“Stroke the road, Captain. See how you feel then,’ said the excited Lieutenant. She knelt down and ran her hands over the velvety roadbed. Her eyes closed and her entire body shivered as if she had some high fever. But the expression on her face told that it was no high temperature but stark ecstasy she felt.”
The Enterprise is ordered to Alnath II where the Klingon dreadnaught ‘Terror’ is suspected of murdering the innocent crew of a Vulcan science ship. The Archeological team on Alnath II has discovered the ruins of an ancient city and refuse to leave the planet. The crew of the Enterprise begins to act irrationally and the Klingons suffer from multiple mutinies.
No explanation is ever given for the original inexplicable orders. The book is 158 pages long. On page 126, after pages and pages and pages of mutinous and insubordinate behavior and chaos in the corridors, our heroes finally realize something is wrong.
Al the weird behavior, and thus all the poor characterization, is explained by phlebotinum. Well played, Mr. Vardeman. Well played. The phlebotinum is returned to the planet. It is not locked up, no guards are posted, no warnings are broadcast. Enterprise flies off into the sunset.
Random Thoughts Written Down as I Read:
Every single Klingon who ever Klingonned has a name that begins with ‘K.’
Every male from the planet Vulcan has a name that begins with ‘S.’
All the desks on Enterprise are tiny.
Enterprise has turbo-elevators.
Kirk runs psych profiles.
McCoy practices armchair psychiatry. Several times. He is competent.
Chapel loves Spock! There is a hair-pulling cat-fight. Seriously, you guys, if you can’t think of anything better for Chapel to do, can you just leave her out of it?
Spock is a halfbreed. He is an emotional wreck and may be sexually attracted to one of his staff, even though Everyone Knows Vulcans can only have sex every 7 years.
Sulu, “The Asian knew his job and did it well.” His voice trembles as he calls for general quarters.
M’Benga, “The black doctor stared down at the corpse.”
Uhura fantasizes about M’Benga, the black doctor.
Scotty has a brogue and so does his Chief Engineer, Heather McConel. Wait, I thought Commander Scott was the Chief Engineer? Anyway, “her behind twitches just the right amount” when she leaves the room.
Chekov is on weapons and navigation and is quite blood-thirsty.
Either McCoy listens in on bridge conversations or said conversations are just broadcast throughout the ship.
There is Starfleet regulation perfume.
Kirk knows where a Klingon is hiding because he smells ‘the telltale odor of a Klingon.’
The crew of Enterprise feels the centrifugal force as it increases its orbital speed.
Time passage is handled poorly by the author: Kirk asks for a security team to assemble and beam over to a derelict ship. They are on site less than 10 seconds later. The Klingons move heavy digging equipment to a new site several miles away and dig deep enough to fall through into an underground cavern in less than 5 minutes. Spock and Kirk leave sick bay together but Spock beats Kirk to the transporter room after fetching a prisoner from the brig, even though Kirk is not delayed along the way.
“I’m a doctor, not a veterinarian, Jim” –McCoy, when asked to treat a Klingon.