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- From the back cover
- Star Empire is the Federation's most powerful new weapon—a dreadnought, first in a class of super-starships—capable of outgunning a dozen Klingon cruisers, or subduing a galaxy.
- On the eve of her maiden voyage, Star Empire is stolen by terrorists who demand a rendezvous with the USS Enterprise—and with Lieutenant Piper, stationed aboard Kirk's ship on her first training cruise. Now Piper must discover why her friends from Starfleet are among the terrorists… and why they insist the ship was stolen not to attack the Federation—but to save it!
During her Kobayashi Maru test, Cadet Piper overloads the simulator by using a communicator to override her ship's computer. As a result, she comes closer than any other command cadet to beating the no-win scenario. At the request of Captain Kirk, who was observing the simulation, her new assignment is changed from the Magellan to the Enterprise. Lieutenant Piper says farewell to her lover, Brian Silayna, an engineering cadet assigned to the Magellan. Shuttled to the Enterprise, she meets her new roommates: Telosirizharcrede (known as Osira), the Gorn ambassador's daughter; Judd "Scanner" Sandage, who works in starship services; and Dr. Merete AndrusTaurus, a Palkeo Est woman from Altair IV. The Enterprise has received a special dispatch from Starfleet Command, and quickly leaves the Sol system. Piper and the others are joined by Sarda, a Vulcan classmate of Piper at Starfleet Academy whom she inadvertently harmed in the past. Having been mistakenly assigned to her cabin, he wants as little to do with her as possible. After he leaves, Piper is called to the bridge.
Kirk and Spock tell Piper of the theft of the Federation dreadnought Star Empire by unknown Starfleet personnel. Starfleet Command has received a message from Star Empire containing Piper's biocode and giving the coordinates where Enterprise can rendezvous with the dreadnought. Piper takes part in a briefing room meeting with the senior staff and Sarda, who is working under Sulu in weapons. The Star Empire was the pet project of Vice-Admiral Vaughan Rittenhouse, who will be joining the Enterprise at the rendezvous point aboard the destroyer Pompeii.
After another unpleasant conversation with Sarda, Piper is joined in their quarters by Merete, who shows her a holographic tape of Piper's home planet, Proxima Beta. They discuss Sarda, who has been ostracized by fellow Vulcans since Piper ignorantly recommended him for a position in weapons design, not realizing this was a field contrary to Vulcan morals. In the Enterprise library, Piper and Merete view a holographic tape of the surface of Vulcan, then research Vulcan training curricula. Sarda has been trying to teach himself the Vulcan disciplines leading to Kolinahr, but has only attained the level of Sele-an-t'lee, several years behind where he should be.
The Enterprise arrives at the rendezvous point to find Star Empire being fired upon by four Klingon warbirds and already nearly destroyed. Enterprise engages the Klingon ships, one of which flees into a nearby asteroid belt. Kirk orders Piper to take over navigation and plot a seemingly suicidal course toward the Klingons, but she is too terrified to do so, and Ensign Meyers has to take over. After a battle in which Enterprise sustains significant damage but destroys one warbird, the real Star Empire emerges from the asteroids and destroys the remaining Klingon ships. The crippled dreadnought was only a projection. Enterprise is now surrounded by further projections of Star Empire. After Piper confirms her biocode, Star Empire responds to Enterprise's hails. Brian Silayna appears on the viewscreen with a message from Commander Paul Burch, requesting that an ambassadorial party, to include Piper and at least one Vulcan, beam over to Star Empire. Kirk refuses, and Spock has Piper arrested by Security for conspiring with terrorists.
Piper escapes her cabin by using a trick Brian taught her, disconnecting the fire alarm and then making it seem the room is burning, causing the door to open. She plans to beam over to Star Empire to learn what is going on, but Sarda finds her in the transporter room and tells her Star Empire has moved out of transporter range. They proceed to the main hangar deck, where Piper boards the two-man fighter Wooden Shoe; Sarda insists on accompanying her. Piper realizes that Sarda invented the image projector, but that Rittenhouse took credit for it. Piper orders Sarda to key Wooden Shoe's destruct code into their communicators with a fifteen-second delay. The Pompeii arrives and brings Wooden Shoe aboard with a tractor beam. Piper and Sarda are taken to meet Rittenhouse and his "civilian liaison", Dr. Boma. Piper claims full responsibility for their unauthorized departure from Enterprise. Rittenhouse tells them Paul Burch was his assistant but gradually became unstable. Kirk contacts Rittenhouse, who suggests that he leave the sector if he is uncomfortable with the prospect of killing those aboard Star Empire. Kirk politely declines, pointing out that the hijackers specifically requested the presence of Enterprise. Piper becomes suspicious of Rittenhouse. When she and Sarda are left alone they use the computer to find evidence that Rittenhouse is the leader of a conspiracy within Starfleet to impose galactic hegemony by force. Piper tries to contact Kirk to warn him not to leave, but Rittenhouse and Boma re-enter the room, having been listening. Boma leads Piper and Sarda away at phaser-point; the two young officers knock him out and attempt to escape, but Piper is stunned by a phaser.
