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From the back cover: When a covert Elasian mining operation interferes with a Federation geological expedition, Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise are dispatched to the planet Rakatan to mediate between the rival parties. The Elasian Dohlman claims that the planet and its dilithium deposits are hers. But the geologists warn that if Rakatan Mons - the galaxy's largest stratovolcano - should erupt while the Elasians are mining its flanks, no amount of dilithium will save them.

While Lt. Commander Uhura and a landing party struggle to determine if the Dohlman's claim is true, Captain Kirk puts his ship on the line to keep the two sides from each other's throats. Soon, however, concerns over the planet's ownership are overshadowed by the arrival of a hostile Elasian armada and a cataclysmic volcanic explosion on the surface that threatens all parties with a deadly shower of destruction...



AshcraftFlorence BascombBhuttoChristine ChapelPavel ChekovHowardIsraiJames T. KirkJohn KyleLemieuxLeonard McCoyWendy MetcalfeScott MutchlerMurphyObenMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluTakcasNyota UhuraZhirnen
Referenced only
AlaisBejasLance CartwrightElaanKiyaanKutathPetriSkuahTeslahWywras

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • EsarGamow (shuttle)


the galaxyJohnston ObservatoryMazama MonsRakatanRakatan MonsSeismic Station ThreeSkaftar
Referenced only
AustraliaEarthElasJapanMount EverestSan FranciscoStarfleet HeadquartersTroyius

Races and cultures

ElasianHuman (Russian) • Vulcan
Referenced only

States and organizations


Science and technology

airlockairatmospherebloodcloudcommunicatordilithiumenvironmental suitgalaxyhelmet lamphourkeypadkilometerlamplightlightningmagmaminingminutephaserpistolpower conduitspacestarshipstratovolcanosuit commtimetoothtricordervisual displayvolcanowarp nacellewater vapor

Ranks and titles

captaindoctorDohlmanfirst officergeologistlieutenant commander

Other references

access codebeltbucketcenturycorridordayemergency blanketequipment beltfaceplateglovehelmetholsterlanding partymonthplanetsentientshuttle baytransparent aluminumuniformwaterweaponyear


There are several references to volcanoes and vulcanologists in this novel

  • Rakatan, the name of both the planet and the large volcano on the planet, is a reference to Rakata, the largest surviving piece of Krakatoa after the eruption of 1883.[1]
  • Skaftar, the name of Rakatan's moon, is a reference to the Skaftar Fires, the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki in 1783.[2]
  • Mazama Mons, another volcano on Rakatan, is named after Mt Mazama, a volcano in Oregon, USA.[3]
  • Johnston Observatory is a reference to David A. Johnston,[4] a USGS vulcanologist killed in the 1980 eruption of Mount St Helens in the USA. Scott Mutchler's final words "Enterprise! Enterprise! This is it-" is a reference to Johnston's final words "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it-"[5]


Published Order
Previous novel:
The Great Starship Race
TOS numbered novels Next novel:
The Patrian Transgression
Previous story:
Death Count
Stories by:
L.A. Graf
Next story:
Traitor Winds
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Pawns and Symbols
Chapters 5-7
Pocket Books Timeline Next adventure:
Ice Trap
Previous adventure:
Pawns and Symbols
Chapters 5-7
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh
Chapters 19-21