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Infection: Double Helix : #1 (Star Trek: The Next Generation Book 51) Kindle Edition

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Length: 226 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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About the Author

John Gregory Betancourt is a bestselling author with several Star Trek novels to his credit including Voyager: Incident at Arbuk and Deep Space Nine: Heart of the Warrior.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Stardate: 41211.0 Captain's Log, Supplemental

The Enterprise continues on its mission to Archaria III, a planet jointly colonized by humans and Peladians. A new disease has cropped up, terrifying the inhabitants. So far, more than five thousand cases have been confirmed.

The only drug at all effective in treating this disease is a rare compound called Tricillin PDF, which seems to prolong life, though only for a week at most. The Enterprise will deliver a supply of the drug, quarantine the planet, then stay to oversee research into finding a cure.

" -- And render whatever aid the Archarians require until the emergency is over," Captain Picard said, leaning forward at the conference table and gazing at each of his senior staff in turn.

William Riker, Geordi La Forge, and Worf looked uncomfortable at the mention of the plague, and he didn't blame them; he had always felt ill at ease when faced with intangible dangers. Deanna Troi looked deeply concerned, and Dr. Crusher looked...intrigued? She has dealt with plagues before, Picard reminded himself. She knows how to contain them.

The persistent low rumble of a starship at maximum warp filled the room. None of his crew spoke. They feel the tension building already, he thought.

"Captain," Dr. Crusher finally said, "I may have to bring samples of this virus aboard the Enterprise for study, and perhaps a few patients."

"Understood, Doctor. So long as all necessary security precautions are maintained, I see no problem. In the meantime" -- he slid a data padd across the conference table to her -- "the doctors of Archo City Hospital have prepared a full report, which you may find useful."

"Thank you." She pulled the padd in front of herself and began skimming the opening remarks.

"Something else is troubling you, sir," Deanna Troi said softly.

Picard hesitated, then gave a curt nod. Best to get it out in the open. "What disturbs me most is the thought that this whole problem may be of our own manufacture...a biological weapon."

"Impossible -- how could that be?" Riker said, shaking his head dismissively. "Legalities aside, it's against everything the Federation stands for!"

"We do have treaties with most sentient races which prevent the development and use of biological weapons," Data said. "With all due respect, sir, the deployment of a genetically designed plague on a remote agricultural world such as Archaria III seems highly unlikely."

"Not necessarily," Picard said. He cleared his throat. "Archaria III is in many ways a throwback to human civilization two or three hundred years ago. It was settled by religious zealots early in the twenty-second century, and although they have largely come into the Federation's fold, old prejudices and resentments still bubble to the surface from time to time." The room was quiet for a moment while Picard allowed his point to sink in.

Riker finally broke the silence. "Sir, if I may ask, what is it that leads you to conclude this disease is a weapon?"

"Might be a weapon, Number One. A radical political group called the Purity League claims the plague is an act of God against 'blasphemous unnatural unions.'"

Riker gave him a blank stare. "Sir?"

Picard cleared his throat. How to phrase this delicately. He said, "The Purity League is opposed to interspecies mating -- 'mixers' as they call such people."

Again the rumble of the ship's engines filled the room. They can't believe it, either, he thought. Humanity is supposed to be beyond such prejudices.

He noticed that Deanna Troi, half human and half Betazoid herself, hid her inner feelings behind a mask of professional calm. He would have given a lot to know her true reaction. Undoubtedly she was even more shocked and horrified than he had been.

To think that some humans are still capable of such petty resentments...

He forced himself back to the problem at hand. "Mixers -- or anyone else suspected of adulterating the purity of the human race -- are treated as second-class citizens in many places on Archaria III," he continued. "Officially such prejudices are prohibited, of course, but in the backwater towns discrimination apparently still runs rampant. Only in the half-dozen large cities do humans and Peladians work and live together with something approaching harmony. In the country, things have apparently become so bad that most full-blooded Peladians now live in isolated enclaves surrounded by their own kind."

Riker said, "That sounds like a ghetto system."

"It is. Those of mixed heritage are even less fortunate, since they belong fully to neither the human nor the Peladian world. They were relocating to the cities in record numbers -- until the plague struck. Now they're fleeing into the countryside once more, living like vagabonds in tent camps." Picard looked down at his clenched, interlaced fingers resting uneasily on the table. He didn't bother to feign relaxation. Sometimes it was good for the crew to see him share their anger.

