Starfleet Corps Of Engineers: Buying TimeBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at October 17, 2003 - 4:41 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #32, Buying Time
Author: Robert Greenberger
Release Date: October 2003
This month's S.C.E. eBook, Buying Time, is a pleasant change of pace for the series. The last few stories have been very serious so this light and amusing time-travelling tale by Robert Greenberger is a welcome variation. Maintaining a nice balance between the investigative elements and the humor, Greenberger displays a nimble technique that allows the reader to experience the recent past of Ferenginar within the framework of a quick, tight plot.
Called upon to investigate the origin of chroniton waves causing navigational difficulties in the Ludugian system, the da Vinci discovers that a Ferengi named Lant has stumbled across a time travel device, which he has been utilising to dramatically increase his profits. When Lant escapes into the past the only way to stop him is to follow him back. Posing as a Tellarite trader, Commander Tev, accompanied by Lieutenant Commander Corsi, Commander Gomez and Cultural Specialist Carol Abramowitz, must track Lant down and undo his tampering before they themselves become trapped in history.
While he idea of female Starfleet personnel being forced to shed their clothes in order to accomplish a mission on Ferenginar in the past is central to the amusement value of Buying Time, it is the portrayal of the characters and the author's ability to bring the heart of Ferengi society, the halls of commerce, to life that really makes this story work so well. The attention Greenberger gives to the small details is impressive and it is those very details that makes reading Buying Time so much fun. For example, the story offers the chance to see Brunt before his rise to power as a FCA liquidator, or Soloman and Pattie's debate about the pros and cons of time travel and the far reaching effects of the Temporal Cold War. Life back aboard the da Vinci isn't neglected either as the crew awaits the outcome of the mission.
It will be interesting to see if the S.C.E. stories that follow Buying Time pursue some of the elements introduced here. As far as that goes only time will tell, but in the meantime if you're looking for a pleasant diversion you need look no further than the entertainment provided by downloading Buying Time.
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.