I enjoy the Star Trek universe, especially The Next Generation. I love the television shows, the movies, and the role playing. I love reading science fiction. However, I’ve never read a Star Trek novel, until now. It just hasn’t interested me, for whatever reason. It’s a genre I don’t normally read.
Headlong Flight, by Dayton Ward, was published in 2017. It’s a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel.
An internet search for “best selling Star Trek novels” lead me to this book. Amazon lists it as a bestseller. So, I was a little skeptical when I discovered that the Seattle Public Library had no holds on this months-old book. It was pointed out to me, however, that “best selling” is a relative term. So I’ll go with it.
Stardate 44853.6, Earth Year 2367. A poker game aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D is interrupted when their exploration of a nebula named NGC 8541 finds a planet that suddenly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. Scans of the planet find no atmosphere, no water, but a single artificially constructed structure, powered by a fusion reactor. An automated signal originating from the structure says that the senders have been trapped by their own doing, and warns anyone receiving the signal to stay away from the planet. It’s too dangerous to approach the planet. With the agreement of First Officer Data, Captain William Riker ignores the warning in order to offer assistance to the people trapped on the planet.
Earth Year 2386. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is called to the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise-E when their exploration of a nebula named NGC 8541 finds a planet that suddenly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. An automated signal originating from the planet’s only artificially constructed structure warns that it’s too dangerous to approach the planet. After noting the objections of First Officer Worf, Captain Picard ignores the warning in order to offer assistance to the people trapped on the planet.
When Captain Picard was lost to the Borg, First Officer Riker was given a field promotion to Captain. Will Riker knows he can never live up to the legend of Captain Picard, but he’s doing the best he can, and, with the help of Counselor Deanna Troi, he’s winning the respect of his crew.
On Captain Riker’s orders, First Officer Data and Commander Geordi La Forge modify six sensors to scan the mysterious rogue planet. Civilian Wesley Crusher assists with the sensor data collection.
Then, the planet isn’t there anymore.
On Captain Picard’s orders, First Officer Worf leads an away team, aboard a shuttle craft, to the surface of the mysterious rogue planet. Accompanying Commander Worf are stellar cartographer Lieutenant T’Ryssa Chen, Security officers Lieutenant Rennan Konya and Lieutenant Kirsten Cruzen, and Doctor Tropp. Piloting the shuttle is Lieutenant Commander Taurik.
As Captain Picard, Commander La Forge, and Lieutenant Diana Elfiki watch from the bridge of the Enterprise, there is a ripple, as the planet, the shuttle craft, and the away team aren’t there anymore.
Earth Year 2266. Commander Sarith, on the bridge of the Romulan warship Bloodied Talon, has been sent, along the escort vessels N’minecci and Jarax, to investigate the appearance, disappearance, and reappearance of a mysterious rogue planet near the Lirostahl Nebula.
Commander Sarith orders her first officer, Subcommander Ineti, to prepare a scouting party to land on the surface of the planet.
As the rogue planet bounces across five dimensions, the two starships Enterprise, the trio of Romulan warships, and two landing parties all find themselves together, in the wrong time lines. People are seeing things they’d previously seen only in history logs. People are meeting people they shouldn’t be meeting. The Federation of Planets and the Romulan Empire have different solutions to their predicament. The Federation is, at least, trying to respect the Temporal Prime Directive.
There’s really not much of a plot, and what’s there doesn’t offer many surprises. It’s the characters who drive the story.
Headlong Flight features all of the major characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation, except for O’Brien, Barclay, and Q. Doctor Pulaski is there, as well as Doctor Crusher. Guinan is mentioned. Tasha Yar is alive and well, and serving on the Enterprise-D. Captain Katheryn Janeway, of the U.S.S. Voyager, receives a mention. If you don’t know who these people are, this book may confuse you. Headlong Flight was obviously written for the fans.
There are also plenty of interesting, new characters, such as the crew of the Enterprise shuttle craft. The book presents some fascinating twists to the usual story. (A Cardassian is serving on the Enterprise-E, although not officially a member of the Federation yet. Beverly Crusher and Jean-Luc Picard are married.)
All in all, Headlong Flight was a fun book to read.
- A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read