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A Time to Love (Star Trek (Unnumbered Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – May 25, 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Together with Pocket Books Star Trek editor John J. Ordover, Robert Greenberger created the overall Gateways concept which forms the basis of the seven-part crossover series.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

"Three more?"

William Riker, first officer of the Starship Enterprise, bolted out of his seat, his eyes wide. Across the table sat Deanna Troi, the ship's counselor. Her deep brown eyes normally showed great empathy for the plight of others, but now they just looked tired.

Riker's hand rubbed his chin, stroking the freshly grown beard that had been the subject of much debate between them. A few short years ago, he agreed to shave it as he and Troi renewed their romance. However, after the last few months, he felt the need to change something, and growing the beard back was the easiest solution. She had playfully refused to kiss him since then, and had held out a surprisingly long time. But at the moment neither one of them felt particularly playful about anything.

With a shake of his head, he looked at the padd she had pushed his way. He already knew what it said, but still, to see three more requests for transfer rankled. Crain from engineering, Nybakken from environmental sciences, and Kawasaki from the technology group -- all solid career officers, and certainly not the type Riker ever expected to see request a transfer off the Enterprise.

"They want to be on the best starship in the fleet..." Troi began, her voice soft and understanding.

"Which we are," he said emphatically.

"Which we are, yes," she echoed. "But the Enterprise's prestige has been damaged, its crew's reputation tarnished. These three want to avoid having their own careers derailed."

"Kawasaki was up for promotion, too," Riker said, sounding deflated. He was past being angry, but the hurt was still there, and he allowed it to creep into his voice. Around Troi he could be himself, slipping off the professional mask he wore among the crew.

"How many is that now?"

Troi shook her head sadly. "Seventeen in the last three months." The transfer requests had begun trickling in right after the encounter with the "demon ship."

The entire crew of the Enterprise was aware that the ship Picard had ordered to be destroyed was not a Federation vessel, but a "demon ship" masquerading as one.

What galled Riker the most was the notion that despite everything Picard had done for Starfleet, Command tallied up only the black marks, never bothering to weigh them against the successful missions.

To the admirals, Picard was increasingly a liability -- an inconvenient reminder of the ideals they too had sworn to uphold. When the Borg invaded Sector 001, the admirals sent the Enterprise to the Romulan Neutral Zone rather than let the flagship defend the Federation's birthplace. But Riker saw the expression on Picard's face when the audio reports came through, of how a single Borg cube was decimating the fleet. The Enterprise, in violation of orders, arrived on the scene, took command of the remaining ships, and destroyed the Borg cube.

Picard continued to embarrass the admirals by cherishing their principles while another one of their own -- Admiral Dougherty -- seemed to lose sight of them, almost causing the annihilation of the Bak'u.

And now this. Banishment to the hinterlands was Picard's only reward for steadfast courage and integrity. No wonder people wanted off the ship. Riker had privately hoped that the crew would remain intact, thumbing their collective noses at the faulty reasoning of their superiors, but with hundreds of people aboard the starship, unanimity was virtually impossible. He had to take comfort in the knowledge that those closest to Picard remained unfailing in their loyalty.

"How quickly do they want off? Is it worth my time talking to them?" Riker asked.

"You might have a chance with Kawasaki, since this will delay her chances at promotion. You just need to assess which is more important to her: advancement on a tainted ship or a fresh start."

"We're not tainted," he said with some heat.

"To us that's true," she agreed. "But not to everyone."

Riker held the padd, his thumb rubbing against the smooth metallic side. He pondered the choice, trying to imagine the thoughts in the younger woman's head. It occurred to him he didn't know Kawasaki all that well, just that she was petite and had an outsized laugh. Of course, he couldn't possibly know each crewman equally well, but he was having trouble coming up with details on this crewman, only that she was due for promotion within the year.

He quickly accessed her service record. Scanning her accomplishments, he was reminded why she had been placed on the recommendation list. She had helped write new programming for enhanced long-range sensors in addition to coming up with new safety systems to protect the core during red alert situations. Her initiative and wide-ranging talents had caught everyone's eye. The reviews were quite good, which Riker had come to expect from the entire crew under his watch.

"She's worth a shot," he mused.

"Oh?" Riker immediately detected the playful tone in Troi's voice. He grinned at her, stroking his beard once more.

"Well, she is single and kind of cute," he continued, rising to her challenge.

"And that's enough for you?" Troi teased. "That laugh of hers is a bit much, isn't it?"

