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Old March 20th, 2007, 07:29 PM
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I'm reading a new Star Trek series set in the classic era. Typically, Trek books are trash, but there are a few diamonds in the rough.

This is one of them.

It's a new series: STAR TREK Vanguard.

The first book is Harbinger by David Mack. Book #2 is Summon The Thunder by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore. Book #3 is due out in May, called Reap The Whirlwind, also by David Mack.

This is good stuff, people.

We're talking classic Trek here...but modernized a bit.

I call it "classic" because, not only is it set during the Kirk & Spock TV series, but it really captures that wonder and feel on the original series.

I call it "modernized a bit" because the books are darker than what you're used to in Trek. We're talkin' half crazed lesbian Vulcans (no kidding), backstabbing for positions in Star Fleet, Star Fleet officers committing adultry, the cold war with the Klingons, spies....

And all of this wrapped around an interesting "Trek" plot, the basis of which is:

The USS Constellation (Commodore Decker's ship--which will be destroyed in the classic Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine"), on patrol in the Tarus Reach near Tholian space, discovers something odd during it's routine exploration/mapping mission....










"Report," Decker said, cutting straight to business.

Masada reached behind his ear as if to scratch, then gave an almost absentminded tug on his ponytail as he straightened and pivoted toward Decker. "We were running a routine gene-sequence scan on the biosamples froom Ravanar IV," he said. "Most were nothing to write home about." He geestured for Takeshewada to look at the sensor data for herself. "Then we found this."

Decker tried to be patient, but at times like this it was hard. "Guillermo, please don't keep me in suspense."

"Sorry, sir. It's a gene sequence unlike anything we've ever seen before. My best uess would be that it has several million chemical base pairs, and it's more complex than simple G-A-T-C. It has molecules we're still trying to identify."

Takeshewada lifted her gaze from the blue-gray sensor hood. Her already fair complexion looke paler than normal. "That's incredible," she said.

Folding his arms across his chest, Decker said to Masada, "Where did it come from? Some kind of uber-life-form?"

"Hardly," the science officer said. "From a simple mold."

"Simple?" Decker shook his head, as much in disbelief as in sheer wonderment at the never-ending tricks the universe had up its proverbial sleeve. "That's a lot of DNA for something I'd scrape off my breakfast. Speaking of which--" He turned toward his yeoman, who happened to be walking past. "Lawford, get me some coffee, will you?"

"Lawford transferred to the Yorktown two weeks ago, sir," the yeoman said. "I'm Guthrie."

Decker squinted in disapproval. "And that has precisely what to do with my coffee?"

"Nothing, sir."

The commodore pointed the yeoman toward the food slot. "Milk, no sugar."

"I know, sir."

"Thanks, Lawford."

"Guthrie, sir."

"Whatever." Decker turned back toward the science station while the yeoman plodded away, muttering quietly. Returning his attention to Masada, Decker said, "Why would mold need that much genetic information?"

"I don't think it does," Masada said.

Decker was getting annoyed. "That's what I'm saying."

"No sir," Masada said. "What I mean is, I think only a very small portion of the genetic string has anything to do with the mold itself. The rest is...well, just there."

Takeshewada tilted her head in a way that implied she found Masada's answer less than satisfactory. "But what does it do, Guillermo?"

The science officer's eyes widened as his lips tightened into a thin line and his shoulders rounded into a shrug. "No idea. I can tell you that it's big, but other than that..." He just shook his head.

"And out tradition of excellence continues," Decker said with a sour inflection. His darkening mood was brightened by the arrival of his coffee. He accepted the mug from Guthrie, then turned immediately back toward Masada. "How soon can you finish some testsand get me a real report?"

"I'm not sure I can," Masada said. "Our lab's good, bu it's not this good. We're gonna have to send all of this--the samples, the scans, the whole kit and kaboodle--back to Starfleet Command and let them handle it."

Decker's shoulders slumped with disappointment. "Are you serious? We make a once-in-a-lifetime find, and you're telling me we have to punt?"

"I'm afraid so so, sir."








And, with that, we're off to an exceptional classic Trek tale.

It's just a damn good book, starting a damn fine series.

The main characters are brand new. Sure, Kirk, Spock and other characters from the original TV series make cameos (like Commodore Decker or Dr. M'Benga, the Vulcan specialist, from a couple of episodes in the classic series), but the focus is on all-new characters.

I highly recommend this book series. It's what Star Trek Enterprise should have been. It's definitely "Trek", but it's a type of "Trek" that would result if the writers of the new Battlestar Galactica got a hold of the franchise.

Good stuff.

Check it out.

Here's a link to the Amazon page for the first book in the series: Star Trek Vanguard - Harbinger

-S4
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Old March 20th, 2007, 09:20 PM
BlackBat242 BlackBat242 is offline
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The first book has Enterprise stopping by to finish her repairs from passing through the "Galactic energy barrier" in the "second pilot", and before the first regular series episode.

In other words, very early Original Series Trek.

They even still have one of the Warp 4.5 DAEDALUS class ships in service (heavily refitted of course)!

Vanguard is placed in a "neutral" area bounded by Tholians & Klingons as well as the Federation.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BlackBat242:
The first book has Enterprise stopping by to finish her repairs from passing through the "Galactic energy barrier" in the "second pilot", and before the first regular series episode.
Yep. Kirk has just been promoted to Captain, the Enterprise his first command.

That second pilot you mention is titled "Where No Man Has Gone Before". It's the one where Gary Mitchell, Kirk's best friend, develops god-like powers after going through the energy barrier.

With Mitchell's death, Spock is promoted to first officer--and this is where Kirk & Co. do their cameo in the book. Kirk is "feeling out" his new first officer.

Quote:
In other words, very early Original Series Trek.
Yep. Set in 2265. Once Kirk leaves the Vangaurd station, they're headed for the adventure called "The Corbomite Maneuver", which happens either off-stage of the book or just after the book ends.

BTW, that first pilot that was not originally aired was called "The Cage" featuring Captain Christopher Pike, Kirk's predecessor. "The Cage" was re-edited into Classic Trek's only two-part, two-hour episode, shown later in Classic Trek's run.

Notice the older uniforms shown in "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Those are the only two episodes where you see those older, turtle-neck uniforms, before Starfleet changes to the ones we're all familiar with worn by Classic Trek's Kirk, Spock, McCoy, et. al.

David Mack pays so much attention to detail in the first book in the Vanguard series that he actually mentions this. Commodore Reyes, Vanguard's commanding officer (and main character in the series), has his thoughts drift to Starfleet's ability to change the uniforms every so often.

Mack doesn't beat you over the head with it. It' just there. If you're a Trekkie, then you know who M'Benga is. You know who Commodore Decker is (not only the commanding officer of the Constellation before it got swallowed by the doomsday machine, but also father to Captain Wil Decker, commanding officer of the Enterprise at the beginning of Star Trek The Motion Picture).

If you don't recognize any of these people, Mack doesn't tell you--and he doesn't need to. It's "there" for those who know, but what those characters do later in the Trek series and movies does not affect the plot of the book.

I loved it. Mack sure knows his Trek-stuff.

I believe, if you're a true Trek fan, you'll love this book too.

-S4
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Old March 21st, 2007, 09:10 AM
Andrew Boulton Andrew Boulton is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Supplement Four:
Kirk is "feeling out" his new first officer.
The word "slash" will not pass my lips...
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Old March 21st, 2007, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Andrew Boulton:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Supplement Four:
Kirk is "feeling out" his new first officer.
The word "slash" will not pass my lips... </font>[/QUOTE]Would "sizing up" be a more appropriate term perhaps...? Heh....
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Old March 21st, 2007, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Supplement Four:
With Mitchell's death, Spock is promoted to first officer--and this is where Kirk & Co. do their cameo in the book. Kirk is "feeling out" his new first officer.
Heh! I remember, many, many years ago, getting a set of Enterprise blueprints (official, mind you) with information about the various crew positions and ranks and noticing that the Enterprise is supposed to have an XO for a first officer (in addition to and outranking Science Officer Spock) and also chief Navigation and Communication officers with the rank of Lt. Commander, outranking Sulu and Uhura. I concocted the theory that those three officers spent all their time stuffed away on the auxiliary bridge waiting to take over when some enemy with two brain cells to rub together took out the extremely exposed main bridge .

Or maybe the Enterprise lost those three officers shortly before the first season started and Starfleet bureaucracy took over three years to get around to replacing them...


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Old March 21st, 2007, 04:27 PM
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My star trek Fu is low these days, but do I not recall at least passing refernces that Spock was filling two positions.

As I recall it was an unusual occurance, but on of the oddities of being so far out from the central command, and semi-autonomus.

While several episodes touched on Star fleet having tight control in specific situations (, primarily when established treaties were involved,) Kirk had almost unlimited autonomy in first contact, and encounters outside esablished treaties.

I could be filtering some fan stuff or other non francise sources, but I thought that issue had come up at somme point.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 11:38 PM
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Anybody recognize Commander Clark Terrel, first officer of the scout USS Sagittarius? That's the captain of the USS Reliant in The Wrath of Khan--the one who commits suicide with a phaser when the roach-bug-things are in his ear.

The Sagittarius is an "Archer" class scout, obviously a nod to the Enterprise TV series. And the USS Bombay is a Miranda class cruiser. The Mirandas were upgraded to the Reliant class later in the Trek timeline (so the Miranda's have the basic hull design of the Reliant).

I always liked that design.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 11:41 PM
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Also note that the Enterprise Chief Medical Officer is Dr. Piper, who was Christopher Pike's CMO in "The Cage".

We see McCoy come aboard Enterprise in the first novel.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 04:48 PM
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Thanks for the tip Supplement Four!!!

I devoured the first book in under a day...

have just started the second book...

and am impatiently waiting for book three in May.

These books are a gold mine!

Thanks again! [img]smile.gif[/img]
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