(written from a Production point of view)
With Spock and McCoy missing, Kirk must stop a plot that threatens the entire Federation.
- From the book jacket
- For nearly a hundred years, the planet Chyrellkan IV has enjoyed a peaceful relationship with the colony on the third planet of its star system. However, relations between the two worlds take a deadly turn as rebel colonists take over Chrellkan III and turn against their mother world.
- To prevent the conflict from escalating into full-scale war, Starfleet orders Captain Kirk and the Enterprise to moderate the dispute. On arrival, Kirk sends Spock and McCoy to investigate the rebel's claims. But seconds after beaming down, the two officers are taken hostage and then – according to sensors – killed. Devastated by his loss, Kirk must try to learn the truth behind the mysterious rebellion that has claimed the lives of his two closest friends.
- Kirk's investigation leads him to uncover a dangerous plot against the Federation – a plot driven by revenge that may make the Federation's highest law, the Prime Directive, an instrument of violence and destruction.
- According to author Gene DeWeese's foreword, the novel takes place during the final year of the Enterprise's original five-year mission.
Captain's Log Entries
- Captain's Log, Supplemental: We are en route to the planet Chyrellka to do--as Dr. McCoy might put it--a little fire-fighting.
- We first made contact with the Chyrellkans ten years ago. They declined membership in the Federation, but at the time of that initial encounter, Captain Brittany Mendez of the Exeter noted that the Chyrellkans and their colony on Vancadia provided a textbook example of how to peacefully establish and administer a colony.
- Unlike most emerging technological civilizations, the Chyrellkans had established a working world government before leaving their own atmosphere. And once their probes showed them that Vancadia's biosphere was almost identical to their own–except for the absence of any lifeforms higher than tree-dwelling primates–they went about establishing a colony with Vulcan-like logic and determination.
- Without impulse drive technology, all early trips to Vancadia were one-way. Shuttles lifted them into orbit around Chyrellka, where they transferred to orbital-built interplanetary ships. At Vancadia then, they descended from orbit in one-way landers. It was nearly forty years before the colonials reached the stage at which they could manufacture the boosters that allowed them to return to orbit.
- From the beginning, the Chyrellkans had planned for the Vancadian colonists to be given their independence once they'd achieved total self-sufficiency. A decade ago, Captain Mendez noted that with Vancadia's population close to eight million, the goal of self-sufficiency seemed only a few years away. And yet now the Federation has received an urgent request for help in mediating what the Chyrellkan message describes as "an increasingly vicious dispute between Chyrellka and her rebelling colony."
"Do you believe that fraud?"
"If you mean, Doctor, did I believe Premier Kaulidren's statements to be completely truthful, no I did not."
- - McCoy and Spock
"Ah, the Federation assassination squad, and one of their traitorous collaborators. Do come in quickly, before some loyal citizen sees you."
- - Professor Roghan to Spock and McCoy, making clear that he doesn't believe the government's propaganda
"But you want to know what's really scary, Jim? That bunch had a good chance of pulling their little stunt off. They probably would have if they'd just trusted each other instead of stabbing each other in the back every chance they got."
"That is most unlikely, Doctor."
"Oh, and what crystal ball tells you that, Spock?"
"It is merely that if people are inclined to trust other people, they generally have neither the desire nor the reason to develop such schemes in the first place."
- - McCoy and Spock
- James T. Kirk
- Dr. Leonard McCoy
- Lt. Nyota Uhura
- Lt. Hikaru Sulu
- Montgomery Scott
- Lt. Pritchard
- Spock's temporary replacement as science officer
- Premier Kaulidren
- President Delkondros
- Councilman Tylmaurek
- Professor Roghan
- Ben Finney/"Hargemon"
- "Court Martial"
- Ben Finney reappears after his appearance in that episode, still nursing a grudge against Kirk and having been recruited by the Klingons after demonstrating his expertise at manipulating the Enterprise computers;
- "A Private Little War"
- Repeated references are made to the Enterprise visit to Neural:
- Spock refers to Neural as soon as he and McCoy beam down to Vancadia, trying to warn McCoy that his tricorder has unmasked several humans in the room as disguised Klingons;
- While Councilman Tylmaurek is puzzling over the Klingons' likely motive for interfering with the Chrellkan conflict, McCoy remarks that the Klingons on Neural seemed to have no better motive for fomenting war between the tribes there than because they found it amusing;
- Kirk recalls having to "descend to the same level" as the Klingons on Neural and provide Tyree's Hill People with weapons to combat their enemies, grimly resolving to do nothing of the kind with Chyrellka, which would mean providing its people with phasers, photon torpedoes, shield technology and impulse drives.
- "The Trouble with Tribbles"
- McCoy realizes that several of their human captors are disguised Klingons by noting the drastic differences in their heart rates and body temperatures from humans, similar to how he unmasked Arne Darvin in this episode.
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