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Lieutenant Commander Bridget McLellan (Bridy Mac) and Cervantes Quinn are sent to steal a Shedai containing artifact from the Klingons. Deeming the theft impossible, Bridy opts to free the entity, who she believes to be the Shedai Warden, and allows it to destroy the base as the duo narrowly escape.

Ganz receives verification that Quinn killed Zett Nilric and has taken his ship. Enraged, he commissions a Nausicaan to kill Quinn but orders that Bridy, a Starfleet officer, not be harmed. Neera warns that this act could jeopardize their position at Vanguard but allows it. Ganz would also like to kill Diego Reyes but Neera prohibits this indefinitely.

Bridy and Quinn’s next mission is to sneak aboard an Orion freighter in Gorn custody which was damaged when it encountered a gravitational anomaly emitting the Jinoteur Pattern signal in an effort to locate the anomaly. Quinn and Bridy, who are 20 years apart in age, are now lovers but keep this relationship secret from their Starfleet superiors. En route to their mission, Quinn tells Bridy he is ready to retire and asks her to settle down with him and start a family but says he will go where she goes. Bridy agrees this will be their final mission and then she will leave Starfleet. Meanwhile, they are being followed by the Nausicaan assassin. Upon finding their target in a hangar on the planet, Bridy and Quinn are discussing how to carry out the heist when the ship explodes and a Klingon flees the scene with the navigational logs.

They follow the agent through the congested streets of a nearby city but their cover is blown when the Nausicaan appears and tries to kill Quinn. Bridy chases the Klingon while Quinn fights the Nausicaan. Quinn gains the upper hand but lets the assassin live to tell Ganz that Zett was killed pursuing a personal vendetta, not on business for Ganz. He orders Ganz to let him go and for the Nausicaan not to bother him again. Meanwhile, Bridy apprehends the Klingon, retrieves the data before it can be transmitted, and escapes. Unknown to her, the agent had already copied the data.

Ganz agrees to let Quinn go. Meanwhile his obsession with Reyes is growing to the point he is considering killing Neera so that he may kill Reyes.

Captain Atish Khatami of the USS Endeavour orders Bridy to go after the Jinoteur Pattern signal source. She also informs her that a 5 megaton bomb was hidden in her ship’s cargo in case it becomes necessary to destroy the source to prevent it from falling into Klingon hands. Khatami tells her the two of them are expendable if it means keeping the source out of Klingon hands. When Bridy and Quinn locate a wormhole at the coordinates, Quinn wants to report to the Endeavour and leave but Bridy orders him through.

When the Endeavour receives word of a Klingon fleet heading for the coordinates, they move to rendezvous as well. Bridy and Quinn emerge in a pocket universe containing the missing Jinoteur system. After a crash landing, they track the signal up a mountain and into a large cave. Bridy falls down a crevasse and breaks her leg.

Deep inside the cave, they locate a crystalline machine and the Shedai Apostate in angelic form. He tells them that he desires to give them the ability to fight the Shedai as he once helped the Tkon. He provides them with a guide/key to a Tkon weapon capable of containing and destroying his kind, but he doesn’t know where it is. The Apostate also tells them that he used the last of his energy to create the pocket universe and speak with Bridy and Quinn. He then shrinks into nothingness, warning them that the pocket universe will soon collapse.

Bridy then sends Quinn to their ship for a tricorder and a medkit. As Quinn reaches the ship, a Klingon fleet lands between him and the cave. Bridy has the bomb with her and decides to use it to stop the Klingons and prevent Quinn from a suicidal rescue attempt. Bridy tells Quinn she loves him and to flee then detonates the bomb. The explosion consumes the Klingon fleet and creates an avalanche that overwhelms Quinn and his ship. The Endeavour arrives and rescues Quinn but his ship is destroyed and he wishes he was dead. Upon his return to Vanguard, Quinn resumes drinking.



Vanguard personnel and residents

Tom WalkerMing Xiong
Referenced only
Tim Pennington

USS Endeavour personnel

Hector EstradaAtish KhatamiStephen KlisiewiczAnthony LeoneMarielise McCormackPaul McGibbonBersh glov MogNeelakantaKatherine Stano

USS Sagittarius personnel

Lisa BabitzKaren CahowFaro DastinCelerasayna zh'FirroMike IlucciAdelard NassirRazkaSorakNguyen Tan BaoTarylClark TerrellVanessa TheriaultSalagho ThrexTorvin

