Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock is one of the most unique Star Trek: The Next Generation books I have read. Even though this book has been out for a year, I decided to read it anyway and find out what it was all about. It has one of my favorite Star Trek topics, which is time travel.
The book starts off with two agents from the Department of Temporal Investigations (which deals with time travel laws and regulations and sometimes detective work on temporal crimes) named Gariff Lucsly and Marion Dulmur who are investigating a temporal displacement of a Federation starship that has been found after being lost in time for 16 years. On board the ship Lucsly and Dulmur find an interesting young woman named Teresa Garcia and recruit her to become a new agent at the DTI.
While Garcia is training, the DTI is starting to investigate a series of temporal incursions in which operatives from the future are coming back in time to kill various people in the Federation, including the President of the Federation. If that isn’t cool enough we also are introduced to a new group called The Axis of Time. The Axis as it is called is trading with various species and cultures in time thus slightly altering the timeline. After Garcia graduates and becomes a field agent she is paired with a senior Deltan field agent named Ranjea and they are sent to investigate the Axis. If all of that isn’t cool enough well just hold on because one of the coolest things about this book is the flashbacks from Dulmur and Lucsly’s early days in which they stop an alien race from the future from destroying an artifact that is key to the future of the timeline and they also stop Starfleet officers that have been displaced over 90 years from going back to the past and changing the future.
One of the great things about this book is the chemistry between all of the agents at the DTI and how well they work together to preserve the timeline. Another part I really enjoyed is that Christopher L. Bennett not only brings in familiar characters from The Next Generation era, such as Counselor Troi and Captain Picard, but the story also references the time traveling events they went through. Bennett also does a great job bringing readers into what is going on in the expanded universe by updating them on the events that have happened recently.
I love this book and it was such a fun read. I love the characters like Dulmur and Lucsly and Ranjea. If anyone remembers, the DTI was introduced to fans in the episode of Deep Space Nine called Trials and Tribble-ations. I think Bennett is a great Trek writer and gives readers a sense of wonder that one would get from an episode of Trek. The only problem I had with this book was getting past all of the theory of time travel and alternate universes. If you can get through that, then you will love this book.