Star Trek: Vanguard (or VAN) is a book series centering on activities on and around Starbase 47, aka Vanguard, set from 2265 to 2268, the same time period as Star Trek: The Original Series. The series began in 2005 with Harbinger and ended in 2012 with Storming Heaven. It was followed by a coda, In Tempest's Wake, and a spin-off series started in 2014, Star Trek: Seekers.
Star Trek: Vanguard provides a greatly expanded look at the geopolitical and cultural context to the events of the Star Trek: The Original Series. Set on a starbase in the Taurus Reach, a region outside Federation space and tucked between Klingon and Tholian space, the series, in setting itself upon a centralized space station with ambassadorial, legal, and colonizing purposes, purposefully avoids traditional depictions of Starfleet and the Federation to examine the bigger picture of the events of the TOS era.
The series follows the life of Vanguard, under command of a flag officer, Commodore Diego Reyes. Filled with an ensemble of characters, the series focuses also on unusual Federation characters, such as a Rigellian Chelon ambassador, Jetanien, a Starfleet Intelligence mandarin, T'Prynn, a Federation journalist, Tim Pennington, a JAG officer, Rana Desai and an Archaeology and anthropology officer, Ming Xiong.The station is supported by three starships, the Constitution-class USS Endeavour, the Miranda-class USS Bombay, and the Archer-class scout ship USS Sagittarius. Though each is central to the series, and are filled with perhaps characters more familiar to traditional Star Trek narratives (captains, first officers, science officers, chief medical officers, engineers, etc.), the authors of the series ensure each ship's distinctiveness from one another and from other, more familiar, Starfleet vessels.
The setting of Vanguard during the events of The Original Series and between Klingon and Tholian space also ensures that the series concentrates on examining these two states during the 2260s. The earlier careers of important figures such as Gorkon and Chang are examined, the vying statues of "ridged" and "smooth"-headed Klingons, and the events leading to and surrounding the brief Federation-Klingon War of 2267 ended by the Organian Peace Treaty. The Tholians are depicted in great detail, proving a history to the events of TOS episode: "The Tholian Web", which is placed within the context of Vanguard's operations. The emergence of the Romulan Star Empire from its century of isolation is explored, as well as how the Klingon-Romulan alliance of the 2260s occurred. Finally the origins of the failed "Planet of Galactic Peace" seen in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Nimbus III, are explored also.
As the hub of a massive colonization effort, Vanguard Station is populated by a number of civilian habitants and ships. One person is a colorful trader and smuggler, Cervantes Quinn, in the same vein of Cyrano Jones. At the beginning of the series, he is beholden to another civilian resident of the station, the Orion merchant-prince Ganz. The relationship of these two to the intelligence and espionage apparatus of Starfleet and the Klingon Empire proves central to the series's narrative. Characters are revealed to be, like Arnin Darvin in "The Trouble With Tribbles," surgically-altered Klingon spies, and the ruthless efforts taken both by the more militaristic Starfleet of the TOS-era and the other interstellar powers add further realpolitik to the series.
The central mystery of the series, and the secret reason for the Federation push into the Taurus Reach, is a massive genetic mystery, the Shedai Meta-genome. As the series continues, its connection to a powerful and violent ancient threat becomes clearer, as well as this threat's relationship to the origins and emergence of the Tholian species. The scientific successes and failures of the Genesis Device are given foundation in the exploration of the meta-genome in the series, with the 2260s Carol Marcus explored, a civilian scientist imposed by the Federation Council to limit militaristic excesses.
Finally, Vanguard is akin to the HBO version of a Star Trek series. It examines the original era of Star Trek, exalts in the production design and visuals of the 1960s, but removes political naivety, rebalances gender and racial politics, and deconstructs some of the failings and flaws of the Federation seen also in the series and its six films. A complete series, Vanguard provides an exciting and harrowing expansion of how we can understand the events seen via the Enterprise on television and film before.
The events of Vanguard commence in 2263 when the USS Constellation discovers on a scan of the Taurus Reach a complex and unknown genetic marker. Unable to spare the resources to study the finding, Commodore Matthew Decker sends the information to Starfleet Command.
Two years later, after the return of the USS Enterprise from the galactic barrier and the transformation of Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner into superbeings, the damaged ship expects to take several months to reach Federation space. Instead, it finds in the Taurus Reach a fully operating starbase, numbered 47 and called Vanguard.
For a complete list of characters, see characters in Star Trek: Vanguard.
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- SCE eBook: Distant Early Warning (2006)
- The Black Flag by James Swallow (Shards and Shadows, 2009)
- In Tempest's Wake by Dayton Ward (2012, eBook-exclusive epilogue to Star Trek: Vanguard)
|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|