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Located in an area of non-aligned space near Federation and Romulan territory, the Kondaii system is home to a unique stellar phenomenon: a spatial rift that opens every three years in proximity to the system's sole inhabited planet. Only during this brief period is communication possible with the small, mineral-rich planetoid inside the rift. The local population has established a mining colony on this planetoid, and for the limited duration that the rift is open, a massive interplanetary operation is set into motion: ferrying mineral ore to the home planet while simultaneously transferring personnel and replenishing essential supplies and equipment—everything necessary to sustain the colony before it once again enters forced isolation.
While studying the rift, the science vessel USS Huang Zhong is severely damaged and crash-lands on the planetoid. After the starship Enterprise arrives to conduct rescue operations, evidence quickly points to the rift's artificial nature. It is a feat far beyond the capacity of the local inhabitants, and presents an alluring mystery for Captain James T. Kirk and his crew. It also attracts the attention of the Romulans, who are most interested in studying and perhaps seizing this supposed advanced technology—by any means necessary.


The Federation have recently made contact with the Dolysians, a pre-warp civilisation who have colonised Gralafi, another world in their system which is hidden behind an energy shield which only opens for a short period every three years. The patrol ship USS Huang Zhong is carrying out a survey of the phenomenon when its warp engine and sensors trigger off an ancient defence system and a tractor beam causes the ship to crashland on Gralafi, killing most of the crew. The most senior of the survivors is former Enterprise officer Lieutenant Boma.

The Enterprise, which was meant to be assisting the Huang Zhong in its mission, now has the task of recovering or destroying the wreckage and finding out what happened. Travelling through the rift in shuttlecrafts, a team led by Spock accompanies Boma in discovering an underground structure which leads them to realize that Gralafi is another Kalandan outpost: The defences sensed the Huang Zhong as sufficiently advanced to pose a threat to their archive. Kirk and Federation ambassador Dana Sortino join them as they try to find a way to make it safe.

Meanwhile, the Romulans, suspicious of the Federation's interest in the system, despatch a ship to investigate. Ignoring the Enterprise's warnings, the ship travels through the rift and triggers off the defence systems. Damaged, it is forced to make an emergency landing on Gralafi.

The Romulans attack the underground structure, triggering off further defence mechanisms including a self-destruct. After a series of encounters, Kirk and his people finally manage to overcome the Romulans and take them prisoner, while the salvage team led by Kyle manage to secure their ship. Uhura manages to disable the self-destruct. Three more Romulan ships arrive, determined to exact vengeance for the attack on their ship and seemingly ready to attack two defenceless Dolysian freighters. The Enterprise, commanded by Scott, rescues the crew and makes a warp jump through the rift. When the Romulans follow, Spock, Uhura and Boma are able to use the defences to disable their ships and also disperse the energy shield.

With the Romulans repaired enough to leave the system, the Federation elects to establish a permanent presence in the system to defend them against further incursions, with Boma joining a scientific team to investigate the Kalandan outpost.

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Ronald ArensBatriaSamuel BomaApril HebertSuresh KariJames T. KirkJohn KyleShiboline M'RessLeonard McCoyMeyeliriNick MineccoRzaelir Zihr du MolidinArex Na EthManjula RahdaChristine RideoutMontgomery ScottMylasOderaDana SortinoSpockHikaru SuluTeriusT'VrelNyota UhuraVathraelDonovan Washburn
Referenced only
LosiraPraetor of the Romulan Star EmpireWylenn

Starships and vehicles

Dolysian freighter (freighter) • USS Enterprise (Constitution-class) • USS Huang Zhong (Archer-class) • ChR Nevathu (Romulan bird-of-prey)
Referenced only
USS Constellation (Constitution-class) • Dolysian sleeper ship (sleeper ship) • USS Lavinius (Loknar-class) • USS Lexington (Constitution-class) • USS Potemkin (Constitution-class) • USS Resolute


GralafiKondaiithe Pass
Referenced only
DolysiaEarthStarbase 12Starbase 23

Races and cultures

CaitianDolysianHuman (African) • RomulanVulcan
Referenced only

States and organizations

Romulan Star EmpireStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only
Klingon EmpireStarfleet AcademyStarfleet Command

Other references

black holebrandybridgechronitonclass Mcryogenicserinadiumfirst contactkilometermoonnebulanovaorbitplanetplanetoidplasma stormplaying cardpokerprobepulsarquasarsensorStarfleet uniform (2265-2270)turboliftverteronviewscreenyear



  • In initial promotional materials the Huang Zhong was identified as the USS Robert Ballard and the star system was known as Xondaii instead of the novelized name Kondaii.

Original publisher's description

An original novel set in the universe of Star Trek: The Original Series!
The Xondaii system—located in an area of non-aligned space near Federation and Romulan territory—is home to a unique stellar phenomenon: a spatial rift which opens every 2.7 Earth years, remains open for a period of approximately twenty-one Earth days, and allows access to a small planetoid that orbits in proximity to the system’s fourth planet. During this brief window, the people of Xondaii undertake a massive interplanetary operation: mineral ore is ferried from the mining operation while supplies, crew replacements, and so on are transported from the planet. Also, communications with the mining colony on the planetoid are possible only when the rift is open.
Science vessel USS Robert Ballard is severely damaged during its mission to the system, and the USS Enterprise is dispatched to investigate and render assistance. But Kirk, Spock, and Sulu also collect the data about the rift, and the evidence they’ve gathered regarding its artificial nature is compelling. How has this not been discovered by anyone from Xondaii, especially when considering the extensive mining operations that have been in place for decades? And what can prevent enemies of the Federation from exploiting this newfound power?


Production history

Published Order
Previous novel:
The Rings of Time
TOS novels Next novel:
Allegiance in Exile
Previous story:
What Judgments Come
Stories by:
Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore
Next story:
In Tempest's Wake