Crisis of Consciousness by Dave Galanter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A routine diplomatic mission to usher the Maabas into the Federation runs into some difficulties when an alien ship arrives in system and demands the removal of the Maabas from the planet. The Maabas were refugees after their homeworld was attacked and then settled on this planet and now it seems the race who evolved on this world have returned to reclaim it. Kirk offers to mediate a discussion between the two races and it turns out that the Kenisians are of Vulcanoid stock and have embraced the concept of absorbing the souls/katras of their descendents into their own minds. This makes reading the alien race very difficult but it's obvious to Kirk and Spock that the Kenisian presence in the system is not for the simple reason they state and it also raises the interesting point as to why the Maabas were so eager to join the Federation.
In Crisis of Consciousness Dave has given us a very entertaining original series adventure which has a very interesting premise as the Kenisians crew all contain the minds of their ancestors and the Commander of the ship has hundreds in her mind which makes their motives always in doubt since it would be almost impossible to gain consensus. It certainly perplexes Kirk but Spock is intrigued as it mirrors a practice his people are known under certain circumstances to practice but when discussions break down and action taken it is upto Spock to analysis and act in a way that will do the least amount of harm while attempting to save a good portion of the quadrant from destruction.
An excellent Star Trek novel, well written with an interesting plot with a few twists to maintain the mystery and to keep everything on track with Spock being the more central character and I do have to say I did like one element of the epilogue as it pertained to movie canon.
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