Star Trek: The Next Generation: Crossover by Michael Jan Friedman

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Newman

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I've long been a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation books. I've read dozens of them and have enjoyed almost all of them in some way or another. I most enjoy the ones that have to do with battles and alternate universes, but sometimes the slower and more technical in nature books are just as good.

I began reading Crossover by Michael Jan Friedman a few evenings ago. The book has an entertaining cast of characters: Captain Picard, Riker, and a few others from The Next Generation and Scotty, McCoy, and Spock from the original series. I thought I'd take a few moments to offer a chapter by chapter summary here, just in case you're interested in the abbreviated Cliffs Notes version. If you've got anything you'd like to add, please do. I love book discussion.
 
Newman

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Prologue

Summary: The book begins with Spock meditating in his quarters. He heard his student named Sel'den approaching, so Spock ceased his mediation so he could hide and ambush his student. It was part of an exercise to teach his student a lesson. When Sel'den entered Spocks's quarters, Spock attacked, struck his student with a blow, and knocked his student to the floor. This enraged Sel'den and he counterattacked with flying fists of fury. Because of this, Spock called off the short battle to explain to his student why the lesson was a good one. Sel'den had lost control, something Romulans do quite often. It's the way they were bred. It's part of who they are as Romulans. Sel'den was training to become more rational and logical and by losing control during this test from Spock, he failed. He should have measured the situation upon encountering it and developed a much more rational plan in response. This would have been the Vulcan way, not the Romulan one. Sel'den desired to be more Vulcan-like. Because of Sel'den's failure, he felt guilt and shame.

The reason for Sel'den's visit to Spock, however, was to inform him of their nearing proximity to a planet and a merchant vessel that both of them were to board.

Edit: It appears that both Spock and Sel-den were already on the merchant ship. They were entering a planet's orbit and the bridge was prepared to receive both teacher and student.

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Opinion: I think the prologue did a good job at offering a glimpse at how the teacher/student relationship works. Also, I like the setup of how Vulcans and Romulans think. Vulcans are much more subdued and thoughtful and Romulans are more off the cuff and reactionary. It's interesting because this story portrays a small group of Romulans seeking to become more like Vulcans. I wonder why. Why did Vulcans first branch off and reject their previous lifestyle and why is it now that some Romulans would like to do the same? Also, is "reunification" just another word for Romulans becoming more like Vulcans?
 
WendyMay

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Newman said:
Sel'den had lost control, something Romulans do quite often. It's the way they were bred. It's part of who they are as Romulans. Sel'den was training to become more rational and logical and by losing control during this test from Spock, he failed.
How do Vulcans and Romulans differ? What characteristics do they share and what makes them distinct?
 
Newman

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WendyMay said:
How do Vulcans and Romulans differ? What characteristics do they share and what makes them distinct?
This is a great question and whenever anyone answers it, they tend to bring in the Klingons for some reason. Probably because both Romulans and Klingons have the ribs on their foreheads. The nature of a Romulan and a Klingon are somewhat similar as well, in that they're both aggressive and emotional. Vulcans, on the other hand, are very measured and even tempered. They live on the side of logic as opposed to emotion.

The primary differences between Romulans and Vulcans is appearance and temperament. Romulans have a ridged brow while Vulcans have a much more flat one. As stated in Crossover, Vulcans also have far superior hearing. The temperament of a Romulan is emotional, war-like, and somewhat angry. Vulcans, however, are measured, thoughtful, and logical. Even passive, if you will.

Both Vulcans and Romulans are related to one another. They can be considered cousins. They originated on the same world. After a terrible war, Vulcans changed their attitude to become the way they are, while Romulans rejected that type of thought process and lifestyle and decided to remain more militaristic.

It all began on the Planet Vulcan. There was only one species, but as I stated above, after a terrible war, one part of the population learned to keep their emotions in check, while the other embraced their current type of attitude. The first group kept the name Vulcan while the second group of "Vulcans" who resisted the change eventually called themselves Romulans. The "Vulcans" who left Vulcan eventually landed on what they considered their new homeworld; Romulus. Thus the name Romulan was born.

Overall, there aren't huge differences between the two. They still share many characteristics and can still interbreed.
 
Newman

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Chapter 1

Summary: Spock and Sel-den made their way to the ship's bridge where other students were waiting for them. The planet they were orbiting was called Constanthus. Sel'den, along with the other students, were part of the ship's crew and Sel'den was a communications officer.

The Romulan empire is made up of many planets and Constanthus is considered one of many of the "outer worlds." Traditionally, the outer worlds were of relatively little importance to the empire, but they were gaining traction because of communications between themselves and organizing themselves in positions of power. Spock wanted to visit this world, but Sel-den had reservations. Sel-den wasn't used to this planet, as he was born and raised on Romulus. Still though, Spock thought it was important to expand the reach of his reunification movement and Constanthus was a good place to start, beyond Romulus.

After landing, Spock, Sel-den, and the other students left the ship and walked towards a Romulan named Belan in the landing area. Belan was the leader of the reunificationists on Constanthus. The city in which the group landed was called Auranthus. Belan led the group to a building in the manufacturing district where they met up with a larger group of Romulans. This group was part of the reunification movement on the planet.

Belan assured Spock and the group of reunificationists that the area was secure. Because of this, Spock began speaking to the group. He began, "Followers of Surak..." While Spock (the teacher) spoke, Sel-dan remained suspicious of the environment. He wasn't sure it was secure.

