S.C.E. #60: The Clean UpBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at March 14, 2006 - 6:01 PM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers, #60: The Clean Up
Author: Robert T. Jeschonek
Release Date: February 2006
Over the years there have been numerous alien species that have appeared in a single Star Trek episode but then we never really hear much about them again. One such species, the Miradorn, were seen in the Deep Space Nine episode "Vortex". At long last fans have the opportunity to learn more about the Miradorn and their world in the excellent Starfleet Corps of Engineers tale The Clean Up by Robert T. Jeschonek.
During the Dominion War, the Miradorn allied themselves with the Dominion. Now, in the wake of the Alpha Quadrant's victory in that war, the Miradorn are eager to improve their relationship with the Federation, especially in light of the numerous dangerous devices the Dominion left behind.
When one of the Dominion's booby traps kills a Miradorn scientist named Or-Lin, the U.S.S. da Vinci is dispatched to deactivate the rest of the devices before they become responsible for wiping out the entire Miradorn species. But the only one who can help them is Or-Lin's twin, Em-Lin, who is still devastated by the death of her sister.
One of the things that Star Trek novels sometimes do very well is to build on what we know about various alien cultures from the episodes and movies and expand on that to form a richer and more complete picture of the species. The Clean Up is an ideal example of that.
Jeschonek packs a lot into the plot and the story moves quickly. As the characters deal with one new crisis after another the tension builds very effectively. Despite the tension though, the narrative maintains a light tone with flashes of wry humor. The stories theme of forgiveness is clear without beating you over the head.
The characterization of the regular S.C.E. characters is wonderful but one of the things I found most enjoyable about The Clean Up is that the story provides an opportunity to get to know Assistant Chief of Security Vance Hawkins a bit better.
This is Jeschonekís first S.C.E. tale, his contributions to Star Trek fiction up to this point being short stories in three Strange New Worlds Volumes (he won the Grand Prize in Volume VI with "Our Million Year Mission"), the New Frontier anthology No Limits and the Voyager anthology Distant Shores. Jeschonek handles a longer format just as well and I look forward to his future contributions to the Star Trek universe.
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.