The Patrian Transgression
© 1994 Simon Hawke
Annnnnnnnnnd kickoff for the Warp Speed Challenge! In The Patrian Transgression, the Enterprise arrives at the planet Patria to investigate a plea for help. According to the planet’s leaders, the Klingons are supplying weapons to a terrorist organization, threatening to destabilize the republic completely. The Patrians would like the Federation’s help, but when Kirk beams down to the planet he is contacted by one of the rebels and told that the powers that be are lying to him. On the heels of this revelation, Kirk learns that Patria employs a relatively new police force called the Mindcrimes Unit, who are telepathic and target those who merely intend to commit crimes. While a Mindcrimes agent’s word is good as evidence in courts, they are also empowered to end the threat on sight — shooting alleged criminals in cold blood. Perhaps the rebels are in the right all along, but sympathy is hard to come by given that they’re holding innocent civilians and Spock hostage. Ultimately Kirk and company unravel a criminal conspiracy with a couple of layers of complexity. The Patrian Transgression makes for enjoyable light Trek reading, as the author has a fairly good handle on the characters and produces quite a few good lines of dialogue. More unusually, it is McCoy who gets the girl of the week, this time an attache to the Federation ambassador. (Kirk is too busy arguing with the diplomat to play Romeo.) The opening third is quiet, but the action and tension really pick up from there. Star Trek Voyager later played with the idea of “thought crime”, but the Enterprise crew are never targeted for violent thoughts here like Torres was. Transgression makes for a fun start to this challenge series.
Next up will be a TNG novel; I’ll be following a TOS-TNG-DS9 pattern as long as the books permit.