[These notes were made in 1991:]. One of the "Lost Years" series. Apart from the fact that its title is inspired by the American flag, I guess the worst bone I have to pick with this story is that it really only involves one of the "regulars" - Kirk. Young Lt. Riley also has his story fleshed out a bit, and McCoy puts in a very brief vocal appearance on a call-in show. Otherwise, we're on our own. However, the plot (a classic Roddenberry about the perils of technological advancement) and the supplementary characters are well-drawn. I particularly liked G'dath, the Klingon with a kitten, a scientist/teacher dealing with xenophobia on earth. It is his invention of super-fast technology that sets the plot in motion (eventually not only G'dath's invention but his person, plus those of his student and Kevin Riley, are captured by hostile Klingons). The other half of the plot is the disintegration of the marriages of both Riley & Kirk. Riley has found a new love interest by the end of the book. Kirk's marriage with Lori Ciana (which occurred in the last of these "Lost Years" books) always struck me as frankly improbable, so his tentative reunion with her at the end was less convincing to me than the breakup at the beginning. I quite like Mr. Ferguson: he has an eye for the human detail. And I adored Leaper the kitten! But how can you have a Star Trek story without Spock?