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With Star Trek: Dark Victory , William Shatner -- bestselling author and actor supreme -- returns to the world of his mesmerizing Spectre for another crafty and explosive space-opera thrill ride. In this memorable new adventure, Captain James T. Kirk, along with Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and even Jean-Luc Picard, go up against an evil Kirk from a parallel universe. With their sharp wits and battle skills, both Kirks quickly realize that this galaxy ain't big enough for the both of them.
The waiting was over...
"Ten," the emperor said.
It was the number of seconds James T. Kirk had to live.
Behind him on the mirror Voyager's bridge, Kathryn Janeway lunged for the conn. Kirk knew her well enough to understand her intention.
Once, it would have been his as well.
Kirk turned from the viewscreen, from the man in the mirror, and shouted at the Voyager's captain. "No!"
Spock, following his captain's lead, now pushed ahead, one hand extended, fingers ready to remove Janeway from the equation of this moment.
But he was blocked by T'Val, the young, drawn Vulcan woman who haunted him, the ghost of a possibility unexplored, child of his mirror counterpart and the mirror Saavik. The follower of Janeway.
T'Val's mechanized hand swung up to divert Spock's attack. Janeway reached the controls. Kirk felt the ship's warp-core generator sing its song in the vibration of the deck.
The stunning blow of T'Val's mechanized hand swept Spock to the side. Then T'Val joined her leader.
"Seven." Tiberius laughed mockingly, seeing everything, the chaos that he had brought.
Kirk leaned over the central flight-control console, to reach the controls on the captain's side, then gasped with pain as the ruins of his hands strained but did nothing.
Hours ago, transtator feedback had destroyed the controls of the runabout he had piloted. He had kept the craft on course, completed his mission, but had paid the price in charred flesh, shattered bones, now wrapped in McCoy's glittering bandages.
Kirk called for help from the one person left to give it. "Teilani!"
No more than a moment ago, his belager shuddered and he swayed as the first salvo from the Enterprise's aft phasers blazed around her shields, but he remained on his feet.
On the screen, Tiberius grinned fiercely. His long white hair was tied back in an immaculate warrior's queue, his deeply tanned skin unblemished and unmarked, his face the face of triumph.
On the Voyager's bridge, it seemed as if Kirk was now the beast. Broken, bleeding, desperate.
But not desperate to kill.
On his right hand, his thumb was still intact. He jammed it down on the helm controls, gasping as a blade of fire shot through his raw palm, up his arm.
"Scotty! La Forge!" he cried out to the two engineers. "Everything to the starboard shields, now!"
A second salvo blasted the Voyager. But her weakened forward shields had not been the target.
Kirk had succeeded in forcing the ship into a turn. Her undamaged starboard shields had absorbed the full charge.
The bridge lights flickered. The deck and bulkheads echoed with the groaning of metal as the structural integrity field fluctuated.
"We've lost half the shield nodes," Scott called out. "We cannae go to warp."
La Forge's urgent voice rose above the ship's din. "We'll barely be able to manage half impulse!"
Suddenly, Janeway broke free of Teilani and rushed Kirk at the console, trying to drag him from the helm.
"We can't run! We can't protect ourselves! Let it end now!"
But Kirk shouldered her away even as Teilani recaptured her. Even as the ship rocked and bucked violently. The readouts confirming that Voyager was spinning on her central axis, her inertial control damaged by the last phaser hit.
"It's not your decision," K irk shouted at her. "You're not alone on this ship!"
Hate had blinded Janeway. But not Kirk. Spock and Scott and La Forge were on the bridge of this ship. On the other decks were McCoy, Picard, Spock's counter part, Data, Dr. Crusher, Will Riker, Deanna Troi, and dozens more from Starfleet who had been rescued from the asteroid labor camp below. No one had the right to force death upon others without giving them a say.
Teilani held Janeway secure at Kirk's side, ready to deliver a deathblow if that was what was required.
The grinning image of Tiberius vanished from the viewscreen, leaving in its place a blur of streaming images: the roiling clouds of the Goldin Discontinuity in which the two starships were embedded; the two asteroids in their decaying orbit rushing dangerously closer to each other; the Enterprise encased in her metallic, webbed cage.
"You're weak," Janeway screamed at Kirk. "Letting that monster live because of her!" She struggled in vain to escape Teilani's hold.
Kirk clenched his teeth as he forced his right thumb over the controls, bringing the ship back into trim. "There's been too much death already."
"It's him or us!"
But Kirk could not be distracted. He was focused on his ship and survival. "There is always another way!"
Recovered from T'Val's attack, Spock was on his feet again, already at tactical. "Phasers, captain?"
"On my mark!" Kirk answered.
Janeway exploded in fury and frustration. "We can't outfight that ship!"
Kirk grunted to mask the agonizing pain he felt as his thumb and bloody knuckles stabilized the Voyager. He brought her around to face the Enterprise's stern again, and then moved her forwar d. But not on a collision course. "We don't have to outfight the ship," he gasped. "Just the man!"
More vibrations coursed through the bridge, but they were weaker this time. The Enterprise had scored only a glancing blow.
And then the Voyager was to the port of the larger ship, moving slowly, a perfect target. Yet untouched.
Confusion dampened Janeway's rage. "He's not firing."
