TOS: Living Memory Annotations

This document explains the continuity references, allusions, in-jokes, and scientific concepts contained in Star Trek: The Original Series — Living Memory (LM).   I assume that the reader is familiar with the basic characters and background of the Trek universe.  Readers seeking further information on references to past Trek episodes or movies are advised to consult the Memory Alpha Star Trek wiki.  Information about Star Trek novels can be found at the Memory Beta wiki.

Be aware that this document contains spoilers for the whole of LM and for numerous episodes, films, and novels from all Trek series, particularly TOS.  I would 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.

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

Chapter Annotations


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Yes, “Argelius” is pronounced with a hard G, like “arrgh,” not a soft G as I’ve somehow assumed for decades. I discovered this last year while helping the audiobook people with pronunciations for The Higher Frontier. Apparently they also thought it was a soft G.

Tiburonians are Dr. Sevrin’s species from “The Way to Eden.” A Tiburonian also appeared in DS9: “The Ship,” using the same makeup but with a vertical row of small forehead spikes. Whether Zirani Kayros has those spikes is left as an exercise for the reader.

Michael’s red shirt is not a hint that he’s doomed to die, per the usual Star Trek security-guard running gag. I happened to be watching reruns of Shazam! at the time, and since I was struggling with writer’s block and desperate for inspiration, I based this character on Michael Gray’s Billy Batson. Ashrafi is the real surname of Tala Ashe, whose character Zari on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is loosely based on the title character of the Shazam! spinoff The Secrets of Isis.


In the original version of this chapter, these characters were random high school juniors, with only Vekal planning to enroll in Starfleet Academy once he graduated the following year. When the time came to write the Academy subplot, though, I needed student characters, and I realized it would be simpler to age up this trio by a year and continue using them, since I already had a good feel for their voices and interplay. It was a bit coincidental that the trio ended up involved in both of the novel’s subplots, but it gave it greater narrative unity.

Bringing the ship to a relative halt is necessary to explain why the microflares (as they will come to be known) are visible as pinpoints. I belatedly realized that at the typical speed of a spaceship, they would pass through the ship so quickly as to appear merely as elongated streaks, which would obscure the important point that they’re appearing inside the ship rather than penetrating from outside.


Kayros’s lines are in italics to suggest Vekal’s difficulty hearing them, rather than an intercom effect. Ashrafi’s final line should probably be italicized as well, but I thought that might be confusing. He’s closer, anyway, and Vekal’s hearing may be clearing up by this point.

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It was convenient for my purposes that both Uhura and Chekov were absent from “Wolf in the Fold.” The plot depended on Uhura conducting private research during various shore leaves, and “Wolf” was the last such feasible instance before “The Changeling.” The fact that she was completely gone from the episode allows for her to have spent the entire time on the planet, setting up the plot.

The Spectres, of course, were encountered in The Higher Frontier. This book begins about two and a half months after the end of THF and concludes about a month before Book 2 of Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again.

The possibility of Redjac’s survival was made manifest in two (mutually incompatible) comic book stories that I’m aware of: DC Comics’ Star Trek Vol. 1 #22-23, “Wolf on the Prowl”/ “Wolf at the Door” by Tony Isabella, Tom Sutton, and Ricardo Villagran, and Wildstorm’s ST:TNG: Embrace the Wolf by Christopher Golden, Tom Sniegoski, and Dave Hoover. Here, though, it’s a pure red herring.

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Casimir effect: See

Chapter One

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This section contains the greatest concentration of names suggested by my readers — the Lemaître, the Renz Verus Shipyards, Bright Tree (the suggestion was “BrightTree” with no space, but I couldn’t make that work), the Selvidge Institute, etc. I pieced together the premise largely from the suggested names.


Rhenas Sherev is returning from The Captain’s Oath, two novels ago for me. I was tempted to give her a larger role here, but I couldn’t find a place for her beyond this chapter.


The Battle of Klach D’kel Brakt was established in DS9: “Blood Oath” as taking place sometime around the 2270s.


The Kaleb sector is not a reader suggestion, but was established in TNG: “Face of the Enemy” as being near Romulan space.


Uhura’s charting mission on the Asimov is a continuation of the one she began in The Higher Frontier.

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Buzzelle is actually my (paternal) grandmother’s maiden name. Both Basel and Buzzelle were reader suggestions (the latter from my late Uncle Clarence), and this little mix-up seemed an efficient way to include them both.


The myth is that Kirk is an inveterate skirt-chaser, but like most of the modern popular image of James T. Kirk, it’s far removed from the reality seen in TOS. In fact, Kirk rarely let romance distract him from his duty. His romances tend to fall into several categories: women who pursue him over his resistance (e.g. Eve from “Mudd’s Women” or Yeoman Rand), women he seduces in pursuit of a mission objective (e.g. Lenore in “The Conscience of the King” or Kelinda in “By Any Other Name”), women he pursues when not in his right mind (e.g. Helen Noel in “Dagger of the Mind” or the titular “Elaan of Troyius”), old flames from his younger days (e.g. Ruth from “Shore Leave” or Janet Wallace from “The Deadly Years”), or women he sincerely falls deeply in love with during an extended interaction (e.g. Edith Keeler and Miramanee).


