Lifting the Hem of the Universe
Spirits unbroken by the failed promise of the U.S.S. Dauntless, Captain Kathryn Janeway's indefatigable crew continues their odyssey of discovery through an enigmatic region of the Delta Quadrant, encountering a system inhabited by a species that, according to known physical laws, shouldn't exist.
These unusual beings, the Monorhans, hover near the edge of extinction; technology from the Starship Voyager promises life. Janeway, compelled by the aliens' plight, dispatches Seven of Nine and Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres to the Monorhan homeworld. But an unexpected shock wave crashes the shuttle carrying Torres and Seven, catapulting Voyager into a place beyond the fabric of space-time.
As B'Elanna and Seven wage an interpersonal war, Voyager struggles to prevail on an extradimensional battleground against an indefinable enemy. But fate has determined that one is inexorably linked to the other: the insurmountable chasm separating Voyager from her lost crew members must be bridged...or all will perish.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
June 30, 2005
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Excerpt from Star Trek: Voyager: String Theory #1: Cohesion by Jeffrey Lang
Disaster minus 14 minutes
Mateo did not like the captain leaving the ship. True, the aliens had not committed any overtly threatening acts, but he thought that Captain Ziv was displaying unwarranted trust. As impressive as these wayfarers were, Mateo believed they were making unbelievable claims, not the least being that their tiny ship was able to attain faster-than-light velocities, but, oh, not right at the moment because of some as-yet-undefined, unfathomable peculiarity about local space. So fiercely skeptical was the first officer that the hair was literally standing up on the sides of his neck.
On the other hand, Mateo had not had any particular desire to leave the vessel either, which would have been his fate if the captain weren't so curious about (and so trusting of) the aliens. Traditionally, the second-in-command was the one to undertake any such diplomatic or exploratory mission, but neither Ziv nor any of his hara were traditional officers. Despite the fact that the captain had been put in command of their mission at the last minute and under some very peculiar circumstances (rumors of some dirtside impropriety had been circulating), Mateo both liked and trusted Ziv, and those feelings extended to the captain's closest advisors.
Mateo scanned the bridge and surveyed his own hara. All seemed as well as they could be, even Cho, who had been terribly rattled by their unexpected, almost disastrous encounter with the aliens. Most of the crewmen had been advised about the possibility of alien encounters (though Mateo suspected that few believed they were real), but no one had expected to meet other spacefarers so early in their journey. How many more are out here? he wondered.
Studying the image of the fragile-looking vessel on his viewer, Mateo wondered about its engineers' claims. "It can't be true," he muttered. A dozen of the alien ships could park side by side inside the exhaust port of his ship's drive unit. How could such a minuscule object have the power to do what they claimed? Yet Maza, as sensible and levelheaded an engineer as could be found in the service, said that he had seen their engines' specs and believed every word.
"Commander," Cho called. "The aliens' chief engineer wishes to speak with Maza again. Should I patch through the call?"
"Certainly," Mateo said. "But ask if they could have our captain call sometime soon. I'd like to hear..."
"Captain Ziv is hailing us on another channel, Commander."
Mateo sighed with relief and lowered himself into the captain's chair. "Very good. Complete the circuit."
The captain's image materialized on the small monitor set near the floor. Ziv looked uncommonly pleased, almost ebullient, as if a great burden had just been lifted. "Mateo," he said, and waited for the gesture of acknowledgment. "All is well?"
"Well and truly well, my captain," Mateo said, trying to sound upbeat. "We have completed all the preparations the aliens requested. Maza says we will be under way soon and moving very quickly." He allowed a slight note of uncertainty to creep into his tone, hoping the captain would notice and respond. Unfortunately, the captain missed it.
"You have no idea, Mateo," the captain said. "I only regret that you have not been able to see this extraordinary ship."
Someone behind the captain spoke, someone with an oddly, even disturbingly high-pitched voice, like that of an annoyingly precocious child. "There may still be time," the speaker said. "If you permit it."
Mateo felt a silly grin creep up over his face. Would I like to see this alien vessel? he wondered, and was surprised to find that the answer was yes. Very much, if only to reassure himself.