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Unspoken Truth (Star Trek: The Original Series) Mass Market Paperback – March 30, 2010

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About the Author

Margaret Wander Bonanno is the bestselling author of Star Trek: Burning Dreams; Star Trek The Lost Era: Catalyst of Sorrows, Star Trek: Dwellers in the Crucible and Star Trek: Strangers from the Sky, as well as two science fiction trilogies, The Others and Preternatural. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives on the Left Coast.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Captain’s Personal Log, Science Vessel Chaffee, Galina Mironova in command. Twenty-eight days ago, we made orbit around Vulcan with the intention of restocking and getting our final orders for what was to have been a simple mission—a month or so of cataloging rocks and trees on an out-of-the-way world in the Deema system. That was before a spacefaring Probe looking for whales came marauding through the quadrant on its way to Earth and effectively grounded all nonessential missions until we got sorted out. Better late than never, we are finally cleared for departure, but now I’m short a science officer. Or perhaps not. Today I interview one Lieutenant Saavik, whose reputation precedes her.

If I were impressed with surfaces, I’d hire her on the spot, but I was a scientist long before I was a command officer, and consequently I’ve a tendency to treat each mission like a chemistry experiment. The proper mix of reactants is essential. We’re a small vessel with a handful of crew, little more than an extended family, and everyone has to get along. Sibling rivalry is to be frowned upon, but a little friendly competition can yield the best results.

• • •

Mironova stopped writing her personal log in her head and pretended to study Saavik’s service jacket on her desk screen, though she’d committed the important parts to memory before the young Vulcan officer had arrived.

Stop being clever or you’ll trip over your own metaphors! she cautioned herself. Bottom line, you want someone sober, sane, and unshakable to balance your lead civilian scientist’s peccadilloes, and here she is sitting across the desk from you. Get on with it!

“Ordinarily, Lieutenant, I’d refuse your request,” Mironova said. “What happened on Genesis had to have been traumatic, yet you’ve taken no leave time in which to process those events, despite Command’s rather strong suggestion that you do so.”

“There were extenuating circumstances, Captain,” Saavik pointed out.

Mironova looked up sharply, expecting sarcasm but finding only Vulcan logic.

“Yes, bloody Probe! Half the quadrant’s busy cleaning up after the damned thing, which leaves me without a science officer. And since you’re not only one of the best candidates for the job, you’re here instead of halfway across the quadrant participating in the cleanup, and Starfleet has debriefed you and deemed you fit, I’m strongly tempted.”

Even as Mironova studied the Vulcan, Saavik was studying her. Mironova hailed from the Iadara Colony, as her crisply accented Standard suggested. The colony’s proximity to Cardassian space had rendered its inhabitants tough, resourceful, and not easily rattled. Slim and slightly smaller than average height, Mironova gave the impression of being taller than she was. Her silver hair was cut to military precision, her tone and manner were no-nonsense, and her gray-green eyes could be penetrating, but the occasional twinkle suggested she was not averse to a bit of fun when the occasion warranted.

She’d met Saavik in the Chaffee’s transporter room in person, rather than having a junior officer escort her to the ready room, then had to order her to be seated in the single chair on the other side of the desk. Saavik sat, but at attention, her posture ramrod straight and inches from the back of the chair, resisting the urge to compare Captain Mironova’s taste in decor with the late Captain Esteban’s.

Chaffee was an Oberth-class vessel, a sister ship to the U.S.S. Grissom. Perhaps, Saavik thought, it had been unwise to request an assignment on a sister ship so soon after the loss of Grissom and her crew.

Mironova might have been thinking the same thing. She found the look in the young Vulcan’s eyes unsettling.

“You seem in an awful hurry to get out of Dodge,” Mironova suggested, keeping her tone light.

“It is my understanding, Captain, that Chaffee is cleared for departure in three days’ time—”

“—and you’re so eager to go off cataloging rocks and leaves on a dull little planet in a newly charted sector that even the fact that your crewmates from Enterprise and the entire planet Earth along with them nearly perished hasn’t slowed you down.”

“With all due respect, Captain, I have been stationed on Vulcan for almost four months, assisting Captain Scott with the refit of the Klingon vessel Bounty—

“‘Bounty’?” Mironova frowned.

“I believe Doctor McCoy was being ironic.”