After a few minutes of Spock speaking to the group, a Romulan named Ganos approached Belan and informed him that one of the individuals who was in the room was wearing a transmitter, which gave their position away to the Romulan authorities on the planet. Moments later, Romulan soldiers entered the room and killed a few of the original group. Sel-den attempted to fight back, but Spock ordered him to stop any counter attack. Sel-den obeyed.

Sel-den's first priority was the safety of his teacher, Spock. Because of this, after realizing that the Romulan soldiers were in search of the leader, Sel-den claimed it was he who was the leader. The response of the soldiers was to target and kill Sel-den with their disruptors. Spock was safe.

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Opinion: This chapter does a good job of setting the stage for the rest of the story. I'm assuming it's an adventure and rescue saga, but it's good to know the intricacies of how it all began. It's also interesting to learn about how devoted students are to their teachers. For Sel-dan to offer his own life for Spock's, he either loved Spock dearly, the movement dearly, or both. I also wonder why the government of Constanthus is threatened by the reunification movement. What is it they're scared of? Is it all just politics?
 
Newman

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Chapter 2

Summary: Leonard McCoy is now an admiral in Star Fleet. The chapter begins with him sitting in a meeting aboard the Zapata, which I can only assume is a star ship, due to it having a captain named Drake. The meeting was regarding how a civilization of beings called the "Stugg" regard Starfleet. McCoy was very bored with the meeting.

After the meeting droned on for far too long, according to McCoy, McCoy spoke up and began offering more realistic alternatives to the others' purely academic points of view. McCoy was becoming more and more agitated with every passing moment. He claimed that he wanted to join the mission in which he was currently involved as an escape from Starfleet's typical boring nonsense, yet he'd found himself right back in the middle of that type of situation once again. Eventually, Admiral McCoy fell asleep.

After a few minutes, Captain Drake awakened McCoy to inform him that he had a Priority One message from Starfleet. The captain led McCoy to his ready room, where McCoy took the call. On the other end, Admiral Keaton who was posted to a security post on Earth, relayed that Ambassador Spock had been captured during a very top secret assignment with the reunification movement in Romulan territory. As mentioned in the previous chapter, Spock was being held on Constanthus. The issue of Spock's capture had become a serious security one due to Spock's intimate knowledge of how the Federation operates. Currently, the Romulans had no idea who Spock was, as he was in the mix with the other prisoners. If they learned of his identity, they would likely torture him to gather intelligence and then kill Spock. Neither of those eventualities would be beneficial outcomes for anyone involved, except for the Romulans. Spock's intimate knowledge of the Federation's security was of grave concern to Starfleet.

During the called with Keaton, McCoy asked what Starfleet had planned to spring Spock from captivity. Keaton replied that she was dispatching the U.S.S. Enterprise to rendezvous with the Zapata so McCoy could transport over and be used as an expert on Ambassador Spock during the mission to somehow rescue him.

Meanwhile, Montgomery Scott was sleeping on his shuttlecraft when his computer intercepted a highly encrypted message from Starfleet to the Zapata. Due to Scotty's skills in breaking code and decrypting messages like this, he was able to learn that McCoy was enroute to the Enterprise and what their mission was. Scotty immediately began devising a plan of his own to help rescue Spock.

The chapter ends with Captain Picard learning of their mission to Constanthus on the U.S.S. Enterprise, which is referred to as "Crossover" due to its proximity half way between Romulus and the Neutral Zone. Picard recalled an earlier time when he was dispatched on a mission to locate Spock in the Romulan Empire. At that time, the mission was to locate Spock to determine if he had changed alliances from the Federation to the Romulan Empire. Learning that he had not, Picard returned home. This time, the mission was much more complex in that it required rescuing Spock from a prisoner-type situation.

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Opinion: I found the chapter to be quite interesting in that it laid a lot of groundwork for the rest of the book. Characters were introduced and the mission was laid out. The way the author decided to combine certain characters from The Original Series with ones from The Next Generation was fun too. It'll surely be entertaining to learn how they all get along. It seems that the older characters are shoot from the hip and from the Wild West, while the younger and more modern ones are much more subdued and disciplined. One thing that struck me as odd though was how easily Scotty had decoded a Priority One message from Starfleet that was so touted as being so highly secure. I wonder why the author emphasized that security when it only took Scotty a mere few moments to eavesdrop on the call. I can only assume that the reasoning behind this was to showcase the technical skill of Scotty. I have a feeling we'll be seeing examples of his technological prowess as the book progresses.
 
Newman

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Chapter 3

Summary: Scotty navigated his shuttlecraft, named the Romaine, to a starbase and docked it there. The starbase was called 178. Once he left his craft, he was escorted to the starship called Yorktown by Commander Yuri Nelson. Captain Scott had contacted the starbase before landing in regards to a tour of the Yorktown. Unbeknownst to the employees of Starbase 178, Captain Scott had special plans for the ship.

The ship was formally called the U.S.S. Yorktown and it was out of commission, considering it was approximately 100 years old. It lived at the starbase and tours were given to tourists aboard the old vessel. Scotty recognized the ship. It's a Constitution class starship and it's call letters were NCC-1717 and it was considered part of the starbase museum, even though the ship still operated perfectly. The tour was given by Ensign Hammond.

