Without warning, a Starfleet ship is overwhelmed by a mysterious, alien aggressor -- one who appears to possess an intimate knowledge of the vessel's tactical technology. Then a second Starfleet ship is attacked. And a third.
Twenty-eight-year-old Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the U.S.S. Stargazer -- a Constellation-class starship -- is ordered to help form a desperate line of defense against the aggressor. But it seems nothing can stop the aliens' headlong plunge into the heart of the Federation.
Or rather, nothing in front of them can. Trailing one of the alien attack formations is a tiny Starfleet shuttle with a half dozen crewmembers aboard. One of them is Picard's first officer and best friend, Gilaad Ben Zoma.
Another is Arlen McAteer, the ambitious admiral who has made it his business to relieve Picard of his command.
Can Ben Zoma and McAteer work together to unlock the secret of the alien assault? Or will their differences sabotage their effort -- and deprive the Federation of its last hope for survival?
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
December 31, 2003
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Star Trek: The Next Generation: Stargazer: Enigma by Michael Jan Friedman
As Jean-Luc Picard made his way down the long, curving corridor on his way to Transporter Room One, he saw Lieutenant Urajel coming from the other direction.
"Lieutenant," he said, favoring the Andorian with a nod.
"Captain," she returned.
But she wasn't looking him in the eye. She was looking at his head -- a common problem of late, as he had been compelled to shave it weeks ago in a place called Oblivion, and his hair was growing back more slowly than anyone had expected.
At the moment, it was little more than stubble, and itchy stubble at that. Rather a nuisance all around, the captain reflected, as he passed Urajel and continued on his way.
Unfortunately, his hair was the least of his problems.
At the end of the corridor, he found a set of double doors, which hissed open at his approach. Beyond them, two of his people were waiting for him.
No, he thought, amending his observation. Just one of them is still mine.
That was Goetz, the red-haired junior operator on duty in the ship's primary transporter room. She was standing behind the enclosure's lone control console, awaiting the captain's authorization to proceed.
The other figure in the room -- the one who was no longer Picard's to command -- was standing on the slightly raised transporter platform, dressed in a brown tunic with gray pants and a shirt of the same color. He had left all his cranberry-and-black Starfleet uniforms hanging in his quarters, as it was no longer appropriate for him to wear any of them.
Picard met the man's eyes. "Mister Nikolas," he said.
The ensign -- no, the captain reminded himself, former ensign -- inclined his head. "Captain."
Andreas Nikolas appeared relieved, as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. And no doubt it had been. A couple of days earlier, he had come to Picard with a haunted, hollowed-out look in his eyes -- the same look the captain had seen lurking there for the last several weeks.
Ever since Gerda Idun Asmund had left them.
She had arrived on the Stargazer in an apparent transporter accident, one that had shot her from her original timeline into Picard's own. As it turned out later, her transit was actually part of an elaborate plan to kidnap Phigus Simenon, the Stargazer's chief engineer, and put him to work for a rebel cause.
Gerda Idun was foiled -- with Nikolas's help, as fate would have it -- and she was returned to her proper universe empty-handed. But that was only after Nikolas had done himself the disservice of falling in love with her.
From that point on, the ensign's life on the Stargazer had been a little bit of hell. After all, Gerda and Idun Asmund, who looked exactly like Gerda Idun, were still serving alongside him on the ship. And every time Nikolas bumped into one of them, in a corridor or a lounge, he was painfully reminded of what he had lost.
Picard had been aware of Nikolas's discomfort. However, he had assumed that Nikolas would get over it, as Picard had gotten over his own lost loves. So he was surprised when the fellow walked into the captain's ready room a few days ago, sat down opposite him, and asked for his discharge from Starfleet.
Picard was torn by the request. Ever since Nikolas had beamed aboard the Stargazer, the captain had identified with him and seen promise in him.
Nikolas had been reprimanded a few times for getting into fights, that was true. But Picard had his share of ill-considered dust-offs at that age, and he had eventually grown past them. He had seen no reason why Nikolas couldn't do the same.