Star Trek

The third book in the Star Trek: TNG Double Helix series.

Publication year: 1999
Format: print
Page count: 293 + an excerpt of the next book, Quarantine.
Publisher: Pocket Books

This time the TNG crew only appears in a couple of chapters and the main character is new character: Eric Stiles. Both Spock and McCoy appear.

The story starts several years before TNG series. Ensign Eric Stiles is the leader of a Starfleet security services special squad. They’re going in planet PojjanPiraKot where the population wants all aliens out. Federation embassy is the last one to be evacuated and Stiles’ group has to get them out. Unfortunately, the who group is full of ensigns on their first mission and things go wrong. Stiles is captured and imprisoned for years. His only companion is another alien prisoner: Romulan scientist Zevon. They keep each other alive and develop a deep friendship.

Years later, the Romulan Star Empire is in an uproar. They’re attacking Federation ships and the Romulans claim they’re just renegade captains. However, the engineered virus has struck again. This time the victims are the Romulan empress and all her blood relatives. And the Romulans are accusing the Federation.

Eric Stiles is a well-drawn character. At the start, he’s a nervous ensign, determined to look good in front of his hero, Spock, who is at the embassy. Then he grows up fast and becomes even a heroic figure but without realizing himself. He carries a lot of guilt around, too.

This is a good look at the less explored side of Star Trek, the less glorified work. Unfortunately, I really wanted to read a book with the familiar TNG cast and this wasn’t it.

Both Spock and McCoy are very distinctive.

Collects comic miniseries 1-3.

Writers: Mark Altman, Chris Dows, Colin Clayton, R. A. Jones
Artists: Rob Davis, Terry Pallot, Brian Michael Bendis, Bruce McGorkindale, Leonard Kirk, Jack Snider
Publisher: Malibu

The majority of this collection is taken up by three-part story the Maquis. It’s pretty solid although not in the same league as the best DS9 episodes. It starts with the rescue of a missing commander from the starship Grissom. However, when he meets Gul Dukat, the commander tries to kill him. But the main story centers on Doctor Bashir. He’s taking a vacation on Risa but on the way there he meets a beautiful woman who promptly kidnaps him. It turns out that she’s a Maquis and a group of them are going to storm a stronghold where the crew of Voyager and Chakotay’s Maquis group are held prisoner. Unfortunately, it’s a Cardassian trap. The plot here is pretty elaborate and I’m not sure it was worth the cost. But I’m not a Cardassian. 😉

This was a pretty fun story and involves Garak which is always a good thing. Some of the secondary characters even had more depth than was obvious at first glance, which is another positive thing. Of course, it’s a minor story which is never referred to again. Each part has also a box to remind the reader to start watching the new show, Voyager.

The collection has two shorter stories as well. They’re pretty good but unfortunately, they’re put in the middle of the Maquis story, cutting it senselessly. The first one is “The Memoir of an Invisible Ferengi” which is a fun short strip about Quark. A Romulan vessel has docked and some threatening looking Romulans pay Quark a visit: they want holosuits and for him to keep an item safe for them. Of course, Quark has took into the box and try on the belt he finds there. It makes him invisible. However, things turn up different than he expected. The second one, “A Tree Grows on Bajor” is a Sisko and Jake story. Sisko and his son have been invited to a ceremony on Bajor which reminds Jake about his mother.

These are also good little stories but unfortunately they interrupt the main story strangely. The Quark story is especially jarring. Otherwise this is a good collection.

The second book in the six-part Double Helix series. A Star Trek: TNG series but this part is set on Terok Nor.

Publication year: 1999
Format: print
Page count: 260 + an excerpt of Red Sector, the next book in the series
Publisher: Pocket Books

The mysterious General has sent another minion on Cardassian space station Terok Nor to spread a new designer virus to both the Cardassians and their Bajoran slaves. Gul Dukat, who commands the station, has allowed a Bajoran doctor, Kellec Ton, to come to the station. When it becomes clear that the disease affects both races, and quickly, Kellec Ton demands that his ex-wife is brought to the station to research it. Gul Dukat is reluctant because that ex-wife is Federation’s Dr. Pulaski. But rather quickly Dukat agrees for Pulaski to come with a small team. However, if any of the Federation team is caught spying they could all be killed.