Aboard the ship, Scotty discovered that an early technology Romulan cloaking device that was retrieved by the old Enterprise was aboard as well. It was also operational. While touring the Yorktown, Scotty managed to find his way around outside the tour group to inspect the ship. He checked many different areas to see if they were still functional. They were. But as Scotty strayed from the group, the tour guide, Ensign Hammond, become somewhat agitated. And as Scotty continued to inspect the ship, he discovered that the original Yorktown bridge had been damaged, so it was replaced by the bridge from the original Enterprise.

Just as the tour was over, a young boy who was also taking the tour ran away into the ship. Scotty told the guide that he'd find him, so he went after him. Scott found the boy and transported him back to the group, but stayed behind himself. Left alone, Scotty began making preparations to take the ship from docking. He turned off the tractor beams and turned necessary systems on. He even engaged the Romulan cloaking device. Once his preparations were complete, he began stealing the ship. This prompted communications from the starbase commander Nelson, which Scotty ignored. Eventually, Scotty took the Yorktown to impulse and then warp speed, toward Romulan space.

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Opinion: This was obviously a big chapter in that it laid the groundwork for Captain Scott's involvement in the rest of the story. He was heading toward Romulan space, so it's obvious that he was going to attempt a rescue of his friend Ambassador Spock. I do find it striking and highly coincidental that the Yorktown was in such perfect order that it was able to be taken away from the starbase. I also find it striking how Captain Scott was also so easily able to steal the ship. This is science fiction though, so who am I to complain. So far, the story is a very good one and it's got good character and plot development. Thus far, ends are being loosened and I'll keep learning about how those loose ends will be tied.
 
Newman

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Chapter 4

Summary: The unificationist prisoners were held in a prison on Constanthus and the governor of the planet was happy with himself for having them captured under his watch. The governor's name was Tharrus and he was vying for more power inside the Romulan Empire. By capturing the prisoners, he believed he'd rise in the government.

The method Tharrus planned on using to rise in power was to broadcast that the unificationist movement had been wiped out throughout the empire. Since there was no way to refute this claim, everyone would think it was true, even the Romulan secret police, the Tal Shiar. Tharrus claims to have known that the unificationist movement was too large already and wouldn't be wiped out at all, but once they reared their heads again on Romulus, the blame would fall on the Tal Shiar, not Tharrus. And Tharrus believed that he would look even better in the future if the movement did resurrect itself. If the governor of Constanthus could capture and kill the rebels, then why was it that the secret police couldn't?

The power of the governors of the outer planets was growing. It was becoming more and more difficult for the inner homeworlds of Romulus and Remii to control them and a few of the governors, including Tharrus, were trying to consolidate power unto themselves, as opposed to trying to earn a greater voice in the homeworlds. Much of Tharrus' movements and motivations were to gain power in both the outer worlds as well as the inner.

Tharrus' assitant Phabaris brought him to the detention facility where the prisoners were being kept. Tharrus was surprised at the appearance of the prisoners. He thought they would be tougher looking and more homogeneous, but he was wrong. The unificationists were young and old, male and female. While he was there, he informed the prisoners that they were being charged with treason and for that, the punishment would be death. Their trial would take place in four days time. And after he informed the prisoners of this, he noticed one middle aged prisoner who had a smoother brow than the others. Unbeknownst to him, this may have been Spock himself.

After a brief encounter with Spock, Tharrus decided to strike him in the face. Spock was almost knocked down, but recovered quickly. Spock showed little interest in Tharrus, which made Tharrus rage at him. He recovered though and left the prisoners.

Proconsul Eragian was briefed by a Tal Shiar officer named Lennex. Lennex had informed him that there was a simmering discontent brewing between the empire and the outer worlds. He also informed Eragian that Tharrus had captured the unificationists. Eragian claimed that Tharrus had been lucky and that he wouldn't understand how to take advantage of his good fortune within the empire. Lennex told Eragian that Tharrus planned on trying the prisoners himself as opposed to turning them over to the empire. Eragian was enraged by this. Eragian found himself in an untenable position with Tharrus; if he ordered him to turn over the prisoners, he may demonstrate too much force and the other outer world governors would take notice and resent the action. But if he did nothing and allowed Tharrus to keep the prisoners, he may show weakness and the outer world may be emboldened. There were no good options.

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Opinion: I'm not usually into politics when it comes to science fiction, but this political story is being set up rather well. I enjoy the differences and the power struggle between the representative of the planet Constanthus and the representative of the Romulan senate. It's a simple story, so there's not too much to follow, which is refreshing.

Spock has been introduced as a prisoner and some of his demeanor was exhibited. He was impassive when approached and assaulted by Tharrus and Tharrus felt as though Spock (unbeknownst to him) had beat him at the exchange. By describing this interplay, the author was also describing the divisions and difference in traits between the Romulans and the Vulcans.
 
Newman

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  • #9
Chapter 5

Summary: Admiral McCoy's shuttle, Zapata, docked with the starship Enterprise. Captain Picard, Leiutenant Commander Data, Counselor Troi, Leiutenant Commander Geordi, Doctor Crusher, and Commander Riker were there to greet him. McCoy seemed somewhat irritated to be there, but still found the time to flirt with Troi. When Captain Picard suggested that they spend a few minutes in the ship's lounge, Admiral McCoy seemed to take offense to that. He wanted to begin rescuing Spock from the Romulans immediately. When McCoy questioned Picard about the mission and how they were going to spring Spock from the detention center on Constanthus, Picard replied that there wasn't any specific mission set. That they'd simply follow Starfleet's orders and wait near the Neutral Zone. McCoy didn't like that at all. He claimed that there was no time for diplomacy and they needed to initiate a rescue mission right then and there.

