- For other uses, see Precipice.
- Operation Vanguard is in chaos.
- On a post-apocalyptic world in the Taurus Reach, undercover Starfleet Intelligence agent Cervantes Quinn finds an ancient Shedai conduit. Unfortunately, the Klingons have found it first and sent an army to claim it.
- Light-years away on Vulcan, reporter Tim Pennington answers a cryptic call for help and ends up stalking interstellar criminals with an unlikely partner: T'Prynn, the woman who sabotaged his career and is now a fugitive from justice.
- Meanwhile, Diego Reyes, former commander of Starbase 47, lives as a prisoner aboard a Klingon starship. But his former enemies aren't seeking revenge. In fact, the only man who knows why Reyes is still alive is the one who arranged his kidnapping and faked his death—the enigmatic Councilor Gorkon.
- All their fates, as well as the futures of three great powers, are linked by one thing: the mysterious Mirdonyae Artifact. And unless Doctor. Carol Marcus and Ming Xiong can unlock its secrets in time, it might destroy them all.
Precipice takes place over the entire span of 2267, from January to December.
On his way to prison, Diego Reyes' ship is attacked by pirates and he is kidnapped before the ship is destroyed with all hands. Reyes awakes aboard the Klingon battle cruiser IKS Zin'za. Captain Kutal would rather have killed him but reveals he was saved by an important benefactor. He is soon joined by Ezthene, a Tholian who was captured while trying to defect to Vanguard. A week later they are joined by Councillor Gorkon. It is revealed that Gorkon and Reyes were personal enemies when they were both starship captains. Gorkon now wants their help in convincing the Klingon High Council to sue for peace with the Tholians and Federation. The Klingons soon move to attack Vanguard station where the concluding events of "Open Secrets" take place, after which the Klingons retreat to their border.
Cervantes Quinn has teamed up with Bridget McLellan, or Bridy Mac as she is called (formerly of the USS Sagittarius), and is now working for Starfleet Intelligence. Quinn has gone sober, gotten in shape, and had the Rocinante outfitted with Starfleet technology. The two travel the Taurus Reach seeking out Shedai technology while thwarting the efforts of the UFP's enemies to gather them; one of the reasons Quinn was chosen for the assignment was as a civilian he doesn't have to follow the Prime Directive. Quinn regularly makes passes at Bridy Mac who quickly rebuffs him. They are sent to a planet named Golmira by its inhabitants who called themselves the Denn. The planet has since been visited by other space fairing worlds who found the planet useless. The Denn also reveal that there is a nearby desert which is home to an ancient temple that is said to hold an artifact that predates their species. While Quinn and Bridy Mac investigate the temple from a distance, a Klingon occupation force arrives, secures the temple, and annexes the planet; the two send a message to Starfleet and await direction. Quinn and Bridy Mac are directed by Admiral Heihachiro Nogura to avoid capture and incite a local rebellion in the three months required for Starfleet to deploy help to their location. Quinn reveals he was trained as a mercenary when he was a young man where he learned to kill, improvise, and become a drunk; after leaving, he bought the Rocinante. He then trains the Denn how to be freedom fighters.
T'Prynn covertly meets up with Timothy Pennington who agrees to help her sneak off Vulcan in an effort to redeem herself and restore her career. T'Prynn begins researching the events which have transpired since falling into her coma and concludes the best way to restore herself is to bring to justice whoever killed Reyes. The two steal a small transport from smugglers which Pennington christens the Skylla. While upgrading the vessel, the two discuss their feelings of loss from losing their lovers and form a friendship.
Rana Desai and security chief Haniff Jackson strike up a romance while investigating the destruction of the transport ship USS Malacca in the docking bay the previous year, which they link to Zett Nilric.
Ming Xiong and Carol Marcus discover that the Mirdonyae Artifact is actually a crystalline prison for a living Shedai which is the source of the glowing core. However they have no clue as to who made it or where it came from. Xiong later discovers that every time the artifact has been used to locate Shedai technology on a planet, that planet was destroyed, leaving a total of 11 planets accidentally destroyed by their experimentation. Xiong also begins work on creating a false Jinoteur Pattern which could be used as bait or a weapon against the Shedai.
