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Star Trek: The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden
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Star Trek: The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden [Format Kindle]

Jeff Mariotte

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Star Trek: The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden


“We’ve got a Klingon situation,” Rear Admiral James T. Kirk said.

“A Klingon situation?” Lieutenant Rowland echoed. “Where, sir?”

“I’m glad you asked.” Kirk tapped a display on his desk, and a viewscreen on the wall illuminated. He walked over to it. Rowland, no doubt, saw only dots and swirling lines, but the admiral knew what he was looking at. He had been studying it for a week. And Kirk saw trouble.

“These lines,” he said, pointing, “indicate the movement of Klingon vessels through this region. All within the past few months.”

“That’s a lot of lines,” Rowland said. Lieutenant Giancarlo Rowland was bright, but young and more than a little green. He was Kirk’s flag aide, and since the admiral was desk-bound, that meant Rowland’s duties were largely administrative and occasionally ceremonial. Kirk expected that Rowland would distinguish himself in starship duty one of these days, and become a captain before too long. He was young and bright and green, but he was also ambitious, and getting himself linked to an admiral was a wise move, politically speaking.

“Exactly. Which means a lot of Klingon traffic.”

“Do we know why, sir?” Rowland asked. A soft southern accent revealed his east Texas roots. “I mean, why they’re there?”

“Not yet,” Kirk said. “Frankly, there’s not much there. It’s a sparsely populated little corner of the galaxy. There is one inhabited planet in the vicinity—but again, sparsely populated. I’ve actually been there. It’s a Class-M planet, very Earthlike in many respects, but the entire global population can’t be more than a few hundred thousand, if that.”

“Capable of warp travel?”


“Well, maybe I’m just bein’ dense, sir, but I don’t see what they could possibly have that Klingons would want.”

The admiral peered at the chart. He had been asking himself the same question for days. He’d been studying every reported Klingon sighting, mapping them, and trying to figure out what their big-picture plan might be. It was easy to simply assume that the Klingons were up to no good, for no other reason than that they were Klingons.

That was dangerous thinking, though. Klingons didn’t think like humans did. They planned, schemed, and they had reasons for the things they did. If the Klingons were suddenly active in this one particular sector, there was some motivation behind it.

“I don’t know, either,” he said at last. “But we need to find out.”


Kirk pointed toward Rowland, then back at himself. “We. You and me.”

“How, sir?”

“I guess we need to go on a little trip.”

“A little trip?” Rowland asked.

Kirk returned to his desk and backed out of the chart until it showed a vast swath of the galaxy, with Earth in the lower left corner. The sector under discussion was visible in the upper right.

“That’s . . .”

“It’s not next door,” Kirk said.

“Boy, I’ll say.”

“Is that a problem, Lieutenant?”

“No, sir!” Rowland said quickly. He stood there, staring at the chart.

“Is there something wrong?” Kirk asked after a minute.

“No, sir. It’s just . . . well, I’ve never been that far out there.”

“Most people haven’t, Giancarlo. It’s a rare privilege. I think you’ll like it.”

“I’m sure you’re right.”

“I usually am,” Kirk said with a grin.

“One more question, sir?”


“The planet?”

“You wouldn’t have heard of it,” Kirk said. “It’s called Neural.”


“That’s right.”

Realization dawned in the lieutenant’s eyes. “You’ve been there twice,” he said. “You commanded your first planetary survey there.”

“That’s right,” Kirk said again.

“You were a lieutenant. And, what? My age.”

“About that,” Kirk said. Two years younger. “You’ve been studying my career.”

“I know everything there is to know, sir. About your career, that is.”


“I mean, everything in Starfleet’s records. I’m sure there’s plenty more that’s not in those.”

“All the best parts,” Kirk said. “Just the boring stuff goes in the official record.” He tapped his temple. “The good stuff’s in here.”

“I have no doubt, sir.”

“We’ll need a ship,” Kirk said.

“A ship, sir?”

“To get to Neural. They can’t walk here, but we can’t walk there, either.”

“But we can’t—we need to take this to the Federation Council, have them raise a protest with the Organians. If the Klingon Empire is in violation of the Treaty—”

Kirk cut him off with a wave of his hand. “No Federation, no Starfleet. Nothing on the record. Civilian transportation. A charter, since there aren’t any commercial flights passing anywhere near there.”

“Why not, sir?”

“It’s a long story,” Kirk said. “I’ll tell you sometime. Let’s just say I have some unfinished business on Neural. If that is in any way responsible for what’s happening there now, with the Klingons, then I need to set things straight if I can. Not Starfleet. Me.” He wondered briefly if this was a fool’s errand. Second chances were possible, Kirk believed that with all his heart, but they were as rare as snowmen in July. The admiral shook his head to clear it. “When I left Neural, I informed Starfleet of the Klingon presence there. The Federation Council raised the issue with the Klingons, and the two sides agreed that Neural fell under the hands-off policy dictated by the Treaty of Organia. If they’ve broken that agreement, I want to know about it.”

“So a civilian charter . . .”

