On the cusp of their epic battle with Shinzon, many of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's long-time crew were heading for new assignments and new challenges. Among the changes were William Riker's promotion to captain and his new command, Riker's marriage to Counselor Deanna Troi, and Dr. Beverly Crusher's new career at Starfleet Medical. But the story of what set them on a path away from the Starship Enterprise has never been told.
A cataclysmic war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire has been miraculously averted, and a new government is finally in place on the planet Tezwa. But deadly secrets still threaten the fragile peace accord.
Rebels still loyal to the old Tezwa regime have captured Commander Riker and are willing to kill to achieve their goals...the Orion Syndicate is interfering in the rebuilding -- and may also be involved in much more than that. But the most devastating revelation of all threatens the very foundations of the Federation itself -- leaving Captain Picard to possibly face the very conflict that he labored so hard to prevent....
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
September 19, 2004
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from A Star Trek: The Next Generation: Time #8: A Time to Heal by David Mack
Dusk settled upon the city of Alkam-Zar. Rays of deep-crimson sunlight flared through the seam of the horizon, casting a fiery glow across the sullen, steel gray clouds. Wind like a mournful cry twisted between the towering husks of buildings both ancient and modern -- all sinking now into decay and history.
Starfleet Ensign Fiona McEwan stood on the edge of a rubble-strewn plaza near the center of the battered metropolis. Alkam-Zar, like many other Tezwan cities, was still smoldering more than two weeks after it had been racked by a shock wave from a Klingon torpedo, which had destroyed a military starport several dozen kilometers away from the urban center.
These people probably thought the base's presence made them safer, McEwan mused. It just made them a target.
Behind the petite, red-haired young officer, a Federation relief team coordinated the distribution of food, clean water, and medicine to local Tezwans, who had lost most of their basic utilities because of the Klingon barrage. The relief group was composed of civilian workers and physicians. McEwan was one of six Starfleet security personnel assigned to protect them. Some relief groups, working in similarly war-torn urban areas around the planet, had been nearly overwhelmed by Tezwan refugees whose suffering and desperation had led to food riots; other groups had been ambushed by Tezwan military insurgents still loyal to the deposed prime minister, Kinchawn.
Today things had been quiet in Alkam-Zar. Most of its people were still in shock. Tezwan adults and children wandered the streets like gangly, looming phantoms. Their feather-manes were pale with dust and matted with neglect, their arm feathers tattered and scorched and stained with blood. Shuffling footsteps crunched across boulevards dusted with shattered glass and pulverized rock. Broken beams of metal crusted with ancient stone had impaled the ground and dotted the thoroughfares and side streets like monuments to a quiet despair.
So far, the Federation's efforts had focused on providing these people with the essentials of survival -- food, water, shelter, and basic medical treatment. Just two days ago the Starfleet Corps of Engineers had arrived, to direct the monumental task of rebuilding this world's ravaged cities.
For her part, McEwan was in no hurry to see the streets swept bare. If a Loyalist ambush were aimed at her squad, she would be grateful for all the cover she could get.
Thirteen more days, she reminded herself. Then I rotate back shipside. She had just begun her two-week deployment to the planet's surface and was already looking forward to her return to the Enterprise. Because she had risked her life during the commando mission that neutralized Tezwa's ground-based antiship artillery, she had been lucky enough to miss the first, grueling two-week rotation. Danilov had told her the reeking, insect-infested carnage in the major cities had left him with nightmares. Seo had described -- in a haunted monotone that made his nauseatingly vivid details all the more unsettling -- a guerrilla ambush in Anara-Zel that killed four security officers from the Republic. Danilov and Seo were frontline veterans of the Dominion War, so McEwan took their warnings seriously.
A keening cry, anguished and beautiful, cut through the heavy hush. Turning toward its source, McEwan looked up, toward the top of a twenty-story building rendered by war into a gutted frame. Standing like an emperor atop the structure was a lone Tezwan singer, his arms flung wide as if to embrace the sky. Nasal and piercing, his voice reverberated off smashed, hollow edifices painted with the dying light of day. McEwan's heart stirred with his projected grief, ached as it grasped the terrible emptiness of his operatic wails.