As Picard and his crew stood there and listened to McCoy argue about how to do things, everyone seemed to become more agitated. McCoy wanted immediate action while Picard was set on following orders and allowing diplomacy to work its magic. The two men did not see eye to eye on this issue at all.

Spock pulled himself from his mediation and began considering how tragic of a loss it was to see his student Sel'den killed by the Romulans. He thought about that for a while and recalled that he had never actually communicated to Sel'den that he intended for his student to continue Spock's work, as he wanted to. He vowed to himself that he wouldn't repeat that error.

Spock began walking around his cell and the rest of the detention compound to inspect it. He noticed where the guards were stationed and where the entrances and exits were. He also noticed how fortified his imprisonment was. When Spock appeared before his students, he discovered that they treated them like their de facto leader. This was a part of how Romulans thought. They were strictly hierarchical.

When Spock informed the group that they would continue their education, one student named Skrasis became belligerent and accused Spock of not having a plan to deal with their imprisonment and impending deaths. Spock claimed that it was illogical to think of anything other than enlightenment because there was no escape. Their fate was sealed. The student initially resisted, but then came to realize that Spock may be correct. It still didn't sit well with him, but at least he was listening, which Spock found rewarding.

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Opinion: This chapter introduced Admiral McCoy to the Enterprise and its crew and Spock to Skrasis. Both of these relationships play an important role in this book. Admiral McCoy's personality clashes greatly with Picard's and Spock's personality clashes with Skrasis'. We'll have to see how this plays out, but it's sure to be interesting. In books and storylines like these, having pivotal characters play against one another creates drama and interest.
 
Newman

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  • #10
Chapter 6

Summary: The chapter begins with Scotty making his way out of Federation space on board the Yorktown. With all the time he had, he decided to modify the ancient Romulan cloaking device that was held on the ship. He did so and rectified many of the cloaking device's inefficiencies. So much so that he believed he'd make it clearly out of Federation space and into Romulan territory undetected.

Beyond the cloaking device, Captain Scott also knew he'd need the ship's computer's help. He was using a 100 year old ship in areas of space where brand new technology existed. If he left things as is, he'd be detected and if a space battle broke out, the ship wouldn't hold up and would ultimately be destroyed.

Just as Scotty considered this, his shuttle called the Romaine met with the Yorktown. The shuttle was flying on autopilot, just as Scotty had instructed it to. Scotty brought the shuttle into the shuttlebay and inspected its computer. A short time later, Scotty had connected the computers of both the modern technology shuttle and the older technology Yorktown ship. With this configuration, he was able to pilot the Yorktown alone, with no other crew. The shuttle was actually doing much of the work.

A short time later, a galaxy class Federation ship called U.S.S. Intrepid intercepted Scotty's ship. Apparently, the Romulan cloaking device didn't work as well as Scotty had hoped.

Just as Scotty hoped to escape the Intrepid, that ship targeted the Yorktown with its tractor beam. Also, the captain of the Intrepid came on the viewscreen of the Yorktown. The captain, named Captain Terrance Riley, informed Scotty that he had orders to apprehend him and to tow the Yorktown back to the starbase.

When Scotty looked at the Captain of the Intrepid, he realized that he looked familiar. Scott asked if he was in relation to a lieutenant Kevin Riley who served under Captain Kirk. Captain Riley replied in the affirmative. Because of this, Scotty turned on his charm and maneuvered his way out of captivity. He explained the situation with Ambassador Spock and how Captain Riley's father would understand and would want him to let Scott go. Captain Riley agreed and allowed Scotty to leave and to head towards Romulan space. The Neutral Zone, to be exact. And after that, the planet of Constanthus.

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Opinion: This wasn't the most exciting chapter, but it did show how Captain Scott left Federation space. I suppose the authors of the book didn't want to make it too easy. It would have been unrealistic to say that he simply flew all that distance undetected. It would also imply that 100 year old Romulan cloaking technology was capable of allowing a ship to evade modern technology detectors.

The chapter also explained how Scotty set up the old ship to fly under only one crewman. By tethering the technology of the modern shuttle and the old ship, he was able to rely on the shuttle's power and know how to pilot almost the entire ship. I suppose the older ships required much more human intervention while the newer ones took advantage of autopilot.
 
Newman

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I'll take a break right here to mention that I'm now reading The Return by William Shatner. It's another Star Trek book. It mixes the Original Series with The Next Generation, so it's pretty cool. I'm actually having a tough time following it right now, but it's clearing up some. Way too much action to start off with. Anyway, I was just looking around some forums for the Star Trek galaxy map and I found a pretty good one here. I've never actually seen a map of the Star Trek universe, so I was thoroughly entertained while looking this one over. I wanted to see where the Neutral Zone was and how Romulan space bordered Federation space and I saw all that. What's really cool is where Borg space is and where Dominion space is as well. I love seeing what's contained in each of the quadrants. It explains so much. Here's the map:

star-trek-galaxy-map.jpg

Here's a larger version of the map on a Star Trek forum:

Travel times, galaxy maps and Voyager's mission.
 
