The Star Trek: The Lost era: 2328-2346: The Art of the Impossible : Star Trek: The Lost Era 2328-2346
THE YEARS ARE 2328-2346
To the Cardassians, it is a point of pride. To the Klingons, a matter of honor. But the eighteen-year cold war between these two empires -- euphemistically remembered in later years as the Betreka Nebula "Incident" -- creates a vortex of politics, diplomacy, and counterintelligence that will define an age, and shape the future.
What begins as a discovery that would enable the Klingon Empire to reclaim a lost piece of its past becomes a prolonged struggle with the rapidly expanding Cardassian Union, which has claimed dominion over a region of space that the Klingons hold sacred. Enter the Federation, whose desire to preserve interstellar stability leads Ambassador Curzon Dax to broker a controversial and tenuous peace -- one that is not without opponents, including Lieutenant Elias Vaughn of Starfleet special ops.
But there are wheels within wheels to the drama unfolding in the Betreka Nebula. Within the shadowy rooms of the Cardassian Obsidian Order, Klingon Imperial Intelligence, and even the Romulan Tal Shiar, secret scales are being balanced -- and for every gain made for the sake of peace, there will come a loss.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from The Star Trek: The Lost era: 2328-2346: The Art of the Impossible by Keith R. A. DeCandido
"Entering standard orbit around the fifth planet."
Standing in the center of the bridge of the Cardassian survey vessel Sontok, Gul Monor clasped his hands behind his back. "Excellent. Full sensor scan, Ekron. I want confirmation of those zenite readings."
"Yes, sir." Glinn Ekron manipulated a few commands on his console, situated just below and perpendicular to Monor's command chair, which was on a raised platform at the bridge's rear. The console's lighting illuminated Ekron's face, casting shadows that were accentuated by his unusually thick facial ridges. Monor thought the ridges made his second-in-command look like the statue on the grave of Monor's father -- which of course looks nothing like Father, but what do you expect from those idiots who call themselves sculptors these days? The shadows on Ekron's face actually were an improvement, as it cut down on the resemblance to the statue. Monor's father, of course, looked much more noble in life -- he had a good, strong Cardassian face. Ekron, on the other hand, just had an ordinary face, one that didn't stand out in the least. Nobody would ever notice that face, except maybe to comment on how thick the ridges were. Occasionally, Monor cared enough to wonder whether or not Ekron cultivated that.
The glinn announced, "Preliminary sensor data does verify long-range readings. This world is rich in zenite." That mineral was used to combat botanical plagues, and was vital to the continued efficacy of several Cardassian farming colonies.
Hope in his voice, Monor asked, "Any life signs?"
"None so far, sir."
Monor sighed. "Ah, well. I suppose that'll make annexing it easier. Still, it'd be nice to not have to import a labor force to mine the stuff."
"I'm sure that's true, sir," Ekron said.
"Assuming this isn't another one of those damned sensor ghosts. Damned equipment's never totally reliable, is it, Ekron?"
"No, sir, it isn't."
The gul started pacing the length of the Sontok's bridge, moving away from the command chair, past Ekron's operations console, as well as the navigation and tactical stations. The cramped confines did not allow him much room to have a proper pace. It was a failing in the design of the Akril class of ships, to Monor's mind. "Ekron, make a note for me to send a memo to Central Command complaining about the amount of floor space on the bridge."