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The Star Trek The Next Generation: The Valiant

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Three hundred years ago, the S.S. Valiant was destroyed during an ill-fated attempt to cross the legendary Galactic Barrier. Starfleet had always assumed that the Valiant had perished with all hands aboard, until a pair of unusual humanoids arrive at Starbase 209, claiming to be the descendants of a handful of Valiant survivors who found refuge on an M-Class planet beyond the Barrier.

Even more shocking, the visitors warn that a hostile alien species, the Nuyyad, are preparing ...

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Star Trek The Next Generation: Planet X

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Overview

Three hundred years ago, the S.S. Valiant was destroyed during an ill-fated attempt to cross the legendary Galactic Barrier. Starfleet had always assumed that the Valiant had perished with all hands aboard, until a pair of unusual humanoids arrive at Starbase 209, claiming to be the descendants of a handful of Valiant survivors who found refuge on an M-Class planet beyond the Barrier.

Even more shocking, the visitors warn that a hostile alien species, the Nuyyad, are preparing to invade our galaxy. Uncertain of how much of the strangers' story to believe, Starfleet orders the U.S.S. Stargazer to investigate at once.

Lieutenant Commander Jean-Luc Picard is second officer on the Stargazer. A young man who has yet to command a vessel of his own, he soon develops a special bond with one of the visitors, a strikingly beautiful woman who has inherited mysterious psychic abilities from her alleged Starfleet ancestors. But can Picard truly trust her?

His doubts deepen when the Stargazer is ambushed by Nuyyad warships, leaving the captain dead and the first officer incapacitated. Picard suddenly finds himself in command—and facing immediate danger. Trapped on the wrong side of the Barrier, cut off from Starfleet, he must now rely on questionable allies and a crew uncertain of his abilities. And not only the Stargazer, but perhaps the entire Federation, may depend on the decisions he must make.

The Valiant is a gripping saga that explores an untold chapter in the life of Jean-Luc Picard—and reveals the making of a captain!

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
This exciting unnumbered adventure in the Star Trek: TNG series deals with a young Jean-Luc Picard, Second Officer aboard the USS Stargazer. While on assignment beyond the Great Galactic Barrier, the Stargazer is caught in an ambush during which the Captain is killed and the First Officer ends up in a coma. As the next in command, Picard has to deal with a mutiny, a saboteur, untested allies, and an enemy with unknown weapons capabilities. By using his wits and making use of help from unlikely quarters, Picard is able to destroy the threat posed by the unknown enemy and to bring the Stargazer home safely. Upon his return, he is rewarded with the permanent command of the Stargazer. (Star Trek: The Next Generation). KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Pocket Books, 280p.,\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671047863
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 4/1/2000
  • Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation Series
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged, 2 cassettes, 3 hrs.
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 4.50 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Jan Friedman is the author of nearly sixty books of fiction and nonfiction, more than half of which bear the name Star Trek or some variation thereof. Ten of his titles have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. He has also written for network and cable television, radio, and comic books, the Star Trek: Voyager® episode "Resistance" prominent among his credits. On those rare occasions when he visits the real world, Friedman lives on Long Island with his wife and two sons.

He continues to advise readers that no matter how many Friedmans they know, the vast probability is that none of them are related to him.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Carlos Tarasco of the S.S. Valiant stood in front of his captain's chair and eyed the phenomenon pictured on his viewscreen.

It was immense, he thought. No -- it was beyond immense. It stretched across space without boundaries or limits, a blazing vermillion abyss without beginning or end.

"Amazing," said Gardenhire, his redheaded ops officer.

Tarasco grunted. "You can say that again."

Sommers, the curly-haired brunette who was sitting next to Gardenhire at the helm controls, cast a glance back at the captain. "You still want to go through it, sir?"

"Do we have a choice?" Tarasco asked her.

The helm officer recognized it as a rhetorical question and returned her attention to her monitors. With her slender fingers crawling across her control dials like an exotic variety of insect, she deployed additional power to the propulsion system.

"Ready when you are, sir."

Was he ready? The captain drew a deep breath.

The phenomenon had puzzled him ever since it came up on the viewscreen earlier that day. Their optical scanners registered what looked like the universe's biggest light show, but there was nothing there as far as their other instruments were concerned.

