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An all-new Original Series adventure about a Federation mining colony on the verge of destruction and the unlikely solution that could save them from extinction.

Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are sent to evacuate the Federation mining colony Vesbius, a frontier settlement that is on the brink of an extinction-level event, threatening the lives of all the colonists and the disruption of ore production vital to Starfleet. However, the colonists refuse to abandon this settlement, not wanting to leave their claims. It is after these irrational decisions that Spock suggests that perhaps an unexpected ally could aid the colony and help complete the mission....


The Enterprise has been despatched to Vesbius, a human colony that is not part of the Federation, to evacuate the population prior to a meteorite strike that will devastate the biosphere. Where they arrive, however, they learn that the request was not from an official source and the colonists intend to take refuge in shelters they have built. It is soon determined that the shelters are inadequate and nothing of the planet's surface will survive for them to emerge to, but the majority of Vesbians still refuse to evacuate.

Kirk eventually learns that, because of being rejected by the planet's biosphere, the first children born on Vesbius all died and the adults would have followed. To prevent this, they genetically engineered their children, while all those born offworld have to undergo genetic manipulation to remain there. As a side effect, if they leave the planet they will be dead within weeks. However, a terrorist group, the Exos, believe the modifications make them superior and they should dominate over races: They are using the crisis to force the Vesbians to leave the planet, including destroying some of the shelters in bomb attacks.

Spock eventually postulates that the Horta may be able to break down the asteroid into the right size fragments for the Enterprise to deflect. The ship departs for Janus VI with Hannah Faber, the daughter of the planet's chancellor who has become Kirk's lover, and bigoted security officer Major Merling onboard. The Horta agree to the proposal on one condition: The All Mother is dying and they wish Spock to replace her. He agrees if they still wish it when he returns.

Merling, secretly a member of the Exos, threatens one of Hannah's bodyguards, Hox, into sabotaging the shuttle bay with banned nano-technology to force the Horta into space. However, the Horta survive the experience. Merling then attempts to sabotage life support but is exposed by Sulu and Chekov. During the confrontation, Merling is exposed to nano-technology himself and Sulu and the others use phasers to vapourise him and the tech.

The Horta set to work with help from Scotty while Hannah faces down a mob of Exos after Kirk stuns their leader, council member Jasper Torn. The Horta also work out a way to strengthen and enlarge the shelters so all can take refuge. The Enterprise deflects most of the asteroid but the core strikes home, badly damaging the biosphere. Those in the shelters survive thanks to the Horta.

The Enterprise returns to Janus VI where the All Mother releases Spock from his obligation on one condition: Kirk helps the Horta become Federation members and also helps all those who wish it to join Starfleet Academy.



All MotherBalanBynumPavel ChekovCrumblecakeSlider DanFaberHannah FaberSimon FerleinEllen FreitagBellamy HoxHot-JohnJames T. KirkManuelMarlenaLeonard McCoyFrances MeredithJohan MerlingMissile-in-RockJohnny SanchezMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluJasper TornNyota UhuraDebra WeisskopfXart
Referenced only
DevilElaanSarah FaberEdith KeelerWinona KirkMarla McGiversMiramaneeMiriamIsaac NewtonPerkinsRudolfSarekKhan Noonien Singh


FussdesbergeGreat Chamber of the HortaHesse MountainsJanus VIOmega sectorVesbian systemVesbius
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AmerindAmerind systemArdanaBeta GeminorumCabellaChinaChicxulub craterColoradoDeneb IIEarthGoldilocks ZoneIowaJapanLa Garita CalderaLong IslandMontauk PointNew York CityNorth AmericaPhilos DPikes PeakRigeliusSan FranciscoShi'KahrSolStarbase 12Starfleet AcademyStratosToroTroyiusWarburton's World

Starships and vehicles

antigravity sledcarrier sledUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • merchant haulerRovershuttlecrafttunnel rover
Referenced only
USS ArcherBotany BayNoah's Arkseismic truck

Races and cultures

HortaHuman (AsianAustrianBavarianCanadianChineseCossackEuropeanJapaneseRussianScottishSwissTerranTurkVesbian) • Vulcan
Referenced only

States and organizations

Daily BuzzExosGem CollectorsHole DiggersMelter ClanRendar ArmorySand Blaster ClanSoviet UnionStar ClanStarfleetTunnel BorersUnited Federation of PlanetsUnited States of AmericaVesbian Planetary CouncilWater HoldersWater Sharers

