(written from a Production point of view)
The incredible saga of death, destiny and rebirth on a madman's planet.
- From the book jacket
- CAPTAIN KIRK IS DEAD. LONG LIVE CAPTAIN KIRK.
- Spock, Doctor McCoy and the other crewmen of the Starship Enterprise experience a stunning double-shock. The first, painful blow is Captain Kirk's tragic death. Then, Captain Kirk's miraculous rebirth reveals the most awesome force the Enterprise has ever encountered. Spock is forced into a desperate gamble for Kirk's Human soul against Omne – the ultrahuman emperor of life beyond life, and death beyond hell...
Omne, a genius megalomaniac who seeks immortality, has discovered a way to create a perfect duplicate of a sentient creature. As part of a plot against the Federation, he lures the Enterprise to his highly-protected planet, where Captain Kirk is apparently killed while breaking the Prime Directive. When Spock returns to the planet to confront Omne about Kirk's death, he is met with not one but two living, breathing Kirks – the original and a very convincing duplicate. Aided by the unnamed Romulan Commander from "The Enterprise Incident", Spock and the two Kirks attempt to shut down Omne and protect the balance of power. The extra Kirk later receives extensive cosmetic surgery to live as a Romulan companion to the Commander.
- The book heavily references the events of "The Enterprise Incident", in which a Romulan commander attempted to lure Spock to her crew. It is not established how she went from being a prisoner at the end of that episode to being in command of a ship and a representative of the Romulan Empire again. While it is revealed that her name means "dawn of springtime", the actual name is not given.
- This story is continued in the 1979 book The Fate of the Phoenix.
- Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Bantam TOS characters.
- James T. Kirk
- Captain of the Enterprise. In this book, the real Kirk is referred to as "Jim," while the duplicate is called "James."
- First officer and science officer of the Enterprise.
- Leonard McCoy
- Ship's surgeon and chief medical officer of the Enterprise.
- Montgomery Scott
- Chief engineer of the Enterprise, in command of the ship while Spock and Kirk are on the planet.
- Chief communications officer of the Enterprise.
- A doctor aboard the Enterprise.
- Romulan Commander
- A female Romulan commander who helped Spock both rescue Kirk and defeat Omne. She became enamored of the duplicate Kirk and took him to live with her aboard her ship.
- A mysterious figure who was strongly opposed to Kirk, Spock, and the Federation they represent. He developed technology to resurrect himself in case of death. He staged the death of Captain Kirk, which forced Spock to ally with the Romulan Commander. Omne used his technology to create identical copies of Kirk, and had threatened to use this technology to cause chaos within the Federation. He committed suicide after a mind-link and struggle with Spock. A second Omne returned and boarded the Enterprise, only to be killed by Kirk.
- Omne makes another appearance in The Fate of the Phoenix, also by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath.
- Prime Directive
- Kirk is "killed" while attempting to rescue a woman and her child from a fatal fire that is part of a cultural immolation ritual, breaking the non-interference policy of the Prime Directive. This test is arranged by Omne to showcase Kirk's attitude toward the Prime Directive.
- Queen to King's level four, captain.
- A reference to three-dimensional chess used as an identification verification between Montgomery Scott and Captain Kirk, similar to the one used by the Enterprise crew in "Whom Gods Destroy". The captain's correct response was "Knight takes Queen, Mate."
- Romulan Neutral Zone
- Omne's unnamed planet is a free port situated very near the Neutral Zone.
- Sub-Commander S'Tal
- Mentioned as being second in command to the unnamed female Romulan commander. He is also referred to as 'Tal, which could be a reference to Sub-Commander Tal from "The Enterprise Incident".
- Vulcan mind meld
- Spock utilizes the Vulcan mind meld and his previously established telepathic link with Kirk to track him in Omne's maze-like fortress.
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