“May I call to your attention, Captain, that our present course takes us disturbingly near the reported gravitational turbulence reported by Federation ships in this sector of the Orion Arm?” As usual, Spock was both punctilious and logically correct in his assessment of the situation.” These are the very first lines. This does not BODE well.
While on a routine mapping mission, Enterprise hits a fold in space and is instantly transported millions of hundreds of kellicams away to a place unpopulated by stars. The ship is damaged and unable to accelerate past warp 2. It will take them a lifetime to get home if they can’t make repairs. Fortunately, they find a lone unstable sun orbited by a lone planet that is home to a race of humanoids with transporter technology. In order to save Enterprise, the crew must make first contact with this isolated civilization which has believed itself alone in the universe, the single abode of life, and has developed a culture centered around the instability of the star.
Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:
McCoy is listening in on bridge conversations again.
Sulu: check Uhura: check Chekov: check Scotty: check Rand: check Kyle: check
It’s a fold in space! Spock predicted we might hit a fold in space and look! We hit a fold in space! After we hit the fold in space, Spock affirms it to be a fold in space. Have I mentioned the fold? In space?
Enterprise must be in orbit around a planet in order to make repairs. Why? This seems pretty unreasonable, and even dangerous.
All of Spock’s preliminary data is preliminary and he would like to remind you that his preliminary data is preliminary.
Spock, the science officer, doesn’t know what snow is.
There’s transporter radiation?
There’s communication radiation? That’s the name of my Starship cover band.
General Order Number One (The Prime Directive) states that Starfleet personnel should refrain from interfering in the natural, unassisted, development of societies, even if such interference is well-intentioned. The Prime Directive is viewed as so fundamental to Starfleet that officers swear to uphold the Prime Directive, even at the cost of their own life or the lives of their crew. It’s also known as the Non-Interference Directive. And the name of my PSY cover band.
Spock acquires enough information on the planet to send down an initial landing party. Kirk will beam down with the initial landing party. The landing party convenes in the transporter room. Landing Party is the name of my Alan Parsons Project cover band. Ok, I’ll stop. Reluctantly.
Kyle works the controls. Forty years of reading Star Trek novels, and writers still have characters work the controls. I hate it.
This society developed in total isolation, so things will be strange. Let me explain at length this totally not strange thing to you.
The Universal Translator works immediately, of course, right down to translating the word ‘Mercan’ to ‘The Abode of Life in the Universe.’ The inhabitants of The Abode live by a code, known as the Code of the Abode. This phrase is repeated often and it never fails to make me snicker.
We will NOT violate General Order #1 UNTIL we find out more.
Kirk drops the “We’re aliens from another planet” bomb on the very first people they meet. The crew then goes about stomping all over the Prime Directive throughout the rest of the novel. Stomping? They beat it to the curb, eviscerate it, stuff it, and hang it on their den wall.
Our contact may destroy this culture.
We don’t want to disrupt your culture.
We may destroy a culture.
Enterprise can’t help but disrupt the culture. Ya think?
So after running around disrupting the culture, they realize they have two options: beam up and withdraw from the planet, or start shooting at the sun to stabilize it—which has a 20% chance of success. What to do? What to do? Hey, if we do trigger a nova, we can beam up the crew and fly away before everyone else on the planet is killed. And if the attempt at stabilizing the sun is a success, we will STILL have disrupted the culture! Bonus, dude!
Oh, what am I worrying about? If a species is intelligent enough, the Prime Directive doesn’t apply, right? Except IT DOES.
And anyway the Mercanians may have tried the same thing eventually. One day. If their science ever progressed to that point.
Kirk accepts the responsibility for his actions, which may destabilize the culture. REALLY? REALLY?
Once the sun has been stabilized, Spock tells Kirk he had no alternative to possibly having violated the Prime Directive.
Kirk is unwilling to pay the price of disrupting this culture. He can’t intervene. So. Let’s get on with the intervention!
Now that the sun has been stabilized, and the culture destabilized, Kirk determines to bring Mercan into the Federation. By force, if necessary. But they can’t become Federation members if they are in the middle of a civil war. Kirk kidnaps the leaders of the different factions and forces them to negotiate.
I am so sick of this book right now, I actually miss Spock the Messiah. I think back fondly on those days. I was so young and carefree then…
“Analogous, but not the same, because analogies never bear a one-to-one relationship with the real universe.”