Deanna Troi asked, "How many people of mixed blood are on the planet?"

"Nobody is quite sure. Estimates range from between 150,000 and 200,000 people. Obviously, those mixers who most closely resemble humans hide the truth to avoid conflict with the Purity League."

Data said, "I am aware of the Purity League, sir. The Federation has monitored their activities for many years, but has deemed them a minor nuisance with little actual influence."

"Their influence is growing," Picard said firmly. The private reports he had read gave alarming statistics; according to confidential surveys, fully half of the planet's human population harbored feelings of support for the Purity League, though the League's actual membership numbers were open to conjecture. It was certainly in the tens of thousands if not the hundreds of thousands.

He went on. "The Purity League's leader, Father Veritas, is using the plague as a rallying point for anti-alien sentiment. Apparently Veritas is responsible for inciting dozens of race riots in the last few months. The whole planet is in turmoil. The nonhuman population -- and especially the partly human population -- is running scared. The plague's growth has only served to make the situation worse." "Veritas," indeed, he thought, grimacing. If ever there was a misnomer...

"Sir," said Deanna Troi, "Archaria III has a long history of interspecies problems, including wars, assassinations, and racism. Its history is part of several planetary evolution courses at the Academy. I believe everyone here has studied it to some degree."

A general murmur of agreement came from the rest of his senior staff. Picard found himself surprised -- it hadn't been part of the curriculum when he had studied at the Academy -- but he was pleased. They're keeping up with the times.

"That is correct, sir," said Data. "It was settled in 2102 by a human sect of religious fundamentalists called the Brotherhood. Seven years later, these human settlers encountered Peladian settlers, who had colonized the planet almost simultaneously."

Picard had never seen a Peladian and knew little about them, beyond the fact that they were humanoid, militant about privacy, and generally considered pacifists...except when provoked.

Data went on, "After a series of small wars, as the two sides got to know each other, peaceful relations and coexistence began. According to the information I have accessed, with the increasing agricultural importance of Archaria III their differences were largely put aside, in favor of economic cooperation."

"That is the public story," Picard said. He folded his arms and frowned a bit. "There have always been tensions. Until Father Veritas and the Purity League burst onto the scene sixteen years ago, the planetary government managed to contain most of the problems before they escalated. Over the past few years, though, there has been an increase in terrorism on Archaria III aimed at Peladians, at humans who have married them, and especially at their children -- all in the name of human racial purity. That's another reason why the Federation suspects the plague may be genetically engineered."

"I'm sorry, sir," Riker said. "I'm still not quite clear on what leads you to that conclusion."

Picard looked at Dr. Crusher. "Doctor?"

She looked up from scanning her report. "All the victims are of mixed genetic origins," she said flatly. "Not just human-Peladian, but several other genetic mixes have been affected as well. Human-Vulcan, human-Etrarian, and human-Bajoran crossbreeds are all reported susceptible to infection. Pure human and pure Peladian genetic stock appear to be immune. I would strongly suggest that no one of mixed heritage be allowed access to the planet."

The news cooled the room. Worf glared. Riker folded his arms and frowned pensively, though he kept glancing almost surreptitiously at Deanna Troi. And Deanna herself gave the slightest hiss of anger -- she was the most threatened of those present, Picard knew, since she was half human and half Betazoid.

He looked pointedly in her direction. She returned his gaze, but whatever emotion had escaped her tight control had been suppressed once more behind that professional, clinical wall.

Counselor, counsel thyself, he thought.

Dr. Crusher continued, "The symptoms come on very quickly. Apparently the virus enters the mouth or nasal passages and primary multiplication occurs in lymphoid tissues. Small amounts of virus reach the blood and are carried to other sites in the reticuloendothelial system, where they multiply quickly. High fever and severe abdominal cramping are part of the first stage. Then small white fever blisters begin to cover the body, especially the face, neck, and under the arms. This second stage lasts from one to three days. Infected patients lapse into comas by this point -- and it's probably just as well. The pain would be extreme as the muscle cramping worsens and fever blisters form in their mouths, throats, and lungs. Victims begin to suffocate. Next comes stage three,...


