GTTS Annotations

TNG Greater Than the SumThis document explains the continuity references, allusions, in-jokes, and scientific concepts contained in Greater Than the Sum (GTTS).   I assume that the reader is familiar with the basic characters and background of the Trek universe.  Also, in contrast to past annotations, I’m not explaining every reference to past Trek episodes or movies.  Instead, the reader is advised to consult the Memory Alpha Star Trek wiki for those.

Be aware that this document contains spoilers for the whole of Greater Than the Sum and for numerous episodes, films, and novels from all Trek series, particularly The Next GenerationI would also strongly recommend not reading it until one has completed the novel, since many of the notes contain spoilers for things not revealed until later scenes or chapters.  These annotations also spoil the events of the previous TNG post-Nemesis novels, including Death in Winter, Resistance, Q&A, and Before Dishonor.

Episode and book titles are TNG unless otherwise indicated.  Episode and short-story titles are in quotes, while film and book titles are italicized.


ENT — Enterprise TOS — The Original Series TAS — The Animated Series
TNG — Next Generation DS9 — Deep Space Nine VGR — Voyager
TTN — Titan TLE — The Lost Era SCE — Starfleet Corps of Engineers
NEM — Star Trek: Nemesis
OH — Titan: Orion’s Hounds AotF — Articles of the Federation RES — Resistance
QA — Q&A BD — Before Dishonor ExM — Ex Machina

Chapter Annotations

Historian’s Note
The previous installments in the post-Nemesis TNG series were vague about their chronology, and I have attempted to clarify their placement here.  In doing so, it was necessary to reconcile them with Articles of the Federation, a novel chronicling the career of Federation President Nan Bacco over the course of the year 2380.  That book’s six sections take place respectively in January, March, May, August, October, and December.  The events of RES, QA, and BD thus had to take place between those months, to explain why they were not referred to during AotF.  I chose to assume BD took place in early June 2380, since the May section of AotF asserted that the currently graduating Starfleet Academy class had gone its entire term while the Federation was not at war — a claim that would be hard to make in the wake of a massive Borg attack on the Sol System.  Thus, I ended up placing RES in April 2380, between Parts 2 and 3 of AotF, and QA in May, between Chapters 16 and 17 in AotF Part 3.
Why does GTTS pick up three months after BD and span three and a half months in itself? Because my mandate was to provide a transition between BD and David Mack’s Destiny trilogy, with the latter taking place in early 2381, after the conclusion of AotF.  BD could not take place earlier than June, but could not take place much later either, since RES seemed to be only a few months into the year (it stated that the ship had been back in service for months, but without a permanent first officer, second officer, or counselor) and BD could not take place too long after RES (since it’s doubtful that Admiral Janeway would have waited too long to visit the supposedly dormant Borg supercube).
The gap also gave me room to bring about certain key transitions for the characters, which will be discussed later.
3 The USS Rhea, NCC 80110, is a Luna-class vessel, the same class as the Titan from the novel series of that name (including my own Orion’s Hounds).
As I stated in the book’s Acknowledgments, T’Ryssa Chen is based on a character I created for a role-playing game a friend and I engaged in back in 1996.  Called Dragon Trek, it was a two-player e-mail game in which I played a Starfleet officer accidentally transported into a Dungeons and Dragons world that my friend ran.  There, the character was named T’Lyssa Chen; I changed it because the name was too similar to T’Lana, the name of the Vulcan counselor from the previous post-NEM novels.  The change also gave me the nickname “Trys,” which seemed appropriate for a character who retreated from her Vulcan half.  I was able to transplant the character’s backstory and personality pretty much intact to GTTS, and even borrowed a few lines I wrote for the game here and there, although I needed to move the key events of her life forward seven years and make adjustments for the change.  Also, the game character wasn’t quite as neurotic as Trys turned out to be.
4 A “jg” is a lieutenant junior grade, the rank between ensign and full lieutenant, designated by one solid pip and one hollow pip on the uniform collar.
As established in the TTN series, the Luna class is known for emphasizing crew diversity.  Since the post-NEM Enterprise command crew is dominated by human characters, I chose a Luna-class ship to let me work more aliens into the story.
5 “Biosigns” is a term that was used in VGR and ENT to replace the formerly more common “life signs.”  Though it sounds technobabbly, it’s actually close to the formal scientific term, “biosignatures.”
6 “Cosmozoan” is a term I employed for spacegoing life forms in OH.  See my OH notes for discussion.  The confirmation half a year back refers to the events of OH.
NGC 6281 can be seen in this map from An Atlas of the Universe, just left of center at the bottom, labeled “N6281.”  Note that this map is oriented “upside-down” relative to the maps elsewhere on my site (adapted from Star Trek Star Charts), with the bottom of the map being toward the center of the galaxy.  For comparison, the star labeled “α Sco” on this map, just below the innermost circle and left of the centerline, is Antares (Alpha Scorpii), which is just right of the upper centerline on my Buried Age map.  The orange circle just outside Cerberus on that map, corresponding to a 500-light-year radius from Earth, matches the innermost blue circle on the Atlas map.
