The Best and the Brightest was a novel released in 1998 by Pocket Books as an unnumbered installment of The Next Generation series. Written by Susan Wright, the novel did not primarily focus on TNG characters, instead being centered around a Starfleet Academy class, although several TNG, DS9 and Voyager characters appear.
- Every year, Starfleet Academy in San Francisco attracts many of the most talented and ambitious young people in the Federation. They come from all over the Alpha Quadrant, from hundreds of worlds and species, to prepare themselves for the challenges of the final frontier.
- Meet a new generation of cadets: a newly joined Trill just beginning the first of many lives; a Bajoran vedek who finds himself torn between his vows and an unspoken love; a reckless young man fond of pushing the limits; a feline alien raised among Humans; a brilliant but immature young woman with a lot to learn; and a native-born Earth woman with a talent for engineering.
- Together they will learn about courage, life, teamwork, and themselves. Their future is just beginning—but one of them will not survive!
First Year, 2368–2369
First year cadet Jayme Miranda fears for the secrets kept by her roommate, Elma. She assembles random facts and comes to believe that Elma may be a spy or Bajoran sympathizer for the Bajorans against Cardassia. She convinces the other first-years in her quad to break into the Deng Observatory in pursuit of their quadmate, damaging the observatory’s massive dish in the process. Though they find that Elma was only getting some extra study time, the cadets are caught and put on probation. Elma decides that she doesn’t fit in at the Academy and withdraws.
When Commander Data’s severed head is discovered in ancient tunnels under San Francisco, Hammon Titus is inspired to go caving in the less frequented passageways, and convinces Jamie and Bobby Ray to join him. As they explore deeper and deeper, they are caught by a rising tide. Titus barely escapes and promises to get help, by Bobbie Ray can’t swim and Jayme stays with him. Several of the other cadets follow the first-years to the tunnels and are able to transport them to safety with Titus’ direction. After just having been taken off of probation, the cadets are back on the list.
As the semester winds down, the quad cadets work on their group project—a protein chain maker. On the last working day, the device explodes. Most of the students tend to their wounds and fret over the failing grade they’ll receive, but Moll disappears to conduct her own research and is able to spin the disaster into a victory. Moll recognizes a new method of examining subatomic particles as a result of the explosion, saving her quad from having to repeat their year.
Second Year, 2369–2370
Nev Reoh, Bobby Ray, and Starsa Taran participate in survival training on a desert world. The cadets are beamed down to the desolate surface individually and are supposed to locate each other and make a viable camp. The men find each other and a few other cadets, but Starsa is captured by a rogue Rex pack. She escapes and finds her classmates, but the Rexes track them all and attack. Bobbie Ray’s latent instincts kick in and he is able to “scare off” the enemy in a mock battle, realizing his full potential and saving the cadets.
Moll’s field assignment is to help chart the Trifid ring nebula. During the survey, the scout pod goes into the field and detects a unique asteroid, a remnant from a dead planet that was briefly cataloged a century earlier, then went missing before it could be fully studied. Moll wants to capture the panspermia asteroid, but the pod is damaged in the risky maneuver. The other cadets evacuate while Moll remains aboard and successfully catches her prize, which later proves to support Professor Galen’s work on the first humanoids. She is commended by Starfleet, but brought before a review board of the Trill Symbiosis Commission for recklessly endangering her symbiont. Moll’s friend Jadzia Dax testifies on her behalf, and her remarks about the criticality of one’s first host sways the board. Dax also encourages Moll to pursue a command track.
Titus finally decides to beef up his credentials by volunteering for programs instead of partying all the time. He joins a psychological study in which teams of cadets must navigate a maze without talking, communicating only through gesture and expression. Titus finds the course easy, but is increasingly annoyed by his partner, who seems to fail at everything he attempts. They fail to complete the course, and the next day Titus is paired with another cadet. This time, he is the failure, as the program’s difficulty settings have been stacked against him, while his new partner drifts through with ease. He realizes that the same thing happened the previous day and feels bad for his previous attitude, but refuses to quit the test, which is revealed as an experiment in nonverbal communication. Despite his handicap, he performs admirably and is granted a commendation.
