Deep Domain by Howard Weinstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Akkalla is a water world and Federation member however it's internal politics seem to be clashing with the Science outpost located on the world which is studying the more unusual ecology of the planet. The government which has total control of media and all communications has been making life difficult for the Federation scientists after they made a discovery, the long awaited audit by the Enterprise will be the first opportunity they get to reveal their findings. Spock and Chekov are sent ahead in a shuttle with submersible capabilities but it's disabled when they encounter a "harvest" ship from a nearby world and they are then captured by an Akkalla "resistance" group.
So here we are as Kirk and company have to make sense of the conflicting stories and search for their missing people while dealing with a government teetering on the edge of martial law and yet constrained by what they can do in accordance with the Federation charter.
Right from the beginning of the novel Deep Domain has that feel of weight to it, the introduction is solid in setting up a new world and circumstances for the Trek aspect to work within. We have the water world of Akkalla with it's unique development which is at the heart of the story with the conflict of a select few attempting to hold onto power by white washing their own histories. The pressure on the Enterprise is high as the crew have to deal with the situation on the ground and how their own rules have to be applied, without documented proof any action could mean dire consequences for Kirk and his people. The internal conflict adds more spice to the story as some of the Akkallans who know the secret are forced to speak out and then attempt to evade the expected "for the good of Akkalla" crackdown by the military and throw in the fishing treaty with the neighboring world who now simply raid the oceans.
I don't think I can really do justice to how good their novel is, it has a great deal of depth to the world of Akkalla and her people combined with issues which the reader can easily recognise as aspects of tradition, science, greed, political and commerce clash.
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