Genre: Sci-fi/Star Trek
Read again? Eh. I don't know.
At some point after the Trek episode What Are Little Girls Made Of?, the USS Hood receives a distress call from supposed survivors of an expedition. The ship is quickly taken over by androids designed to replicate the crew.
The androids are led by a replica of James Kirk--and while he wants to finish the work of his creator, Dr. Korby (to establish an android colony), he also wants revenge on the real Kirk for his interference in Korby's work.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise is mounting a rescue mission. A swarm of asteroids is about to conveniently wipe out an entire civilization of aboriginal people on an island. The swarm's inconveniently large and fast, so there's no shooting or pushing them around. With minutes to spare, Kirk rescues a kid who went foraging for eggs. Beamed up in the nick of time, and all that.
It turns out that the kid's people have a life-debt thingie where the kid's got to stay with Kirk for a year, or until the life-debt is paid off, whichever comes first. So the kid (conveniently an empath) comes along (hint: androids don't have feelings).
There's also trouble with the Romulans.
Pedestrian. Few surprises in the plot and plenty of things that could have been tightened up. The book doesn't drag, but I really wish it had been more fun. I should have taken more points off for having so many pat plot points--and I should send Friedman a bill for doctor visits to fix rolled-eye muscle strains.
The big "pro" for this book is that there are no Space Animals--no anthropomorphic cows, wallabies, sheep, mice, cockroaches, snot puddles, or any of the other things that populate some Trek books.
The big "cons": stuff Friedman got wrong (I hope he eventually learned his "Trek" stuff, since someone kept giving him work):
--Romulans use disruptors and plasma--not phasers and photon torpedoes.
--Spock is a touch-telepath (can read thoughts, if he's touching you), not primarily an empath.
--The characters are 2-dimensional and stock: the emotionless Vulcan, McCoy the a-hole, Kirk the amiable hero.
--(spoiler) The Enterprise crew isn't killed after replication the way everyone else was.
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