Third Year, 2370–2371 Jayme and Starsa are assigned field duty at Jupiter Station, assisting with the final stages of programming the Emergency Medical Holoprogram. Jayme finds herself distracted from her mundane tasks and fails to correctly calibrate the antique station’s gravity systems, causing a station-wide alert. She realizes that her heart is not in engineering and switches her focus to pre-med.
Ensign Nev Reoh’s first assignment is the inspection of minerals purchased from outside the Federation. He travels to nonaligned Station 14 but is stuck there for several days trying to arrange a meeting with Captain Jord, an independent dealer. Set to with the captain in a seedy club, Nev inadvertently befriends a local Orion dancing girl and comes to sympathize with the slave’s situation. He gives her an emergency comm device, which she uses when she learns that she is to be sold away. Nev contacts his superiors asking for assistance, but is ignored, so he risks his career to steal and free her. He accidentally ends up with a shipping container full of a dozen slave girls and smuggles them off the station aboard his shuttle. He is soon intercepted by Jord, who orchestrated the whole thing to get the slaves through customs, but is then rescued by a starship sent by Nev’s superiors. Jord agrees to a plea-bargain, giving Starfleet vital intelligence that they can use to break the smuggling ring. The slaves are freed and Nev is commended, earning a posting to the Enterprise.
Jayme convinces Bobby Ray to help her “bump into” Moll while she vacations on Rahm-Izad, a dubious and obvious move by Jayme to get closer to her crush. The trio is caught in a local revolution when the Izad rise up and demand rights equal to those of the Rahm. As the only Starfleet presence onsite, Jayme steps up and offers to represent the Izad in their negotiations, assisted by the other cadets. The peace talks are held aboard the recently arrived Enterprise, and the incident gets Jayme noticed both by Moll and by Starfleet. Moll admits to having reciprocal feelings, but their romance is interrupted when Moll is granted a posting to the Enterprise.
Moll, Titus, and Nev all serve aboard the Enterprise during the nexus mission. Titus notices a problem in the primary-secondary hull docking latches when the ship comes under attack and is killed in action when he stays behind to fix it, though his actions save the lives of the rest of the crew. He is honored and granted a posthumous promotion to ensign. Nev returns to Earth and accepts a teaching position at the Academy.
Fourth Year, 2371–2372
Starsa begins taking more frequent and dangerous risks and is ultimately injured. Nev comes to her aid and helps to discover that she is undergoing adolescence, though the process is disrupted by her nonnative environment. Nev transports her home and stays with her as she recovers. Her family notices the connection they share—caraposa—though Nev takes some convincing to begin a relationship. The couple is later posted to Deep Space 9, as is Moll Enor, who continues a long-distance romance with Jayme, now enrolled in Starfleet Medical School. Bobbie Ray accepts a position teaching self-defense at the Academy.
Jayme Miranda—A San Francisco native from a family with a long tradition of service as Starfleet engineers. Jayme spends years pining after Moll Enor. Active imagination.
Moll Enor—A joined Trill woman, the first host to a young symbiont, with a rare eidetic memory. One year older than Jayme, Titus, and Bobbie Ray. She spends much of her time studying in private and has difficulty making connections with people. Befriended Jadzia Dax while both women were initiates, and inspired by the other woman to join Starfleet.
Starsa Taran—A young woman from Oppalasso, her people mature more slowly than many other species. At age 18, she has the maturity level of a human 10-year old, making her a risk-taker. Her physiology must also gradually acclimate to Earth’s environment, and she wears a medical monitor to monitor her health. Due to her people’s strong family ties and biological differences, few of her people have left home.
Nev Reoh—A socially awkward middle-aged Bajoran who failed to find a home in either the Resistance or the Vedek Order. Specialty in geology.
Bobbie Ray Jefferson—A half-human, half-Rex (felinoid) who knows little of his maternal culture as he was raised on Earth. A very outgoing and popular character.
Hammon Titus—A human male raised on the subterranean colony of Antaranan. A self-assured risk-taker.
