Kidnapped

Did you ever think that it might be fun if Scotty “beamed you up”?

I certainly did.

But that’s not quite the way it works out for Patricia Risden in Kidnapped by Maria Hammarblad. Oh, Tricia gets “beamed up” all right. And imprisoned. Because the world of the Alliance is a lot colder and bleaker than the Federation.

And Alliance Commander Travis isn’t like anyone on the Enterprise. Unless you’re thinking of the Mirror universe Enterprise. The one where the universe went very, very wrong.

But Travis isn’t quite that evil, although the Alliance that he serves is. Travis has just, well, misplaced his humanity. Tricia helps him find it again. All because he made a mistake. Two mistakes.

Travis’ first mistake was picking Tricia up in the first place. Travis was chasing a known revolutionary. Said revolutionary made a temporary stop on Earth. Very temporary, but just long enough to appear in front of Tricia’s car and cause her to have an accident.

Travis thought the revolutionary (his name is William) and Tricia knew each other. Travis whisked Tricia away when he couldn’t get to William.

Once Tricia was aboard his ship, he realized that Tricia was exactly what she appeared to be, a harmless Earth woman with no technological expertise whatsoever, and no knowledge of the Alliance or the Revolution against it.

But it was too late. Travis had already notified his Commander that he was bringing in a prisoner. Since she is harmless, he decides to give her the run of the ship.

That’s his second mistake. Tricia is harmless in any technical sense. But she is also bright, curious and dependent on him. Yes, she has more than a touch of Stockholm Syndrome. She sees him as a man, and not the murdering monster the rest of the Alliance sees.

Because Commander Travis is a murdering monster. He is an assassin and a butcher for the Alliance. He’s been programmed to be since he was a child. The last time he disobeyed, the Supreme Commander cut off his arm and replaced it with a mechanical one.

Tricia knows none of this. All she sees is her only possible way home. Her only companion. She falls in love with him.

Travis is a man under all his programming. Harmless Tricia finds the chink in his Alliance conditioning. And Travis re-programs all of his unswerving loyalty from serving the Alliance–to saving, and loving, the woman he kidnapped from Earth.

If they can both manage to survive everything the entire Alliance, and the Revolution, throw at them.

Escape Rating B-: The story gets off to a slow start. Travis is not a sympathetic character in the beginning, and Tricia definitely has more than a touch of Stockholm Syndrome. She goes from being scared of her kidnapper to falling in love with him.

It’s what happens after that that makes the story interesting. Travis has been so conditioned to serve the Alliance that he shouldn’t respond to Tricia at all. Instead, he falls too. But he can’t quite get rid of the Alliance conditioning, so he finds a way around it. His solution was pretty neat.

The Alliance Supreme Commander was just a bit too cartoon-villainess for my taste. The whole manipulative vampy-spacesuit sex-goddess thing just didn’t work for me. But the family-vibe of the Revolutionary ship did. Reminded me a bit of Firefly, which is never a bad thing.

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