Kirk's attention was on the positions of the Enterprise and the intricate construction that wrapped her like a mechanistic cocoon. "Of course he's not firing," he said. "Not after what he went through to build that thing. He's not about to risk shooting it." He turned to Spock. "Spock, has the Enterprise enlarged her shields to protect the device?"
Kirk nodded, unsurprised. It was what he would have done in the same situation.
Then the turbolift doors opened and Jean-Luc Picard rushed onto the bridge, still in the Klingon armor he had taken from his mirror counterpart. The captain of the Enterprise looked at the viewscreen in shock. "Kirk, what is this?"
But Kirk could not respond. There was no time. Already the vastly more powerful starship was beginning to slip out of its metallic cage. Once the Enterprise was free, the Voyager's remaining lifetime would be measured in seconds.
"Watch the shield intensity on the forward section," Kirk told Spock. "When the tip of it shows through the shields..."
"Understood," Spock said.
Kirk brought the Voyager about to face the closed end of the device, even as the Enterprise had backed halfway out. Sweat poured from Kirk's brow. "Spock -- "
"Shield strength over the device is at eleven percent...six...three...zero."
"Fire!" Kirk commanded.
Teilani released Janeway.
On the screen, a thin blue stream of phased energy shot from the Voyager to find its target -- a few square meters of metal and wire no longer protected by the Enterprise's shields.
At once, those copper-colored plates and strands lost all molecular cohesion. And as they blew apart into quantum mist, a chain reaction spread as if a fuse had been lit. Now the full power of the Voyager's weapons raced along the web of metal, through the Enterprise's shields, to explosively detonate the entire crossover device.
In the same instant, the shields of the great starship began to act against her. Instead of keeping energy away from her, they did not allow energy out.
"No..." Picard whispered. An eruption of phased energy now enveloped his ship within the perfect curved perimeter of her shields.
Then the ovoid shape vanished as the Enterprise's shield generators failed, and the contained explosion rebounded into space.
A subspace compression wave swept out to engulf Voyager.
Impact with the massive wave struck the ship. The deck pitched. The bridge lights flickered again.
"I've no idea what ye just exploded in there," Scott announced, "but it's done in our shields. We've got nothing protecting us now."
Then, on the screen, the Enterprise reappeared from the fire, free of the crossover device, still intact.
Janeway's bitter accusation was directed at Kirk. "You've killed us all anyway. And for what?"
But Kirk was not listening to her. He hugged his hands against his body, fighting the sensation that Voyager was still spinning, still vibratin g, out of control. "Spock, does the Enterprise have shields?"
"Her shields are down," Spock's calm voice confirmed. "Storage batteries are exhausted. Life support failing."
The gamble had worked. He had won again. Kirk allowed himself to fall back heavily in the helmsman's chair. "Lock transporters on all life signs on the bridge. Beam everyone directly to the brig." He felt Teilani's touch as she placed both hands on his shoulders. He could stop fighting the pain. Safe in her arms, he could yield to the darkness that called him. He needed to sleep, to rest...
"No life signs detected," Spock said. "There is no one left aboard her."
Kirk's eyes widened. "Scotty! Transporter trace!"
"Aye, that's it, sir. Nine people beamed directly to...the asteroid labor camp?"
Kirk struggled to his feet. He had to stop Tiberius. He could have anything hidden down there.
But now Picard's hand was on him, gently but firmly forcing him back into the chair. "You've done enough, Captain. My people and I have spent the last three weeks down there. We'll find Tiberius."
At any other time, Kirk might have resisted Picard's offer to help. That was Kirk's own counterpart down there. This was Kirk's battle. But there were limits to what one man could do. Limits to the pain he could withstand. Perhaps Teilani was right. It was time to pass the burden to others.
Then La Forge shouted out: "Captain Picard! The Enterprise!"
And on the screen, to Kirk it was as if the starship had begun to disassemble herself, breaking up into a flurry of subcomponents like a puzzle being shattered.
"The escape pods...?" Picard said. "Mr. La Forge, what is the status of Enterprise's security systems?"
Of course, Kirk thought. He knew what La Forge's answer would be before the engineer began to speak. Exactly what I would have done to buy time.
"Captain, she's on a ten-minute countdown to self-destruct."
Kirk had no strength left within him, no reserves on which to draw. But he knew the look of loss on Picard's face. Understood it all too well.
He rose to his feet, forced his hands to hang at his sides as if they were undamaged, willed his voice to remain strong.
"You have to save your ship, Captain," he told Picard. "I'll find Tiberius."
Kirk shook his head once at Teilani to stop her protest before it could begin. "Spock, tell Dr. McCoy to meet us in the transporter room. Scotty, we'll need environment suits for the landing party and I'll need you up here to run the sensor sweep."
As he headed for the turbolift, Kirk heard Picard already giving orders to his command crew on the Voyager,</1> having them assemble in the transporter room, as well.
In the turbolift car, with Spock on one side of him, Teilani on the other, Kirk looked toward the flight-control console. "Captain Janeway," he said. "You have the bridge."
If there were limits to what one man could do, to how much pain he could withstand, Kirk hadn't found them yet.
The burden still was his.
Then the turbolift doors closed and James T. Kirk began his descent.
Copyright © 1999 by Paramount Pictures