Publisher's description[edit | edit source]
- From solicitations
- When the Enterprise crew embarks on a mission of planetary First Contact, Captain Kirk finds a peaceful, idyllic society, one happily linked together by a global thought network—or so it appeared. When he discovers a bitter rebellion simmering beneath the surface, will he be able to follow the Prime Directive, or find himself compelled to get involved?
Summary[edit | edit source]
On yet another first contact mission, the USS Enterprise slides into orbit around Waasertla, a recently warp capable planet that seems to tick every box for Federation contact. The ship is soon hailed from the surface by the chipper A'Net who welcomes Kirk down to the surface. Intrigued by what appears to be a communication device implanted in the alien's head, Kirk has Uhura join the away team.
When the team beams down, they are greeted by A'Net who offers them implants like her own, the tools via which the entire Wassertlan race communicates. The away team politely declines but Uhura manages to tune the tricorder to the frequency of the devices, allowing them to hear the communications. In the carriage to the city, Uhura shows the multitude of transmissions coming from across the planet before they arrive at the capital, a city seemingly built on the creative arts.
As the away team is shown around, a man comes up to Kirk and asks to meet him in private after the nightly concert. After the evening festivities, the away team meets the man, who introduces himself as Kord, and reveals he and those like have left the Thoughtwork, valuing the privacy of their own thoughts. They have reached out to Kirk to ask him how Federation societies deal with dissenters on their otherwise unified planets. Before Kirk can answer, A'Net's forces enter the building and seize the rebels, taking them away to have their implants re-implanted.
Off to side, McCoy objects to standing by in light of such inhumanity. Kirk dissuades his friend from any action, reminding him of the Prime Directive, this is an internal Waasertlan affair. Unaware of the argument, A'Net invites the away team to witness the implanting procedure.
At the hospital, Uhura observes an orchestra has already been prepared to welcome "the fallen" back into the network. When the new implants are activated however, every Waasertlan in the room freezes. Exactly as Kirk predicted, the fallen are now arguing with the rest of the population. A'Net opts to sever the fallen's link to the network again with Kord explaining that this was why he'd sought out Kirk. The captain explains that the Federation includes societies wildly at odds with one another but that they've found a way to overcome their differences and work together. And he truly believes that Waasertla is on that path but it won't be an easy one. Heeding his words, A'Net asks that the Federation return in twenty-five years to give them time to put their house in order.
As the Enterprise sails for Starbase 17, the bridge crew discusses the perils of first contact weighed against its essential role in fostering relations. And contrary to McCoy's assumptions, Spock does not care for Thoughtwork technology. The prospect of sharing thoughts with McCoy is most unappealing.
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Burden of Knowledge
A Matter of Perspective
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