Thursday, November 14, 2013

Invincible, Part One

Star Trek: S.C.E. #7
Invincible, Part One of Two by David Mack and Keith R.A. Decandido
Published August 2001
Re-released in print form as part of the S.C.E. compilation Miracle Workers in February 2002.
Read February 25th 2013

Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #6: Cold Fusion
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #8: Invincible, Part Two of Two

Original ebook cover

Compilation of S.C.E. #5 - 8: | |

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

From the back cover:
One of the SCE's top officers, Commander Sonya Gomez, is assigned to supervise a project on the crystal planet of Sarindar -- helping the reclusive and hostile Nalori harness a valuable new ore. Morale is low and the project is behind schedule. Gomez must get the workers up to speed and on track -- a task made more difficult by the Nalori workers, who do not want her there even though their government does. 
Just when Gomez begins to gain their trust, two workers are killed by a mysterious local animal called a shii. Gomez must learn the secret of the shii before it kills again...

My thoughts:

In Invincible, we learn what Commander Sonya Gomez was up to while the rest of the da Vinci crew battled the Androssi for control of Empok Nor. The reclusive and somewhat xenophobic Nalori have invited Starfleet to assist them in extracting a mineral called chimerium from one of their planets, Sarindar. Gomez is sent to take charge of the project, which has been marred by setback after setback. At first, the workers resent her presence, both because she is from the Federation and because she is a woman. However, Gomez manages to begin to get the project back on track despite the attitude of the workers under her command. However, things take a turn for the worse when a large creature, seemingly an oversized "shii," attacks the work camp. When the creature is killed by Gomez, the threat seems to be over. Unfortunately, as part one comes to a close, it is apparent that the danger is far greater than initially believed...

is a different sort of story from what most readers of Star Trek fiction would typically be used to. Told in series of log entries and letters, the narrative is presented in the first-person, a rarity for Trek fiction. The style works for the story, for the most part. Of course, Gomez's log entries are far more detailed and verbose than the one or two sentence entries we usually got during the various Trek television series.

In the course of the story, we learn a little more about Commander Gomez and her career in Starfleet since her two appearances in the second season of The Next Generation. There are also some interesting revelations about the currently-in-limbo relationship between Gomez and Duffy. In addition, a few of the secondary characters get some interesting development. In particular, I enjoyed learning about Kejahna, the Nalori "second in command" of the Sarindar project. Also of note is a Bolian by the name of Zilder, who turns out to be an evangelical believer who tries to convert everyone he encounters. Evangelism is something that isn't explored all that often in Star Trek, so I'm curious to see where his story goes in part two.

Final thoughts:

A very interesting setup here in part one, and a cliffhanger ending that makes me eager to find out what happens. The first-person narrative style is interesting, and a departure from the norm is always welcome. Good character development and a suspenseful tone made this story one worth reading. Here's hoping that the payoff in part two is just as good!

My next read:

Next review: S.C.E. #8: Invincible, Part Two by David Mack and Keith R.A. DeCandido.

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