From the back cover: Back on Earth enjoying a well-deserved shore leave, Captain Kirk is rudely accosted by a trio of Starfleet Security guards. It seems he is wanted for questioning in connection with the theft of transwarp - the Federation's newest, most advanced propulsion system. Could Captain Kirk, Starfleet's most decorated hero, be guilty of stealing top-secret technology?
With the aid of Mr. Spock, Lt. Cmdr. Piper begins a search for the scientists who developed transwarp - a search that leads her to an isolated planet, where she discovers the real - and very dangerous - traitor!
The schooner Edith Keeler, crewed by Kirk, Leonard McCoy, Montgomery Scott and Lieutenant Commander Piper, wins a joust at sea with Ambassador Ben Shamirian's ketch, the Gavelan. Kirk tells Piper that her first command, a spacegoing passenger vessel, is waiting for her at Man-o-War Cay; he has "a little mission" for her. Three members of Starfleet Security beam aboard to escort Kirk and Scotty to Starfleet Headquarters for questioning regarding the theft of technology by Lieutenant Sarda.
Piper hides in the ship's larder. Once Kirk and Scotty have been taken away, she succeeds in stunning the security personnel left in charge. With the assistance of crewmembers from the Gavelan, she and McCoy sail the Edith Keeler to Man-o-War Cay, where Piper finds waiting for her the vessel Kirk assigned to her: a misshapen, much-overhauled construction tug named Tyrannosaurus Rex. Also awaiting Piper are her friends Judd "Scanner" Sandage and Dr. Merete AndrusTaurus, who explain that Spock came to Man-o-War Cay and programmed "Rex"'s computer. Piper, disgruntled with her new command, renames it the SS Banana Republic and sets off for Starfleet Command in San Francisco with her friends and McCoy. However, as the ship approaches the West Coast it sets out for deep space and enters warp by itself.
The ship's computer acknowledges that Piper is in command, but the navigational programming entered by Spock on Kirk's orders cannot be overridden. The ship is headed for Argelius, a quiet planet on the edge of Federation space. Piper decides that she must get control of the ship, arguing that Kirk would not allow this to be done to him. She prevails upon her very reluctant crew to spend forty hours attempting to bypass the programming, but without success. Finally she asks the computer itself how the program can be replaced with a new one and succeeds in gaining manual control. She then proceeds toward Argelius on her own authority.
Deeply concerned about Sarda, Piper reviews the educational practices of his Vulcan clan, the Lyr Zor. A mysterious shuttle approaches Rex. Its pilot is Spock, who boards and is surprised to learn that Piper has bypassed his programming. Spock explains that Sarda is one of four surviving members of Vice Admiral Vaughan Rittenhouse's science team; the others are Dr. Samuel Boma, who has been cooperating with Starfleet since the Rittenhouse crisis, Professor Ursula Mornay, and a Vulcan named Perren. Mornay, a known subversive, informed Boma that the other three scientists were bringing the technology for transwarp to Argelius to auction it off to the highest bidder, potentially destabilizing galactic politics. Spock is certain that Kirk will arrive on Argelius in time to take part in their effort to separate Mornay, Perren and Sarda from each other and convince them of the danger of their actions. Perren is the tutor with whom Spock arranged for Sarda to continue his Vulcan training, and thus his mind melds with Sarda may have made the younger Vulcan unstable.
Arriving in orbit of Argelius, Banana Republic is hit by a transwarp antimatter flux wave. Only Spock's quick action in taking the ship out of orbit saves the crew from being phased into unreality. Piper realizes that the scientists must be trying to build a transwarp device, and that the accidentally released wave may have killed Sarda and the others. In flashback, she recalls being teamed with Sarda during Starfleet Academy's Senior Field Endurance Maneuvers, or "Outlast" games, the experience which forged their friendship. They were the winning team partly because Piper motivated Sarda to build a pair of primitive radios from the equipment they had with them.
Piper orders Scanner to transmit radio waves that could be picked up by Sarda, who would know who was sending them. While he does so, Piper, McCoy and Merete beam down to Yelgor City and find the cantina that Spock arranged for them to use as a base. Piper is required to dance for the guests and gets into a brawl with a group of Klingons; McCoy and the newly arrived Scanner join in. When the fighting is at its height, Spock and Kirk enter and subdue their remaining opponents. The six Starfleet officers exit the cantina before more Klingons arrive. Spock has picked up a response to Piper's radio waves from an abandoned farm north of the city. Kirk has arrived ahead of the Enterprise, which is proceeding slowly toward Argelius with Scotty in command and Dr. Boma aboard.
