Mr. Duffy, did I ever tell ye what the most frightenin’ words I ever heard spoken on the bridge of a starship were? Well, here they are: “Mr. Scott, you have the conn.”.
-Captain Montgomery Scott
The second novelization of the e-book series involving the tech folks in Starfleet has an interesting range of stories this time around. We get a conclusion to a two part story (from Have Tech, Will Travel), a surprise encounter aboard a Cardassian space station, and what could be considered a part murder mystery, part slash flick.
The first story on this one is “Interphase, Book Two”. As with the first book, “Interphase” was written by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore. When last we encountered the S.C.E., one team was aboard the Constitution Class U. S. S. Defiant, lost in the interspatial rift where it has been for over one hundred years. The rest of the gang is aboard the da Vinci, dealing with Tholians who have inexplicably begun to attack. This story does a decent job of balancing the action elements with the problem-solving ones, as Lt. Commander Duffy (second officer of the da Vinci) deals with the rather unfamiliar situation of commanding a starship in battle, while the team aboard the Defiant work to not only escape interspace, but deal with the revelations about how the Defiant got into this mess in the first place.
The second story is “Cold Fusion”, and this offering was written by Keith R. A. DeCandido. This book actually takes place in between Deep Space Nine novels Avatar and Abyss. The S.C.E. is called in to aid Deep Space Nine in repairing the damage done to it in the events of Avatar, and with the help of Lieutenant Nog of DS9, they go to scavenge the fusion core from Empok Nor, a similarly built Cardassian space station long abandoned…or so they think. We also get a look at a group of aliens called the Androssi, who are just as tech-savvy as the S.C.E., but are interested in profit (hm…techno-Ferengi….). The story also shows that the S.C.E. had just as exciting a career before the time of these stories.
The final story was released as two e-books originally. “Invincible” was written by David Mack and Keith R. A. DeCandido. “Invincible” takes place at the same time as “Cold Fusion”, and centers on Sonya Gomez on the world of Sarindar; because of her experience and knowledge of subspace accelerators. Unfortunately, between native superstitions and some ugly surprises, Sonya finds that she’s gotten more than she’s bargained for on this assignment. Because this story was originally released as a two parter, it takes up the bulk of the book; I also found this to be the most interesting, as it focused only on a single Starfleet character, working under rather stressful circumstances (which I won’t go too much into here). It also shows some of the usual blind spots that Starfleet officers have in this kind of situation.
Miracle Workers follows the same vein as Have Tech, Will Travel; while there were fewer stories in this book, they were substantially more interesting, hinting at a deeper history behind the characters and developing them further. That really can’t be all that easy with the average size of the stories, but I find the pacing to be just fine. One issue I did have with this book was the extra pages-nearly 100-dedicated to a minipedia detailing information from these two books. To be honest, I’d have rather scrapped that and included another story (of course, I say this without any knowledge on which e-book followed “Invincible”, so perhaps it was the lesser of two evils). I wasn’t fond of the minipedia for New Frontier books, and I’m equally unenthused about this one. Aside from that detail, though, I found Miracle Workers to be a solid book, and worth a read.