Product Details

  • File Size: 1584 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek (August 1, 2000)
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2000
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC0Q7K
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  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,900 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought that the mystery behind the Virus that the crew faces was very interesting indeed. Don't worry, I won't tell you how it ends...A very good read and should be added to the collection.
P.S. For those readers who search out books featuring certain characters (I admit I am one of them) This book has very little to do with Data and Tasha who are featured on the cover. Their part doesn't even begin until the middle of the book and I would estimate is only four pages long.
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PLOT OR PREMISE:
This is the first of six books dealing with biological terrorism by an unknown foe. The story is interesting, as a planet has been infected with a plague with an 100% fatality rate -- but only for those aliens who are of mixed-race...pure breeds remain unaffected!
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WHAT I LIKED:
I am not a hard-core sci-fi reader, but I do enjoy Star Wars and Star Trek. This is definitely different from most ST:TNG plots where they steer away from racial relations that aren't easily solved. The plot is interesting and the medical portion is solid.
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WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
Unfortunately, the problem with this novel is that the characters are written similar to those of the first few books in the ST:TNG series i.e. when the characters weren't quite developed yet or as well-defined as they became in the TV series. So, when you read those early books now, you can't help but say to yourself "But THAT character wouldn't do THAT!". Such divergence from the real characters they become was understandable early on in the series, but now that there have been seven years worth of episodes, fifty odd books, and a couple of movies, going back to the "not yet defined" characters seems too far out of the fold. The characters fit the timeline in the series, but are not true to their real character not yet revealed.
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DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, and I do not follow him on social media.
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This is the first book in a six-part "Star Trek: Double Helix" series about a mysterious villain, known as The General, who is testing his biological agents throughout the Alpha Quadrant.
Set at the very beginning of TNG's first season, a relatively green Enterprise crew investigates the mysterious outbreak of a devastating plague on a backwater Federation colony world long troubled with racial tensions.
Highlights are: 1) Dr. Beverly Crusher taking her first stab as an amateur detective. 2) Worf and Geordi in some of their first positions of authority. 3) a funny explanation as to why Troi kept calling Riker, Bill, early on in the series. 4) Tasha Yar, god bless her.
Nitpicks are: 1) a casual mention of Ferengi merchants, even though at this point in time the Ferengi were still a mysterious and threatening menace on TNG. 2) a Worf adventure with Klingons that felt out of place and unneeded. 3) Troi made a lousy plague victim. 4) the entire racist back story of the planet was also wasted, as characters got preachy and local bad guys acted like dumb country bumpkins.
Some people may not like the whole bio-thriller aspect of the plot, but I didn't think it was all that bad. The ending was also a bit rushed, but all in all, the book was a fairly fun read. And if you don't have the omnibus or other books in the series, don't worry. This can still be enjoyed all by itself.
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I originally bought the first two Double Helix books sometime when they first came out. I was kind of intimidated by the cover of Infection! Infection is a wonderful, should I say, mystery book. Suspense never stops in this one!
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A plague like virus has spread over the planet of Archaria III. However, it only seems to be affecting "mixers". Mixers are the non-pure offspring of humans and any other race, mainly being the Peladians on this planet. The plague kills within a week and the mortality rate is 100%.
The crew of the Enterprise is sent to Archaria III to bring in medical supplies and to place the planet under quarantine. Dr. Crusher discovers that the virus is manmade and cannot be contained by normal means. Things get out of hand and the Enterprise's task becomes difficult to say the least. Stop the spread, find a cure, and find the person(s) responsible for attempting biological genocide.
Infection is a good lead into what has the potential to be a great series. You can feel the urgency of the situation as the Enterprise's crew races against time to find a cure. My one complaint would be the ending. Though it is good, it just wraps the whole book up too abruptly. You read through 21 chapters of build up, and everything gets wrapped up nice and tidy in one chapter.
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Double Helix: Infection begins with an unknown being deliberately infecting an agricultural planet with plague. The crew of the Enterprise, probably fresh from their Encounter at Farpoint,is sent with medical supplies. While Picard tries to contain the plague on the planet, Dr. Crusher works to find a cure. The science is not too complicated for a reader who never went any farther than high school biology to follow. Riker (still called Bill by Deanna), Tasha Yar, & Data form an away team to the planet for some investigating, & Worf also leads an away team. Geordi & Deanna also play important roles, but, mercifully, Wesley does not appear! Although the book can stand alone, the ending does lead into the next book, which apparently features Dr. Pulaski, Kira Nerys (still a Bajoran rebel, not yet a major), and Gul Dukat. It is interesting to read about these characters in the early part of their series, or even before their series takes place. I understand that a future book features Chakotay & B'Elanna when they were Maquis. I look forward to reading the others in this series.
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