Long before Captain Jean-Luc Picard took command of the legendary Starship Enterprise, he fell deeply and hopelessly in love with Doctor Beverly Crusher. Though, for one reason or another, Picard never acted on his feelings, he found a measure of contentment as Beverly's close friend, colleague, and daily breakfast partner.
But when Doctor Crusher leaves her position on the Enterprise to become the chief medical officer of Starfleet, the brightest light in Picard's life is taken from him. And he has hardly resigned himself to his loss when he learns that Beverly has been declared missing in action on a distant planet -- and presumed dead.
Kevratas is a bleak, frozen world on the far side of the Romulan Neutral Zone where the Federation has become the plague-ravaged natives' only real hope of survival and freedom. Starfleet has no recourse but to send in another team to try to save the Kevrata -- and Picard is the natural choice. Critical to the success of his mission are two colleagues who served under him when he commanded the Starship Stargazer -- Pug Joseph, a man with a past to live down, and Doctor Carter Greyhorse, who has served time for attempted murder -- as well as a Romulan who left his people years earlier and never expected to return. Together, they follow the trail of Beverly Crusher to Kevratas, determined to succeed where the doctor failed.
On the Romulan homeworld, meanwhile, the political vacuum created by the demise of Praetor Shinzon has been filled by his staunchest supporter, Senator Tal'aura. But there are those who oppose her, including Commander Donatra and the warbird fleets under her command, because of the way Tal'aura has mishandled rebellions on the Empire's subject worlds.
And one rebellion in particular; the movement for self-determination on frigid Kevratas.
So begins a desperate struggle -- not only for the freedom of the long-oppressed Kevrata but also for the soul of the Romulan Empire. Before it's over, destinies will be forged and shattered, the Empire will be shaken to its ancient foundations, and Jean-Luc Picard's life will be changed...forever.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
September 19, 2005
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman
Chapter 1: San Francisco
Manathas frowned, wishing he could have enjoyed just a bit more cooperation. After all, he had an assignment to complete, and he couldn't rest until it was done.
Of course, in his line of work, there were a great many hazards, a great many ways for disaster to strike. He had learned long ago to exercise patience and wait silently for his chance -- and then pounce on it when it came.
So he stood with his cotton-gloved hands at his sides, along with all the other formally dressed waiters and waitresses, and watched the ballroom's hundred or so wedding guests partake of their dinner as a band played a brassy twentieth-century love song -- and hoped fervently that one guest in particular would see fit to sample his chicken cordon bleu.
But the guest -- a young man with light brown hair, strong features, and a cleft chin, wearing a cranberry and black captain's uniform -- again managed to disappoint Manathas. He left his entree untouched, the same way he had ignored his one-eighth slice of honeydew, his salad ni oise, his champagne, his sparkling water, and even the black cloth napkin that lay alongside his plate.
Ah, Picard, Manathas thought.
He had already asked the fellow if he would prefer another dish to the chicken, speaking intimately to be heard over the music. But Picard had waved away the suggestion, mumbling something about not being hungry.
Still, Manathas refused to give up hope. The good captain will eventually relent. He will consume something, either a food or a beverage. And when he does, I will be ready.
Unfortunately, he couldn't devote all his attention to Picard. There were three other starship captains in the room, and each was as important to Manathas as Picard.
It was unusual to find four such highly decorated officers in the dining hall at the same time. In fact, entire weeks often went by without an appearance by even one such officer. And when one of them did happen to visit, it was invariably an individual Manathas had already served.
So this wedding feast, vulgar as it might have been by the standards of Manathas's people, was something of an occasion for him too -- although not the kind the newlyweds had in mind. For Manathas, it was a day of great promise, great potential, a day he had worked toward for some time.
Walker Keel. Leo Blais. Marielle Kumaretanga. And the rarely seen but often mentioned Jean-Luc Picard. Yes, a day of great promise indeed.
As Manathas thought that, the bride and groom got up to dance. The groom was tall and athletic-looking, with an easygoing manner. His mate was a redhead of uncommon beauty -- from a human standpoint, of course.
And as they made their way around the floor, the bride's pearl white dress trailing her as foam followed a wave, her guests cheered and clapped and made what they no doubt believed were humorous remarks. There was no decorum, no restraint, no dignity to the occasion.
It was a bizarre custom, the human wedding celebration -- almost Klingon in its excess and its indulgence. But then, there was much about humans that Manathas found bizarre.
Eventually, other couples finished or abandoned their entrees, and joined the newlyweds on the dance floor. As they did this, Manathas paid a visit to one of their tables, bringing along a metal-frame cart with a plastic bag hanging inside it.
Unfortunately, he had a bit of a problem with germs -- a phobia, to be completely truthful about it. But it didn't stop him from carrying out his mission, thanks to the sheer, sterile gloves he wore beneath the cotton ones.
Piece by piece, he picked up the guests' used silverware and placed it in the plastic bag, making room for a waitress to lay out a clean set of implements. Then he moved on to the next table and did the same thing.