S.C.E. #45: The Art Of The DealBy Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at December 23, 2004 - 8:10 AM GMT
Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #45, The Art of the Deal
Author: Glenn Greenberg
Release Date: November 2004
The Art of the Deal, the 45th Starfleet Corps of Engineers tale in this monthly eBook series, marks a return to Star Trek writing for author Glenn Greenberg, who last visited the Trek universe when he wrote Star Trek: Untold Voyages for Marvel Comics. This auspicious S.C.E. debut demonstrates that Greenberg knows how to tell a good tale no matter what format he writes in.
In The Art of the Deal the U.S.S. da Vinci is sent to the planet Vemlar to aid in the construction of a new research-and-development facility as part of a deal struck between Starfleet and interstellar business tycoon Rod Portlyn. It soon becomes apparent that there is more to Portlyn's business dealings than meets the eye when a group of unhappy former employees of Portlyn's called the Taru Bolivar tries to sabotage the Vemlar project. Portlyn has friends in high places but when he tries to pull a fast one on Captain Gold, he soon finds out that the Gold is not without resources of his own.
Rod Portlyn is an intriguing character and it is refreshing to meet a nefarious business tycoon in a Star Trek story that isn't either a buffoon or a Ferengi. Instead Greenberg has created a true villain, cold-blooded and absolutely ruthless. The author left a clever opening for the character to potentially return someday and it would be very interesting to see Portlyn tangle with the da Vinci again.
The overall characterizations are spot on, particularly Corsi, who really gets a chance to stand out in this story. But it is Patti who has what has to be one of the coolest scenes I've read in a Star Trek story in quite some time. There are also numerous fun trek references seamlessly sprinkled throughout the tight narrative.
Despite the picture of Captain Picard on the cover with Gold, the Enterprise has only a very minor role to play in the plot. Any Starfleet vessel could have filled the Enterprise's role in the story but it is a nice addition and in no way takes away from the focus on the primary characters.
The Art of the Dealhas everything you expect in an S.C.E. story, especially originality. This is indeed one very good tale.
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.