Piper awakens to find herself in the brig on Pompeii with Sarda, who tells her Rittenhouse shot her. A power failure causes the brig's force field to shut down briefly; Sarda leaps through the door and is caught half-in, half-out, then ejected into the corridor as the field reactivates. He frees Piper. The two of them see Rittenhouse entering a meeting with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and the captains of three other starships that have arrived in the area. Piper and Sarda head to Engineering to listen in on the meeting. Sarda uses his communicator to signal Scanner and Merete, who have been waiting in the Enterprise transporter room and now materialize on Pompeii. Scanner tunes in to the meeting, where the Enterprise officers recognize Boma, whom Scotty had court-martialed after the Galileo incident. Rittenhouse contacts Star Empire, and Burch repeats the demand for a boarding party including Piper and a Vulcan, this time adding that Kirk must also join them. Rittenhouse cuts off the transmission before Burch finishes speaking. He rejects Kirk's request to go along with the demand and appoints Captain Nash of the Lincoln as his second-in-command. When the Enterprise officers continue to protest, Rittenhouse has them confined in his quarters. Piper and her colleagues distract the guards outside Rittenhouse's cabin by doing the bunny hop, then overpower them and enter the room only to find that Kirk and the others have already overcome the guards inside. After Scotty sabotages the weapons system, the four senior officers beam back to Enterprise, leaving Piper and the others to follow -- but the transporter is deactivated from the bridge. On their way to the hangar deck they run into security guards; Merete is horrified when she shoots a guard with his own phaser, which was set on kill. In the hangar deck they are confronted by Rittenhouse and more guards, but Piper threatens them with her fighter's self-destruct and Rittenhouse allows them to leave, promising to destroy the attack sled once it is in space. Piper and Sarda leave in Wooden Shoe; Scanner and Merete follow in one of Pompeii's one-man fighters, Polliwog.
Wooden Shoe and Polliwog fly to Star Empire, where Brian Silayna meets Piper and her friends and takes them to the bridge. Piper is furious that Brian never told her about his involvement in Burch's counter-conspiracy. Burch's crew consists of inexperienced students and technicians with little idea how to use Star Empire's systems. Burch tries to speak to Kirk through Rittenhouse's jamming of transmissions, but Pompeii and Lincoln open fire on Star Empire and knock out the communications couplings. Piper and Merete head below decks to attempt repairs, but when Piper has partially completed the task Merete pulls a phaser on her. Merete has been recruited by Rittenhouse, playing on the brutal deaths of her parents at the hands of the Orions. Piper convinces Merete that Rittenhouse cannot be trusted and is trying to kill them, but another phaser hit on the ship causes an explosion that severely wounds Merete.
After restoring communications, Piper returns to the bridge. Enterprise has entered the battle on Star Empire's side. Piper shows Burch's crew how to get control of systems by asking the computer for help. Enterprise drops her shields, and the dreadnought's crew hear Spock telling Rittenhouse that Enterprise is about to be flooded with coolant ammonia and that Kirk is dying. Potempkin and Lincoln move in to evacuate the Enterprise crew, lowering their shields to do so. Burch is about to surrender, but Piper realizes Kirk is tricking Rittenhouse. Enterprise opens fire on the other two ships. Another hit on Star Empire horribly injures Burch.
Brian asks Piper to take command, but she refuses. Kirk attempts to command Star Empire remotely by comlink, but sensors are affected by a photon torpedo hit. Sarda convinces Piper to take command. After gaining the upper hand with the superior firepower and defenses of the dreadnought, Star Empire and Enterprise pin the other four ships between themselves. Rittenhouse attempts to ram Star Empire with Pompeii, which Enterprise destroys. The other three ships surrender to Kirk.
In a ceremony aboard Enterprise, Piper is awarded the Congressional Medal of Valor. Sarda, Scanner and Brian receive Silver Palms; Merete, recovered, was recommended for one but has refused it. Kirk and Piper discuss Star Empire's probable decommissioning. Dr. Boma escaped from Pompeii before its destruction; realizing that Rittenhouse planned to kill those aboard Star Empire, he caused the power failure that freed Piper and Sarda from the brig. Burch is also recovering and will receive the Medal of Honor. Kirk invites Piper to spend the weekend with him aboard a schooner in San Francisco Bay.
