In the aftermath of the astonishing events of Star Trek®: The Motion Picture, the captain and officers of the U.S.S. Enterprise remain haunted by their encounter with the vast artificial intelligence of V'Ger...and by the sacrifice and ascension of their friend and shipmate, Willard Decker
As James T. Kirk, Spock, and Leonard McCoy attempt to cope with the personal fallout of that ordeal, a chapter from their mutual past is reopened, raising troubling new questions about the relationship among God, Man, and AI. On the recently settled world of Daran IV, the former refugees of the Fabrini worldship Yonada are being divided by conflicting ideologies, as those clinging to their theocratic past vie with visionaries of a future governed by reason alone.
Now, echoes of the V'Ger encounter reverberate among the Enterprise officers who years ago overthrew the Oracle, the machine-god that controlled Yonada. Confronting the consequences of those actions, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy also face choices that will decide the fate of a civilization, and which may change them forever.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
December 28, 2004
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Star Trek: The Original Series: Ex Machina by Christopher L. Bennett
Not the way he'd been two weeks ago, when his unfamiliarity with the redesigned starship had forced him to ask a yeoman the way to the turboshaft, embarrassing himself in front of Will Decker. No, as soon as the V'Ger mission had ended, Kirk had launched into an intensive study of the upgraded vessel's every feature. It was something he'd always meant to do, since it made sense for a Chief of Starfleet Operations to know these things, but somehow the business of managing the deployments, personnel, and maintenance of an entire fleet had always managed to keep him from concentrating on the particulars of a single redesign. Or, perhaps, he had subconsciously shied away from it, since it would have hurt too much to watch from afar, knowing that the Enterprise was no longer his.
Kirk had thought his crash course in the new Enterprise's technical particulars had cured him of the romanticized reaction he'd had upon first seeing her in drydock, when Scotty had taken the long way around in the travel pod to show off his baby. But now, as he gazed out the large picture windows of Starbase 22's officers' lounge, which overlooked the base's dock facility and the gleaming starship moored therein, he was lost in her beauty once again. The old Enterprise had always reminded Kirk of Pegasus in flight, her skin gleaming white, her dorsal connector evoking the neck of a horse with head held high, her nacelle struts angled like wings poised for a forceful downstroke. Yet to an observer of a less poetical bent, it had been a utilitarian design, all functional straight lines and circles. Now, with her more forward-thrusting neck, her backswept pylons, her Art Deco nacelles, her subtly sleeker hull contours, and her constellation of self-illuminating lights, she was a sculpture evoking speed and energy. It was as though she'd emerged from her cocoon looking the way she'd always been meant to look.
Arguably there was little left of the original ship beyond the bare skeletal framework of the saucer and forward secondary hull. It certainly wasn't the first ship in naval history to be so thoroughly rebuilt, and as much as possible of the original material had been recycled into the new structural members and bulkheads. Still, every propulsion and power system, every computer, every piece of equipment, every meter of piping and optical cable, every last console and chair and lighting panel had been replaced with a new, improved model. Yet none of that mattered to Kirk. After all, most of the cells in his body at the time he'd first taken command of the starship had been replaced by now (though regrettably not with improved versions), but the gestalt remained the same; the body held the same soul. And Kirk had known as soon as he'd seen her that the same was true of Enterprise. The only difference was that her soul was more visible now.