't get more detailed info about the incident until the second part of the book. All we know is that an incident happened where the Enterprise went into warp inside a solar system... Yeah, now we see why you're not supposed to do that! Because of this incident, Kirk, Spock, Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura were branded "The Enterprise Five." We get caught up with familiar faces like Kirk, McCoy, Uhura, Chekov, and Sulu in this part.  It's revealed that all of them (including Spock) except Uhura resigned from Starfleet because of all of the trouble that came from the incident. Uhura was the only one who had a trial and she was dishonorably discharged.

 We see what they have been up to since their time out of Starfleet. Kirk has been working jobs and such, McCoy and Uhura are trying to get a ship, and Chekov adn Sulu have gotten involved with some shady Orion dealers. The only one of the main cast who isn't out of Starfleet is Scotty and that's because he wasn't involved with the act. He's actually still on the Enterprise near which is in the Talin system He's doing repairs and hating every moment of it. He has an commanding officer who's pretty annoying and somewhat familiar. All of the crew (including Spock who hasn't been seen yet) have one goal in mind: return to the planet where this happened and discover the truth. 

The second part of the book goes into the events before the incident and the incident itself. On the Enterprise, the crew is trying not to be bored off of their butts. When they reached he system, they couldn't go to warp, so they had to stay at impulse during their trip to Talin IV. We and the crew then get a pretty apt description of what Talin IV and its inhabitants are like. This world is a lot like 20th-century Earth and like Earth, the Talin are in a Cold War-related culture. There are two sides to the conflict: Brown and Green. The Talin are also beginning to see if there is life beyond their planet. They've even sent out a couple of astronauts to see to that. The Federation wants to help ease the world's dispute, but they can't intervene because of the Prime Directive. We also find out that there are some Federation scientists from the First Contact Office (FCO) on their moon observing Talin IV.

Kirk and his crew find out that the scientists have been observed and photographed by the world's military. He leads an away team to retrieve the evidence and when they return, a nuclear misisle from the planet goes off. This leads both sides to start firing missiles. To save the inhabitants and keep a hot war from starting,  Kirk skirts around the Prime Directive and the Enterprise covertly disables the missiles. While a board wonders if Kirk did indeed disobey the Prime Directive, more missiles come from the planet and head toward the Enterprise. The ship was also being attacked by some advanced tech that the Talin don't have. The Enterprise is is damaged badly. To stop from being blown up, they go to warp. The whole planet is scorched from the missile fallout and Captain Kirk is placed under arrest.

The third part of the story deals with the crew still trying to get back to Talin IV. Scotty finds out that the nuclear warheads weren't the only thing attacking the Enterprise and sets out to find out what the weapon was. Meanwhile, we finally find out what Spock's been up to. He ended up getting demoted to an Ensign then resigned from the post. It also turns out that he been trying to manipulate his way into seeing the Federation Council by using a student group and the Vulcan Embassy. When he meets the Federation Council, he basically  steers the conversation so that the Federation could concede that a species, who achieved space travel, could already be considered a member of the Federation. At that moment, he introduces the two Talin astrounauts who are each from the warring side.The Federation doesn't give them the aid at first, but they do debate the issue and this gives Spock and his comrades the chance to go back to the Talin System.

Through the power of plot and convenience (lol), Sulu and Chekov end up running into McCoy and Uhura. They then run into Kirk and head toward Talin. Eventually, the whole crew reunites at the FCO outpost and starts to find out what caused the accident. It's revealed that the Enterprise and the FCO weren't resposible for what happened to Talin IV. It turns out that there was another alien force viewing the planet. The alien force, called The Many, were a bunch of large bug-like creatures operated under a hive mind and communicated via radio waves. They were the ones who tried to make the Talin wipe each other out with nuclear missiles. It also turns out that the Many are were preparing the planet for a being called the One. The crew is able to communicate with the Many and find out where the One is.

The Enterprise, now repaired and manned, is ordered to go find the One with The Enterprise Five acting only as observers. When the Enterprise is out of Federation range, everyone goes back to their usual posts. The Enterprise find the One which is actually a planet-sized alien. In other words, think Galactus. Spock surmises that it is probably older than the universe. They end up deciding to leave it be since they nor the Federation have the firepower to destroy it. Plus, it's a sentient being who can't stop what it's doing. So, they just leave it there with the knowledge that the Federation will do work to divert the One to another source of food.

The final, short part shows Kirk and the rest of the demoted crew with their positions back. The Federation sends emergency aid to the planet and gives The Enterprise Five their jobs back. It's revealed that about 2 billion Talin survived the catastrophe via protective cocoon. The book ends as the crew of the Enterprise joins the relief effort on Talin IV.

Wow, that synopsis took a while to write! So much happens in this book alone. I'm hoping this would lead you to go read the book for yourself. I had to finish it because the story was just that good. One of the things I love about this book is the personally  thought this book was really good. I have a couple of complaints about the story, but it's still good as a whole. When I got back into reading the book way back when, I couldn't put it down. I well-done characterization of everyone in it. Kirk is Kirk, Spock's Spock, and Scotty's still an awesome Scot. It feels like I'm reading something that would fit within the series.

I also enjoyed seeing the crew in a pretty different situation. This is a situation that we really haven't seen them in and that's exciting to me. I mean, we have seen the crew in a couple of different situations in the movies. Star Trek: the Voyage Home is one example. This book is another example of that. We have the main crew away from Starfleet and sorta separated from each other. I have to admit that I had a smile on my face when they started to reunite towards the end.

I also like the humor in the book. Yes, there is humor here. It's the type of humor you'd probably run into during everyday life. I loved it when Scotty owned Lieutenant Styles, his commanding officer. By the way, I did not realize Lt. Styles is that smug, arrogant captain of the Excelsior in Star Trek: The Search for Spock when I read this. I liked the detail that went into creating the Talin. While they're an allegory for a present-day Earth, it was cool to see that. Even though the novel ends predictably, I still like the ending. It wastes no time in showing the crew getting back in action and doing their thing.

My only complaints really come towards the end. The resolution to the real cause feels a little rushed to me. First, we find out about The Many. I have no problem there. I do believe it's better some alien conspiracy plot. Then, we find out about the One and see the being. Then, we do nothing with the creature and go our merry way. Now that feels rushed, does it not? I wasn't expecting a long, drawn-out battle with it, but I wish a little more time was spent on it because a lot of questions are brought up with the One.

Overall, it's a pretty good read. If you're a Trek fan or someone who's looking for something to read, I definitely recommend this.


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