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Star Trek: The Original Series: Devil's Bargain [Kindle Edition]

Tony Daniel
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Captain James T. Kirk and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are sent to evacuate the Omega sector frontier colony Vesbius—a pioneer settlement that is on the brink of an extinction-level event threatening not only all of the colonists, but biological products that are vital to Starfleet. However, rescue efforts are being thwarted by the colonists themselves, who refuse to abandon Vesbius, claiming that their lives depend upon staying, while giving no reason why. It is after these irrational decisions that First Officer Spock makes a radical suggestion: Perhaps an unexpected ally could aid the colony and help complete the mission. . . .

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tony Daniel is a science fiction writer and author of Guardian of Night, Metaplanetary, Superluminal, and short stories such as “A Dry, Quiet War.” He is also an editor at Baen Books. He’s had multiple stories in Year’s Best anthologies, one of which, “Life on the Moon,” won the Asimov's Reader's Poll Award for year’s best story and was nominated for a Hugo Award.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Captain’s log, Stardate 6397.3. We have established orbit around the frontier colony Vesbius, a settlement just outside Federation jurisdiction in the Omega sector. On the planet below is a colony of nearly 20,000 people, including many families. The conjugated orbits of the planet’s moons have unexpectedly perturbed an asteroid and the huge rock is now on a path to strike the planet—and destroy the colony. Although the colony is outside the Federation, the colonists are human and have strong trade and cultural ties to the Federation. Our mission is to offer assistance and support in the evacuation of Vesbius.

The ship’s intercom whistled and a look of resignation passed over the face of Captain James T. Kirk. He was on a treadmill in the Enterprise workout facility and was near the end of a simulated twelve-mile run to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. The treadmill was tilted to its steepest incline, and Kirk was sweating up a storm. He’d done this run before, but now he was working on a personal best.

It would have to wait. Kirk mashed the stop button and hopped off the treadmill as it was slowing down. He picked up a towel from a nearby rack and mopped his brow while pressing the button on the workout room intercom that connected him to the bridge.

“Kirk here,” he said.

We are preparing to enter orbit around the planet Vesbius, Captain,” said Commander Spock, who had the conn on the bridge while Kirk was away.

“Correct me if I’m mistaken,” Kirk replied, “but I thought we weren’t due to arrive for another twenty minutes.”

“It seems that what Mister Scott described as his ‘wee bit of tinkering and tweaking’ on the antimatter recombination unit of the warp drive has had a beneficial effect,” Spock responded acerbically.

“All right,” said Kirk. “I’ll be right there.”

The captain continued to dry himself with the microbial refresher towel. He reflected that while this was not quite as good as a full bath, it would have to do for now. He pulled on his tawny gold command shirt and made his way to the turbolift.

As soon as Kirk arrived at the bridge, Mister Spock arose from the command chair and took a position at his science station. Chekov and Sulu manned the navigator and helmsman posts, respectively, and Uhura was at the communications station.

It was a source of great pride for Kirk to be among his crew. Three and a half years together had formed them into a well-oiled unit. But it was their individual strengths that most pleased Kirk, and humbled him. True, he’d picked his crew carefully, but he’d also been extraordinarily lucky to have such officers from which to choose. Now that the Enterprise’s five-year mission was well past the halfway mark, Kirk could not help but feel a bit of nostalgia for the times he’d shared with these people.

Yet, as always, he had to stop himself from indulging in too much warmth and fuzziness. The mission wasn’t over, not by a long shot, and today he and the Enterprise crew had a very important job to do.

“Lieutenant Uhura, open a channel to the chancellor of the Vesbius colony, please. What was his name? Vader?”

“Faber, sir,” Uhura replied. “He’s standing by.”

“On-screen,” said Kirk.

Uhura pressed a button. The planet, which had previously occupied the main viewscreen, was replaced by a stocky, older man. He looked to be of European stock and possessed a shock of gray in the middle of his combed-back hair. He did not have a happy expression on his face.

“Mister Chancellor, I’m Captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise. My ship and my crew are in orbit around your planet and are ready and able to assist you in any way.”

“Assist us?” said the chancellor. “I’m not sure how you could do that. Furthermore, I have to object to the Federation sending a scientific mission our way during such a time as this. Normally we welcome Federation contact, of course. Maybe if you come back in a few months, we’ll be better able to deal with you.”

Deal?” Kirk replied. “Mister Chancellor, are you aware that there is a very large asteroid on a collision course with your planet?”

“We are quite aware of that fact, Captain,” the chancellor said. “Which is why I am surprised that the Federation chose to send someone to look in on us at a time like this.”

While the chancellor was speaking, another man came into the viewscreen field. He was shorter than Faber and was dressed in what looked like the uniform of a planetary militia. His features were a blend of Asian and European. This man leaned down and whispered something into the chancellor’s ear, and Faber nodded. The other man exited the way he had come.

