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The only chance to save mankind lies with Captain Picard. An old enemy ...
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The only chance to save mankind lies with Captain Picard. An old enemy has granted him the power to revisit his life as it was seven years before, and to experience his life twenty-five years in the future. With the help of friendships that span time and space, Picard struggles to defeat the plans of the Q Continuum. But even as he fights to save the human race from total extinction, he has been set up to be the unwitting agent of mankind's destruction.
In an effort to save humanity, Picard must sacrifice himself and all those he commands and if their sacrifice fails all mankind is doomed.
In the last seven years, Captain Picard and the crew of the Starship Enterprise
He was simply too distracted to think much about drinking anything. He had too much else on his mind.
"It was," he blurted, "as though I had physically left the ship and gone to another time and place. I was in the past...."
He shook his head. Why couldn't he get a better handle on what had happened? It seemed to be on the brink of his consciousness, teasing him...but when he reached for it, it slipped away.
Deanna sat on the other side of the smooth, dark coffee table that her mother had given her as a gift. The counselor's incredulity was visible only in the slightest wrinkling of the skin above the bridge of her nose. Outside of that, she seemed completely nonjudgmental.
"Can you describe where you were?" she asked. "What it looked like?"
The captain sighed as the scent of the tea teased his nostrils. "It's all so difficult to nail down," he told her. "Like the details of a nightmare after you've woken up."
"What can you remember?" the Betazoid prodded carefully.
Picard concentrated. "It was years ago...before I took command of the Enterprise. I was talking with someone...I don't remember who. It was dark outside...."
The half-formed image lingered before his mind's eye. His head hurt with the effort of trying to refine it, to understand it.
"But then..." he began.
"Yes?" said Deanna.
He struggled with it. "Then everything changed. I wasn't in the past any longer. I was an old man, in the future. I was doing something...something outside." He cursed softly. "What wasit?"
Abruptly, he realized that his fingers were moving, as if of their own accord. They were rubbing together. But why? For what purpose?
Then the image was gone. "Sorry," he told the counselor, bowing his head. "I just can't remember."
Deanna smiled compassionately. "It's all right," she assured him. And then, as gently as she could manage: "Captain...have you considered the possibility that this was just a dream?"
Picard looked up. "No. It was more than a dream," he said, with a certainty that took him by surprise. "The smells and the sounds...the way things felt to the touch...they escape me now, but at the time it was all very real."
The Betazoid accepted the statement with equanimity. "How long did you stay in each of these time periods?" she inquired, apparently taking a different tack. "Did it seem like minutes...hours?"
The captain thought about it. "I'm not sure," he concluded after a moment. "At first...at first there was a moment of confusion, of disorientation. I wasn't sure where I was. But that passed...." He frowned. "And then I felt perfectly natural...as though I belonged in that time." He grunted. "But I can't remember now how long I stayed there."
It was all so frustrating. The counselor sensed it, too, because she didn't press him any further.
"I know," he told her. "This doesn't make much sense. It's a set of feelings more than a distinct memory."
"It's all right," said Deanna. "Maybe it would be easier to try identifying specific symbols. Can you remember anything you saw...anything at all? An object, a building, perhaps...?"
He took a breath, let it out. "No," he answered finally. "Nothing."
Finally, feeling that he'd run up against a wall, Picard focused again on his tea. It was no longer producing any vapors. Obviously, he had let it sit too long.
The counselor had noticed as well, it seemed. "Here," she said, reaching across the table. "Let me have your cup. I'll get you some more."
"Thank you," he said. Picking up the smooth, ceramic cup and its matching saucer, he extended them to her...
...and took hold of the rough-skinned grapevine. Suddenly, Picard had the strangest feeling that he had been reaching for something else.
For a moment, he felt lost, out of place. Peering out from under the brim of his straw hat, he took in the long, graceful contours of his family vineyard. He saw the fog lifting off them in the low rays of the rising sun...smelled the richness of the soil...heard the buzz of flying insects...and confirmed that he was just where he was supposed to be.
