Star Trek: Legacies: Book 2: Best Defense by veteran Trek author David Mack is the middle installment in the Legacies trilogy commemorating 50 years of Star Trek.
“A debt of honor: One brave woman ventures alone into a parallel universe to save her old shipmates, exiled there decades earlier by a mysterious device called the Transfer Key. She soon learns the alternate universe harbors not just an alien invasion force, but a secret that underpins its very existence. A mission of peace: A long-awaited Klingon-Federation peace conference convenes, led by Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan and Councillor Gorkon of Qo’noS. But both sides have enemies who would prefer the two great powers remain at war—and who will do anything to make certain hate wins the day. An errand of justice: Captain Kirk and his crew seek the stolen Transfer Key that opens a door between universes, but their hunt is cut short by Ambassador Sarek’s plea for help. The Enterprise crew soon becomes targets in a deadly crossfire—one whose outcome will decide the fate of two universes.”
While this book builds on story elements from book one, it leaves a lot of the alternate universe stuff –where Una went to at the end of book one- as subplot (which is actually a good thing and a bad one) as it focuses on negotiations of a treaty between the Federation and the Klingons. Once again, a novel in the Pocket Book line-up uses a previous TV series episode as springboard to extend Errand of Mercy (among others) plotline, where the Romulans attempted to cause a war. And while this is a logical extension –if you can excuse the phrase- of that story, I find the adding of Joanna McCoy to the story as too much convenience and coincidence.
I mean, yes it makes sense Ambassador Sarek and his human wife Amanda our on Centaurus for these negotiations, and maybe it’s even logical Gorkon, only a Klingon Councillor here, is present also, but the happenstance Centaurus being a medical training facility and Joanna McCoy studying there is just too annoying for me. Yes, it adds drama to the story, yes it gives Doctor McCoy something more to do than trade bards with Spock, but it’s also bad storytelling.
I’m also annoyed at both the Romulans and the Klingons, as there is no subtly to them. It’s all very black and white with them, and it amazes me that they’re not on the same side (or have been destroyed by their stupidity). Sure, the Romulans are sneakier in their strategy, while the Klingons are openly aggressive, but both believe in honor. At some point, I’m saying, they could put some of their difference aside and work together, for both have the same goal: destroying the Federation alliances. There were passages in this book that made me roll my eyes, especially with the Romulans and their human Tal Shair officer –something that seemed out of place.
Meanwhile, the events in the alternate universe function as a subplot this time, as it appears its all set up for the final book in this trilogy. Which, I noted was good and bad. Part of the problem is that Mack was obviously hobbled by an uninteresting plotline. The events happening on Usilde are not very interesting to say the least and not spending much time there is good thing. The bad part, of course, is the reader assumes on the books blurbs that we’ll be spending time in this different universe. Which we don’t.
As I pick up the third book here, I’m hoping for an exciting adventure, even if I already know how this is going to end. Once again, this is another issue with these extended universe books of Star Trek (and Star Wars). You know how they’re going to end, you know that none of the main crew is going to die; you know that Joanna McCoy is going to survive and I can probably guess Una is going to sacrifice herself in the last book.
These books are fine to read between better novels, I guess, but I’m still hoping for a Star Trek book that tries to be different, original, and less dependent on any previous episode for the TV series. But I also know that won’t happen. So I may end up just stop reading them again.