The Klingons are unable to use the artifacts on Golmira, so Kutal is ordered to have Reyes provide intelligence on how to covertly access Vanguard's vault to steal the Mirdonyae Artifact. Joshua Kane, a professional thief in Ganz's employ is contracted by the Klingons with Ganz's blessing so long as no lives are taken and the theft cannot be linked back to him. Ganz is trying to be allowed to dock at Vanguard again and is disturbed to find out Zett is under investigation for being linked to a bombing he did not sanction.
The Skylla begins eaves dropping on communication from Ganz's ship, the Omari-Ekon. T'Prynn views a communication between Kane and Kutal where she learns where their final transaction is to take place and discovers Kutal is holding Reyes hostage. T'Prynn covertly contacts Desai, telling her a master thief is coming to Vanguard and that Reyes is alive. Desai, however, refuses to converse with a criminal and disconnects without exchanging any information with T'Prynn.
Kane breaks into the Vault and steals the Mirdonyae Artifact but is arrested before he can escape. Jackson is unable to locate the artifact and Kane has a solid alibi, forcing Jackson to release the thief. When Nogura issues an investigation into how he gained access to the Vault, Desai reveals her conversation with T'Prynn and begins to believe the Vulcan was telling the truth. The Skylla observes the transaction between Kane and the Klingons before following the Klingons to their destination- Golmira. Unknown to T'Prynn, Zett was also observing the transaction and pursues also.
Quinn observes the Shedai artifact consume a young Denn girl alive. Soon after, Bridy Mac is captured and strapped to the machine by Zett and the Klingons. She is told that the more people they feed to the machine, the more access to its systems it allows. Mounting a rescue, Quinn crashes the Rocinante into the Klingon barracks and has the Denn begin an attack; T'Prynn takes the opportunity to enter the fray solo. As the battle ensues, the Shedai Wanderer assaults the temple and takes the Mirdonyae Artifact. Quinn kills Zett but then he and Bridy Mac are identified by the Wanderer who recognizes them from Jinoteur IV. She chases them but as she moves in for the kill, the Wanderer is suddenly seized with pain and retreats. Quinn and Bridy Mac then find Zett's ship and escape.
Pennington and a Starfleet security team from the USS Endeavour arrive to aid T'Prynn. They use a small crystal engineered by Xiong to lure the Wanderer to their position. When she attacks them, the crystal is used to trigger a reaction within the Mirdonyae Artifact which hurts the Wanderer, causing her to drop it and flee into deep space. T'Prynn and Pennington are then arrested and returned to Vanguard. The charges against Pennington are dropped and he is released. At her court martial, T'Prynn is found guilty on unlawfully tampering with her medical records, making fraudulent statements under oath, absent without leave, and fleeing prosecution; however, she is found not guilty of dereliction of duty. She is reduced in rank to lieutenant junior grade, has her security clearance reduced, and is placed on disciplinary probation for five years. She goes to work for her replacement, Commander Serrosel ch'Nayla.
The Omari-Ekon arrives at Vanguard carrying Reyes and a crystal which is identical to the Mirdonyae Artifact but empty. Ganz uses them to negotiate the right to dock at the station again but Reyes stays aboard the ship where he cannot be arrested since the ship is Orion territory.
Marcus and Xiong begin studying the new crystal; as they do, the Wanderer attacks Vanguard and boards the station. She rips her way through the decks without obstruction until she reaches the Vault. As she moves to kill the two scientists, Xiong activates the empty crystal which sucks the Wanderer inside where she is helplessly imprisoned.