Still, for just a second there, it seemed to him he was in another place altogether. He wasn't sure where, or even when, but...oh, what the hell. When people aged, their minds were allowed to wander a bit.
There was nothing wrong with that, was there? With all the thinking his mind had done, it had earned a little excursion now and then.
Concentrating on the vine in his hand, he appraised it with the trained eye of someone who had grown up under the tutelage of expert vintners. Then, reaching for a pair of pruning shears, he snipped off a few stray branches. Certainly, he could have hired others to do this work -- but it felt good to be useful. And Lord knew, he wasn't qualified to do much else these days.
"Captain Picard to the bridge!" a voice rang out.
Picard could scarcely believe his ears. He looked up from his work and squinted.
To his surprise, there was someone standing there in the vineyard -- though the figure was silhouetted in the early-morning sun, so he couldn't tell who it was right away. Then, as he shaded his eyes, he made out a familiar and welcome visage.
"Geordi," he whispered. "Geordi La Forge."
His former chief engineer smiled with genuine enthusiasm as he approached. "Sir, I think we have a problem with the warp core, or the phase inducers, or some other damn thing. It'd normally take days to repair -- but if you need me to, I can fix it in a few minutes. No -- make that a few seconds. And if you want, I can run a few diagnostics while I'm at it as well."
The older man stood, though not without a bit of difficulty "Damn," he said, scratching at his bearded chin. "It's really you, isn't it?"
La Forge was wearing civilian clothes -- and why shouldn't he? He had left Starfleet a good many years ago, though not as many as Picard himself. Also, the man's VISOR was gone -- replaced by artificial eyes -- and with his face rounded by age, and punctuated with a gray mustache, he was no longer the bushy-tailed young officer that the captain had known.
But then, time had passed for both of them. So much time, in fact, that it was depressing to think about it.
La Forge held out his hand. Picard grasped it with all the strength he could muster -- which wasn't much, anymore.
"Hello, Captain," said his visitor. "Or should I make that Ambassador?"
Picard snorted. "It hasn't been Ambassador for a while either."
The younger man shrugged. "How about Mr. Picard?" "How about Jean-Luc?" countered the vintner.
La Forge looked at him askance. His eyes glinted. "I don't know if I can get used to that, but I'll give it a shot."
For a long moment, they stood in the slanting rays of the sun, each taking in the sight of an old friend and comrade. Picard was the first to break the silence.
"Good lord, Geordi. How long has it been?"
La Forge grunted. "Oh...about nine years."
"No, no...I mean, since you called me Captain last? When was the last time we were all together...on the Enterprise?"
It took La Forge a little longer to answer that question. "Close to twenty-five years," he decided.
Picard shook his head. "Twenty-five years..." He smiled. "Time's been good to you, Commander."
The younger man patted his middle. "It's been a little too good to me in some places." He took a look around, his gaze finally fixing itself on the gardening tools that Picard had lugged out here -- just as he did every morning. They were stacked just a few meters away.
"Can I give you a hand, sir?"
The older man shrugged. "Oh, I'm just tying some vines. I can handle it on my own."
La Forge knelt down anyway and examined one of the vines.
"Looks like you've got leaf miners," he announced after a second or two. "You might want to use a spray on them."
Picard looked at him. "What do you know about leaf miners?" he asked, full of curiosity.
To his knowledge, La Forge had never set foot in the ship's botanical garden -- much less acquainted himself with Terran parasites. He'd been far too busy running herd over the ship's engines.
"My wife is quite a gardener," La Forge explained. "I've picked up a little bit of it. I mean...when you live with somebody who eats and breathes the stuff, it's hard not to. Just the other day, she spent hours planting a single flower. Something real fragile...a b'lednaya, I think she called it."
Without asking permission, he picked up a small length of shielded wire off the ground and began tying some of the vines. Satisfied -- and yes, surprised -- that his friend was taking the proper care, Picard knelt down beside him.
"How is Leah?" he asked.
La Forge chuckled softly. "Busier than anyone has a right to be -- even when she's not planting flowers. She's just been made director of the Daystrom Institute. That means she'll be working harder than ever -- but it's something she's always wanted."
