Star Trek: Discovery novel Drastic Measures ties into tragedy told in original series (UPDATED)

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Originally published Oct. 16, 2017

An upcoming Star Trek original novel will tie characters from the new CBS All Access series, Discovery, with an event alluded to in the original 1960s TV series — an event that was a formative experience for legendary Capt. James T. Kirk.

Drastic Measures, publishing Feb. 6, 2018, will tell the story of remote Federation colony Tarsus IV, which suffers a severe famine when food supplies are ravaged by an aggressive contagion.

In the 1966 original Star Trek episode “The Conscience of the King,” we learn that Tarsus’ governor, Adrian Kodos, ordered half the colony’s population put to death to save resources for the other, more “valuable” half during the 2246 crisis. Believed to have been found dead at the end of the disaster, when rescuers arrived unexpectedly early, Kodos actually lived on disguised as Shakespearean acting troupe leader Anton Karidian, who takes passage with his players aboard Kirk’s USS Enterprise in 2266.

I remember “Conscience” being one of the first “dramatic” episodes of Star Trek — low on special effects and action, and almost devoid of anything a young Trekker would call “science fiction,” but gripping nonetheless — that really held my attention. There would, of course, be many more!

The first Discovery novel, David Mack’s Desperate Hours, chronicled Michael Burnham’s rise to first officer serving under Capt. Phillipa Georgiou aboard the USS Shenzhou. It was released in late September just as the first season of the CBS All Access series began streaming.

Drastic Measures, written by Dayton Ward, sees future Discovery captain Gabriel Lorca (played on the new series by Jason Isaacs) working with Georgiou, depicted in the Discovery series pilot by Michelle Yeoh, in an attempt to organize a response to the desperate Tarsus situation; they end up teaming up in pursuit of the governor, who becomes infamous throughout the Federation as “Kodos the Executioner.”

It’s worth noting that the blight behind the Tarsus IV crisis was supposed to be a fungus — and Discovery is literally built around the concept of an exotic “spore drive” that could revolutionize interstellar travel as the Federation struggles to win its early conflict against the Klingon Empire. Did something happen on Tarsus to precipitate the wartime research Lorca would oversee years later, in 2256, on the USS Discovery? And, will Georgiou and Lorca cross paths with the young colonist Jim Kirk, one of only a few people alive by the time of “Consience of the King” who was able to positively identify the face of Kodos?

We’ll find out, possibly, next year when the second Discovery novel is released as a 304-page trade paperback, ebook and audiobook.

Cover, synopsis released for Star Trek: Discovery novel Drastic Measures

UPDATE, Nov. 17: The official Star Trek website has added an official synopsis and cover for Drastic Measures. The 400-page trade paperback will cost $16 U.S.

Drastic Measures coverIt is 2246, ten years prior to the “Battle at the Binary Stars,” and an aggressive contagion is ravaging the food supplies of the remote Federation colony Tarsus IV and the eight thousand people who call it home. Distress signals have been sent, but any meaningful assistance is weeks away. Lieutenant Commander Gabriel Lorca and a small team assigned to a Starfleet monitoring outpost are caught up in the escalating crisis, and bear witness as the colony’s governor, Adrian Kodos, employs an unimaginable solution in order to prevent mass starvation.

While awaiting transfer to her next assignment, Commander Philippa Georgiou is tasked with leading to Tarsus IV a small, hastily assembled group of first responders. It’s hoped this advance party can help stabilize the situation until more aid arrives, but Georgiou and her team discover that they’re too late—Governor Kodos has already implemented his heinous strategy for extending the colony’s besieged food stores and safeguarding the community’s long-term survival.

In the midst of their rescue mission, Georgiou and Lorca must now hunt for the architect of this horrific tragedy and the man whom history will one day brand “Kodos the Executioner”…

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