"Well, it might get annoying in a closed space," Riker admitted, leaning closer to her. She leaned back against him, and her touch warmed him a bit.

"Annoying? Deafening is more like it," she said.

"You could sway me away from her," he offered, his hand reaching out for hers. She took it, and their fingers intertwined.

"I thought we were past the beginning," she said, the flirtatious tone suddenly gone. Her eyes glittered bright.

"Oh we are, Imzadi," he said softly. "We haven't been at the beginning since I first met you on Betazed."

"And where are we now?"

"Day twelve," he said, the twinkle back in his eye. "I think you're holding out just to vex me. You're determined and ready to make a point." Riker sat down and added, "I will speak with Kawasaki and try to convince her to stay. But for the sake of my ears, I'll talk to her in Ten-Forward."

Troi gave his hand a sympathetic squeeze. Riker returned his attention to the padd and frowned as he scrolled down to the next set of names. He studied them intently, his eyes narrowing.

Finally, Troi asked what else was wrong.

"We've been assigned more crew," he said in a flat, disapproving tone.

"They do that, you know," she said.

"When has Starfleet ever had to assign us crew? In all these years, people used to compete for assignments. And now we're getting castoffs. Look at the first officer's note on Nafir's file."

He pushed the padd toward her, and she quickly thumbed to the transporter technician's file. She read a few lines, and her frown began to match Riker's. The padd fell to the tabletop with a loud clatter, and she looked across to her friend. "Two disciplinary reports in a year, and all they can say is he has a difficult time following protocol. There's more to it than that."

"And we get him."

"I'd like to say they sent him here because they knew we could turn him around, and maybe a year ago that would have been true."

"But today," Riker continued, annoyed, "we get him because Captain Chen'farth doesn't want the headache."

"We can still work to make him better than he is. We can still do good work," Troi said emphatically.

"Sure, we can work with him. Geordi and Chief T'Bonz won't put up with Nafir's attitude, so he'll either do it our way or he won't be on any starship in the future. The point is, we can't afford to become the prime dumping ground for Starfleet's entire population of malcontents."

"And we haven't," Troi insisted. "Most of them will still go to the Excalibur." She rose and moved to the replicator for a fresh cup of tea. After all her years on the Enterprise, she had finally developed a taste for certain blends. "Anyway, not everyone coming to us is a troublemaker. Some have genuine problems. The Dominion War's effects have been deeper than first suspected, Will. People no longer seem as interested in facing the unknown or being out near the borders. Some planets have turned positively xenophobic."

"Fighting a vicious army led by shape changers will do that to some people," Riker noted, concerned but unsurprised by the summation.

She returned to her seat, blowing across the top of the steaming mug.

"We're all stretched so thin in terms of personnel, materiel...well, everything."

"Someone in particular you're concerned about?" he asked, hearing genuine curiosity in his own voice.

"There is one new member of Geordi's team that seems to have some issues. I don't think you've met her yet. Anh Hoang, a plasma specialist. She transferred here about two months ago, right before we went to Dokaal. She lost her husband and daughter when the Breen attacked San Francisco."

He thought about the attack almost four years earlier and how many lives it altered. Earth had been struck by enemy forces in the past, the first being the Borg in the early twenty-first century, although the Enterprise thwarted that effort. Hoang's story was just one of millions, he knew, and immediately he felt sympathy for the woman.

"What's the issue?" he asked softly.

"We met only once," Troi admitted. "But my impression is that she took this posting to run away from the memories. She does her job well, from all indications, but she isn't making connections with the rest of the crew."

"And you're worried."

"And I'm worried. I intend to spend some time with her while we're not going anywhere." Immediately she regretted the words, he could see from the expression that flitted across her face. He hadn't become a successful cardplayer without learning how to read others. Still, he winced at the notion that he was serving aboard a technological marvel that was merely updating stellar cartography charts.

"We'll finish this tomorrow," he said shortly.

He strode out of Troi's office and immediately quickened his pace to keep up with the hustle caused by the approaching shift change. The first officer never ceased to marvel at how busy the Enterprise... --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Series: Star Trek (Unnumbered Paperback) (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Star Trek; 1st edition (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743462858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743462853
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,483,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
A Time to Love, by Robert Greenberger, is the fifth book in the Time to... series of Star Trek: The Next Generation novels, taking place immediately before the movie Star Trek: Nemesis. The first four books were up and down affairs, wallowing in Trek continuity and occasionally telling a good story. A Time to Love, however, is the first one that's been fully satisfying. It is rather lightweight, but for some reason it packs a punch. It begins the story of how William Riker, first officer of the Enterprise, finally finds himself with a command of his own after all these years under Captain Picard. While concentrating on this and his relationship with Deanna Troi, the book also tells a great story too.

