ST: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation


Choice of Futures coverStar Trek: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures

A new nation has arisen from the ashes of the Romulan War: the United Federation of Planets, an unprecedented union of diverse species cooperating for the good of all. Admiral Jonathan Archer—the former captain of the Earth starship Enterprise, whose efforts made this union possible—envisions a vibrant Federation promoting galactic peace and a multispecies Starfleet dedicated to exploring strange new worlds. Archer’s former crewmates, including Captain T’Pol of the U.S.S. Endeavour and Captain Malcolm Reed of the U.S.S. Pioneer, work with him to secure that bright future. Yet others within the Federation see its purpose as chiefly military, a united defense against a dangerous galaxy, while some of its neighbors view that military might with suspicion and fear. And getting the member nations, their space fleets, and even their technologies to work together as a unified whole is an ongoing challenge.

When a new threat emerges from a force so alien and hostile that negotiation seems impossible, a group of unaligned worlds asks Starfleet to come to its defense, and the Federation’s leaders seize the opportunity to build their reputation as an interstellar power. But Archer fears the conflict is building toward an unnecessary war, potentially taking the young nation down a path it was never meant to follow. Archer and his allies strive to find a better solution…but old foes are working secretly to sabotage their efforts and ensure that the great experiment called the Federation comes to a quick and bloody end.

  • A Choice of Futures does a superb job of fleshing out those early days of the Federation.” — Dan Gunther, TrekCore
  • “A Choice of Futures is a great book.  It’s an extremely pleasurable read, rich with Star Trek lore and filled with compelling new stories for our heroes and interesting new character-arcs for the Enterprise ensemble…. This is exactly the type of fun, well-thought-out prequel to the Original Series that I had always hoped Enterprise would prove to be.” — Josh Edelglass, Motion Picture Comics

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I enjoy filling in the unexplored segments of the Star Trek universe. So with the increasing continuity and arc-driven structure of the 24th-century Trek novels these days, I found my interests as a writer shifting away from that period. I gave some thought to an idea I would’ve called Star Trek: Beginnings, filling in the gap between first contact with Vulcan in 2063 and the beginning of Enterprise in 2151. I thought it might be interesting to explore humanity’s adjustment to the Vulcans, the colonization of Alpha Centauri, the rise of the Space Boomers, etc. But my editor rightly pointed out that there would be too few familiar characters in that setting, and not a lot of audience interest. Instead, she suggested that I take over the Enterprise novel line in the wake of the Romulan War duology by Michael J. Martin, which concluded with the founding of the United Federation of Planets in 2161. I was initially hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the more it intrigued me, since the early Federation era is virtually untouched. We have very limited information about this period from canon, and only one book, Starfleet: Year One, has ever been set in this era. But that novel was soon superseded by Enterprise, and its focus was principally on Starfleet and not the wider Federation. So the period is very nearly a blank slate, which is both a great opportunity and a great challenge for me. There are many worthwhile questions to explore: How did an alliance forged in wartime become the peaceful union we know? How did its founding members balance their differing views of what the Federation should become? What challenges did this fledgling union face in dealing with neighboring powers unsure of its intentions or threatened by its unity? What new enemies arose in the wake of the Romulans?

Worldbuilding in Trek fiction is usually relatively easy since there’s so much backstory and continuity to build on, but in this case it was a lot more challenging to strain out the tiny fragments of information we have about people, events, and institutions from this period. I’ve had to do a lot of extrapolation. But I’m picking up some threads from ENT, the series, that I felt were worth expanding on, and I’m building toward the Trek universe as we know it in the original series, so at least I know my starting and ending points. The worldbuilding has been a lot of fun — figuring out how the early UFP government was organized, how the member races cooperated in the joint government and combined fleet, and what the various member races contributed to Starfleet and how it evolved toward the form we know, in terms of design and technology. I’ve even come up with a design for the original Federation Starfleet uniform. Plus, of course, there’s the challenge of moving the ENT characters (regular and recurring) forward in their lives and careers. There are a few whose futures we have some foreknowledge of, but the rest are blank slates.

To answer the inevitable question, no, you don’t need to have read The Romulan War to follow this book. ROTF:ACOF is a fresh beginning, picking up about a year after the Federation’s founding. The war is over, Enterprise herself is in mothballs, and Admiral Jonathan Archer, his former crew, and his allies including Shran and Soval have moved on to new phases in their lives, playing new roles in the Federation and its combined Starfleet. The novel will feature many familiar characters from the era, a few new crewmates for the familiar cast, and some unexpected names as well

Another cool thing about this is that it completes my grand slam: I will now have written tie-ins for every onscreen Trek series, as well as several book-only ones. At first, admittedly, I was a little wary about taking on Enterprise, which I was lukewarm about in its first run. But upon rewatching the series as research for this book, I’ve gained a much greater appreciation for it. When I watched ENT in its original run, my perceptions were filtered through “Oh, that’s not what I expected” or “That’s not how I would’ve done it,” and that colored my reactions, as I think it did for a lot of us. But on revisiting the series, I was able to accept that this was how it was and evaluate it on its own terms. And I think it held up pretty well overall. There was a lot in the series that I felt it was worthwhile to continue, and a lot of ideas that I felt were worth revisiting and fleshing out. (More discussion on my blog here.)

