- From the back cover
- Star Empire is the Federation's most powerful new weapon—a dreadnought, first in a class of super-starships—capable of outgunning a dozen Klingon cruisers, or subduing a galaxy.
- On the eve of her maiden voyage, Star Empire is stolen by terrorists who demand a rendezvous with the USS Enterprise—and with Lieutenant Piper, stationed aboard Kirk's ship on her first training cruise. Now Piper must discover why her friends from Starfleet are among the terrorists… and why they insist the ship was stolen not to attack the Federation—but to save it!
During her Kobayashi Maru test, Cadet Piper overloads the simulator by using a communicator to override her ship's computer. As a result, she comes closer than any other command cadet to beating the no-win scenario. At the request of Captain Kirk, who was observing the simulation, her new assignment is changed from the Magellan to the Enterprise.
Lieutenant Piper says farewell to her lover, Brian Silayna, an engineering cadet assigned to the Magellan. Shuttled to the Enterprise, she meets her new roommates: Telosirizharcrede (known as Osira), the Gorn ambassador's daughter; Judd "Scanner" Sandage, who works in starship services; and Dr. Merete AndrusTaurus, a Palkeo Est woman from Altair IV. The Enterprise has received a special dispatch from Starfleet Command, and quickly leaves the Sol system. Piper and the others are joined by Sarda, a Vulcan classmate of Piper at Starfleet Academy whom she inadvertently harmed in the past. Having been mistakenly assigned to her cabin, he wants as little to do with her as possible. After he leaves, Piper is called to the bridge.
On the bridge, Kirk and Spock tell Piper of the theft of the Federation dreadnought Star Empire by unknown Starfleet personnel. Starfleet Command has received a message from Star Empire containing Piper's biocode and giving the coordinates where Enterprise can rendezvous with the dreadnought. Piper takes part in a briefing room meeting with the senior staff and Sarda, who is working under Sulu in weapons. The Star Empire was the pet project of Vice-Admiral Vaughan Rittenhouse, who will be joining the Enterprise at the rendezvous point aboard the destroyer Pompeii.
After another unpleasant conversation with Sarda, Piper is joined in their quarters by Merete, who shows her a holographic tape of Piper's home planet, Proxima Beta. They discuss Sarda, who has been ostracized by fellow Vulcans since Piper ignorantly recommended him for a position in weapons design, not realizing this was a field contrary to Vulcan morals. In the Enterprise library, Piper and Merete view a holographic tape of the surface of Vulcan, then research Vulcan training curricula. Sarda has been trying to teach himself the Vulcan disciplines leading to Kolinahr, but has only attained the level of Sele-an-t'lee, several years behind where he should be.
The Enterprise arrives at the rendezvous point to find Star Empire being fired upon by four Klingon warbirds and already nearly destroyed. Enterprise engages the Klingon ships, one of which flees into a nearby asteroid belt. Kirk orders Piper to take over navigation and plot a seemingly suicidal course toward the Klingons, but she is too terrified to do so, and Ensign Meyers has to take over. After a battle in which Enterprise sustains significant damage but destroys one warbird, the real Star Empire emerges from the asteroids and destroys the remaining Klingon ships. The crippled dreadnought was only a projection. Enterprise is now surrounded by further projections of Star Empire. After Piper confirms her biocode, Star Empire responds to Enterprise's hails. Brian Silayna appears on the viewscreen with a message from Commander Paul Burch, requesting that an ambassadorial party, to include Piper and at least one Vulcan, beam over to Star Empire. Kirk refuses, and Spock has Piper arrested by Security for conspiring with terrorists.