Dr. Pulaski is leaving Enterprise-D when Kellec’s message reaches her. She realizes immediately how dangerous the mission will be but gathers three volunteers and goes to the station. On Terok Nor, she battles not only the disease but also the attitudes between the Cardassians and the Bajorans which make it difficult for the Cardassian and Bajoran doctors to work together. And gul Dukat seems to care only for the ore quotas and keeping the Federation agents from seeing the conditions that the Bajoran workers are forced to live in.

At the same time, Quark is trying to run a bar and cope with his newly arrived brother Rom and nephew Nog. Also, resistance fighter Kira Nerys is trying to find out if the rumors about a plague engineered by the Cardassians is true.

This was an excellent continuation of the series. This time, the characters deal with complex racial issues, which were pretty quickly swept aside in the first book, and also wonder how they can cure people who are just sent back to slavery. Kellec Ton is a stubborn and brilliant man who constantly butts heads with Dukat. We get to really know Pulaski in a way that I don’t think we saw her in the second season of TNG. To be fair, I haven’t much rewatched that season and I took an instant dislike to her because of her attitude towards my favorite TNG character, Data. Here, she really gets to shine.

While it was nice to see Kira, she wasn’t integral to the story. In fact, I go the impression that the studio ordered her to be in the book. Her attitude towards Federation was a bit surprising, considering how much she loathed them in the first episodes of DS9.

I really liked the writing style, but that’s no surprise; Rusch is one of my favorite authors. Rusch and Smith also weave in Kira’s and Odo’s backstory from DS9 season two.

The first book in the six-part Double Helix series. A Star Trek: TNG series.

Publication year: 1999
Format: print
Page count: 226 + an excerpt of Vectors, the next book in the series
Publisher: Pocket Books

Infection is set in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In fact, it’s stated that this adventure happens only one month after the Enterprise-D crew gets together, so the characters are still getting to know each other and Tasha Yar is the security chief.

Archeron III is a remote agricultural planet. It was settled simultaneously by religious extremist group of humans and peaceful human-like Peladians. Ever since, it has been a hotbed of racial intolerance. Now, a very virulent disease has struck and its victims are all mixed-race people. The Purity League is attacking hospitals and saying that the disease is a judgement from their god.

Enterprise-D is sent with a shipment of drug which will lessen the symptoms, and Dr. Crusher has to work with Archeron’s Dr. Tang to find out a cure. Meanwhile, Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard strongly suspect that the disease has been engineered. But by who and why?

For such a short book, the entire cast is used very well. (Except Wesley. He doesn’t appear.) Riker, Yar, and Data are sent covertly down to the planet to investigate the Purity League, Dr. Crusher works around the clock, and Picard has to deal with the planetary government. La Forge and Worf also get their own assignments.

But the characters felt a bit strange. For example, Crusher has “two cup problems” meaning how many cups of tea she needs. That’s not from the show. There were a few other inconsistences, too, and the ending is pretty strange, wrapped up too quickly, and full of coincidences. Also, we got to see a glimpse of who is responsible for the disease but the characters didn’t.

Comic book based on the TV-show, collects issues 1-4.

Writers: Scott Tipton, David Tipton
Artists: Fabio Mantovani, Emanuela Lupacchino, Franscesco Lo Storto

The comic is set after Sisko was promoted to captain but before Worf’s arrival to the station.

All has been quiet on the station for a few weeks but now more and more people are coming to the station. Odo isn’t happy about it because he thinks the newcomers are unsavory types, to the say the least but apparently the Bajoran board of commerce is happy about the increased business and so is Captain Sisko. However, Major Kira agrees with Odo and, Chief O’Brian realizes that someone has been literally ripping the station apart. Now Kira and Odo have to find out just what is going on.

This was a fun comic and catches the mood of the show well. It could have been a short, light-hearted secondary plot in an episode. I really liked the beginning of the comic where two unsavory characters come to the station and in just a couple of pages we see Odo, Kira, O’Brian, Nog, and Doctor Bashier just going along their business. Great way to start the story. From there the story rolled smoothly, if predictably, along.

