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Double or Nothing (Star Trek The Next Generation: Double Helix, Book 5) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Star Trek: New Frontier (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Star Trek; 1ST edition (August 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671034782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671034788
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,014,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter David is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous Star Trek novels, including the incredibly popular New Frontier series. In addition, he has also written dozens of other books, including his acclaimed original novel, Sir Apropos of Nothing, and its sequel, The Woad to Wuin.

David is also well known for his comic book work, particularly his award-winning run on The Incredible Hulk. He recently authored the novelizations of both the Spider-Man and Hulk motion pictures.

He lives in New York. --This text refers to the Unbound edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One: From Now...

Doctor Elias Frobisher was 43 years and one day old, and he couldn't quite believe he had made it. When he woke up, he had to pinch himself to make certain that he had really managed to accomplish it. When someone had lived under a bizarre death sentence for the last decade or so, as he had, the achievement felt particularly noteworthy. He lay in his bed, breathing in the filtered air of the cone-shaped space station, but never had that air felt quite so sweet. It felt like a glorious day. Granted, concepts such as day and night were entirely subjective, created and controlled by the computer core of the station. There was neither sunrise nor sunset, and this was something that had taken Frobisher some time to get used to. He had been planet-bound most of his life, and the curious and unusual life winch existed in space was a difficult adjustment that Frobisher had made because he'd really had no other choice.

Quite simply, he'd had no other choice. He'd had to get away from the Guardian.

He took a long shower that morning, and felt that he had earned it. It was pure water rather than hypersonic, a rarity that Frobisher was revelling in that morning. As he did so, visions of the Guardian came to him unbidden, as they were wont to do. Frobisher shuddered, thinking about the hideous shadow he had lived under all these years.

Then he started to tremble more and more violently. He had lathered up his thinning brown hair, and the shampoo dribbled down into his eyes, but it barely registered upon him. The soap slipped from his hands, his legs went weak, and he sagged to the floor, still unable to control the spasms which had seized him. Paradoxically, he began to laugh. It was a bizarre sound, that choked laughter, a combination of chuckling and sobbing that grew louder and louder, so much so that it could be heard in the hallway outside his quarters. His assistant, Dr. David Kendrow, heard it, and started banging on the door Normally Kendrow, a dun, blond man, was overly mannered and reserved in his attitudes, but one wouldn't have known it at that point as he was fairly shouting, "Doctor Frobisher? Are you all right, sir?"

"Yes! Yes," Frobisher called back to him. "Yes, I'll...I'll be fine." It was all that Frobisher could do to pull himself together. He hadn't expected to react in that manner, but really, it was inevitable when one looked at it with hindsight. The amount of anxiety that had built up as he approached his 43rd birthday had been truly horrific. The knowing, and yet not knowing. That insane combination of certainty and doubt, warring within him as each passing day had brought him closer and closer to the inevitable...except, maybe not.

And he had made it. He had survived his birthday. It really was true, what they said: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

He emerged from the shower and, as he towelled off, looked at the gut that had been building up on him. As the dreaded day had approached, he hadn't been bothering to exercise or take care of himself. He'd had a fatalistic attitude about him, and that was certainly understandable. But now the joke was on him, as was the extra flab. He was going to have to do something about working that off. After all, it wouldn't be particularly attractive to women.

Women. His face lit up as he dressed. Relationships. He had been afraid to begin any, because the prospect of condemning some poor woman to become an early widow. Oh, certainly he could have had a string of casual relationships that went nowhere. Love them and leave them, and rationalizing that, since he was a walking dead man, it was the only way that he could conduct his life. But he was a highly moral man, was Dr. Frobisher. Highly moral, and more than that: He knew that one woman after another, used and tossed aside, was simply not for him. He wanted companionship, he wanted someone who, he knew, was going to be there for him. He wanted someone to wake up to, someone who would cheerfully kiss him in the morning and loved him so much that it wouldn't bother her if he hadn't had a chance to brush his teeth yet. Someone he would be able to look at across the breakfast and smile at. Someone who wanted to spend a lifetime with him...a real lifetime, not the truncated thing that had been handed him.

Oh, and someone who was a brilliant engineer in the field of artificial intelligence and computerization, of course. That was a must as well.

There were a few likely possibilities, actually. To give himself some vague bit of hope, something to cling to even though he was certain that it was hopeless, Frobisher had had the Omega 9 run a scan of potential mates. It was unbelievably quaint, even absurd: Using a creation as infinitely advanced as the Omega 9 for the purpose of, essentially, computer dating, seemed absurd on its face. But he had done so nonetheless, and the list that had been drawn up had been quite impressive. Now that the dreaded day had passed, he was looking forward to trying to act upon the possibilities. As he headed to the lab, having had his customary quick breakfast, he patted the data chip in his pocket to which he had copied the information that Omega 9 had obtained for him. His mind was already racing with possibilities. He would pick the most likely prospect, "likely" being derived from personality profile, shared interests, age, background, etcetera. He'd subtly do some checking to see if she was otherwise involved and, if not, he would find a pretense to begin a correspondence with her. Hopefully, he would be able to develop it into something substantive and sufficiently personal that she would be prompted to come out to the Daystrom Station where he worked and meet with him.

