The short version of the plot is that a group of junior officers on a spaceship realize that members of their rank tend to die when on away missions with senior officers. Anyone familiar with the original flavor of Star Trek will recognize the setup.
The book starts with ensigns Andrew Dahl and Jimmy Hanson meeting other newly assigned ensigns Maia Duvall, Jasper Hester, and Finn as they wait for the shuttle to take them to their newly-assigned ship. The five lucky ensigns have been assigned to the Intrepid, which is the Universal Union’s flagship. It seems like a plum assignment until they notice that away missions have an unusually high death rate for ensigns. Adding to the tension is the fact that all the veteran ensigns seem to magically disappear just before an officer arrives looking for an ensign to go on an away mission. (How many times can I say ensign in one review? Let’s find out.)
After a few dangerous missions, the gang starts to worry about their safety. While investigating, they meet a hermit who sounds just crazy enough to maybe be right. Every day comes with the fear of an away mission and imminent death, so the gang hatches a crazy plot that just might save their lives and the lives of other redshirts.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a fast-paced read that made me laugh out loud. I liked the friendship between the five main characters. It felt very authentic, considering the circumstances.
The main part of the story ends around 80% of the way through the book. It’s followed by three codas. I wasn’t crazy about the codas. I understand their purpose but I don’t think they added much to the story.
Check out Redshirts if you’re looking for a light-hearted read.