- THE YEAR IS 2311
- It is a year of infamy, a year that later generations will remember as one that altered the course of history at the cost of thousands of lives. It is the year of the Tomed Incident, and its tale can at last be told.
- In the midst of escalating political tensions among the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Federation, Starfleet goes forward with the inaugural flight of Universe, a prototype starship that promises to revolutionize space exploration. But the Universe experiment results in disaster, ravaging a region of space dangerously close to the Romulan Star Empire, apparently confirming suspicions that the Federation has begun testing a weapon of mass destruction.
- As the military buildup accelerates on both sides of the Neutral Zone, Captain John Harriman of the Federation flagship U.S.S. Enterprise™ NCC-1701-B is fated for a final confrontation with his oldest enemy at a flashpoint in history -- with the Beta Quadrant one wrong move from the outbreak of total war.
"There is an old Romulan saying that tells that if all around you lies in ruins, either fault yourself, or seek the serpent. Are you the serpent?" -Aventeer Vokar
The three major powers in the Alpha Quadrant are in a state of tension. The Klingon Empire has been severely weakened by the destruction of Praxis eighteen years ago, and has been receiving Federation aid since then. Meanwhile, the Romulans have been expanding their empire, pushing their borders closer to that of the Federation every day. Most Admirals in Starfleet believe that a second Federation/Romulan war is inevitable. To make matters worse, there are those in the Klingon Empire who believe that they have been at peace for too long, and seek to regain the former glory of their Empire.
This story focuses on the crew of the USS Enterprise-B, which has been serving as the Federation Flagship for the last eighteen years. It is assigned to the patrol the Foxtrot sector, along the Romulan Neutral Zone, and at the forefront of a brewing war.
The story opens with members of the USS Enterprise-B senior staff on a duck blind mission on the planet Koltaari. Disguised as natives, they attempt to discover the source of a planet-wide dampening field that the pre-warp natives should not have the technology to create. It is then revealed that the Romulans are responsible for this when their flagship descends into the atmosphere and begins bombing the planet. The Enterprise crew tries to rescue as many natives from the fire as they can while they meet and prepare to return to the ship. After a brief skirmish with Aventeer Vokar, the crew is able to return to the Enterprise. It is noted that Koltaari is a resource-rich planet in disputed territory, and its occupation by the Romulans greatly increases tension in the region.
The story then jumps forward a few months and the Enterprise is making a routine rendezvous with the USS Agamemnon and Space Station KR-3, under the command of Captain Harriman's love interest Amina Sasine. Crew members are constantly being rotated on and off the thirteen outposts in the Foxtrot sector and the Enterprise is transporting classified equipment to the outposts. The Enterprise is then ordered to escort and supervise the testing of the new prototype hyperwarp ship USS Universe.
Meanwhile, tense negotiations are underway between the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. A new Federation/Romulan war is thought to be inevitable, however both sides are considered evenly matched and assistance from the Klingons will be necessary in order to ensure a decisive victory. The main topic at this point is banning the use of a metaweapon or isolytic subspace weapons, one of which was responsible for the destruction of the Romulan planet Algeron III some time ago.
The Enterprise arrives in the Bonneville Flats, and along with the USS Ad Astra and USS Canaveral, proceeds to supervise the USS Universe as she makes the jump to hyperwarp. Unfortunately, something goes wrong and the ship appears to explode right after hyperwarp is achieved. The explosion also damages the Ad Astra, critically injuring Admiral Blackjack Harriman. The Romulan flagship IRW Tomed, under the command of Aventeer Vokar, is cloaked within sensor range, detects the explosion of the Universe, mistakes it as the testing of a Starfleet metaweapon, and rushes news of this back to Romulus.
News of a Starfleet metaweapon shakes up the negotiations quite a bit, and the Klingons declare that they will fight for peace; meaning that they will declare war on whichever side makes the first strike. Meanwhile, Captain Harriman attempts to cope with what seems to be the inevitable death of his father.