Unfortunately, it wasn't merely a matter of scientific curiosity. Tarasco and his crew of eighty-eight had set out from Earth years earlier, aiming to chart a stretch of space from their home system to the farthest reaches of the Milky Way galaxy -- part of a sector that Terran astronomers had labeled the Alpha Quadrant.

They had almost completed their assignment when they encountered an unexpectedly powerful magnetic storm. At first, it seemed that they might be able tooutrun the thing. Then they found out otherwise.

The storm caught them up and flung them light-years off course, well past what Tarasco's cartography team reckoned was the outer edge of the galaxy. If not for the readings their scanners took along the way, they wouldn't even have known which way was home.

But knowing the way was only half the battle. The storm had wrecked both their warp and nuclear impulse engines, forcing them to drift on emergency power until the crew could get them up and running.

Finally, after weeks of languishing under the glare of alien stars, Tarasco and his people got underway again. They knew that their trip back to Earth had been lengthened by nearly eleven months, but no one griped. They were just glad to be heading home.

And all had gone well from that point, the captain reflected. Until now, that is.

He couldn't be sure if the phenomenon had been there when the storm threw them so precipitously in the other direction, or if it had sprung up since that time. Certainly, their computer hadn't made any record of it.

One thing was for sure -- they weren't going to get back to Earth without passing through the thing.

Tarasco glanced at Sommers. "Let's do it."

He could feel a subtle hum in the deck below his feet as the Valiant accelerated to the speed of light. The phenomenon loomed in front of them, a gargantuan, red maw opened wide to swallow them up.

"Still no sign of it on sensors," said Hollandsworth, his tall, dark-skinned science officer.

"Deflectors are registering something," reported Gardenhire. He turned to the captain. "A kind of pressure."

"So we're not just seeing things," Tarasco concluded. "I guess we can take some comfort in that."

"Maintain heading?" asked Sommers.

"Affirmative," said the captain.

The closer they got, the more tumultuous the phenomenon appeared. The ruby light within it began to writhe and shimmer, giving birth to monstrous caverns and towering eruptions.

It was beautiful in the way a stormy, windblown sea was beautiful. And like a stormy sea, it was frightening at the same time.

"All available power to the shields," Tarasco ordered.

"Aye, sir," said Gardenhire.

Suddenly, the ship jerked hard to starboard. Caught by surprise, the captain had to grab hold of his chair back for support. He turned to his operations officer, a question on his face.

"We're all right," Gardenhire reported dutifully. "Shields are holding fine, sir."

Tarasco turned back to the viewscreen. They seemed to be entering a deep, red-veined chasm, pulsating with forces that baffled him as much as they did his scanning devices. Before he knew it, the phenomenon wasn't just in front of them, it was all around.

He felt another jerk, even harder than the first. But a glance at Gardenhire told him that everything was still under control.

Behind the captain, the lift doors whispered open. He looked back and saw that his first officer had joined them. Commander Rashad was a wiry man with a neatly trimmed beard and a sarcastic wit.

"I hope I'm not too late," Rashad said darkly.

"Not at all," Tarasco told him. "The show's just starting."

"Good," said his exec. "I hate to miss anything."

The words had barely left his mouth when the lights on the bridge began to flicker. Everyone looked around, the captain included.

"What's happening?" he asked his ops officer.

"I'm not sure, sir," said Gardenhire, searching his control panel for a clue. "Something's interfering with our electroplasma flow."

Abruptly, the deck lurched beneath them, as if they were riding the crest of a gigantic wave. Hollandsworth's console exploded in a shower of sparks, sending him flying backward out of his seat.

Tarasco began to move to the science officer's side. However, Rashad beat him to it.

"Shields down forty-five percent!" Gardenhire announced.

Another console exploded -- this time, an empty one. It contributed to the miasma of smoke collecting above them. And again, the ship bucked like an angry horse.

"The helm's not responding!" Sommers cried out.

Rashad depressed the comm pad at the corner of Hollandsworth's console. "Sickbay, this is Rashad. We need someone up here on the double. Lieutenant Hollandsworth has been -- "

Before he could finish his sentence, the first officer seemed to light up from within, his body suffused with a smoldering, red glow. Then he fell to his knees beside the unconscious Hollandsworth.

"Amir!" Tarasco bellowed.

For a gut-wrenching moment, he thought Rashad had been seriously hurt. Then the man turned in response to the captain's cry and signaled with his hand that he was all right.

