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Introduction (blurb)

Before he became the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise...

Jean-Luc Picard has failed his entrance exam to Starfleet Academy. Now all his plans for the future are gone, and he must make the best of his life in his parents' vineyard. Pressure from his father to become more involved in the family business and the constant fighting with his older brother, Robert, make this life difficult. Jean-Luc's best friend, Louis, tries to cheer him up with an exciting trip, but the future captain's dream of the stars still haunts him....

When a chance to re-apply to the Academy arises, Jean-Luc must use all his skills to pass the challenging tests. But the greatest risk he faces is the wrath of his father.

Will Jean-Luc turn his back on his family as he aims for the stars?


Jean-Luc Picard fails his entrance exam to Starfleet Academy and is forced to fulfill his promise to his father Maurice to remain on the family vineyard. However, he still dreams of a career in Starfleet and, whilst supposedly on a trip to Medlab-One with his friend Louis Blanchard, he applies at the branch office in Paris.

His brother Robert is angered by Jean-Luc's actions since he knows if Jean-Luc leaves Maurice will make him stay on the farm instead of studying agriculture on Alkalurops Beta II. However, when Maurice wins the Prix du Soleil and departs on a lecture tour, his mother Yvette persuades Jean-Luc to attend.

Jean-Luc passes the difficult command exam by defeating two Romulan warbirds with a survey ship by tricking them into thinking his ship has been destroyed. He then passes the psychological test, confronting his fear of failure by vowing to continue applying to Starfleet until he is accepted.

Jean-Luc wins the one academy slot at the Paris office and, despite a certain amount of bitterness, his father and brother wish him well as he departs.



Henri BlanchardLouis BlanchardKimberly BloomMelissa BloomAndrew ChenJan HelmerAriadne KorzeniowskiCynthia LuttrellSandy McCannonMolvantorJR NewellJean-Luc PicardMaurice PicardRobert PicardYvette PicardSharakTrevalion

Starships and vehicles

Romulan warbirdsurvey ship


EarthFranceLaBarreParisSan Francisco
Referenced only
Alkalurops Beta IIMedlab-One

Races and cultures


States and organizations

StarfleetStarfleet Academy

Science and technology


Other references

farmPrix du Soleilpsychological testvineyard


published order
Previous novel:
Secret of the Lizard People
TNG books Next novel:
Nova Command
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Solace in Bloom
Section 3
Pocket Next Adventure:
Nova Command