Newman

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Chapter 7

Summary: Spock approached his students and was met by Belan, who wanted to discuss the fact that the Romulan spy was still situated within the group of prisoners. Belan was concerned that whoever the spy was, he or she was transmitting intelligence from the group, back to the Romulan guards. As Belan questioned Spock about this issue, Skrasis joined him and also showed concern. They both displayed their interest in learning who the spy was, capturing him or her and issuing "justice." When the two students conveyed this to Spock, Spock recalled that they were, in fact, Romulans as opposed to Vulcans, who were more passionate than logical. Spock explained the failure of logic that seeking retribution would represent and eventually the interest in learning who the spy was faded.

Scotty continued on his way and was about to cross the Neutral Zone. He had outfitted his ship with all the technology he could muster. His shuttle was doing most of the work, his phasers were operational and the photon torpedoes were on-line. He was exhausted from all the labor he had expended in regards to the Yorktown, but in the end, he felt it was worth the effort. Spock deserved to be rescued and Scotty had made it his mission to do so. After dirtying his original outfit, he decided to change into a uniform that was left behind on the ship. It was an extremely old outfit from another era.

While dozing in and out of sleep, the Yorktown's computer informed Scotty that it had detected a Romulan vessel. Scotty wasn't concerned because he was still cloaked and he believed that the Romulan vessel wouldn't be able to detect him. He made his way to the bridge, where he saw an indicator light blinking that told him he was in proximity of the Romulan ship.

After a few moments, Scotty noticed that the Romulan ship had stopped its progress and had changed course to intercept the Yorktown. After Scotty realized he had been detected, he dropped the cloak as to preserve energy and he instructed the computer to set shields to maximum and set weapons to full power. Scotty had every intention of fighting the Romulans.

When the Romulans detected the Yorktown, they analyzed it with their sensors and discovered what it was. An antique. Instead of destroying the ship though, their captain's curiosity got the better of him. He instructed his crew to approach it to see what was going on. When they made it within range of their tractor beam, the Romulans hailed the Yorktown. They instructed Scotty to lower the shields and prepare to be boarded. He lowered the shields, but not before removing any information either the Yorktown or his shuttle contained about Spock.

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Opinion: Well, that didn't last long. I knew Scotty wouldn't get far with that old ship. As much as he thought he could accomplish, 100 year old technology was no match for what was presently available. What's curious is how Scotty didn't know any of this. After all, he's apparently incredibly intelligent and was floating around on his own shuttlecraft before going on this adventure. You would think he would be slightly up to snuff with at least some of the latest technology. For him to even venture out on a quest such as this shows his ignorance. I'm not sure he truly believed he would actually make it to Constanthus to rescue Spock. Perhaps he was merely going through the motions out of perceived obligation and some sort of passion from the days of old. Who knows.
 
Newman

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  • #13
Chapter 8

Summary: Picard was on the bridge of the Enterprise with the rest of his crew. They were analyzing the Neutral Zone and were curious as to why there were so few Romulan Warbirds on patrol. There were normally many more and there weren't. That prompted Captain Picard to ask Commander Data to learn why that was the case.

As the crew was working on the bridge, Admiral McCoy entered. He dismissed Picard's curiosity and inquired as to what they were doing to rescue Spock. Picard replied that they had contacted the Romulans and were waiting for a response. McCoy grunted and took Commander Riker's seat on the bridge.

Spock continued teaching his students in the prison on Constanthus. As he taught, Skrasis raised objection after objection. Spock patiently answered Skrasis' questions and pondered the differences between him and his other student D'tan. D'tan was much more open and accepting to Spock's teaching and didn't question much at all. The two students were very far apart in their dispositions and attitudes. While D'tan accepted things at face value, Skrasis needed to make sure something made complete sense before incorporating that thing into his belief system.

As Spock continued to explain his teachings to Skrasis, Belan entered the room and requested an audience with Spock. Spock agreed and Belan had informed him that he and a few other students had decided to attempt an escape. Even after Spock informed Belan of the risks involved and the fact that success would be essentially impossible, Belan persisted with the idea of an escape. He said that the Romulan way was to die trying as opposed to sit and wait for death. Spock couldn't argue with this logic because, after all, his students were Romulan and it was in their nature to resist and they have suggested.

In another area of Romulan space, Eragian read in his reports about Captain Scott's incursion across the Neutral Zone. He asked his Tal Shiar (Lennex) assistant for explanation and was informed of the entire situation. While Lennex didn't give the situation much attention, Eragian did. He was suspicious and wanted to know why Scott had left Federation space for Romulan space. He planned a visit to outpost number 48 and directed the prisoner to be transferred there.

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Opinion: Now we're getting into the nuts and bolts of the story. Scott has been captured and an important Romulan Proconsul is aware of it and will make a case of it. So between the captain of the Warbird who caught him and the Proconsul, Scott may have to spill his secrets. This doesn't bode well for Scotty or the Federation at large because now they have more than one high ranking official imprisoned by the Romulans. Not a good thing.

On the other side of things Spock is losing students to emotion. At this point, it doesn't really matter what they do because it seems as though their fate is sealed either way. If they attempt an escape and are killed because of that, then so be it. Their deaths will have come just a tad sooner than they would have. If they sit and wait, as Spock suggests, they'll just die later on. It's a lose/lose situation.

On the Enterprise, McCoy is being difficult and is veering from important analysis. There may be something to the limited number of Warbirds patrolling the Neutral Zone, but that doesn't seem to phase him. He wants action at all costs and might screw things up because of his bold and brash ways. Picard seems to be simmering, which is understandable. I don't see the situation getting better between those two.

