STARFLEET CORPS OF ENGINEERS
Before the twenty-fourth-century adventures of David Gold, Sonya Gomez, and the crew of the U.S.S. da Vinci came the more rough-and-tumble Starfleet Corps of Engineers of the twenty-third century. In the wake of an incident involving the Starship Enterprise and the infamous Delta Triangle, Lieutenant Commander Mahmud al-Khaled and the crew of the run-down U.S.S. Lovell must "open" the Triangle -- and also find a lost generation ship that was last seen entering the phenomenon. But the mission grows even more complex when the Gorn arrive, demanding -- at gunpoint -- that the Gorn criminals inside the Triangle be returned to them.
A gripping new twenty-third-century drama in the tradition of Foundations ! WHERE TIME STANDS STILL
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
August 31, 2004
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Star Trek: Where Time Stands Still by Dayton Ward
Stardate 54200.9, Earth Year 2377
Sitting in the momentary quiet of the U.S.S. da Vinci's conference lounge, Carol Abramowitz found herself once again captivated by the silvery object on the polished oval table before her. A four-sided obelisk not half a meter tall, the object boasted no remarkable qualities that might make it of any great value, intrinsic or otherwise, to a casual observer.
In many ways, she mused, it's a lot like the world that produced it.
The obelisk was composed of an ore relatively common to its native world of Valzhan, a place that never had drawn her interest and one she had judged long ago to be an unimposing, somewhat minor member of the United Federation of Planets. It was so far off her personal awareness sensors that the obelisk was the first artifact Abramowitz had ever physically encountered from the planet, an admission she made somewhat sheepishly considering her role as a cultural specialist attached to the Starfleet Corps of Engineers.
"Guardian Royano," she said, breaking what she hoped had not become a noticeably long silence, "thank you again for allowing me to study this. I've never seen anything quite like it, and I'd be lying if I said it was anything other than breathtaking."
Bowing his head formally, the Valzhan courier replied, "I am happy to be of what limited service I am able to provide. It is the least I can offer, considering how accommodating you and your captain and crew have been during this affair."
Royano had come aboard the da Vinci three days previously. Like the majority of his race, the Valzhan was essentially humanoid in appearance, with amber skin that contrasted sharply with his rich brown robes. His emerald-green eyes seemed to bore into anything he subjected to his gaze. Rather than an actual nose, his face featured a set of four small holes centered beneath his eyes, giving his face an oddly flat appearance broken only by the long blond hair cascading around his shoulders. Everything about Royano's comportment, from the way he spoke with a measured cadence to the dignified way he occupied his chair, worked to cultivate a scholarly air about him.
"I must admit I'm not as well versed in your culture as I'd prefer to be," she said to the Valzhan. The words sounded like a pathetic excuse to her ears, even if Federation databanks held only scarce information on the planet. The Valzhan had long been regarded as a private people, a trait they had retained even after finally accepting Federation membership.
Her gaze again settled on the obelisk, which was supported by a circular pedestal no bigger than the palm of her hand. Each of its four faces narrowed to the object's pyramidal top and featured an intricately detailed etching. One engraving was an unknown artist's rendering of a barren, rocky plain from which a vicious reptilian beast bared its teeth and raised one clawed foot, possibly poised to strike, while another portrayed a goggle-eyed, winged fish leaping just beyond the crest of a wave within a turbulent seascape. Yet another was an intricate, labyrinthine pattern that produced a mesmerizing effect on the young woman.
It was the object's fourth side that appealed to her the most, however. Arguably the simplest in execution, it depicted a waterfall framed by a mountainside and thick with foam and rage at its base. With no superfluous detail to distract her, Abramowitz found her gaze repeatedly following the water's path from its initial plummet to the rocks below. Her imagination took over where the obelisk ended, restoring the natural, powerful flow of the water that had been stilled in the engraving. The roar of crashing falls seemed to ring in her ears even here in the restrained calm of the briefing room.