Science and technology

acid rainadrenalineagricultureairlockantigrav craneantigrav stretcherantigravity liftantimatterantimatter bombatmosphereatomaurorabiologybiosphereblunderbussbombbrainbulletcarboncarbon dioxidecentimetercholeracode keycomacommunicatorcomputercomputer carddata slatedeflector shielddilithiumDNAdrone messenger capsuledrugduroceramic clampearthquakeecologyeggelectromagnetic pulseenergyentertainment tapeEV suitevolutionfertilizer bombfirefireworksforce fieldfountaingalaxygenetic engineeringgenomegigahertzgigatongravitygreenhouse effecthairhammerheadlamphearthemispherehorticulturehourhoverlighthurricanehyperspacehyposprayiceice ageimpulse engineinjector pistolintercomkilometerkilotonlaser scalpellavaLeonid meteor stormlife supportmacrobiologymagmamattermegatonmetermilemilitary nanotechnologymillimetermillisecondminingminutemoleculemonitormonofilamentneedleneutron starneutronic weightnuclear weaponoilorbitoxygenpergiumphaserphoton torpedophysiologypistolplasmapoisonpole starpulsarquantum interactionrailgunRendar Mark 7replicatorrescue airhornricketsrifleRigelian feversandstormscannerscissorssecondseismic sensorsensorshotgunsiliconsnowspacestarstarbasestarshipsubspacesubspace antennasubspace receiversubspace sensorsulfurtelepathyteratonthunderTNTtorpedotractor beamtransceivertranspondertransportertreadmilltricordertri-oxTsar bombtsunamiturboliftuniversevaccineviewscreenvitaminvolcanowarp drivewinch cablexenobiology

Ranks and titles

assassinastronomerbiologistbodyguardbureaucratcadetcaptainchancellorchief advisorchief engineerchief gendarmecommandercommander-in-chiefcommunications chiefconstruction workercookdoctorensignfarmerfire chieffirst officergenetic engineergeneticisthealerhelmsmanjewelerjournalistjudgejunior officerlieutenantmajormarksmanmercenarymerchantmining directormining engineerminernavigatorphysicianpolicemanpoliticianrecord keeperreportersamuraiscience officerscientistsecurity officersoldiertechnicianterroristtransporter chiefveterinarianwaiterweapons officerxenobiologist


alienanimalantbeanbeeBeginning Treebürste hennecaninecantaloupecarrotcattlecedarchickenchimpanzeecloud-dustercockroachdinosaurdogduckfernfroggraingreyhoundherbherbivorehoney beehumanoidmeelamelonmossoakpigplantpotatorosesalmonsehlatsheepspiceTellurian genta battreeturtlevegetablevulturewolf

Other references

216917th century20th century21st centuryalcoholanthropologyarchitectureArticle 17asteroidbasaltbathbeerThe Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomondbridgebrigbulkheadcandycargo bayCasablancacemeterycenturycivil warclaustrophobiacoffeecolonycometcratercrystaldemocracydiamonddollempathyengineeringEugenics WarsextinctionFederation Homestead Actfeldsparfirst contactfive-year missiongemstonegenocideGhost-in-the-Rockgravehelmethoneyinternment campironJefferies tubejigJilliekissklaxonknifelanding partylavagoblinlazy SusanlibrarylinguinelogicmarblesmatchaMesozoic Eramess hallmetalmeteormicrobial refresher towelmicrometeoritemilitiamillenniamind meldmoneymonthmoonmountainmusicnickelnightstickOperation Horta OverboardPandora's boxpastaphilosophyplanetplanetoidplasticpon farrprejudicePrime Directivepunchquartzrec roomrockrumsaltSaurian brandysciencescotchshuttlebaysickbayskeet shootingsquare dancestalactitesteelteathermoconcretethimbleTholian Webthree-dimensional chesstitaniumtransparent aluminumtransporter roomuniformVesbian aleVesbius TawlaVulcan Domination Conspiracy TheorywaltzwaterwhiskeywildfirewinewinterWorld War IIyearzombie



Published Order
Previous novel:
Allegiance in Exile
TOS novels Next novel:
The Weight of Worlds
Previous story:
First Star Trek novel
Stories by:
Tony Daniel
Next story:
Savage Trade
Chronological Order
Previous story:
The Chosen: Collision Course!
Voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) (2264 to 2270) Next story:
This Tree Bears Bitter Fruit



  • In the first chapter, Kirk notes that his crew had been together for three and a half years, and that they were more than halfway through their five-year mission.

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