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The Return (Star Trek: The Original Series)
By William Shatner Judith Reeves-Stevens Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Star TrekCopyright © 1997 William Shatner and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJames T. Kirk was dead....
As Commander William Riker resolved from the transporter beam beside the grave of that Starfleet legend, he was surprised by the sudden thought that had come to him. Of all that had happened on this desolate world of Veridian III only a month ago, inexplicably, the fate of James T. Kirk weighed most heavily on his mind.
Half a planet away, the shattered hulk of the U.S.S. Enterprise lay in ruins, slowly being carved into transporter loads of recyclable scrap by a team of Starfleet engineers. Though the ship was beyond salvage, in accordance with the Prime Directive no trace of it could remain on this world. A primitive civilization existed on Veridian IV, the next planet out from the Veridian sun. If someday voyagers from that world Ianded here, they must find no trace of advanced technology which might affect the natural development of their science.
Riker had expected that the full emotional consequence of the great ship's loss would have consumed him by now. She had gone before her time, and in his dreams he had always hoped to one day sit in her captain's chair.
But in the days that had passed since the Enterprise had blazed through the atmosphere of this world to her first and final landing, Riker's thoughts still kept turning to the fate of the captain of an earlier Enterprise. The first Enterprise ...
"Sir, is that ... him?"
Riker turned to Lieutenant Baru. The seam ridge that bisected the young Bolian officer's deep blue face pulled taut as her eye ridges widened. She looked into the distance, past the grave.
Riker nodded, smiling inwardly at her reaction, recognizing the earnestness of youth. The Farragut's chief of security had personally recommended Baru, and the three other officers accompanying Riker, to be part of the honor guard to escort Kirk's remains to Earth. Riker knew what she saw What they all saw now.
A lone sentinel on a distant outcropping. The dry desert wind shifting the elegant black robes he wore. The reddening sun reflected from the silver script embroidered in their folds.
He had come.
Against all logic.
"Spock," Baru said. With awe.
He knew the Vulcan ambassador-had worked with him-as a living, breathing individual. Yet Spock was as much a legend as Kirk.
As much a legend as the friendship that had bound those two on the first Starship Enterprise.
The officers of the honor guard stood at ease respectfully refraining from staring at the distinguished visitor. Instead they faced the simple cairn of rocks Jean-Luc Picard had built for Kirk's remains. The setting sun drew long shadows from it and caught an old-fashioned Starfleet insignia pin with a gleam of dying light.
Riker breathed the still, dry air of the Veridian desert. He glanced upward to the darkening sky, as if he might see the Farragut sliding into orbit far overhead, come to claim starfleet's honored dead, to bear Kirk home.
From his sentinel's position, Spock remained as motionless as the time-smoothed stones of this place.
What could it be like, Riker wondered, to lose your closest friend then seventy-eight years later, to lose him again?
A hint of the power of that answer existed in the extraordinary circumstances that had brought Spock here. In fewer than four days after the crew of Riker's Enterprise had been rescued, Starfleet Intelligence had mounted an emergency extraction mission to bring Spock from the home world of the Romulan Star Empire to Veridian III, so he might accompany his friend on his final voyage.
The extraction was not an operation to be undertaken lightly. Relations between the Romulans and the Federation had been strained for centuries. Spock had become instrumental in the efforts to reduce those tensions by decades of secret negotiations intended to reconcile the Romulans with the Vulcans and, hence, the Federation.
Though the Romulans were an offshoot of the Vulcan race, they had rejected the logic which had saved their Vulcan ancestors from succumbing to their primitive, passionate, blood-drenched beginnings. So who better than Spock-a child of emotional humans and logical Vulcans-to understand both sides and work for unification?
Riker had spent many long evenings discussing Spock with Captain Picard. Both understood that the process Spock was involved with was simply the playing out on a larger scale of the struggle he had faced in his own divided heart.
But whatever extraordinary actions Starfleet had taken to bring the ambassador to this world at this time, Riker knew that none of them would have been questioned, even given the Federation's need to officially remain ignorant of Spock's activities. Starfleet, the Federation, the galaxy itself, owed Spock too much to deny him anything.
Excerpted from The Return (Star Trek: The Original Series) by William Shatner Judith Reeves-Stevens Garfield Reeves-Stevens Copyright © 1997 by William Shatner and Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Shatner can't stand the idea that Kirk got killed off in the movie Star Trek-Generations -- and I uppose a lot of fans couldn't, either -- so he has the Romulans and the Borg resurrect him, and in doing so send him off to kill Jean-Luc Picard. (Guess Shatner can't stand the idea of Patrick Stewart running the Enterprise, either.)
BOTTOM-LINE: Worst of the three . PLOT OR PREMISE: This is the second in a Star Trek trilogy, with renegade Romulans working with the Borg. . WHAT I LIKED: There are some decent scenes with Data, and some interesting interactions between old TOS crew and new TNG crew. . WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Most of the TOS crew are not really much like themselves, except Spock, so not very "believable". Bones is almost a caricature. Kirk and Worf have a fight that is ridiculous. . DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him on social media.