In their first few weeks in space, Captain Jonathan Archer and the crew of the Enterprise have already discovered several new species and explored strange new worlds. But each planet brings new discoveries...and new dangers.
BY THE BOOK
The Fazi, whose ultraregulated culture ranges from strict conversation protocols to unvarying building designs, inhabit half of a planet discovered by the Enterprise. But after a disasterous first contact with the ruler of the Fazi, Archer must depend on Vulcan science officer T'Pol and communication specialist Hoshi Sato to help him mend relations with the people of this planet, and unravel the mystery of the other creatures living on the world.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
January 01, 2002
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from By the Book by Dean Wesley Smith
"Martians aren't green," Ensign Hoshi Sato said, her delicate features twisted into a frown. "Actually, there is no life on Mars except a human colony."
The mess hall of the Enterprise fell silent, only the background drumming of the engines keeping it from feeling completely tomblike. The room was slightly cold, the faint smell of dinner hung in the air, and outside the windows the now familiar streaking of the stars during warp drive painted a picture of a ship in smooth flight.
Everything was going well except in here.
Ensign Elizabeth Cutler sighed and looked at the other two players. They were watching her expectantly. Ensign Travis Mayweather crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair, his expressive chocolate brown eyes filled with amusement. Crewman James Anderson, looking frail next to Mayweather, leaned forward as if the fate of the galaxy rested on Cutler's answer.
Cutler shook her head in amazement and stared down at her notes. She'd spent a week's worth of her off-duty hours designing this science-fiction role-playing game, trying to come up with good scenarios -- and trying to remember the rules. None of the other three crew members had ever played an RPG before, but they wanted to give it a try if she acted as game master. And like a fool, she had agreed.
When she was a kid, Cutler and her friends had played role-playing games, one right after another, their computers linked into a network of make-believe, eating up hours, days, entire weekends with the flights of adventure and fantasy. But now she was dealing with three adults who had only heard of RPGs -- and with only her memory for help. The ship's computers just couldn't be used for this kind of recreational activity.
So she had worked out details of a science-fiction role-playing game. She had even gone so far as to convince Chief Engineer Charles "Trip" Tucker to give her a small cupful of square-shaped, very short bolts. Since there were no dice on board, she had to come up with something to let the players of her game move their characters and make decisions. She had painted the bolts red on one side, white on the other. Red was always positive. White meant nothing.
But with all her preparation, she had never expected to run into players who just couldn't seem to let their minds make things up. And that was critical to a role-playing game. Everything that went on in a game happened in the mind and through the imagination. She was going to have to get that across quickly, or this entire idea was going to be a giant bust.