“Right. Something small and fast, preferably. Something that can get in and out of orbit before the Klingons know it’s there.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Pack an extra toothbrush,” Kirk suggested. “I don’t know if they’ve invented those yet, and we’ll be staying awhile.”

“How long, sir?”

“I have no idea.” Kirk sat behind his desk. It was a beautiful thing, carved mahogany with brass fittings, in a vaguely nautical design. It was big and it weighed a ton, and it felt like an anchor chained to his leg. He loved Earth, but like so many things, that love was felt more fervently from a distance. A desk in Starfleet’s headquarters had never been one of his career goals. His title, chief of Starfleet Operations, sounded impressive. But to Kirk the title was little more than a cruel joke, since by definition, the chief of Starfleet Operations never operated among the stars.

Kirk hadn’t realized, until he’d decided he had to go back to Neural, how much he missed it. And now that he did realize it, it was all he could think about.

* * *

Over the next few days, James Kirk had much to do. Chief of Starfleet Operations was a mouthful of a title, but it wasn’t a meaningless one. Starfleet had hundreds of ships and thousands of people assigned to missions all over the galaxy. And one day, hopefully, Kirk thought, outside it. Plenty of people served under him, and although Kirk delegated as much as he could, he was still a busy executive. Before he could leave, the admiral had to make sure the people who reported to him would be able to pick up the slack. Kirk tried to look ahead, to project every major decision he might have to make, and he left instructions as to how he would act. It wouldn’t do to compound his mistakes on Neural by letting something important slip by here.

Rowland was also busy. Leading a Starfleet star-ship on a multi-year interstellar mission involved a lot of preparation, but when one stepped on board that last time, one knew the ship was fully outfitted, provisioned, and prepared for any eventuality. But a long voyage on a civilian craft was a different matter. While one could hope that the ship was ready for anything, the reality might not match those hopes. Controls and regulations for civilian space travel were strict, but people had been skirting transportation laws since the first hot-rodder had figured out how to remove his car’s muffler, if not before.

Kirk’s last official act was to notify key people about where he was going. Although the trip had to be made without official authorization—the phrase “plausible deniability” had entered bureaucratic lexicon during the mid–twentieth century and had not left it since—a rear admiral couldn’t simply abandon his duties and disappear.

* * *

Admiral Elaine Kucera was looking down at a data slate on her desk when Kirk entered, but she was expecting him, so he stood in the doorway unti...

Présentation de l'éditeur

Early in his five-year mission commanding the U.S.S. Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk found himself caught up in a grow­ing conflict on the planet Neural. To maintain the balance of power against a force being armed by the Klingons, he provided weapons to his new friends, the Hill People. Years later, Admiral Kirk learns that the Klingon presence on Neu­ral has grown considerably, and in possible violation of the Treaty of Organia. Did his impulse as a young captain turn out disastrously wrong? Could he have done more to eliminate the Klingon threat? To find out, Kirk must embark on a secret mission back to Neural—where he might just be the only person who can prevent an interstellar war. . . .

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3732 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 369 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1476749655
  • Editeur : Pocket Books/Star Trek (29 avril 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.0 étoiles sur 5  16 commentaires
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Pass on this one 17 mai 2014
Par Clay James - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Story was weak, disjointed, and very predictable. The writing style was not up to par with some of the better Star Trek books I have read. Is there anyway to get your money back from kindle purchase?
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 SPOILER ALERT: THE REDSHIRTS DIE 4 juin 2014
Par Marc Rosenthal - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
In what has become a sudden theme for recent star trek books, this plot revolves around revisiting a world from TOS. This one is Neural. Kirk, now an admiral (the story takes place a few months before the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture) hears that there may be Klingons violating the treaty with the Organians by continuing to meddle in the affairs of this pre-industrial world.

Like you would expect of any decorated Rear Admiral, Kirk quickly obtains clearance for a covert mission involving only himself and his aide with two security officers. Don't bother learning their names, they all die. Kirk's aide Rowland's death is especially telegraphed since every other word out of his mouth is about the girl he loves and whether or not he should marry her when they got back. Of course he was going to die.

They are ferried to Neural by a disillusioned former Starfleet officer in a decommissioned Starfleet vessel, and dropped off with the promise that they will be picked up in two weeks. They quickly bury all of their advanced equipment and get swept up into the action.

The once peaceful people have been divided into two factions, living in Freehold and Victory. The folks in Victory are the ones being helped by the Klingons, advanced from the stone age all the way to an industrial society in the span of a few years with their help. They have been alternately murdering or capturing the Freeholders to use as slave labor mining something that is essential for the Klingons. Kirk's old friend Tyree is the leader of the Freeholders.

Eventually Kirk and all of the major characters get captured and forced into slave labor in the mine. Kirk somehow gets under the skin of Apella, the puppet leader of Victory, at the same time the Freeholders arrive to attack the mine, and chaos ensues. Kirk, Apella, and Tyree then somehow end up hijacking a Klingon freighter and end up in a battle with a Klingon warbird. The privateer ship that ferried them there also shows up and the two hopelessly outclassed ships still somehow manage to keep a warship at bay.

