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A novel in the so-called Star Trek Novel Verse, the first follow-up to the Wham! Episode trilogy Star Trek Destiny. Essentially detailing the aftermath of the near-apocalyptic conflict in the Destiny trilogy, the novel also sets the stage for the Star Trek: Typhon Pact series.
From the back cover:
The cataclysmic events of Star Trek Destiny have devastated known space. Worlds have fallen. Lives have been destroyed. And in the uneasy weeks that follow, the survivors of the holocaust continue to be tested to the limits of their endurance. But, strange and mysterious occurrences are destabilizing the galaxy's battle-weary Allies even further. In the Federation, efforts to replenish diminished resources and give succor to millions of evacuees are thwarted at every turn. On the borders of the battered Klingon Empire, the devious Kinshaya sense weakness—and opportunity. In Romulan space, the already-fractured empire is dangerously close to civil war. As events undermining the quadrant's attempts to heal itself become increasingly widespread, one man begins to understand what is truly unfolding. Sonek Pran—teacher, diplomat, and sometime advisor to the Federation President—perceives a pattern in the seeming randomness. And as each new piece of evidence falls into place, a disturbing picture encompassing half the galaxy begins to take shape, revealing a challenge to the Federation and its allies utterly unlike anything they have faced before.
This novel contains examples of:
- After the End: The novel picks up a few weeks after the events of Star Trek Destiny, with reasonably large portions of the known galaxy in ruins. For the surviving inhabitants of several worlds, this is post-apocalypse, and resettling displaced refugees is a top priority. That said, the worlds that were hit the hardest aren't actually explored here; for that, see Losing the Peace, a novel of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Relaunch.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Sonek Pran, a new character introduced for the novel, is both a musician from a family of musicians and a Human/Vulcan/Betazoid/Bajoran hybrid. He's therefore been exposed to a great many styles of music, and can play a particularly broad range of tunes. He joins the crew of the starship Aventine for a therapeutic concert at one point. He also apparently plays Talarian music well enough to make the Talarian Ambassador cry. Empress Donatra likes his family's performances, too.
- Arch Enemy: Empress Donatra and Praetor Tal'aura as usual, although Dax persuades Donatra to try and open a dialogue.
- Ass in Ambassador: Tholian Ambassador Tezrene continues to behave like this, and indeed isn't even trying to be personable anymore.
- Berserk Button: Never doubt a Capellan’s word. Even suggesting they might violate the principle of I Gave My Word is very dangerous; they will respond with violence. Also, don't lie to a Zaldan.
- Church Militant: The Kinshaya, whose nation is a militant theocracy known as the Holy Order. Their military ranks even translate as religious titles. Instead of captains, their warships have bishops.
- Conflict Ball: So...why exactly does Sam Bowers dislike Sonek Pran?
- Continuity Nod: A great many.
- Cool Ship: The Vesta-class vessels, including the U.S.S. Aventine, continue to be quite impressive.
- Cycle of Revenge: The Klingon/Kinshaya conflict appears to be this, as each new atrocity by one side against the other motivates further hostility. Currently, the Kinshaya are dedicated to taking revenge on Klag, who destroyed their homeworld in a previous attack.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sivak as usual, though given the current situation President Bacco is losing her patience with it.
- Disappeared Dad: Efrosian families consist of a mother and her children. She is supported and aided by her male lovers, but Efrosians do not mate for life and most will never know their fathers. In fact, the nearest Efrosian word for father is "Seed Donor". An Efrosian and a human raised by a single father have an interesting conversation about parent-child relations.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: Fabian Stevens' "Magical Paint of Doom".
- Enemy Mine: Reversed. In the wake of the Borg invasion, several previously non-aligned minor enemies such as the Tholians join the Typhon Pact. An effect of this is that the Federation and Klingon Empire are left surrounded by a hostile power. The Tholians, well-known for xenophobia, join the Pact for this reason alone.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: Played with. The Romulans, typically antagonists, are known for their identical military-issue hairstyle, the infamous heavy bowl-cuts. In Star Trek Destiny, a Romulan ship - the Verithrax - sacrificed itself saving the Federation planet Ardana from destruction. Now, the Ardanan populace associates the Romulan hairstyle with the salvation of their planet; half the population are wearing Romulan military-issue haircuts in honour of the Verithrax.
- Goodbye, Cruel World: A survivor of Deneva, whose spouse and child were killed by the Borg bombardment of that world, leaves a suicide note before killing himself.
- Heinz Hybrid: Sonek Pran is one-quarter human, Bajoran, Betazoid and Vulcan.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: The Denevan colonists don't have camels, so they use the following: "The pin that broke the zipthar’s wing".
- Human Outside, Alien Inside: The Zaldans are described as this. Outwardly the only difference between Zaldans and humans is the slight webbing on the former's hands and feet; inside, though, they're arranged quite differently.
- I Gave My Word: The basis of Capellan ethics. Strangers are always taken at their word. As a Capellan character says (paraphrased): “I do not know you. Therefore I will trust your word”. Of course, if you go and break it, they’ll respond with deadly violence.