"Shields down eighty-six percent!" Gardenhire hollered. He turned to the captain, his eyes red from the smoke and full of dread. "Sir, we can't take much more of this!"

As if to prove his point, the Valiant staggered sharply to port, throwing Tarasco into the side of his center seat. He glared at the viewscreen, hating the idea that his choices had narrowed to one.

"All right!" he thundered over the din of hissing consoles and shuddering deckplates. "Get us out of here!"

There was only one way the helm officer could accomplish that: retreat. Wrestling the ship hard to starboard, she aimed for a patch of open space.

Under Sommers's expert hand, the Valiant climbed out of the scarlet abyss. At the last moment, the forces inside the phenomenon seemed to add to their momentum, spitting them out like a watermelon seed.

Tarasco had never been so glad to see the stars in his life. Trying not to breathe in the black fumes from Hollandsworth's console, he made his way to the science officer and dropped down beside him.

Hollandsworth's face and hands had been badly burned. He was making sounds of agony deep in his throat.

"Is he going to make it?" asked Rashad, who was sitting back on his haunches. He looked a little pale for his experience.

"I don't know," the captain told him.

Before he could try to help, the lift doors parted and a couple of medics emerged. One was a petite woman named Coquillette, the other a muscular man named Rudolph.

"We'll take it from here, sir," said Coquillette.

Tarasco backed off and let the medical personnel do their jobs. Then he did his. "Damage report!" he demanded of his ops officer.

"Shields down, sir," Gardenhire told him ruefully. "Scanners, communications, lasers...all off-line."

Beside him, Sommers pounded her fist on her console. "The main engines are shot. That last thrust burned out every last circuit."

"Switch life support to emergency backup," said the captain.

Without waiting for a response, he peered over Coquillette's shoulder to see how Hollandsworth was doing. The science officer's eyes were open, but he was trembling with pain.

"Easy now," Coquillette told Hollandsworth, and injected him with an anesthetic through the sleeve of his uniform.

Tarasco heaved a sigh. Then he turned back to Rashad. "Poor guy," he said, referring to the science officer.

But Rashad wasn't looking at the captain any longer. He was stretched out on his back, eyes staring at the ceiling, and Rudolph was trying to breathe air into his lungs.

Rashad wasn't responding. He just lay there, limp, like a machine drained of all its power.

Tarasco shook his head. "No..."

Just moments earlier, his first officer had assured him he was all right. He had even asked the captain about Hollandsworth. How could something have happened to him so quickly?

Then Tarasco remembered the way Rashad had lit up in the grip of the phenomenon, like a wax candle with a fierce, orange flame raging inside it. Clearly, they were dealing with matters beyond their understanding.

Tarasco watched helplessly as Rudolph labored to bring Rashad back to life, blowing into his mouth and pounding Rashad's chest with the heel of his hand. At the same time, Coquillette injected the first officer with a stimulant of some kind.

None of it helped.

"Let's get them to sickbay," a red-faced Rudolph said at last.

Numbly, the captain took hold of Rashad under his arms, though he knew his chief medical officer wouldn't be able to help the man either. On the other hand, Hollandsworth still had a chance to pull through.

He and Coquillette picked up the first officer, while Rudolph and Gardenhire hefted the lanky Hollandsworth. Then they squeezed into the still-open lift compartment and entered sickbay as their destination.

The air in the lift was close and foul with the stench of burned flesh. Fortunately, their destination was just a couple of decks up. As the doors slid apart, Tarasco and the others piled out with their burdens and made their way down the corridor.

In less than a minute, they reached sickbay. Its doors were wide open, giving them an unobstructed view of the facility's eight intensive care beds, which were arranged like the spokes of a wheel. Three of the beds were occupied, though metallic silver blankets had been pulled up ominously over the patients' faces.

Damn, thought the captain, his heart sinking in his chest. He had assumed the only casualties were those suffered on the bridge.

Gorvoy, the Valiant's florid-faced chief medical officer, looked grim as he approached them and took a look. "Put them down here and here," he told Rudolph and Coquillette, pointing to a couple of empty beds, "and get up to deck seven. McMillan's got two more in engineering."

The medics did as they were told and took off, leaving Tarasco and Gardenhire to stand there as Gorvoy examined Hollandsworth with a handheld bioscanner. The physician consulted the device's tiny readout, crossed the octagonally shaped room and removed something from an open drawer. Then he came back to the semiconscious science officer.