A Time to Love is a short book (263 pages), but somehow Greenberger packs a lot into it. The first ten pages are a little slow as he summarizes what's happened so far in the series, but he does it in an interesting fashion: having Troi and Riker going through crew transfer applications, commenting on what's happened so far and how it's affecting morale. This scene is also important as it begins the realization, carried throughout this book and the next, that Riker has to finally make a decision about his life. He's 42 years old, he and Troi have rekindled their romance (in the movie Insurrection, but they haven't moved forward. Just what is he waiting for? Plus, he has turned down many command opportunities to stay with Enterprise, but is that still the right thing to do? I've never seen such an effective summary before, giving us new information even as it goes over old. Some of the later scenes, such as Geordi's, do slow down and tell us too much about the past without anything happening, but those scenes are not very long.
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The dialog was well crafted but the plot-line feels like it was extended to cover an inevitable sequel. The best Star Trek novels are those which change the Trek Universe in some form, or challenge a long held belief. This novel unfortunately does none of this.
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Riker and Troi. The cover art for these two novels even feature them. The love story needs to be told and it has been.
This story starts with the Enterprise being sent a troubled planet where there is no real way to solve the problem. The population is turning violent and the crew is stretched thin trying to put out the fires, both literally and figuratively.
This is a wonderful character study of not just the regular cast but as well as new character including the security chief. In addition we get to explore Riker search for his father and struggle with the ailing relationship.
I was disappointed in the clichés used in the end of the first part of the story. Riker finding his father at gunpoint and Crusher informing Picard that the cure for this planet is also the cause of the disaster it is facing. It gave me a false sense of expectations for the second part.
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The A Time to... series of novels have been a bit underwhelming thus far but in "A Time to Love" and "A Time to Hate" the series begins to come into it's own with the strongest pair of novels yet. It doesn't require non-stop action and excitement to provide an absorbing tale, although both these novels have their share of tension and conflict. Robert Greenberger takes the simple and straightforward approach of letting the characters be the center of the story, which makes for an extremely rewarding read.
Jointly colonized a hundred years ago by two violent races previously hostile to each other, the Bader and the Dorset, the Federation member world Delta Sigma IV has always been a model of interspecies cooperation. When it was discovered that a naturally occurring gas is shortening the inhabitant's life spans it seemed as if Starfleet Medical had found a counter agent. But someone has seriously miscalculated and the Enterprise-E is assigned to investigate when mysterious outbreaks of violence seem to be linked to the treatment.
To complicate matters, Kyle Riker, William Riker's estranged father, the man who headed the Federation delegation working to study and resolve the medical issues of the Bader and Dorset, is missing and he aims to stay that way. The situation quickly dissolves from bad to calamitous as escalating violence begins to spread across the planet and the governing council proves to be incapable of making any decisions. Called upon to provide everything from medical aid and security to damage control and repair teams for an entire planet whose population is hostile to each other and to them, the crew of the Enterprise soon realize that they can't hold the planet together for long.
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Every time I read a series there is at least one weak, and mercifully short, book in the litter. Aside from the authors wonderful discriptions of the family life of one of the characters, and the rekindled relationship between Will and Troi, there is little love shown.
Actually, most seem out of touch with reality. It irritates me when chacters behave in a senseless way. For instance, why suspect Kyle Riker of wrong doing when he tries to catch a murderer? Isn't that what anyone in authority would do? And why, even at the end of the book do Council members still suggest that the natives make the Federation "pay" (and how in the world would they do that anyway)when clearly all the Federation has done, in particular the Enterprise,is treat their wounded, help keep the peace, and look for solutions to their medical problems? It's crazy!
Furthermore, why in the world is Starfleet treating Captain Picard as if they don't know he's a hero, and why is Picard and the crew acting as if they really were on a "tainted ship" when they know the truth. This lack of loyalty does not fit the Starfleet I have come to know. Not even Will seems to remember his improved relationship with his father.
And the ending reminded me of soap operas on fridays when they have a cliff-hanger and realize there's too much time left to simply end it, so the main chacters spend 10 minutes telling the audience "I can explain...the reason is so simple...you don't understand." Just words that do little to further the plot but kill time so the audience is still left frustrated. Note to author: Just end the book Mr. Greenberger. The series is good enough for us to want to read the next installment.
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