Enigma ShipBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at October 29, 2002 - 12:09 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #20: Enigma Ship
Authors: J. Steven York and Christina F. York
Publication Date: October 2002
Enigma Ship, the latest Starfleet Corps of Engineers eBook, is a delightful read that any fan of this series is sure to appreciate. Husband and wife J. Steven York and Christina F. York, who are known for their short fiction, have done an outstanding job capturing the regular characters while expertly executing an inventive and captivating plot.
While escorting a couple of privately owned freighters, the Intrepid-class USS Lincoln mysteriously disappears into thin air. When the USS da Vinci is assigned the search and rescue mission the crew discovers that the Lincoln is trapped within a huge holographic vessel. The Quanta, the aliens controlling the ship, are telepathic and have the ability to sense what a person would expect, or want, to see and to recreate that environment so perfectly that it is almost impossible to tell what is real and what is not. It takes the combined ingenuity of this unusual crew to affect a rescue that unexpectedly liberates more than just the ensnared Starfleet officers.
Reading should be fun, and reading this S.C.E. story is pure bliss. It is satisfactory in every way. The well-balanced narrative has fun with the characters without stepping over the line and becoming incongruous. One scene in the mess hall of the da Vinci is a perfect example. As Lieutenant Commander Kieran Duffy works on a design he’s been playing with for his ideal S.C.E. ship, various crewmembers drift over and put in their two cents worth. The dialogue is playful, filled with the type of banter you’d find at any gathering of family or friends who genuinely enjoy being together.
Reginald Barclay gets a small cameo in this story and a new crewmember is introduced -- Ensign Deo, a Betazoid officer who recently transferred and is serving as the beta shift conn officer. The character of 'Pappy' Omthon, the second mate of one of the civilian freighters, is perfect for the role he plays in the story, as is Captain Newport of the USS Lincoln. But as lighthearted as the story is in many ways, when the climax arrives the effect is perfect, leaving you breathless for a moment at the sheer audacity of the resolution.
If you are not yet reading this enjoyable and engaging series you are really missing something special and unique. I can’t resist paraphrasing a passage from Enigma Ship as it describes this series perfectly. "S.C.E. ships don’t go looking for battles, nor do they seek out strange new worlds. Often enough, these things find them…This ship and her crew face battles of a completely different kind, and together they make discoveries no less profound, no less important…everywhere they go, they leave things better, things built, repaired, restored, improved. They make a difference."
Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.