At this point in the story, it's apparent that the old ways of doing things are getting people in trouble. Spock is caught on an enemy plant because he's sticking his nose into business that he has nothing to do with. Scotty charged ahead like a bull in a china shop and was caught because of that. And McCoy seems to be gearing up for something stupid as well. Perhaps a bit of patience and thought would be in order.
 
Newman

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  • #14
Chapter 9

Summary: Captain Picard maintained his annoyance with Admiral McCoy on the bridge of the Enterprise. Picard was growing restless and continued to question Leiutenant Worf about any possible response from the Romulans. But just as Picard asked Worf yet again about a reply, a reply indeed did come to them. Proconsul Eragian appeared on the bridge's viewscreen.

Captain Picard explained to Eragian that the Federation was willing to take the unificationist prisoners from the Romulans as a humanitarian gesture. The federation is allies with the Vulcans and Picard lied that Vulcan didn't want to reunify with the Romulans any more than the Romulans wanted to reunify with the Vulcans. Picard explained that the Vulcans are concerned about a Romulan influence among its population, hence the call for Federation aid.

Just as Picard finished his conversation with Eragian, McCoy got angry with Picard and walked over to him. Picard became frustrated and invited McCoy into his ready room. Once inside the room, both the captain and the admiral argued about tactics. Picard wanted diplomacy, at least to begin with and McCoy wanted action. He wanted to take the Enterprise directly into Romulan space to initiate a rescue.

While the two gentlemen were talking, Data chimed in through the captain's communicator and informed Picard that he had discovered where the Romulan ships were being concentrated. He informed the captain that he would relay the information he'd obtained to his terminal. With that, the admiral stormed out of the ready room, back to the bridge.

In Scotty's detention center, a Romulan (the captain of the vessel that captured him) asked Scotty for information as to why he was in Romulan space. Scotty refused to speak. As the conversation progressed, Scotty got the idea that he would act crazy and act as if the Federation was too stupid to realize what the Romulans were up to. Because of this, Scotty said he was ready to battle all of the Romulans himself. But just as Scotty's act got going in earnest, the Romulan who was questioning Scotty received orders to transport the prisoner to the base that Eragian was to visit. Apparently, Captain Scott would be interrogated there.

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Opinion: This was another plot building chapter. It developed the growing disconnect between Picard and McCoy and it furthered Scotty's predicament. In my opinion, at this point in the book, McCoy is going to get in the way big time. Somehow, in some way, he'll screw things up for the crew of the Enterprise. And as far as Scotty goes, I don't see what he can do to better his situation. He can't jump aboard the Yorktown to fly it back to Federation space because it's under the control of the Romulans. That ship is also far too slow to outrun the Romulans, so he's a bit screwed. We'll see what happens.
 
Newman

Newman

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  • #15
Chapter 10

Summary: A student approached Spock. His name was Santek and he wanted to inform his teacher that he would be joining those who planned to escape. He thanked Spock for his teachings and said that he wouldn't be attending the instructional sessions anymore. Another student named D'tan argued against Santek, but Spock put a stop to it. Everyone understood that the times were tough and no good decisions were to be made.

Through his dealings with his students while in detention, Spock began to realize how difficult it was to change someone's innate nature. While life is calm and easygoing, it's simple to have a pupil follow rational guidance. But under stress, the pupil will revert right back to what he's known all his life. And in this case, the Romulans knew passion and fight. They weren't ready to accept sitting around waiting for death.

After Santek left, Spock asked the rest of his students if any others wanted to follow in his footsteps. After other students rejected Spock's teachings and methods for handling this crisis, only 11 remained. Spock was shaken by this revelation and went off to meditate over it.

Back at the other detention center, Captain Scott worked at uncovering an electrical panel contained in his cell. While doing this, a guard came by to inform him that he'd be meeting with the station's administrator for questioning. After learning this, Scott decided to take on another persona while under questioning. Perhaps the interrogator would believe Scotty was mad and would have mercy upon him.

Back with Spock, the students who wished to escape planned what they were going to do. And as Spock and the remaining students watched, the Romulan guards entered the detention area with food for lunch. When those guards entered, the escape oriented students attacked them and attempted to overpower them. But because the guards and their reinforcements had learned of their attempt earlier, they immediately killed the students. Apparently, the informant was still among the students and he or she somehow communicated the escape plans with the guards.

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Opinion: It was only a matter of time before a good share of the Romulan students attempted an escape. That type of behavior is too ingrained in their behavior. As I was reading this, it dawned upon me that a Vulcan might attempt an escape as well, just at a different time or perhaps under different conditions. Surely if all the detention center guards were called away for another type of duty and no one was there to watch over the prisoners, everyone, even the Vulcans, would simply walk right out. So it's not that an escape is illogical or filled with passion and emotion, it's more a matter of timing.

As far as Scotty goes, I think he's clever enough to figure something out. He didn't get to be so old by not being crafty. And he didn't manage to make it all the way into Romulan space without being super clever. So I'll just wait to see what happens with him. But this chapter was definitely a mixture of plot and character building. The story is moving right along and we're learning about the inner workings of many different characters. There's also a reduction of characters, which is nice. We don't need so many of them. That just gets confusing.
 
