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Star Trek: Myriad Universes #2: Echoes and Refractions (Bk. 2) Paperback – August 12, 2008
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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Eleven Years Later
Scotty!" Kirk called desperately into the ship's intercom. "I need warp speed in three minutes or we're all dead!"
At the science station, Captain Thelin felt the palpitations of his antennae as the adrenaline rushed through the veins beneath his pale blue skin. The Enterprise was in danger, and he was, after all, its captain, even though Admiral James T. Kirk was currently in command -- a fact that the Andorian didn't begrudge him, for the admiral's experience had most assuredly saved their lives several times already this day.
But as Thelin looked down at the spherical waveform on his console, growing in intensity with each passing second toward a violent detonation that would surely ensnare them, it appeared that Kirk might have finally exhausted his seemingly endless supply of clever schemes.
"No response, Admiral," Uhura announced from the communications station.
"Scotty!" Kirk fruitlessly continued to shout into the intercom, even as the silence clearly suggested that Commander Scott in engineering was either too busy or, heaven forbid, too badly injured to reply. Kirk turned toward the helm. "Mister Sulu, get us out of here, best possible speed!"
"Aye, sir," Sulu replied. But Thelin knew that impulse drive would not provide them with the necessary speed to escape the blast range of the Genesis Device.
Next to Thelin at the adjacent science station stood Dr. David Marcus, the brilliant son of Carol Marcus and James Kirk -- the man who, despite his youth, was credited with the invention of the Genesis Device. He stared at the readouts on the consoles, quietly wringing his hands, no doubt grappling with the knowledge that his own creation was to be their undoing.
With grim irony, Thelin recalled the scene as the young boy first discovered the wave in the lab on Andor eleven years earlier. He had always wondered why, following his departure from the Institute to return to Starfleet, the whole project had eventually been classified, with the Federation's tightest security protocols managing the flow of information in and out of the Marcus laboratory on space station Regula One. Little did he realize then that the Genesis team had discovered a power so revolutionary that it could transform the surface of an entire planet.
A power that, in the wrong hands, could be an unbelievably potent weapon.
Thelin watched the image of the U.S.S. Reliant, crippled in space, fading into the distance ever so slowly. Too slow, he knew, to save them. Aboard that ship was a madman, Khan Noonien Singh, who had stolen the Genesis Device and now had begun a buildup toward detonation. And the Enterprise, itself crippled and without warp drive as a means of escape, was counting down the minutes to its doom.
"Admiral," Uhura called out. "I have Doctor McCoy, down in engineering."
Standing next to the captain's chair, Kirk stabbed the intercom switch on the armrest. "Bones! What the hell is going on down there?"
"Jim," the doctor's voice was heard amid a cacophony of activity in the engine room. "Scotty's suffering acute radiation sickness. I've given him shots of hyronalin and cordrazine, but he won't be conscious for a few minutes."
"We don't have a few minutes!" Kirk shouted.
Finding himself unable to remain seated any longer, Thelin stood and began walking toward the sound of McCoy's voice in the center of the bridge. "Doctor," he said. "Who is currently in charge of the engineering team? I must inform them what is at stake."
"Thelin, where's the sense in that?" the doctor responded with irritation. "Use that thick white-haired head of yours. You trained these kids. They know what's at stake. Now let them do their damn jobs!"
Thelin bit his lip almost hard enough to draw blood and turned back toward the science station. The doctor was right, of course, as he usually was when invoking logic to counteract Thelin's impulsiveness. Truth be told, most of the cadets down there knew their way around a warp coil better than their captain. Nevertheless, to sit idly by and wait to live or die ran contrary to every fiber in his being.
With a loud sigh he fell back into his chair. The image on the display before him cast an eerie glow about him as it grew in intensity. There was no stopping it, and the ship was completely vulnerable without any way to raise the shields. Unless...
"David," Thelin said. "The Genesis wave is primarily meson energy, is it not?"
"That's right," David replied, his tone a mix of puzzlement and curiosity, "at least initially. But once the wave contacts matter, the matrix breaks the covalent bonds between atoms, producing alpha particles that get reconstituted into -- "
"Yes, so we must ensure that the wave doesn't contact the ship. The Enterprise shields could be reconfigured to disrupt meson waveforms at the proper frequency."
"But we're in the middle of the Mutara Nebula! I thought the shields were inoperative?"