Piper and Scanner go to the farm to retrieve Sarda. They wait outside for Kirk to provide a distraction, which turns out to be a herd of Argelian currbucks that set off the farm's alarms. Piper and Scanner enter undetected by the guards, but are met by Perren, who takes them at phaser-point to a room where they are joined by Sarda. Left alone with his two friends, Sarda explains that he cooperated with the other scientists because only he had the knowledge of the transwarp safety systems to prevent them from endangering lives. They are joined by Mornay, Perren and some guards. Piper's communicator chirps as Kirk checks in, but Piper gets Merete to speak to her, concealing from Mornay that Kirk is on the planet. Perren escorts Piper, Sarda and Scanner to a small room where they are imprisoned. He tells them he has no intention of allowing transwarp to fall into enemy hands, and that when his interests and Mornay's cease to agree he will be able to control her. Once he leaves, Piper and the others realize that Mornay, who has spoken of testing transwarp, may be planning on Boma's help to install it aboard Enterprise.
A series of explosions rock the compound. Piper and her friends escape the cell and move toward the main lab, but see Kirk and Spock held at gunpoint by Mornay and her guards, who beam up to the Enterprise with Kirk and Spock. McCoy and Merete find Piper's group and explain that Boma gassed the Enterprise crew with a hypnogenetic compound, leaving them in semicomas. The drug is potentially fatal if an antidote is not administered in time. The group enters the main lab to use the communications board to signal Rex's transporter, but they are attacked by the Klingons they met earlier, who are also seeking transwarp. Perren fires on the Klingons from an alcove. He leaves, choosing not to help or hinder Piper and the others; Sarda nearly follows him but decides to go with Piper instead.
Back on Banana Republic, Piper orders Scanner to lasso Enterprise's warp nacelle strut with a tractor beam. The strain disables Rex, but they succeed in bending the strut, preventing Enterprise from going to warp. The five officers beam over to Enterprise, where McCoy and Merete head to Sickbay to find an antidote to the toxin. Scanner retrieves oxygen masks from an attack sled for Piper and Sarda, but is knocked unconscious by gas before he can don his own mask. Piper and Sarda head to the bridge, where Piper kills one of Mornay's guards with a Klingon disruptor; Sarda stuns the others. Kirk joins them, he and Spock having incapacitated the other guards. Perren arrives on the bridge and covers Kirk, Piper and Sarda, but Piper gets him to give her his phaser. Sarda escorts Mornay and Boma to the brig.
McCoy and Merete introduce the antidote into the air vents, but the crew will not awaken for fifteen minutes and will then be sick for six hours. Two Klingon ships decloak, and their commander declares his intent to tow the derelict Enterprise into Klingon space. Kirk goes to Sickbay to urge McCoy to awaken Scotty, while Spock and Piper work on repairing weapons systems. Three Romulan ships and an unidentified ship arrive. Kirk and Sarda return to the bridge with the recovering Scotty. Kirk sends out the unmanned shuttlecraft Columbus; when a Romulan ship takes it under its wing, Spock remotely destroys both shuttle and Romulan ship. More ships appear, some Tholian, others from various factions of the Klingon Empire. Kirk suggests recreating the transwarp flux and using it as a weapon. Piper convinces Kirk to let Perren help connect transwarp to the Enterprise warp drive. The reviving Scanner tells Piper and Sarda how to funnel the transwarp flux through the sensory.
The transwarp effect dissolves and rearranges ships, welding parts of different ships together. When Enterprise uses it again, the crew of a Daqawlu ship disappears, forever trapped between dimensions. More Klingon ships appear, but they are followed by three Federation starships and a destroyer. The remaining enemy vessels are driven away. Ambassador Shamirian has brought the starships to the rescue. Kirk plans to recommend that Perren be returned to Vulcan for judgment.
As Scanner recovers in Sickbay, other patients watch a holo he recorded of Piper's dance in the cantina. Piper returns to her quarters to rest, but Scotty enters and asks to speak with her.