I’ve been heartened by the strongly positive advance reactions this book has received. I was asked to do a sequel  before I’d even turned in the manuscript for book 1. I have tentative plans for several more books beyond that.

My design sketch for early Federation Starfleet uniforms described in novel

Spoiler discussion and notes

Tower of Babel coverStar Trek: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

The United Federation of Planets has weathered its first major crisis, but its growing pains are just beginning. Admiral Jonathan Archer hopes to bring the diverse inhabitants of the powerful and prosperous Rigel system into the Federation, jump-starting the young nation’s growth and stabilizing a key sector of space. Archer and the Federation’s top diplomats journey to the planetoid Babel to debate Rigel’s admission . . . but a looming presidential race heats up the ideological divide within the young nation, jeopardizing the talks and threatening to undo the fragile unity Archer has worked so hard to preserve.

Meanwhile, the sinister Orion Syndicate recruits new allies of its own, seeking to beat the Federation at its own game. Determined to keep Rigel out of the union, they help a hostile Rigelian faction capture sensitive state secrets along with Starfleet hostages, including a young officer with a vital destiny. Captain Malcolm Reed, Captain T’Pol, and their courageous crews must now brave the wonders and dangers of Rigel’s many worlds to track down the captives before the system is plunged into all-out war.

  • “There is a lot in this book for the avid Star Trek fan to pick up on…. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Bennett takes these characters next!” — Dan Gunther, TrekCore
  • Tower of Babel is… a terrific continuation of this “Rise of the Federation” story.  THIS is what the Enterprise TV show should have been all about, showing us the baby steps and the early trails and tribulations faced by this young, unprecedented interstellar alliance.” — Josh Edelglass, Motion Picture Comics

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When I developed Book 1 of Rise of the Federation, I went into it with the idea that it could be the first of a series, and I began considering longer-term story possibilities. Book 1 was about the Federation defining its identity, choosing what kind of state it was going to be. Thus, it followed that Book 2 should be about its early efforts at growth and consolidation: the first attempt to recruit a major new member and the establishment of the tradition of Babel conferences to debate the questions of membership, which would in turn bring out some of the lingering tensions and fissure lines within the still-fragile union.

So you’d think that when I got the assignment to do a sequel, it would’ve come fairly easily. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. At the time I was working on the Book 2 outline, my attention was still primarily on the recently released Only Superhuman — doing publicity, tracking its performance, and so on — in addition to which, I came down with a terrible cold and severe throat irritation that kept me up at night for over a week. It’s hard to focus on plotting a novel when you can hardly breathe. I finally figured out some remedies for my sore throat, but I’d lost a lot of time on the outline and had to struggle to meet the deadline. What I turned in was sufficient to get approval, but it turned out not to be a clear enough blueprint to guide me through the writing process, and thus I floundered and fell badly behind on that as well, even though I’d specifically asked for enough time that I wouldn’t be rushed.

Still, I finally managed to get my head in the game and cope with some of the problems I was having. For one thing, I decided to delete a whole subplot that was unconnected to the rest of the story and could be saved for a later book (one of the advantages of doing a series). I realized it was interrupting  the momentum of both the narrative and my own writing process, and that was part of what was slowing me down. That was a significant setback in word count, since I had to backtrack and come up with something new to take its place, but once I cleared that obstruction, the ideas flowed more easily, and I wrote the entire replacement subplot in a single day. (It was actually an idea I’d already thought of as a future possibility, but it plugged in nicely here.) I still had some trouble with the rest, since one of the major plot threads in the outline wasn’t working and needed to be seriously rethought, while another was lacking in needed detail. But I got a handle on it by abandoning my tendency to write in chronological order, instead tackling each separate plot thread one by one, so that I wouldn’t keep having to shift focus and lose momentum. That helped me finish the book in time for my deadline, and I had some nice moments of serendipity along the way, particularly a new subplot that sort of spontaneously emerged and allowed a certain character to play a more proactive role in the resoution of the crisis. But in those last weeks I worked so hard and was so stressed out that I ended up straining my shoulder pretty badly. I was very glad that the Shore Leave convention arrived just after I was done. I got to hang out with my writer friends and stay with my cousins in the area, and had a really nice visit to my audiobook publisher too, so that really cheered me up.

It’s hard for me to look at Tower of Babel objectively, since the writing process was so turbulent. There are probably things I could’ve done better, but now that I think about it, there are a number of things I’m rather proud of. In particular, I had fun with the worldbuilding of the Rigel system, taking all the disparate references to Rigel this and Rigel that in the screen canon, along with the ones in the current novel continuity, and building a cohesive whole out of them. Why did I choose Rigel as the first major addition to the young Federation? Because I wanted Archer to go after a major prize, a coalition of worlds whose addition to the union would increase its size and power significantly in one fell swoop, so that the stakes would be as high as possible. And I didn’t just want to create some hitherto-unknown civilization, since that would raise the question of why it was never heard of later on. Rigel has so many distinct worlds and cultures that it gave me a rich multispecies community in a single system — although it did come with certain conceptual problems and contradictions that I had to navigate my way around. Also, ENT’s “Demons” and “Terra Prime” had included Rigelians among the delegates to the initial Coalition of Planets talks, and a couple of earlier sources (the classic Spaceflight Chronology and the novel Starfleet Year One) had postulated Rigel as a founding or very early member of the Federation, in contrast to the traditionally accepted founders of Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri. So the idea of Rigel being in at the beginning, or nearly so, had some precedent.

