“Zarv’s entire family had been killed by the Romulans in a brief incursion years before. His hatred for them and all they stood for transcended mere duty; it took on personal overtones.”
This is a direct sequel to Mr. Vardeman’s “The Klingon Gambit,” and it is just as wretched, ridiculous, and poorly-written as its predecessor.
Even though Enterprise and her crew are in desperate need of repairs and rest after their last mission, they are given a trio of ambassadors and sent on a crucial mission to prevent war between two neighboring planets. En route, Enterprise rescues the sole survivor of a disabled ship. Lorelei is a Speaker from the planet Hyla, a member of a species never before encountered.
Lorelei believes in extreme pacifism and has superpowers related to persuading others. She convinces the crew they are on a mission of war and must not comply. They begin to desert their posts and disobey orders. The ambassadors are an obnoxious Tellarite, a mute plant-being, and apparently, Austin Powers.
Of course the engines break down and Enterprise takes up orbit around an unmapped planet to make repairs. The planet turns out to be a single organism that treats the Enterprise crew as an infection to be overcome. There are also Romulans.
Once again, the author can explain away poor characterization with alien influence. You win another round, Mr. Vardeman.
Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:
All the other ships in the fleet are in worse condition than Enterprise, which doesn’t say much for Starfleet infrastructure.
Why are the Enterprise engines in such poor shape? The prior book had Scotty and his ass-twitching Chief Engineer improving them by one zillion percent.
Kirk makes xenophobic remarks about the plant ambassador. He checks to see if his science officer rewrote a computer program on his own time.
Uhura daydreams at her post. Her name means ‘peace.’ Except that it doesn’t.
Sulu is the Oriental.
Chekov has an accent in that he switches around his Vs and Ws.
McCoy is paranoid and phobic about technology. Seems a man like that would stay very far away from a starship.
Scotty is in love with his wee bairns and McConel, who has a brogue and doesn’t wash her ears.
Spock seldom misses anything of real importance.
Lorelei is given complete run of the ship, including access to the computer and the bridge.
The crew snaps to attention when Kirk enters a room. This is expected and when they fail to do so, it’s a clue that something is wrong. I don’t remember Kirk being such a martinet.
Enterprise has the crappiest soundproofing ever. You can hear everything going on anywhere on board without ever opening a door.
Kirk is like one of those crappy parents who threatens and threatens and threatens, but the kids never behave because there are never any consequences.
The Enterprise crew wants to start a union. On a military vessel. Kirk authorizes a debate on the morality of their mission rather than punishing anyone for disobeying orders.
Enterprise’s radio doesn’t work if the warp drive is down. Sounds reasonable.
Lorelei is wearing a thin clingy dress and looks like a child. She is childlike, yet sexually provocative. She looks like a young girl and Kirk’s attraction to her isn’t sexual. So he reaches for her and kisses her and she kneels in front of him and—thank the heavens we are interrupted by the intercom!
The Prime Directive can be modified or ignored if the ship is in jeopardy.
The Vulcan mindmeld is known as Vulcan Mind Fusion. Enterprise has turbo-elevators.
When they land on the planet, Spock immediately attempts a mindmeld with the first humanoid they see. He just walks up to it and bam! Mindmeld! You’d think Spock would be more polite. Everyone seems surprised when the aliens react to this by attacking the landing party and taking them prisoner. They feel there is no reason for this behavior. Except that Spock attacked them. Kirk feels Spock’s intent was clear. I think I’d feel pretty threatened if some weird-looking creature suddenly appeared out of nowhere and grabbed my face.
Enterprise can’t fire phasers because the phaser crew down in the phaser deck have abandoned their posts. So let me get this straight: Kirk orders phasers fired. Chekov pushes the button to fire phasers. This sends a signal down to the phaser deck. A phaser crew member then fires the phasers. Is this correct? Or do we need one more relay?
Lorelei uses violence to stop violence. But she won’t allow others to use violence to stop violence. She is empathic and she uses subsonic and ultrasonic harmonics to persuade others. Pheromones, too. She is like a drug.
Have I mentioned the reason they need lead shielding is ridiculous? So is the amount of it they need. How are the warp engines normally started? Cold start? Warm start? Hot start? Jump start? Pop the clutch?
After meeting one single Hylan (who proves to be pretty dangerous), Spock naturally assumes Hyla will be a valuable addition to the Federation.
McCoy physically threatens Spock when their ‘playful banter’ gets out of hand.
Kirk stuns 6 people in 2 opposing lines in one shot. He also boxes McCoy’s ears.
Lorelei, an alien, is able to get into Auxiliary Control and has complete control over the entire ship and I just can’t with this book anymore.
“The engines strained and whined in a most unbecoming manner.”