Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Belly of the Beast, a Star Trek SCE story by Dean Wesley Smith

The original cover art of the story.
I've known about the Star Trek SCE (Starfleet Core of Engineers) series for years; I've even read a few.  They first saw the light of day in 2000 just when eBooks were in their embryonic stage.  Proving, once again, that science fiction fans are early adopters of new tech.

Most of the stories have been collected in omnibus volumes; I've purchased the first one called, Have Tech, Will Travel that contains the first four stories.

Story #1 kicks the series off with a bang.  We are dropped right into a battle involving Captain Jen-Luc Picard's Enterprise and an enormous ship of unknown origin.

The Enterprise is involved in a long-duration battle with this ship that resembled the Death Star of Star Wars fame, but with two rings; one running pole to pole and the other along the equator.  With a bit of luck the Enterprise disables the vessel.

Now it's up to the Starfleet Core of Engineers to survey the ship and to acquire as much knowledge the can about the species that constructed it.  This is where Captain Gold and his ship the USS da Vinci come in; they are the flag ship of the Core of Engineers and are tasked with being "fixers" for Starfleet.  It is also here that we catch up with a minor character from the TNG TV series; ensign Sonya Gomez, who famously spilled hot chocolate on Captain Picard, she is now a Commander and head of the SCE team on the da Vinci.
USS da Vinci

The alien ship is so big the crew nicknames it The Beast.  At first look the ship gives every impression that it is a cruise ship; filled with luxury suites and the rings are discovered to be promenades that are transparent from the inside.  Every indication show that the ship could hold thousands of people but there is no one to be found.  A thorough search is begun and I can tell you there is something lurking deep in the centre of the thing.  Oh, my god - yuck!

This was a terrific story and one that will immediately make you want to read the next installment.

It's always good to see the universe of Star Trek expanded to include new characters and ships and to see more of Starfleet.  I've always been a fan of Star Trek and I'm happy there is more of it to experience.

Dean Wesley Smith's website is HERE.

The cover art of the omnibus edition.
Dean Wesley Smith

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