Prime Directive by Judith Reeves-Stevens and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Prime Directive takes the reader on an interesting journey right from the start as we read about the failures of the Starfleet Constitution Starships and their five year missions including the loss of the Enterprise at Talin IV.
Since this novel is not an alternate reality or mirror universe then you are kinda derailed straight away but as you read the book and learn of the catastrophe then took place in orbit over Ralin IV and the subsequent crippling of the Enterprise it all falls into place. Prime Directive follows the consequences of what would be Captain Kirk's biggest failure and the ramifications throughout the Federation and Starfleet. The crew of the ship are blown to the four corners, some resign, some are charged and some stay within the fleet but at much lower rank. Of course Kirk having accepted fault and resigning is working his way back to Talin IV (now a restricted system) and during his journey reveals the details of the events to his latest employer. It is at this time we get to know exactly what was going on and the fact that this final mission of the Enterprise was far from a simple one as it interacted with the activities of the First Contact Office who prepare the Federation for first contact with a developing species on the verge of discovering they are not alone.
Prime Directive is many ways is more than an entertaining science fiction story it is an analysis of the politics and ethics of the Prime Directive which has featured to such a degree throughout Star Trek on tv and the movies. It's often been seen to be selectively implemented and worked around when required and the plot of this novel asks the question of why the Federation relies so much on what is explained to be a very complex and fluid calculation far beyond the basic explanation we have been given on the big and small screen.
I'll be honest and say I wasn't too keen on how this novel started but the hurdles and difficulties the crew of the Enterprise had to cope with really made the novel pay off bigtime. I don't believe that the mystery of Talin IV without the fallout amongst Starfleet would have paid off or have been as satisfying. I also have to say that the final few paragraphs of the story proper (not epilogue) had me surreptitiously wiping my eyes as the tears begin to flow, it was a very moving and heartwarming emotion triggered by the events occurring on the planet and the underlying belief that what Star Trek can provide is a template for what humanity should be striving for here on Earth and that if given the opportunity our children will lead our race to the stars and beyond.
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