- Implausible Deniability: Tezrene has this over the manipulation of Zalda and other attempts by her catspaw Sekki to destabilize the Federation, in revenge for Bacco's actions in Star Trek Destiny. She seems quite smug about it.
- Jerkass: Councillor Molmaan as usual, though in many ways he is actually being a true Jerkass here as opposed to just following Zaldan custom.
- Killed Off for Real: Drex, son of Martok. That's all of Martok's children gone now, and his wife too.
- Manipulative Bastard: Ambassador Tezrene.
- Mistaken Nationality / I Am Not Weasel: Lieutenant Lonnoc Kedair, a Takaran, is mistaken for an Orion simply because her skin is green. She has to point out that "green" does not automatically equal "Orion". Of course, Takarans are a rather reclusive people, while Orions get everywhere.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted with the Ardanan transporter schematics; the Ardanan government kept paper copies as well as computer models. Ironically, the Borg assault on Ardana destroyed it all anyway. Despite this, Starfleet eventually succeeds in rebuilding the transport network.
- No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: Averted. One character owns a large collection of Klingon novels and comics; most of these had been introduced in earlier books, only to be collected together here for Continuity Porn.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: By the end of the novel, the Star Trek galaxy has experienced a massive political shakeup. President Bacco sums up the general response to the Typhon Pact's formation with a stunned comment:
"when were you going to tell us?!"
- Omniglot: We might expect Sonek Pran, as a respected scholar and political analyst, to know a few prominent languages, certainly more than the usual. But when it’s revealed he can speak perfect Lissepian (the Lissepians being a reasonably well-known trading culture but nothing special), he definitely crosses into Omniglot territory.
- Our Gryphons Are Different: The Kinshaya race are essentially griffins, being mammals with four legs and a pair of wings sprouting from their back. They are too heavy to fly, though- in modern Kinshaya, the wings are used for display purposes instead.
- Sacred Hospitality: When Sonek Pran visits Empress Donatra on official business, he notes that she is honour-bound to ensure his safety. Like most Romulans, she follows a code of conduct which places great importance on hospitality.
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Holy Order of the Kinshaya seemingly tries to be this; it appears to be a military theocracy, with crusades against the Klingon "demons". Given Klingon attempts to destroy Kinshaya worlds, however, the Kinshaya seem more sympathetic than scary, even if they won't admit it.
- Self-Deprecation: See Crowning Moment of Funny, above.
- Sequel Hook: The novel sets up the next big crossover series, Star Trek: Typhon Pact.
- Shout-Out: A casualty report from the Borg Invasion mentions one Christopher Metzen, also (possibly) an M. Burns. And we shouldn't forget "Banned From Argo", which according to another part of the novel is apparently a song within the Star Trek universe.
- Strange Salute: The Kinshaya flare their wings to salute, and make a shrieking noise while doing so.
- The Dead Have Names: One of the chapters is preceded by a casualty list, consisting mostly of otherwise unseen "extras" who died in the Borg Invasion.
- They Do: It is revealed that Starfleet Corps of Engineers characters Fabian Stevens and Domenica Corsi have married by this point, as have Star Trek: Klingon Empire characters Klag and B'Oraq.
- Vestigial Empire: The Romulan Star Empire is pretty much one of these now. First they nearly fell apart and had to open their borders to the Federation and Klingons in Star Trek: Titan (a result of fallout from Star Trek Nemesis). Then they lost a full half of their territory when Donatra and her supporters pulled away to form the Imperial Romulan State. Then they lost more worlds to the Borg Invasion in Star Trek Destiny. The empire's a shadow of its former self.
- Villain Team-Up: The Typhon Pact, an alliance of six previously xenophobic and aggressive antagonist cultures, is an unusual example, because most of its members are genuinely interested in peaceful co-existence. While the Tholian Assembly just wants to spite the Federation, on the whole the Typhon Pact is not primarily motivated by hostility; it's far more complex than that. The exact agenda of the Pact was explored further in the Star Trek: Typhon Pact series.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: The Zaldans, who find falsehood of any kind disgusting.
- With Friends Like These...: Zalda, to the rest of the Federation. No-one really likes the Zaldans due to their prickly and extremist social norms (they Will Not Tell a Lie. Ever). They play an important role within the Federation, though, facilitating trade with the Klingon Empire.
- Wrongly Accused: Evidence suggests that planet Zalda is refusing refugees; this isn’t true, but the faked records are convincing enough. The situation is made considerably worse in that Zaldan culture promotes a Will Not Tell a Lie ethic in the extreme. Their representative is therefore outraged at the very idea of Wrongly Accused, and storms off rather than defending himself. Eventually, it’s revealed the faked records are part of a plot to destabilise the Federation.
- Xenophone: Between The AC Walden Medicine Show and the jam sessions among the Aventine crew, most of the alien instruments from the series show up, and a few new ones are introduced.