And then...who knew? Who indeed knew?

"I knew," he said rather cheerfully to no one. "I knew, but I didn't know. But now I know, and it's great knowing and not knowing!"

He entered the lab, his lanky legs carrying him across it with a jaunty speed. Kendrow was already at work, but he was casting a watchful eye upon Frobisher "Good morning, David!" called Frobisher.

"Good...morning, sir." The surprise in his voice was unmstakeable. He wasn't used to Frobisher sounding so cheerful in the morning...or ever.

Frobisher glanced over the station log, and frowned slightly. "Some sort of glitch in the standard running program?" he asked.

"Yes, sir, I just noticed it. It's minor systems failures...so minor that we hadn't even been noticing when they'd been going down. I'm running diagnostics checks on them, sir. I'm hoping to get it locked down by this afternoon."

"Oh, you'll get it sorted out, Kendrow." He patted him on the shoulder. "I have the utmost confidence in you."

"Th -- thank you, Sir." Kendrow stared at him as if he were concerned that Frobisher had been replaced by a lookalike, lighthearted alien.

"Not used to seeing me this chipper, are you, Kendrow?" asked Frobisher.

"To be blunt...no, sir. I'm not."

Frobisher laughed, and then sighed to himself. "Between my attitude now and what you heard earlier...you must be somewhat puzzled, eh, Kendrow?"

"Yes, sir. I am, sir."

"Sit down, Kendrow."

Kendrow looked down at himself. "I am sitting, sir. Already, I mean."

"Oh. Yes, of course." Frobisher leaned against a console and smiled broadly. "I'm sorry, Kendrow," he said earnestly. "The truth is, this last week, leading up to the day I've dreaded for so long, seemed almost to fly by. Now I know I've been out of sorts the past few days...weeks..."

"Try months," Kendrow muttered, but then looked immediately apologetic.

Frobisher waved it off. "'Months' is probably more accurate, to be honest," he admitted. "And yesterday was probably the worst of all."

"Well, I have to say, your behavior was rather pensive considering it was your birthday. I know that some people become daunted by the prospect of turning forty or fifty...but forty-three." He shrugged. "It seemed...odd. You seemed to want to do everything you could to ignore it."

"Believe me, I did want to ignore it. Although I'm surprised that my parents did. Usually they send me a greeting on my birthday, but this year...nothing.

"Had you told them not to?"

"No. No, I kept my unease to myself...or at least I thought I did. But perhaps they picked up on unspoken signals nonetheless. Ah well...no use worrying about it now. You see...there's been a reason for my concerns. Do you know what I used to do, Kendrow? Before I joined Daystrom, I mean, to work on the Omega 9."

"You were involved in some sort of archaeology project, I think, sir."

"Not just some sort. This was THE project. The Guardian of Forever."

Kendrow blinked in surprise. "The time portal? I'd heard about that, but I'd almost thought it was a myth."

"Oh, it's not a myth, I assure you. It's real." Despite his newly achieved state of bliss, Frobisher shuddered slightly as he recalled the image of that cheerless place. It wasn't just the Guardian itself that so spooked him. He couldn't get out of his head that eerie, mournful howl of the wind that filtered through the remains of the ruined city around the Guardian. It was as if ghosts of a race long lost still haunted the place, laughing and taunting. "It's...all too real."

He was silent for a moment. Prompting him, Kendrow said, "And you studied it?"

"People...tend to come and go there," Frobisher told him. "Oh, they're excited at first. Word spreads, after all. And it's an irresistible proposition: Studying the past, seeing it unspool before you. How can anyone pass that up? And yet...people bum out, very, very quickly. Six months, a year at most, and suddenly you see complete turnover in the staff there. I didn't understand why. But now I do." He laughed softly to himself. "Now I do. It just...gets to you after a while."

Kendrow tilted his head slightly as he regarded the doctor. "What happened there, sir?"

"I...saw my future. At least, I thought I did."

"The future? But..." Kendrow shook his head. "I thought that the Guardian only shows the past, not the future."

"That was my understanding as well. That's what they told us, at any rate. But... --This text refers to the Unbound edition.


