Star Trek #1614: War Stories, Book 1

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: S.C.E. #21, Pocket Books, October 2002

CREATORS: Keith R.A. DeCandido

STARDATE: 53675.1 (frame tale, after previous book in the series); 51246.9 (Lense's story, just before You Are Cordially Invited); 52601.6 (Bart's story, during final 10 episodes of DS9); 52646.1 (Sonya's story, right after Extreme Measures).

PLOT: Androssi Overseer Biron, sick of being stymied by the crew of the da Vinci, gets his hands on its crew members' logs, and reads those parts relevant to the Dominion War. In these, Dr. Elizabeth Lense deals with the loss of most of her sickbay aboard the Lexington, linguist Bart Faulwell finds a way to break a Dominion code, and Sonya Gomez takes part in a mission to destroy a Dominion facility in the last days of the war.

CONTINUITY: Overseer Biron first clashed with the Da Vinci in Cold Fusion (S.C.E. #6), then in Here There Be Monsters (#10). The Lense story takes place aboard the Lexington, her first posting as per the DS9 episode Explorers. She has just spent time being grilled in case she was genetically engineered like Bashir, a direct result of Dr. Bashir, I Presume. The Robert Picardo EMH puts in an appearance. Bart's story tells of how he met Lt. Commander Anthony Mark, a long-distance relationship introduced in S.C.E. #2, Fatal Error. Bart's team helps defend the Setlik system from a Dominion attack; Setlik III was the site of a massacre during the Federation-Cardassian conflict (The Wounded). DaiMon Bikk, who sells Bart's group Dominion linguistic databases, helped facilitate Dukat's deal with the Dominion. Sonya Gomez left the Enterprise-D a week after the events of Disaster (3 seasons after her last onscreen appearance). In her story, she sees and talks to O'Brien on Deep Space Nine, and takes part in a meeting that includes Sisko, Ross and Martok. Orias III is a ship-building facility during the Dominion War, as it was in Improbable Cause/The Die Is Cast.

DIVERGENCES: The Children of Tama (Darmok) are erroneously called the Children of Tamar. The USS Sentinel, an Akira-class ship in this story is a prominent Sovereign-class in the Star Trek computer games.

SCREENSHOT OF THE WEEK - The Sentinel is almost caught by a Breen vessel.

REVIEW: S.C.E. ebooks are already pretty short, so turning one into an anthology of even shorter stories does tend to leave the reader wanting a bit more meat on the bone. Still, bringing back the da Vinci's recurring enemy is always interesting (and the Androssi are DeCandido's creation, so he's the writer to do it), and in his trade for the logs, he comes off as extremely ruthless. The three stories he delves into are all at least fine. I feel like Dr. Lense is nobody's favorite character, but she's very competent in her war tale, and I enjoyed seeing her spark off other members of her old crew. Bart IS one of my favorite characters - as I'm naturally more interested in linguistics than engineering, and he's given the most relevant background (how he started dating Mark), even if his mission is relatively low on thrills. Sonya's mission is the most exciting, right in the middle of the action, but I somewhat resent it spending so much time on memories of the Enterprise. With a low page count, do we really need this kind of padding? The best thing about this third tale is that you really get a sustained engineering POC of a ship battle, and HER former crew on the Sentinel, while quickly drawn, hold some interest too. War Stories Book 1 is a brief affair, and I'm hoping Book 2 won't be just more of the same, but actually have Biron act on the information he's collected.