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Today’s excerpt is from popular Star Trek regular Scott Pearson, author of STAR TREK: TOS: The More Things ChangeSix months after the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Doctor Christine Chapel and Spock must save the life of an ailing Audrid Dax, her true nature as a Trill having remained a mystery until now. But after an unknown vessel attacks their shuttle, a risky game of cat-and-mouse may be the only way to save all their lives.

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Star Trek More Things Change

continued excerpt of THE MORE THINGS CHANGE:

And Christine Chapel certainly did know him well. She’d served with Spock throughout the five-year mission, and five years of adventures on the Enterprise were like fifteen years anywhere else. She had even briefly hosted his consciousness in her own mind while his body had been taken over by Henoch, one of the last survivors of an ancient race yearning to return to corporeal existence after living for half a million years as mental energy in storage units. At the time that happened, she’d already been carrying a blazing and unrequited torch for Spock for years. It was embarrassing now to think about how, just a few short years before, she’d been pining after him like a schoolgirl; but, in a strange way, it had led to a closeness between them that she wouldn’t trade for anything. The torch had finally been extinguished as she pursued her medical degree. The confidence she’d gained becoming a doctor had done wonders for her, personally and professionally.

Just as Chapel was settling into her new position as chief medical officer of the Enterprise under Captain Will Decker, everything changed. You could say it had reverted. Kirk came back. He brought McCoy back. Spock came back. McCoy’s seniority obviously entitled him to the CMO position. Chapel made a show of being happy that McCoy was CMO instead of her but privately worried she was falling behind in her career. Chapel briefly considered transferring to a different ship, but she decided to stay aboard the Enterprise and forged ahead as best she could, reminding McCoy she was no longer his nurse when he seemed to forget it. And then there was Spock: Initially he had been cold and distant as never before; then, after melding with V’ger, he’d become somewhat bewildered as he embraced his human half. She had been the first to bring up their past “relationship.” Chapel wanted Spock to know how she had moved past her infatuation with him. After trying to explain it in broad, brisk strokes, she still doubted that he understood. She realized that she couldn’t expect him to put all the pieces together when he was moving from a lifetime of denying emotions to suddenly trying to make peace with them.

Chapel studied Spock as he swiveled to face her. He appeared confident and all business. “I have lost contact with the Enterprise.” He spoke softly, obviously wanting to ensure that Dax couldn’t overhear through the temporary wall separating the cockpit from the main cabin. “Sensors are nominal, but with some interference. It could be a natural phenomenon, but so far I have been unable to rule out artificial intervention.”

Chapel rocked back in her seat. “You’re saying someone might be jamming our communications? Can you contact the Troyval?”

Spock’s expression changed subtly, to something not quite grim but also not comforting. “I cannot. But this could simply be a temporary technical problem. Please don’t worry unnecessarily. I will continue to attempt to rectify the situation.”

Chapel almost suggested that, just to be safe, they return to the Enterprise, but she thought better of it. They had been en route long enough that they would be closer to the rendezvous point than to the Enterprise. Even if Captain Kirk thought the communication problem warranted turning around and warping back toward the Copernicus, he’d be playing catch-up compared to the Troyval, where Dax needed to go for her treatment.

Continuing to the rendezvous was still the best course of action without additional information—information they were unlikely to get without being able to contact either of the ships. Chapel frowned and drummed her right hand on the copilot’s console in frustration.

Spock tilted his head slightly toward the aft cabin and lowered his voice a little more. “What is Commissioner Dax’s condition?”

“She appears fine. Of course, she still won’t allow me to do a proper exam.”

“The Trill have a cultural taboo regarding—”

“I know, I know.” As she watched Spock closely, his expression became more neutral. Chapel shook her head. “I think you’re trying to change the subject. We’re transporting an important Federation representative on a shuttle with a skeleton crew—an incomplete skeleton, at that—and we’ve lost communications. How is worrying unnecessary?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Worrying is always unnecessary, as it serves no functional purpose. As to our current situation, we are deep in Federation space. There is little cause for . . . concern.”

With a chuckle, Chapel said, “Sorry, but those have the sound of famous, and ironic, last words.”

“If you are implying that something terrible is going to befall us, then no matter how ironic my statement might turn out to be, it is unlikely to be reported and achieve any level of fame.”

Chapel glared at him to see if she could read him, but although his expression had softened slightly, he remained impassive, almost unblinking. He’s practiced this game with Leonard for too long. She gave up with a sigh. “I can tell you one thing for sure: Leonard owes me one for sending me on this trip.”