Omari-Ekon personnel

GanzNeeraDiego Reyes
Referenced only
Zett Nilric

Other characters

Shedai ApostateChathaniGeeterGolothHegronKajekKreshBridget McLellanCervantes QuinnRaghShedai Warden
Referenced only
Robin HoodIndizarJames T. KirkShedai MakerDenise Quinn

Starships and vehicles

Andorian outriderDulcinea (Nalori argosy) • USS Endeavour (Constitution-class) • escape podKlingon bird-of-preyKlingon dropshipMurakamiOmari-EkonUSS Sagittarius (Archer-class) • TreanaTyson
Referenced only
Rocinanteunnamed Gorn starships


Seudath (Tzoryp) • Taurus ReachVanguard (Stars LandingTom Walker's) • Zeta Aurigae systemZeta Aurigae IIIZeta Aurigae IV
Referenced only
AmonashChirlowDenevaDeskerebGolmiraHellJinoteur systemMazur PrimePacificaQ'TahlQo'noSRura PentheSto-vo-kor

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations

Gorn HegemonyKlingon 5th Battle FleetKlingon Defense ForceKlingon EmpireImperial IntelligenceOrion SyndicateSerrataalStarfleetStarfleet IntelligenceUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only
Bank of BolarusFederation News ServiceKlingon High CouncilMerry MenStarfleet CommandTholian AssemblyTkon Empire

Science and technology

aileronannular confinement beamantimatterantimatter podair purification systemartificial gravityautopilotbinocularsbio-signatureblack holebloodbombcarboncarbon dioxidechronometercommunicatorcomputer wormcoolantdata carddata slatedeflector shielddisruptordisruptor pistolduraniumexoskeletonF class starflashlightforce field generatorgravimetric wavegravitational fluxgrenadeharmonic subfrequencyheat stickhydrogen podhyposprayhypothermiahypoxiaimpulse coilimpulse engineinternal combustion engineinertial dampenerJinoteur Patternkelvinkilometerlife supportlogic processormagnetic fieldmagnetic manaclesmedkitmeterminingnavigation computernitrogenobsessive compulsive disorderoptronic cableoxygenphaserplasma conduitplasma grenadeplasma relayplasma riflepower couplerpower generatorpublic announcement systemradiationradiation suitrubindium-transponder transporter recall braceletsafety restraintsensorShedai Conduitsniper riflesnowsonic hammerstun pistolsubspacesubspace antennasubspace communicationsubspatial lensingthermocretetransient tinnitustransparent aluminumtransportertransporter scramblertricordertrilithiumtri-ox compounduniversewarp drivewarp enginewaveformwhite dwarfwormhole

Ranks and titles

admiralambassadorarchaeology and anthropology officerassassinbartenderbodyguardbounty huntercaptainchief engineerchief medical officerciviliancommandercrewmandeputy security chiefdirectorengineerengineer's mateensignfield medicfield scoutfirst officerGorn Ambassador to the Klingon EmpireImperator of the Gorn HegemonyLead recon scoutlieutenantlieutenant commandermaster chief petty officermechanicmedical technicianmerchant princenumber onenurseparamedicpetty officer first classpetty officer second classscience officersection chiefsecurity chiefsenior chief petty officerspytactical officer

Other references

23rd centuryAnejo Patronassignment patchbackpackbarbed wirebarrelbeach housebloodwinecantinaCaptain's log, USS Bombay (NCC-1926)casinocloakconcretecoordinatescourt martialcreditdeck platedom-jotFederation StandardflagflaskfruitgermophobegloveGorn StandardjacketjumpsuitknifeKolinahrlimestonelonM-Classmaintenance baymess hallmusicobsidianOld TestamentOperation VanguardOrion rumorange juicePassagewaypetaQplanetplanetoidpokerpopsiclePriority Victor-AlphaQapla'rationropesafe housesaucepansecurity clearancesensor logseppukuSeven-Tango-Redshelter kitshuttlebaySláintesofasportsstretchersynthetic-fiberszekettattooTelinaruultequilaterrestrial enclosurethermal blankettlhIngan Holtool beltTransporter bayturtlewateryIntagh



Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Not yet placed
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
The Tholian Web

Production history

Published Order
Previous novel:
Vanguard novels Next novel:
What Judgments Come



Related stories

Stories featuring Starbase Vanguard
Star Trek: Vanguard novels HarbingerSummon the ThunderReap the WhirlwindOpen SecretsPrecipiceWhat Judgments ComeStorming Heaven
Short stories and novellas Distant Early WarningThe Black FlagDeclassified (Almost TomorrowHard NewsThe Ruins of Noble MenThe Stars Look Down) • In Tempest's Wake


External links