"Hollandsworth will heal," he told the captain. "I wish I could say that for the others. Do me a favor and cover Rashad, will you?"

Tarasco gazed at his first officer, who was lying inert on his bed, his features slack and his eyes locked on eternity. Moving to the foot of the bed, the captain took the blanket there and unfolded it. Then he draped it over Rashad.

"Amir," he sighed, mourning his friend and colleague.

Gorvoy glanced at him as he applied a salve to Hollandsworth's burns. "He lit up like a lightning bug, right?"

Tarasco returned the glance. "The others, too?" he guessed.

"Uh huh. Kolodny, Rivers, Yoshii...all of them."

The captain considered the man-sized shapes beneath the metallic blankets. "But why them and not anyone else?"

"That's the question," the medical officer agreed. "Was Rashad near an open conduit or something?"

Tarasco thought about it. "No. He was near Hollandsworth's console, though. And it was shooting sparks."

It was possible the console had had something to do with it. However, the captain's gut told him otherwise. And judging by the expression on Gorvoy's face, the doctor didn't believe it was the console either.

Gardenhire was grimacing as he watched Gorvoy spread the salve. Tarasco put his hand on the ops officer's shoulder.

"Go on," he told Gardenhire. "Get back to the bridge. See if Sommers needs any help."

The redhead nodded. "Aye, sir," he said. With a last, sympathetic look at Hollandsworth, he left sickbay.

But Gardenhire wasn't gone long before Tarasco heard the sound of heavy footsteps coming from the corridor. Suddenly, another medical team burst into the room, carrying a young woman between them.

It was Zosky, the stellar physicist who had signed onto the mission at the last minute. She was a dead weight in the medics' arms as they followed Gorvoy's gesture and laid her on another bed.

My God, the captain thought...how many more? And what could have killed them, while so many others had been spared?

He watched as they laid Zosky down, as Gorvoy took a moment to examine her with his bioscanner...and as they pulled the blanket over her face. Not the console, part of him insisted.

The doctor eyed Tarasco. "Maybe you ought to get back to the bridge, too," he suggested.

The captain nodded. "Maybe."

He had started to leave sickbay when Coquillette and Rudolph came huffing in from the corridor. They were carrying yet another victim -- a baby-faced engineer named Davidoff.

"McMillan said there were two of them," Gorvoy told them. "Where's the other one?"

As if in answer to his question, Chief Engineer McMillan came shuffling in with one of his men leaning on him for support. Tarasco recognized the injured man as Agnarsson, McMillan's first assistant.

Agnarsson was a big man, tall and broad-shouldered, with a strong jaw and a fierce blond mustache. But at the moment, he was weak as a kitten, fighting hard just to stay conscious. The captain helped McMillan get him to a bed and hoist him onto it.

"What's the matter with him?" Tarasco asked.

The chief engineer cursed beneath his breath. "He started to glow -- he and Davidoff both. It was the damnedest thing."

The captain looked at him, his pulse starting to pound in his temples. "He was glowing? And he's still alive?"

"I'm fine," Agnarsson muttered, hanging his head and rubbing the back of his neck. "Just a little light-headed is all."

Then the big man picked up his head...and Tarasco's jaw fell. Agnarsson's eyes, normally a very ordinary shade of blue, were glowing with a luxuriant silver light.

Copyright © 2000 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.


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First Chapter

CHAPTER 1 Carlos Tarasco of the S.S. Valiant stood in front of his captain's chair and eyed the phenomenon pictured on his viewscreen.

It was immense, he thought. No -- it was beyond immense. It stretched across space without boundaries or limits, a blazing vermillion abyss without beginning or end.

"Amazing," said Gardenhire, his redheaded ops officer.

Tarasco grunted. "You can say that again."

Sommers, the curly-haired brunette who was sitting next to Gardenhire at the helm controls, cast a glance back at the captain. "You still want to go through it, sir?"

"Do we have a choice?" Tarasco asked her.

The helm officer recognized it as a rhetorical question and returned her attention to her monitors. With her slender fingers crawling across her control dials like an exotic variety of insect, she deployed additional power to the propulsion system.

"Ready when you are, sir."

Was he ready? The captain drew a deep breath.

The phenomenon had puzzled him ever since it came up on the viewscreen earlier that day. Their optical scanners registered what looked like the universe's biggest light show, but there was nothing there as far as their other instruments were concerned.