- Aston • Reginald Barclay • B'll • Boothby • Andrea Brand • Joen B'ton • Ho Campbell • Chapman • Beverly Crusher • Data • Jadzia Dax • Dontorn • Elma • Moll Enor • Guinan • Ijen • Jaresh-Inyo • Bobbie Ray Jefferson • Jord • Karol • Keethzarn • Kriss • Leyton • Johnny Madden • Eto Mahs • Yllian Mantegna • Meesa • Meg'han • Jayme Miranda • Marley Miranda • Raylin Miranda • Nev Reoh • Oxitar • Jean-Luc Picard • Puller • Qita • Reeves • William T. Riker • Sendonii • Maree Taran • Starsa Taran • Tho • Hammon Titus • T'Rees • Vestabo • Worf • Buck Wu • Lewis Zimmerman
- Referenced only
- Joshua Albert • Bareil Antos • B'Etor • Tyler Brannigan • Brendenson • Wesley Crusher • Curzon Dax • Richard Galen • Rachel Garrett • Harry Kim • James T. Kirk • Nicholas Locarno • Lursa • Dani Miranda • Miles O'Brien • Ran Sisla • Ro Laren • Sito Jaxa • Tolian Soran • B'Elanna Torres • Deanna Troi • Winn Adami
- Alpha Quadrant • Amargosa • Bajoran wormhole • Beltos • Beltos IV • Deep Space 9 • Deng Observatory • Earth • the galaxy • Jupiter Station • Oppalassa • Paris • Rahm-Izad • San Francisco • Starbase 3 • Station 14 • Starfleet Academy campus • Veridian • Veridian III
- Referenced only
- Allora • Antaranan • Antwerp • Bajor • Bracas V • Browder IV • Canadian River • Cardassia • Cydonia • Deep Space 2 • Dytallix B • Gagarin IV • Gamma Quadrant • Hokkaido • Indri VII • Karor • Kurl • Omarion Nebula • Rigel • Rumoi • Shunt • Sothis III • Texas • Trill • Ventax II • Veridian IV
Starships and vehicles
- Belle Star (Pa'a transport ship) • USS Cochrane (Oberth-class) • Dilithium Node (shuttle) • USS Enterprise (Galaxy-class) • USS Gandhi (Ambassador-class) • Klingon bird-of-prey
- Referenced only
- USS Copernicus • USS Defiant • USS Enterprise • USS Voyager
Races and cultures
- Antaranan • Bajoran • Bolian • El-Aurian • Human • Izad • Klingon • Kostolain • Oppalassa • Orion • Pa'a • Rahm • Rex • Risan • Trill • Vulcan
- Referenced only
- Borg • Cardassian • Ferengi • Horta • Jem'Hadar • Romulan • Ventaxian
States and organizations
- Starfleet • Starfleet Academy • Trill Symbiosis Commission • United Federation of Planets
- Referenced only
- Dominion • Maquis • Nova Squadron • Obsidian Order • Red Squad • Starfleet Medical School • Tal Shiar
Science and technology
- airlock • autotailor • bone • charge card • communications • communicator • computer • dilithium • Emergency Medical Hologram • gravity • hair • holoprojection • holosuite • hour • light • millisecond • padd • screen • seismic regulator • skull • starship • synchrotron radiation • time • tongue • tooth • tractor beam • transponder • tricorder • trilithium • vacuum
Ranks and titles
- cadet • captain • commander • ensign • kai • lab tech • miner • officer • Orion animal woman • professor • scientist • slave • vedek
- Academy field assignment • antara • apple • Arcturian fizz • ax • Bajoran religion • barrel • century • cesspool • container • dance • dancing bar • day • decade • desk • dicosilium • eidetic memory • elf • grass • helm • holding cell • humanoid • Izad Revolution • jacket • Kolvoord Starburst • Kurlan naiskos • mountain • music • Parrises squares • planet • puppet • quarters • ready room • slave trade • smuggling • springball • storage container • string • trade agreement • transport container • uniform • vacation • warehouse • week
- The Best and the Brightest suggests B'Elanna Torres was born in 2350.
- Although it is a Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, several events from episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are mentioned, including "The Collaborator", "The Search", "Equilibrium", "Life Support", "Improbable Cause", "The Die is Cast", "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost".
- Some sections of The Best and the Brightest take place during Star Trek Generations.
Triangle: Imzadi II
|TNG unnumbered novels||Next novel:|
Realm of Fear
|The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2369.|
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in five other timeframes:
Whatever You Do, Don't Read This Story
Chapter 12, Sections 2-5
Star Trek Generations
Summer; Chapter 10
Tribble in Paradise
The Change of Seasons
The Die is Cast