SPOILER ALERT!

Star Trek: S. C. E.: #16 Oaths by Glenn Hauman

Oaths - Glenn Hauman

When a pandemic disease breaks out on a shore leave planet Dr. Lense, who stayed on board due to counseling sessions with Captain Gold, is the only one who can save the entire population... and her colleagues.

 

On the one hand, Lense has to deal with Captain Gold who wants to pull her out of her depression without having to fall back on Starfleet protocol which would leave a permanent mark on her record. This part is dealt with via transcripts of those sessions within Gold's log... a ploy which leaves out some much needed meat in this plotthread - the description of emotions, of mimics etc when Lense is confronted by Gold.

 

And the other part is about the epidemic and Lense's way of resolving it employing illegal methods (the same illegal methods which contributed to her depression, incidentally, in an oblique way) - which then leads to the discussion about the end serving the means etc.

 

Unfortunately, while both plotthreads could have been engaging enough, both suffer again from a lack of depth. Who says that everything has to be resolved by the end of one novella? There are a lot of good ideas in this series, but, not only in this case, they suffer a bit from the novella-format which prevents an in-depth analysis and much needed contemplation over cause and effect. I can easily see this novella, for example, expanded on - add the legal complications, add more involvement of the rest of the crew, add some more background information (f.e. here what happened to Lense's old crew in the Dominion War). That's perhaps the biggest regret so far in this series: There are many interesting ideas - but the fleshing out-part is seriously lacking. Again, probably due to the restricting format. But how to solve that problem? Come up with less interesting ideas? I don't have a solution, either, I only know that I see a lot of potential in this series ( or I'd have given up on it already), but I keep getting frustrated no to see that potential realized so far. And this story is a prime example of frustration-inducing story-telling.