(written from a Production point of view)
Captain Picard must defeat an alien armada!
- From the book jacket
- Isolated for centuries, the exotic Dragon Empire is finally ready to join the United Federation of Planets. But first the emperor's son must marry the only daughter of his oldest enemy, bringing an end to decades of civil war. Without the wedding, there can be no peace – and no treaty with the Federation.
- As honored guests of the Dragon Empire, Captain Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise must ensure that the royal wedding occurs on schedule, despite the Empire's complicated and difficult codes of honor. And Dr. Beverly Crusher finds her loyalties torn when she wins the confidence of the unusually reluctant bride-to-be.
- More than just a treaty is at stake, for a vicious race of alien conquerors will stop at nothing, from assassination to invasion, to keep the Empire out of the Federation. Picard must use all his skills to save the Empire... and preserve the Dragon's honor.
The Enterprise is sent to the planet Pai, whose inhabitants base their society on medieval China. Its emperor, called the Dragon, has agreed to allow his world to join the Federation. The treaty will become official once his eldest son, Chuan-chi, marries Yao Hu, the daughter of his most powerful foe.
The G'kkau, a ruthless reptilian race, are determined not to allow the treaty to occur, and have launched an invasion fleet scheduled to arrive before the wedding. They know the Enterprise is bound by the Prime Directive, and must not interfere until after the treaty is finalized.
Matters are complicated when the bride-to-be refuses to marry Chuan-chi because she is in love with his younger brother, Kan-hi. Riker adds to the confusion when he teaches the Pai, who are avid gamblers, how to play poker. Playing against the crown-prince, who technically owns the entire world, Riker accidentally wins the planet and everything on it.
Aboard the Enterprise, Data manages to slow the G'kkau fleet down, but they still arrive before the wedding. It is revealed that Chuan-chi is a traitor and has worked with the G'kkau in launching their attack. His arrest frees Yao Hu to marry Kan-hi, and Riker forfeits his poker winnings because he is unable to fulfill a marriage requirement. Captain Picard performs the ceremony on the Enterprise, just in time to fight off the invasion.
Memorable quotes Edit
"Excuse me, Geordi. but weren't fireworks banned sometime in the twenty-first century. I seem to recall that they were incredibly dangerous."
"And fighting carnivorous, spacefaring lizards isn't? Look, I won't tell Starfleet if you won't."
- - Crusher and La Forge
"Will, how much did you win again?"
"Let's see, forty-two properties in the Empire, a brewery dating back three centuries, about fourteen hundred individual servants, and eleven full households, including wives and concubines. I've probably forgotten some of it, sir. And the planet, of course."
- - Picard and Riker
Background information Edit
- Kij Johnson devised the story and successfully pitched it to Pocket; however, after partially completing the first draft, a sudden cross-country relocation led her to ask friend and colleague Greg Cox to collaborate on finishing the final manuscript to meet her deadline. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 191)
- Johnson was inspired by her research into eleventh-century China, and the classic Pocket TOS novel How Much for Just the Planet?. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 192)
- Jean-Luc Picard
- William T. Riker
- Beverly Crusher
- Deanna Troi
- Geordi La Forge
- Female Andorian lieutenant who serves at the conn and recently transferred from the Nisqually.
- Lieutenant Tor's former posting.
- A race of reptilian conquerors, they are aggressive and ever since developing spaceflight have pillaged the worlds of less advanced species.
- The Pai are obsessed with the concept of honor, and Worf at first thinks he has found a planet of kindred spirits. Although he forms a friendship with the Dragon's chief of security, however, he is soon disappointed that Pai honor is merely words, and not true Klingon honor. Counselor Troi and Dr. Crusher are required to wear elegant formal dresses. Crusher loves wearing the exotic clothes, but Troi has trouble keeping stains off of hers. Troi has the added problem of avoiding the Dragon's romantic advances throughout the mission.
- The Pai love to gamble, but prefer games of chance. They consider actions like bluffing to be dishonorable.
- S'sssr'ss class
- an early class of ships belonging to the G'kkau.
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