Newman

Newman

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  • #16
Chapter 11

Summary: When Governor Tharrus learned of the prisoners' escape attempt, he was quite curious as to its outcome. While he wanted to teach the remaining prisoners a lesson, he didn't want to kill all of them. After all, this entire situation stood to benefit him greatly in the world of politics. The governor hoped for a political advancement within the Romulan empire based on his capturing and executing the unificationists, so handling the trial was of the utmost importance. And because it was so important and because he wanted no interference from the home worlds, he decided to move the trial up one day. The trial was set for the next day. Tharrus wanted all the credit and he wanted no one else to be involved.

Even though the administrator was told that the Proconsul was set to arrive soon at the detention center where Scotty was being held, he decided to go ahead with the interrogation anyway. Administrator Barnak was also looking for political advancement within the empire. Although the stunt was risky; there was a chance that Scotty would be injured or killed, Barnak decided that the risk was worth it. He wanted the credit for finding out why an old man and an old ship from the Federation had crossed into Romulan space.

As Barnak interrogated Scotty, Scotty played the part he had planned. He acted as though he was a belligerent old man who was at war with the Romulans. At first, Barnak believed the act, but as time went on, he began to see some sort of intelligence in Scotty's eyes. Toward the end of the interview, Barnak became so frustrated with Scotty that he pointed his disruptor at Scotty's head. He was reminded of the proconsul's words though. The prisoner was not to be harmed. The interview was over.

Back on the Enterprise, Worf uncovered a message that emanated from Scotty's Yorktown ship. He informed Captain Picard about the revelation. Apparently, there would be two rescues in Romulan space as opposed to only one.

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Opinion: I don't usually find politics in science fiction appealing, but getting a glimpse into how Romulans and the scappy Romulan hierarchy works is entertaining. I like the interplay between Tharrus, Eragian, and Barnak. They don't seem to be reaching for an overarching goal that would benefit Romulans as a whole, but rather goals that would benefit only themselves. Typical, I suppose.

As far as Scotty goes, his involvement is slightly irritating because has shouldn't be there in the first place. I would rather read about how the crew on the Enterprise handled the situation. Actually, I think I'd prefer the book without both Scotty and McCoy. I never liked the Original Series much and to have both of these characters thrown in like monkey wrenches isn't my favorite thing to read about. But so far it's okay. It's just not as much The Next Generation as I would have liked.
 
Newman

Newman

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  • #17
Chapter 12

Summary: Picard, Geordi, Riker, Troi, Data, Worf, Doctor Crusher, and McCoy sat around sat around a long table in the observation lounge upon the Enterprise. Picard had just learned from Worf about Scotty's capture in Romulan space. After telling the others about this and after discussion with Starfleet, he confirmed that his orders were to focus primarily on Spock and consider Scotty a secondary priority. To this news, McCoy exploded. He said that they needed rescue both Scotty and Spock, but the captain resisted. He claimed that the greatest threat to the Federation was Spock. Therefore, they would focus on rescuing him. Riker suggested that a small crew take a shuttle into Romulan space to mount a rescue attempt of Scotty, to which the captain hesitantly agreed. He allowed Riker, Geordi, and Data to take a shuttle for the rescue.

After the meeting, Picard and McCoy stayed behind to discuss an idea McCoy had about speeding up the rescue of Spock. Picard resisted the idea, an argument ensued, and ultimately, McCoy relieved Picard of his duties and confined him to his quarters. McCoy took command of the ship.

McCoy returned to the bridge and commanded Worf to open a channel to Constanthus. He was going to try out his idea. Worf resisted, but when Captain Picard instructed him to follow McCoy's orders, Worf hesitantly obeyed. Picard went to his quarters to stay.

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Opinion: Now things are getting exciting. The relationship between Picard and McCoy has reached and passed a boiling point and now McCoy, an old doctor, has taken control of a starship. Obviously Picard disagrees with McCoy in regards to his plan, but there's nothing he can do about it. We'll have to just see how it plays out. I couldn't imagine that it would work because if it did, this wouldn't be much of a book. Have we reached the peak here? Will the crew obey McCoy and his directives? Will they ultimately doom the Enterprise? We'll see.
 
Newman

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  • #18
Chapter 13

Summary: Riker, La Forge, and Data entered the Enterprise's shuttlebay with the intention of immediately taking a shuttle for their rescue mission. After some delay, due to shuttles not being ready, they embarked inside the shuttle Justman. After the three left the Enterprise, McCoy called down to the shuttlebay. He asked if Commander Riker was still aboard. A technician named Goodwin informed McCoy that the three had already left. McCoy informed Goodwin that he (McCoy) was in charge of the ship as Picard had been relieved of duty.

In Romulan space, Eragian and his crew inspected the Yorktown with the goal of finding out exactly why Scotty had ventured into their space. While inspecting the ship, officers named T'racc and Orath discovered that the Yorktown was actually being powered by the shuttle Scotty had slaved to the Yorktown's computer. The also discovered the energy leak that Scotty created to communicate with the Federation. With this information, they concluded that Scotty was putting on an act and that he was much more sane than insane.

Eragian intended to interrogate Scotty, but when his officers went to fetch him, they reported back that Scotty had gone missing. And not only that, one of the Romulan transport vessels was attempting to escape the planet's orbit and get away at maximum speed. Eragian ordered their ship, the Vengeance, to pursue the transport vessel and to capture Scotty alive. They targeted the transport ship's warp drive and fired photon torpedoes at it. They wanted to simply disable the escaping ship, but after the ship dropped out of warp, it exploded. Eragian was furious, but his officers assured him that the explosion wasn't his doing. After some thought, they all concluded that Scotty had blown up the ship on purpose to avoid interrogation. That was the only thing that made sense to them.