Thelin struggled to remain patient, despite the situation. "The shields are unable to function in their standard configuration. The matter and energy of the nebula would overload them in seconds. But what if we altered the scheme to produce selective screening at the subatomic level?"
David considered this. "You mean...we could differentiate between fermions and composite bosons, and tell it to ignore all particulate matter..."
"Precisely. Then use the shield harmonics to cancel the frequency of the wave."
David turned toward Kirk, who was now approaching the two men, intrigued by what he had overheard. The young scientist's eyes darted back and forth, from his father, looming so near with his unspoken expectations, to the technical readouts that grew more alarming with each passing second, as he quickly contemplated the idea. "Well...yes, I suppose, as long as the initial waveform is disrupted, then the matrix can't initialize. But..." He helplessly shrugged his shoulders. "I've got no experience in deflector engineering."
"That's not a problem," Thelin assured him. "Just compute the harmonic values based upon our shield frequency and feed them to my screen. I'll begin reprogramming the emitters."
"Excellent thinking, gentlemen," Kirk said in earnest as David seated himself and frantically began to make calculations. Buoyed by renewed hope, the admiral whirled himself around, back toward the navigation console. "Time, from my mark."
Ensign Croy, the blond-haired male cadet at the navigation console, checked the chronometer. "Two minutes, fifteen seconds."
Kirk approached the young officer and placed his hand upon his shoulder, managing to force a smile through his anxiety. "Well, Ensign," he said. "You have my apologies. Most cadets don't have to face the no-win scenario twice in one week."
"Yes, Admiral," Croy replied, struggling to maintain his composure under the presently harrowing circumstances. "But you yourself said that how we face death is just as important as how we face life."
"Yes, I did," Kirk agreed. "And if we get through this, I'll make sure your record reflects your expertise on the subject."
"Thank you, sir." He paused as if considering whether to say anything further, then turned back toward his mentor. "Sir, do you really think we'll get through this?"
"I don't know, Ensign," Kirk answered with complete honesty. "But in the hands of my science officer and my son...well, I like our chances."
Back at the science stations, his fingers fluttering over the keypads, David entered his final set of equations into the console. "That'll have to do it," he said not altogether confidently.
"I have it," Thelin replied. "Compiling the final configuration now." It would have to do it. For the sake of Thelin's crew. For the sake of Thelin's superior officer -- a man to whom he had repeatedly pledged his loyalty, and who over the years had earned his unwavering respect.
Additional seconds ticked by, though the passage of time had become impossibly difficult to gauge as the bridge had fallen into an uneasy silence. "Time to detonation," Kirk barked out.
"Thirty seconds," came Sulu's reply from the conn.
"Distance from Reliant?" Kirk asked.
Chekov looked up from the tactical console with resignation. "Four thousand kilometers," he meekly offered.
Not nearly enough, Thelin thought. The shockwave alone might destroy us, even with the adjusted shielding.
Kirk leaned forward in his seat, his exasperation beginning to shatter his mask of confidence. "Thelin? David? I think now might be a good time to try out that new shield configuration."
"Stand by, Admiral," Thelin replied. His hands shook. The console was responding so slowly; he wanted to scream, and to pound his fists into the keypads. Save the new template, reinitialize the modulation sequence...
"Fifteen seconds," Sulu announced.
David watched Thelin from a few feet away, silently urging him on.
"Thelin?" Kirk cried out.
The Andorian finished punching in the final code sequence. "Shields going up now!" he yelled out triumphantly, releasing all his frustrations. He sat back in his chair and exhaled, and for a moment wondered if he had even remembered to breathe the last few minutes.
"All decks brace for impact!" Kirk shouted into the intercom.
Thelin looked over and met David's eyes. Had they done enough? Neither of them seemed to know the answer.
A blinding white flash filled the viewscreen before them.
In roughly the same instant, the wave violently collided with the rear of the ship. The hull lurched forward, and the cadets unfortunate enough to be standing about the bridge instantly found themselves sprawled on the deck. Quickly they scrambled to their feet and stumbled back to their respective stations.
"Report!" Kirk shouted.
Chekov struggled to pull himself back up toward the console. "Structural integrity at fifty percent," he yelled over the din of alarms and voices that now surrounded them. "Inertial dampeners are restabilizing."
