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Fables of the Prime Directive

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at September 3, 2005 - 4:08 PM GMT

Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers, #53 Fables of the Prime Directive
Author: Cory Rushton
Release Date: July 2005
Format: eBook
ISBN: 0-7434-9683-3

It isn't always technology that needs a fix in a Starfleet Corps of Engineers story. Sometimes it's an entire society that needs a helping hand. That is the case in the new S.C.E. eBook #53 Fables of the Prime Directive by Cory Rushton, a mystery that explores why Starfleet's General Order Number One is usually trickier to apply in reality than it is in theory.

Prior to the Dominion War, the pre-warp civilization on Coroticus III was under observation by the Federation when it was overrun by the Dominion. Forced to leave a man behind when they pull out, Starfleet does not return until after the war is over and the Dominion has abandoned the planet. Now Carol Abramowitz and a team from the U.S.S. da Vinci must determine how much damage the Dominion presence has done to the Corotican culture. But that's the least of the S.C.E.'s problems, as they discover that there is a mass-murderer on the loose, and it may be the Starfleet officer left behind.

During her career as a cultural specialist Abramowitz has learned to be philosophically pragmatic when it comes to the application of Starfleet's Prime Directive. In Fables of the Prime Directive, author Cory Rushton takes a hard look at the ideology of the Federation's most sacred law through Abramowitz's soul-searching. In doing so Rushton takes full advantage of his background as a scholar and anyone who enjoys history will find an extra level of enjoyment in reading Fables of the Prime Directive.

Rushton's prose demonstrates a subtlety that allows the author to cover a surprising amount of amount of material within the narrative, all the while maintaining a careful balance between the plot threads. The characterizations of Abramowitz, Corsi and Fabian Stevens are right on the money. What I particularly enjoyed was Rushton's use of the character Makk Vinx, the Iotian security guard. The character of Vinx is one of the newer additions to the cast of S.C.E. Fables of the Prime Directive is the first story in which he's had a fairly significant role and you can't help but like the guy.

The one element of the plot I did have a problem with, though, was the murder investigation. Admittedly I'm a bit squeamish so the gruesome nature of the deaths and the graphic depiction of the details of those deaths weren't my personal cup of tea. Thankfully, although the grisly descriptions did make me feel both disgusted and horrified, it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the overall story.

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Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.

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