Unfortunately, it wasn't merely a matter of scientific curiosity. Tarasco and his crew of eighty-eight had set out from Earth years earlier, aiming to chart a stretch of space from their home system to the farthest reaches of the Milky Way galaxy -- part of a sector that Terran astronomers had labeled the Alpha Quadrant.

They had almost completed their assignment when they encountered an unexpectedly powerful magnetic storm. At first,it seemed that they might be able to outrun the thing. Then they found out otherwise.

The storm caught them up and flung them light-years off course, well past what Tarasco's cartography team reckoned was the outer edge of the galaxy. If not for the readings their scanners took along the way, they wouldn't even have known which way was home.

But knowing the way was only half the battle. The storm had wrecked both their warp and nuclear impulse engines, forcing them to drift on emergency power until the crew could get them up and running.

Finally, after weeks of languishing under the glare of alien stars, Tarasco and his people got underway again. They knew that their trip back to Earth had been lengthened by nearly eleven months, but no one griped. They were just glad to be heading home.

And all had gone well from that point, the captain reflected. Until now, that is.

He couldn't be sure if the phenomenon had been there when the storm threw them so precipitously in the other direction, or if it had sprung up since that time. Certainly, their computer hadn't made any record of it.

One thing was for sure -- they weren't going to get back to Earth without passing through the thing.

Tarasco glanced at Sommers. "Let's do it."

He could feel a subtle hum in the deck below his feet as the Valiant accelerated to the speed of light. The phenomenon loomed in front of them, a gargantuan, red maw opened wide to swallow them up.

"Still no sign of it on sensors," said Hollandsworth, his tall, dark-skinned science officer.

"Deflectors are registering something," reported Gardenhire. He turned to the captain. "A kind of pressure."

"So we're not just seeing things," Tarasco concluded. "I guess we can take some comfort in that."

"Maintain heading?" asked Sommers.

"Affirmative," said the captain.

The closer they got, the more tumultuous the phenomenon appeared. The ruby light within it began to writhe and shimmer, giving birth to monstrous caverns and towering eruptions.

It was beautiful in the way a stormy, windblown sea was beautiful. And like a stormy sea, it was frightening at the same time.

"All available power to the shields," Tarasco ordered.

"Aye, sir," said Gardenhire.

Suddenly, the ship jerked hard to starboard. Caught by surprise, the captain had to grab hold of his chair back for support. He turned to his operations officer, a question on his face.

"We're all right," Gardenhire reported dutifully. "Shields are holding fine, sir."

Tarasco turned back to the viewscreen. They seemed to be entering a deep, red-veined chasm, pulsating with forces that baffled him as much as they did his scanning devices. Before he knew it, the phenomenon wasn't just in front of them, it was all around.

He felt another jerk, even harder than the first. But a glance at Gardenhire told him that everything was still under control.

Behind the captain, the lift doors whispered open. He looked back and saw that his first officer had joined them. Commander Rashad was a wiry man with a neatly trimmed beard and a sarcastic wit.

"I hope I'm not too late," Rashad said darkly.

"Not at all," Tarasco told him. "The show's just starting."

"Good," said his exec. "I hate to miss anything."

The words had barely left his mouth when the lights on the bridge began to flicker. Everyone looked around, the captain included.

"What's happening?" he asked his ops officer.

"I'm not sure, sir," said Gardenhire, searching his control panel for a clue. "Something's interfering with our electroplasma flow."

Abruptly, the deck lurched beneath them, as if they were riding the crest of a gigantic wave. Hollandsworth's console exploded in a shower of sparks, sending him flying backward out of his seat.

Tarasco began to move to the science officer's side. However, Rashad beat him to it.

"Shields down forty-five percent!" Gardenhire announced.

Another console exploded -- this time, an empty one. It contributed to the miasma of smoke collecting above them. And again, the ship bucked like an angry horse.

"The helm's not responding!" Sommers cried out.

Rashad depressed the comm pad at the corner of Hollandsworth's console. "Sickbay, this is Rashad. We need someone up here on the double. Lieutenant Hollandsworth has been -- "

Before he could finish his sentence, the first officer seemed to light up from within, his body suffused with a smoldering, red glow. Then he fell to his knees beside the unconscious Hollandsworth.

"Amir!" Tarasco bellowed.

For a gut-wrenching moment, he thought Rashad had been seriously hurt. Then the man turned in response to the captain's cry and signaled with his hand that he was all right.

