The Federation faces extinction from an awesome new weapon!—The Pandora Principle, by Carolyn Clowes, was the 49th novel published as part of Pocket Books's numbered series of TOS books, released in April 1990.
- A Romulan bird-of-prey mysteriously drifts over the Romulan Neutral Zone and into Federation territory. Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise investigate, only to find the ship dead in space. When Starfleet orders the derelict ship brought to Earth for examination, the Enterprise returns home with perhaps her greatest prize.
- But the bird-of-prey carries a dangerous cargo, a deadly force that is soon unleashed in the heart of the Federation. Suddenly, the only hope for the Federation's survival lies buried in the tortured memory of Commander Spock's protégée, a cadet named Saavik. Together, Spock and Saavik must return to the nightmare world of Saavik's birth—a planet called Hellguard, to discover the secret behind the Romulans' most deadly threat of all…
The Enterprise discovers a ship containing a dying Vulcan woman who Spock mind melds with. He secretly leads a group of Vulcan to Hellguard, a world in the Romulan Neutral Zone. This planet is home to a group of half-Vulcan half-Romulan children, the products of rape who were abandoned there. Spock insists they should become integrated into Vulcan society and is given a year's leave from the Enterprise to raise one of them, Saavik. After years of Spock's mentoring, Saavik eventually attends the Academy.
The Enterprise discovers a drifting Romulan ship with all of its crew dead. It is fitted with an unlimited cloaking device and two multi-colored glowing boxes. They are ordered by Starfleet Command to bring the ship back to Earth. Kirk realizes this is part of a scheme to return him to a ground assignment and tries to avoid it by sneaking into Starfleet Headquarters to file a report in secret. However, the glowing boxes in the Romulan ship are discovered to be filled with a molecular weapon that destroys all oxygen molecules in an environment. Everyone in Starfleet Headquarters is killed except for Kirk, sealed in the basement vault at Headquarters. Another glowing box is opened in the sealed Life City, and all its inhabitants are killed.
The Federation prepares for war with the Romulan Star Empire, unaware the molecular weapon was actually created by a secret Romulan cabal, the Twelve. Spock learns from Saavik that she saw the glowing boxes as a child when they were being prepared on Hellguard. He obtains permission to take the Enterprise to Hellguard to investigate. En route, they take onboard a Romulan smuggler, Achernar, who is actually working for Tahn, a disenchanted member of the Twelve.
Spock and Saavik beam down to Hellguard. Saavik uses her memories to lead Spock to the manufacturing complex where she saw the molecular weapon boxes being stored. They encounter the architect of the molecular weapon manufacturing, which was tested on the parents of the Romulan children, but he commits suicide before they can get information from him. Spock plans to detonate a bomb in the store of the boxes, but Saavik incapacitates him with a Vulcan nerve pinch and plants the bomb herself. They are both beamed aboard but not before the boxes are breached by the explosion, which sets off a chain reaction that destroys Hellguard.
After a short confrontation with the Enterprise bridge crew, Achernar starts negotiations with Tahn. The two strike a deal that sees the Twelve exposed while Than slips away. McCoy realizes that Saavik survived exposure to the molecular weapon because of elements in the dust in the cave on Hellguard. Starfleet manufactures this dust and uses it to neutralize the molecular weapon on Earth. Kirk is allowed to remain as captain of the Enterprise.
