(written from a Production point of view)
A tale centering on Jean-Luc Picard, set during the years between the loss of the Stargazer and the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- From the book jacket
- Jean-Luc Picard. His name has gone down in legend as the captain of the USS Stargazer and two starships Enterprise. But the nine years of his life leading up to the inaugural mission of the USS Enterprise-D™ to Farpoint Station have remained a mystery – until now, as Picard's lost era is finally unearthed
- Following the loss of the Stargazer and the brutal court martial that resulted, Picard no longer sees a future for himself in Starfleet. Turning to his other love, archeology, he embarks on a quest to rediscover a buried age of ancient galactic history... and awakens a living survivor of that era: a striking, mysterious woman frozen in time since before the rise of Earth's dinosaurs. But this powerful immortal has a secret of cataclysmic proportions, and her plans will take Picard – aided along the way by a brilliant but naive android, an insightful Betazoid, and an enigmatic El-Aurian – to the heights of passion, the depths of betrayal, and the farthest reaches of explored space.
"We do not do what we do to be safe. We do it for the reasons spelled out by Zefram Cochrane centuries ago: to seek out new life, and to boldly go where none has gone before. To seek out new life, gentlebeings. Not to face it timidly with our defenses up, but to approach it with an attitude of openness, a willingness to trust. That means coming into their star systems with our defenses down, rather than appearing to them as a threat. That means staying our hand and trying to talk even when attacked. And it means seeing unknown others as potential allies who may simply be eager to learn, rather than mortal enemies who must be deprived of our technological secrets at all costs.
"It is true that this attitude contains risks. But that is the meaning of 'to boldly go.' We choose to take on those risks, because they are usually justified by the rewards. Offering trust always carries the risk of betrayal," T'Lara said, meeting Picard's eyes briefly, "but is the only way to earn trust."
- - T'Lara, in her closing argument during the court martial of Jean-Luc Picard regarding the loss of the USS Stargazer
- Memory Alpha is thanked in the acknowledgments as an "invaluable resource."
- This novel can be seen as the prequel to The Next Generation.
- The beginning of the novel describes the Battle of Maxia, as well as retconning the supposedly threatening nature of the Ferengi in early TNG as a product of disinformation – viewing the Federation's moneyless economic structure as a sign of insanity, Zek ordered a military buildup and sanctioned the spread of malicious rumors so that when they did make contact, it would be from a position of strength.
- A full set of annotations for the novel is available at the author's website.
- An extract from this novel appeared in Star Trek Magazine issue 133.
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