"Shields down eighty-six percent!" Gardenhire hollered. He turned to the captain, his eyes red from the smoke and full of dread. "Sir, we can't take much more of this!"

As if to prove his point, the Valiant staggered sharply to port, throwing Tarasco into the side of his center seat. He glared at the viewscreen, hating the idea that his choices had narrowed to one.

"All right!" he thundered over the din of hissing consoles and shuddering deckplates. "Get us out of here!"

There was only one way the helm officer could accomplish that: retreat. Wrestling the ship hard to starboard, she aimed for a patch of open space.

Under Sommers's expert hand, the Valiant climbed out of the scarlet abyss. At the last moment, the forces inside the phenomenon seemed to add to their momentum, spitting them out like a watermelon seed.

Tarasco had never been so glad to see the stars in his life. Trying not to breathe in the black fumes from Hollandsworth's console, he made his way to the science officer and dropped down beside him.

Hollandsworth's face and hands had been badly burned. He was making sounds of agony deep in his throat.

"Is he going to make it?" asked Rashad, who was sitting back on his haunches. He looked a little pale for his experience.

"I don't know," the captain told him.

Before he could try to help, the lift doors parted and a couple of medics emerged. One was a petite woman named Coquillette, the other a muscular man named Rudolph.

"We'll take it from here, sir," said Coquillette.

Tarasco backed off and let the medical personnel do their jobs. Then he did his. "Damage report!" he demanded of his ops officer.

"Shields down, sir," Gardenhire told him ruefully. "Scanners, communications, lasers...all off-line."

Beside him, Sommers pounded her fist on her console. "The main engines are shot. That last thrust burned out every last circuit."

"Switch life support to emergency backup," said the captain.

Without waiting for a response, he peered over Coquillette's shoulder to see how Hollandsworth was doing. The science officer's eyes were open, but he was trembling with pain.

"Easy now," Coquillette told Hollandsworth, and injected him with an anesthetic through the sleeve of his uniform.

Tarasco heaved a sigh. Then he turned back to Rashad. "Poor guy," he said, referring to the science officer.

But Rashad wasn't looking at the captain any longer. He was stretched out on his back, eyes staring at the ceiling, and Rudolph was trying to breathe air into his lungs.

Rashad wasn't responding. He just lay there, limp, like a machine drained of all its power.

Tarasco shook his head. "No..."

Just moments earlier, his first officer had assured him he was all right. He had even asked the captain about Hollandsworth. How could something have happened to him so quickly?

Then Tarasco remembered the way Rashad had lit up in the grip of the phenomenon, like a wax candle with a fierce, orange flame raging inside it. Clearly, they were dealing with matters beyond their understanding.

Tarasco watched helplessly as Rudolph labored to bring Rashad back to life, blowing into his mouth and pounding Rashad's chest with the heel of his hand. At the same time, Coquillette injected the first officer with a stimulant of some kind.

None of it helped.

"Let's get them to sickbay," a red-faced Rudolph said at last.

Numbly, the captain took hold of Rashad under his arms, though he knew his chief medical officer wouldn't be able to help the man either. On the other hand, Hollandsworth still had a chance to pull through.

He and Coquillette picked up the first officer, while Rudolph and Gardenhire hefted the lanky Hollandsworth. Then they squeezed into the still-open lift compartment and entered sickbay as their destination.

The air in the lift was close and foul with the stench of burned flesh. Fortunately, their destination was just a couple of decks up. As the doors slid apart, Tarasco and the others piled out with their burdens and made their way down the corridor.

In less than a minute, they reached sickbay. Its doors were wide open, giving them an unobstructed view of the facility's eight intensive care beds, which were arranged like the spokes of a wheel. Three of the beds were occupied, though metallic silver blankets had been pulled up ominously over the patients' faces.

Damn, thought the captain, his heart sinking in his chest. He had assumed the only casualties were those suffered on the bridge.

Gorvoy, the Valiant's florid-faced chief medical officer, looked grim as he approached them and took a look. "Put them down here and here," he told Rudolph and Coquillette, pointing to a couple of empty beds, "and get up to deck seven. McMillan's got two more in engineering."

The medics did as they were told and took off, leaving Tarasco and Gardenhire to stand there as Gorvoy examined Hollandsworth with a handheld bioscanner. The physician consulted the device's tiny readout, crossed the octagonally shaped room and removed something from an open drawer. Then he came back to the semiconscious science officer.

