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Publisher's description

An insidious plot for revenge has spanned several years in the life of Jean-Luc Picard, but how did this merciless vendetta get started? Like a double helix curling back on itself, the final answer lies at the very beginning...

A series of terrorist attacks have heightened tensions between two alien races, bringing an entire sector to the brink of interplanetary war. While Picard, captain of the U.S.S. Stargazer, struggles to keep the peace, Lieutenant Commander Jack Crusher must team up with a Vulcan officer named Tuvok to uncover the hidden architect of the attacks, but the outcome of their quest would breed dire consequences for the future.


Thallonian governor Gerrid Thul is denied marriage to Lady Mella Cwan by her brother, Lord Tae Cwan, who refuses to grant Thul entry into the royal family. Instead, Thul sets in motion a plan to create his own empire with the help of his quarrelsome illegitimate son Mendan Abbis. Abbis and his friend, a telepathic Indarri named Wyl, hire several mercenaries to disrupt the already fragile peace between the Melacronai and the Cordracites—a Melacron official is assassinated, a Cordracite bus is bombed and their capital’s water supply is poisoned. First Minister Cabrid Culunnh of the neutral Benniari tries to mediate a peace for the entire Kellasian sector, fearing that his own people and many other innocents would be caught in the crossfire, though he makes little progress and appeals for Federation assistance. The Stargazer is pulled from an archaeological survey for the mission and takes aboard Ensign Tuvok, the only Starfleet officer with practical experience in the region (during his first Starfleet career).

Culunnh believes that an unknown third party is pitting the Melacronai and Cordractites against each other, and Jack Crusher and Tuvok are assigned to investigate. They find that the recent attacks do not match the modus operandi of known Me’laa’kra or Qua-Sok terrorists, and discover that one of the assassins, Bin Nadrach, has ties to local organized crime. The pair, posing as privateers, sets out to search the thieves’ dens of Debinnius VI, though Tuvok vocally disapproves of Crusher’s showy, cavalier approach. Nadrach’s former handler directs the officers to a pleasure house, where they are captured by Nadrach’s (tipped off) new handler—Mendan Abbis. Wyl tries to telepathically interrogate Tuvok, and though the Vulcan’s mental conditioning prevents him from divulging anything, the connection grants Tuvok access to Wyl’s knowledge of Thul’s plan. Wyl is killed when Tuvok frees himself and Crusher, and the officers escape with the help of an Orion slave girl nicknamed Grace, though she is also killed before they can get off-planet. Crusher warns Picard to be wary of Thul.

Meanwhile, Picard and Ben Zoma support the Kellasian Congress negotiations on Debennius II, where the captain is befriended by the Thallonian representative, Thul. Negotiations deteriorate as terrorist attacks mount, failing completely after a Cordracite ship destroys a Melacron science outpost. It is later learned that the Cordracite ship was actually Thul’s vessel operating under a holofilter. He uses the same tactic to target a Cordracite shipyard while posing as a Melacronai vessel, though he is intercepted by the Stargazer once Picard receives Jack’s message. The ensuing battle leaves both ships adrift. Abbis arrives intent on destroying the Stargazer for his father, but is instead destroyed by Crusher and Tuvok’s privateer craft. Peace is restored between the Melacron and Cordracites, and Bin Nadrach is taken down. Thul is arrested and imprisoned, though he seduces Lady Mella into becoming an ally, trusting that she will help him escape when she can.



Mendan AbbisAmmermanGerda AsmundIdun AsmundAvriilPudris BarrhGilaad Ben ZomaCabriniTricia CadwalladerBeverly CrusherJack CrusherWesley CrusherCabrid CulunnhMella CwanTae CwanGraceCarter GreyhorseJetaal JilokhPeter JosephKaavinKirbyLir KirnisMarcusM'ketwaMooreNaksoBin NedrachOld ScowlyJean-Luc PicardDar ShabikPhigus SimenonSulakSammis TarvGerrid ThulTuvokUbbardUlassiVigoWylYovunnamed Banyanansunnamed Shera'sha-sha
Referenced only
Karl BroadnaxHerculesJuliaBidrik OnagghRisaab of GollukSisters NoraddisHikaru SuluSurakPhilip TerranceT'Pel


Cordra IIIDebennius VIDebennius systemDebennius IIThe DenGrand Council ChamberThe House of ComfortKellasian sectorKiwanariMelacron VMelacron systemMeliaMelushaReggana CityReggana City Imperial PrisonStarbase 3Sulkoh IslandZebros IV
Referenced only
Archaidae sectorCordra IVDeep Space 3EarthMailocMissouriSakariTebra VIVulcan

Starships and vehicles

Cordracite warshipDurikkan vesselhovertranPredator-classRacer-classreconnaissance vesselUSS Stargazer (Constellation-class)
Referenced only
USS Wyoming

Races and cultures

BanyananBenniariCordraciteDenesthianGnalishHuman (Native American) • IndarrhiMelacronOld Scowly's speciesOrionPandriliteShaidanianShera'sha-shaThallonianTikraatVulcanunnamed races and cultures
Referenced only

States and organizations

Kellasian CongressMe'laa'kraQua-SokStarfleetStarfleet AcademyTen Warriors of Hitna'heThallonian EmpireUnited Federation of Planets

Science and technology

bloodbombchronometercommunications cubeenergy rifleenvirosuitheadacheheartion trailkilogramKlingon disruptormagnetic-pulse imagingmedicinephaser pistolphoton torpedoreplicatorsecondsensortransportertricorderturboliftuniversal translator

Ranks and titles

assassincadetcaptaincommanderensignG'ahaG'aha of FinanceG'aha of Laws and EnforcementsG'aha of Medicinegovernorlieutenantscientiststreet vendorswordsmanterroristtrader

Other references

acch'taaleapplearchaeologyaway teambaldricbarbecued shrimpbeerbergamotberrybilliardsblue peppercheddarCircassian catcoffeecoindabodaggerdaydiamonddom-jotdrinkEarl Greyfive-card drawfoodforkgovernmentgrub wormhelmethot fudge sundaeimperial discInseeingInseeing scarfjaami treekey limeadeklaapish-klaapish'na housekoala bearLai'boklatinummetalmilkmugatomulenutcrackerp'taaranapastryplanetrecessriderrodentRomulan alescabbardscarfserpentsharash'dishu seedslaughter bladesprinklessteaksturrdsugarSulkoh Sunsetswordsynthaleta'purtavernteatechnologytentThallonian aletoytrilaniumtrusktunicVulcan nerve pinchVulcan spice teawalnutweaponwhipwineyear


  • The Double Helix series was a Next Generation storyline that featured each installment crossing over with another franchise series. "The First Virtue" in particular featured elements of what would become Star Trek: Stargazer.

External link

published order
Previous novel:
Double or Nothing
TNG numbered novels Next novel:
The Forgotten War
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Dark Allies
Twenty Years Earlier
Pocket Next Adventure:
A Stitch in Time
Part 1; Chapters 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19

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