The cover to Tower of Babel is much more along the lines I was hoping for than the cover for A Choice of Futures turned out to be. It showcases the lead ships of ROTF, Captain T’Pol’s Endeavour (based on Doug Drexler’s conjectural NX-class refit) and Captain Reed’s Pioneer (of the Intrepid class which debuted in “The Expanse”). It’s the first time the NX refit design has been used on a novel cover, though it’s previously been seen in the Ships of the Line calendar.

Spoiler discussion and notes

Star Trek: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic

ROTF Uncertain Logic cover

Years ago, Jonathan Archer and T’Pol helped unearth the true writings of Vulcan’s great philosopher Surak, bringing forth a new era of peaceful reform on Vulcan. But when their discovery is seemingly proven to be a fraud, the scandal threatens to undo a decade of progress and return power to the old, warlike regime. Admiral Archer, Captain T’Pol, and the crew of the U.S.S. Endeavour investigate with help from their Vulcan allies, but none of them suspect the identity of the real mastermind behind the conspiracy to reconquer Vulcan—or the price they will have to pay to discover the truth.

Meanwhile, when a long-forgotten technological threat re-emerges beyond the Federation’s borders, Captain Malcolm Reed of the U.S.S. Pioneer attempts to track down its origins with help from his old friend “Trip” Tucker. But they discover that other civilizations are eager to exploit this dangerous power for their own benefit, even if the Federation must pay the price!

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Now that the Federation was past its teething pains and finding itself on a firmer footing, I decided that it was time to explore how it would deal with a threat to others, exerting itself as a peacekeeping power. I also wanted to vary the mix of antagonists and bring in a new threat to give the Malurians and Orions a rest, and to allow certain other threads to simmer in the background for a while. I wanted to do something more action-oriented, but I generally prefer to avoid writing space combat scenes too much, since I don’t like having my protagonists kill if it can be avoided. Also, canon strongly suggests that the Federation managed to avoid major wars for the first century of its existence.

But I’ve always been interested in the automated repair station from the second-season episode “Dead Stop,” wondering what its origins and purpose were. It occurred to me that a purely robotic enemy would be just what I needed — I could do space battles without the usual moral qualms, and it wouldn’t be a war per se. More importantly, it would be a chance to answer those lingering questions from the episode, and maybe to touch on why the later Federation seems so mistrustful of robotics and automation. Such a tale would also let me further my exploration of the Andorian Guard division of the early Starfleet and the role they play in the Federation’s defense.

Meanwhile, a parallel plotline on Vulcan was kind of dictated by the fact that I was moving into 2165 — the year Sarek was born. The birth of Sarek was one of the first story possibilities my editor Margaret Clark suggested when she offered the Enterprise books to me. That was why I introduced the pregnant T’Rama (Sarek’s mother) in the previous volume, since I knew I’d be featuring her and her husband Skon more heavily here. Skon’s established role as the translator of The Teachings of Surak into English suggested a story focusing on the Kir’Shara — Surak’s true writings as later rediscovered — through Skon’s perspective, which pointed to a larger examination of how the Kir’Shara and its revelations and reforms had transformed Vulcan society, how those invested in the old status quo were resisting those reforms, and how 22nd-century Vulcan society evolved into the form we first encountered on Enterprise in the first place. Tobin Dax’s established relationship with Skon in the books also gave me an opportunity to bring him to Vulcan and depict a certain part of his backstory that was alluded to in Deep Space Nine, namely his encounter on Vulcan with a Cardassian exile named Iloja of Prim. What was a Cardassian doing on Vulcan over a century before formal Federation/Cardassian contact? That was worth telling, and offered a valuable additional perspective on the political and social upheavals affecting Vulcan at this time.

This time around, I was contracted for a longer book, around 100,000 words instead of 80,000. This gave me room to tell the story in more depth — and to work in that subplot I had to excise from Book 2 for space. However, the Vulcan plot (which I mostly wrote first) still ran much longer than I expected, requiring me to streamline the other plot. Fortunately, I was also under contract for two books this time, and it had always been my plan to explore the automated technology (the Ware, as I call it) in two phases. So I was able to restructure my plans and save much of the story for Book 4. I think it actually works better this way, making for a more focused narrative.

I’m quite pleased with the cover for this one, partly because it was my idea. I normally don’t have a say in cover design, but it occurred to me one day, out of the blue, that if you superimposed the pyramidal shape of the Kir’Shara onto the globe of Vulcan, it would resemble the Vulcan IDIC medallion representing the philosophy of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. It struck me as a perfect symbolic image for the story, both for the IDIC and for the image of the Kir’Shara looming over Vulcan and exerting its sway on the whole planet. It struck me so powerfully that I had to write to my editor and suggest it, though with no expectation that my idea would be accepted. But apparently someone liked it, because there it is.

