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Captain Kirk and the Enterprise join the Klingons to avert disaster in the Taygeta V system—where a time/space warp has swallowed a spaceship without a trace.
Spock suspects a link between the anomaly and the inhabitants of Taygeta, semi-aquatic creatures killed for the jewel-like tears secreted at the moment of death.
But a mutinous Klingon officer threatens the vital mission, as a desperate Kirk and Spock race to save the Taygetians, the Federation—and the entire universe.


The Enterprise is assigned to investigate a space/time rift that has swallowed up a spacecraft. Spock believes there is a connection with the Taygetians, an aquatic race who spend all their time singing: The Federation has designated them animals and allowed them to be hunted since they shed a crystal tear when they die. To try and communicate with them, Kirk forcibly recruits musician Guy Maslin, even though he suffers from a disease that could be fatal if he is overworked or stressed. En route to the system, Maslin and Uhura fall in love and she considers leaving Starfleet to be with him.

Arriving at the planet, the Enterprise encounters two Klingon ships commanded by Kor. The two parties call a truce while they investigate the surface, with Kor's wife Kali accompanying them. Maslin believes the Taygetians' song is incomplete and the humans and Klingons work together to take into custody a group of hunters, since it appears the Taygetians are sentient.

The landing party begin to reach the conclusion that the Taygetians' song is capable of affecting the physical world. On hearing this, Kor's first officer, Karsul, takes control and the Enterprise finds itself under attack from three Klingon ships. Kirk manages to lure them into the rift. Although Maslin's condition is taking its toll, he manages to communicate with the Taygetians and convince them to restore the ships and transport Kor, who was onboard the Enterprise, back to his own ship, where he kills Karsul and ends the mutiny.

The party realize that the Taygetians used their song to protect their planet from a nova that destroyed all other life in the system. However, they have gone on singing it in a ritual fashion even though the danger is past, dedicating their whole adult lives to it. The deaths caused by the hunters have left gaps in the song and caused the rift, which now threatens to destroy the system. Kirk, Spock, Uhura and Maslin convince the Taygetians to end the song. Shortly after, Maslin dies.

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BrentanoPavel ChekovHarvey CumberlandDonovanKaliKandiKarsulJames T. KirkKor, son of RynarLiLindenbaumGuy MaslinLeonard McCoyFred RagsdaleRidlyKevin RileyMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluThomasT'zeelaNyota UhuraBethany Wilson

Starships and vehicles

IKS Emperor's PrideUSS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)
Referenced only
USS AhrimanWanderlust


Starbase 24TaygetaTaygeta V
Referenced only
CapicaEarthHeavenScotlandStarbase 23VulcanWynet V

Races and cultures

Human (Scot) • KlingonTaygetianVulcan

States and organizations

Klingon Defense ForceKlingon EmpireStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets

Science and technology

animalclockcommand chaircommunicatorCompuSynthesizerdesk communicatordilithium crystalfirefood processorfurhairlifeformmachinemathematicsminutereceiverrecorderRichart's syndromesecondsoberallsonic connectorspacespaceshipspinestarshipstarstar systemsynthesizerthermal lanterntimetricorderturboliftuniversal translatoruniverse

Ranks and titles

bureaucratcaptainchief medical officerclowncommandercommunications officercomposerdoctorinspectorlieutenantmanagermusicianofficersecurity guard

Other references

accentautograph • "Beyond Antares" • bottlebrandybridgebriefing roomcampfireCapellan spidercaptain's logchaircoatcoronation stonecrystalCxentares catdaydeskdriftwooddrinkdriver's seatElasian fire devilemotionengineeringfencinggargoolaglassgovernmentjeweljokekisslanding partylanguagelogiclog entrymandatory inspectionmilitarymutinynation-statenightmareoceanphilosophyplanetSaurian brandyshore leavesickbaysleevesongSsravatstooltabletenttoolVulcan lyretteyear



The story is said to take place three years after "Errand of Mercy", placing the adventure in 2270.



published order
Previous novel:
Rihannsu, Book 1: My Enemy, My Ally
TOS numbered novels Next novel:
The Vulcan Academy Murders
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
The Business, As Usual, During Altercations
Pocket Next Adventure:
From the Depths

External link