From the back cover: Massive computer malfunctions are plaguing the Enterprise when Kirk suddenly receives a shocking message from Starfleet Command: Centaurus has been bombed and annihilated; thousands are dead. Give whatever help you can. Centaurus is a beautiful, peaceful planet, home to many humans - including McCoy's daughter Joanna.
The crew risks beaming down to investigate. But Kirk is thrown into a deadly struggle between violent enemy terrorists and vengeful Centaurians. Now Lt. Uhura, left alone in command, must jeopardize the crippled Enterprise to save Centaurus, Kirk - and Joanna McCoy!
At New Athens Spaceport on the planet Centaurus, the wanted criminal Isidore Holtzman triggers an antimatter bomb, destroying the spaceport and the city of New Athens, the planet's capital. On the USS Enterprise, a major computer malfunction shuts down artificial gravity and nearly causes the ship to self-destruct. Kirk receives an Alpha-Red message from Starfleet Command informing him of the explosion on Centaurus, where Joanna McCoy, Leonard McCoy's daughter, is a medical student.
When Kirk was a twenty-two-year-old ensign on the USS Farragut, his leg was severely injured in a battle with the pirates of Epsilon Canaris III. On Starbase 7 Dr. Leonard McCoy oversaw the repair of the leg and Kirk's grueling physical therapy; the two men became friends. Before Kirk returned to the Farragut, McCoy took him to Centaurus to meet Joanna, then a child living with her aunt and uncle. Kirk bought a valley on the planet, which he later named Garrovick Valley after the Farragut's captain.
Kirk announces the tragedy on Centaurus to the bridge crew, then personally informs the crew members who come from Centaurus or have family living there, including McCoy, relief helmsman Peter Siderakis, and Nurse Constance Iziharry.
- Captain's log, stardate 7513.5: For the time being, at least, things seem to be under control. We are proceeding at warp five for Centaurus...
At a senior staff briefing, Dr. M'Benga expresses concern about the ship's ability to aid the disaster victims adequately. Spock deduces that the explosion cannot have been accidental, and that weapons of mass destruction are apparently in the hands of a non-military force. Spock subsequently discovers that the Enterprise computers have been disabled beyond repair due to a mysterious series of small circular holes drilled through the computer banks.
- Captain's log, stardate 7513.9: We are finally nearing the Alpha Centauri star system -- and apparently just in the nick of time...
As the Enterprise approaches Centaurus, the warp engines burn out, leaving the ship on impulse power only. Uhura picks up a code seven-ten message from the planet, warning ships not to approach. Spock detects the wreckage of three Earth medical ships scheduled to arrive before the Enterprise in orbit about Centaurus. As the Enterprise enters planetary orbit, Kirk is again urged not to approach by Henry Erikkson, president pro tem of Centaurus. The Enterprise is then engulfed by a massive explosion.
In the resort town of Gregory's Landing, thousands of kilometers west of New Athens, a group of five men headed by Reuben Barclay follow news accounts of the events. Barclay sends two of the men, Max and Dave, to find another man in the interim capital of McIverton and convince him to meet with the group, or else kill him.
The Enterprise has survived the explosion due to its shields. Kirk is again contacted by acting President Erikkson, who explains that the planetary defense system, controlled from the Defense Center complex near New Athens, has malfunctioned since the antimatter explosion and is targeting all vessels that approach Centaurus as enemies. With the Enterprise transporters out, Kirk decides, despite the risk involved, to send two landing parties to the planet in shuttlecraft. A party led by Spock will travel to the Defense Center to get its computers to shut down, while a party led by Kirk will go to McIverton to meet with the interim government.
- Captain's log, stardate 7514.1. This is Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, in temporary command of the -- oh, strike that. This is Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, communications officer, recording: We are maintaining standard orbit around Centaurus...