It was great to revisit the characters and this is clearly written for people already familiar with the show. I liked it even though I could have done without the Kira butt shots.

Comic book based on the TV-show, collects issues 1-4. Alternate future with Borgs!

Writers: Brannon Braga, Terry Matalas, Travis Fickett
Artists: Joe Corroney, Matt Fillbach, Shawn Fillbach

Set after the end of TNG series with Riker and Troi aboard U.S.S. Titan and Data destroyed.

The story starts 500 years in the future where the Borg Queen and Locutus have just destroyed the last bit of Federation resistance. But some part of Picard still remains inside Locutus and he decides to destroy the Queen. He reminisces about the past and how he and Seven of Nine were reassimilated into the Collective.

In the “Now” part of the story, Picard is hearing the Borg in his head and then Federation sees increased Borg activity in several sectors. But this time the Borg have come to ask for help. It seems that they’ve gone to other dimensions but have brought back an enemy who is a threat to both the Borg and everyone else. So, they ask Picard for help. A couple of years ago, Seven agreed to infiltrate the Borg as a double agent and now she’s to work with the humans in order to neutralize the new threat. But can the Borg be trusted?

The story moves along fast and furious. Picard’s terror of the Borgs is almost the only character moment as the story focuses more on action. The action is exciting and we get time travel, too, which is usually a plus on my books.

Unfortunately, I had some issues with the storyline. It mixed some familiar concepts but doesn’t bring anything new; I pretty much knew how the story would end. Also, some of the characters have moved on from Enterprise-E but here they’re back in their familiar positions: Riker’s ship is damaged and he steps smoothly back into the shoes of Picard’s first officer (we don’t even see who his current first officer is), and Worf is back, too. We see only a glimpse of Seven and Picard together, even though it makes a lot of sense that as former Borgs they would bond over their shared experiences which others can’t understand. I would have loved to see more of them together and to see how their implied friendship developed. I also hugely disliked the ending.

So, Hive isn’t a perfect story but it’s a fun bit of fluff with the Borg.

Comic book based on the TV-show, collects issues 1-5.

Writer: Zander Cannon
Artists: Javier Aranda, German Torres-Ruiz, Marc Rueda
Publisher: IDW

Set during the fourth season.

Enterprise-D has answered a distress call from a ship orbiting Allios IV, an ally world of Federation. They find one survivor on the ship who is babbling about seeing ghosts. While Doctor Crusher tend to him, Captain Picard becomes involved in the planet’s political situation. Republic of Juuleth claims to speak for the whole planet. Their application to join the Federation has now been pending for 11 years, because the Federation has reports that there’s a civil war going on between the Juuleth and the Dorossh, the two largest nations on the planet. Picard wants to negotiate with the leaders of both nations.

Supreme Elder Kalkass of Dorossh agrees to meet Picard and the Juuletian’s leader, Speaker Kejaal. However, Kalkass accuses the Juuletians of murder and kidnappings while the Juuletians accuse of Dorosshians breaking every treaty and being backward barbarians.

Meanwhile, the sole survivor from the ship wakes up and says that Captain Picard is one of the ghosts he has been seeing.

This was a nice story. Not one of the best but miles better than the worst TNG episodes. The characters were pretty much in character, and poor Worf got pummeled again. Picard was a diplomat to the end and for once Geordi and Beverly got to work together. Pretty much the only regular cast member who didn’t get to shine was Data which is unusual. I could easily see this story as an episode in TV.

The two leaders of their respective nations are stereotypes to start with: one is the aggressive “barbarian” who accuses the other of assassinations and the other is a smooth-talking civilized progressive man. It’s not easy to try to get them to agree on anything. Riker even loses his cool but Picard doesn’t.

The story rolled forward smoothly but because it came out as a limited series, it has four recap pages which was a bit too much. The art mostly captures the actors’ likenesses, but on some panels they look a lot older than on the show, which is a bit strange since usually characters in tie-in comics tend to look younger.

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