"Hollandsworth will heal," he told the captain. "I wish I could say that for the others. Do me a favor and cover Rashad, will you?"

Tarasco gazed at his first officer, who was lying inert on his bed, his features slack and his eyes locked on eternity. Moving to the foot of the bed, the captain took the blanket there and unfolded it. Then he draped it over Rashad.

"Amir," he sighed, mourning his friend and colleague.

Gorvoy glanced at him as he applied a salve to Hollandsworth's burns. "He lit up like a lightning bug, right?"

Tarasco returned the glance. "The others, too?" he guessed.

"Uh huh. Kolodny, Rivers, Yoshii...all of them."

The captain considered the man-sized shapes beneath the metallic blankets. "But why them and not anyone else?"

"That's the question," the medical officer agreed. "Was Rashad near an open conduit or something?"

Tarasco thought about it. "No. He was near Hollandsworth's console, though. And it was shooting sparks."

It was possible the console had had something to do with it. However, the captain's gut told him otherwise. And judging by the expression on Gorvoy's face, the doctor didn't believe it was the console either.

Gardenhire was grimacing as he watched Gorvoy spread the salve. Tarasco put his hand on the ops officer's shoulder.

"Go on," he told Gardenhire. "Get back to the bridge. See if Sommers needs any help."

The redhead nodded. "Aye, sir," he said. With a last, sympathetic look at Hollandsworth, he left sickbay.

But Gardenhire wasn't gone long before Tarasco heard the sound of heavy footsteps coming from the corridor. Suddenly, another medical team burst into the room, carrying a young woman between them.

It was Zosky, the stellar physicist who had signed onto the mission at the last minute. She was a dead weight in the medics' arms as they followed Gorvoy's gesture and laid her on another bed.

My God, the captain thought...how many more? And what could have killed them, while so many others had been spared?

He watched as they laid Zosky down, as Gorvoy took a moment to examine her with his bioscanner...and as they pulled the blanket over her face. Not the console, part of him insisted.

The doctor eyed Tarasco. "Maybe you ought to get back to the bridge, too," he suggested.

The captain nodded. "Maybe."

He had started to leave sickbay when Coquillette and Rudolph came huffing in from the corridor. They were carrying yet another victim -- a baby-faced engineer named Davidoff.

"McMillan said there were two of them," Gorvoy told them. "Where's the other one?"

As if in answer to his question, Chief Engineer McMillan came shuffling in with one of his men leaning on him for support. Tarasco recognized the injured man as Agnarsson, McMillan's first assistant.

Agnarsson was a big man, tall and broad-shouldered, with a strong jaw and a fierce blond mustache. But at the moment, he was weak as a kitten, fighting hard just to stay conscious. The captain helped McMillan get him to a bed and hoist him onto it.

"What's the matter with him?" Tarasco asked.

The chief engineer cursed beneath his breath. "He started to glow -- he and Davidoff both. It was the damnedest thing."

The captain looked at him, his pulse starting to pound in his temples. "He was glowing? And he's still alive?"

"I'm fine," Agnarsson muttered, hanging his head and rubbing the back of his neck. "Just a little light-headed is all."

Then the big man picked up his head...and Tarasco's jaw fell. Agnarsson's eyes, normally a very ordinary shade of blue, were glowing with a luxuriant silver light.

Copyright © 2000 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2005

    really good

    this book was a relly good book to read. I didn't want to put it down. The author did an exolent job combining the two

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    How can this get any better!!!!!!

    Riker AND Woverine how can i choose

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 18, 2011

    How could it get any better?

    Star Trek and the X-Men! How could it get any better?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2007

    Death in Winter

    I read the synopsis for this book and it sounded intriguing ¿ hopeful. It seemed the powers-that-be had FINALLY decided to flesh out the Picard/Crusher relationship, giving readers and fans of the series their greatest wish... to see the two characters united once and for all. The author, Michael Jan Friedman, created a storyline filled with great potential, but that is all. This novel lacks description and depth of characterization. Friedman never really takes the time to inform readers what Picard and Crusher are thinking and, more importantly, feeling about each other. Subsequently, Picard and Crusher lack the intimacy readers and fans of the series might expect from these characters, making the final pages of the novel forced and unbelievable -- most disappointing, since this is supposed to be THE novel in which Picard and Crusher declare their love for each other. The sub-plot involving the power struggle within the Romulan Empire is better written than the Picard/Crusher storyline even though several lose ends remain ¿ such as the underground rebellion on Kevratas and the fate of Sela. This book could have been the 'Imzadi' novel for the Picard/Crusher relationship ¿ had Friedman taken a bit more time to flesh out his characters, especially those of Picard and Crusher. In short, I¿ve read better offerings from authors who write Star Trek: The Next Generation on-line fan-fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2007

