Monday, May 1, 2017

Captain to Captain

Captain to Captain
© 2016 Greg Cox
368 pages

Captain Kirk is surprised to be hailed by the formidable former first officer of the Enterprise, a woman so accomplished she still retains the nickname "Number One", enroute to a little shore leave. Her stated goal is to visit the Enterprise, where she was once such a commanding presence that her voice is still the model for the shipboard computer's audio output.  Her unstated goal is to remove something from a secret vault on the ship that only the captain and his first officer -- and only the captains and first officers  before him -- know about. She has unfinished business with the device,  born of a tragedy incurred while she was a young lieutenant on the Enterprise, and before it's too late she wants to make whatever amends she can.

Captain to Captain is the first in a trilogy of books by different authors, celebrating Star Trek's fiftieth anniversary, and should entice Trekkies immediately with the promise of exploring the mysterious character of Number One.  Appearingly only in Trek's pilot episode, she played the logical and unemotional first officer, alongside a...well, not quite unemotional Mister Spock.  According to Gene Roddenberry, he was told by network officials that he must get rid of the woman and the alien, so he 'married the woman and kept the alien, not being able to do it the other way around'. Of course, the woman wasn't so hard to get rid of: Majel Roddenberry would return quickly as Nurse Chapel, the voice of the computer in every series but Enterprise,  and Lwaxana Troi. But that was later. Number One was the original.

We learn quickly that she is from a planet which is not Earth, and which has given her a name unpronounceable to most Federation Standard ears:  she simply uses the monicker "Una", a nickname from her Academy years, as her given name. Following her cat burglary aboard the Enterprise,  the book switches to her original mission, under Captain Robert April. Here she is cool and confident, but not impersonal; she has a strong attachment to several of her crewmembers, even indulging one in many jokes despite his being directly under her command.  Perhaps she embraced more reserve after the tragedy that befell her assignment, which started after the Enterprise discovered a formerly-visited planet had suddenly been invaded by a mysterious citadel of obvious alien origin, which was busy destroying rain-forests, enslaving the locals, and being very poor neighbors altogether. 

Captain to Captain begins as a mystery before quickly developing into an action novel, one which peaked a bit early (4/5ths in) and then threw in the Klingons to keep things exciting. I only bought it for Number One and Cox, and got my money's worth, but could see pursuing the rest of the trilogy later. The second book is by David Mack, for pete's sake. 


  1. I always wanted to know more about Number One. It is really cool that this book delves into her character more.

    I understand that the new Star Trek series takes place around the same time as "The Cage" did. Perhaps we will see Number One on the screen again.

    1. I have heard that she will be a character, but I have zero interest in the new series. I think it will have the incessant preaching of Picard and the cheap violence of Abrams, without the substance and wonder of the early shows..

  2. I liked 'The Cage' very much. Such a shame that the original pilot had to be re-done to make it acceptable to the networks (though the less said about the original Spock the better!). I'll give the new series a few episodes before I make up my mind. Some of the series take a while to find their feet.

  3. I've read a couple of the star trek books, one was great, the others were ho hum... I've been interested in sk for a long On my way!, tho... Tx for the post


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