(Note: industrious readers who check this map against my Orion’s Hounds map will find that its positioning of the Vela Association differs greatly from mine.  The distances to astronomical bodies are difficult to compute, but my estimates are based on what I believe to be more up-to-date information than what was available when the Atlas map was created.)
My information on NGC 6281 comes mainly from this page at the WEBDA database.  A good (but very large) color photo of the cluster is available at
8 You can read more about carbon planets at  The article contains a link to the original Marc Kuchner paper that I based my descriptions upon, as well as an artist’s impression of what such a world might look like.
13 For more on Noh masks, see
The Noh Angels are inspired by two different anime creations.  The first is No Face (Kaonashi) from Hayao Miyazaki’s film Spirited Away, a mostly silent, ghostly figure with a Noh mask for a face.  The second are the D-Reaper Agents from Digimon Tamers, the third and most adult-oriented (well, teen-oriented) season of the Digimon franchise, whose head writer was Chiaki J. Konaka (best known for dark, psychological dramas such as Serial Experiments Lain).  No Face captured the sense of gentle, silent mystery that I wished the entities to have, while the D-Reaper Agents reflected their multiplicity of design and their nature as created extensions of a single entity.
Trys is also making a pun on the movie title We’re No Angels.
14 The Einstein was a science vessel assimilated by the Borg in BD.  The final chapter of BD revealed that it had survived, cut off from the rest of the local Collective as a backup, and was heading out to seek out strange new worlds and assimilate them.
15 Borg transporters have often been shown to be capable of penetrating Starfleet shields.  The more aggressive behavior of these Borg was established in the previous post-NEM books, and their “evolved” assimilation technology and anticipatory behavior come from BD.
17 Here, I reconcile my depiction of Saurians from Ex Machina with David Mack’s version from A Time to Kill and Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind.  I assumed, based on their large eyes, that they were nocturnal and needed filtered contact lenses to function in daylight.  Dave postulated the inner eyelids which gave them infrared vision.  My assumption here is that infrared is part of their normal visual range at all times, but the eyelids filter out everything except infrared to let them focus more specifically on that range of the spectrum, perhaps because its lower-energy emanations tend to be drowned out by visible light.  ExM referred to their great endurance as established in production notes for ST:TMP, but Bazel’s formidable combat abilities, as well as his name, are inspired by the Saurian security officer Razka from Dave’s novels (although “Bazel” is also an homage to Bazzle, a pseudodragon from the Dragon Trek game, and I assume it’s pronounced the same way).
20 Maravel dragons were briefly glimpsed in TAS: “The Eye of the Beholder.”  Given their lack of legs, I assume here that they must be aquatic creatures.  The sequoia-tree setting is based partly on the backgrounds in that sequence of the episode (although dialogue referred to a rainforest environment), and partly on the setting of T’Lyssa’s initial Dragon Trek adventure.
22 “a hundred sectors away”:  Star Charts defines a sector as 20 light-years across.  Thus, she is roughly 2000 ly from where she was.  NGC 6281 is an estimated 1800 ly from Earth, give or take.
Chapter 1
26 Okay, a lot of you are probably upset that we skipped over the wedding and went right into married life.  I was originally going to have Picard resisting marriage until the Borg crisis was resolved and have the wedding at the end.  Editor Margaret Clark convinced me that it was better to begin with the marriage as a fait accompli, an understated event in contrast to the big Riker-Troi wedding, and center Picard’s arc on the issue of fatherhood instead.  And she was right, although I do kind of regret missing the chance to write as big an event as the wedding of Jean-Luc Picard.
Nude Betazoid weddings were established in “Haven.”  The Betazoid wedding ceremony for Troi and Riker was upcoming as of NEM, and Lwaxana’s preparations for it were depicted in A Time for War, A Time for Peace (ATFW,ATFP).
28 The Borg supercube was first seen in RES, although the term “supercube” makes its debut here for ease of reference.
The collapse of the Borg transwarp network was seen in “Endgame,” the VGR series finale.  That episode offered ambiguous information, stating at one point that the Borg had six transwarp hubs around the galaxy, but otherwise implying that destroying the one hub encountered by Voyager would cripple or destroy the entire network.  For the purposes of the books, my colleagues and I have assumed that the “Endgame” hub was the only one providing access to the Alpha and Beta Quadrants (or at least the vicinity within a decade or two of the Federation at high warp).  Thus, it doesn’t matter in story terms whether the other five hubs survived.
The assimilation virus and the deranged admiral are from the VGR post-finale novels Homecoming and The Farther Shore.  These events took place in early 2378, two years before RES.
The reawakening of the supercube and its assimilation of Admiral Janeway were depicted in BD.
31 Wesley’s lack of clothes at Riker and Troi’s Alaska wedding occurred in ATFW,ATFP.
33 Picard’s “There’s something I’ve been wanting to–” line echoes the running gag in TNG where Beverly would deliver the line and get interrupted.
I’m assuming it took the Enterprise about three days to return to Earth.
34 Picard provided Bulerian canapés, watercress sandwiches, and Earl Grey tea for Admiral Nechayev as a peace offering in “Journey’s End.”
36 Picard’s reference to becoming a rogue agent in recent years refers to Insurrection as well as RES and BD.
The mutiny and T’Lana’s resignation were seen in BD.
