Star Trek: DTI e-Novellas
The dedicated agents of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations have their work cut out for them protecting the course of history from the dangers of time travel. But the galaxy is littered with artifacts that, in the wrong hands, could threaten reality. One of the DTI’s most crucial jobs is to track down these objects and lock them safely away in the Federation’s most secret and secure facility. When Agents Lucsly and Dulmur bring home an alien obelisk of incredible power, they are challenged by a 31st-century temporal agent who insists they surrender the mysterious artifact to her. But before they know it, the three agents are pulled into a corrupted future torn apart by a violent temporal war. While their DTI colleagues attempt to track them down, Lucsly and Dulmur must restore temporal peace by setting off on an epic journey through the ages, with the future of the galaxy hanging in the balance…
- “This story really made me think as well as laugh uproariously at times. I highly recommend The Collectors, whether or not you’ve read the previous DTI books — it’s a fun and exciting read!” — Dan Gunther, TrekCore
Back when I was asked to do Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within, it was something of an experiment, the first attempt to revive the Star Trek e-book line now that e-books have become more commonplace. Fortunately that experiment was a success, and Star Trek e-novellas have become a fairly regular thing. When my editor Margaret Clark offered me a chance to do another e-book, my first thought was to revisit my beloved post-TMP setting (Ex Machina, The Darkness Drops Again, Forgotten History), but as it happened, there were already two upcoming e-books set in more or less that era (Michael A. Martin’s Seasons of Light and Darkness, set during The Wrath of Khan, and Scott Pearson’s The More Things Change, set six months after TMP). Margaret specifically suggested DTI as a possibility, and once I started considering that option, the idea fell into place very quickly. I’d set up a number of characters and concepts in Watching the Clock that I’d been interested in exploring in more depth, primarily the Eridian Vault (where the DTI stores temporal artifacts) and 31st-century Temporal Agent Jena Noi, a character I really took a shine to and wanted to explore more fully. This novella was my chance to flesh them both out, along with whatever else caught my fancy.
And so this book turned out to be rather different from its predecessors. Watching the Clock and Forgotten History were largely exercises in continuity engineering, tying together the various time-travel stories in Trek history and fleshing out the unifying principles and events behind them. But The Collectors was my chance to tell an original story driven by the DTI characters and concepts themselves, to just cut loose with them and play with the potentials of a time-travel narrative unfettered by the need to fill in the blanks of this episode or that movie. (Other than Lucsly and Dulmur, only one canonical character plays a major role in the tale.) As such, it was enormously liberating and enormously fun to write. I really went wild with this one. There are parts that had me howling with laughter when I wrote them in the outline and that still make me laugh now. This is probably the craziest thing I’ve ever written.
Also, it may be an e-novella, but is by no means a disposable side story. It advances the storyline of the DTI series in a meaningful way and fleshes out a lot of significant worldbuilding. I know that not everyone reads e-books, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to give them a reason to start. I don’t want to treat anything I write as unimportant or disposable. (And who knows? With Trek e-novellas coming along pretty regularly now, maybe eventually we’ll get print compilations of them.)
Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations — Time Lock
The dedicated agents of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations have their work cut out for them protecting the course of history from the dangers of time travel. But the galaxy is littered with artifacts that, in the wrong hands, could threaten reality. One of the DTI’s most crucial jobs is to track down these objects and lock them safely away in the Federation’s most secret and secure facility. As it happens, Agent Gariff Lucsly and his supervisor, DTI director Laarin Andos, are charged with handling a mysterious space-time portal device discovered by Starfleet. But this device turns out to be a Trojan horse, linking to a pocket dimension and a dangerous group of raiders determined to steal some of the most powerful temporal artifacts ever known…
The origin of this one was simple: I was asked to do a sequel to The Collectors. After delving into the Eridian Vault in the first novella, I realized there was still more potential worth exploring in that setting. And what’s the most natural subject for a story about a vault? Why, a heist! I realized that the events of The Collectors could leave the Vault open to a heist attempt. I’d dabbled in having characters use the Vault’s artifacts in TC, but this was a chance to go all-out, a battle of artifacts between raiders and defenders. It was fun, and challenging, coming up with novel ways that different temporal phenomena could be pitted against each other.
The big idea here, though, is the time lock itself, a novel form of temporal security on the entire Vault. Let’s just say I’ve found a way to play with time that Star Trek has almost never used before, certainly not in this way. I’m rather pleased with how the story turned out, but it was hard work getting there, because the premise entails some complicated timey-wimey stuff that required meticulous, repetitive calculation to keep track of certain interrelationships, as well as reading some scenes aloud to time them carefully, for reasons that will be made clear in the novella itself.
Of course, I also took the opportunity to build on the changes in Lucsly and Dulmur’s status quo established at the end of The Collectors. Dulmur isn’t mentioned in the blurb, but he’s still very much a part of the story, and the timing let me draw on a fair amount of the Denobulan world-building I’d just done for Live by the Code. I’m also pleased that the story gave me the opportunity to pick up on a thread or two from Star Trek Titan: Orion’s Hounds — and to fix a continuity error I discovered between that and DTI: Watching the Clock.