The two shuttlecraft, piloted by Hikaru Sulu and Pavel Chekov, successfully maneuver to avoid the missile launched at them from the Defense Center; the Enterprise then destroys the missile. Spock and his team fly over the devastation of New Athens before reaching the Defense Center, where they enter the underground facility. Kirk's shuttlecraft is escorted to McIverton by jet aircraft; on landing, Kirk's party is met by chief of protocol Thaddeus Hayes, to whom Kirk introduces Sulu as his confidential aide. Spock's party finds no survivors at the Defense Center, where the personnel were all killed by radiation. The computers refuse to stand down in response to the commands given by Spock and the two computer technicians on his team, Rawlings and Hudson.
In Gregory's Landing, Barclay and his two companions have moved to a new hideout; Max and Dave have successfully met with their target individual. Barclay has learned from a news report that Kirk, who knows the man in question, is conferring with the president. Kirk and Sulu meet with President Erikkson, who introduces them to Daniel Perez, the Minister of Defense, and Nathaniel Burke, the Minister of Internal Security. Erikkson, Perez and Burke all lost their wives and children in New Athens. Erikkson tells Kirk that the explosion was the work of the League for a Pure Humanity, a racist and anti-alien organization headed by Isidore Holtzman. Holtzman, widely regarded as a crackpot, had threatened to destroy New Athens if members of the League were not granted political positions in one month. The explosion took place an hour after Holtzman's deadline. Sulu gives Burke a list of Enterprise crew members with relatives on Centaurus. After Burke leaves with the list, Spock calls Erikkson's office on the hotline from the Defense Center and proposes a radical means of solving the problem with the defense system. Erikkson and Perez reluctantly approve Spock's plan.
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- Reuben Barclay • Bull Buchinsky • Nathaniel Burke • Christine Chapel • Pavel Chekov • Samuel Cogley • Dave • Sergei Dominico • Henry Erikkson • Diana Flores • Gar • Stephen Garrovick • Thaddeus Hayes • Isidore Holtzman • Holtzman • Hudson • Constance Iziharry • James T. Kirk • Alec MacPherson • Max • Jabilo M'Benga • Joanna McCoy • Leonard McCoy • Winston Churchill McKnight • Daniel Perez • Rawlings • Roland Samuels • Schmidt • Montgomery Scott • Peter Siderakis • Duncan Smith • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Nyota Uhura • Teodor Vladsilovich • Saul Weinstein • Donna Withers • Fred Withers
- Referenced only
- Anne Burke • Zefram Cochrane • Benjamin Finney • John Houston Gregory • Harrison (Captain) • Aurelan Kirk • George Samuel Kirk, Jr. • George Samuel Kirk, Sr. • Peter Kirk • Winona Kirk • Perez (Mrs.) • Jocelyn Treadway
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- Columbus (NCC-1701/2) • USS Cook County • Edith Cavell • USS Enterprise • Galileo II • Sakharov • Thomas Dooley
- Referenced only
- Barnard • USS Conrad • USS Constitution • USS Farragut • USS Gagarin • Galileo (NCC-1701/7) • USS Hood • Semmelweiss • Tutu
- Alpha Centauri (Alpha Centauri A • Alpha Centauri B • Alpha Centauri C) • Alpha Centauri IV (Aquinasville • Athena Preserve • Colonial Museum • Defense Center • Elm Street • Emergency Control Center • Farragut River • Founders Parker • Founders Way • Garrovick Valley • Government Field • Gregory Avenue • Gregory's Landing • McIverton • New Athens • New Athens Medical Complex • New Athens Spaceport • New America • New Asia • New Europe • Planetary Plaza • Second Try • Sheraton Centaurus) • Big Top • Cassiopeia • Earth (British Confederacy • Caribbean • Chicago • Eurasian Union • Geneva • Georgia • Hawaii • Midwest • New York Harbor • San Francisco • United States of America) • Epsilon Canaris • Epsilon Canaris III • Hellspawn • Iotia • Jupiter • Luna • Orion home system • Sol • Taurus • Tycho IV • Vulcan
Outposts and stationsEdit
Races and culturesEdit
States and organizationsEdit