Still, Eragian wanted to know what was going on. He ordered the Romulans to search their archives for Scotty's image so they could learn more about him.

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Opinion: Most of this chapter was about Captain Scott's confinement and escape. Although, the Romulans did learn much about the situation surrounding him. My question is, did Scotty really die in that explosion? Was he even on the ship? The authors are making Scotty out to be a genius on a totally other level, but I wonder if even a genius would be able to pull off what Scotty is pulling off. Some of what's happening appears to be quite unrealistic, but then again, I am reading science fiction. It's a great storyline though. This book is entertaining and exciting. So far, it's been a fast read.
 
Newman

Newman

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  • #19
Chapter 14

Summary: Admiral McCoy took the center seat on the bridge of the Enterprise. The one Captain Picard usually sat in. He was positioned next to Dianna Troi and when he was ready, he made an announcement to the ship's entire crew. He informed them that he had taken command of the vessel and that everyone should follow his orders.

Just as he was conversing with Troi, Worf interjected to tell McCoy that Governor Tharrus from Constanthus was ready to speak with him. When Tharrus was put on the viewscreen, McCoy attempted to negotiate with him to release the prisoners. Basically, McCoy attempted to pit Tharrus against Eragian in getting the prisoners released. Tharrus promised to get back to McCoy when he had made a decision.

Once the conversation between the two was over, the Romulan instructed his assistant, Phabaris, to research Admiral McCoy. Apparently, by getting an admiral involved with a Romulan matter, Tharrus believed that the Federation was more desperate then they had let on. Of course, McCoy had no idea that the Romulan was researching him and he was flying high from what he believed was a success.

Riker, Geordi, and Data continued towards the output on which Scotty was being held. They took shifts in piloting and navigating the shuttle craft. The plan was to simply fly by the outpost, beam Scotty to the shuttle, and then get the heck out of there. Just as Data was scanning the area though, he realized that a Romulan warbird was also in orbit of the planetoid. With this knowledge, the crew of the shuttle decided to keep on the opposite side of the outpost as the the warbird, as to avoid detection by its sensors.

As the crew of the shuttle orbited the detention center, they learned that the center had a magnetic shield around it that had the effect of blocking any sort of transporter attempt at escape. Because of this, they were forced to wear armbands that would allow for transportation once they had hold of Scotty in person.

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Opinion: I have a question about this chapter. When McCoy introduced himself to Tharrus, I don't remember him introducing himself as Admiral McCoy. He merely said his name. I'm wondering how Tharrus knew McCoy was an admiral. The only thing I can think of is Work having relayed that information to the Romulans while setting up the communication.

Also, if I were on that shuttle, the moment I learned there was a Romulan warbird in the same proximity, I would have been out of there at warp speed before anyone had any knowledge of my presence. The tension is building and I think we all know what's going to happen here. Of course Riker, Geordi, and Data are going to get caught. How could they not?
 
Newman

Newman

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  • #20
Chapter 15

Summary: As Captain Picard waited in his quarters, he was visited by Worf. Apparently, Lieutenant Worf had some information regarding the Romulan ship movements along the Neutral Zone. When Picard asked Worf if he had relayed the information to McCoy, Worf responded that he had, but it was dismissed. Hearing this, Picard asked Worf to explain.

Along another part of the Neutral Zone, away from the Federation, lived a civilization called the Stugg. They were a disorganized race, yet for some reason, the Romulans considered them to be some sort of threat. And because of this perceived threat, the Romulans amassed several of their warbirds along the border.

Meanwhile, Riker, Geordi, and Data transported to the detention center and began looking around for Scotty. Their equipment shows no life signs, which seemed odd to them. As they progressed through the halls of the center, they moved freely. Freely until they were surrounded by Romulan guards. The crew fought the guards with their phasers, but were eventually overtaken, shot, and detained.

Reg Barclay visited Doctor Crusher in sickbay to discuss the fact that Admiral McCoy had taken over the Enterprise. They both recognized that there was nothing either of them could do about the situation, but the thought of deeming McCoy mentally unstable and therefore unfit for command did cross Beverly's mind.

Upon inspection, Eragian was surprised to learn of Data's existence and Geordi's visor. None of the Romulans knew what to make of these things. They had never seen an android nor a visor like the one Geordi was wearing. One thing was made clear though - Scotty wasn't the bumbling fool he portrayed himself to be. He was much more valuable to Starfleet, as evidenced by the three from the Enterprise attempting to rescue him. Eragian was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery that was laid before him.

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Opinion: I think we all knew that Riker, Geordi, and Data were going to get caught. It surprises me how little of the Romulans the Federation actually knows about. Hopefully they'll update their intelligence once (or if) these three get out of this mess. It's shocking that they simply walked around thinking that they were undetected. Also, when it comes to Admiral McCoy, things are coming to a head. No one on the Enterprise wants him there and I'm just wondering how he's going to make a mess of things. He's far too confident to get away with what's he thinks he's going to get away with.
 
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Crossover by Michael Jan Friedman was posted on 12-01-2020 by Newman in the Entertainment Forum forum.

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