38 Seven of Nine was depicted in the VGR Relaunch novels as becoming more humanized (following the lead of the show’s final season), allowing her aunt to call her Annika, and taking a job at a civilian think tank.  BD portrayed her as a Starfleet Academy instructor who was just as rigid and cold as she was in her early years on Voyager.  Hopefully I’ve managed to reconcile the two.
40 “without a transwarp network to boost interlink communications”: An arbitrary assumption on my part to explain why the Borg in RES, BD, and GTTS are out of touch with the rest of the Collective in the Delta Quadrant.
42 Quantum slipstream drive and Arturis were introduced in VGR: “Hope and Fear.”  That the Borg already possess slipstream technology is a reasonable extrapolation from their assimilation of Arturis’s species; it is unlikely he could have invented it on his own.  Thus, I needed to explain why they didn’t use it to replace the transwarp network.
The difficulties maintaining a stable slipstream vortex were seen in VGR: “Timeless,” but the explanation for that instability is my own.
43 For more on the Aventine, see the Destiny trilogy.
47 The “Project Endgame” computer virus (no relation to the VGR episode “Endgame”) was seen in BD.  It was a modified form of the invasive program devised by La Forge and Data in “I, Borg,” labelled “Topological Anomaly 4747” in graphics in the episode.  The program was meant to force the Borg into an insoluble logical paradox; in effect, it was a more advanced version of the James T. Kirk/Harry Mudd method of destroying computers with simple contradictions.
48 Transphasic torpedoes and ablative hull armor (popularly known as “Batmobile armor”) were technologies brought back from the future in VGR: “Endgame.”   Note that, although the Borg adapted to the ablative armor, it should theoretically still be available for use in other situations.  My guess is that it’s too inefficient to use in most situations.
What does the explanation of transphasic torpedoes mean?  To be honest, I’m not entirely sure.  I’m assuming the phase states are like the old “out of phase” gag seen in “Time’s Arrow,” “The Next Phase,” and VGR: “Deadlock,” allowing things to pass through other things (such as shields).  As for a “subspace compression pulse,” I assume it’s a spacetime distortion that has a disruptive effect on matter, like an intense space warp ripping things apart gravitationally.  This passage is pretty much a compromise between my working theory of transphasic torpedoes and Dave Mack’s; since he began writing Destiny before I wrote GTTS, there were a few cases of duplicated effort or conflicting assumptions that we had to reconcile in revisions.  For the most part, though, we coordinated closely.
50 The hormonal formula, the “royal jelly,” and the revelation that some drones are androgynous come from RES.  I chose to identify the androgynous drones of RES with the TNG version introduced in “Q Who.”  In that first appearance, Borg drones were implied to be artificially incubated from embryos; the concept of assimilation was not introduced until “The Best of Both Worlds.”  Even in “I, Borg” and “Descent,” most Borg drones were portrayed as having no prior identity, unable to function as individuals when severed from the group mind and highly suggestible as a result.  This differs considerably from the version of the Borg seen in First Contact and VGR, in which all drones were portrayed as assimilatees who regained their own memories and identities upon disconnection from the Collective.  The concept of incubated drones as a distinct class allows me to reconcile these two versions of the Borg and the version seen in RES.
51 The war with Species 8472, seen in VGR: “Scorpion,” makes a handy explanation for why the TNG-style incubated Borg seemed to give way to the FC/VGR assimilated style.  Species 8472 is explored in greater depth in my short novel Places of Exile.
52 The Royal Protocol was established in Homecoming/The Farther Shore as the program that turns a drone into a Queen.  Physically, a Borg Queen is just another interchangeable drone , one specialized to function as a repository for the Collective’s guiding will, the Protocol.  This explains the Queen’s response to Picard in FC when he expressed bewilderment that she was still alive: “You think in such three-dimensional terms.”  The Queen is the mind and will of the entire Collective, and thus does not reside in a single body.  She would see any given body as merely an appendage, enabling her to cast it off and “relocate” herself into the next body.  Thus her awareness is not fixed to any location in three-dimensional space.
53 Jarem Kaz and Admiral Covington are from Homecoming/The Farther Shore.  Basically, the multivector agent combines anti-Borg weapons from H/TFS, RES, and BD.  I initially included the neurolytic pathogen from “Endgame” as well, but it proved incompatible with my later choices in the book.
Chapter 2
57 Zelik Leybenzon was introduced in QA.  He was a native of Gault, the world where Worf’s foster parents initially raised him.
The metal thingy Worf wears over his uniform is generally referred to as a “sash,” but “baldric” is a more accurate term (used onscreen in Insurrection).
59 The terrorist attack on the Federation embassy was seen in ATFW,ATFP.
61 Beverly Crusher’s departure for Starfleet Medical was established in ATFW,ATFP and Death in Winter (based on a cut line from NEM), and reversed at the end of DIW.
62 Worf’s transition from temporary to permanent first officer was seen in RES, as was T’Lana’s arrival aboard ship.  Nave and Battaglia are also from RES.  Kadohata returned from maternity leave in QA, which also introduced Joanna Faur.
63-4 Picard’s musings about restructuring his crew in the wake of BD reflect my own deliberations when I was tasked with bringing in a new character to replace T’Lana.  I didn’t want just another counselor, and didn’t see one human credibly filling all of Data’s roles, so I decided to go a different route.
64 The “contact specialist” designation is one I coined for The Buried Age (TBA) and also referenced in “Friends With the Sparrows.”  I recognized that Deanna Troi’s role went beyond normal counseling duties; she also functioned as an advisor on diplomatic situations, alien culture and psychology, and so forth.  Thus, I postulated that she was trained as a contact specialist in addition to being a counselor.  As it happens, I’ve felt for a long time that if I ever created my own Trek book series or something comparable, I would include a character whose primary role was to be an expert advisor on alien psychology and contact protocols.  Here, I was able to put that into practice.
65 Gaanth is a character who has never appeared in any Trek novel, including this one.  I created him purely to explain why Picard was still searching for a contact specialist three months after his decision to revamp the crew.  Rhaandarites are from ST:TMP and ExM, and I’m building on what I established about their psychology in ExM.
66 Jasminder Choudhury was created by Dave Mack for Destiny, but Dave allowed me to come up with the bulk of her backstory and characterization.  Her name would be pronounced pretty much like “Jass-min-der Chowd-h’ry”.
Captain Zimbata of the Victory was established as Geordi’s previous commander in “Elementary, Dear Data.”  TBA established his first name and the fact that Tasha Yar had also served under him (not necessarily overlapping Geordi’s service).
The First Battle of Chin’toka occurred in 2374 and was seen in DS9: “Tears of the Prophets.”  The Timur is my own creation, perhaps one of the unnamed Excelsior-class ships seen in the battle.  The Nosgoh and the incident at Starbase 103 are not from any prior work.
67 My initial intent was for T’Ryssa to be the main science officer character, but Dave had already created Dina Elfiki for Destiny.
69 The “tube grub incident” is an homage to the “noodle incident” which was a running gag in the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.  This was apparently a monumental prank or act of misbehavior that had gone down in infamy among Calvin’s parents and teachers, but whose details were left to the audience’s imagination.
73 The destruction of the Odyssey was seen in DS9’s second-season finale, “The Jem’Hadar.”  The evacuation of nonessential crew was established in the episode; no reason was given for why the Galaxy-class ship didn’t just leave its saucer at DS9 and take the battle section through the wormhole.  (The behind-the-scenes reason was that the only miniature with saucer separation ability was too cumbersome to work with.)
“call me Ishmael”: This, of course, is a reference to the first line of Moby Dick, rather than to the TOS novel by Barbara Hambly.
80 Janeway’s funeral occurs toward the end of BD, in the same chapter where T’Lana’s resignation is established.  This flashback scene occurs shortly thereafter.
83 The name “Happy Bottom Riding Club” was established in RES and explained in QA.
84 Guinan’s “interstellar wanderlust” was implied by her presence on 19th-century Earth, a quadrant away from her then-extant homeworld, in “Time’s Arrow.”  It was established more clearly as an aspect of her character in TBA.  Her 23 marriages were established in NEM.
Chapter 3
89 This chapter begins about a week after the previous scene.  We’re now into October 2380.
90 Rennan Konya was a character I created for SCE: Aftermath.  Although he was a recurring character in SCE from then on, this is only my second chance to write him.  With SCE ending this past year, I took the opportunity to keep the character “employed” and finally get to do more with the first original Starfleet character I created (not counting T’Ryssa).  As it happens, I believe this is the first time his hair color has been specified.  I always envisioned him with sandy hair, but I believe I neglected to specify that in Aftermath.  I named Konya after a city in Turkey, as a play on Deanna Troi (Troy).
96 The Artha Shastra (Treatise on Material Gain) by Kautilya is the classic Indian text on the practice of conquest and rule, basically a how-to guide for kingship.  It is essentially the Indian equivalent of Macchiavelli’s The Prince.  (Come to think of it, Treatise on Material Gain could also be translated as Rules of Acquisition, couldn’t it?  Hmm.)
Though I found no place to mention it, I’m assuming that Enterprise is passing the edge of Romulan territory when this scene occurs, so that Choudhury’s discussion with Picard could have been part of their security briefing for the day.
101 Trys’s joke refers, of course, to the Miranda class of starships, including the Reliant, Saratoga, etc.
102 The survey of Gorsach IX was in QA.
Kadohata was shown as resenting Leybenzon in QA, but much friendlier with him in BD; it now becomes clear that the strain of her workload and the resultant marital tensions were the cause of that apparent reversal.
104 The Mabrae were introduced in TBA.  It wasn’t my intention to use them in two consecutive Picard-related novels.  But I picked NGC 6281 as the destination here because it was in the direction of Borg space, and subsequently realized it was coincidentally in the same direction as Mabrae space (see the TBA map linked above).
110 Aoki is Miranda’s 5-year-old daughter, as the next chapter makes clear.
The preponderance of women in the current command staff is accidental.  Working independently, Keith R.A. DeCandido created Kadohata and Faur, I created Trys Chen, and Dave Mack created Choudhury and Elfiki.  However, there are still a number of supporting male characters, including Taurik, Konya, and Hegol.
112 I had originally intended Worf’s speech about his growth over the years to be directed at Trys, so that she could respond, “It’s good to hear you’re not a static Klingon.”  I deeply regret being unable to work that line into the book.  That’s right — I have no shame.
The Atlas of the Universe offers a map of the Orion Arm and its neighbors at  The innermost blue circle on this map corresponds to the outermost blue circle on the map referenced in the Prologue notes, so that NGC 6281 would be the yellow dot just below and to the left of the “M6” at the bottom of the innermost circle.  What Star Charts refers to as the Carina Arm is labelled here as the Sagittarius Arm.  (The arm is sometimes called the Sagittarius-Carina arm, with Sag being its inner half and Car its outer half; this is the practice employed by Star Charts and therefore followed in GTTS.)  Again, the center of the galaxy is beyond the bottom of the page, upside-down compared to Star Charts.  The Trifid, Lagoon, Omega, and Eagle Nebulae are in the Sagittarius Arm just to the right of the centerline.
I used the Celestia space simulator to see roughly what those nebulae would look like from the approximate position of the ship at this point, about 12-1300 light-years from Earth, or a bit over 2/3 of the way to their destination.
On June 3, 2008, NASA released a new map of the galaxy’s structure based on data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, revealing that instead of four major spiral arms, our galaxy actually has only two major arms, like many barred spiral galaxies.  The Sag-Carina arm turns out to be a secondary arm. However, it is still a much larger arm than our own Orion Spur, so I felt no need to push for any last-minute revisions to the text here.  The Star Charts version of the galaxy is still reasonably accurate in the shape and position of the arms, if not their relative size.  The news release can be found at:
115 Strictly speaking, Geordi’s bionic eyes shouldn’t let him see most radio wavelengths, since those wavelengths are longer than the diameter of their irises or retinas.  However, extremely high frequency (EHF) waves shorter than a centimeter are commonly used in radio astronomy, so Geordi’s ability to see radio waves from interstellar dust clouds is within the realm of possibility, although he might see them rather faintly due to the limited collection area of his eyeballs. Going from the larger VISOR to bionic eyes probably reduced his visual range at the microwave/radio end of the spectrum. Then again, his two eyes working in concert could function as an “antenna array” of sorts, with an effective diameter equal to the separation between his eyeballs, maybe about 8 centimeters.
116 The Federation Judiciary Council heard the case of B-4’s right not to be disassembled in Chapter 23 of AotF, with the verdict being handed down in Ch. 24. This scene takes place shortly thereafter, in late October 2380.
B-4’s initial disassembly aboard Enterprise was seen in RES.  There, it was implied to be permanent, even though it came before the hearing in AotF.  This discussion reconciles that little discrepancy.
119 Dina gets to ask the questions I’ve been wondering about for many years.  If Geordi’s eyes are full-spectrum, why the hell can’t he filter out the other stuff and see like we do?  As I implied here, I assumed it was because the information had to be compressed in order to fit the “bandwidth” of his brain and optic nerves.  For instance, he might see everything from red to yellow as a single color.  Heck, the visible spectrum is such a tiny swath of the EM spectrum that he might see everything from short infrared to long ultraviolet as a single color, but then I couldn’t have him distinguishing the reds and violets of the HII emission nebulae earlier in the scene.
Chapter 4
121 It’s now close to two weeks later, in early/mid November.  This chapter covers about five days.
122 subspace topology: See my spoiler notes for Aftermath, specifically the second paragraph.
123 According to Kuchner et al., carbon planets would tend to form in star systems with high metallicity (heavy-element abundance, keeping in mind that for astronomers “metal” or “heavy element” means “anything other than hydrogen and helium”).  However, in reality, the stars of NGC 6281 have metallicity close to our own Sun’s.  After all, I chose the cluster for its position in space, not its spectrography.  So I had to put in a bit of dialogue to explain the discrepancy.
125 Astronomers believe that planets might often be ejected from systems within young clusters due to close encounters with other stars — and that such planets could theoretically retain habitable temperatures (at least below an icy crust) for tens or hundreds of millions of years thereafter if they had sufficiently radioactive cores.  The ENT episode “Rogue Planet” was inspired by this hypothesis, although realistically such planets would probably have frozen surfaces, with any life existing in the seas or underground.
130 Quantum entanglement is a connection between particles that allows one to react instantaneously to a change in the other, regardless of distance.  In fiction, it is often the basis for faster-than-light communication.  In TBA I asserted that telepathy is a form of quantum entanglement, so the reference to entanglement here implicitly ties into the cluster entity’s telepathic abilities.
Semiconductors come in two varieties, p-type and n-type.  Both types are necessary to make transistors.  It has been known since at least the 1980s that diamond can be made into a p-type semiconductor by doping it with boron; but the creation of p-type diamond semiconductors doped with phosphorus did not occur until the early 2000s.
131 The idea of a planetary diamond core becoming a naturally evolved computer is one that first occurred to me around 1990 or so, from combining the idea of diamond semiconductors with the possibility that Jupiter might have a diamond core.  I used the idea in a failed TNG spec script in 1992.  When this project came along, I wanted to do something different than I’d done before.  I’d been wanting to write something about carbon planets for a while, and once my research turned up the fact that they would have diamond mantles, it struck me that I could resurrect my old idea on an even larger scale.
Does the idea make sense?  Very probably not.  The ratios of boron and phosphorus would have to be just right, located in just the right places, and all sorts of coincidences would have to happen to allow the right kind of circuits to develop… all in all, it’s probably my most implausible idea ever to see print. But by Trekverse standards, it’s passable.  And I’ve been waiting to use it for over 15 years.
135 A bodhisattva is a person who has attained Buddhist enlightenment but remains on our plane of existence to guide others toward enlightenment.
As Picard says, Choudhury is paraphrasing the Four Noble Truths, the core teachings of Buddhism.
136 a whole star system that was a single life form: The Proplydian from OH.
137 Gambling would be against Elfiki’s religion if she’s a practicing Muslim.  I chose to keep that vague, however, to give Dave the freedom to run with it or not as he chose.
The anecdotes about “Act like this is my hair” and the literacy argument are based on experiences from my own childhood, both involving my next-door neighbor at the time.  My thanks and/or apologies to her if she’s reading this and recognizes the incidents in question.
141 Beverly spent the second season of TNG as the head of Starfleet Medical (in order to explain Gates McFadden’s departure from the show for that season).
Chapter 5
152 Particle synthesis was introduced in “Hope and Fear” along with quantum slipstream drive, and was also used by Species 8472 in “In the Flesh.”  Neither episode postulated that it was related to quantum slipstream in any way, but I chose to assume that for the purposes of this story, and to postulate that it involves virtual particles.
155 “It wouldn’t be the first time that directed dreaming has been used for communication with telepathic aliens”: Beverly is presumably referring to the events of VGR: “Waking Moments,” as well as TNG: “Night Terrors” to some extent.
156 Jasminder Choudhury is a Punjabi name (from the linguistic/ethnic/cultural group native to the Punjab in what is now northwest India and southeast Pakistan).  Phulkari is a common style of embroidery in Punjabi culture.  The Golden Temple is the chief holy site of the Sikh religion native to the Punjab. A mandala is a circular diagram representing the universe, particularly in Buddhism.  Axanar crystal topiary was previously mentioned in ExM.  Surak’s writings were identified as the Analects in the Vulcan’s Soul trilogy.  The title of Cochrane’s book is based on the discussion of warp physics in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, and the title of Galen’s is consistent with his researches as discussed in “The Chase” and TBA.
157 ENT: “Broken Bow” established that Vulcan females have an acute sense of smell.
158 The name “cluster entity” has a double meaning, for it is itself a cluster of bodies as well as inhabiting a star cluster.
166 The temporal fragmentation Worf refers to occurred in “Timescape.”
Chapter 6
178 The asymmetrical design of the Borg ship is similar to the “Borg Type 03” vessel seen in “Descent.”
179 “approximately two of your months ago”: How come it’s always the aliens saying “two of your months” or “you now have ten Earth minutes?”  How come we never see Picard saying, “We’ll beam you aboard in twelve of your wibzloks?”  Aliens are so much more accommodating than we ugly Earthicans…
180 No, the Liberator does not look like this. The name is an intentional Blake’s 7 homage, however.
181 Rebekah Grabowski was mentioned in passing in QA as one of the 18 crewmembers assimilated in “Q Who,” a lieutenant with a husband and daughter aboard ship at the time.
185 Kadohata’s discussion sums up the inconsistency between TNG and VGR depictions of Borg technology, and offers an explanation for it.
186 Laura, played by Joanne Heimbold, was a human drone in “Unimatrix Zero,” said to be assimilated at Wolf 359.  Here I try to explain how that is possible.
198ff In this battle scene, I’ve attempted to convey some of the complexities of orbital maneuvering, which are totally unlike the usual “dogfight” or “armada battle” maneuvers seen in SF TV and film.  At close range, such maneuvers might be possible, but on a larger scale, with ships hundreds or thousands of kilometers apart and thus in different orbits, they would be hampered by orbital mechanics.  I’m assuming that the ships remain fairly far apart, which means I may have fudged the times and speeds somewhat in order to express the mechanics of the situation.  A ship thrusting constantly with arbitrarily powerful engines (of the type most Trek starships do possess) could probably overcome these orbital-motion difficulties, but it would be inefficient to do so.
201 “rise up from below”: Although TV has conditioned us to think of an orbiting ship as being “beside” the planet it orbits (see any TOS orbit shot), it’s important to remember that the planet is always down from any orbiting ship.  Wider orbits are literally higher up.
202 The iron moonlet around an icy planet is a bit of a paradox — one would expect it to be icy as well.  Perhaps it came from the inner system, within the “snow line,” and lost all its volatiles before shifting farther out and being captured by this planet.
Chapter 7
211 The Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord) is a portion of the great Hindu epic the Mahabharata.  In the words of Embree’s Sources of Indian Tradition (see Acknowledgments in the text), it “may be considered the most typical expression of Hinduism as a whole and an authoritative manual of the popular cult of Krishna in particular” (p. 276).
218 “coparents”: DS9: “Field of Fire” established that Bolian families may include “co-husbands” or “co-wives.”
Lt. Taurik was introduced in “Lower Decks” as an ensign, and is now the assistant chief engineer.  The actor, Alexander Enberg (son of TNG/VGR showrunner Jeri Taylor and sportscaster Dick Enberg), went on to play Vorik on VGR; Vorik was originally intended to be Taurik, but was renamed because the producers felt “Taurik” was too similar to “Tuvok” (not to mention “Torres”).  Since both Vorik and Taurik appear as recurring characters in post-series novels, it seems likely that they are twin brothers.
The neurolytic pathogen was used by the future Admiral Janeway in “Endgame” to infect the Borg Queen’s Unicomplex and destroy it and her.  “Neurolytic” means “acting to dissolve neurons,” which sounds rather ghastly.  But then, an inordinate number of VGR and ENT technobabble terms included the suffix “-lytic” for some reason.
220 This scene in engineering occurs two days after the battle.  It took that long for the Liberator to catch up with the big E.
223 The old friend who helped Geordi overcome his career misgivings was Montgomery Scott in ATFW,ATFP.
233 “Bloody, bold and resolute” is a line from Macbeth, Act IV, Scene i.  I included it as an homage to Patrick Stewart’s acclaimed turn as Macbeth on the London stage, which was ongoing at the time this manuscript was written.
Chapter 8
235 This chapter covers about four days.
Guinan’s proficiency on the phaser range was established in “Redemption.”
There’s that number 47, which seems to crop up with unusual frequency in the Trek universe.  (Cf. the “Topological Anomaly” program mentioned in the Ch. 1 notes.)
236 “Q Who” established that Guinan had been away from her homeworld when it was assimilated by the Borg.  That episode, “The Neutral Zone,” and “The Best of Both Worlds” established that the Borg would dig up entire cities and assimilate their technology (and, in retrospect, probably their occupants), leaving craters behind.  It is unclear whether a single cube would be capable of doing this to every city on a planet; more likely it requires multiple cubes to do it if the planet is fully inhabited with hundreds or thousands of cities.  Otherwise, perhaps some of the cities are simply destroyed rather than assimilated.
237 The details of the El-Aurians’ migration are extrapolated from GEN, and elaborate on what was mentioned in TBA.
240 The idea that a resurgent human immune system will cause rejection of Borg implants was established in VGR: “The Gift.”
241 The Land of the Lotus-Eaters in The Odyssey was an island containing addictive lotus flowers, causing Odysseus’s crew to abandon their ship for lives of drugged complacency until he forced them to return.  Basically the same story as TOS: “This Side of Paradise.”
242 The cube that Rebekah’s “special someone” was killed aboard was probably Cube 630 in spatial grid 94, which the Queen destroyed in “Unimatrix Zero” because it had three liberated drones aboard it.
248 Worf’s adoption of Spot was established in a deleted scene from NEM, and in ATFW,ATFP.  His change of heart toward cats was alluded to in Orion’s Hounds and depicted in “On the Spot” in The Sky’s the Limit.
252 “Data’s Day” established that Andorian marriages include four partners.  The DS9 post-finale novels have expanded on the four-sexed nature of the Andorian species.
257-8 Any resemblance of the names “Lyton” and “Telos” to proper names from Cyberman episodes of Doctor Who is purely non-coincidental.
Chapter 9
263 This chapter begins the day after the previous scene.  We’re now in late November.
264 Assume that Trys managed to put her boots on between the bridge scene and the briefing.
268-9 Picard’s “ritual” of walking among the crew as they prepare for battle was seen in NEM.  His discussion of Henry V with Data occurred in “The Defector.”
273 “If a man believes he’s going to die tomorrow…”: Guinan is quoting herself from “The Best of Both Worlds.”
Chapter 10
284 Picard’s mindmeld with Sarek occurred in “Sarek” (oddly enough).  That a remnant of Sarek’s personality remains within his own mind was established in the comics miniseries Perchance to Dream by Keith R.A. DeCandido.
286 Here as before, the manifestation of the cluster entity is based on both Spirited Away and Digimon Tamers.  The dragon form is inspired by Haku/Kohaku from Spirited Away and Azulongmon (known as Qinglongmon in the original Japanese version) from Digimon.  It’s hard to tell from the available online images, but Qinglongmon/Azulongmon is an immense Chinese-style dragon with a body made of clouds wrapped in chains.
287 Encounters with the Bajoran Wormhole aliens (Prophets) were seen in multiple DS9 episodes starting with “Emissary.”  Some people have assumed that the Prophets chose the forms they took, but evidence in “Emissary” (the fact that entire memory settings rather than just people were duplicated, the fact that Sisko and Dax saw different things at the same time) suggests that the observer’s own mind superimposed familiar imagery on the alien input from the wormhole realm.
