Is there a Star Trek fan that doesn’t know that it is the fiftieth anniversary year for the first airing of this, one of the most beloved and influential television, movie, and literary phenomenons to every exist. Well, perhaps there might be one or two. Star Trek hit the airwaves on September 8, 1966 with the first episode called The Man Trap on the NBC television network. What followed was the stuff of legends; I am sure that there is not a single person in the civilized world that doesn’t know what Star Trek is in some form.
On the literary side, we were promised a trilogy of novels, the first of those, Captain to Captain by Greg Cox, is the subject of this review.
In 2267, Captain Una (better known as Number One from the Menagerie, and played by Majel Barrett) comes aboard the Enterprise in her small, but powerful starship Yorktown. The reason she gives for her arrival is to pay a visit to her former crew mate, Spock, but she has another agenda in mind as well. While Kirk and crew go about their business of running the Enterprise, Una breaks into Kirk’s quarters and steals an item known as a Transfer Key, to simply The Key. This device is apparently so dangerous that it has been passed from Enterprise captain to captain to keep secure in his/her quarters and even Starfleet Command knows nothing about it. After a chase, which Una has apparently planned very well, it is up to Kirk to retrieve the device, but he must keep it a secret from everyone except for Spock, who also knows about the Key.
Flashback to 2249. Under the command of Captain Robert April, the Enterprise achieves orbit around Libros III where they discover a pre-industrial civilization that is being displaced by an alien race called the Jatohr. The alien race is not only exploiting the Usildar, the indigenous race on Usilde (as the Libros III is called by the natives), but they are reforming the face of the planet. When the then Lieutenant Una leads her first landing party to see what is taking place, they find themselves captured and all but Una are sent away from the planet to no one knows where, or whether they are alive or dead. With the help of a sympathetic Jatohr scientist, Una secures the key and the Enterprise escapes.
Forward again to 2267, Una has made it her mission to find and rescue her lost crew mates from 2249. She has the key and manages to find the help she needs to complete her task. Finally, the Key is back in safe hands, but there is a twist. But then, isn’t there always?
Captain to Captain was a fun look at events that involved two eras of Star Trek, one of which I know very little of. I enjoyed reading the exploits of Una, who appeared in TOS known only as Number One. She apparently was given that name because she was the best at everything that she did. While appearing in the TOS two-part Menagerie episodes, we saw an emotionless and logical character, much like Spock became in the series. This story shows that she does indeed try to control her emotions, but isn’t always successful as some very disturbing circumstances arise for her. Finally, her loyalty for her lost friends drives her to act in ways that one wouldn’t expect.
Creg Cox's story is well written and is a fun read. It centers mostly on Una, but does also include many members of Enterprise crews from both 2267 and 2249. All of the characters behave as one would expect in the Star Trek universe and there are some fun exchanges between characters. I recommend Captain to Captain as a fine opening to the three part Legacies series honoring the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. It is going to be fun to see where the rest of the series takes us.
Well, there it is…