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While testing a new shielding device, the USS Enterprise is caught in the middle of a Klingon/Romulan battle. When the Enterprise crew rescues a lifepod, they are confronted by a Klingon who claims to know nothing of human existence. Convinced the Klingon is telling the truth, Captain Kirk hurries to Starfleet Headquarters in search of answers. But upon arriving on Earth, the starship Enterprise crew finds that Earth is a vast jungle-like paradise where large, reptilian animals rule ... with no signs of human life anywhere. Now Kirk must travel to the past in search of the key to the mystery - or face the destruction of the human race.




AurDale BannonGaston BarnesPavel ChekovDeweyEmmendorfHardyJames T. KirkLouise LaCerraElizabeth LingMacGuinnessLeonard McCoyDouglas NewmanNourredineOyaOzurPhillipsReenieRhulaMark RiceRothRusaMontgomery ScottErica SmithSovaSpockHikaru SuluTemronNyota UhuraVernonWilliams
Referenced only
Robert AprilZefram Cochrane

Starships and vehicles

USS EnterpriseUSS ExeterUSS FarragutT'Lom
Referenced only
USS John Rockland


Earth (BangkokBostonGeorgiaLondonLos AngelesNew YorkSan Francisco) • Izell
Referenced only
ArgentinaArizonaChixulub craterColoradoEnglandIndonesiaJupiterMexicoMoroccoRigelStarbase 10UtahWyomingYucatan

Races and cultures

Clan RuHuman (Native American) • KlingonRomulanVulcan
Referenced only

States and organizations

Romulan Imperial GuardStarfleetUnited Federation of PlanetsVulcan High Council

Prehistoric lifeforms

AlamosaurusammoniteAnatotitanAnkylosaurusApatosaurusarchosaurbrachiosaurBrontosaurusceratopsidcycadDeinonychusdinosaurdromaeosaurornithichiapachycephalosaurPentaceratopspterosaursauropodStegosaurustheropodThescelosaurustitanosaurTorosaurusTriceratopstroodonTyrannosaurus rexUtahraptorVelociraptor

Other references

asteroidbirdcosmic stringCretaceousdinosauroidfrogGuardian of ForeverhorseJurassicmammalnautilusostrichpaleontologyphaserphoton torpedoreptilesalamanderSecretary of the Vulcan High Councilsoulspikerturkeyuniversal translatorwar gameX-ray


  • In one of his anecdotal footnotes from Danse Macabre [1], Stephen King remarked that this very same story idea was proposed by author Harlan Ellison as the subject for the first Star Trek film; the Enterprise would travel back in time to discover they were in this alternate dinosaur reality, and would have to make the moral decision whether to destroy that reality in favor of their own. The story goes that one of the producers was fascinated by the Mayan calendar, insisted that Ellison include that in the story (which he insisted had no relevance), and after some argument, Ellison walked out in a huff.



published order
Previous novel:
The Fearful Summons
TOS numbered novels Next novel:
The Captain's Daughter
Previous novel:
The Search
Novels by:
Diane Carey
Next novel:
The Way of the Warrior
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Plato's Stepchildren
Pocket Next Adventure:
Wink of an Eye
Previous Adventure:
Plato's Stepchildren
Voyages of the
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
(2264 to 2270)
Next Adventure:
Wink of an Eye
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2268.
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in one other timeframe:
Previous Adventure:
The Escape
Chapters 12, 17, 19 & 23
64,018,143 BC
Chapters 23-38
Next Adventure:
Spock's World
Vulcan: Two