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Gamma Xaridian - a peaceful Federation research colony that becomes the third Federation world to suffer a brutal attack at the hands of a mysterious alien fleet. With Lt. Uhura gone on an important mission of her own, Captain Kirk and the USS Enterprise are dispatched to investigate the attacks, only to find the planets completely devastated.
When another nearby colony is attacked, the USS Enterprise is ready and encounters a fleet of quick, small and deadly ships. Though Kirk and his crew manage to turn the raiders away, the USS Enterprise is severely damaged and the aliens escape.
As Kirk and his crew prepare for their next encounter with the raiders, Mr. Spock makes a startling discovery about the purpose behind the alien attacks - a purpose that, if realized, could have deadly consequences for the Federation and the USS Enterprise...
Uhura is reassigned to the Lexington for a mission to Rithra, whose population use a combination of verbal and sign language to communicate. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is ordered to the Xaridian systems, where three Federation colonies have been attacked without provocation, the most recent leaving no survivors. The Enterprise defeats an attack on a fourth colony but Chekov is temporarily relieved of duty when he questions Kirk's orders during the battle. He redeems himself by helping Scotty work out a method for tracking the raiders' ships. Spock then deduces that several items were stolen from the first colony and suspicion falls on the Parath'aa, the inhabitants of a nearby world who were refused Federation membership because of the brutality of their leaders and desire advanced technology. Kirk suspects the other raids are being carried out to disguise the theft.
The Lexington crew are requested to assist the Rithrim by repairing a force field protecting a procreation centre from a volcano, which has been affected by levels of radiation. When the crew enquire about the destruction of certain monuments, the governor caste request they leave the planet but the procreator caste ask them to stay. Uhura and the Lexington's communication officer Baila visit a procreation centre and realize there is a fifth caste whose existence the Rithrim having been trying to conceal: a warrior caste who once acted as law enforcement and defence but whose aggressive tendencies became uncontrollable as their society became more peaceful. It is they who have been raiding the Federation colonies, acting as mercenaries for the Parath'aa.
The information is relayed to the Enterprise in time for the crew to use their shields' vulnerability to radiation to destroy or capture all the raiders. The crew learn that the Parath'aa have built a plasma cannon, which they intend to use to conquer the nearby pre-warp civilisation on Cygni Maxima. The Enterprise intercepts the fleet and destroys the plasma cannon, forcing the Parath'aa to return the stolen technology. The Rithrim show an interest in Federation membership and Baila stays behind to lead a delegation. Commodore Wesley asks Uhura to replace him but she returns to the Enterprise instead.
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- Chak • Pavel Chekov • Cortez • Jerome Baila • Berriman • Peder Coss • Dab • Delacort • Jak Eisman • Endris • Gabler • Jeff Gelb • Barry Giotto • Ito • Sharon Jarvis • James T. Kirk • Kyle • Martha Landon • Leslie • Ling • L'rita • Angela Martine • Charlene Masters • Leonard McCoy • Elizabeth Palmer • Peterson • Wynn Samuels • Montgomery Scott • Silva • Sloan • Spock • Stanley • Hikaru Sulu • Uhura • Washburn • Robert Wesley • Joan Winston
- Referenced only
- Ravi Akbar • Robert April • David Bailey • Beauregard • Berganza • Callas • Matthew Decker • Dini • Epala • God • Phillip Green • Kisal • Kolker • Jabilo M'Benga • Helen Noel • Christopher Pike • Pittarese • Janice Rand • Kevin Riley • Stoner • Styles • Beccah Talulu • Robert Tomlinson
Starships and vehiclesEdit
- USS Enterprise • USS Lexington • USS Potemkin • Viking
- Referenced only
- USS Constellation • USS Farragut • USS Hood • USS Trudeau • USS Yorktown
- Alpha Xaridian • Alpha Xaridian I • Alpha Xaridian II • Alpha Xaridian III • Alpha Xaridian IV • Parathu'ul (Alpha Xaridian V) • Beta Xaridian • Beta Xaridian IV • Beta Xaridian VI • Bravo Station • Cygni Maxima • Gamma Xaridian • Gamma Xaridian VIII • Gamma Xaridian XII • Gamma Xaridian colony • Girin Gatha • Rithra
- Referenced only
- Beta Damoron V • Beta Ganymede • Gamma II • Klingon Neutral Zone • Koyo • Lake Nyasa • Mombasa • Potayu • Psi 2000 • Quelimane • Sharikan • Starbase 83
Races and culturesEdit
- Human (Bantu) • Parath'aa • Rithrim • Vulcan
- Referenced only
- Gorn • Klingon • Landorian • Romulan • Talosian
States and organizationsEdit
- Federation Starfleet • United Federation of Planets
- Referenced only
- First Federation • Gorn Hegemony • Starfleet Academy • University of Kenya
- asteroid • atomic war • captain's log • caste • chicken salad • chocolate • cinnamon • coffee • deflector dish • Feinberger • hologram • hull breach • Kobayashi Maru scenario • lava • magno-ball • Maltusian maze • Meteors • medical tricorder • memorial service • navigational deflector • Organian Peace Treaty • phaser • phaser cannon • photon torpedo • Pipers • plasma cannon • radiation • rat • red alert • Russian Revolution • salmon • shield generator • sign language • tape • tractor beam • tricorder • Turnoga defense • volcano
- "Balance of Terror"
- "The Naked Time"
- "Errand of Mercy"
- "The Corbomite Maneuver"
- The Modala Imperative
- The Pocket Books Timeline places this story just before "The Gamesters of Triskelion", as Sulu mentions they will make another dry run to Gamma II after their current assignment. However, since Chekov is still new to bridge duty, Memory Beta Chronology has moved this story to before "Catspaw". This is reinforced by the fact Matthew Decker is referenced as still being alive, placing it before "The Doomsday Machine", and Chekov's relationship with Martha Landon, as seen in "The Apple", is still in its infancy.
- Stiles is called "Styles".
- The site of the Gamma Xaridian colony is given as Gamma Xaridian III in Chapter Three, but as Gamma Xaridian IV in Chapter Seven.
Faces of Fire
|TOS numbered novels||Next novel:|
The Modala Imperative
For Whom the Bell Tolls
|Memory Beta Chronology||Next Adventure:|
No Compromise Part One
To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh
The Gamesters of Triskelion