The Federation was notified a year ago, by drone messenger capsule, that the planet Vesbius needs to be evacuated because a combo asteroid/comet is going to hit, wiping out all life. No one in the Federation bothers to do anything about it; they don’t even get in touch with anyone until a month before impact when the Enterprise unexpectedly shows up to … co-ordinate the evacuation? Actually evacuate everyone? Not exactly clear what the Enterprise intends to do, but it’s there.
In any event, had anyone bothered to get in touch, they would have learned the Enterprise wasn’t needed because the people of the planet have decided to burrow under a mountain and ride out the impact. That does not sit well with the Enterprise because even if the Vesbians survive the hit, the planet will be uninhabitable for eons. But, plot twist, Vesbians cannot survive off the planet. This was somehow or another unmentioned or unknown by the sender of the drone who presumably lives on the planet.
Not wanting the trip to be in vain, Kirk falls in love and Spock comes up with a clever plan involving aliens we met in the original series. For reasons unmentioned in the book, subspace radio must no longer work, because instead of calling to see if this is at all feasible, the Enterprise makes a warp 8 trip to the alien’s planet to ask for help. The aliens, all the equivalent of teenagers, agree and adopt Spock as their mother.
After some on board high jinks, they arrive back at the planet, put down a possible rebellion and save the day. Kirk leaves the love of his life and Spock convinces the teens that he is a father type and not at all motherly.
Oh my, where to start.
This planet is not a member of the federation, but they developed the vaccine for Rigelian fever, they make the best ale in the galaxy and they have trade ties, so they can’t be so out of touch it took 11 months to check on them. If the Enterprise had shown up earlier, it maybe could have nudged the comet a bit and saved all the drama.
The love affair between Kirk and Hannah is, I suppose, meant to make us care about her fate. But we never get to know much about her except that she’s a politician and hot! There’s no build up of love and affection (they hop into bed the day they meet). They don’t have much in common. Nor is it a case of having talents, emotions and histories that fill in blanks the other longs for. He thinks she just the most beautiful and available thing in the world and she thinks he’s… well, no one ever says. I guess she thinks he’s hot. In any event, Kirk leaves without a backward glance and we assume she does too.
The teenage aliens are imagined by the author to be part of a hive mind. The upshot of this is that when some of the aliens are endangered, who cares? It’s like worrying about one ant or one bee. They become more distinct during the crisis and after the danger passes, but by then it’s too late. We didn’t really care if they were saved or not.
There are some recycled McCoy jokes; Sulu and Chekov act to save the Enterprise without telling anyone what’s up; Spock is as boring as possible; and Kirk falls in love. Scotty gets a pretty big role near the end in which he is very well portrayed. There are no formatting or egregious grammar errors. Some might like the engineering details, but there's not much else to interest anyone in this book