It wasn’t the first time on this assignment that he had felt like he was out of his depth. The plain fact of the matter was, the alien starship was like nothing he had ever seen before.
Recruited right out of the Tech Clutch on Selay, Ythiss had left his homeworld and clan nests to go to Starfleet Academy, and by the skins of his ancestors, he had graduated with honors. Ythiss liked to think of himself as an intelligent sentient, full of all that fix-anything attitude that Starfleet liked to encourage in its engineers. But this ship didn’t conform to any kind of layout he had ever encountered, not in space or in textbooks. For starters, it seemed to be made largely of wood.
A rangy, muscular humanoid dropped out of the carved hatchway in the overhead of the corridor, falling to the planked decking in an effortless three-point landing. “Here,” she said as she stood up, handing him a rope made from woven vegetable matter. “Help me with this.”
“As you wish.” The lieutenant blinked his large slitted eyes and cocked his serpentine head, taking up the slack she offered.
A member of the Dinac species, Guoapa was the commander of the vessel, although the duties she performed on her ship would have been the remit of a subordinate engineering officer like Ythiss on a Federation craft. When he had told her that, the canine-like female let out a barking snort of amusement. What kind of fleet gives command to those who don’t have their paws in the engines? With that comment, the Selayan had immediately warmed to the alien captain, and from that point on Guoapa had insisted on having Ythiss as her assigned liaison. She hardly spoke to the lieutenant’s commanding officer back on the U.S.S. Whitetree, much to Captain Minecci’s chagrin, but after a while both the Starfleet and Dinac crews had found a comfortable balance for their association.
Ythiss waited for a nod from Guoapa, and they hauled together. The rope snapped taut and his earspots captured the sound of ceramic pulleys turning somewhere up inside the hatch. The lieutenant knew that their actions would—so he hoped—kick off a manual release of the intercooler vanes folded along the outside of the Dinac pinnace. Observed from a distance, Dinac ships had a beauty to them that Ythiss thought quite fetching. Sculpted to be warp-streamlined, they sported gossamer energy-collector wings that reminded him of the great rainmoths that swarmed in the cooler months on Selay.
He hauled and did as he was told, but Ythiss was still bothered by the fact that the Whitetree had spent nearly a month with the Dinac and he was no closer to understanding the peculiarities of their faster-than-light drives. It was an odd blend of warp technology that had elements of Gorn brute-force motors, Vok’sha slip-gen engines and certain types of older Romulan systems, all in a mix that was quite unique. Ythiss found them utterly fascinating, to the point that he was spending far too much of his time on board the pinnace trying to fathom them.
When the engines had suffered a emergency shutdown, catapulting them from warp velocity in deep space, several light-years away from the Dinac home system, he was actually a little pleased. Not that the ship might be damaged—of course not—but pleased that he would have another excuse to slither around inside the drive core and get an up close and personal look at the alien tech. The Whitetree had quickly come about to take up station alongside and a repair party led by Chief Medeiros was already aboard, shoring up environmental control on the lower decks. Aside from a few bumps and bruises reported by Doctor ShuAn original spin-off novel set in the popular Star Trek: The Next Generation universe from New York Times bestselling author James Swallow!
In the wake of political upheaval across the United Federation of Planets, Admiral William Riker and the crew of the U.S.S. Titan find themselves in uncertain waters as roles aboard the ship change to reflect a new mandate and a new mission. On orders from Starfleet, Titan sets out toward the edge of Federation space to tackle its latest assignment: to work with an alien species known as the Dinac, who are taking their first steps into the galaxy at large as a newly warp-capable civilization.
But when disaster befalls the Dinac, the Titan crew discovers they have unknowingly drawn the attention of a deadly, merciless enemy—a nightmare from Riker’s past lurking in the darkness. Friendships will be tested to the limit as familiar faces and new allies must risk everything in a fight against an unstoppable invader—or a horrific threat will be unleashed on the galaxy!