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The Demon, Books One and Two

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at February 28, 2004 - 10:23 PM GMT

Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #35 The Demon, Book One
Authors: Loren L. Coleman and Randall N. Bills
Release Date: January 2004
Format: eBook
ISBN: 0-7434-7609-3

Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers #36 The Demon, Book Two
Authors: Loren L. Coleman and Randall N. Bills
Release Date: February 2004
Format: eBook
ISBN: 0-7434-7610-7

The old adage, "Time flies when you're having fun", certainly applies to the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series. As I sat down to read the two books that comprise the newest instalments of this monthly eBook series I found myself taken aback for a moment when the numbers 35 and 36 jumped out at me. It just doesn't seem possible that three years of reading these stories has gone by. In the two-part tale, The Demon, authors Loren L. Coleman and Randall N. Bills continue the tradition of excellent science fiction storytelling that this series has become known for.

The Demon introduces us to a race of reptilian aliens called Resaurians when the crew of the USS da Vinci responds to a distress signal coming from a very unlikely source — a space station anchored inside a black hole.

The Resaurians hold their traditions above everything and the black hole, which they call the Demon, holds great significance for their culture. Resaurian tradition forbids alien contact with the Demon and when an S.C.E. team lead by Commander Sonya Gomez becomes stranded on the space station, Captain Gold finds himself confronting not only the technical problems of how to affect a rescue but the traditions and long held secrets of the Resaurians.

While the problem of affecting a rescue from inside a black hole is central to the plot of The Demon the story element that really make this tale fascinating to read is the alien race, the Resaurians. To say they are interesting is something of an understatement. Past experiences have left the Resaurians extremely suspicious, fearful of change, and conservative to the point of being intransigent and reactionary. Within their wonderful narrative the authors have created a fully realized and extremely thought provoking culture in the best traditions of Star Trek storytelling.

Another element that regular readers of this series will really appreciate is the superb character development of Mor glash Tev, the Tellerite second officer. Only a member of the da Vinci crew for three months by this point, we've really only seen Tev through the eyes of his shipmates. In The Demon, however, we get to see things from Tev's point of view, and in taking that tack the authors have made him a more fully rounded character. He's still a self-righteous prig, but you can't help but like him.

As with most S.C.E. stories The Demon illustrates the power of teamwork and it also includes clever crossover references, in this case to New Frontier as well as Enterprise and Voyager, and in this story their use is absolutely perfect. They are a seamless part of the whole, not just included for the sake of doing so.

This was my first taste of the writing duo of Coleman and Bills who will be known to readers of classic BattleTech and MechWarrior fiction. Based on this story I hope it won't be my last. They certainly know how to produce a thoroughly satisfying read. Those numbers 35 and 36 may have jarred me when I started to read The Demon but by the time I was finished I was longing for more.

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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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