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Can the Galileo six survive until rescue arrives?
Greg Cox’s novella is set late in the original series timeline – after Star Trek V, with Saavik back on board the Enterprise as she was in the halcyon days of the DC Comics (OK, it’s the Enterprise-A, but that’s really nitpicking). Kirk is having the usual fun with diplomats when an unusual signal is picked up, so it’s down to Spock, McCoy, Chekov and three security guards to investigate. And just as happened many years earlier, the shuttlecraft is put out of action with Spock left in command on a hostile world.
Cox hammers the point home that this is a mature crew, who know each other so much better than they did during the five year mission. Things that would have been (and indeed were) flashpoints in earlier days no longer are, although the underlying differences between Spock and McCoy come out in different ways. Chekov’s not the brash young ensign, and Saavik – who’s teamed with Kirk for the latter part of the story – has learned considerably from her time with Spock. Even Kirk reins in some of his impulses… at least to begin with.
Sometimes these novellas have felt as if they’re constrained within the format, but Cox gives us a lean account of a mission that goes catastrophically wrong, and all that is required to deal with the situation. Perhaps there’s the odd mention of past glories that could have been excised; they’re more noticeable in the shorter length. However, this is another highly enjoyable original series tale.
Verdict: A tense tale of the latter days of the Enterprise crew. 8/10