Spoiler discussion and notes

 Live by the Code coverStar Trek: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code

Admiral Jonathan Archer has barely settled in as Starfleet Chief of Staff when new crises demand his attention. The Starfleet task force commanded by Captain Malcolm Reed continues its fight against the deadly Ware technology, but one of the task force ships is captured, its Andorian crew imprisoned by an interstellar Partnership that depends on the Ware for its prosperity. Worse, the Partnership has allied with a renegade Klingon faction, providing it with Ware drone fleets to mount an insurrection against the Klingon Empire. Archer sends Captain T’Pol and Endeavour to assist Reed in his efforts to free the captured officers. But he must also keep his eye on the Klingon border, for factions within the Empire blame Starfleet for provoking the Ware threat and seek to take revenge. Even the skill and dedication of the captains under Archer’s command may not be enough to prevent the outbreak of the Federation’s first war.

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As I mentioned in my Uncertain Logic discussion, much of the Ware storyline I had in mind for that book needed to be postponed for this one. It made the Ware saga more of a continuous 2-parter than I’d intended. Generally, I like to keep each installment of a series reasonably self-contained and complete. Still, I did manage to divide the Ware narrative into two quite distinct phases, and each novel had its own distinct subplots alongside the Ware story. Also, saving the Ware-using civilization called the Partnership for this volume allowed me to flesh them out in considerably more detail, and to improve on my original Book-4 plans for them. (I’d planned to resolve the Ware affair for the most part in Book 3 and then have some kind of aftermath, resurgence, or retaliation in Book 4, but this more unified approach worked better.)

A key element that helped solidify my Book 4 plans was the release of The Klingon Art of War by my friend Keith R.A. DeCandido. That book was written as a translation of an influential Klingon text spelling out the basic precepts of their civilization, complete with various historical accounts from a Klingon perspective, including two major events that happened within the ROTF time frame. Since Keith wrote the book, it’s consistent with the overall novel continuity, so I figured I should incorporate those events into ROTF. Keith’s text suggested that both incidents happened only a short time after the founding of the Federation, not four years later, but when I consulted Keith about it, he agreed the text was ambiguous enough to allow it. So this reshaped my plans for Book 4. I’d already considered including the Klingons in some capacity, given their proximity to Ware territory, but now I ended up giving them a much bigger role and tying the Ware storyline into the ongoing conflict between the ridged and non-ridged Klingon variants, as introduced in “Affliction” and “Divergence” on Enterprise and developed subsequently in the novels. The Romulan War duology by Michael A. Martin had established that the Klingons intended to withdraw from the galactic stage to deal with their own internal problems for a while, but the Ware situation let me draw them out again, at least for the space of this one book. I haven’t written very much about Klingons before, but TKAOW and Keith’s advice helped me considerably.

The other key element I wanted to bring in, which I seeded in UL, was a visit to Denobula for the wedding of Dr. Phlox’s daughter. Enterprise never visited Phlox’s homeworld, nor did any earlier novel or story, so I felt it was long overdue. I couldn’t resist the challenge of taking the bits and pieces we’d learned about Denobulan culture and assembling them into a larger whole—and particularly working out the rules for Denobulans’ complex marriage and family structure, which proved very, very difficult. Still, I think I managed to develop the culture in an interesting and reasonably coherent way, and I’m glad to fill in that gap. I was able to get additional use out of my Denobulan worldbuilding, in fact, by using 24th-century Denobula as a setting in my upcoming e-novella Department of Temporal Investigations: Time Lock.

I started the writing process with a plan to work systematically and write 25,000 words a month for four months. I barely met my deadline the first month, but then my website crashed, and the work of reconstructing it here on Written Worlds preoccupied me for a time, so I fell badly behind. At six weeks to deadline, I had the novel only half-written. But then something changed. It might be because I’d recently begun drinking coffee. That had been to keep me focused on long drives, but I decided to see if it could improve my focus on my work. At first, it didn’t seem to help much, but once I reached that six-week point, my momentum kicked in and had the most amazing burst of productivity of my career, writing fully half of a 100,000-word novel in just three weeks and getting the first draft finished comfortably ahead of deadline. I don’t know if there was any correlation with the coffee beyond the placebo effect, since I haven’t been able to replicate that feat since then. But you’ll notice there are quite a lot more references to coffee in this book than in anything else I’ve ever written.

Spoiler discussion and notes

ROTF_Patterns_coverStar Trek: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference

The time has come to act. Following the destructive consequences of the Ware crisis, Admiral Jonathan Archer and Section 31 agent Trip Tucker both attempt to change their institutions to prevent further such tragedies. Archer pushes for a Starfleet directive of non-interference, but he faces opposition from allies within the fleet and unwelcome support from adversaries who wish to drive the Federation into complete isolationism. Meanwhile, Tucker plays a dangerous game against the corrupt leaders of Section 31, hoping to bring down their conspiracy once and for all. But is he willing to jeopardize Archer’s efforts—and perhaps the fate of an entire world—in order to win?