The story then jumps back probably about 20 years to when John Harriman held the rank of Lieutenant and served as the helmsman of the USS Hunley. Hunley is responding to a distress call from the freighter SS Dakota, which has accidentally crossed into Romulan Space and struck a mine. Hunley arrives at approximately the same time as the Romulan Cruiser Daami, under the command of Admiral Aventeer Vokar. Hunley asks to repair the ship and tow it back into Federation space, and Daami responds by firing on the Hunley. The Hunley is severely outgunned by Daami and a hull breach eventually kills most of the senior officers. While Vokar lowers the shields of the Daami in order to beam over a boarding party to capture the remaining Hunley crew, Lt. Harriman beams to the bridge of the Daami and holds Vokar at gunpoint. Harriman is successful in capturing the Daami crew and recovering the Hunley. Due to his failure, the ambitious Vokar is demoted all the way down to Sublieutenant.
Back in the present, two Starfleet Special Operations Officers, Drysi Gravenor and Elias Vaughn, arrive in order to join Captain John Harriman on a mission into the Neutral Zone. Harriman orders the Enterprise to proceed to the Neutral Zone and rendezvous with the Tomed, which will escort Enterprise to the peace negotiations where the specifications of the Universe will be given to both the Romulans and Klingons to prove that the project was never intended for use as a metaweapon. Harriman then temporarily relinquishes command of Enterprise to Commander Demora Sulu, saying only that he will be staying behind at Algeron, and also that he keeps thinking about Iron Mike Paris.
While leaving Algeron and being escorted from Romulan Space, the Enterprise suffers a radiation leak due to an impulse engine failure. Tomed lowers shields and prepares to help evacuate the ship. At this point, Harriman, Gravenor, and Vaughn beam over to Tomed in order to begin their covert mission: a sabotage and seizure of the Romulan Flagship.
Still curious about Harriman's words, Sulu looks up Paris' personal record. She is confused when the record lists that he still serves as executive officer on the USS Agamemnon when she watched him die a year ago on covert mission to Devron II. Demora takes this information to Admiral Mentir, suspecting a Romulan spy is at work. Mentir reveals that there was a spy on the Enterprise, Lt. Grayson Trent, chief computer scientist. However, Harriman discovered this soon after Trent set foot on the vessel. Mentir then decides to recruit Sulu and the Enterprise for the covert mission Harriman is currently on. While here, Demora stops by to check on Blackjack, barely conscious, who chides Sulu's father for breaking regulations and refers to his son as weak and ungrateful. Meanwhile, General Kaarg warns Azetbur that Gorak is planning to challenge her and offers to defend her were that to occur.
The sabotage is successful and Tomed suffers a containment field breakdown in the quantum singularity powering her warp drive. Tomed's engineers note that the containment field breakdown can be slowed but not stopped. Vokar orders Tomed's course to be changed so it is not heading towards any populated systems and then gives the order to abandon ship. The entire crew departs save for Vokar, Linavil, and three engineers, who try to slow down the containment field breakdown and apprehend those that sabotaged the ship, as Vokar is convinced they must still be on board. The special ops team is met with resistance by the Romulan engineers, but is still successful in capturing the cloaking device, a shuttle, and gaining control of the vessel. Vokar and the engineers are captured while Linivil is killed in combat by Elias Vaughn. After altering the course of Tomed to the Foxtrot Sector, Harriman gives the Romulans the option of capture or remaining on the doomed Tomed; two of the engineers agree to be captured, and are then killed by Vokar and Akeev. Harriman stuns both of them, and only Vokar has recovered by the time Harriman, Gravenor, and Vaughn plan to depart in the shuttle Liss Riehn. Harriman and Vokar share a few parting words, and Vokar stays behind on the Tomed.
Enterprise detects Tomed heading towards the Foxtrot Sector with the failing containment field, but neither Enterprise or Agamemnon is able to stop the ship. The field finally collapses in the system, resulting in a subspace shockwave that destroys all thirteen outposts and the Agamemnon, a total loss of four thousand lives. Apparently. In truth, no one was actually present on any of these outposts or on the Agamemnon. All Starfleet personnel had been rotated off and replaced officially by officers who had died in covert missions, and thus their deaths were not recorded. The same was true for the Universe as well. Just before the shockwave hits, Demora Sulu carries out her part of the plan, which was beaming the special ops team off the shuttle before it was torn apart by the shockwave.
