For my 14th Star Trek book read this year I traveled back to 1981 for Bantam’s final Trek adventure before Pocket Books took over the franchise.
Kathleen Sky’s, “Death’s Angel” describes a rather, for the Enterprise, disturbing incident on one of its many planetary surveys. It also describes a rather disturbing incident during what promised to be an interesting and necessary part of being near one of the two Empires who greatly desire our region of space. While others have commented or complained regarding the content, the big problem was one of explaining without doing so, how an entirely new (to us) agency was spun up and taking control of that situation. The Federation’s government model resembles its own model that of the UN, and as such the charter contains provisions for every single aspect of governance. And that includes an investigation agency that runs concurrent with the components of Star Fleet who also have their own.
One of the cool things in this story is the incredible amount of truly alien – aliens. Just check out this roster of the ambassadors travelling on board the Enterprise in this adventure. (Thank You Memory Alpha!)
Agnatha of Jezero
A lamprey-like being who required a special tank to survive aboard the Enterprise. He was a strong opponent of the peace treaty until his death.
Damu of Chiroptera
An ambassador who reminded Capt. Kirk of a Terran vampire, due to his appearance and his species’ custom of taking nourishment from mammalian blood. The inhabitants of Chiroptera harvested their blood from stock animals, as opposed to killing for it like the vampires of lore. Damu was neutral on the issue of the treaty.
Edentata of Tandenborstel
A retiring armadillo-like ambassador who kept to himself during the entire voyage. His position on the treaty was neutral.
Hotep of Djoser
A polymorphite whose slight shape-changing abilities were directly related to the amount of energy he consumed. He was neutral in regards to the peace treaty, as his sole interest in this mission was the amount of food he could eat.
Karhu of Hanaja
A large bear-like ambassador who intentionally magnified his ursine characteristics to appear less threatening. He was in favor of the peace treaty.
Naja of Dalzell
A feathered snake-like diplomat who was opposed to the peace treaty, partly due to his dislike of Romulans. Before the truth of the Death Angel was discovered, his death was attributed to his advanced age of 157 years.
Neko of Gyuunyuu
A large grey felinoid with violent tendencies who was strongly opposed to the Romulan treaty, partially because of his extreme dislike of all Vulcanoid species.
Rovar of Hemiptera
An insectoid who had a strong dislike of the Romulans and therefore opposed the peace treaty. He died of massive self-inflicted wounds after a visit from the Angel of Death.
Sirenia of Cetacea
An amphibious humanoid who was romantically involved with Ambassador Agnatha. She was in favor of the peace treaty.
Sarek of Vulcan
A representative of the Federation Council and the lead ambassador on this mission. He was the strongest supporter of the peace treaty, but spent most of the trip ill in his quarters.
Si-s-s-s(click) of Gavialian
A blue crocodilian who supported the peace treaty. As is customary of his people, Si-s-s-s(click) enjoyed “persona games,” in which he would adopt the characteristics of a specific fictional character or genre. During his stay on the Enterprise, he adopted the personas of Don Juan the romantic, Sherlock Holmes the detective, and Sam Spade, a character from an archaic Terran detective film called The Maltese Falcon.
Spiracles, a Gyomorian
A slender, winged creature who suffered from heavy oxygen intoxication in the atmosphere of the Enterprise. His people cocoon into a chrysalis form when threatened. Originally neutral in regards to the peace treaty, he became a supporter of it after his visitation from the Angel of Death.
Telson of Manteiga
A member of the Federation Council and a grandmaster chess player who supported the Romulan/Federation treaty. He bore a strong resemblance to a three-meter long Terran lobster with a bright yellow carapace.
This was an enjoyable novel which like many of the early Bantam books has the feel of a TOS episode.