Kirk craned forward in his chair.

Interesting, the captain thought. Was some sort of intrigue going on below on the planet surface? Had the chancellor’s power been somehow usurped? His response to the Enterprise offer of help would be curious behavior at any time, and it was especially so now.

“We are not here to look in on you, Mister Chancellor,” said Kirk emphatically. “We are here to get you and your people off this planet.”

The chancellor did his best to look puzzled, but to Kirk it had the distinct appearance of a put-on expression. “I’m afraid there’s been a mix-up,” he replied. “We requested no such assistance.”

“On the contrary, sir, three months ago a direct request for assistance was delivered to Starbase Twelve via a drone messenger capsule,” put in Spock from his science station. Kirk knew that the feed to the chancellor would automatically pull back to include the Vulcan in the visual.

“That drone was not authorized by the Planetary Council, however. It was sent by a group of our merchants who overreacted to the crisis before the situation was adequately understood. And be that as it may,” said the chancellor in an officious tone, “we no longer require any aid, and your presence is a distraction, I’m afraid.”

Kirk touched his fingers to his chin and leaned back in his chair. After considering a moment, he spoke again. “Mister Chancellor, we’ve come a long way. I understand that Vesbius is outside Federation territory, but we are concerned for your safety nonetheless. I do have my orders. I’d like to beam down and discuss the situation with you in person.”

“Captain, I really must insist—”

Kirk cut the man off. “Chancellor, Vesbius has a reputation for its hospitality, among other things. I hope that these reports have not been mistaken.”

The chancellor sighed. “Very well, Captain Kirk,” he said. “I will provide coordinates for you to beam down.” The previous hard expression on Faber’s face softened, and he attempted a smile. “We really do cherish our reputation for a generous welcome here on Vesbius, Captain. We will do our best to see that it is upheld when you arrive, despite our trying circumstances. Please understand that while we are not a Federation colony, we have strong cultural and, of course, genetic ties to the Federation and to humanity. I look forward to meeting you. Faber out.”

The viewscreen went blank momentarily and then was replaced by the view of the planet below. Kirk shook his head. “What was that about?” he said.

“Curious,” said Mister Spock. “While he refused our assistance, he did take pains to emphasize the colony’s relationship to the Federation.”

“They have strong trade ties, do they not?” said Kirk. “They are master biologists. Vesbian pharmaceuticals have been an enormous boon to the Federation. The lives that have been saved by that Rigelian fever vaccine alone must number in the billions. Plus, everyone in the Omega sector has heard of Vesbian ale.”

“I am not familiar with the substance,” replied Mister Spock.

“Spock, where’s your scientific curiosity?” Kirk said. “It’s some of the best beer in the galaxy, in my opinion.”

Sulu turned partway away from his home station and addressed them. “If I may, Mister Spock, one taste of Vesbian ale and even a Vulcan might become a beer drinker.” He added, “It’s that good.”

Mister Spock arched an eyebrow. “Indeed?” he replied.

“You may get your chance, Spock,” said Kirk. “I’m taking you and McCoy down to Vesbius in the landing party.” He turned to Lieutenant Uhura. “Lieutenant, ask the doctor to join us in the transporter room.”

“Doctor McCoy to the transporter room,” said Uhura into her station intercom.

Spock cocked his head. “Doctor McCoy is famously averse to having his atoms spread across the universe. May I inquire as to the purpose of including him in the landing party?”

“You may,” Kirk replied with a sly smile. “It’s because of something Faber said just now—that statement about strong cultural and genetic ties to humanity. We may need the doctor.”

“Sir,” Spock replied.

“Besides,” said Kirk, “I had an image of the three of us raising tankards of ale and getting pleasantly sloshed together in a Vesbian beer garden.”

“Unlikely, Captain,” said Spock. “Alcohol does not have the same effect on Vulcans as it does upon humans, where it loosens the inhibitions and serves as a social lubricant. For Vulcans, it merely quiets the mind and heightens ...

Product Details

  • File Size: 3800 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00ANTEP1I
  • Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek (February 26, 2013)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J4L0WG
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,024 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Spoiler in paragraph 2 February 27, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Federation was notified a year ago, by drone messenger capsule, that the planet Vesbius needs to be evacuated because a combo asteroid/comet is going to hit, wiping out all life. No one in the Federation bothers to do anything about it; they don’t even get in touch with anyone until a month before impact when the Enterprise unexpectedly shows up to … co-ordinate the evacuation? Actually evacuate everyone? Not exactly clear what the Enterprise intends to do, but it’s there.

In any event, had anyone bothered to get in touch, they would have learned the Enterprise wasn’t needed because the people of the planet have decided to burrow under a mountain and ride out the impact. That does not sit well with the Enterprise because even if the Vesbians survive the hit, the planet will be uninhabitable for eons. But, plot twist, Vesbians cannot survive off the planet. This was somehow or another unmentioned or unknown by the sender of the drone who presumably lives on the planet.

