Star Trek New Frontier #15 - After the Fallby Peter David
"Three years have passed since the events depicted in the novel Stone and Anvil, and for the past and present crew members of the U.S.S. Excalibur, life has taken many surprising twists and turns. Captain Elizabeth Shelby has been promoted to admiral and heads Space Station Bravo...while her former ship, the U.S.S. Trident, has a new captain. Soleta has left Starfleet… See more details below
"Three years have passed since the events depicted in the novel Stone and Anvil, and for the past and present crew members of the U.S.S. Excalibur, life has taken many surprising twists and turns. Captain Elizabeth Shelby has been promoted to admiral and heads Space Station Bravo...while her former ship, the U.S.S. Trident, has a new captain. Soleta has left Starfleet to embrace the perils of exploring her Romulan heritage. The powerful Zak Kebron serves as the Excalibur's counselor and head of security." "And Mackenzie Calhoun? Well, Mackenzie Calhoun's still who he is." "As Si Cwan, prime minister of the New Thallonian Protectorate, prepares to marry off his sister Kalinda in a politically advantageous pairing that will strengthen his newly restored empire, the bride-to-be is abducted just before the wedding in a calamitous event that threatens to destabilize the entire sector - especially since Kalinda's abductor is someone all too familiar." As the Excalibur, the Trident, and the entire Thallonian fleet attempt to bring order to their sector of space, none could ever suspect that a mysterious alien force may also be playing a part in Kalinda's disappearance - and that the entire galaxy may soon face a long-forgotten enemy.
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After the Fall
By Peter David
Star TrekCopyright © 2005 Peter David
All right reserved.
On the day Soleta was reasonably sure she was going to die, she found herself both surprised and not surprised to see Ambassador Spock standing at the far end of her cell.
Every joint, every muscle, every synapse in her body seemed inflamed with pain, and yet she still managed to sit up. She wanted to stand, to look properly formal as the occasion might call for. Try as she might, however, she was unable to gather the strength to do so. So she settled for sitting on the dank floor and simply staring at the tall, lean Vulcan. He, in turn, stared at her. No words passed between them for a good long time.
It was Soleta who finally broke the silence. "Well?" she inquired. "Aren't you going to say it?"
He cocked an eyebrow as she knew he would. "What am I expected to say?"
"I believe the appropriate phrase would be, 'How the mighty have fallen.'"
He pondered that for a moment, and then informed her, "That would not be logical."
"You were never particularly mighty."
"No," and she slumped her head back against the cell wall. "No, I guess I wasn't."
They remained that way for a time, and then Soleta allowed a small smile.
"Do you find your present situation amusing?" asked Spock.
"Not especially. I'm simply considering the fact that, when we first met, I was in a cell. On Thallon. Do you remember?"
"Of course," Spock said in a tone that indicated it was absurd to think he would forget -- not the incident itself, but anything at all that had ever happened to him in his entire life.
"It is ironic, the way in which life wraps back upon itself," she said. "You and I, trapped in a dungeon on Thallon, prisoners of the royal family. Then we escape, and in later years members of that same royal family wind up on the Federation ship I'm serving on after their family loses power. And now they are no longer a part of my life, nor I of theirs, and I'm back in a dungeon...while from what I hear..."
"They are climbing back into power," said Spock. "Yes. That is true. A new Thallonian regime is apparently on the rise. I estimate that in another two point three years, they will be fully in charge. There will, however, likely be marked differences between the former monarchy and the new paradigm. I believe the most likely structure will consist of a -- "
Although naturally any emotion perceivable on his face was minimal, it was still obvious that he was surprised at the interruption.
Soleta sighed. "I don't really care."
"Ah. Because, as matters stand, you will not be alive to see it."
"That's very much how the day is shaping up, yes." She gazed up at him through unfocused eyes. "You're not going to help me, are you."
"I said you're not going to help me. Not try to find a way to get me out of here."
"I regret that it is beyond my power to do so."
She snorted disdainfully. "I don't believe that for a moment."
"That something is beyond my power?"
"No. That you would regret anything." She leaned her head back, the cold metal of the cell proving oddly comforting against the back of her head. "Not you. You never regret anything. Ever."
"What would draw you to that conclusion?"
"Well," she almost stammered, as if the reply should be obvious, "because everything you do, you do because it's the logical thing to do."
"So?!" Soleta couldn't follow what he was talking about. "So if you always take the logical path, how can you ever have any regrets over it?"
He considered it a moment. "Apparently," he said at last, "you are confusing the logical path with the right path."
"Aren't they the same?"