Vanguard personnel and residentsEdit
- Jon Cooper • Rana Desai • Yael Dohan • Judy Dunbar • Isaiah Farber • Ezekiel Fisher • Varech jav Gek • Toby Greenfield • Holmgren • Haniff Jackson • Akeylah Karumé • Koothrappali • Roberta Lenger • Peter Liverakos • Manón • Carol Marcus • Holly Moyer • Serrosel ch'Nayla • Heihachiro Nogura • Tim Pennington • Seklir • T'Prynn • Tarcoh • Ming Xiong
- Referenced only
- Hofstadter • Elizabeth Langlois • Nezrene • Matt Romano • Sohl • Dmitri Strout • Wolowitz
USS Endeavour personnelEdit
- Hector Estrada • Atish Khatami • Stephen Klisiewicz • Marielise McCormack • Paul McGibbon • Neelakanta • Katherine Stano
USS Nowlan personnelEdit
IKS Zin'za personnelEdit
IKS Rojaq personnelEdit
Klingon High CouncilEdit
- Bubba • Yan Cova • Doc • Hopalong • Lirev • Mudguts • Noar • Adeva Oros • Ilka Parzych • Naya Parzych • Urova Pren • Decin Rokon • Slugger • Spaz • Stretch • Tater • Turtle • Enora Yova
- D'tran • Dochyiel • Ertobor • Ezthene • Garthog • Jetanien • Joshua Kane • Lugok • Jabilo M'Benga • Bridget McLellan (aka "Bridy Mac") • Cervantes Quinn • Diego Reyes • Scalzer • Denon Veril • Shedai Wanderer • Zurtmank
- Referenced only
- Shedai Apostate • Armstrong • Ayelborne • Lisa Babitz • Napoléon Bonaparte • Lora Brummer • Christine Chapel • Oriana D'Amato • Kahless • Leskon • Leonard McCoy • Denise Quinn • Anna Sandesjo • Sarek • Percy Bysshe Shelley • Sobon • Spock • Sten • Surak • Syanok • Vanessa Theriault • Weiland
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- USS Akhiel (Loknar-class frigate) • Ali Baba • USS Buenos Aires (Miranda-class cruiser) • Dulcinea/Icarion • USS Endeavour (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • Escape pod • Klingon bird-of-prey • USS Nowlan (Antares-class transport) • Omari-Ekon • Rocinante • IKS Rojaq • Skylla • Workpod • IKS Zin'za
- Referenced only
- USS Bombay • IKS Chech'Iw • USS Dauntless • USS Defiant • USS Enterprise • USS Gloucester • USS Intrepid • Lanz't Tholis • USS Lovell • USS Malacca • USS Orem • USS Sagittarius • Tremina (frigate)
- Ajilon Prime (Tanada Bay) • Amonash • Golmira/Gr'oth (Doanhain • Hinterlands • Leuck Shire • Precursor temple • Tegoresko) • Nevasa • Nimbus III • Ogat • Vanguard (Café Romano • Fontana Meadow • Manón's • Security center • Starfleet Intelligence liaison office • Stars Landing • Tom Walker's • Vanguard Hospital • Vault) • Taurus Reach • T'Khut • Vulcan (Khomir Pass • Kren'than • L-langon Mountains • ShiKahr • ShiKahr Spaceport • Shival Flats • Toth'Sen • Water-collection station)
- Referenced only
- Beta Rigel (Kefvenek) • Borzha II • Coridan III • Cygnar • Deep Space Station K-7 • Delta Leonis • Denobula • Earth (New Zealand • New Zealand Penal Settlement) • Gamma Tauri IV • Jinoteur IV • Mars • Mirdonyae V • Nisus • Officers' club • Omicron Ceti • Omicron Ceti III • Qo'noS (First City) • Risa (Midas Casino) • Romulus • Rura Penthe • Sector Four • Sol • Somraw Anchorage • Sto-vo-kor • Tammeron • Tellar • Vodrey Nebula • Zeta Aquilae
Races and culturesEdit
- Andorian • Arcturan • Balduk • Bolian • Chelon • Deltan • Denn (Goçeba) • Efrosian • Human • Klingon • Nalori • Orion • Rigellian • Romulan • Shedai • Tellarite • Tholian • Tiburonian • Vulcan
- Referenced only
States and organizationsEdit
- Judge Advocate General • Klingon Empire • Klingon High Command • Klingon High Council • landgraves • Romulan Star Empire • Starfleet • Starfleet Intelligence • Tholian Assembly • United Federation of Planets
- Referenced only
- Cygnar-Ralon Interstellar Shipping • Daystrom Institute • Federation Council • Federation News Service • Imperial Intelligence • Political Castemoot • Ruling Conclave of the Tholian Assembly • Starfleet Command • Starfleet Medical • Starfleet Security • Syanok Import-Export • Vulcan Science Academy
Science and TechnologyEdit
