(written from a Production point of view)
The first original Star Trek story published as a novel.
- From the book jacket
- While exploring a new star system, NGC 434, Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise find themselves in an adventure, from one planet to another.
- They enlist the help of Grang, a local from NGC 434 to guide them through the system, all while attempting to find the runaway mouse "Mickey" on the Enterprise.
At the time of the story, Enterprise is due to return for a shore leave from a prolonged mission. The crew is beginning to get upset and prone to an outbreak of space cafard, a contagious and often deadly disease. The supplies and food are running low. However, the ship is unexpectedly diverted, instructed to pick up emergency supplies and to head to a remote section of space where Captain Kirk is to follow secret orders.
The ship is ordered to go to the distant Horatius system populated by anti-Federation colonists to investigate a distress call. Upon arrival, the crew starts checking all three planets in the system. The first, Neolithia, lacks modern technology and so low on the development scale that its stone-age population cannot send distress signals. The second planet, Mythra, is populated by religious zealots and has radio technology, but denies sending a distress signal. Both planets, however, report attacks by mysterious "space raiders" who kidnap citizens and wreak havoc. Kirk decides to help, hopefully without violating General Order Number One, and is joined by Grang, a native of Neolithia.
The Enterprise heads towards the third planet in the system, Bavarya, which turns out to be a technologically advanced world with an unusually large population.
- This novel was the first original story written in the Star Trek universe, but it was not the first book published, as it was predated by the first episode novelization collection by James Blish.
- This book was written as a young adult tie-in to the series.
- Though the book first saw publication through Whitman Publishing, Pocket Books obtained the rights to create a 30th Anniversary reprint in 1996 (and a second run later in 1999).
- Captain James T. Kirk
- Commander Spock
- first officer and science officer
- Dr. Leonard McCoy
- senior ship's surgeon
- Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott
- senior engineer officer.
- Lieutenant Uhura
- communications officer
- Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu
- Ensign Pavel A. Chekov
- member of Neolithia's "Wolf clan". A young member, but not yet a full warrior. Assisted the Enterprise in exploration of Bavarya. Was given the temporary rank of ensign.
- Nummer Ein
- His All Highest, Bavaryan Chief of State. A doppelganger (clone) of the real man, who had died some years before the events described in the story.
- Anna Shickle
- daughter of Nummer Ein. Assisted starship Enterprise landing party escape from Bavarya. She was part of an underground movement to stop the dictatorship of Bavarya.
- Supreme Exarch, Extreme Holy of the United Temple, representative on Mythra of the Ultimate
- Lieutenant Akrumba, junior officer
- Doris Atkins, yeoman, member of the landing party to Neolithia
- Lieutenant Chang, off-duty officer in the wardroom
- Christine Chapel, head nurse
- Lieutenant DePaul, off-duty officer in the wardroom
- Dick, off-duty member of the personnel in the wardroom
- Ensign Freeman
- Lieutenant Kellum, security officer
- Lieutenant Masaryk, security officer
- Lieutenant Peterson, recreation officer
- Janice Rand, yeoman
- Taylor, crew member
- Thomkins, yeoman
- Unnamed transporter officer
- Pater Delvin, Brother of Communications on Mythra; greeted the Enterprise when it entered the Mythrian space
- Feldherr Jodl, of Nummer Ein's personal staff
- Muel, member of Neolithia's "Shaman clan"; a wizard-doctor
- Oberst Muller, Bavarya Planetary Defense Command, greeted the Enterprise when it entered the Bavaryan space
- Pater Stuart, met the Enterprise landing party on Mythra
- Unnamed Bavaryan officer, tended the Enterprise's landing party jail cell
Spock said, "Space cafard. Compounded of claustrophobia, ennui-boredom, if you will-and the instinctive dread of a species, born on a planet surface, of living outside its native environment. The instinctive fear of deep space. Formerly the fear of being in free fall, though that seldom applies any longer. A mania that evidently is highly contagious. It is said that in the early days of space travel, cafard could sweep through a ship in a matter of hours, until all on board were raging maniacs, and-"
Captain Kirk said dryly, "I did not require a complete rehashing of the illness, Mr. Spock."
- Spock and Kirk, on hearing McCoy's diagnosis.
- Christopher Pike, previous captain of the Enterprise
- USS Enterprise: starship, crew of 430, gravitational support system, ample recreational facilities, sick bay, wardroom, storage compartments, galleys, a chapel. Maximum safe speed: warp factor 6; capable of warp factor 8
- Westmoreland: space scout, crew of four, no artificial gravity
Star bases and space stations
- Space station K-Eight, where Enterprise obtains emergency supplies before heading for NGC 400
- Starbase Twelve, destination of the Enterprise before being diverted to the Horatius system
An area of space to where Enterprise was diverted and where the secret orders were to be revealed. As of the time Mission to Horatius takes place, it is about as far into the galaxy as the Federation or any other galactic power has penetrated.
An area of space that was unexplored until the colonization almost a century previous. The NGC 434 System, otherwise known as the Horatius system, contains three planets, all Class M. The planets have been named by human colonists as "Neolithia", "Mythra", and "Bavarya". In the early days of space travel, a freighter on a trade mission fell out of warp in the system. The crew explored and named the system, then left. A few years later, colonists, who wished to be separate from the Federation, made a home in NGC 434.
- The home planet of Grang. Very low on the development scale. Ruled by the Council of Patriarchs.
- More developed than Neolithia. Stone age building design, but middle age inhabitants who are religious dissidents. They worship "the Ultimate". The planet is ruled by Supreme Exarch Warren. He and the high priests have been tricking the rest of the population into drinking a hallucinogen called anodyne which made them loyal to their "god". The Enterprise assisted the population by cleansing the water that contained anodyne.
- Most advanced Human culture in NGC 434. Ruled by Nummer Ein, His All Highest, Bavaryan Chief of State. The planet has limited phaser technology that was unsuccessfully used against the Enterprise. Bavarya was the source of attacks and kidnappings against Neolithia and Mythra. Before the military's defeat, an entire invasion of the other two planets was planned. The planet was hostile towards a landing party from the Enterprise, and imprisoned them, while holding arena matches with Captain Kirk, Commander Spock, and Grang. Planet is listed as hostile under the Federation charter.
- Vishnu, home of Mickey the rat
- Space cafard: compounded of claustrophobia, ennui, and the instinctive dread of a species, born on a planet surface, of living outside its native environment. The instinctive fear of deep space. Does not apply to Vulcans.
- Bubonic plague, which Mickey the rat is suspected of carrying
Gods and religions
- Baal, an Earth god requiring sacrifice of a person's first-born
- Jesus of Nazareth
- Maripol, an ancient Vulcan god
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