The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh
|Cover artist||Keith Birdsong|
|Series||Star Trek: Eugenics Wars|
|Pages||First edition, hardcover|
|ISBN||0-671-02127-3 (vol. 1)|
|Followed by||To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh|
The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh is a two volume set of novels written by Greg Cox about the life of the fictional Star Trek character Khan Noonien Singh. He is often referred to as simply "Khan" in the Star Trek episode "Space Seed" and in the Star Trek film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
The novels detail Khan's life until he leaves the Earth in the DY-100 sleeper ship SS Botany Bay later found by the Enterprise. They are written mostly in the perspective of the fictional characters Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln, Gary Seven's partner. Both characters appear in the Star Trek episode "Assignment: Earth".
These books are mentioned in the Director's Edition DVD of The Wrath of Khan. Greg Cox discusses the novels in an interview contained as one of the DVD extras. He explains that the passing of the 1990s in reality required a reinterpretation of the Eugenics Wars that were originally said to take place in the same decade.
Plot summary: Volume One
The first volume deals mostly with the extraterrestrial agent Gary Seven and his partner Roberta Lincoln's effort to infiltrate and eventually shut down the 'Chrysalis Project' a secret yet pioneering eugenics program responsible for Khan Noonien Singh and a generation of genetically engineered superior humans. The progeny of Chrysalis are smarter, stronger, faster and more resilient than any humans born naturally would or could ever hope to be. They possess superior lungs, circulatory systems, reflexes and enhanced senses. When the story begins, Khan is about four years old, and is called "Noon". Already demonstrating remarkable charisma and leadership even among the children, he is one of (possibly the greatest of) the genetically engineered "Children of Chrysalis". While supposedly mentally and physically superior to ordinary men and women, the genetically engineered children often show signs of grandiose egos and profound psychological imbalances. The scientists of Chrysalis intend for their creations to take over the Earth by merit of the superior genetics, while the project's lead scientist (and Khan's mother) Saurina Kahr harbors a even more secret plan to release a flesh eating biological weapon upon the 'inferior' normal human race, to make way for her superior offspring. When Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln learn about the project, Roberta goes undercover as a scientist and is sent to the project's underground complex beneath the Thar Desert in India. She finds a breakthrough genetics program, one that many sincere scientists and geneticists have come to work on. Dissent or revelation, however, are dealt with severely, often fatally. Seven is captured trying to infiltrate the base.
Once there, Roberta discovers the dark secret to Chrysalis - children born to the project who are found to have genetic aberrations from the rewriting of their DNA are kept in padded rooms and hidden from the rest of the project. Roberta frees Seven and the two attempt to resolve the crisis with the least harm and without drawing attention. Needing to halt the plan to poison the world and still rescue the children, Roberta and Gary Seven finally decide to use the project's own fail safe option and blow up the nuclear reactor that runs the underground complex. Not wishing anyone to harm innocents, they allow the staff to evacuate and use Gary's matter transporter to send the hundreds of children sired by the project (including the then-young Noonien Singh) to safety. The complex is destroyed, along with Khan's mother, who refuses to leave her life's work. The nuclear explosion is covered up as the first nuclear test by the Indian government.
Gary Seven places the children with family whenever possible, all around the world, and keeps track of the youthful superman for the next several years. Seven even initially hopes to train Khan as an agent and his eventual successor- both Khan's ambitions and innate talents need molding and mentoring. Seven feels that with the development of conscience and empathy, Khan could be a great force for the good of humanity. Unfortunately, circumstances (including the assassination of Indira Gandhi and the resultant backlash against Sikhs as well as the poison gas disaster at Bhopal that kill thousands of his kinsman harden Khan's resolve to rule the world. At the age of 15, he officially embraces the name and title of Khan. Khan rejects Seven's mission as timid and ineffective. He dramatically ends his on again off again uneasy relationship with Seven by invading his New York offices, destroying the Beta 5 AI supercomputer that Seven regularly employed, and threatening to kill Seven and Lincoln should they try to thwart his ambitions of world domination.
Plot summary: Volume Two
In the second volume, Seven tries to prevent World War Three from breaking out. He has to deal not only with Khan, but with many of the other "Children of Chrysalis," most of whom are now major political figures (including an African military strongman, a European dictator, an American leader of a separatist movement, and a religious cult leader).
The superhuman men and women begin to battle for power and several of them manage to gain influence. None, however, have more power than Khan. At first, Khan seems to be building an empire, but, after several assassination attempts by fellow supermen and riots of his people, he begins to lose everything.