- all-terrain vehicle • ammonia • antimatter fuel pod • artificial gravity • asteroid • baryonic array • Berthold ray • beta waves • biometric sensor • chroniton gauge • coil spanner • communication relay • communications • communicator • computer science • conduit • data card • data slate • decoupler • dilithium matrix • disruptor • DNA • duranium • environmental suit • firmware • forcefield • hibernation pod • homing beacon • hovercar • hypospray • icospectrogram • impulse drive • inertial dampener • impulse drive • infrasonic frequency • Jinoteur Pattern • life-support • painstik • palm beacon • parametric scanner • phaser • plasma blaster • plasma conduit • power cell • power-distribution • protein • radio • reclaimator • recorder • Rubindium-transponder transporter recall bracelet • satellite • shield • sonic screwdriver • structural integrity field • subspace • subspace echo • tannot ore • Taurus meta-genome • thruster • transparent aluminum • transponder • transporter • transuranic • tricorder • ultritium • universal translator • warp core • warp drive • warp nacelle • warp shadow • Xenopolycythemia • zero-gravity
Ranks and TitlesEdit
- admiral • ambassador • assassin • assistant security chief • captain • Chancellor of the High Council of the Klingon Empire • chief medical officer • chief petty officer • crewman • commander • commodore • councilor • cynosure • doctor • ensign • first officer • forensic specialist • geneticist • helmsman • intelligence officer • journalist • lawyer • lieutenant • lieutenant commander • lieutenant junior grade • mercenary • merchant • merchant prince • navigator • Orion Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets • petty officer third class • pirate • rear admiral • science officer • scientist • security chief • senator • shahzadi • smuggler • theoretical physicist • waiter • yeoman
- 2254 • 2260 • 2261 • anchor • Argelian cashews • AWOL • aylakim • Babel Conferences • Battle of Ravanar IV • beer • binoculars • The Blood Country • blueberry • bread • brig • cargo bay • chicken noodle soup • club soda • cocoa • college • coffee • combat tactics • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare • coolant • credit chip • crowbar • dilithium • d'k tahg • docking bay • Don Quixote (de la Mancha) • Federation Charter • First Guarantee • fishing • fishing rod • flight operations • French roast • gagh • General Order 24 • glasses • goschmol mushrooms • gravy • guramba • hammock • hazmat suit • jazz • k'karee • katra • Keesa • landgrave • lanka-gar • Le-matya • lime • mandala • meditation temple • mellul • menhir • Mirdonyae Artifact • monsoon • n'v'aa • nymock • Operation Vanguard • Ozymandias • Pacifican seagrass • pasta pesto • pear cobbler • petaQpu' • piano • plea bargain • plomeek soup • poker • Prime Directive • punching bag • quintotriticale • Racquetball • raspberry • safety harness • salt • sandstorm • saxophone • sinkhole • soccer • solstice • Starfleet Code of Military Justice • Sunrise on Zeta Minor • sword • tannot ore • targ • tea • terrestrial enclosure • Texas Hold 'Em • Treaty of Organia • vegetables • vegetable wrap • voodoo • water • yIntagHpu' • yosa blade
- The working title for this book was Flashpoint, however editor Marco Palmieri suggested it take a different title as "Flash Point" was already the title of a Star Trek short story. 
|Stories featuring Starbase Vanguard|
|Star Trek: Vanguard novels||Harbinger • Summon the Thunder • Reap the Whirlwind • Open Secrets • Precipice • What Judgments Come • Storming Heaven|
|Short stories and novellas||Distant Early Warning • The Black Flag • Declassified (Almost Tomorrow • Hard News • The Ruins of Noble Men • The Stars Look Down) • In Tempest's Wake|
|Vanguard novels||Next novel:|
For Want of a Nail
The Sorrows of Empire
not yet placed
|Memory Beta Chronology||Next adventure:|
not yet placed