- Alexander • Andreoni • Merete AndrusTaurus • Samuel Boma • Lyle Craig • Gelt • Gruegen • Harsch • Jarboe • James T. Kirk • Kyrtu • Long • Leonard McCoy • Ursula Mornay • Perren • Philotoff • Piper • Judd Sandage • Sarda • Montgomery Scott • Ben Shamirian • Spock • Vallo • Vesco
- Referenced only
- Balok • Paul Burch • Cyrus Centauri • Confucius • Eufinger • Oliver Hardy • Horatio Hornblower • Edith Keeler • Stan Laurel • Edna St. Vincent Millay • Liex Muller • Philip of Macedon • Michael Riley • Vaughan Rittenhouse • William Shakespeare • Hikaru Sulu • Sunvar • Superman • Nyota Uhura • Yiri
Starships and vehicles
- Arco attack sleds • Babe-class • SS Banana Republic • bulldozer • Columbus • Edith Keeler • USS Enterprise • USS Exeter • Fesarius • Galileo • Gavelan • USS Hood • USS Majestic • SS Tyrannosaurus Rex • USS Yorktown
Starbases and space stations
- Abaco Islands • Bahamas • Caribbean • Cayman Islands • Culloden • Greater Antilles • Jamaica • Jia'anKahr • Lesser Antilles • Lyr T'aya • Man-o-War Cay • Middle East • New Providence • San Francisco • ShiKahr • South Sea • Tennessee • Versailles • Virgin Islands • Vuldi Gorge • West Indies • Yelgor City
Planets and planetoids
Races and cultures
- Argelian • Elasian • Human • Klingon (Daqawlu • Klinzhai • Rumaiym • Wijngan) • K'zinti • Mengenite • Orion • Palkeo Est • Romulan • Skorr • Tholian • Vulcan
States and organizations
- First Federation • Judicial Committee • Klingon Empire • Lyr Zor • North American Maritime Registry • Planetary Confederation of 40 Eridani • San Francisco Maritime Authority • Starfleet • Starfleet Academy • Starfleet Command • Starfleet Security Division • United Federation of Planets • University of Tarrigor
Ranks and titles
- ambassador • captain • chief medical officer • commander • Commodore of the Fleet • lieutenant • lieutenant commander • midshipman • Praetor
- 2270 • airlock • algebra • American Revolution • Analysis of Pseudodoxy • angel • Annual Atlantic Wind Ships Race • Annual International Battle at Sea Flotilla for Masted Ships • An-Prele • anthropology • antimatter • architectonics • Archtide • Argelian currbuck • Articles of Federation • bolonga sandwich • brewery • bridge • butterfly • calculus • cantina • carotid artery • coffee • communications • communicator • compass • construction transport • containment field • cryptography • cycad • dagger • deflector • destroyer • dilithium • diogen torches • disruptor • dreadnought • duraglass • Dwemish Hi-An • dynoscanner • engineer • Engineering • Enok-Kal Fi Lar • Equations • Essays of Discipline • Federation Medal of Valor • Feinberger mediscanner • fern • fibercoil • friendship • gambling • geometry • Gloucester packet • hangar deck • holo • honey • horse • hypnogenetic compound • image projector • impulse • Industrial Age • The Interior • Jacob's Elementary Light Code • Katra • ketch • Klingon language • knitting • Kolinahr • laser • lichen • life support • litika • lizard • logic • Logic and Definition • magnetic coupling • mathematics • mind meld • mudpig • needleplant • nickelodeon • Norn-La-Hal • oxygen mask • palmetto • particle beam • phaser • phaser rifle • philosophy • photon sling • photon torpedo • physics • pig • Planetary Patrol Cruiser • planetoid • plasma • presser beam •protosensor • Purpose as Prime Motivator • quantum physics • radio • red alert • rhinoceros • rhodinium • Rigellian slugfin • Rittenhouse Scandal • Runes of T'Vish • sailing • schooner • science • security • Sele-an-t'lee • Senior Field Endurance Maneuvers ("Outlast") • sensory • shields • shore leave • shuttlecraft • sickbay • skimmer • solar wing • spider • Starfleet Regulations for Emergency Command • Starfleet Silver Palm • Star for Conspicuous Bravery • subspace • Systems of Logic • Tal T'lee • telepathy • tractor beam • transporter • transwarp • tribble • tricorder • trilithium • Troyan bullet-bacteria • tug • turbolift • Tyrannosaurus Rex • uniform • Venlinahr • Vulcan nerve pinch • walrus • warp drive • warp nacelle • warthog • wave-maze technology
- In 1999 this novel was printed as Book 2 in the Fortunes of War duology with Dreadnought!.
- As with Dreadnought!, the image of Piper on the cover is modeled by author Diane Carey.
- Each chapter of the book is headed by a quotation from an episode of TOS.
|TOS numbered novels||Next novel:|
Chain of Attack
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
|The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2270.|
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in one other timeframe:
Mission to Horatius
First Star I See Tonight