Star Trek #1648: Ishtar Rising, Book 1

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: S.C.E. #30, Pocket Books, August 2003

CREATORS: Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels

STARDATE: Unknown, but leading up to 53798.2 (after Aftermath)

PLOT: Project Ishtar is trying to terraform Venus, but it's an almost impossible task, and after suffering a setback and Bynaus threatening to pull their funding and the Bynar pair they lent the effort (as they hope to use the data to revive their own world). The project leader hears that the USS da Vinci has a Bynar pair who could increase his processing power, contacts his old friend Captain Gold. Of course, Gold no longer has a pair, just Soloman, who the project's pair don't want to work with. "Singletons" are abhorrent to them. Soloman does his work without the benefit of direct connection, and the first necessary step seems to work - Venus' toxic atmosphere is vented off the planet. However, the sudden change in pressure makes magma explode from its every pore and the terraforming stations will be swallowed up in a matter of hours...

CONTINUITY: The terraformer speaks to holograms of Gideon Seyetik (DS9's Second Sight) and Kurt Mandl (Home Soil). Though the other Bynars refuse to connect with Soloman, this is the first instance and mention of Trynars (Lower Decks' Old Friends, New Planets). There are terraforming stations on Venus at least since Past Tense. The Bynars are still reeling from their star going nova in 11001001.

In Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow's alternate timeline, Venus has been terraformed and colonized by the mid-23rd Century, which belies the difficulty experienced by the Ishtar Project. Venus' atmosphere is described as yellow, just like the real Venus', despite the cover artist using green on both books.

SCREENSHOT OF THE WEEK - The surface of Venus
REVIEW: Soloman didn't get very much to do in the "Breakdowns" arc, but they were keeping him for this. His chosen status as a lone Bynar makes him a pariah in his culture and we're right there with Gomez (who's finally being portrayed as other than sad) and her outrage at the pair's overt discrimination. We're inside Soloman's head for parts of this, understanding what it means to be connected (it's a little Borg-like, honestly) and not, and we're reminded of why he chose this. There's also a duty to his homeworld, the future of which also hangs in the balance at a more abstract level here. As for Project Ishtar, I agree with Corsi that this is entirely unnecessary, and motivated more by hubris that anything else. However, the science is well researched and how it's to be done, what consequences arise, etc. are anchored in reality without feeling like turgid Hard SF. Oh, and Carl Sagan cameo. Of course, like Ishtar itself, which could only be realized over years, it's just a Part 1. And at these page counts, I'm always a little dubious of the value. Ishtar Rising could have been a lone 80-pager.