Shared universes have their own issues. Star Trek Corps of Engineers: What’s Past. is an obvious victim of these. The six stories explore the past of various members of the SCE. There is the fun “Many Splendors”, which features a romance between Gomez and Duffy, and the police procedural “10 is Better than 01”. Even Scotty has an entry, with the melancholy “The Future Begins”. Bart Faulwell is shown to have a darker side in “Echoes of Coventry”, and Captain Gold needs rescuing in “Progress”, which also shows the fate of a little girl Data once befriended. Lastly, Starbase Vanguard is given a prequel in “Distant Early Warning”.
Overall, it’s not a bad collection. The problem is that it wallows too much in connections to the Star Trek universe. Although this is not bad in and of itself, and it’s always interesting to get another perspective on certain events, but it sometimes seems forced. This is obvious when comparing “Many Splendors”, where the focus is looking at Gomez’ past through a number of events aboard the Enterprise and “Progress”, where Sarjenka are there just to pull her Pulaski. It’s a fun look, but definitely not for the casual reader.
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim