Star Trek The Original Series #71: Crossroad by Barbara Hambly
From the author of ‘Ghost Walker’, comes this excellent 1994 tale set just before the end of the 5 year mission. The Enterprise encounters time travellers from the 26th century who say they are fleeing the Consilium, corrupt immoral power players who control what used to be the UFP. Kirk and co are shocked that everything they believe in has been taken over by ethically unacceptable monsters. They also learn that the person who set all this in motion is one of Kirk’s crew. Some react with boiling anger to this dark future and decide to implement solutions and wallow in their pain.
Then representatives of the Consilium show up and we get a glimpse of the UFP’s possible future, a dark place created by profit and purpose. This is a curious and beguiling novel about the unknowable irresistible future and a slow recognition of how Kirk and co unwittingly set the Consilium in motion. This was good, it is a shame that Hambly doesn’t write for Trek anymore.
“If these people are as evil as you say - if they have, in fact done things like seed planets with diseases and genetically manipulate populations to make them more amenable to mental control - I have a little trouble in picturing them sparing their enemies out of consideration for the four hundred and thirty people on board this vessel.”
“Well, for four hundred and twenty-nine of them, any-way...But you see Captain, the person who gave the Consilium its start is one of your crew. And the Consilium know it.”
“She knew what was to become of him, of Mr. Spock, of McCoy…”
“I shouldn’t have told you all that. You did ask.”
“All he had worked for - all his own dreams of future worlds, future justice, future good. Gone.”
“To see exactly what kind of people would - at least for a time - be his heirs.”
“Have no idea what it was that they have brought on board their starship.”
“Thinking only what she wished them to think.”