When I was younger, living in Bermuda, back in 1986, I would hit the rather meagre offerings in the book racks of the American Exchange store which served Canadian, British and American forces as our mult-need department store.
I would grab each Trek book I came across, and would tear through them, devouring the adventures that were created. Dreadnought! is one of the last of the Star Trek novels to feature author created characters as the lead, relegating Kirk, Spock and the rest of the stalwart crew of the Enterprise to secondary characters.
Shortly after this book (well the sequel) Parmount and Pocket Books became a little more strict when it comes to Trek stories.
I remember reading this one as a teen and greatly enjoying it, and I wondered if I would still feel the same way. It does something that doesn’t happen a lot in Trek stories, it’s told from a first person viewpoint.
Set during the original Five Year mission, but after the events of the Original Series, we accompany Lieutenant Piper, a captaincy candidate who is requested by Kirk to join the crew of the Enterprise. Stunned by the assignment, the truth comes out, that for some reason, she is connected to a group of terrorists who have just seized a new, incredibly powerful dreadnought, Star Empire, and is demanding to talk to her.
Piper, and her friends, a vulcan named Sarda, Merete, and Scanner find themselves caught up in a conspiracy, and a battle that may shake Starfleet and the Federation to its core, if they survive.
Piper, to me as a teen, and to me now, seems like a real person, she has faults, doubts, and is a fun character on top of that. She doesn’t know and can’t do everything, and needs the help of her friends, as well as Kirk to get through everything.
It’s a fast-moving story that entertains and despite not using tons of Kirk and company, is still very much, believably, in the same universe. Yes, there are a couple of liberties taken with the Enterprise – the idea that a number of locations could have holoprojectors doesn’t quite work, and there are a few other picks to nit but overall, I still enjoy this tale.
Everything boots along and while the revelation of the villain, and their plan isn’t really a big surprise, it’s still done in an enjoyable way.
It’s funny, reading this now, and having seen all incarnations of Star Trek, the dreadnought reminds of the U.S.S. Vengeance in Into Darkness.
I very much liked this story, and was delighted that it held up as much as I remembered it.
The Human Adventure continues…