Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hard Crash

Star Trek: S.C.E. #3
Hard Crash by Christie Golden
Published October 2000
Read January 25th 2013


Previous ebook (S.C.E.): #2: Fatal Error
Next ebook (S.C.E.): #4: Interphase, Part One of Two

Originally published as an ebook. Later published as part of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers compilation Have Tech, Will Travel in January 2002.


Compilation of the first four SCE stories
Original ebook cover






Spoilers ahead for Hard Crash and the rest of the Corps of Engineers series!

From the back cover:
An alien starship of unknown origin has crashed into a planet inhabited by a large and populous civilization. Accompanied by Geordi LaForge, temorarily on loan from the Starship Enterprise, the S.C.E. investigates the mysterious vessel, only to discover that the ship was not nearly as damaged as it first seemed. Now the berserk ship, which seems to possess its own life and intelligence, is on a rampage across the surface of the planet, and Captain Gold and his crew face the awesome challenge of trying to stop a starship gone insane!
My thoughts:

No idea why this works in my head...
In Hard Crash, we see a few other members of the da Vinci crew in action. In particular, we learn more about Bart Faulwell, the chief linguist. I really enjoy his character. He has a thoughtful way about him, and seems to be incredibly kind. He truly cares about his fellow crewmembers, which can easily be seen in the compassion he feels for 110 and his plight. In addition, he is shown to be in a same-sex relationship. I love the way this is handled in this story. The relationship is mentioned as being a loving one, and while his partner, Mark Anthony, is living quite far away, Faulwell is seen to be writing thoughtful and detailed letters to him. It saddens me that televised Trek hasn't shown a long-term same-sex relationship in this manner. There seems to have been plenty of opportunity to do so, and the reluctance of the producers to do so is quite maddening. If shown with half the sincerity and loveliness with which Bart and Mark's relationship is showcased here, it could have been a truly groundbreaking and wonderful thing. As a side note, for some reason, based on the description we get of Faulwell in this story, I couldn't get the image of Krieger from the cartoon series Archer out of my head. For some reason... it works! Please bear in mind that the only things about Krieger that I apply to Faulwell's character are his looks and voice; otherwise, I certainly don't think their characters are anything alike!

Dr. Elizabeth Lense, from "Explorers" (DS9)
We also see Dr. Elizabeth Lense, chief medical officer of the da Vinci, in action. Last seen in Deep Space Nine's "Explorers," Lense is that specter from Julian Bashir's past who beat him out to become valedictorian of their class at the academy. In this novella, we get hints about her character that lead me to believe there's more here than we're being told. Her attitude and work ethic seem off, somehow. Her relationship with the da Vinci's emergency medical hologram program is an interesting one as well, with Lense seeming to take on the role of the holographic doctor's mentor. I'm interested to see where this relationship, and Lense's character, goes in the future.

Finally, Hard Crash provides something of a resolution to 110's character arc, ending with his decision to remain aboard the da Vinci as a solitary Bynar. Taking on the name "Soloman," he will have to come to terms with his life as a Bynar separate from his partner and from the rest of his species. I look forward to seeing where his journey takes him.

Hard Crash is a fascinating story, and much like the prior two stories, ends in a way that defies the reader's expectations. The resolution to this story is heart-wrenching, and touched me in a way I wasn't expecting. The narrative style throughout the novella is interesting as well, providing small hints about what is really going on. The nature of the crashed vessel is hinted at through the pleas of an unknown person, calling out to someone named Jaldark. Early on, this really grabbed my attention and held my curiosity.


Final thoughts:

Hard Crash surprised me with the emotional punch that it packed. I truly wasn't expecting the ending that it had, and the emotional resonance that it held. Very well-written and with some fascinating character moments, Hard Crash made me very happy that I've finally decided to give the Corps of Engineers series a try. I'm certainly not regretting that decision thus far.


Also by Christie Golden:


My next read:

The final novella in the S.C.E. omnibus #1, Have Tech, Will Travel: Interphase, Part I by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore. Coming tomorrow!