Weekly Trek – October 31-November 6, 2016

I have mentioned the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, “Trials and Tribble-ations” in a few posts before now.  In the episode, Captain Benjamin Sisko and other members of the Deep Space Nine command crew are transported back in time to the events of the original Star Trek episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles.”

What I have not talked about, however, is the episode’s framing device in which two agents from the Federation’s Department of Temporal Investigations, Dulmer and Lucsly (Yes, those names are indeed anagrams of Mulder and Scully from The X-Files) are debriefing Captain Sisko about his crew’s unexpected and unsanctioned trip back in time.  It’s a humorous device, but Dulmer and Lucsly were never seen again on any of the Trek series.

While they might not have actually shown up, it’s easy to imagine that they had words with Captain Jean-Luc Picard after the events of Star Trek: First Contact or Captain Kathryn Janeway after her return from the Delta Quadrant concerning a great many things that happened over the course of Star Trek: Voyager.

For me, the concept of the Department of Temporal Investigations was interesting all on its own, and fortunately I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.  In 2011 Pocket Books published Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock, by Christopher L. Bennett, a novel entirely about Dulmer, Lucsly, and the organization for which they work.  The events of the novel cross every Star Trek television series, including and especially the Temporal Cold War subplot from Star Trek: Enterprise.  Additionally, the novel fleshes out Dulmer and Lucsly while introducing several other agents and DTI staff, one of whom is a surprise inclusion from an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In 2012, a second novel, Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History, was published, which focused more on Captain Kirk and his USS Enterprise.  If you’ve seen “Trials and Tribble-ations,” you know how Dulmer and Lucsly feel about Kirk:

Lucsly: Seventeen separate temporal violations; the biggest file on record.
Dulmur: The man was a menace.

Since then, Bennett has written two additional Department of Temporal Investigations eBooks.  2014’s The Collectors has one of the funniest sequences I’ve encountered in a Star Trek book involving the Borg and…no.  I won’t spoil it.  And the most recent, Time Lock, was just published in September 2016. 

If you’re a fan of Star Trek’s time travel episodes and films, I recommend the series.  Bennett does an excellent job of fleshing out the work of the Department of Temporal Investigations while telling interesting stories with plenty of fun with temporal mechanics.  Just the kind of thing to give Captain Janeway a headache. 

- Alan Decker

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