Star Trek 849: Hard Crash

849. Hard Crash

PUBLICATION: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #3, Pocket eBooks, October 2000 (collected into print with first 4 S.C.E. ebooks as Have Tech, Will Travel in January 2002)

CREATORS: Christie Golden

STARDATE: Unknown (follows last book in the series)

PLOT: An alien ship crashes into a pleasure planet's capital city. The crew of the da Vinci investigates. Finding the pilot dead, they send her body to sickbay, which makes the alien vessel react violently, destroying more of the city and almost killing 110 the Bynar trying to interface with it. An autopsy suggests Borg implants, but a found log proves something else entirely. The vessel is called Friend and on a mission to find a habitable world for the pilot's war-oppressed people. When 110 recovers, he offers to interface with the ship, which he deems friendly, again. Doing so, he convinces Friend that they only want to help, which the Federation ultimately does. 110 decides to stay aboard the da Vinci as Soloman (solo man).

CONTINUITY: The da Vinci has an EMH (but not a Mark I or a Mark II). Autopsies are done using holographic representations of the creature, which reminds one of Nothing Human on Voyager (information sent to the Alpha Quadrant? parallel innovations?). Geordi returns to the Enterprise-E, allowing Picard to log an appearance.


CASTING PHOTOS OF THE WEEK - The previous few characters were easy to cast (see The Belly of the Beast and Fatal Error) because they actually came PRE-cast. Not so the following. I did a little research and checked out what others have suggested on various bulletin boards, and these are what I ended up with: Marjorie Monahan as security chief Domenica Corsi (perfect, and she's been in Trek before); Hugh Laurie as linguist Bart Faulwell (especially hard to find a bearded man in his early 50s that fit the bill); and Mariska Hargitay as anthropologist Carol Abramowitz (looks just like the drawings of Carol*).
REVIEW: The weakness of these short ebooks is that to further the plot, there are often sections that I will generously call infodumps. Golden's are rather awkward too. However, she doesn't skimp on the characterization, especially at the beginning and end of the story. It's a good compromise, better than wall to wall plot featuring cardboard cut-outs. If Gomez was the main character of book 1, and 110 of book 2, book 3 fleshes out the ship's linguist/cryptographer Bart Faulwell. Lo and behold, he's Star Trek's first gay cast member. The shows have always shied away from that particular aspect of diversity, and it took a while before someone decided to do so even in a non-canon spin-off, but there he is, writing to his partner. Bart is an interesting, if shy, character, and since Hoshi was one of my favorites on Enterprise, I'm stoked about seeing another linguist in Starfleet. Golden also advances the relationship between Gomez and Duffy, former flames brought back together by circumstances but taking it very slow (I'm liking Gomez in that moment). 110's initial arc turns him into Soloman, Corsi shows the first signs of an intriguing vulnerability, and there's a very effective medical procedural using Dr. Lense and a new EMH character called Emmett. Captain Gold also seems more real to me now. As for the plot, it's a good frame to hang the characterization on, nicely devoid the dungeon delving antics of the first two books.


Alden said...

Hugh Laurie in Star trek would be the epitome of Star trek awesomeness. House would be such a better doctor than Crusher.

Siskoid said...

Of course, Bart is a very different role from House, quiet and sweet, but I still think it would work.


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