SPOILER ALERT!

Star Trek: S. C. E.: #3 Hard Crash by Christie Golden

Star Trek: Hard Crash (Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers) - Christie Golden

Hard Crash is essentially the conclusion to the 110-arc - and hopefully, to Geordi's visit on the da Vinci.

 

The da Vinci is called to investigate and, if possible, shut down a giant ship that's apparently crashed on purpose on a peaceful planet. What looks at first like a new variation of Borg ship becomes the story of the relationship between a pilot and a sentient ship that cannot cope with the loss of said pilot. 110 links with the ship and gets it to realize that it can function alone as well, much as he himself realizes.

 

The second part of this story is much stronger than the first. What is a run of the mill investigation becomes a bittersweet story about loss, grief and continuing on despite those feelings. 110 in the end refuses to return to Bynaeus, losing his designation. He's now called Soloman. And the ship takes its pilot home, and perhaps will continue exploring space on its own after that because it won't accept another partner/pilot.

 

As I said, the story itself works quite well, as does 110's characterization. But much feels a bit like repetition of the second part of this series. We already had 110's identity crisis, and it was already quite clear back then that he wouldn't return home. So it's a bit of a redundancy here, that's, I suppose, unavoidable when back-to-back stories are written by different authors. The same applies to Gomez's cacao-incident and her doubts about being able to work with Geordi. They have worked together well for 2 books already, so why shouldn't they be able to now in the third? And why does everyone call Geordi "Lieutenant"? The correct rank is Lt. Cmdr. or abbreviated Commander.

 

Gomez and her second in command within the SCE-command structure, Kieran Duffy, might resume their relationship, so that's another interesting facet for future stories, as is the long-distance relationship of the ship's linguist Bart Faulwell. It's good to see the crew fleshed out slowly but surely, and also fleshed out in a way that's reminiscent of the old IDIC-motto.

 

Overall, Hard Crash is a quite emotional story, that's good to read and advances the personal story arcs. But it contains certain idiosyncracies that threw me out of the reading flow. Therefore, the whole story gets an average rating.