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Introduction (blurb)

Before he was an officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise...

Geordi La Forge has been given the chance of his lifetime! He's been chosen to join the training vessel Benjamin Franklin as assistant engineer, an opportunity rarely given to plebes. Geordi is determined to live up to Commander Sanchez's expectations. Their mission is to chart a neglected sector of the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. That night, Sanchez calls up a history of the old starship and Ben's first commander, the heroic Ike Ikushima, who died after saving his crew from disaster. The next night Geordi sees Ikushima's ghost, arm raised, pointing directly at him! When he tells Sanchez, everyone begins to doubt Geordi's reliabiility... until the ghost reappears, pointing a warning finger at them all!

What does it mean? Is the ship haunted? Is it an alien invasion? The cadets are about to make history themselves -- if they escape with their lives!


Geordi is one of five cadets, led by senior cadet Bernie Sanchez, who have been assigned to conduct a mission aboard the USS Benjamin Franklin, the oldest Starfleet vessel still in service. Their mission is to perform a survey of the asteroid belt. During an early extra-vehicular mission, Andorian Cadet Trennek Sann's spacesuit is damaged by a collision with a micro-asteroid and it is only through use of Geordi's VISOR that she is rescued before running out of air.

Shortly after giving a report on the ship's first captain Ike Ikushima, Geordi sees an image of him in the hallway. No-one else sees or detects anything and if Geordi is proved to have been hallucinating he may be forced to leave Starfleet. However, first chief engineer Hassan el-Dallal and then the rest of the crew see the image too...except for Sanchez, who sees his late father, who was lost with the Enterprise-C, and deduces the image is showing them what is most on their minds. They track its source to a nearby asteroid and discover an ancient escape pod, which has been transmitting a distress beacon for hundreds of thousands of years.

The ship returns to Spacedock to a hero's welcome. After the crew have beamed off, the manual cut-off is mysteriously activated to stop a faulty circuit causing damage...



Hassan el-DallalGeordi La ForgeManningSiobhan McKennaBernado SanchezTrennek Sann
Referenced only
BrownRobert DePalmaBilly DevilIwasaki IkushimaMalakeh

Starships and vehicles

USS Benjamin Franklin (Daedalus-class training vessel) • USS Independence (Ambassador-class) • USS Ohio (Excelsior-class)


3300002 MalakehCeresCeresvilleJupiterMarsSol asteroid belt

Races and cultures


States and organizations

Federation StarfleetStarfleet Academy

Science and technology

impulse reactorminingPioneer 10radiationstarship

Ranks and titles

cadetcaptainchief engineercommandercommunications officerfirst officerengineerminernavigatorpirate

Other references

asteroidasteroid beltBattle of the Beltghosthistoryself destructyear


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Chapter 4, Section 2