Star Trek
S.C.E. - Wildfire

Authors: Various
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $6.99, Cdn $10.50
ISBN 0 7434 9661 2
Available 06 December 2004

It's another day and a new task for the expert crew of the Starfleet science ship the
U.S.S. da Vinci. Pulled away from a less than routine job the crew have to locate a missing escort ship, a ship that disappeared without leaving a trace. To save the lives of those on the missing ship the da Vinci will put the lives of millions at risk. A journey back into the lives and actions of crew members past and present helps a deadly and determined enemy plot his revenge.

Still by far the most challenging task called upon by Starfleet will be to rescue the U.S.S. Orion. The stricken vessel is stranded deep inside a gas giant with little hope for the crew. Attacked by a mysterious Alien life form whose home is threatened by the ship and Starfleet's plan.

It soon becomes apparent that it is not the lives of those on board that Starfleet are concerned with, there is a much more important reason forcing the da Vinci into the perilous rescue attempt. On board is the prototype of the WildFire device. It is a potent creation with the power to create or to destroy stars. If this power were to fall into the wrong hands it could signal disaster on a scale never before seen.

Four authors, three stories and one ship, all in one book. Enigma by J. Steven York and Christina F. York is a run of the mill story. It doesn't break any new ground and could slip into most scenarios. This is a problem as it is average. It may be well conceived but it does feel as though the authors have lost out on a chance to make it just that little bit more interesting.

War Stories by Keith R.A. DeCandido does add a little more history to the characters in the S.C.E. series - and the stories are diverse. I like the slightly darker atmosphere of the Dominion Wars and DeCandido captures many sides of this with the tales in his few pages, too few in my opinion as they warranted further expansion.

Then the big finale, the title tale; Wildfire. I like what I've read of David Mack's work especially that in the A Time to... series (A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal). However, Mack does tend to bring major events from the outside world into is stories. In the A Time to... series the books seem to be based upon events occurring in Iraq.

Wildfire seems an ode to the events of September 11th. It has a reference to the event mentioned in the story, a firemans axe. As much as I sympathise with the victims and their relatives I didn't think this was really a situation that should have been brought up in a Star Trek Book. Until that moment I loved the book and it still kept me captivated afterwards but I thought the reference was tacky and definitely not needed.

Again, Mack insists in killing off as many people as possible. It creates several heroic and self-sacrificial scenarios which gets repetitive, as does the carnage. Plus it does try to make you reflect with the strong similarities between what goes on in the book and what goes on outside in the real world. This is powerful and refreshing as it goes against the grain of most Star Trek literature I've read. It is the best story of the lot but made me feel uncomfortable for a number of reasons.

Still all of the stories are good and the book is a must have for fans of the series, but be warned if your particularly fond of the crew of the da Vinci you might be disappointed how this tale unfolds.

Charlie Brine

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