“Yes, he would be, wouldn’t he?” Mironova said wryly. “But, to the point, Command granted you extended personal leave once Bounty left Vulcan, leave that you did not take. Forgive me if I keep harping on that, but the Probe’s been talked to, Lieutenant, everything’s back in its proper place, yet here you are requesting reassignment when you ought to be lying on a beach somewhere instead.

“Screen off,” the captain said crisply, her chin in her hands, elbows on the desktop, as she searched her would-be science officer’s face for something that wasn’t in the record.

“So here’s everybody else breathing a sigh of relief and remembering to stop and smell the roses, and then there’s you. Running toward or running from, Lieutenant?”

Que sera, sera,” Amanda had said as they stood together at the foot of Mount Seleya and watched the Bounty bank and turn and disappear just to the left of 40 Eridani, as if swallowed by its corona, an omen Saavik’s Romulan forebears might have found portentous. Saavik herself had dismissed such a superstitious notion for what it was by running through her mind the equations that made it possible for a vessel designed to look like a living thing to propel itself into space with far less effort than the bird it strove to emulate. Amanda’s words had disrupted her reverie.

“I do not understand, Mother,” Saavik said.

“‘Whatever will be, will be.’”

The human had turned away from the vista of the valley floor, striding purposefully up the path to the waiting aircar that would return them to ShiKahr, eager to get out of the sun before it rose much further in the sky. Saavik considered taking her elbow to assist her on the incline, but Amanda was still light on her feet despite her age and the thin atmosphere and needed no assistance.

“You’re understandably concerned about the trial,” Amanda said as the air car lifted off in a spray of red Vulcan dust, and she set the autopilot to the correct altitude and direction. “But there’s no point in fretting about it. What can either of us do? Certainly not feel guilty for not accompanying them.”

The crew had stood up for her. Saavik thought there must be some way she could reciprocate.

“She’s a Vulcan!” was Doctor McCoy’s argument to the powers that be as soon as his head cleared from the fal-tor-pan and before someone decided to ship her off on enforced leave or transfer her to another ship. “Work is therapeutic for them. Besides,” he’d added, giving Scotty a mental poke in the ribs, “Mister Scott tells me he needs her expertise.”

“Aye!” Scotty had piped up. “That Klingon ship’s guidance system is a rats’ nest. The lass would be instrumental in the refit. Don’t know how I’d manage without her, frankly,” he’d finished lamely, never a good liar but earning points for sincerity.

“She might also be able to help us reintegrate Spock’s katra,” McCoy had thrown in as a last desperate ploy, and even Starfleet Command couldn’t argue with that.

Yet after granting her permission to help with the refit, Command had balked at her request to accompany Kirk and his crew back to Earth. Saavik was not implicated in the theft of Enterprise, it was argued; her testimony about the events on Genesis was all that was needed, and she had a promising career ahead of her that ought not be overshadowed by any association with Starfleet’s chronic miscreants.

Still, as Bounty was preparing for departure, she had all but abandoned her years of Vulcan discipline in a moment of sheer Romulan impulsiveness when Admiral Kirk took her by the shoulders and said, “Saavik, this is good-bye.”

She wanted to plead with him, Let me go with you, Admiral! I have seen Spock wandering the highlands—confused, bewildered, lost. Like you, Admiral, I owe him my life, and like you I cannot bear to see him this way. I know it’s against regulations, but at this point, does that matter? Let me help!

Instead, she had clenched her jaw, wrenched her control into place, and replied as calmly as she could, “Yes, Admiral,” and, as much to distract herself as him, told him how bravely his son had died. Let him learn about the protomatter from others; he would not hear it from her.

Was it possible to contain so many unspoken truths and roiling emotions and still walk upright? She had turned on her heel, crisply, professionally, prepared to make a dignified exit, walk away without looking back, and suddenly he was there.

What else was there to say but, “Good day, Captain Spock. May your journey be free of incident”?

If she’d had a human heart to break, the puzzlement on his face (Have we met before? Do I know you?) would have broken it. But she was nothing human, and no one, not even her mentor—especially not her mentor, though the being before her might be only a shell of what he once was—would ever see her shame.



