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A mysterious alien attack cripples both the Enterprise and Dr. McCoy!


A merchant ship's frantic S.O.S. sends the Enterprise speeding to the rescue! But the starship's mission of mercy soon becomes a desperate struggle of survival against a nightmarish enemy Captain Kirk can neither identify nor understand, an enemy he must defeat without the aid of one of his most trusted officers.
For the Leonard McCoy Kirk knew is gone. In his place stands a stranger—a man with no memory of his Starfleet career, his family, his friends or the one thing James T. Kirk needs most of all…
His dreams.


While on a stopover at the Wagner Trading Post, the Enterprise is asked to investigate reports of an attack by the Klingons on a group of Frenii merchant ships. The ship arrives to find one Frenii ship destroyed. Sensors show the other ship is crewed by an unknown alien species, who crash it into the Enterprise in a suicide run, badly damaging the ship and destroying a warp nacelle, meaning they are forced to set course back to the Wagner outpost at impulse power.

Meanwhile, McCoy gets drunk after reading some personal correspondence and ignores a warning after a gravity shift, falling and hitting his head. Although the physical damage is minimal, when he recovers he has lost twenty-five years of memory and is unable to recall joining Starfleet. Kirk is forced to relieve him of duty, with him accepting a role as a volunteer paramedic aboard the ship. McCoy and Spock learn his depression was the result of learning his ex-wife was remarrying. McCoy sees his older self as a failure and sees no reason to recover his memories, embarking on a relationship with another of the medical staff, Diana Dyson.

The Enterprise discovers the Klingon ship Falchion adrift with no crew. Since it is in better condition than the Enterprise, Sulu is given a skeleton crew to use the ship as an armed escort. Their mysterious attackers, who the crew have dubbed the "Ravens", attack the ship in first a series of fighters and then a carrier ship, but subterfuge allows the Enterprise and the Falchion to destroy both ships.

McCoy suddenly realises the Ravens are a species he heard of while working as a resident, described by the raving sole survivor of a shuttle crew. They ingest both the brains and bodies of living creatures, gaining the memories and the ability to mimic those they eat. Kirk realises the original report of a Klingon attack was from another controlled ship and that the Ravens have now taken over Wagner.

McCoy volunteers to join a team led by Spock that infiltrate Wagner while the Enterprise draws the fighter ships away. They encounter the Ravens, who have adopted the persona of the people they ingested. Using information the survivor related to him, McCoy manages to sever the links of the aliens' dual brains, allowing the persona of those they killed to become dominant. One of them, the Falchion's commander Kyron, sacrifices himself by giving the Falchion a lock to beam a torpedo into the Ravens' Queen, killing it.

After the Queen's death, the surviving Ravens are left with the personalities of the victims they ingested; however, Spock is badly injured in the explosion. Kirk insists McCoy joins acting chief medical officer Cortejo in surgery and, when Cortejo proves unable to save him, McCoy's original memories resurface and allow him to perform the operation, at the cost of all of his memories incurred since the accident.



Eduardo Cortejo AlvarezArcherAzizBeckerBensonBenusPavel ChekovClareJuan CruzSean DePaulDorfDiana DysonEllisonSteven FrazerFrielDavid GallowayKyron gentai-HannHoffmanKathJames T. KirkKraftLeonard McCoyNelsonElizabeth PalmerPrusinowskiRiveraRussellMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluTajiriTakeokaTimmoNyota Uhura
Referenced only
Klingon emperorPeter KirkT'rallWallace

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • IKF Falchion (D32-class) • USS Farragut (Constitution-class) • USS Lexington (Constitution-class) • Saucy LadySelessanStellar StormTennet FiveVegan Trade ShipVerella


BeleniiBrellian IVKlinzhaiTyrelliVulcanWagner Trading Post

Races and cultures


States and organizations

House of KotzherKlingon EmpireKlingon Military CouncilTyrellian Fourth DynastyTyrellian Fifth DynastyUnited Federation of Planets

Other references

Altair waterasteroidcometcreditdemmaOrion languageRed NovaRiskelian mescalsteigelwhite dwarfyellow star


IKF Falchion begins its patrol of the area in and around the Belenii star system.
2268 (stardate 5302.1)
Falchion is contacted by the Ravens, USS Enterprise leaves Wagner Outpost to respond to the merchant distress call.





published order
Previous novel:
Deep Domain
TOS numbered novels Next novel:
Rihannsu, Book 2:
The Romulan Way
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
And the Children Shall Lead
Pocket Next Adventure:
Spock's Brain
Previous Adventure:
And the Children Shall Lead
Voyages of the
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
(2264 to 2270)
Next Adventure:
Spock's Brain

External links