Star Trek, The Fall: Peaceable Kingdoms
© 2013 Dayton Ward
Nearly two months have passed since the most popular and widely respected president in Federation history was publicly assassinated, but in that time her temporary replacement has not been standing strong, offering a reassuring presence to a troubled people. Instead, he’s been losing friends and alienating people in a misguided effort to renew the Federation as a galactic superpower. With a declared object of making Starfleet a force to be reckoned with, he has instead begun corrupting it by ignoring the chain of command, creating black-ops squads and playing hell with Starfleet schedules by using them for his off-the-books wetwork. Frustrated and wary of his commander in chief’s motives, Fleet Admiral Akaar has recalled Captain Riker, promoted him to admiral, and is relying on him to be the one trustworthy man in his office. Riker has thus become the point man in an effort to find out what el presidente is up to. Together, he, Captain Picard, and their respective crews will unearth a few skeletons and put the Federation to rights again. A tale of action and intrigue, Peaceable Kingdoms takes The Fall out on a good step, if not one as strong as previous titles in the series.
The Enterprise has been hovering out of sight for most of this series, consigned by the president to keep station at Ferenginar. It’s an obvious misuse of the Federation flagship and its most seasoned captain, not to mention a fairly crappy place for shore leave. Who wants to take their liberty on a swamp-planet? Now the Big E is entering center stage, however, dispatching Dr. Crusher and a few others on a secret mission to an abandoned world where some secrets are buried, there to follow up on one of Riker’s leads. They’l have to contend with the president’s schemes, though. A welcome relief here is T’Ryssa Chen, who since the Borg War books has added some humor to the Enterprise . She’s an oddly irrepressible half-Vulcan with a smart mouth, who a mellowing Picard tolerates with paternal affection. Given the tension of these books — what is with that title, anyway? Are we anticipating the fall of the Federation? The Typhon Pact? — her sass evens things out a bit. The series as a whole has been good about leavening the drama with laughs, though.
Peaceable Kingdoms is an enjoyable end to a great series, and its end is a hopeful one — assuring readers that after the bloodshed and horror of the Great Borg War, and the constant tension of the Cold War in Space, Starfleet is about to commend another grand era of exploration