Nevertheless, the Tomed Incident is recorded as an act of terrorism initiated by Aventeer Vokar with the attempt to start a war with the Federation. In the aftermath, the Federation and Klingons begin massing ships at the Romulan Neutral Zone. The Romulans propose the Treaty of Algeron: they will agree to leave the planet of Koltaari if the Federation agrees to abandon research on cloaking technology. The treaty is signed and the Romulans withdraw into their borders.
Back on Qo'noS, the attack Azetbur was warned of finally occurs. General Gorak attempts to assassinate Azetbur, but is killed by Morahg, one of Kaarg's men. It is then revealed that Morahg is actually Ditagh in disguise, and murders Azetbur in order to ensure that General Kaarg will rise to the position of Chancellor.
Finally, the crew of the Enterprise throws a party for Borona Fenn as she will soon be departing for the Frunalian homeworld. Captain Harriman announces to Demora Sulu that he will relinquish command of Enterprise to her and suggests that she choose Xintal Linojj as her executive officer. Harriman departs the Enterprise and proposes to Amina Sasine while the ship departs on a mission to explore an uncharted region of space, the Röntgen Wall.
- Akeev • Anner'namin • Azetbur • Bexx • Jack Breshar • Rafaele Buonarroti • Ditagh/Moragh • DeYoung • Elvia • Paulo Endara • Borona Fenn • Gorak • Gorreg • Drysi Gravenor • Grinager • John Harriman • John "Blackjack" Harriman • Hiren • Gell Kamemor • Kaarg • Kage • Ramesh Kanchumurthi • Kest • Kuron • Latasa (Doctor) • Renka Linavil • Linneus • Xintal Linojj • Gabe Márquez • Los Tirasol Mentir • Morahg • Uta Morell • N'Mest • Vorex Ontken • Ranek • Renk • Revik • Rinla • Esteban Rodriguez • Amina Sasine • Murray Sperber • Demora Sulu • Tenger • Tolek • Grayson Trent • Alira T'Sil • Rennis Valin • Van Riper • Elias Vaughn • Verant • Vinok • Aventeer Vokar • Rentikin Voldat • Merken Vreenak
- Referenced only
- Aerel • Buzz Aldrin • Neil Armstrong • Benzon • Zultu Bini • Frank Capra • Alexei Chernin • Civita • Zefram Cochrane • Creyn • Greer Garson • Raban Gedroe • Gorkon • Kahless the Unforgettable • James T. Kirk • Adrienn Kuwano • Susan Ling • Verna Mitrios • Morath • Cole Paris • Michael Thomas Paris • Ravent • Claudine Robinson • Roneg • Victoria Santos • Saren-Sah • Doris Seaver • Margaret Sinclair-Alexander • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Surak • T'Prel • Ventin • Orville Wright • Wilbur Wright
Colonies and planetary locations
- Aboisso • Africa • Bonneville Salt Flats • First City • Great Basin • Great Hall • Hume Township • Kill Devil Hill • Jennita • Martian Colonies • North Carolina • Outer Banks • Peragoit ruins • République de Côte d'Ivoire • Rubicon • Temple of Molgar • Temple of Rogax • Wales
Outposts and space stations
- Foxtrot Outpost (Foxtrot I • Foxtrot II • Foxtrot III • Foxtrot IV • Foxtrot V • Foxtrot VI • Foxtrot VII • Foxtrot VIII • Foxtrot IX • Foxtrot X • Foxtrot XI • Foxtrot XII • Foxtrot XIII) • Helaspont Station • Romulan Space Station Algeron • Space Station KR-3 • Starbase 77 • Starbase 189 • Starbase Iridani
Planets and planetoids
- Algeron III • Alonis • Alpha Centauri • Altair IV • Argelius II • Askalon V • Canopus Planet • Catulla • Cort • Devron II • Earth • Ganalda IV • Glintara • Koltaari • Luna • Marris III • Mars • Pacifica • Praxis • Qo'noS • Romulus • Terix II
Stars and star systems
- Achernar • Algeron System • Algorab • Belak • Chaltok • D'Deridex • Devoras • Gasko • Nequencia • Tranome Sar • Unroth
- Alpha Quadrant • Arandra Entry • Beta Quadrant • Bonneville Flats • Echo sector • Foxtrot sector • Romulan Neutral Zone
Starships and vehicles
