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IN A SINGLE MOMENT
. . . the lives of three men will be forever changed. In that split second, defined paradoxically by both salvation and loss, they will destroy the world and then restore it. Much had come before, and much would come after, but nothing would color their lives more than that one, isolated instant on the edge of forever.
IN A SINGLE MOMENT
. . . James T. Kirk, displaced in time, allows the love of his life to die in a traffic accident, thereby preserving Earth's history. Returning to the present, he continues a storied career as a starship captain, opening up the galaxy. But as he wanders among the stars, the incandescence that once filled his heart remains elusive.
IN A SINGLE MOMENT
. . . that haunts James T. Kirk throughout his life, he preserved the timeline at the cost of his happiness. Now, facing his own death, the very fabric of existence collapses across years and light-years, forcing him to race against -- and through -- time itself, until he comes full circle to that one bright star by which his life has always steered.
The story begins in the Nexus (from Star Trek: Generations). James T. Kirk is wandering through time, "fixing" the mistakes he made throughout his life, except the one event he refuses to touch: Edith Keeler's death. Captain Picard then enters the scene and asks him for help in stopping Dr. Soran from destroying the star. Kirk agrees, and the two defeat Soran.
However, the nexus ribbon suddenly expands, engulfing the planet in a black wave. Kirk finds himself in the nexus again, but he seems to no longer be in control. He instead observes another Kirk, who is again "fixing" the past.
When the other Kirk decides to change what happened on Gamma Trianguli VI, Kirk goes off into the forest instead of watching what happens. While contemplating what has happened, Guinan's echo approaches him and explains to him that he ha been observing an echo of himself (though it's just as real as he is), and that he caused the phenomenon that pulled him back into the nexus. She then shows him the crash of the USS Enterprise's saucer section, and Data and Riker on the bridge a few moments before the phenomenon reached that planet. Data's tricorder picks up the energy ribbon, moving on the planet's surface. It's being driven by a shockwave, and that the space-time continuum is breaking down along the shockwave's course. Data says that the shock wave is emerging from the past, and that it matches a theoretical concept called a converging temporal loop, where two identical sets of chronometric particles are connected by a conduit of some sort. In such a case, the particles merge across space-time and annihilate everything in between. Before he can speculate on what they can do, the shock wave reaches them.
Guinan changes the scene to her homeworld. Kirk manages to work out that, when he entered the nexus, his body contained a certain set of chronometric particles, and when he exited, they contained the same particles-meaning that the same chronometric particles existed at two different points in time and space. Guinan elaborates, saying that the nexus acted as the necessary conduit and initiated the loop as soon as he exited the nexus, which took time to reach the planet through 78 years and many light-years. Essentially, every point in between Veridian III in 2371 and where the Enterprise-B was in 2293 was destroyed.
However, this Kirk cannot fix this, as he was taken by the nexus moments before he would have died. In essence, he would die moments after he left the nexus. Therefore, he confronts the echo of himself, and asks him to help stop the event from ever happening, by using the Guardian of Forever. The problem with this plan is that the Klingons destroyed the Guardian, assuming that was a Federation weapon in development.
Therefore, Kirk exits the nexus to the Guardian's planet, but billions of years ago. He tells the Guardian to protect itself by removing itself to when the Enterpise-B encounters the energy ribbon. He then uses the Guardian to transport himself to that time, and set events up to where, instead of being taken into the nexus, Kirk is transported into the Enterprise's shuttlepod, which is then ejected into space, and a prerecorded message is played. In it, Kirk explains how he used the Guardian to avoid altering the timeline. He instructs Kirk to go to the Guardian's planet in the warp-capable shuttlepod, and to use it to help Picard.
Kirk does as instructed, and waits thirteen days for the Guardian to appear. When it does, he asks it to show him the lives of the ones he loved, including his father and mother, his brother Sam, Spock, and McCoy. Finally, he asks to see Edith Keeler's life, and remember the night she died.
When he is finished, Kirk asks to see Picard's life, knowing that he had fought Soran on his own. He enters the Guardian, and the rest plays out like Kirk's final scene from Generations. Since Kirk's echo did not enter the nexus, he did not leave either, and therefore the identical chronometric particles did not have a conduit to merge.
The final scene shows Kirk again-the "echo" that left the nexus the second time. When he had succeeded in his objectives, the Guardian pulled him back. He contemplates what he could have done to save Keeler and leave the timeline unaltered, and apparently decides to implement one.
The book ends on a cliffhanger of sorts, with Kirk beginning to ask the Guardian a question.
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Last in trilogy
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