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Probe—an epic length novel that at last picks up the story of the USS Enterprise and her crew where Star Trek IV left off. A novel that reveals the secrets behind the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Earth—and whose reappearence now send Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and their shipmates hurtling into unparalleled danger… an unsurpassed discovery…
Winds of change are sweeping the galaxy. The Romulan praetor is dead, and with his passing, the Empire he ruled is in chaos. Now, on a small planet in the heart of the Neutral Zone, representatives of the United Federation of Planets and the Empire have gathered to discuss initiating an era of true peace…
But the talks are disrupted by a sudden defection—but as accusations of betrayal and treachery swirl around the conference table, news of the probe's reappearance in Romulan space arrives. And the Enterprise crew find themselves headed for a final confrontation with not only the probe—but the Romulan Empire.


After the mysterious reappearance of the primitives on the blue planet, the alien Probe moves toward the Romulan Neutral Zone. After its departure from Earth, Starfleet ordered a mission profile be conducted as to who sent it and why it was sent. Spock visits George and Gracie to find out if they know any more about the Probe; they anticipate its return in the near future. Dajan, a Romulan archeologist, is informed that all scientific missions have been recalled. Meeting with Admiral Cartwright and the Federation President at Starfleet Command, Captain James T. Kirk hears a report from a Romulan source that the Praetor is dead. Jandra, Dajan's twin sister and a gifted musician, performs at the Praetor's funeral.

Captain's Log, Stardate 8475.3: What was once known only to Starfleet Command is now common knowledge: the Romulan Praetor, said by some to have been "third in rank but first in power" in governing the Empire, is dead...

The Romulans have proposed a peace conference and cultural exchange on Temaris Four, an uninhabited world; they deny the Probe's existence. Dajan and Jandra are reunited for the first time in five years, having been restored to Orthodox status by the government. The Romulan Bird-of-Prey Galtizh, captained by Commander Hiran, is assigned to the conference. An Interim Committee has assumed the Praetor's duties. The Romulans demand that Ambassador Sarek not represent the Federation at the conference; Sarek's protégé, Commander Kevin Riley, is chosen instead. Temaris Four is a major archeological site, the largest remnant of the Erisian Ascendancy, untouched for a hundred years because it lies in the Neutral Zone; a joint excavation will be part of the conference. The Romulans request the participation of Dr. Audrea Benar, a human archeologist who was tortured on Kalis Three by Romulans who killed the rest of her team, including her brother. She has rebuilt her life using Vulcan mental techniques and is now a rehearsal conductor with the New York Philharmonic. Uhura speaks to Benar, who agrees to the request. Jandra's husband, Centurion Tiam, is assigned as delegate to the conference, to which Jandra will accompany him aboard the Galtizh.

Captain's Log, Stardate 8478.4: The Enterprise and its crew continue to prepare for departure...

Andrew Penalt, a famous and arrogant composer and conductor, beams aboard to lead the orchestra the Enterprise is bringing to the cultural exchange. Jandra hopes there will be a piano aboard the Enterprise; she once learned to play one that was a trophy of the Romulan War. Kirk meets Riley's aide, the nervous Ensign Ryan Handler. The Enterprise leaves spacedock and receives word that a moderate faction controls the Interim Committee. The Probe is on course to enter Romulan space at the time the Enterprise and Galtizh arrive at Temaris Four. Spock briefs the senior staff on Hiran's career: he put down a rebellion with only one casualty, his first officer and wife. Kirk asks Sulu to keep an eye on Benar while she is on the planet with the Romulan archeologists. The Probe approaches another world inhabited by primitives.

Captain's Log, Stardate 8488.7: Word has come from the First Federation vessel Guarnerius that the Probe has suddenly crossed the Neutral Zone and entered Romulan space, abandoning any pretense of being out for a "stroll"...

Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Riley and Benar beam down to Temaris Four to meet the Romulans: Hiran, Tiam, Dajan, Subcommander Feric (Hiran's first officer), and Tiam's aides, Subcenturions Jutak and Kital. Hiran offers to give Kirk a tour of his ship if Kirk does the same for him. At a reception aboard the Enterprise, Kirk notices Kital give Hiran a look of hatred. Penalt gives a piano recital, a thunderously physical performance. Tiam congratulates him and asks if Jandra might play. She performs the same piece with which Penalt concluded in a more delicate manner which earns a far more enthusiastic ovation. Kital suggests that Tiam remind Hiran that he, Tiam, is the one empowered to negotiate. Back aboard the Galtizh, Jandra decides to defect; she tells Dajan, who has made the same decision.

Dr. Benar and Dajan start archeological work together on the planet's surface. Benar hopes that her Vulcan mental training will still allow her to maintain "halting mastery over her emotions" while she works closely alongside the Romulan. She is surprised to learn that Dajan has heard via unofficial information sources about her theories regarding the Erisian cultural remains on Temaris and other similar worlds.