More About the Author

Peter David is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous Star Trek novels, including the incredibly popular New Frontier series. In addition, he has also written dozens of other books, including his acclaimed original novel, Sir Apropos of Nothing, and its sequel, The Woad to Wuin. David is also well known for his comic book work, particularly his award-winning run on The Incredible Hulk. He recently authored the novelizations of both the Spider-Man and Hulk motion pictures.He lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

My favorite person by far is Captain Mackenzie Calhoun.
kkhs
Once again he's managed to come up with an interesting story plus numerous b-events that all fit together in one big, exiting and thrilling piece of literature.
Hr. Mann
That portion was done very well and even better than I'd expected another meeting of those two.
K. Wyatt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Wyatt on July 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is another great installment to the New Frontier and the Double Helix series. Not having read the last of the Double Helix books yet, it seems that this one pretty much finishes the Double Helix???? A favorite quote from the book, Riker - "I've got to get off this ship." Peter David did an excellent job of integrating Picard and Riker into the New Frontier. It's really interesting and well done how he brought Riker and Shelby together again. That portion was done very well and even better than I'd expected another meeting of those two. Overall another great book by Peter David.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Wang on February 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although the plot is a little too "Star Trek saves the world", Peter David entertains us with a fast paced story filled with great character interaction, action scenes, and more background on some of the shadier sides of Star Fleet. My only critique is if the reader is not familiar with the crew of the Excalibur from the New Frontiers' series, they may get be easily confused. This is a must have for anyone enjoying the New Frontiers series right now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mel Orr on June 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Peter David has writen another amazing New Frontier story. Completely filled with twists and surprises all the way to the end. Also it has numerous familar guest stars. Particularly like the ongoing conflict between Riker and Shelby.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ziv Wities on January 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book was just like nearly all the other Peter David books - very interesting, very well-written, very funny and packed with a few two many plugs for David's other books. Although the book is classified TNG, it's really about Calahoun and the Excalibur crew. This is the climax of the Double Helix series (I've read all but the third and the sixth), and it seems to be the important one. Ironically, David deals with the Double Helix virus as just another super-galaxy-threatening weapon, which is kind of disapointing - one of the things I liked about the series was seeing the crew deal with a less physical threat. I wasn't impressed by the mysterious villain lurking around in the shadows until this book. You can buy this book without the rest of the Double Helix series without a problem. I also want to add that it seems David watched one too many James Bond flicks while he was writing this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ronald B. Turner on July 5, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the fifth book in the "Star Trek: Double Helix" series I'm reading about a mysterious villain who has been releasing biological agents across the Alpha Quadrant in an attempt to perfect the ultimate 100% fatal virus.
Now the journey comes to an end, as we finally learn who the mysterious villain is. And it's up to a teaming of Jean Luc Picard and Will Riker with the crew of the USS Excalibur to stop his final plans for wiping out all of the Federation in one fell swoop.
Highlights: 1) TNG cameos of two admirals and a major villain. 2) a James Bond-style spy adventure starring Captain Mackenzie Calhoun, complete with gadgets, brutish henchman, a feisty babe and mad villain. 3) Will Riker taking temporary command of the USS Excalibur and having to deal with its eccentric crew and his old nemesis, Shelby. 4) the Excalibur crew themselves shine in all of their wacky glory. 5) you learn even more about Calhoun's character and why he's one of the most unique Starfleet captains ever.
Nitpicks: 1) a glaring boo-boo about where the Bajoran wormhole goes to. 2) unless there's another one, Thaddeus Riker was supposed to be a Civil War not a Federation pioneer. 3) I still think the mysterious villain is way too big for his britches, and one look at his awe-inspiring impressive headquarters will make you agree. 5) unless the Narobi have been used before in a previous book (or in the next book), this interesting race wasn't utilized to their fullest potential.
All in all, this was my favorite book of the series. Peter David writes for fans, so it was fast-paced and fun to read. Those who haven't read Peter David's "New Frontier" books or aren't familiar with the Excalibur crew might get a little confused keeping track of all the characters.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By paxnirvana on January 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Haven't read the rest of the Double Helix, but picked this up for 'ol lavender eyes. It was a quick, light read. Peter David can be an erratic writer - or perhaps it is a severe lack of editorial guidance - because this one is much tighter, smoother and far more enjoyable to read than most of the New Frontier stuff.
This book is more like his Captain's Table entry which is also tighter and smoother(and gives more detail on Mackenzie Calhoun's strange career).
I've been intrigued with the very odd Excalibur crew and have followed them regardless of the sometimes disappointing writing. This book makes the effort worth it. More rational interactions between Excalibur crew for a change, a dash of the Next Gen crew thrown in to leaven it out and an interesting (if Star-Trek predictable) galaxy-wide threat.
It's fun to see Picard in his "double-agent" role again. Why does Starfleet use high-profile Starship Captains as spies anyway?
Pick it up - it's a better read than most out there and truer to the TV personas of the Next Gen crew than the usual Star Trek book. And if you don't know the extremely odd Excalibur crew, this is a good way to meet them!
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