Meanwhile back home Scotty, Chekov and Uhura are overseeing the refit of the Enterprise. Scotty suddenly notices Kirk isn't around and starts asking questions, somehow prying the truth out of the senior admiral that agreed to the mission and granted passage aboard another Constitution class ship which of course arrives just in time to save the day!

There are too many holes in this story to mention, even though I did my best. Kirk's inner thoughts in this book center around how much he wants to be in the center chair, even when the story around him has little to do with anything that would lead him to think it, but trying hard to foreshadow the events in the motion picture to follow. If you are like me you will find yourself wondering as for seemingly the hundredth time Kirk gets himself captured and badly beaten is it really possible for somebody to physically and psychologically manage to take the punishment he keeps taking and to keep on going. But, of course, it's just a story.

Overall, well, it's nice that they are trying to keep the original Star Trek universe going by filling in some gaps of what Kirk and the rest were up to in the gaps between the show and the films, but this story was marginal and implausible at best. It also brings to light how stale the sensibilities of TOS are nowadays, where you can't get into a choreographed fight, give a big speech, and have your enemies decide that you were right all along. Today's audience expects something much more nuanced than that, and this story seems quaint and stale by comparison. I'll give it four stars, because, you know, it's Star Trek, but if there are future projects in the works intended to send Kirk back to revisit worlds from TOS, please tell the stories like it is 2014 and not 1964.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Star Trek: The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden 18 mai 2014
Par Joe Zika - Publié sur
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Star Trek: The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden - by Jeff Mariotte

The events in this novel take place in 2273, only months prior to Earth being threatened by the massive machine life-form known as V'Ger in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

This is not the best of TREK and close to the worst that I've read. The premise is a stretch to begin with and the storyline is something out of character for Kirk. With possible violations to the Treaty of Organia, Kirk is wondering about what has happened to Neural a place he visited early on in his first five-year mission as captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Now, with reports coming in that there is Klingon activity in that sector, Kirk needs to find out if he made the correct decision to maintain the balance of power on the planet. James T. Kirk is now a Rear Admiral in Starfleet and is behind a desk in Starfleet Headquarters as he concocts a plan to revisit Neural.

The storyline is believable to a point as Kirk goes on a covert mission with his administrative aide and two Starfleet security officers in a retired refitted Starfleet vessel that is now up for hire. Like I said earlier, this is not the best of TREK. The narrative moves along as Kirk is reunited with friends on Neural and brings up some painful memories as well.

Neural has now degenerated into two warring city-states that were once peaceful. Now, Kirk has to find out what is causing this upheaval in the peace on this once halcyon planet. Of course, the Klingon activity isn't far from his mind as Kirk investigates this new turbulent state of affairs.

It is out of character the way the Klingons are portrayed in this novel. They are more benevolent, though cruel, as they bleed the planet of its natural resource Leutrinium. The Klingons use this for power generation for big plants on Qo'noS and in smaller power plants on their starships.

Kirk has to unite the warring factions on the planet to effectively get the Klingon out of the picture or feel the wrath of either the Federation or the all-powerful Organians who are responsible for the peace in this sector of space. You would think the Organians would be aware of this breach by the Klingons and take control of these matters themselves. This is where things just aren't the caliber of Star Trek novels in the past.

This novel was a fast read, even with the pitfalls in logic and storyline. The narrative was close to the Kirk character of the past, but missed. The fill-in characters played their parts as there are strong and weak personalities and amorous interests between different factions. Then there are some really dumb things that were completely hard to believe.

I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this book unless you want to complete a collection of novels in this TREK genre. This novel fell flat from the start. Those phasers and communicators will remain buried on Neural next to a tree and a dome shaped rock, just off the path to the Freeholder's village. A theme that comes up several times in the book. I wonder what will happen when someone finds them in the plastic bag that keeps the dirt out? There are cameo appearances of Scotty, Uhura and Chekov, but they have been added mainly because this is a Star Trek: TOS novel which is Kirk centric.
5 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Not one of the better ones 17 mai 2014
Par RobK - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
A Starfleet admiral going on a "sanctioned" covert op with his administrative aide and 2 security guards using civilian transport? I really doubt that. Oh, they didn't want it to LOOK like a Starfleet op in case they got caught? They why make the civilian transport ship A RETIRED STARFLEET VESSEL?!?! Good thing they brought the communicators and phasers which they promptly buried at the beginning of the trip and were never seen again except in the "…if we only had those phasers" dialog that comes back time and again.

Without giving up any spoilers the ending is just plain ridiculous. The Klingons would just NEVER behave that way or allow that. It's like the author looked up at the clock and said "CRAP, it's 4:56 and I'm supposed to be off at 5. Oh, I'll just do 'whatever' and wrap this thing up."

It had its moments and I usually read ALL Trek novels as they're released anyway. I always enjoy reading them but that's me.

I'm not even sure why Uhura, Scotty and Chekov were even in this book… they didn't DO ANYTHING but take up pages. Oh and I think you left those phasers and communicators buried on Neural…
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Star Trek original 20 mai 2014
Par C. KAPLAN - Publié sur
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Boring---great idea----but no Spock,McCoy,just kirk--it just Kirk with the tribes- trying to make things right again and meeting tryree again
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