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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439102198
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439102190
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By SciFiChick VINE VOICE on April 21, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Introduced in early Star Trek films, Saavik is a half-Vulcan, half-Romulan protégé of Spock. This is her story. As a child, Saavik was rescued from Hellguard along with other children that the Romlulans had abandoned after a failed biological engineering experiment. Spock brought Saavik home to Vulcan to be raised by his parents, Sarek and Amanda. Saavik is now an officer in Starfleet with a bright future. But her world is turned upside down when childhood friend Tolek, tells her that the now-grown survivors of Hellguard are being hunted down and killed. Then, a Romulan confronts Saavik with news that he is her biological father and that she must help him destroy her adoptive father Sarek's career as an ambassador. If Saavik doesn't agree, not only will she be killed, but Sarek as well.

This ambitious novel tracks the life of a minor character (though certainly an interesting one) in the Star Trek universe. Despite Saavik having been portrayed by two different actresses (Kirstie Alley, Star Trek II and Robin Curtis Star Trek III & IV), we are only given a glimpse of her relationship with Spock, and nothing about her origins. Author Margaret Wander Bonanno wrote of one of my favorite Trek novels - Strangers from the Sky. And here, she fills in the blanks about where Saavik came from and her connection to Spock and his family. Bonanno fleshes out this complex character and gives her incredible depth and motivation.

It is not a requirement, but definitely helpful to have a good knowledge of Star Trek films II-IV as the novel references all of her scenes and the circumstances with Spock's death and regeneration. But then, what original series fan doesn't know the movies well?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ellbogen on August 16, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
... most before I was in 10th or 11th grade (I'm in my mid-30s now). But nowadays, I often check out what's new on the ST shelf at the bookstore, though I rarely actually read them. This is mostly because they're poorly written or delve into characters and situations that came after "my" time in ST (namely anything after TNG, Classic, or the original cast movies). I remember Bonanno's novels from the old days - Dwellers in the Crucible, Strangers from the Sky. And having read so many dozens of ST novels, that's saying a lot that I remember hers specifically. The reason is the good writing. She has a gift for capturing the 'voice' and vibe of Vulcans and their culture and traditions, making them seem very real. For instance, the details of the Vulcan monastery-like place where part of the book is set made me think she has spent some time in real monasteries. She seemed very intimate with the kind of ordered daily existence and emphasis on silence and meditation that characterizes such places. That's just one example. I think she also did an excellent job rendering the young Saavik and the traumas she experienced as a cast-out on an abandoned planet, and how that would affect her if she were adopted. Again, I suspect familiarity with similar instances from real life, maybe a friend who adopted a child from a war-torn country. Those who call this novel "dull" have no appreciation for subtlety. The reason I read ST novels is for the insight into the characters, and I think Bonanno does an excellent job here exploring a really underutilized character and providing her with a plausible backstory, and the secondary characters she invents for this book were quite compelling, including a race of annelids that were very "alien" but still relatable. Anyway, Saavik was always a favorite minor character for me, so it was time she got some coverage.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Antoine D. Reid VINE VOICE on April 10, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've come across more than a few reviews of this book online, and the one gleaming review posted on Amazon at the time of this posting. The reviews have really lauded this book as great, a must-read, wonderful ... but the book I read is anything but. It is horribly dull, contrived and just a step above fan-fiction that you could Google and get online. I've read both Catalyst of Sorrows (Star Trek: The Lost Era, 2360) and Burning Dreams (Star Trek), both by Margaret Wander Bonanno, and both dealing with unanswered questions from the 'Original Series' era. In brief, 'Unspoken Truth' is supposed to do for the character of Saavik what 'Burning Dreams' did for Captain Pike: give a underused character in Trek lore his/her moment in the spotlight and reveal new and interesting things about them that the tv series and movies left untouched. I was disappointed to say that 'Unspoken Truth' really is a bust and dropped the ball when it comes to doing justice for the character of Saavik. Perhaps it missteps in trying to insert the character into one of the most unoriginal plots one could think of: the heroine is pushed to her limits and is lost emotionally after traumatizing events and extreme circumstances (Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock and The Voyage Home). As a result, she reflects on her past and is recruited by the 'enemy' to ruin her mentor, Sarek's, career. Now, 'Burning Dreams' and 'Catalyst of Sorrows' both worked well because their plots didn't involve an outcome we were too sure about.Read more ›
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