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Paraphrasing from my blog: This was kind of a rough one, since there were delays getting the contract and approvals through, so I was late getting started and I had only three months to write the book. Which proved difficult, since I was suffering from a vitamin D deficiency that was causing me some mild depression and making it hard to focus. The dismaying outcome of the 2016 presidential election added to that depression, but it also energized my writing, since the themes of this story are highly relevant to current events. This is my most overtly political novel to date, but there were things that I felt desperately needed to be said, under the circumstances. Indeed, the events in the months leading up to the book’s release have only made it more relevant.

One thing that eased the deadline pressures was that the novel came out relatively short, about 83,000 words. I figured that, after the big epic 2-part saga of Uncertain Logic and Live by the Code, it was good to do a story that was a bit more intimate in scope, in the vein of The Next Generation‘s “Family” and Enterprise‘s “Home.” Although that’s only part of the novel’s story. Basically, there’s one really big adventure plotline at the heart of the novel—namely, Trip Tucker’s attempt to expose and dismantle Section 31—and a number of more character- and idea-driven subplots around it, which kept the plot from getting too cluttered. But there are major events and changes to the status quo on both scales. It’s a smaller story, but with big consequences.

It’s pure coincidence that this book comes out in the same year as David Mack’s Section 31: Control, telling a somewhat parallel story about the battle against Section 31 in the 24th century. Dave and I developed our concepts independently, as the culminations of story arcs we’d been planning for years. But Dave and I compared notes and worked to keep our stories mutually consistent. Some of our thinking had already converged on compatible ideas about the nature of Section 31 as an organization and how it would have to function to remain undiscovered for so long, so it wasn’t hard to reconcile our respective stories. Still, Dave’s story and mine are extremely different in approach.

Another help with the tight writing schedule was that I once again managed to recycle a concept from one of my old, unsold original stories as a subplot. It’s a double-recycle of sorts, because I previously reused the premise in the proposal for what would have been my second Star Trek: Corps of Engineers novella. CoE’s editor Keith R.A. DeCandido accepted the proposal, but the series was cancelled before I got a contract. For this version, I kept some of the new worldbuilding ideas from the CoE tale, but I’ve been able to incorporate a lot more of the original story’s plot and dialogue in this version, albeit revised to fit the new characters and relationships.

Spoiler discussion and notes

  1. May 11, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I enjoy your ROTF novels as well as the annotations. Thanks again!

  2. May 11, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    I particularly enjoyed the visit to Denobula–and it did ring quite true to all I’d gleaned from earlier mentions of the culture, as well.
    I’m also enjoying the long, slow trek towards–could it be? Mangels/Martin’s future vision for T’pol’s family life from Last Full Measure?
    You left some subtle and not-so-subtle cliffhangers to answer for!
    Thanks for a worthy vision of this period in Trek history.

  3. Innoxa
    May 13, 2016 at 6:39 am

    I very much enyoied the story. I mainly started reading these books because of the unsatisfactory end to the TV series. The death of Trip just seemd unnecessary and it has been great to see his live and relationship with T’Pol extended in the books. So the hint in the current novel about him leaving section 9 and possibly openly returning to friends and family (and love) has me very exited.
    Will there be a continuation in a new book?

  4. Neil
    August 31, 2017 at 8:58 am

    You should come up with art work and show off the new ceres class and have the new ships feature more in future books. Also creating a new enterprise and promoting mayweather to captain of enterprise . Featuring the Klingons more in future books to show how the federation/Klingon neutral zone was created.

    • August 31, 2017 at 10:04 am

      The Ceres class is not my creation; I borrowed it from a fan site at It was designed by Alan E. Baker.

      There can be no new Enterprise until NCC-1701 is launched, since that was the first Federation starship to bear the name according to TNG and various later Enterprises’ dedication plaques.

      And the Klingons have withdrawn from galactic affairs for the time being. But Star Trek: Discovery will no doubt fill in a lot of new information about their history leading up to TOS. (And the “Klingon Neutral Zone” is never really mentioned anywhere outside a couple of the TOS movies. So it may not have been established until after TOS.)

      And please, please avoid making story suggestions to professional writers. If your suggestions got too specific, I’d be legally obligated to avoid using them, or even to cancel any plans that coincidentally resembled them. We’re both lucky that your suggestions here are untenable, but please do not offer any more.

  5. July 6, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for your works! I just finished Patterns of Interference after spending the last couple of months going through all your post-ENT novels. I really enjoyed the fleshing out of the ENT-era trek universe and your writing was very fun to read.

  6. Jesse
    January 22, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    I hope there’s some more ROTF novels coming soon.

    • Chris Rountree
      March 1, 2019 at 9:03 pm

      Agreed! By far my favorite trek series to read!

  7. ED
    September 26, 2019 at 8:28 am

    Mr Bennett, I just wanted to say that RISE OF THE FEDERATION has been one of my favourite Star Trek spin-offs and that I’m very glad to have stumbled onto it; I especially liked your ideas for the first Federation uniform pattern (call it the ‘Foundation’ pattern, perhaps?), to the point where I have seriously considered commissioning a whole miniseries of illustrations showing representatives of each species and each division of Starfleet – though I presently lack the funds to afford such an indulgence.