- USS Ad Astra • USS Agamemnon (Odysseus-class) • USS Allegiance • Andoria • USS Aspire • USS Canaveral • USS Colombia • D7-class • IRW Daami (Ventarix-class) • SS Dakota (freighter) • D'Vorix-class • USS Enterprise-B • USS Excelsior • USS Hunley • Liss Ornahj (Romulan shuttlecraft) • Liss Riehn (Romulan shuttlecraft) • Mary Celeste • USS Mjolnir • USS New York • Nivochan asteroid runner • IKS NuH Bey' • Phoenix • USS Sea of Tranquility • IRW Tomed (Ivarix-class) • USS Universe
Races and cultures
- Alonis • Andorian • Benzite • Betazoid • Boslic • Deltan • Frunalian • Gorn • Human • Koltaari • Lissepian • Lorillian • Nivochan • Orion • Otevrel • Reman • Romulan • Tellarite • Tholian • Tzenkethi • Vedala • Vulcan (V'tosh ka'tur) • Yridian
States and organizations
- Antares Advanced Design Laboratories • Beryk Institute • Imperial Fleet Command • Imperial Intelligence • Klingon Defense Force • Klingon Empire • Klingon High Council • Klingon Internal Security • R'Mala Military Academy • Romulan Imperial Fleet • Romulan Intelligence Service • Romulan Senate • Romulan Star Empire • Starfleet • Starfleet Academy • Starfleet Command • United Federation of Planets • Youth Guard
Science and technology
- Algeron Effect • atmosphere • bilitrium • cloaking device • containment field • cormaline • dampening field • deuterium • dilithium • flagship • hyperwarp • hyronalin • Impulse flow regulator • isolytic subspace weapon • metaweapon • pergium • quantum singularity • Sakuro's disease • sensor veil • The Shift • space • starship • subspace shockwave • time • transwarp • tri-ox • warp drive
Ranks and titles
- admiral • captain • chancellor • commander • doctor • engineer • executive officer • general • lieutenant • officer • spy • sublieutenant
- An Ancient Season • Archer Ribbon for Conspicuous Bravery • bloodwine • body armor • carallun • Class of Excellence • demotion • distress call • d'k tahg • For Now and Ever • Grankite Order of Tactics • homeworld • hull • hull breach • IDIC • Italian language • It's a Wonderful Life • Jefferies tube • Jolan tru • Karagile Order of Heroism • Khitomer Accords • mek'leth • month • Mrs. Miniver • Neutral Zone • petaQ • planet • port • Random Harvest • Romulan ale • Romulan Imperial Fleet uniform • serpent • Silver Palm with Cluster • Still Life, with Philosophy • targ • technology • Tomed Incident • treaty • Treaty of Algeron • urukan tree • voraant • year
- The USS Enterprise-B undergoes a rather extensive refit, possibly bringing it up to the standards of the new Romulan Ivarix-class vessels.
- The USS Enterprise-B serves as the flagship of the Federation for at least 18 years after the events of Star Trek: Generations.
- The Tomed Incident, first mention by Data in the TNG Episode "The Neutral Zone" as a conflict in which 4000 lives were lost, was in the official records, due to a rogue suicide attack by Aventeer Vokar. In truth, it was a covert operation by Starfleet in order to avoid a Romulan/Federation War.
- This novel marks the death of Harriman's father, John "Blackjack" Harriman, who initially appeared in the novel The Captain's Daughter
- Elias Vaughn, a centenarian in the post-finale Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel series, is seen in this novel on his first field assignment for Starfleet Intelligence. Vaughn's connection with Harriman was established in Twilight.
- Vreenak, the senator from the DS9 episode "In the Pale Moonlight", appears in this novel as a young aide already suspicious of Federation treachery. He is given the first name "Merken".
- Demora Sulu assumes command of the Enterprise-B following the Tomed Incident.
- Azetbur serves as Chancellor until 2311, when she is assassinated by Ditagh and succeeded by General Kaarg.
|The Lost Era novels|
|The Sundered • Serpents Among the Ruins • The Art of the Impossible • Well of Souls • Deny Thy Father • Catalyst of Sorrows • The Buried Age • Day of the Vipers • Night of the Wolves • Dawn of the Eagles • One Constant Star|
- Serpents Among the Ruins article at Memory Alpha, the wiki for canon Star Trek.
- Amazon.com page for Serpents Among the Ruins
Iron and Sacrifice