Thursday, May 16, 2013

Interphase, Part One

Star Trek: S.C.E. #4
Interphase, Part One of Two by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Published February 2001
Read January 27th 2013

Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #3: Hard Crash
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #5: Interphase, Part Two of Two

Originally published as an ebook. Later published as part of the S.C.E. compilation Have Tech, Will Travel in January 2002.

Compilation of the first four SCE stories
Original ebook cover

Click here to purchase the Star Trek: S.C.E. omnibus #1, Have Tech, Will Travel from!

Spoilers ahead for Interphase, Part One and the rest of the Corps of Engineers series!

From the back cover:
More than a century ago, the U.S.S. Defiant disappeared with all hands into an interspatial rift deep in Tholian territory. Now the derelict ship has been seen drifting in and out of ordinary space, and the Tholian authorities have reluctantly agreed to let Starfleet retrieve the Defiant from the rift. Perhaps, at long last, the lost ship can be brought home and its valiant crew paid their final respects. Captain David Gold and an S.C.E. team from the U.S.S. da Vinci succeed in boarding the Defiant, but their investigation soon uncovers a dangerous secret. For more than a hundred years, an ancient super-weapon has been hidden away within the scarred and lifeless starship, along with evidence of a long-forgotten atrocity -- evidence that could ignite a vast interstellar war!

My thoughts:

The U.S.S. Defiant, NCC-1764, trapped in interphase
"The Tholian Web" was one of my favourite Original Series episodes when I was a kid, and I found the mystery of "interphase" and the fate of the Starship Defiant to be very compelling. In Interphase, the S.C.E. crew aboard the U.S.S. da Vinci has a hand in deciding the ultimate fate of that tragic vessel. Lost in a rift for a century, the Defiant is discovered by the Tholians in their space. The da Vinci is assigned to the salvage operation, and heads into Tholian space to recover the lost starship. Captain Gold leads a team aboard the historic vessel in order to get it out of the interphasic rift, while the da Vinci holds position outside the rift, all under the watchful gaze of the Tholians.

Kieran Duffy, second officer of the da Vinci
For the most part, I enjoyed the first part of this two-part story. Each of the characters gets something interesting to do. We get to see Captain Gold in action, and through him we experience the reverence that people of this generation have for the twenty-third century and what (to them) are the pioneering days of space exploration for the Federation. Other characters, such as Dr. Lense and the Nasat crewmember, P8 Blue ("Pattie"), each get their chance to shine in the book. Of special note is Lt. Commander Duffy, who commands the bridge of the da Vinci for an extended period for the first time. I'm interested to see where his command goes in the next part of the story.

One character I'm not really warming up to yet is the chief of security, Lt. Commander Domenica Corsi. However, I believe that this is by design. Her abrupt manner makes the rest of the crew bristle, and to be perfectly frank, it makes me uncomfortable as well.

One bonus of using the S.C.E. series to tell the story of the Defiant is the fact that the series features a character who was present for the events of "The Tholian Web": Captain Montgomery Scott, the head of the Corps of Engineers. At the beginning of the book, he expresses a desire to be on-hand for the recovery, but alas, there is not enough time for him to accompany the mission. His first-hand knowledge of events of over a century ago provide for an interesting dynamic in the beginning of this story.

The cliffhanger ending was a good one, and it made me eager to go on to part two. I do find it odd that part one of this story is in Have Tech, Will Travel, but readers have to wait for the next volume, Miracle Workers, if they wish to read the second part. I personally would have preferred to have both stories collected in the same omnibus.

Final thoughts:

An interesting beginning to what I think will wind up being a very compelling story. The Tholians are engaging and enigmatic antagonists, and I enjoy seeing them used in Trek fiction. The cliffhanger ending works very well, and each of the featured characters are placed in positions where they are being tested, Duffy most of all. I'm eager to read the second half of the story and see where it all ends up. It is somewhat unfortunate that this story isn't compatible continuity-wise with the Enterprise two-parter "In a Mirror, Darkly." However, this isn't a roadblock to enjoying the story; each of the "versions" of the events surrounding the final fate of the Defiant can be enjoyed regardless of their incompatibility.

Thus ends the first four S.C.E. stories! I hope you enjoyed the week's reviews all posted in a row. I'll very likely do something similar when I get around to reviewing the next S.C.E. collection, Miracle Workers.

Also by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore:

My next read:

Next review will be for Alan Dean Foster's novelization of the new film, Star Trek Into Darkness. Coming soon!

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