"No, Soleta. Not at all." Slowly he circled the cell, his hands draped behind his back, his long robes sweeping around his feet. " 'Right' and 'wrong' are purely subjective terms, to be left to theologians and lawmakers. There have been any number of occasions in my life -- indeed, I would venture to say, in everyone's lives -- where I have been faced not with a right and wrong path, but instead with a variety of paths that are all undesirable. Where one person or group of persons was made to suffer, for instance, instead of another person or persons. In such instances, I made the logical choices, did what had to be done. Given the exact same circumstances, I would make the exact same choice."
"So where do the regrets come from?"
"The regrets, Soleta," he said wistfully, "come from my inability to conceive of a different path that would solve all problems in such a way that none be made to suffer."
She chuckled low in her throat. "That, Mr. Spock, is illogical."
"That, Soleta," he replied, "is precisely my point."
Before she could say anything else, there was the sound of a heavy-duty security lock being disengaged from the door nearby.
Several Romulans entered, dressed in full armor, as was customary for guards. It seemed ludicrous to Soleta; she was hardly in shape to pose a threat.
"Who were you talking to?" demanded the foremost guard. He was looking around the cell suspiciously.
"No one." She realized, upon opening her mouth, that her voice was far more strained and parched than she would have thought. It sounded totally different than it had when she'd been talking with Spock.
She further realized that she was in far more pain than she'd thought she was. There were marks on her from all manner of physical brutality that she had undergone. Strange. Strange that she hadn't felt that earlier or noticed it. It was as if her mind had bifurcated for some strange reason....
Well, not so strange at that.
"Remarkable, isn't it," she said thickly. Her lips were swollen as well; she hadn't noticed that before either. "What the mind will do to protect itself from dealing with what the body's going through."
"What are you talking about?" he demanded.
The guard who'd entered behind the first one was scouring the cell with his scowl. "Who was she talking to?"
"She hasn't answered," said the first. "Who were you talking to?"
"That's a very large weapon," she observed. "Do you use it in order to make up for shortcomings in other areas?"
"I'll use it on you, you murdering half-breed!" His hand hovered near the hilt.
"Now there's a threat."
"It's no threat."
"And yet," Soleta said, "I don't see you doing it."
He started to pull his disruptor, the prospect of which didn't bother Soleta one bit, but then the second guard put a hand on his fellow's arm, preventing the precipitous move. The first guard took his hand away from the weapon, but then abruptly brought his foot up and around. He slammed it into Soleta's face.
She didn't even feel it. The impact was sufficient to knock her backward, but other than that, it didn't register. She was that numb.
Thudding onto the floor, she lay there, her arms out to either side, her legs splayed. Her mouth moved for a moment and then spat out a glob of green blood to the side.
"Who," repeated the guard, "were you talk -- ?"
"Myself," she said.
"You were talking to yourself."
"Do you see anyone else here?" she inquired, sounding remarkably calm considering her clothes were in tatters and her body was covered with bruises and open wounds.
Clearly they did not. They'd already looked several times.
With mutual looks of exasperation, they strode forward and grabbed Soleta each by one arm. There were several other guards in view as well, and they already had their weapons out.
For one joyous moment, Soleta considered the notion of dropping both of the guards with a nerve pinch. As their bodies sagged to the ground, she would use them as shields for the few seconds it would take to yank their weapons out of their holsters and fire upon the other guards. Once she'd taken all of them down, she would use all her Starfleet training and stealth techniques to make her way to an airfield where she would find a vessel of some sort and get the hell off the Romulan homeworld.
"What are you thinking?" demanded one of the guards.
She rolled her head around to fix her gaze upon him. "What an odd question."
"I was thinking," she said, "about a cunning escape plan."
"Oh really. And are you planning to put it into effect?"
They were the last words she was able to get out before her head slumped forward.
Copyright © 2004 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpted from After the Fall by Peter David Copyright © 2005 by Peter David. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Peter David is a prolific New York Times bestselling author whose career, and continued popularity, spans more than two decades. He has worked in every conceivable media—television, film, books (fiction, nonfiction, and audio), short stories, and comic books—and acquired loyal followings in all of them. In the literary field, he has had more than a hundred novels published. He lives in New York with his wife and four children.
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The story line is true Star Trek. Another great book by Peter. However, it is also rip off! Not the story, the book itself. It ends with 'To Be Continued'. If you need to buy more than one book to read a complete story than the book cover could say so!
Peter David has done it again with his writing and characters. The ending will leave you in suspense and screaming for more. Can't wait for the next book.