A Novel by J.M. Dillard
Screenplay by Nicholas Meyer & Denny Martin Flinn
Story by Leonard Nimoy and Nicholas Meyere & Denny Martin Flinn
The Klingons are proposing Peace. Does this mean the end of the war or the end of history?
Stardate 8679.25: Internal pressures, enormous military expenditures, and the destruction of their primary energy source have brought the Klingon Empire to the verge of catastrophic collapse.
To avert disaster, Gorkon, Chancellor of the Klingon High Council, proposes negotiations between the Federation and Klingon Empire, negotiations that will put an end to the years of hostility between the two powers, and herald a new era of peace and cooperation. Captain James T. Kirk and the U.S.S. EnterpriseTM are dispatched to escort the Chancellor safely into Federation space.
But a treacherous assassination brings negotiations to a sudden halt and places Kirk and Dr. McCoy in the hands of the Federation's greatest enemy. With time running out, Spock and the Enterprise crew work to uncover the deadly secret that threatens to propel the galaxy into the most destructive conflict it has ever known.
Review by Roger D. Noriega
The novel is always better than book, right? Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Clear and Present Danger, The Hunt for the Red October, right? I would normally say that this is the case and one should not expect to find the novelization to Star Trek VI to be better than the movie - this is just not the case. A novelization is always based on the most recent script and as we know, movies are changed daily while in production and even in post-production.
The novelization by J.M. Dillard is one that adds a few layers to the story as seen on the big screen. The story stands on its own, unlike Star Trek V which does have a few holes filled in by the novelization. A few. That review is for another day - maybe.
Hostilities are breaking out between the two superpowers: The Klingons and the Federation. There have been attacks on outposts inside of Federation space by phaserfire from undetected ships. Witnesses, describe clear phaser strikes, not originating from the atmosphere, but from the sky, underneath clouds - "you just can't see any ships."
Cloaked ships. It must be. First Kudao and then Themis. Carol Marcus is on the survivors from the latter attack and Jim Kirk rushes to her side. Kirk is burning with rage because Carol was hurt by a Klingon attack. How does one know for certain? Who else could it be? Kirk is saddened for he is called back to Starfleet Headquarters and must leave Carol who remains in a coma. First his son David and now Carol. These [...] will pay if Kirk ever gets a chance.
That chance never comes. At the briefing, we learn that Praxis has exploded, the Klingon economy is in tatters and a olive branch is on the table. Kirk is chosen to Command the Enterprise to Escort Chancellor Gorkon to Earth.
Kirk realizes immediately that much more is happening upon witnessing the apparent photon torpedo strikes to Kronos One. He remembers the words that Kwan-mei Suarez (Carol's friend on the outpost): "Out of nowhere. The ships fired out of nowhere." Kirk, the great warrior knows that much more is happening and he refrains from raising shields while Kronos One bears down on the Enterprise on a revenge run.
Frantically McCoy tore open Gorkon's collar.
"Bones . . . ?" Jim asked, feeling as if he were watching humanity's last chance for peace die before his eyes.
"He's gone into some kind of arrest. Come on, dammit!" McCoy swore at Gorkon, then pounded the Klingon's chest.
The chancellor opened his eyes and looked up into Jim's face.
"Are you all right?" Gorkon asked feebly.
Jim heard his own voice telling Spock: They're animals. Let them die . . .
No, Jim tried to whisper. Don't let it end this way.
Significantly different from the movie events, but no less telling of the power of the moment. The movie was more powerful in the scene where Gorkon dies, especially when he implores Kirk: "Don't let it end this way."
In the moment where Uhura is able to convince the controllers at Mortagh Station that the Enterprise is actually a smuggler ship, we realize that the two sentinels have no doubt that they are smugglers and that they are rather thankful for the liquor they are drinking. Based on the dialect that Uhura is using, they peg her to be Rigellian or Catullan. In any event, they wish her well and give her the code signal that all is clear with them and for good fortune the rest of the way: "Don't catch any bugs."
If you read the book, you know what they mean, if you don't, you are left with the same dumbfounded look that the crew have upon hearing the parting phrase from Mortagh Station.
Sulu confronts doubts from his crew about assisting the Enterprise and in a scene reminiscent of Star Trek III that touches upon loyalty, brotherhood, and friendship, Sulu responds to his first officer's declaration of having just committed treason: "To be candid, I always hoped that if the choice ever came down to betraying my country or betraying my friend, I'd have the guts to betray my country." he paused an studied his crew, "I realize that I can't ask any of you to follow my orders. If you do so, you may face charges along with me. Those who wish may retire to their quarters."
No one left the bridge.
Uhura's declaration of the Klingon ship having a tail pipe is not in the book, but he comment about informing Starfleet command via letter about their predicament in battle is rather amusing. Scotty's follow-up of making sure that it is "Postdated" is a rather telling sign of who these people are, professionals in the face of duty and damn, grim funny people under pressure all the while their lives are at stack. That with McCoy's attempted humor of "This is fun" may have added levity to the whole situation, but clearly would be unwarranted in the "Battle for Peace".
The book follows the movie almost to the T, but as I said, it adds layers to the story we have now seen on the big-screen. It answers some questions that we may have had and it adds beauty to wonderful, rich story that will remain, to this day, one of the better stories told by the people from Star Trek.
The novelization rates a 3.5 of 5.