This week I decided to review Star Trek: Seekers: Long Shot by David Mack.
The story opens on the planet Cavino IV, known as Anura by its inhabitants the Austarans, where scientists are about to activate a new dark energy-based power generator that uses quantum fluctuations. But something goes wrong, creating an anomaly that alters the laws of probability, causing a mix of miracles, one in a million disasters, and everything in between.
Meanwhile, in a nearby system, the USS Sagittarius is scouting a candidate world for possible colonization when they pick up the dark energy readings from Anura and move to investigate. After confirming that the planet is inhabited but hasn’t developed warp drive yet, the Sagittarius tries to gather more information without being detected, but this plan swiftly goes down in flames when the leader of Anura hails them and asks for help in ending the crisis before things get worse.
Captain Terrell leads a team to the planet, but due to the distortions caused by the generator, they and Doctor Kavalas, one of the scientists who worked on the generator project, must use the planet’s highly automated highway system to reach the generator despite events leading to massive traffic jams and wreaking havoc on the automation that controls the vehicles. And the journey grows more hazardous when some of the Austarans decide that the visitors from another world are responsible for the crisis and start hunting them. And then Kavalas must reveal the ultimate secret of the project.
Meanwhile the Sagittarius tries to aid the planet first by rescuing the crew of Anura’s space station before a meteor swarm can destroy the station, and then by intercepting a planet killer-sized dark matter rock that is approaching Anura on a course that uses the planet’s moons to hide it from the world. But when Anura’s sun begins building towards a discharge which will fry the world, the team at the generator becomes the planet’s only hope…
I give this book 8 out of 10. It has some good comedy bits and I thought it was a nice touch how the author showed flashes of the effects of the improbability field on regular Austarans and how it showed the effects helping Austarans as well as harming them. That said, I felt the secret of the quantum project came out of nowhere with no hints at all until it was revealed. I don’t mind surprises but I feel there should have been at least a couple of small hints rather than the secret seemingly coming out of nowhere. And there are many questions left unanswered with most of them linked to that secret and no signs I can see that they will be resolved in later stories.