    I have to say that, reading your remarks about having to work in some explanation for the differences between your own uniform code and the outfits seen on the crew of USS Franklin, it struck me that there must have been quite a bit of this sort of thing going on in the earliest days of the Federation Starfleet; not just two patterns of uniform serving at the same time on separate ships, but a great deal of mixing and matching elements from the new pattern & older surplus amongst a variety of crews as four services (actually rather more than four, now I think of it) began to be one.

    Given the complexities of supply & demand – especially for ships far out in the black, with limited access to supply depots – it seems likely that the uniform ‘Foundation’ pattern must at times have been more of an aspiration than a reality! (I keep getting mental images of crews placing Federation insignia on their old uniforms, of ex-MACO personnel casually wearing their old came boots & trousers with the new grey jackets, UESPA engineers continuing to wear their old jumpsuits for convenience – with or without their new red jackets – Tellarites having to wear their jackets unzipped because those coats were stitched together for a rather narrower species and the tailor hadn’t got around to fixing that yet … not to mention wearing their old uniform trousers because the ones provided are a BIT long).

    Really, it would probably have been a spectacular example of a certain amount of ingenuity and a still better example of the Federation’s sheer diversity … not to mention a complete headache for future Historians trying to keep track of all these clashing details of uniform and what they MEAN!

  8. ED
    September 26, 2019 at 8:40 am

    By the way, thank you in particular for taking the time to share your annotations – I absolutely adore these windows into the creative process and all the little details to be mined therein are exceeding sweet to me!

    If I might be so bold as to request one more footnote, as mentioned previously I’ve been contemplating a series of commissions intended to illustrate something of the variations on your ‘Foundation’ pattern of Starfleet Uniforms and this got me thinking about what the dress uniforms associated with that pattern might look like.

    My best guess was that they would retain the insignia & colour scheme, but lose those zips (and the pockets attached); the materials might well have a more ‘natural’ & less synthetic look, the cut would likely allow the hem of the jacket to fall below the waist and I quite like the idea that the dress uniform would be worn with a white, rather than a black shirt (I’m not sure about medals, ribbons, etc but tend to favour an update of THE ORIGINAL SERIES ‘mosaic’ ribbons).

    May I please ask if these ideas are at all on-point?

    Thank You for your consideration, thank you for your patience and thank you above all for sharing your take on the TREK Galaxy with us!

    • September 26, 2019 at 9:02 am

      As far as dress uniforms go, these days I sort of think of my design as the “dress”/formal version and the Franklin-style jumpsuits as more of the fatigues version.

      What I’ve thought would be neat is if someone would do artwork taking my rough design idea and adjusting its lines and features to correspond to those of the Franklin jumpsuits, so that they look like variations on the same basic design. I don’t think it’d take that much adjustment — little more than recoloring the Franklin uniform to match my color scheme and making it a 2-piece. They’re pretty close in overall concept and it’s mostly just a matter of adjusting the placement of decorative piping, zippers, and other minor details. That would be a good way to reconcile the general idea of my costume design with the canonical details of the Franklin design.

      • ED
        September 27, 2019 at 1:15 pm

        Mr Bennett, thank you very kindly for taking the time to get back to me; I’m rather relieved to hear that you consider the ‘Franklin’ pattern a useful inspiration, since I suggested to an artist that they use it as a reference for details of construction, drape & cut when illustrating your own uniform code! (most particularly as a source of inspiration for the depiction of the ‘Mission Patch’ you mention as part of the whole*).

        *I tend to imagine that bigger and more prestigious ships (especially ships of the Columbia-subclass) would have their own unique mission patches, but that less high prestige classes would use the same basic mission patch design, with only the name and registry number adjusted to fit the individual ship.

        Speaking – or rather writing – of the USS Franklin, may I please ask how you see NX-326 fitting into the Federation’s ship list? (Is it one-of-a-kind or is it simply the most famous member of an older class out of production, but still in service?).

      • September 27, 2019 at 1:28 pm

        As I recall, the behind-the-scenes intent was that the Franklin was a MACO prototype based on the Warp 5/NX project’s designs, sort of like how the US military built its own unmanned space shuttle based on the civilian version. So it was developed in parallel with Henry Archer’s work. Once the UFP was founded and the MACOs folded into Starfleet (a bit from the movie that meshed quite nicely with my books), the Franklin was incorporated as well.

  9. ED
    September 27, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    Thank You again for taking the time to answer these questions! (-:

  10. ED
    September 30, 2019 at 8:03 am

    By the way, Mr Bennett, please allow me to thank you for putting me on to FEDERATION – THE FIRST 150 YEARS; while it has been superseded by other sources of canon and has to work with a relatively limited page count it does have some absolutely delightful moments well worth the price of admission.

    I am, of course, thinking of little Jonathan Archer meeting Zephram Cochrane for the first time and promptly asking him to fix the refrigerator – what absolutely slays me is the fact that ‘Z’ promptly agrees! – a moment that only becomes MORE hilarious if you assume that Archer Junior knew EXACTLY who this visitor was (Cochrane being the Most Famous Man on Earth, after all), but was still young enough and already Heroically Optimistic enough to assume that when Henry Archer asked for help he’d get the very, Very Best … (please excuse me, I may need to laugh my head off a little more).

