A while back, I read and reviewed Dayton Ward’s From History’s Shadow, an original series novel in that covered and expanded on threads found in original series Star Trek (TOS: Season 2, Episode 26 “Assignment Earth”), Deep Space Nine (DS9 Season 4, Episode 8 “Little Green Men), as well as Enterprise (ENT: Season 2, Episode 2 “Carbon Creek). That one was a unique view not only bringing together three of my favorite episodes of Trek, but adding a lot more, including real-world history that resulted in a stand alone, fun, and entertaining bit of writing. It was sincerely my hope that the author would see fit to write a sequel.
Well, I am happy to say that Dayton did follow up with a new story entitled Elusive Salvation.
While History’s Shadow was set about a week after the events of Assignment Earth, Elusive Salvation takes place about two years before the events of Wrath of Kahn, but also spans three different time periods.
In 1945, around the around the time the UFO phenomenon was just in its infancy, an alien ship crash lands in the Arctic with members of a race of beings that are fleeing from oppression. The aliens are able to survive thanks to their wits and their technology while waiting for rescue from their own people. In 2283, Admiral James T. Kirk is assigned to Starfleet Command performing some rather mundane duties including lecturing Starfleet Academy cadets as they prepare for their own careers. On board the Enterprise, Captain Spock takes trainees on cruises and Dr. McCoy conducts research on Jupiter Station. All is well until an unidentified ship enters the solar system and takes up orbit near Neptune, Kirk is reassigned to Enterprise and he and Spock go to investigate the new arrival. In 1970, Gary Seven’s now trained and very competent assistant Roberta Lincoln minds the office while Seven is away on assignment. She is surprised to receive a communication from the future asking for her aid in a situation involving the aliens that crash-land in 1945 as well as the new arrivals at Neptune.
Everything comes together as Kirk, Spock, and Roberta try to resolve a sticky situation all the while trying to avoid polluting the timeline and being pursued by U.S. Government authorities who are charged with investigating UFO phenomena.
As I mentioned earlier, I was hoping for another story in this vein and was not in the least disappointed in what Dayton has given us. As usual, in Dayton’s stories, there is plenty of Trek action and the exchanges between the characters are well within what I have come to know and feel comfortable with. As usual, Spock is the brains while Kirk is the brawn and McCoy contributes by finding out the answers to the big question of a medical issue placed upon one alien race by another. The story is very fast paced and easy to read and follow, especially during the switches in time lines, which were seamless.
For me, the star of the show in this story was Roberta Lincoln. She has grown up a lot from the young, idealistic woman in the TOS episode that introduced her. At that time, she was a little scramble-brained, but had a good command of her convictions as well as a great sense of humor. The only thing that has changed about her is that she does not appear a naive as she was in the episode Assignment Earth, but has become very intelligent and is able to handle difficult situations while her mentor serves on assignment elsewhere and out of touch.
While the entire story was entertaining and fun, I found the last two chapters of the book the most intriguing. The first of the two Dayton calls “One Last Thing,” in which Roberta witnesses an event that starts another whale of a tale from Trek lore that we who are Trekkies will understand immediately. The last chapter entitled “One More Thing After That” points to an the origins of a very notorious organization that will impact stories and lives in the Trek universe for decades, to come. It is my hope that perhaps the author might consider continuing with the seeds he planted in these final two chapters.
I recommend Elusive Salvation as a great follow-on to From History’s Shadow, but keep in mind that both of the books in this “series” are stand-alone tales that need not be read in order.
Well, there it is…