Picard nodded, duly impressed. "The Daystrom Institute, eh? And what about the little ones... Bret and Alandra? And, er..." He tried to remember the last one's name.
Fortunately, his companion supplied it. "And Sidney. They're not so little anymore, Captain. Bret's applying to Starfleet Academy next year. His teachers think he'll make it, too -- if he can beef up a little more on his quantum mechanics."
The older man swore under his breath. "Incredible," he remarked. Then, looking up at his visitor: So what brings you here?"
La Forge kept his eyes focused on the vines he was tying. "Oh...I just thought I'd drop by. You know how it is. I'd been thinking about the old days on the Enterprise, how much fun we used to have ...and anyway, I was in the neighborhood..."
Picard smelled a rat. "Don't give me that," he rasped. "You don't make the trip from Rigel Three to Earth just to...to drop by. It's..." He tried to think of how many light-years, but finally gave up. "A long way," he finished lamely.
La Forge swallowed. He was no more skilled at deception now than he had been a quarter of a century ago.
"Yes," he agreed. "I suppose it is."
Picard eyed him. "So you've heard," he pressed.
The younger man turned to him. "Well," he confessed, "Leah has a few friends at Starfleet medical, you know? And word has a way of getting around...especially when it concerns someone of your stature."
Picard flushed with indignation. "I'm not an invalid, you know. Irumodic syndrome can take years to run its course."
La Forge nodded. "I know. But when I heard, I just...I wanted to come by all the same."
The older man looked at his friend for a moment. La Forge hadn't meant to offend him...just to lend some support. Certainly, he didn't deserve to be condemned for that.
When Picard spoke again, his voice was softer, less cantankerous. "Well," he said, "as long as you're here, you can help me carry in some of these tools."
La Forge grinned. "It's a deal," he said.
Awkwardly, and not without some pain, Picard got to his feet. "My cooking may not be up to Leah's standards," he warned. "But I can still make a decent cup of tea."
Grabbing an armful of his farming implements, he saw his visitor do the same. Together, they started walking toward the house where Picard had been raised. It was barely visible around the bend of the hill.
"By the way," said the vintner, "I read your last novel. Not bad, not bad at all."
"Really?" replied La Forge. Like a great many authors before him, there was something of the small child about him, seeking approval.
The captain nodded. "Really. It had a certain, er...authenticity to it that I found quite refreshing. Of course, I didn't like the main character all that much...what was his name?"
"Patrick, of course. Not quite the fellow I would have chosen to run my ship. But that's just my own, personal..."
Suddenly, Picard stopped dead in his tracks. Standing in the vineyards, not fifty meters away, was a trio of the sorriest, scraggliest excuses for human beings that he'd ever seen.
He didn't recognize any of them. In fact, he'd never seen them before in his life. So what in blazes were they doing in his vineyard?
Before he could ask them that question, they began pointing at him -- pointing and jeering. Then shouting at the tops of their lungs, as if they found something amusing about him. Picard suppressed his indignation.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his companion looking at him. He looked concerned.
"Captain," asked La Forge, "are you all right?"
"I'm fine," said Picard, keeping his eyes on the intruders. "I just want to know what these people are doing in my vineyard...."
Picard turned at the sound of the shuttle pilot's voice. "Yes, Lieutenant?" he muttered.
"Are you all right, sir?"
He wasn't sure. He seemed to have drifted off -- but not merely figuratively. It was almost as if he'd been somewhere else until just this second...somewhere very different from the shuttle craft Galileo.
Copyright© 1994 by Paramount Pictures
Posted August 10, 2005
Posted June 29, 2013
Posted June 18, 2011
Posted December 28, 2007
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2007
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 23, 2006
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 19, 2006
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 4, 2005
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 6, 2005
Posted August 2, 2005
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2003
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 26, 2002
Posted August 21, 2002
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. LalallalalalalallalalaWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 19, 2002
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2001
Posted May 29, 2001
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2000
Posted April 21, 2000
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 15, 2010
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Posted March 16, 2011
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