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Battle Surgeons: Star Wars Medstar I    by Michael Reaves & Steve Perry order for
Battle Surgeons
by Michael Reaves
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Michael Reaves and Steve Perry give fans a different perspective from most Star Wars stories by offering them a look at characters performing everyday tasks during war's devastation, and by portraying clones as 'feeling beings'. The time frame is the year 2 A.B.O.G. ('After the Battle of Geonosis'). The premise of Medstar I is twofold: the provision of medical care to troopers, and the harvest of a wonder drug from 'bota' plants, indigenous to the planet Drongar. Bota is highly 'adaptogenic' in its ability to cure ailments across species.

On the backwater planet, Republic chief surgeon Captain Jos Vondar, Zobrak surgeon (and musician) Zan Yant, and Lorrdian nurse Tolk le Trene, operate on battle-scarred clone troopers. Jos and Zan are ready for a break, until they hear a familiar sound: 'the rising whine of incoming medlifters'. Jedi healer, Padawan Barriss Offee, is assigned to assist the doctors and to monitor the harvest of bota. Comforting clone fighter CT914 after he loses a comrade-in-arms, Barriss offers, 'You might all look alike, but you aren't all the same. your experiences shape you as much as your heritage. The Force can recognize this.' Of course, forces of evil also roam Drongar. Nefarious smugglers attempt to profit from the bota black market. Representative Mathal of the ominous Black Sun organization, is murdered by greedy Admiral Bleyd in an ingenuous scheme that leaves no trace of wrongdoing (so he thinks!) A 'spy' is on the prowl, serving two enemy factions, and known by two code names: 'Lens' and 'Column' (the authors never reveal the identity of said spy).

Sentient Den Dhur, a reporter for the 'Galactic Wave', is always in search of a lead story. He frequents the local cantina for a scoop - all in the service of the 'Public's Need To Know'. Barriss challenges Den, 'And you have no use for heroes.' Den responds, 'I never said that... Properly indoctrinated, they're great at drawing fire away'. Barriss retorts, 'Rest assured I'll keep this knowledge to myself, Den ... your aura is not the aura of a cynic's, nor a coward's. It has definite glimmerings of hero, in fact.' The reporter gets in the last words, 'Oh, no, Say it isn't so.' I-Five is a sassy, knowledgeable, more-than-the-average protocol droid. He gambles in the casino, and converses with the surgeons. I-Five tells Den 'I'm tired of playing a meek little automaton to humans and their ilk, especially after watching the brutal results of organic sentients' inability or unwillingness to co-exist. The more I see of all this carnage, the more convinced I am that a CZ-Three maintenance droid could do a better job of running the Republic.'

Michael Reaves and Steve Perry offer new life to the Clone Wars, depicting the consequences of war, portraying the humanity of clones, and expressing the agony of defeat and the triumph of success in a medical setting. I recommend Medstar I: Battle Surgeons highly and look forward to Medstar II: Jedi Healer, and especially to more of Drongar's pesky insects, the eight legged, bi-winged 'wingstingers'!

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