Star Trek
Engines of Destiny

Author: Gene DeWeese
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $7.99, Cdn $11.99
ISBN 0 671 03702 1
Available 04 April 2005

In 2370, Captain Scott hatches an audacious plan to travel back to 2293 and rescue Captain Kirk from his apparent death on board the
Enterprise B without damaging the timeline. However, the plan does not go as expected. Though Kirk is rescued, he, Scotty and the crew of the Enterprise D find themselves in an altered past in which the Earth has been assimilated by the Borg...

It has to be said that there aren't many original ideas in this book. As the synopsis suggests, this is pretty much Relics (the Next Generation episode in which Scotty is found in a transporter's pattern buffer after 75 years in stasis) meets Generations (the movie in which Kirk is apparently killed but is then resurrected 78 years later), The Return (the book in which Kirk is resurrected - again - meets the entire Next Generation crew and battles the Borg) and First Contact (the movie in which the Borg travel back in time to assimilate the Earth).

Yet Scotty's rescue attempt is an irresistible notion, even though we know that, in terms of series continuity, it is doomed to failure and that, this being a time-travel story, the characters are unlikely the retain any memories of the strange events that unfold. And the Borg are always welcome as far as I am concerned.

To his credit, the author compensates for a particular shortcoming of Generations by injecting some friction between the strait-laced Picard and the reputed loose cannon that is Kirk. He also explains how the Borg Queen "survived" the events of The Best of Both Worlds and First Contact. However, he hedges his bets when it comes to Scotty's comments regarding Kirk in Relics, which implied that the engineer had forgotten about the events of Generations (which hadn't been filmed at the time): DeWeese suggests that Scott's apparent forgetfulness might be down to disorientation, degradation of his pattern, or a combination of both. In line with Relics, but not with Star Trek: Enterprise, Kirk's legendary command is described as being the first starship Enterprise.

As a result of its place in Trek continuity, there isn't much mystery surrounding the corruption of the timeline. If you are familiar with the films Generations and First Contact, it's not difficult to guess how Scotty's rescue attempt could change not only the future but also the past. However, there is some intrigue surrounding a race that the engineer encounters early on in the book, who at first seem irrelevant to the story. The narrative is constructed so that it could still work if read in context - that is, if a person who had never before seen Generations read this book in between that film's 23rd and 24th-century segments.

This is a most enjoyable romp. It's a little predictable, but as Scotty might say: ye cannae change the laws of Star Trek.

Richard McGinlay

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