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Takes place in early 2265, prior to completion of Starbase 47.

The USS Sagittarius is scouting Traelus II, a resource rich planet on the edge of Tholian space. Theriault says, "I've got half a mind to retire early and build a house down there" which is a code phrase used upon discovery of the Taurus Meta-Genome. The discovery shows the genome's creators had influence across the entire Taurus Reach.

At Vanguard, Diego Reyes is frustrated with the numerous bugs in the station's systems as he awaits the arrival of his first officer, Jon Cooper. Rana Desai visits Reyes for the first time and he is smitten with her. They butt heads as Desai presents grievances from civilians that Reyes is rudely dismissive of them in an effort to keep construction of The Vault secretive. After a brief and pointed conversation, Desai attempts to leave Reyes' office but is locked in due to a malfunctioning door; Reyes is thankful.

Anna Sandesjo (Lurqal) confronts another covert Klingon agent for his carelessness before vaporizing him with a disruptor. She later joins a meeting with Reyes, Jetanien, and T'Prynn. Sandesjo and T'Prynn are immediately attracted to each other.

As the Sagittarius' landing party completes a survey, a Klingon scout ship enters orbit. A battle ensues and damages both ships; the Klingons call for reinforcements. The Sagittarius is hiding on the planet when a D-5 Battlecruiser arrives in orbit to look for it. Reyes is worrying over the Sagittarius when Desai arrives to discuss Reyes refusing to allow the Omari-Ekon to dock. Though neither trust the Orions, Desai argues that Reyes can't legally refuse a non-enemy the right to dock. She also tells him that he cannot forbid Starfleet personnel from visiting the vessel nor does he have jurisdiction over the ship as it is sovereign Orion territory. Reyes grants the Orion request conditionally and asks Desai to dinner.

T'Prynn and Sandesjo begin flirting in the Officer's Club. T'Prynn has dual motives of gaining Sandesjo as a lover and finding evidence that she is a Klingon spy. Reyes suspects there is a spy aboard. Jetanien has also uncovered that Sandesjo is a spy but doesn't reveal this in hopes of manipulating her covert activities to benefit the Federation.

The next morning, T'Prynn visits Sandesjo in her quarters. After a mental attack by Sten, T'Prynn engages Sandesjo sexually. In the throws of passion, Sten causes T'Prynn to perform a mind meld with her lover. T'Prynn then knows for a certainty that Sandesjo is a Klingon. Sandesjo and Sten combat each other in a desert landscape which ends with her snapping his neck. The two women are now aware of each other's secrets. T'Prynn is ashamed of the violation she committed but Sandesjo is understanding and accepting.

The Sagittarius escapes the planet by carving a piece of sensor-obstructing ore from the planet and hauling it into space to mask their presence and appear to be a random asteroid. Their presence is detected but after a brief firefight and evasive maneuvers, the ship is able to escape.

Reyes and Desai become intimate during their second date.



Vanguard personnel and residents[]

Curtis BallardRaymond CannellaRana DesaiJudy DunbarRonald Hanagan (Komaleq) • JetanienDiego ReyesAnna Sandesjo (Lurqal) • T'Prynn
Referenced only 
Jon CooperLauren EverettEzekiel FisherHaniff Jackson

USS Sagittarius personnel[]

Celerasayna zh'FirroMike IlucciBridget McLellanAdelard NassirClark TerrellVanessa Theriault

IKS Zin'za personnel[]


Other characters[]

Referenced only 

Starships and vehicles[]

Bacchus Plateau (freighter) • Klingon scout shipUSS Sagittarius (Archer-class) • IKS Zin'za (D5 class) • Workbee
Referenced only 
USS Bombay (Miranda-class) • D6 classD7 classUSS Endeavour (Constitution-class) • Omari-Ekon


Vanguard (Watchtower-class) (Federation EmbassyOfficers' clubOperations center) • Gonmog Sector/Taurus ReachTraelus II
Referenced only 
BorzhaDoralaEarth (New Jersey) • Gamma TauriKorinarPalgrenaxRavanar (Ravanar IV) • Sensor control centerShangri-LaStarbase 11Stars LandingTyperiasVaultWaste extraction

Races and cultures[]

Referenced only 

States and organizations[]

Federation Diplomatic CorpsImperial IntelligenceJudge Advocate GeneralKlingon EmpireKlingon High CouncilStarfleetStarfleet IntelligenceTholian AssemblyUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only 
Adepts of SeleyaFederation CouncilStarfleet AcademyStarfleet CommandStarfleet Security

Science and technology[]

antimatter containment systemasteroidcommunications arraychronometercommunicatordata carddeflector shielddilithiumdisruptordisruptor arrayDNAenvironmental suitfood slotimpulse engineinertial damperintermix chambermineP-38pergiumphaser bankphaser pistolrodiniumsensor arraysensor-scattering field generatorsubspace relaytactical gridTaurus meta-genometelepathythalliumtractor beamtricordertritaniumwarp drivewarp nacelle

Ranks and titles[]

aideambassadorArchaeology and anthropology officercaptainChancellor of the High Council of the Klingon Empirechief engineerchief medical officercommandercommanding officercommodorecommunications officerensignexecutive officerfirst officerFleet operations managerhelmsmanintelligence officerKolinahr masterlieutenantlieutenant commandermaster chief petty officerquartermasterscience officersecond officersecurity chiefskipper

Other references[]

2213cargo baycoffeecreditcrowbarevasive maneuversFederation Standardglengetgymnasiumiced teajaj qeylIs molar mIgh HoHchu'qu'kal-if-feekatraKolinahrmind meldOperation VanguardpetaQPlak towPon farrPrime DirectiveqelI'qamred alertriceSirenStarfleet Hymnsteakteaterrestrial enclosuretlhIngan HolVaj Duj chIjvegetable


Related stories[]

Stories featuring Starbase Vanguard
Star Trek: Vanguard novels HarbingerSummon the ThunderReap the WhirlwindOpen SecretsPrecipiceWhat Judgments ComeStorming Heaven
Short stories and novellas Distant Early WarningThe Black FlagDeclassified (Almost TomorrowHard NewsThe Ruins of Noble MenThe Stars Look Down) • In Tempest's Wake


Published Order
Previous novel:
Vanguard novels Next novel:
What Judgments Come
Previous story:
Paths of Disharmony
Stories by:
Dayton Ward
Next story:
What Judgments Come
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Myriad Universes: A Less Perfect Union
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
What's Past: Distant Early Warning