Commander Hiran asks Kirk if the Probe, whose existence the Romulan government currently denies, is real; Kirk assures him that it is. Hiran admits to Kirk that he hopes for peace. He never really wanted a military career, but it was one of the few ways for him to escape his provincial origins. He acknowledges that the Romulan government does not speak with one voice even at the best of times. At the moment there is a power struggle within the government - but "when is there not?" Formal negotiations between Kevin Riley and Ambassador Tiam begin, but quickly break down when Tiam refused to acknowledge the Probe's existence. If they cannot agree about this "inarguable reality", Riley says, there is no point even trying to discuss issues where there is room for legitimate disagreement.

Sulu, who was initially unaware that Dr. Benar and Dajan had already commenced their work together, transports to close to Dr. Benar's location and arrives just in time to help her overcome a nasty flashback. It turns out that Dajan's brother was Reelan, the leader of the Romulan team on Kalis Three. Dajan recounts how his parents were forced to commit ritual suicide, and he and Jandra were exiled, following the Kalis Three affair. His and Jandra's sudden rehabilitation was something of a surprise to him. It is evident that someone wanted to create a potentially volatile situation. Benar says that, although now fully aware of the situation, she would like to continue to work together with Dajan. Dajan says that he would be honored. They resume their archeological work with renewed vigor. Within a structure that Dr. Benar calls an "Exodus Hall", they find a pedestal containing a sort of memory crystal. Dajan agrees that it can be transported to the Enterprise for analysis.

The Probe destroys some Romulan outposts on the planet Wlaariivi as well as a couple of Romulan ships, and then changes course, heading directly back to Earth. Diplomatic talks resume. Tiam admits the existence of the Probe. Since it has slaughtered thousands of Romulans on Wlaariivi and then headed directly back to Federation space, it appears from a Romulan point-of-view to be under Federation control. Tiam demands that Riley provide an acknowledgement of responsibility and an apology, but Riley cannot of course meet this demand. Negotiations break off more angrily than before.

Riley now learns that there is a situation on the planet's surface. He beams down to find Kirk and Hiran unconsious. He himself is attacked by a Romulan with a laser. Kirk comes round. It turns out that Subcenturion Jutak had fired on Kirk and Hiran with a phaser set to stun, had then attacked Riley, and that Kital has killed Jutak.

Dajan and Jandra have run out of time. If they are going to defect, they must do it now. Back on the Enterprise, Kirk is not especially pleased: the defections will certainly derail the peace negotiations if they are not already derailed. Tiam does not seem surprised by the fact that Hiran is still alive. This indicates to Hiran that Tiam is not an active party to whatever conspiracy is afoot. Talks resume, with Kirk now representing the Federation since Riley is incapacitated. Things are interrupted by a message from Starbase 13. The Probe's new course will take it less than a light year from Temaris. The Starbase transmits audio from the Probe and - because of her musical training - Jandra is able to recognize patterns in it.

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Audrea BenarLance CartwrightChristine ChapelPavel ChekovDajanDarcyCarmen EspinozaFericGeorgeGracieRyan HandlerHiranJandraJenyuJutakJames T. KirkKitalKittayLeonard McCoyAndrew PenaltKevin RileySarekMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluTiamNyota Uhura
Referenced only 
Ludwig van BeethovenLeonard BernsteinLermaLiberaceGary MitchellParnellRenSalet

Starships and vehicles

AzmuthCetacean ProbeUSS Enterprise-AflitterGaltizh (Romulan bird-of-prey)
Referenced only 
GuarneriusHenzuShalyarunnamed Borg cubesunnamed Romulan starships


Creator homeworldEarth (AustraliaCoral SeaGolden Gate ParkGreat Barrier ReefSan FranciscoStarfleet Headquarters) • Romulan Neutral ZoneRomulus (Hall of Columns) • Temaris IVWlaariivi
Referenced only 
AlaskaEdris pulsarEl CapitanGeorgiaJanus VIKalis IIIKruzaak's WorldOrphane star clusterSalzburgStarbase 13SydneyTarsus IVTokyoViennaYosemite National Park

Races and cultures

HumanHumpback whaleRomulanVulcanWlaariivian
Referenced only 

States and organizations

Borg CollectiveErisian AscendancyFederationFirst FederationNew Cetacean InstituteNew York PhilharmonicRomulan Imperial FleetRomulan Star EmpireStarfleet

Science and technology

ice agephaserproberobotstarship

Ranks and titles

admiralambassadorarchaeologistcaptaincenturioncommanderdoctorEmperor's LegateFederation Presidentfirst officermusicianPraetorsubcenturionsubcommander

Other references

archaeologyBook of Deathbowlingbowling alleycelloCrystal WisdomdolphinfuneralgovernmentMaster Dominion Pandect for Martial Crisispianoplanetsea gullSymphony for the Ninetlakyrrtransparent aluminumTrue LanguagewhalewhalesongWinnowing




Published Order
Previous novel:
Prime Directive
TOS novels Next novel:
Best Destiny
Previous story:
Strangers from the Sky
Stories by:
Margaret Wander Bonanno
Next story:
Catalyst of Sorrows
Previous story:
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Stories by:
J.M. Dillard (uncredited)
Next story:
Previous story:
Stories by:
Gene DeWeese (uncredited)
Next story:
Into the Nebula
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
In the Name of Honor
Pocket Books Timeline Next adventure:
Chapter 14, Section 2
Previous adventure:
"Trial and Error!"
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Chapter 14, Section 2