(written from a Production point of view)
A murderer is loose on the USS Enterprise!
- From the book jacket
- The USS Enterprise is stunned when famed scientist Lynn Costa is murdered in one of the ship's science labs. She and her husband Emil were known as science's greatest ongoing collaboration and, together had received the Federation's highest honors for their achievements in scientific research.
- Determined to see the culprit brought to justice, Captain Picard assigns Lt. Worf and Counselor Deanna Troi to the case. Their routine investigation of the ship's science lab soon reveals a dangerous web of deceit, betrayal, and madness. Now, Worf and Troi find themselves struggling against a ruthless assassin set on revenge–for whom murder is only the beginning...
Drs. Emil and Lynn Costa are part of the science team working on the micro-contamination project. Highly celebrated scientists married for nearly 50 years, they were credited with perfecting the transporter biofilter before joining the Enterprise to pursue any project of their choice. When Lynn deletes a sizable amount of important research collected over the last four years, she is pressed to undergo counseling with Troi, revealing a deep depression and a fear that her husband plans to divorce her. Soon after, she is found dead in one of the starship’s cleanroom labs. Though it appears that she suffered from an accidental toxic gas leak, Worf’s investigation reveals clues that suggest a premeditated murder. He questions the rest of the science team, including the Betazoid project manager Dr. Karn Milu, Vulcan Dr. Saduk, Antarian Dr. Grastow, human intern Shana Russell, and of course, his primary suspect, Emil.
Worf’s investigation comes under a deadline when Lynn’s death is officially classified as an accident and Emil announces plans to depart the ship at its next port, Kayron Rock. He tasks Wesley with surreptitiously questioning his former tutor. Despite interference run by Grastow, Wes overhears Emil and Karn arguing shortly before Karn is also found dead. Troi discovers an encoded message hidden within Milu’s belongings and uses a Betazoid meditation technique to decipher its contents—“Lynn is the queen hag, Emil is a naughty jester, Sadok is the heir apparent, Grastow is a footman, Shana is Jasmine.” She is poisoned before she can fully understand the message or inform Worf of her discovery.
At Kayron Rock, Emil is subjected to a hearing to determine his involvement in both murders. He reveals that he and Lynn had once discovered a unique sub-microbe undetectable by conventional sensors or biofilters. They studied it in secret for years until Karn learned of its existence and wanted to sell its tremendous weapons potential to the highest bidder. Those are the records that Lynn deleted, but Emil claims innocence in both deaths.
Troi recovers and Worf learns that Shana is actually Jasmine Terry, the daughter of Megan Terry, a former associate of the Costas. Twenty years earlier, Megan had been heavily involved in the biofilter project and was having an affair with Emil. He promised to leave Lynn for Megan if Megan surrendered her research, but he reneged on his offer, dismissing her from the project and his life and leaving her (unbeknownst to him?) pregnant. Megan died in disgrace and Jasmine jumped on the opportunity for revenge offered to her by Karn Milu. Karn sought her help in securing the sub-microbe files so she left school, changed her name, and joined the micro-contamination project. However, she put her revenge against Emil ahead of Karn’s plans and then killed Karn when he threatened to expose her. Now confronted, she threatens to kill Worf but is subdued by Sadok. Jasmine is arrested and remanded to a penal/treatment facility, Emil is cleared of all charges, and the rest of the team is disbanded. Sadok accepts a posting to restart the sub-microbe research from scratch by securing another sample from its source—Vagra II.
There is an old Klingon proverb: “A terrible secret cannot be kept.”
Dr. Grastow is an Antarian, described as quite tall, though obviously not the same species as seen in Voyager.
One form of Betazoid encryption is to put oneself into a trance and process the message through their subconscious mind. Upon awaking, the message will be indecipherable even to the person who encoded the message, though knowledge of one’s own psyche will ultimately allow the code to be broken.
- Deanna Troi
- Wesley Crusher
- Emil Costa
- Lynn Costa
- Karn Milu
- Shana Russell
- Andreas Grastow
- Space vessel.
- Humanoid species.
- The Kreel were originally introduced by Peter David in his novel Strike Zone.
- Kreel starship.
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