STARFLEET CORPS OF ENGINEERS
Until the Dominion War, the pre-warp civilization on Coroticus III was under observation by the Federation -- and then the Dominion moved in. Forced to abandon the planet -- and leave a person behind -- Starfleet does not return until after the war is over and the Dominion has pulled out.
Carol Abramowitz and a team from the da Vinci must now determine the extent to which the Dominion contaminated Corotican culture -- but that's the least of the S.C.E.'s problems, as they uncover a mass-murderer, who may be the Starfleet officer left behind....
FABLES OF THE PRIME DIRECTIVE
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
June 14, 2005
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Excerpt from Star Trek: Fables of the Prime Directive by Cory Rushton
America would never have been discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 had it not been for the thought of Arab astrologers in Baghdad in the 9th century A.D. When Columbus set sail on the great western voyage that carried him to America's shores, he had biblical prophecy to inspire him, Arab astrology to guide him, and various practical aids that three continental astrologers, who were also mathematicians, had supplied: the planetary tables of Regiomontanus; a map drawn up by Paolo Toscanelli; and an ephemeris prepared by Samuel Zacuto, who later made the splendid astrolabe of iron used by Vasco da Gama in his voyage around the Cape of Good Hope. These were all of use to Columbus in his celestial calculations and his navigation of the open sea. He also used an astrolabe and quadrant to determine the altitude of stars, set his hourglass by the transits of the Sun, depended on the North Star to fix magnetic north, and judged the time of night by the constellation of the Great Bear. He overawed the natives of one island by his ability to predict a lunar eclipse, and drew with some success on astrological lore to predict the weather -- taking his ships to shelter, for example, in the port of Santo Domingo because an aspect between Jupiter and Mercury seemed to portend a tropical storm. Yet Columbus could not proceed solely by the sky. Knowledge of celestial navigation in Europe was wanting, and so, for the most part, he relied on a magnetic compass to measure his course or direction, and on his own method of "dead" or deduced reckoning to estimate his position on the main.
But it was the stars that led him on. Columbus understood that the world was a globe and believed that by sailing directly west he would eventually reach the shores of Asia (or the "Indies"). He could not know, of course, that America intervened. But it was not the fabled wealth of the Indies that held him most in thrall. For the voyage itself was spurred on by an astrological idea. That idea was the "great conjunction" theory of history, as first set forth in the writings of the Persians, elaborated by the Arabs, and adopted by the Latin West. Columbus had encountered it in the work of the French cardinal, theologian, and astrologer Pierre d'Ailly.
According to this theory, important historical events such as the rise and fall of empires, the birth of religions, and cultural transformations were marked by the "great planetary conjunctions" of Jupiter and Saturn as they revolved through their cycles in the sky. Such great conjunctions occurred once every 960 years -- a principal source of our idea of the millennium -- as the planets completed a circuit of the zodiac, combining and recombining in the signs. In the course of that round, the two conjoined -- that is, occupied the same degree of celestial longitude -- forty-eight times. For d'Ailly, human history was explained by the unfolding impact of these conjunctions, according to their scale. Shifts between triplicities or elements (earth, air, fire, and water, by which the signs of the zodiac were grouped) were associated with dynastic change; the greater or near-millennial conjunctions were linked to epochal change as well as natural disasters such as earthquakes and overwhelming floods. In d'Ailly's view, such great conjunctions had heralded or coincided with the Great Flood, the fall of Troy, the death of Moses, the foundation of Rome, and the advent of Christ. "All astronomers are agreed in this," he declared, "that there never was one of those conjunctions without some great and notable change in this world."