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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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09/01/2004 Archived Entry: "Star Trek - Book 4 - A Time To Harvest"

A Time to Harvest
Star Trek - Book 4

By: Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Published by: Pocket Books (a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.)
*available as a downloadable eBook!

Review by Kathy La Follett

They say patience is a virtue. Obviously I lack that virtue, but I did receive a gift of great storytelling in “Harvest”. Book 4 opens revisiting the closing Book 3 details as we marched toward the words “To Be Continued”.

We find the crew dispersed via shuttles throughout the Dokaalan colony troubleshooting violence, destruction and questionable allies. All the while infiltrators have positioned themselves on the Enterprise to hack, crack, and introduce computer viruses to control the Starship’s ability to solve the problems and locate the enemy to the Dokaalan race and their goals.

In an attempt to help the Dokaalan during the assumed internal insurrection Data creates and offers a way to modify software and chemical introduction that will speedup the terraforming efforts. Jean Luc is incorrectly assuming a quicker means to an end will solve the infighting and possible mutiny.

Unfortunately he has apposed problems. First, the Dokaalan sporting the pride of Maximus and the stubborn mandates of old laws fight every attempt by The Enterprise to assist and speedup their terraforming. Secondly, an unknown force within seems to be feeding off their assistance and increases violence against that very help. It’s all quite frustrating for the Federation Mandate but becomes clear once the enemy and its modus operandi are revealed.

The Satarrans, a replicating race utilizing an advanced exoskeleton, have “replaced” Dokaalan leaders as well as Enterprise Crew members. It seems they require the about-to-be terraformed planet as their own due to the outcome of the Dominion Wars affect on their home planet. It also seems one of the leaders of the Satarran has a bone to pick with Picard. Rather than accepting assistance postwar from The Federation to relocate, they have infiltrated the Dokaalan government, modified terraforming software and have over the last 100 years or so, been creating an environment suitable to their needs rather than the Dokaalan. Violence and insurrection were but a ruse to hide their work and goals.

Replicating aliens, software viruses, and stubborn alien races; just another day in Jean Luc’s Command.

Thank the stars for Data. I often wonder while reading these books, and even watching The Next Generation episodes how the other Starships possibly survive without their own Data. Data is the equivalent of IBM’s “Big Blue” in a human form. The Satarran realize he must be eliminated to continue their efforts without being discovered by the Enterprise Crew. Infiltrators enter and pose as Enterprise Crew members. Their undoing though, is the necessity to kill those they wish to replicate. Enterprise Crew Members do not go softly into that goodnight. Discovered bodies coupled with the Empath, Deanna Troi’s ability to sense emotional feedback uncover the Satarran on board while Data jumps online, with a USB port no doubt, and runs audits on all the mainframe computers locating, isolating, and removing the planted viruses.

The saving grace to the storyline is the writing. The action is fast and furious and quite well written. I found myself turning pages quickly and expectantly. It was great entertainment. I felt I got my time investment back from Book 3. The ending was believable, and sat well within the lines of satisfying. I won’t reveal any of that simply because there are a few twists and turns so well written that you will be surprised.

I only wish my LAN system was so easily maintained and repaired.

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