The special 50th anniversary trilogy series Star Trek Legacies celebrates The Original Series with all new stories by famed Star Trek authors. Read on for our review of Book 1, Captain to Captain by Greg Cox, which features Klingons, Majel Barrett’s Number One, and a huge surprise ending.
“No one left behind” is a popular creed, especially among the United States military, whose members will sacrifice their own safety to rescue fallen comrades. Star Trek fans should expect nothing different from its favorite Starfleet characters, even though technically the organization is not a military establishment, it does possess a hierarchy of command, and serves as the defensive arm of the Federation when needed. The idea of not leaving anyone behind is the main focus of Greg Cox’s installment to Simon & Schuster’s three-part Star Trek: Legacies trilogy to commemorate the 50th anniversary on the final frontier.
Contained in Gene Roddenberry’s first proposal for Star Trek was the name of the captain of its starship, Robert April. While the character had appeared in one episode of The Animated Series as well as several books, both Paramount and Roddenberry has said that TAS is not part of the larger Star Trek canon. This did not stop fans, and others, from citing April as the first captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise (as depicted in TAS). Why is this important? Well, serving under his command was an eager officer by the name of Una, who would just happen to go onto become Christopher Pike’s Number One, played by Majel Barrett, in Roddenberry’s first filmed Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”.
Over fifty years ago, Roddenberry attempted to break down the gender walls that defined society, while he was able to include a female among the bridge command crew in the first pilot, viewers of “The Cage” were always left to wonder what fate befell Number One.
As the novel starts, readers meet Captain Una as she rendezvous with the Enterprise. The events of the novel take place shortly after “The Menagerie” (TOS). Kirk and Spock assume her visit is nothing more than just finding out where her former commander wound up. However, Una has a mission of her own, which began decades earlier when she commanded her first landing party on the planet Usilade. She received more than she bargained for however, and lost her entire team as well as discovering the MacGuffin that ties Book 1, and possibly the trilogy, together.
Cox writes an enjoyable tale, one which focuses a bit on Una’s past as a young officer under April, but also explains what she has carried with her all these years. During TOS, Kirk never allowed the death of a character to be meaningless, and always took it seriously. Viewers knew how heavy the death of people under his command weighed on him. Una appears to have these same virtues, probably why they both were named captains in Starfleet.
Initial installments in any trilogy can be difficult for writers, as a lot of what they are doing is setting up future chapters of the tale. However, reading Cox’s Legacies Book 1, readers would be hard pressed not to consider Captain to Captain on its own merits. In fact, Cox does an excellent job establishing the trilogy while also paying service to his own story. There are a few plot threads left open, of course, which should serve to excite readers to continue enjoying the trilogy. Plus, there is a huge surprise ending that sets up Legacies Book 2: Best Defense by David Mack.