Piper escapes her cabin by using a trick Brian taught her, disconnecting the fire alarm and then making it seem the room is burning, causing the door to open. She plans to beam over to Star Empire to learn what is going on, but Sarda finds her in the transporter room and tells her Star Empire has moved out of transporter range. They proceed to the main hangar deck, where Piper boards the two-man Arco Class fighter Wooden Shoe; Sarda insists on accompanying her. Piper realizes that Sarda invented the image projector, but that Rittenhouse took credit for it. Sarda has also developed a synergist which can turn atmospheric nitrogen poisonous. Piper orders Sarda to key Wooden Shoe's destruct code into their communicators with a fifteen-second delay. The Pompeii arrives and brings Wooden Shoe aboard with a tractor beam. Piper and Sarda are taken to meet Rittenhouse and his civilian liaison, Dr. Boma. Piper claims full responsibility for their unauthorized departure from Enterprise. Rittenhouse tells them Paul Burch was his assistant, and gradually became paranoid and unstable. Kirk contacts Rittenhouse, who suggests that he leave the sector if he is uncomfortable with the prospect of killing those aboard Star Empire. Kirk politely declines, pointing out that the hijackers specifically requested the presence of Enterprise. Piper becomes suspicious of Rittenhouse, and when she and Sarda are left alone they use the computer to find evidence that Rittenhouse is the leader of a conspiracy within Starfleet. Piper tries to contact Kirk to warn him not to leave, but Rittenhouse and Boma re-enter the room, having been listening. Boma leads Piper and Sarda away at phaser-point; the two young officers knock him out and attempt to escape, but Piper is stunned by a phaser blast.
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- James T. Kirk • Spock • Montgomery Scott • Hikaru Sulu • Uhura • Piper • Sarda • Judd Sandage • Merete AndrusTaurus • Telosirizharcrede • Vaughan Rittenhouse • Booth • Paul Burch • Brian Silayna • Broxon • Illya Galina • Stephen Leedson • Page • Sukaru Tutakai • Roy Nash • Josephson • Samuel Boma
- Referenced only
- Ran Armstrong • Lu Sing Quaid • Chirita Dur Tahr • Elizabeth Connolly • Stav • Irene Fogel-Malone • Susan Yin • Adeb ben Abdullah • Niditoricumtu Ro • Nigel Swenson • T'Veen • Lyras • Tal Luxur • Surak • Nal Eiili • Harrison • Selok • Mandala Flynn • Li Quan • Scorus • T'Vish • T'Enne • Prisu • Seltar
Starships and vehicles
- USS Enterprise • USS Majestic • USS Ramage • USS Embassy • USS Valiant • USS Liberty • USS Magellan (Galaxy class) • USS Pompeii (Saladin-class) • USS Star Empire (Mk-X class I Federation dreadnought) • Honey Bun (Arco class attack sled) • USS Potempkin • USS Hornet • Polliwog (Tycho class fighter) • Romulan battlecruiser
Planets and planetoids
- Altair IV • Cestus • Earth • Memory Alpha • Memory Gamma • Proxima • Proxima II • Proxima Alpha • Proxima Beta • Rigel • Romulus • Tholus • Vulcan • Wren's Planet
States and organizations
- United Federation of Planets • United Nations Sol System • United Planets of 61 Cygni • Epsilon Indii Star Empire • First Federation • Camborn Sector Alliance • Pelius Coalition • Aggregation of Rigellian Systems • Alpha Centauri Concordium • Planetary Confederation of 40 Eridani • Altair Quadrant • Vulcan Science Academy
- 2270 • Explorations • Analysis of Pseudodoxy • auxiliary control • captain • command authorization code • communicator • cruiser • katra • Kobayashi Maru scenario • Kolinahr • lieutenant • sailing • Sele-an-t'lee • self destruct • tribble • Venlinahr • viewscreen
- As later with Battlestations!, the cover depicts Piper as modeled by Diane Carey and Sarda is depicted as Greg Brodeur.
- Author Diane Carey used several names and reference from the Star Fleet Technical Manual in creating "Dreadnought!", among them the USS Hornet, the (misspelled) USS Potempkin, the Saladin-class of vessel and the eponymous dreadnought. Also utilized were several of that reference's starship names, as characters, including the USS Rittenhouse, USS Sandage and, in part, the USS Sardar (i.e. Sarda).
Crisis on Centaurus
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