    Ahem, now getting back to more serious matters I would dearly love to imagine that your take on Captain Malcolm Reed made First Contact with Organia EXACTLY as described in the pages of FEDERATION (with the exception that he did so from USS Pioneer rather than Daedalus); I’m torn between the mental image of his reaction to their sheer lack of awe being “Right-o, carry on, nothing to see here” confusion and a more reflective “Quite so, quite so, Good Form” respect for the locals preternatural calm.

    I know that FEDERATION isn’t really canon with your take on things, but a man can dream, eh? (-;

    • Larry Mager
      September 30, 2019 at 6:15 pm

      AMEN, “Brother” Ed, AMEN!!!!!!

  11. ED
    September 30, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Mr Bennett, one hopes that you’ll forgive me for being such a Repeat Offender (in terms of posting a long list of thoughts on this very page), but I’ve been re-reading your annotations for the RISE OF THE FEDERATION novels and the individual pages lack a comments section SO …

    Basically, I just wanted to suggest that the most appropriate Registry Number for the NX/Columbia-class USS Apollo would have to be NCC-11 (Why YES, I do have a shameless love for the Blatantly Obvious in-joke). (-;

  12. ED
    October 29, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Mr Bennett, I’ve been commissioning a number of illustrations set during the RISE OF THE FEDERATION era and have run into a minor complication – one likes to have a ‘dedication plaque’ roughed out for the ships I commission illustrations of and, when attempting to compose one for a Poseidon-class USS Atlantis (NCC-205), ran headlong into the fact that (so far as onscreen evidence is concerned, at least so far as I know) we go straight from the pre-Federation Columbia (NX-02) to the 2255 USS Shenzhou, a leap of almost a century that leaves me worried.

    Quite frankly I would appreciate your suggestions on how the dedication plaque format would have changed following Federation – while pre Federation vessels would likely have kept their plaques substantially unaltered, it seems likely that those on vessels built (or rebuilt) after 2161 would showcase at least some changes from the NX-format.

    May I please ask if you have any thoughts on the matter? (One would like to apologise for troubling you again, but the fact remains that you have almost certainly given the early Federation era more thought than any other expert – and it must be admitted that my NCC-205 would not exist if you had not mentioned the Poseidon-class in your novels! – so I cannot possibly think of a more appropriate expert to consult).

    • October 29, 2019 at 11:10 am

      Dedication plaques aren’t a detail that’s likely to come up in prose, so I haven’t given them any thought. But there is a canonical answer to your question, since we have seen one dedication plaque from the early Federation era, the Franklin’s in BEYOND: Keep in mind that the timelines didn’t split until 2233, so the Franklin (which was lost in 2164) is part of the Prime timeline. So that should be the exact design you’re looking for, since it would surely have been installed on the ship when it was recommissioned as a Federation Starfleet vessel in 2161 or so.

      • ED
        October 30, 2019 at 9:57 am

        Mr Bennett, this is why I prefer to consult the experts – given the NX registry and the fact Franklin predated the Federation, it didn’t even occur to me that her dedication plaque would be the most appropriate model.

        That loud, wooden knock is the sound of one hand slapping a blockhead!

        Thank You very much and Thank You for your patience! (-:

  13. ED
    October 30, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Mr Bennett, it just struck me today that if USS Soyuz & USS Apollo were to make their October 2165 launch date, then they might well be in time to mark the Anniversary of Sputnik-1 with a dual launch on October 4th, 2165 (a Friday).

    Interestingly the other symbolically apropos October date (October 11th, launch date for Apollo 7) is also a Friday in 2165 – hopefully the construction crews will enjoy their weekend either way! (It also occurs to me that if the registry on Apollo does not read ‘Tranquility Base, Luna’ and the Soyuz dedication plaque does not read ‘Baikonur Cosmodrome, Earth’ then there may be a great fuss and bother from ‘Lunar Schooners’ & Russians* alike!).

    *Most especially those with Pavel Chekov-tier enthusiasm …

  14. ED
    November 6, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Mr Bennett, I wanted to thank you again for helping me with the dedication plaque format and for inspiring the creation of USS Atlantis (NCC-205) in the first place through your chance mention of the Poseidon class and it’s peer the Ceres-class (hopefully these two are destined to go down in Federation history as a double act, rather than a team of rivals!).

    ^^ I shall take the liberty of posting appropriate links here and hope that you’ll enjoy these illustrations; for the record ‘NCC-205’ is a deliberate homage to the NX-05 briefly seen in the Romulan War novels; as for the dedicatory quote, it seemed delightfully appropriate to employ a quote whose attribution to Plato might well be purely fictional on behalf of a ship named for a city that may or may not have been grounded in some kind of fact … as originally mentioned the works of Plato. ^^

  15. ED
    November 25, 2019 at 11:55 am

    Mr Bennett, I apologise for popping in yet again to trouble you with what may seem to be trivialities – nevertheless, as mentioned above you are the most expert opinion on things STAR TREK (and more particularly RISE OF THE FEDERATION) with whom one could hope to consult and I hope that, if the following query is unwelcome you will feel free to say so; I may take up time, but one likes to think that I can also take a telling!

