DTI/TOS: Forgotten History
The agents of the Department of Temporal Investigations are assigned to look into an anomaly that has appeared deep in Federation territory. It’s difficult to get clear readings, but a mysterious inactive vessel lies at the heart of the anomaly, one outfitted with some sort of temporal drive disrupting space-time and subspace. To the agents’ shock, the ship bears a striking resemblance to a Constitution-class starship, and its warp signature matches that of the original Federation starship Enterprise NCC-1701—the ship of James T. Kirk, that infamous bogeyman of temporal investigators, whose record of violations is held up by DTI agents as a cautionary tale for Starfleet recklessness toward history. But the vessel’s hull markings identify it as Timeship Two, belonging to none other than the DTI itself. At first, Agents Lucsly and Dulmur assume the ship is from some other timeline . . . but its quantum signature confirms that it came from their own past, despite the fact that the DTI never possessed such a timeship. While the anomaly is closely monitored, Lucsly and Dulmur must search for answers in the history of Kirk’s Enterprise and its many encounters with time travel—a series of events with direct ties to the origins of the DTI itself. . . .
- “[Forgotten History] is a well designed, deeply considered, and internally consistent technical narrative that serves to engage and excite the reader – at least this reader.” — Robert Lyons, TrekMovie.com
- “Excellent story, with Bennett’s trademark humour and scientific acumen on proud display.” — Trek Lit Reviews
Six weeks on Publishers Weekly Top 10 Science Fiction bestsellers list!
Quoting from my StarTrek.com article about the novel:
After writing the first DTI novel, Watching the Clock, I’d never expected to revisit the Department of Temporal Investigations so soon, let alone to do a prequel. But… [i]n trying to work out what my 2012 book would be, my Star Trek editor suggested out of the blue, “How about a TOS/DTI book?” We knew from Deep Space Nine: “Trials and Tribble-ations” that James T. Kirk had seventeen separate temporal violations listed in the DTI’s files, so surely there must be an unchronicled one worth writing about.
The suggestion sparked a bigger idea in me, though. Watching the Clock and earlier stories had established the DTI’s founding date as 2270, right around the end of the famous five-year mission. So why not tell the origin story of the DTI itself? I could have Lucsly and Dulmur—the DTI agents featured in “Trials and Tribble-ations” and the lead characters of Watching the Clock—encounter a temporal mystery tying into the origins of their own department, a mystery suggesting that Kirk and the Enterprise played an even more integral role in the DTI’s formative years than history recorded, and use their investigation as a framing sequence for that story. Not only could I do for the original series’ time travel episodes what I did for various twenty-fourth-century ones in Watching the Clock—tell the stories behind the stories and explore their background, connections, and consequences—but I could extend the tale forward into the DTI’s early years and finally get to write that follow-up to Star Trek: Ex Machina that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
The idea fell into place very quickly. I had the basic structure of the story, including the ending, worked out within 90 minutes of getting the suggestion, and I had the title within two hours after that. Working out the details of the outline took about a month, though. I had to review a lot of material, including Watching the Clock, Ex Machina, and most of the time-travel episodes of TOS, as well as assorted material relating to the Star Trek: The Motion Picture era to help me get my mind back into that timeframe. When I finally turned in the outline to my editor, I included the following note: “I’m glad you suggested this. It’s shaping up to be a fun story. Lucsly & Dulmur confronting the myth and reality of James T. Kirk head-on? It’s priceless.”
The timeframe of the book lets me fulfill some long-standing wishes: telling a story employing characters and concepts from Star Trek: The Animated Series (and not the characters one would expect); exploring the internal layout of the Enterprise based on what was revealed in Star Trek: Enterprise’s “In a Mirror, Darkly” as well as the original and animated series; elaborating on the end of the five-year mission and the process of the Enterprise refit; and most of all, carrying forward the post-TMP adventures of the Enterprise and advancing some of the major character arcs that Ex Machina set in motion. All of this is secondary to the saga of the DTI’s formative years, of course, but it’s all in there, and then some.
I was told going in that the book would probably be marketed under the TOS banner. But my contract listed it as DTI, so I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. … Still, I stuck with the original plan to approach it primarily as a Kirk-era novel. Although its frame sequence does feature the DTI characters from Watching the Clock and takes place after it, I’ve tried to treat them the same way I’d handle brand-new characters, so that TOS fans picking up this book can learn all they need to know about the DTI team without needing to read anything else. …. Although Forgotten History is the second DTI book, it’s my hope that it can work equally well if you read it first—appropriately, for it is the origin story of the department.