Star Trek: DTI e-Novellas


DTI The Collectors coverStar Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations: The Collectors

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

Available at:

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.)

Spoiler discussion and notes

DTI Time Lock coverStar 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…

  • “Above all else, these stories are fun, and Time Lock continues the tradition of clever and playful storytelling that has been a hallmark of this highly entertaining series.” — Dan Gunther, TrekCore
  • “All told, a fun diversion that looks beyond the excitement of Starfleet to explore the little guys who protect the future and keep the timeline safe.” — Bob Milne, The Speculative Herald

Available at:

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.

Spoiler discussion and notes

DTI Shield of the Gods coverStar Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations — Shield of the Gods

The stalwart agents of the Department of Temporal Investigations have tracked down many dangerous artifacts, but now they face a greater, more personal challenge: retrieving a time-travel device stolen from their own vault by a rogue agent of the Aegis, a powerful, secretive group that uses its mastery of time to prevent young civilizations from destroying themselves. Blaming the Aegis itself for a tragedy yet to come, this renegade plans to use the stolen artifact to sabotage its efforts in the past, no matter what the cost to the timeline. Now the DTI’s agents must convince the enigmatic Aegis to work alongside them in order to protect history—but they must also wrestle with the potential consequences of their actions, for preserving the past could doom countless lives in the future!

Available at:

As the ending of Time Lock makes clear, I planned that story as the first half of a 2-parter. I initially planned on a looser connection between the second and third e-novellas, but my initial proposal for the third one was rejected. So I thought of another idea that grew more directly out of the backstory of the Vomnin and the Gum Nebula civilizations in Orion’s Hounds, and which fed back into Time Lock by giving me the motivation for its antagonist. I wrote Time Lock with this idea for part 3 in mind, seeding it within the story, even though I didn’t have a contract for the third part yet — and didn’t really have the plot details solidly worked out. So it was quite a leap of faith, or perhaps of overconfidence — setting up a sequel when I didn’t know for sure that I’d get to tell it, or even how the story would work. I remember that it finally came together during a long road trip where I had plenty of time to think.

The idea came when I got to thinking about the Aegis — the name used in comics and novels for the mysterious organization backing Gary Seven in TOS: “Assignment: Earth.” I’d featured them as one of the temporal agencies seen in Watching the Clock, and they were one of the few major elements I developed in that novel that I didn’t already get to follow up on in any of the previous sequels. So I’d been interested in the prospect of delving into them more fully, and particularly exploring some of the “behind-the-scenes” aspects that weren’t addressed in the various Gary Seven novels and comics out there. Specifically, I reflected on how Gary had said that they took primitive humans thousands of years ago and bred them into agents. That raised all sorts of questions about how the abductees were taken, what their descendants’ lives under the Aegis were like, and what happened to them after their planets no longer needed Aegis oversight, as well as the ethical questions raised by such an act. Yet the story of Shield of the Gods is driven mainly by a different ethical quandary that arises from the Aegis’s actions.

When it comes to multi-part stories, I don’t like to do the kind that are just one big story cut into segments; I prefer to plot them so that they naturally break down into separate stories that unite to form a larger arc, and so that each installment can be followed on its own. Thus, in order to make Shield of the Gods feel like a reasonably independent work, I decided to approach it largely from the perspective of the supporting characters Ranjea and Garcia, who move to the fore after being more peripheral players in Time Lock. Indeed, this is a pivotal story for them. As with the previous two novellas, this is no mere incidental side story, but a key part of the DTI narrative, and the climax to the novella trilogy.

Spoiler discussion and notes

  1. June 22, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I just devoured Shield in one sitting. I absolutely adore your writing, your commitment to world building especially. I hope we get to encounter these characters and settings again.

  2. Kandi
    January 23, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    I can not find the DTI books anywhere. My husband read one at the library and just LOVED it – tells everyone how wonderful it was. I wanted to buy the whole series. My brother-in-law found one and gave him but do they sell them anywhere??

    • January 23, 2020 at 10:28 pm

      Both novels are still on sale at Amazon, B&N, and elsewhere. The novellas are only available as e-books.

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