288-9 In Chinese astronomy, the constellation we call Scorpius is indeed considered the tail of Qing Long, the Azure Dragon of the East (the mythological being that was the basis for Qinglongmon/Azulongmon and one of the Four Symbols of Chinese constellations).  This is one of those marvelous bits of coincidence that look like intentional planning on my part (until I destroy the illusion in my annotations).  I wanted to base the dragon on the Spirited Away and Digimon characters.  When I decided that the dragon would be explicitly addressed as Qing Long, I did some research and discovered that, entirely by chance, it happened to overlap Scorpius, the constellation where NGC 6281 is located.  Therefore I was able to give the name an in-story justification.  I love it when a non-plan comes together.
292 The Noh Angels attached to the tips of the dragon’s whiskers are a reference to the D-Reaper Agents from Digimon Tamers, all of which were attached to the central D-Reaper entity by red tendrils.
296 The way Qing Long ripples through the air as he flies is based on Haku’s flight in Spirited Away, which is just about the most gorgeous thing ever depicted in animation.
Chapter 11
301 “Out here, in interplanetary space, the mechanics of planetary orbit did not hamper their trajectories”: Of course, they are still in orbit of the system’s sun, but that orbital radius is so great that the distances between the ships are trivial in comparison, so that the differences in their orbital velocities don’t “pull them apart” the way they would in tighter planetary orbit.
I’m not sure if quantum torpedoes have been shown in the past to have the capacity for elaborate maneuvering.  But it’s a logical ability for any long-range projectile weapon in space combat, given that ships are able to dodge.  If you’re not willing to accept that torpedoes have always had this ability, just assume it’s a recent upgrade.
302 Some Trek episodes have postulated the existence of “reverse impulse;” however, I can’t see how that’s supposed to work, given that impulse drive is based at least partly on conventional rocket-style thrust (albeit with the use of spacetime driver coils to reduce the inertial mass of the ship and amplify its acceleration).  So I’ve disregarded it here.  If that’s a problem, assume that reverse impulse is only feasible at low speeds.
303 There’s that number 47 again…
305 Hugh’s designation as “Third of Five” is from “I, Borg.”  The rest is my own coinage, extrapolated from Borg nomenclature used in VGR.
Konya’s battle with a Jem’Hadar soldier was in SCE: Malefictorum.
Konya’s pain-numbing trick was introduced in SCE: Aftermath.  Corsi’s interest in developing it as a weapon is based on a line from SCE: Remembrance of Things Past.
315 Fembots were recurring villains in the original The Bionic Woman, androids (actually gynoids) designed to impersonate human women.  The term has been adopted in other fiction, including Futurama.
318 Dr. Tropp is the Denobulan assistant CMO, introduced in A Time to Sow.
My description of the EMH Mark IX’s appearance is meant to suggest that she’s modelled on Haley, Dr. Zimmerman’s holographic assistant in VGR: “Life Line.”
Chapter 12
323 Thirty years before, Picard was in command of the Stargazer, so presumably Bazel attempted to poach members of that crew from Picard.  At the time, Picard would have still had most of his hair.
326 Although two consecutive scenes are set in sickbay, they take place a day apart.  We are now two days past the battle.
331 The Othello reference is from Act III, Scene i.
333 As stated in the text, this scene takes place roughly a month after the previous one, on Christmas Day 2380.
I originally intended Guinan to rejoin the crew full-time, but that conflicted with Dave’s plans for Destiny.  As it turned out, it works better this way.
339 It’s now the first week of January 2381.
This scene was written nearly two months before the assassination of Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, but shortly after an earlier unsuccessful assassination attempt.  My intent in naming the ship was to honor a courageous peacemaker, but it turned out to have a more somber meaning.
340 Admiral Haden’s advice to Leybenzon was referenced in QA.
Star Charts places Barolia in the Beta Columbae star system, a type-K1 III giant about 86 light-years from Earth.
341 President Bacco’s summit meeting and the formation of the Imperial Romulan State occurred in the December portion of AotF.
The Barolian freighter captain arrested for child labor is implicitly the same one who hired T’Ryssa 19 years ago.  This is another unplanned convergence; the Barolian captain was part of T’Lyssa’s Dragon Trek biography since 1996, but I had no memory of it when I chose Barolia as the site of this attack.  I chose it simply because of its apparent proximity to Acamar, listed in Dave’s Destiny outline as a Borg target.  (At least, they seemed close together in Star Charts‘ 2-dimensional maps.  In fact, Beta Columbae is over 100 light-years from Acamar.)
343 Captain ch’Regda makes a return appearance here after his introduction in The Buried Age.  His two appearances are over 17 years apart in-universe.
344 Aenni was Leybenzon’s supervisor prior to his assignment to the Enterprise in QA.
345 Chi’iot would be a Betelgeusian, a race from ST:TMP and ExM.
347 The Antares Nebula is a real formation around the star Antares, formed as the aging, swollen supergiant sheds its atmosphere into space.  It’s part of a gorgeous region of nebulosity that also includes the Rho Ophiuchi nebula, the setting of the TNG novel Gulliver’s Fugitives.  The Antares Maelstrom referenced by Khan in The Wrath of Khan may be a portion of this nebula or simply another name for it.
About the Author
355 Okay, okay… the references, in order, are to The Six Million Dollar Man, The Adventures of Superman, Star Blazers, Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, The Dead Zone, The Twilight Zone, Quantum Leap, The Incredible Hulk, The Outer Limits, and The Prisoner.
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