After Khan feels that he is doomed to be defeated, he begins to power up his Morning Star satellite, which will destroy the ozone layer and kill all life on earth after he dies. Seven convinces Khan that it would be better to forge a new life elsewhere, using the stolen DY-100 sleeper ship that he and Roberta obtained from Area 51. Khan and a large group of the other superhumans leave on the ship in search of a better life. The novel ends in 1996 as Seven leaves Earth for retirement.
The novels contain a framing story about James T. Kirk going on a top-secret mission to the Paragon Colony on the planet Sycorax, which wishes to become a part of the United Federation of Planets. The problem is that the planet is inhabited by genetically altered humans. This goes against the current laws of the Federation and, therefore, Starfleet Command has kept the Colony's request secret. Dr. McCoy wonders if the members of Starfleet have "lost their paper-pushing minds" in even considering to allow the Colony to join but Spock feels that the Federation could make room for the Paragon Colony. However, it is up to Kirk whether or not to recommend the Colony for Federation membership.
After arriving it is discovered that the Klingons have sent a ship of their own in the hopes of getting the Colony to join the Klingon Empire to help them with their own genetics programs. However, after several incidents, the colonists order the Klingons to leave, but not before a bomb is placed in the Colony and a hole is blown in the dome that protects the city from the harsh conditions of the planet. Kirk then takes a shuttlecraft and extends its shields around the hole in the dome. However, this leaves the shuttle vulnerable to the planet's weather.
In the end, Kirk saves the Colony but does not allow it to join the Federation.
One example is that there actually was a nuclear explosion beneath the desert in Rajasthan. In Chapter 23 of the first novel, Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln trigger the explosion to destroy the headquarters of the Chrysalis Project, which history describes as the successful atomic test known as "Smiling Buddha".
Several other unrelated events in real-world history are linked together in the novel including 1984 anti-Sikh riots following the death of Indira Gandhi, the increase in the size of the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica in the summer of 1992 (historically caused by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo), and the earthquake in Maharashtra in September 1993.
Additional fictional characters
Cox includes several characters, familiar items and moments from throughout the Star Trek universe, including Redjac (the murderous alien entity which had possessed Jack the Ripper) from "Wolf in the Fold", Guinan, Air Force Captain Shaun Christopher, son of Captain John Christopher from 'Tomorrow is Yesterday', Gillian Taylor and Dr. Marcus Nichols from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Shannon O'Donnell, a direct ancestor of Kathryn Janeway, Doctor Jeff Carlson, (who met Ferengis Quark, Rom and Nog when they traveled back in time to 1947 Roswell, New Mexico), Claire Raymond, Ralph Offenhouse, and L.Q. "Sonny" Clemonds, the cryogenically frozen patients found by the Enterprise-D in "The Neutral Zone". and Flint the immortal (living as Dr. Evergreen) from "Requiem for Methuselah". He also mentions pioneering 1950s African American author Benny Russell (Captain Benjamin Sisko's literary alternate identity from the Deep Space Nine episode "Far Beyond the Stars"), as well as strategically placing a large and heavy hardcover copy of Chicago Mobs of the 1920s (the selfsame book that caused a huge cultural contamination shown in the original series episode " A Piece of the Action") in one scene. He also references the phaser and tricorder left behind by Chekov in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
Cox also includes fictional characters of the era from other sources, such as Jaime Sommers, from The Bionic Woman live action series, Robert McCall from The Equalizer television series, and Hadji, from the Jonny Quest franchise. It is also mentioned that Gary Seven and Lincoln encountered the robotic housewives from The Stepford Wives and the murderous pagan cult depicted in The Wicker Man.
- Michelle Erica Green, treknation.com - "Cox writes with great wit and an obvious love of Trek lore, though his greatest accomplishment lies in the way he links together seemingly unconnected 20th century events into a complex conspiracy that makes The X-Files seem unsophisticated."
- Michelle Erica Green, treknation.com - "The Eugenics Wars Volume Two is just as much fun as its predecessor, weaving Trek history in and out of recent headlines mostly through the point of view of one of history's more entertaining secret agents, Teri Garr look-alike Roberta Lincoln."
- To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh - the third novel by Greg Cox about Khan Noonien Singh. This book deals with Khan's life between "Space Seed" and Star Trek II
- Eugenics Wars - the main article about the Eugenics Wars in the Star Trek universe
- Greg Cox (2001). "Afterward". The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh Volume One. Pocket Books. pp. 401–403. ISBN 0-671-02127-3.
- Greg Cox (2002). "Afterward". The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh Volume Two. Pocket Books. pp. 329–338. ISBN 0-7434-0643-5.
- Green, Michelle Erica (June 18, 2001). "The Eugenics War, Volume One". TrekNation. Retrieved December 3, 2007. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Green, Michelle Erica (April 20, 2002). "Spring Star Trek Books". TrekNation. Retrieved December 3, 2007. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)