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- Achernar • Bradley • Pavel Chekov • Conklin • Fred DiMuro • Malcomb Dorish • Janet Goldman • Robert Harper • Maxim Kinski • James T. Kirk • James Komack • Jessie Korbet • Leonard McCoy • Michaels • Nelson • Heihachiro Nogura • Obo • El-Idorn Rakir • Ayla Renn • Richards • Saavik • Salok • Sarek • Montgomery Scott • Spock • George Stocker • S'tvan • Hikaru Sulu • Tahn • Nyota Uhura • unnamed USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) personnel • unnamed Dantrians • unnamed Humans • unnamed Romulans • unnamed Starfleet personnel • unnamed Vulcans
- Referenced only
- Katia Harper • T'Pau • T'Pren • T'Sai
Starships and vehicles
- Achernar's transport • Federation travel pod • unnamed Romulan starships (Romulan bird-of-prey, Romulan warship, other attacking ships)
- Enterprise-subclass (Constitution refit) class XI heavy cruiser
- USS Constitution • USS Enterprise • USS Potemkin
- Vulcan survey ships
- Constant • Criterion • Diversity • Perceptor • Symmetry
- USS Enterprise
- bridge • corridor • engineering • quarters (Spock's, Kirk's, Saavik's) • sickbay • turbolift
- Life City • San Francisco
Outposts and establishments
- Spacedock • Starfleet Academy • Starfleet Headquarters • The Vault
- Referenced only
- Gamma Eridani research station • Gol • Starbase 10
Planets and planetoids
Stars and systems
Races and cultures
States and organizations
- Federation Council • Romulan Star Empire • Starfleet • Starfleet Command • The Ten • United Federation of Planets • Vulcan Council
Technology and weapons
- airlock • blade • cloaking device • CoffeeTech • command chair • communicator • computer • dagger • damping field • environmental suit • food synthesizer • hand-held weapon • impulse engine • intercom • life support • log buoy • paper • pencil • phaser • phaser pistol • photon torpedo • pistol • plasma torpedo • record tape • recorder • servo-miner • ship-mounted weapon • signal buoy • space station • starship • sword • torpedo launcher • tractor beam • transporter • tricorder • turbolift • universal translator • viewscreen • warp coil • warp engine
Materials and substances
- antimatter • atom • blood • bloodstone • coolant • cyanide • dilithium • element • neutronium • silicon
Food and drink
- alcohol • ale • coffee • Glenlivet • potato • ration pack • Romulan ale • Romulan wine • Scotch • wine
Communications and language
Ranks and titles
- adjutant • admiral • ambassador • cadet • captain • chief engineer • chief medical officer • commander • commanding officer • commodore • communications officer • doctor • engineer • ensign • Federation Starfleet ranks • Federation Starfleet ranks (2270s-2350s) • first officer • fleet admiral • healer • helmsman • IDIC • lieutenant • lieutenant commander • midshipman • officer • praetor • president • President of the United Federation of Planets • rear admiral • science officer • security • security chief • specialist • subcommander • tactical officer • technician • weapons officer
- baseball • binary star • calendar • clothing • colony • communication • day • desert • DNA • earthquake • electromagnetism • emotion • fifth planets • galaxy • gamma ray • genetic hybrid • government • Grand Design • gravity • hour • Kolinahr • language • law • lifeform • light • logic • matter • memory • meter • mind meld • minute • molecular virus • moon • nation-state • Neutral Zone Treaty • ops manual • orbit • planet • planetary classification • pon farr • races and cultures • rank • rape • red alert • religion • sector • space • spectroanalysis • sports and games • star • stardate • Starfleet uniform • Starfleet uniform (2278-2350s) • star system • suicide • technology • third planets • time • title • treaty • uniform • virus • weapon • yellow alert
- See the continuing voyages of the USS Enterprise
- Enterprise attempts to rescue T'Pren, Spock pursues her origin on Hellguard. (A year prior to Spock's tutelage of Saavik)
- Spock attempts to civilize Saavik. (Six years prior to the story)
- Saavik enters the Academy, Enterprise discovers the derelict. (Date of Academy entrance in ST reference: Star Trek Chronology')
Rules of Engagement
|TOS numbered novels||Next novel:|
Foundations, Book Three
Dwellers in the Crucible
|The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2281.|
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in one other timeframe:
Pawns and Symbols
Chapters 9-14, Epilogue
To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh (Chapter 22)