- Amsterdam and New Athens Precious Metals and Stones Consortium • Cabinet (Centaurus) • Centaurus Defense Command • Federation • Federation Foreign Office • General Staff (Centaurus) • League for a Pure Humanity • Ministry of Communications (Centaurus) • Ministry of Defense (Centaurus) • Ministry of Emergency Communications (Centaurus) • Ministry of Health (Centaurus) • Ministry of Labor Relations (Centaurus) • Moscow Dynamos • New American News Service • Red Cross • Spaceport Security • Starfleet Academy • Starfleet Command • Starstruck Inc. • Thirty-sixth Air Wing (Centaurus) • Tokyo Giants • Vulcan Council • World Congress
Ranks and titlesEdit
- admiral • assistant chief engineer • cadet • captain • cargo handler • chief councillor • chief engineer • chief medical officer • chief of protocol • colonel • commander • commander-in-chief • communications officer • corporal • doctor • engineering officer • ensign • first officer • general • hangar deck duty officer • helmsman • king • lieutenant • minister • minister of defense • minister of internal security • minister of state • navigator • nurse • president • president pro tempore • professor • science officer • security officer • sergeant • tactical officer • technologist • vice president • watch commander
Technology and weaponsEdit
- airplane • antimatter • antimatter weapon • artificial gravity • artificial gravity generator • artificial intelligence • automobile • autotracker • breeder reactor • camera • cargo ship • chronometer • communicator • computer • DayBrite lantern • dilithium crystal • drydock • elevator • flitter • freighter • geothermal generator • hologram • impulse engine • inertial dampener • inertial screwdriver • internal combustion engine • laser • limousine • locomotive • main computer • medical ship • missile • moped • motorcycle • nuclear fission • nuclear fusion • nuclear weapon • phaser • photon torpedo • planetary defense system • portapack • pressure suit • radio • robot • satellite • sensor • shield • shuttlecraft • starbase • starship • stasis field • subspace • supertanker • transporter • tricorder • trinitrotoluene • turbolift • typewriter • videophone • viewscreen • warp speed • warp drive • warp engine • warp nacelle • weapon
- 19th century • 20th century • 21st century • 2200 • 2256 • 2269 • agoraphobia • Alpha-Red • American Express • amoeba • animal • aquarium • asteroid • asteroid belt • baseball • biology • black hole • book • bridge • briefing room • captain's log • carbon dioxide • Celtic people • Centaurian blackapple • Centaurian flapjack • Centaurian treeturtle • Centaurian werebear • Centaurian woodscat • century • cigarette • city • Coca-Cola • Code 710 • coffee • colony • communications • continent • Credit • Cygnian gold piece • death • death penalty • Decoration for Valor • deer • dikronium cloud creature • dog • drugs and treatments • Eagle • ecology • electricity • elm • emotion • Engineering • Eugenics Wars • evolution • farming • first contact • Founders Day • French franc • gasoline • genetic engineering • glider • God • government • gravity • Great New Year • hangar deck • horse • hospital • hydrogen • landing party • lawyer • library • light-year • logic • maple • marriage • mining • money • moon • motion picture • mountain • music • Nan's Newsnight • nation • NeoFuller • newspaper • oil • Operation Razzle-Dazzle • Organian Peace Treaty • Pan United Spaceways • park • petroleum • physics • pig • piracy • planet • plant • plastic • play • plutonium • poet • police • Posture of Victory • prison • quarantine • radiation • recreation deck • red alert • rehabilitation colony • sailboat • sandbug • sandwich • science fiction • Scot • security • self-destruct • Sickbay • slavery • song • soul • space • spy • star • stardate • Starfleet Medal of Honor • Starfleet uniform (2240s-2265) • Starfleet uniform (2265-2270) • Statue of Liberty • sunglasses • tachyon • terrorism • theater • tool belt • United Nations • university • uranium • vacation • vacuum • village • Vulcan work unit • war • water • waterfall • World Series • xenophobia • zero gravity • zoology
- Lieutenant Sulu is erroneously referred to as an ensign on p. 24.
|TOS numbered novels||Next novel:|
Fortunes of War, Book 1: Dreadnought!
The Cloud Minders
The Sleeping God
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
|Voyages of the |
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
(2264 to 2270)
Whom Gods Destroy
|The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2269.|
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in one other timeframe:
A Private Anecdote (flashback)
Burning Dreams (2256)