Not wanting the trip to be in vain, Kirk falls in love and Spock comes up with a clever plan involving aliens we met in the original series. For reasons unmentioned in the book, subspace radio must no longer work, because instead of calling to see if this is at all feasible, the Enterprise makes a warp 8 trip to the alien’s planet to ask for help. The aliens, all the equivalent of teenagers, agree and adopt Spock as their mother.
After some on board high jinks, they arrive back at the planet, put down a possible rebellion and save the day. Kirk leaves the love of his life and Spock convinces the teens that he is a father type and not at all motherly.

Oh my, where to start.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of disappointing March 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoy reading these original series novels once in awhile, but this one was just a bit too obvious and cliched for my taste. I enjoy reading these when I get to observe some interesting interaction and development of the relationship between the characters. This one just didn't do it for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the money March 13, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed enough in this book to write my first ever review, after years of buying on Amazon.

This book reads like a cookie-cutter TOS television episode with dialogue by George Lucas. The villains of the piece are completely generic, only needing a mustache to twirl to further stereotype them. Their motivation goes beyond illogical. The Horta are the only interesting part of the book. Some good characterization for them; that's the only reason this book has two stars instead of one (or zero).

One reviewer questioned whether or not it's possible for more excellent TOS stories to be written. I have no doubt there are tons more to be found; they just need a much more competent writer than this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this one... March 12, 2013
By Phil B
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kirk gets an unexpected surprise in this story, and an old friendly race is brought back in this story to help out, not the one you would expect. This colony that broke away from the Federation has a fascinating story, once they decide to tell the truth about themselves. Fascinating read. I loved the whole storyline..!! Highly recommend this story..!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Average July 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was kind of like an episode dragged out over a long period of time. It had the same feel as Star Trek the Motion Picture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and entertaining April 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a fun read, as the author has found a very creative and imaginative way to bring back an alien species from the original series and use them in a way that leaves you wishing it could have been a real episode of the show. It was at different times tense, dramatic, funny and cute - and always interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Friends Meet Again March 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The crew of the Enterprise once again do not disappoint the reader with another fast moving story providing great insight into the continued development of the characters. More reflective than many of the earlier books--one wonders if the new Star Trek movie series has had an effect on character development. Extremely enjoyable! Provides great background history to one of Trek's favorite characters!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun to Read Original Series Story March 19, 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was an Original Series story that was similar to the style of the old tv shows. For anyone who ever enjoyed them this was a feel good read. Well worth the money and time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good trade, have not read yet
Published 28 days ago by Mastercard
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful escape into the TOS world
I read Devil's Bargain last year in my Kindle app upon its release. Then , as often happens to me when mixing Kindle and hard copy, I forgot I owned it and purchased it in... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Susan D.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
I haven't read a Star Trek novel in years but did enjoy the story line presented in this book. Nice
Published 9 months ago by Rudolph S. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Another day aboard
Kirk falls in love (nothing new) but the author's treatment of this was insightful and refreshing. Also, around p. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Paul S
5.0 out of 5 stars Super good
I ordered this for someone else and they enjoyed the book it was right up their ally. I would get them more of these.
Published 11 months ago by Delpha Bennett
1.0 out of 5 stars POOR WRITING
Published 12 months ago by capt. j. hook
3.0 out of 5 stars headline: Racism Alive and Well in the 23rd Century?
There are several Devil's Bargains in this morality play, but they all see the light of day and life continues . Read more
Published 12 months ago by ERIC R GOERLITZ
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed reading the book
the book was enjoyable. it was not the best one but I would read it again and will keep it in my library.
Published 12 months ago by Sam
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPER COOL BOOK!!!!
It is an amazing book. The characters are in character, some funny twists, and accurate descriptions. Overall it is my new favorite book. Do not be deceived by the bad reviews. Read more
Published 13 months ago by morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Old school Trek but very entertaining. I always enjoy books that expand on the original series. This was one of the more enjoyable books I have read in quite a while.
Published 15 months ago by Matthew S. Ferren
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More About the Author

Tony Daniel is the author of five science fiction books, the latest of which is Guardian of Night, as well as an award-winning short story collection, The Robot's Twilight Companion. He is Hugo finalist for his story "Life on the Moon," which also won the Asimov's Reader's Choice Award. Daniel's short fiction has been much anthologized and has been collected in multiple year's best compilations. Daniel has also cowritten screenplays for SyFy Channel horror movies and during the early 2000s was the writer and director of numerous audio dramas for critically-acclaimed SCIFI.COM's Seeing Ear Theatre. Born in Alabama, he has lived in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Seattle, Prague, and New York City. Daniel is currently an editor at Baen Books. He is married and has two children.

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