Before they were officers aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise...
Will Riker believed it was an honor to belong to the Starfleet Academy Band, a position few first-year cadets achieve. He becomes friends with fellow cadet Geordi La Forge, the band's roadie, who looks forward to visiting exotic planets and hanging out with the band. But Riker isn't so sure. He's tired of being the butt of practical jokes -- standard treatment for all band newcomers -- and threatens to quit.
Then comes the big competition on the beautiful resort planet of Pacifica. The Starfleet Academy Band is so good that they attract the unwanted attention of an alien warship. They are given a choice: perform for alien troops or be destroyed.
But when the cadets arrive on war-torn Elofim, they're caught in the crossfire with no escape. Suddenly, Riker isn't worrying about leaving the band. Instead, he and Geordi have to find a way off Elofim -- alive!
The Starfleet Academy Band's saxophone player, Leshelle, has resigned suddenly, forcing them to accept a first year cadet, Will Riker, as his replacement for a competition on Pacifica. En route, Riker is the butt of several practical jokes and even after getting his own back determines to quit.
The band place second but the Orion judge Jaktu is impressed and hijacks their ship, the Gallant, taking them to the war torn planet Elofim so they can play to the Orion troops there. Captain Webb reluctantly agrees but at the conclusion of the concert, the area is attacked by enemy aircraft and Jaktu and several others are killed.
Riker and Geordi La Forge, the band's roadie, take cover and learn that they can use a Coridan phase modulator La Forge has been tinkering with to control the enemy aircraft. The aircraft turn out to be drone ships constructed by the Tellarites and they are able to programme them to surrender.
The truth becomes clear: the Orions are mercenaries employed to fight the drone ships and the real combatants in the war are the Riquatru and the Hakshos, two races who invaded the world together and displaced the native population then began fighting over it. With the involvement of Tellarite arms dealers, the Federation intervenes to arbitrate a settlement and rebuild the planet. Riker and La Forge are rewarded by being made full band members.
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- This is the only book from the 1990's Star Trek Young Adult line to have no interior illustrations or photos.
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