- Merete AndrusTaurus • Baldridge • Samuel Boma • Booth • Broxon • Paul Burch • Carr • Illya Galina • Hopton • Josephson • James T. Kirk • Stephen Leedson • Leonard McCoy • Meyers • Roy Nash • Novelwry • Page • Piper • Vaughan Rittenhouse • Judd Sandage • Sarda • Montgomery Scott • Brian Silayna • Spock • Hikaru Sulu • Telosirizharcrede • Sukaru Tutakai • Uhura • Li Wang
- Referenced only
- Ran Armstrong • Adeb ben Abdullah • Elizabeth Connolly • Nal Eiili • Mandala Flynn • Irene Fogel-Malone • Harrison • Tal Luxur • Lyras • Prisu • Lu Sing Quaid • Li Quan • Niditoricumtu Ro • Santa Claus • Scorus • Selok • Seltar • William Shakespeare • Stav • Surak • Nigel Swenson • Chirita Dur Tahr • T'Enne • T'Veen • T'Vish • Susan Yin
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- USS Constellation • Dante • USS Defiant • USS Embassy • USS Enterprise • Galileo • Gray Matter • Honey Bun (Arco-class attack sled) • USS Hornet • USS Intrepid • Klingon warbirds • USS Liberty • USS Lincoln • USS Magellanic Clouds (Galaxy-class) • USS Majestic • Perceptive • Polliwog (Tycho-class fighter) • USS Pompeii (Saladin-class) • USS Potemkin • Prodigy • USS Ramage • Rock Slide (Arco class attack sled) • Romulan battlecruiser • Runamuck (Arco class attack sled) • USS Star Empire (Mk-X class I Federation dreadnought) • Stocking Cap (Arco class attack sled) • USS Valiant • Wooden Shoe (Arco class attack sled) • Zipper Fly (Arco class attack sled)
- Aberdeen • Cullowhee • California • Kentucky • Kenya • Puget Sound • San Francisco • San Francisco Bay • Tennessee
Planets and planetoidsEdit
- Altair IV • Altair VI • Antares IV • Cestus • Earth • Gamma Hydra • Memory Alpha • Memory Gamma • Proxima • Proxima II • Proxima Alpha • Proxima Beta • Rigel • Rigel 4 • Romulus • Tau Ceti • Tau Lacertae IX • Taurus II • Tellar • Tholus • Triskelion • Vulcan • Wren's Planet
Races and culturesEdit
- Andorian • Denevan • Fabrini • Gorn • Human • Klingon • Mengenite • Orion • Palkeo Est • Persean • Romulan • Tellarite • Vulcan
States and organizationsEdit
- Aggregation of Rigellian Systems • Alpha Centauri Concordium • Altair Quadrant • Camborn Sector Alliance • Epsilon Indii Star Empire • First Federation • Pelius Coalition • Planetary Confederation of 40 Eridani • Starfleet Academy • United Federation of Planets • United Nations Sol System • United Planets of 61 Cygni • Vulcan Science Academy
- 2270 • Academy Colosseum • Analysis of Pseudodoxy • Articles of Federation • auxiliary control • bacteria paper • bagpipes • bee • biocode • Bronze Cluster • bunny hop • captain • Christmas • cobra-hawk • Cogan wrench • command authorization code • communicator • Congressional Medal of Valor • court martial • cruiser • Denevan brandy • dynoscanner • elephant • Equations • Essays of Discipline • Explorations • fibercoil • freighter • Hovinga iridium • The Interior • katra • Kobayashi Maru scenario • Kolinahr • lepidodendron • lieutenant • logic • Logic and Definition • Medal of Honor • phaser • prefix code • Purpose as Prime Motivator • quantobirilium • Ringgold's Pirouette • The Runes of T'Vish • sailing • scones • Scotch • Sele-an-t'lee • self destruct • shark • Special Powers Decision • Starfleet Regulations • Starfleet Silver Palm • synergist • Systems of Logic • tractor beam • transwarp drive • tribble • Venlinahr • viewscreen • Wade-Gauberg trichloride ammonia • World War III
- In 1999 this novel was printed as Book 1 in the Fortunes of War duology with Battlestations!.
- As later with Battlestations!, the cover depicts Piper as modeled by Diane Carey and Sarda is depicted as Greg Brodeur.
- Author Diane Carey used several names and reference from the Star Fleet Technical Manual in creating "Dreadnought!", among them the USS Hornet, the (misspelled) USS Potempkin, the Saladin-class of vessel and the eponymous dreadnought. Also utilized were several of that reference's starship names, as characters, including the USS Rittenhouse, USS Sandage and, in part, the USS Sardar (i.e. Sarda).
Crisis on Centaurus
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