    A Good Read

    This book is a good expansion on the Star Trek Universe. It features characters we have grown to love, as well as some new ones. In the story Spock is captured and Scottie and Picard go to rescue him, however Scottie also gets captured and needs saving. The writing style of this book makes you feel like you are back on the Enterprise with Picard and Co. working buisily around you, but it can also be too simple at some points. It is a good read for a Trekie that wants to pass the time. I wouldn't recommend it to someone that is not familiar with the Original Series and The Next Generation because they would surely be lost in space.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2006

    Fantastic!!!

    It was absolutly perfect,I have been waiting for Picard and Beverly to come together for ever.And the danger she is put into makes it so much better. You will never want to put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2006

    Amazing!

    I couldn't put this book down! The emphasis on the relationship of Jean-Luc Picard and Dr. Beverly Crusher was something that I have been waiting for with bated breath! Finally the relationship is able to come to fruition, and the exploration of deep longing and held back love against the backdrop of conflict with the Romulans and capture of Crusher made it a page turner! You have to read this!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2005

    From bookjacket (abbreviated):

    Long before Captain Jean-Luc Picard took command of the legendary starship Enterprise, he fell deeply, hopelessly in love with Dr. Beverly Crusher. Though, for one reason or another, Picard never acted on his feelings, he found a measure of contentment as her close friend, colleague, & daily breakfast partner. But when Dr. Crusher leaves to become the CMO of Starfleet, the brightest light in Picard's life is taken from him. And he has hardly resigned himself to his loss when he learns that Beverly's disappeared on a distant plague-ravaged planet, Kevratas, in the Romulan Neutral Zone, where she'd gone undercover to work on a cure. It's feared she's dead. Picard is sent with two former Stargazer crewmates & a Romulan refugee to complete her mission, all in the middle of a Romulan Empire fraught with political rebellions.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2005

    very creative

    This book was really fun to read. The author did an exallent job combining both the x-men and Star Trek TNG together into one story. It was really enjoyable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2005

    very well done

    The author did an exallent job writing this book. This book was very enjoyable to read. The author did an exallent job with the characters and the story with out making the story confusing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2003

    Picard's Beginnings

    This book doesn't just tell you about Picard's first command, it takes you with. Full of action and mystery, it provided several circumstances to witness Picard's genius. If your a Jean Luc Picard fan, I recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2002

    STTNG Reunion

    The book was pretty good, all and all, i would have tryed to bring more of the history of the stargazer survivors out

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2002

    A good read even for Non-Trekkies

    I couldn't put it down, despite the fact that my knowledge of the Star Trek universe is limited, since it sways more towards the Marvel Universe. I have read a few bad reviews on this book by fans, but I must counter such reviews and say that this book was fun to read. Lets just say it helped to soothe my need to forget my own life pains successfully. Lalallalalalalallalala

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2002

    Great Crossover book!

    I have to say I was a bit worried that this book would be rather badly writen before I actualy read it. boy was I wrong! its an awsome book for anyone who likes star trek, the X men, or both! I hope that more Star Trek/crossover books writen this well in the future!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2001

    Very Good

    I like this book a lot. I read it about 2 years before becoming an X-Men fan, and I thought the previuos meeting was well explained. Over all, very good

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2001

    Pretty nifty; artwork could be better

    Kind of a neat story, about Data in his early years. Sort of makes a good parallel between Data as the awkward young adult not sure of who he is or what he's capable or what exactly he's doing, and the reader who's probably feeling many of the same things. A good book. Illustrations by Todd Cameron Hamilton really aren't that good - they look rather flat and rushed and not very creative or interesting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2000

    X-Men Star Trek

    This was a good book because the author didn't mess up the characters personalities and explained how they met.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2000

    fantastic

    totally fantastic. awesome. mindboggling. I loved the interaction between Worf and Wolverine and not to mention that between Picard and Storm. I'm even gladder to own the comic prequel before this book came.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews

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