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Title : Maximum Warp 1 : Dead Zone
Writers : Dave Galanter, Greg Brodeur
Year : 2001
Rating : 4.0000 for 1 reviewsAdd your own review
Reviewer : Daniel Butler Rating : 4
Review : Plot: This book starts out as the Enterprise-E is caught in a mysterious "dead zone" along with a Romulan warbird. This dead zone is stopping all advanced technology from working - the warp engines, the transporters,the photon torpedoes, etc. This is apparently a breakdown of physical laws - there's nothing wrong with anything, it simply isn't working. Bringing matter into contact with antimatter isn't causing annihilation. Picard convinces the commander of the Romulan vessel to allow him to come over in a shuttlecraft (running on chemical thrusters) with a power coupling that will allow them to transfer all remaining power to their tractor beam (which evidently still works). The ships will tractor each other and push off each other to hurl each other out of the zone. The Romulan commander agrees, but (as this book's third-person view makes clear) he is treacherous, and plans to kill Picard and capture the Enterprise. However, Folan, the civilian science officer (honorary rank, apparently) realizes Picard's plan will save them, and she interferes subtly, making it look like one more malfunction when disruptors suddenly stop working (evidently they aren't precluded by the dead zone). Both ships are saved. These dead zones begin to appear more and more rapidly in all areas of the galaxy. Communications are being cut off - subspace transmissions fall silent as soon as they enter a dead zone. Every government seems to suspect the others of causing it (except the Klingons, who Ambassador Worf is keeping on the Federation's side, and Federation). There's a big-brass meeting on Olympus Mons at Mars to do with the dead zones (as well as a lesser-classified routine staff meeting - I think, this was a bit unclear). Picard is attending the staff meeting; Riker pulls him out to tell him of an emergency. There's an old-style nuclear fission reactor (being used in dilithium recrystalization experiments - chalk one up for continuity) in Valles Marineras, and it's going to meltdown - there's a dead zone intersecting part of Mars' surface, and it's lost containment and cooldown power. They send Picard, Data, and A. Crewman down in a shuttlepod to speak to the plant director. He informs them that there are only eleven people, counting himself, left in the plant that couldn't be evacuated. The Enterprise-E somehow transports them out (I thought that wasn't possible in a dead zone?) and then Picard and Data (and A. Crewman) pilot the shuttlepod out - why couldn't they just transport?? Anyway, after this, the Enterprise tractors the entire reactor, rips it off the surface of Mars, and hurls it into space. Woot. Picard and Data's shuttle suddenly loses power and begins to descend. The dead zone has expanded! They transport out A. Crewman (again with the transporters in the dead zone) but then the transporters lose power and they're stuck. The shuttle crashes, and, even without power for shields, SIF, or inertial dampers, Picard and Data survive with only (to 24th century medicine) minor injuries. I believe this was explained as a result of Mars' lighter gravity, which I find absolutely ridiculous. Now Picard crashes the big secret dead zone meeting and demands to know what's going on. They tell him the dead zones are everywhere and more are forming all the time. They also tell him they recieved a secret communique, apparently from Spock on Romulus, that says he knows where the dead zones came from and how to stop them. Meanwhile, as all this is going on, the Romulan Evil Genius T'sart fiddles with Ancient Powerful Technology and is subsequently kicked out when the Tal Shiar come along and take it from him. He is very angry about this, and hatches a Circuitous Plan to get out of the Empire, into Federation territory, and use them to get his tech back. He tracks down Spock on Romulus through Underground Contacts and shows him data on the dead zones. He uses the threat of exposing Spock to force Spock to send a message to the Feds. Soon, Picard arrives, and the Enterprise picks up a Romulan shuttle running from a crippled warbird - Folan's warbird. She's in command after an experiment of hers went awry, killing most aboard. The Enterprise beams the two (apparently) Romulan occupants of the shuttle out as it explodes, then turn tail and hotfoot it out of the Neutral Zone. It turns out Spock is using Vulcan Techniques to change his metabolism to Romulan, to evade scans. His companion, T'sart, apparently is Very Evil Indeed - there is a standing arrest warrant for him, and Picard arrests him. T'sart tells him he knows how to stop the dead zones. Picard decides to use him, and Spock agrees. Analysis: Pretty good, in terms of story, although there is a bit of a deus ex machina here. Also the YATIs can be pretty irritating if you think about them while you're reading, but the story's good enough to take your mind off them. All in all, it's a recommended story, but not without buying the second book
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