Star Trek: Mirror Images
by Scott & David Tipton, David Messina (IDW, 2009)

The alternate Star Trek universe, first unveiled in the original episode "Mirror, Mirror" and later expanded a great deal in episodes of Deep Space Nine, receives prequel treatment in Mirror Images.

When this story begins aboard the ISS Enterprise, James T. Kirk is an ambitious first officer under the command of Capt. Christopher Pike. The other familiar faces from the original series -- Spock, McCoy, Scott, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov -- are already on board, although their loyalties in this universe, where advancement is earned through assassination, are uncertain. Kirk assuredly is maneuvering to remove Pike from the board, but lacking proof, Pike is reluctant to remove an officer who brings so much profit to his command. Kirk, meanwhile, ruthlessly uses crew members like pawns in a chess game to achieve his aims.

It's a good story. It's rare to see the focus of a story be so amoral, so vicious, so utterly without redeeming qualities, but the mirror Kirk is a brilliant combination of greed, ambition and cunning.

The book includes a bonus tale set during the Next Generation period of the Terran Empire. Jean-Luc Picard, serving under a peaceful Vulcan captain aboard the ISS Starbreaker, rankles as the Empire begins to collapse under Emperor Spock's benevolent rule. I'm not sure how Picard's actions here lead to the circumstances revealed in Deep Space Nine, but it serves well as a stand-alone story.

review by
Tom Knapp

22 May 2010

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