Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Oppressor's Wrong

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Slings and Arrows, Book Two of Six
The Oppressor's Wrong by Phaedra M. Weldon
An e-book exclusive novella
Published November 2007
Read February 19th 2015


Previous book (Slings and Arrows): A Sea of Troubles
Next book (Slings and Arrows): The Insolence of Office


E-book (Kindle): Amazon.com | Amazon.ca

Spoilers ahead for The Oppressor's Wrong and the rest of the Slings and Arrows series!

From the back cover:
The Enterprise is assigned to ferry demolition experts from Deep Space 9 to Starbase 375, but just as they arrive, Admiral Leyton declares martial law on Earth and the Federation is put in a state of emergency. On the Starbase, Admiral Hahn has gone missing, and there are several unexplained events -- and one of the demolitions experts, Lieutenant Daniels, isn't convinced that it's necessarily Dominion treachery.

Picard and the Enterprise crew must learn the truth -- about what happened to Admiral Hahn and about the truth beyond the martial law declaration -- before the Enterprise herself becomes the next casualty...

My thoughts:

The Oppressor's Wrong is the second book in the six-part series chronicling the first year of service of the Enterprise-E, edited by Keith R.A. DeCandido. As this series takes place concurrently with some of the huge socio-political happenings on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it makes sense that we see the TNG crew coping with some of these events. In this case, we see some of the effects and consequences of Admiral Leyton's attempted military coup in the DS9 episodes "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost."

If book one, A Sea of Troubles, was about the threat of an outside agent to Starfleet's security and values, then The Oppressor's Wrong is about the opposite: what happens when our own fear and paranoia get the better of us. As both the DS9 episodes and this story teach us, we are often our own worst enemy.

Leyton, Star Trek's ultimate "badmiral."

In this story, we learn that Leyton's coup has much farther-reaching intended consequences than we saw in the two-parter episode. More than any other flag officer we've seen on Star Trek, Leyton is deserving of the term "Badmiral," a title coined on the Literary Treks podcast! The Enterprise and her crew become embroiled in one of Leyton's plots at Starbase 375, and with the help of Padraig Daniels, Picard and his people must get to the bottom of it.

We get some much-needed insight into the character of Lieutenant Daniels, seen in First Contact and Insurrection.

I really appreciate that these stories flesh out the new characters we see in the TNG films. In the last book, it was Sean Hawk, and in this story, we learn a lot more about Lieutenant Daniels and how he came to be security chief aboard the Enterprise. A somewhat down-to-earth, "every man" sort of character, Daniels makes for an interesting addition to the Enterprise's senior staff.

Another interesting aspect of the story was Data's development following the installation of his emotion chip in Star Trek: Generations. While a lot of his behavior didn't ring exactly true to me, it makes sense that he would have a long period of difficulty adjusting to the integration of emotions into his life. In the films, we see his initial difficulties in Generations, while the consequences of these new emotions are largely ignored in the subsequent movies. In this story, we finally get a welcome insight into that initial adjustment period.

Final thoughts:

A solid entry in the Slings and Arrows series. Not spectacular, but it achieves its purpose of showcasing the Enterprise crew dealing with one of the biggest crises the Federation faces during the year prior to Star Trek: First Contact. It was fun to have the TNG and DS9 crews interacting somewhat, and it was especially good to learn more about the criminally-underused security chief from First Contact and Insurrection. I mean, this is a man who wasn't even invited to the staff meeting when Picard briefs his crew about a current Borg invasion of the Federation! I bet he was really happy when Worf just waltzed onto the bridge and took over tactical...

Further resources:

My next read:

Next week, look for my review of Bajor: Fragments and Omens by J. Noah Kym, the next story in my on-going Deep Space Nine retrospective re-read.