"Trying to regain attitude control," Sulu announce... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The tale of what would have happened if Spock had died as a child and never joined Starfleet is intriguing enough as it is, but throw in what happens when a totally different person fills those shoes; an Andorian no less! This story changed how events from the end of Star Trek 2:The Wrath of Khan ended, as well as how the entirety of parts 3 and forward changed drastically! This is one avid trek reader who looks forward to more from Mr. Trowbridge!
'The Chimes at Midnight' is an alternate take on the Original Series movie era. Yes, it's darker, but there are some awesome plot twist. I thought it started off a bit weak; reading like a simple rewriting of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Then it really picks up and goes in a direction that completely turns the Trek universe, the characters we're used to, on their heads. David Marcus, Saavik and the Andorian named Thelin (from the Animated series) take center stage. There were parts so intense and shocking that I found myself gripping the book and having to look away. The final pages left me breathless, making me wish the actual movies and producers had taken the chances Geoff Trowbridge took with this story.
'A Gutted World' was, by far, the best book of the entire "Myriad Universes" saga. It features cameos by a dozen or more characters across not just one series but all shows. The plot is basically a different take on the Dominion War and really had the emotion, creativity and spark to be a full-length novel.Read more ›
THE CHIMES @ MIDNIGHT: Takes the alternate scenario depicted in the animated series episode "Yesteryear" of Spock perishing in his childhood kas-wahn ordeal with his eventual place as Kirk's first officer and boon companion taken by the Andorian Thelin and projects it forward into the TOS movie era. This part of the story was very well done, other than that Kirk came across like Janice Lester (from "Turnabout Intruder") was still in possession of his body. The big-picture events of the third and fourth movies fade to the background as different, non-Spock-centered ones come to the fore. Yet their outcome, while not the same, is equivalent to, and true to the spirit of, the original.
That covers about sixty percent of the story. The remainder degenerates into an anti-nuclear weapons metaphor chock full of risible implausibilities, flagrant eviscerations of Trek canon, and wanton character destruction that made me glad Harve Bennett and Leonard Nimoy killed off David Marcus in Star Trek III, and that Spock went back in time as his own "cousin" to save his younger self, sparing Thelin the humiliation Mr. Trowbridge inflicts on him here.
A GUTTED WORLD: What if the Cardassians had discovered the Bajoran wormhole before withdrawing from Bajor? Keith R.A.Read more ›
Personally, the first story was the one I wasn't as interested in. My interest mainly lay in the fact there was an Andorian main character, but the story, while being half about him, didn't really delve deeply in to the Andorian culture as I would have liked. TOS is not a series I know well, so those who came to trek in the beginning may like this story better than me.
The second story was wonderfully written, and took my two favorite series (TNG and DS9) and brought some of the best characters from both in to contact with each other. I do not want to spoil the ending at all, but I will say that it's not what you would expect from a ST story.
The third was my absolute favorite. I admit bias as a Data fan, so if you are, too, you do NOT want to pass up this book. I enjoyed the story a lot. My only regret is that it was shorter than I would have preferred. I believe it's my favorite out of all the TNG stories I have ever read (and I've read the majority of the books out there).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No HEA in this book, eveything that can go wrong does go wrong.
1. THE CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT - Spock dies in the kahs-wan, Amanda leaves Sarek and dies in a shuttle accident and... Read more
Was absolutely overwhelmed by the first book in this series, this one is borderline at best. The first story in this edition revolves around a character introduced in the Star Trek... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ron J.
All of the Myriad Universes are great, but especially if you know the Star Trek universe extremely well. They use characters from all of the series, both canon and non-canon. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
For anyone who likes to think about the what-if scenarios that could have been, where one detail was changed that forever altered what was known as history...it's a great read.Published on December 6, 2013 by BrentT
This one takes some -really- unexpected turns from a historical 'what if' viewpoint, but stays very entertaining from start to finish!Published on July 15, 2013 by Michael Stancel
This collection of three novellas based on alternative versions of the Star Trek universe was an interesting read. Read morePublished on January 31, 2013 by Michael Travis Jasper
What if Spock died as a child? What if the Cardassians discovered the Wormwhole? What if there was a whole race of androids and then Data disappeared? Find out the answers.Published on November 26, 2012 by JohnG1701
Presumably the reader is familiar with the concept of "Alternate histories", stories that explore the question of what the present would look like if some key factor in the past... Read morePublished on November 21, 2012 by James Yanni