    For the record, the question for which I wished to solicit your advice concerned a possible dedicatory quote for USS Pioneer (NCC-63); it occurred to me late last night that, assuming it were Captain Reed who picked out that dedication, the quote in question would likely be rooted in British naval history – with that in mind the RISE OF THE FEDERATION suggested the following quote:

    “It takes the navy three years to build a ship. It will take three hundred years to build a new tradition. The evacuation will continue” (Admiral Cunningham at the evacuation of Crete, 1941).

    May I please ask if you think this makes sense for the ship, her captain and their era?

    • November 25, 2019 at 12:21 pm

      Hmm, that seems like kind of a pessimistic quote, and the evacuation thing seems a bit too specific. Something more connected to the spirit of exploration and pioneering would seem a better fit.

      • ED
        November 28, 2019 at 8:27 am

        A very fair point – and thank you for replying to my request for advice, Mr Bennett! – although one must admit that I thought Captain Reed enough of a stoic, with a mild case of pessimism for such a quote to fit him (one also though the mention of a Tradition and what it took to build one fitted the context of the newborn Federation).

        I’ll reconsider the quote and see if I can come up with something as British, as RN and yet slightly more outward looking; thank you again for the advice!

  16. Marie
    December 20, 2019 at 9:31 am

    I just finished reading Patterns of Interference and I wanted to tell you how much I love the Rise of the Federation series. It has been my favorite series in Star Trek novels, and I especially love how much you include the andorians in them as they are my favorite species in Star Trek, especially Commander Shran. I was always disappointed that he didn’t get more screen time.
    I was wondering if you have any plans for writing another book in this series? I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it if you do.

  17. Laura Peacock
    December 21, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    I love this series. I’ve reread it a couple of times, and each time something new pops out. I echo others…is there any chance of another book(s) in the series?

    • December 21, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      At this point, there’s no way to say what the future may hold for the series.

  18. Mike
    July 3, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    Mr. Bennett, I’m rereading the series now and like many others are curious to know if there are chances of another book in the series. Has there been any changes to “the future” since your posting of December 2019?

    Thanks for the great story.

    • July 3, 2020 at 1:14 pm

      No plans. The book line these days is focused on the new shows and on perennial best-sellers TOS and TNG. I don’t know if that will change in the future, since I only get commissioned one book at a time.

      • Larry Mager
        July 3, 2020 at 5:18 pm

        Dr. Bennett, I know thaw that I am not alone  among fans in not only wishing You a safe 4th and success in all of Your books, and I’m equally sure that We would like to see Your take on “The Rise of the Federation” continue.  Who would We write  to at Your publishers in order to let them know, please??????  Thank You in advance!

        Larry Mager

  19. L. M.
    January 14, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    I’m in the process of reading your series now. Thank you for continuing the adventures for those of us who loved the show. I’m wondering if there are any plans to show Trip and T’Pol fully reconciling, because according to the journalist depicted in a previous novel (though she could have been wrong I suppose by a couple years) not too long after this last novel is when T’Mir would have been conceived. I suppose T’Pol could do that with stored gametes (which, btw, why didn’t Reed have stored gametes and given that *today* we can turn any cell into a gamete, why couldn’t he do that, but I digress) but I’d like to believe what is implied in the previous book as to their future. I hope you will get to resolve this particular depressing issue at some point. There is renewed interest in Enterprise these days so do you think they will approach you?

    Thanks for your writing!

  20. Mark McEwan
    February 8, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Hi Christopher, I just finished the last one and came here to see if there were any plans for another. I see from the other responses that there isn’t another ENT novel in the works just yet. Well, let me just add my voice to those who would eagerly like to see one! I’d be very interested to see how you’d tackle the challenge of bridging the gap from ENT to DSC. (Although perhaps it would be best to wait until Strange New Worlds concludes before attempting that.) In particular, I’m intrigued at how the Vulcans could go from being so pacifist in the 2160s to embracing something like “The Vulcan Hello” in the time leading up to DSC. (Although I realize that problem didn’t exist while you and the others in this series were writing.) Anyhow, I enjoyed your work. Thanks!

    PS. I find it uncanny (or perhaps entirely canny) how Trump and Maltuvis converged even more in the years after your writing.

    • February 8, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding in fandom about what “the Vulcan hello” means. Shooting first at a Klingon ship doesn’t mean shooting to kill, just making an initial token show of strength to earn the Klingons’ respect so that negotiations can follow. It’s the starship equivalent of animals baring their teeth or butting heads — not meant to kill, just to establish that one is not helpless and should be approached with respect.

      So it’s entirely consistent with Vulcan culture, in that it’s based in IDIC and the logical recognition that to earn another culture’s respect, you have to understand and adapt to their norms and expectations, rather than ethnocentrically expecting them to conform to yours. The Vulcans failed to make peaceful contact with the Klingons when they made a gentle approach, and they came to understand it was because Klingons see gentleness as weakness and hold it in contempt. They realized that you have to show a Klingon your strength if you want them to see you as an equal worth listening to, and so they adapted their methods to Klingon norms.

  1. May 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm

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