Here’s what TMP Arcturians looked like:×600.jpg

I based Rakatheema’s name on the phonetics of Neelakanta, the Arcturian helm officer of the Endeavour introduced in Vanguard: Summon the Thunder by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore.

Arcturus is a red giant star, past its main sequence lifespan. According to, “Any Earth-type planets that orbited Arcturus during its youth probably have been burnt to a cinder and fallen into the star. Currently, the orbit of an Earth-like planet (with liquid water) around Arcturus may be centered around 11 AU — between the orbital distances of Saturn and Uranus in the Solar System.”

The swelling of the star into a red giant is something that likely occurred tens or hundreds of millions of years ago, so I’m really fudging the timing with the Arcturians’ migration. But I left it vague just how long ago they migrated.

It’s a recurring problem that Star Trek used so many well-known star names for inhabited systems, when the best-known stars are usually the brightest ones, meaning short-lived or dying giant stars unlikely to have habitable planets. It’s a difficult thing to rationalize. But in this case, it helped me justify the Arcturians’ engineered biology.


I initially asked my editor if I could use this book to wrap up dangling threads from Rise of the Federation (ROTF), perhaps in a frame-and-flashback format, but was advised to stay in the TOS lane. So I settled for brief allusions to my unrealized plans.


In my initial ROTF plans, the Warborn’s “fight only for Arcturus” taboo was merely going to be my excuse for how the “clone” army described in the ST:TMP production notes could exist without being used as Federation infantry. I was able to find a more interesting use of the concept in this book.


The first Klingon War was seen in the first season of Discovery. The timing of the Farragut’s destruction relative to the war was established in DSC: Die Standing by John Jackson Miller.


Rakatheema is rather mangling his Shakespeare quotations here. “Our little lives are rounded with a sleep” does not refer to actual sleep, but to the nonexistence that both precedes and follows (surrounds) “our little lives.” And it’s Ferdinand who retires into Prospero’s cell for a rest while Prospero walks outside to still his mind.

To be honest, I didn’t have the time or mental focus to brush up my Shakespeare as much as I should have done for the sake of this book. But it kind of works, because Rakatheema’s fairly superficial grasp of Shakespeare suggests a superficiality of thought that makes him more ambiguous.

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The set used for Kirk’s apartment in The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock contained no kitchen, as you can see in the set blueprints here: Only the living room, the circular den, the fireplace nook, and the entrance atrium were built. However, we never see the corner of the living room opposite the den, since that’s where the camera looked in. The door to the kitchen, bedrooms, etc. must be there.

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Admiral Cartwright (Brock Peters) appeared in The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country, revealed as a criminal conspirator in the latter. In the novels, he was given the first name Lance (apparently in Excelsior: Forged in Fire by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels) and established as an asset of Section 31 in Section 31: Cloak by S.D. Perry. His command of the Ark Royal was established in Cast No Shadow by James Swallow.


I established Chandra as captain of the Kongo in The Captain’s Oath. His hands-on-hips-while-seated posture described here is that struck by Reginald Lal Singh as Chandra in the trial scenes of “Court Martial.” Chandra never actually spoke in that episode, hence my description of him as taciturn.


The mention of Arcturian rapid learning techniques used for language acquisition is a setup for my later mention that those techniques were used to help Uhura relearn English in “The Changeling.”

The Academy preparatory program was established in DS9: “Facets,” in which Nog pursued and earned acceptance into the program.


Implicitly, Starfleet Intelligence lied to Kirk when they said Ceti Alpha V would be closely monitored to ensure the safety of Khan’s people. I initially alluded to “the section” assigned to monitor them, to imply that their abandonment was the result of a Section 31 coverup, but the passage was too long a digression, so I cut it down. Besides, I’m not a fan of the tendency to ascribe every bad thing in Trek history to a Section 31 plot.

Various writers over the years have tried to concoct convoluted explanations for why the Organians “stopped” enforcing the peace, but they overlook what “Errand of Mercy” made explicit: that the Organians found it unbearable to interact with corporeal beings and wished to avoid it as much as possible. Gene L. Coon knew that TOS was an episodic series and that the Organians would probably never be seen again, so he built in a reason for their intervention to be a one-time thing. They weren’t peace activists; they just wanted to get the noisy kids off their lawn and be left alone. It’s true that “The Trouble With Tribbles” later established the Organian Peace Treaty, but that name does not prove that the Organians themselves enforced the treaty, any more than the Parisians enforce the countless treaties that have been named for Paris over the centuries.

Chancellor Kesh was established in TOS: In the Name of Honor by Dayton Ward as the incumbent Klingon chancellor as of 2287, and Ward’s later Agents of Influence established him as chancellor by 2270.

Chapter Two

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Demora Sulu’s resistance to joining Starfleet is, of course, ironic, since the character was introduced as the Enterprise-B helm officer in Generations.


The circumstances of Demora’s conception are described in The Captain’s Daughter by Peter David.

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As I mention in the Acknowledgments, the natives of Altair III were seen in DC Comics’ Star Trek: The Next Generation issues 67–70 by Michael Jan Friedman and Deryl Skelton. They were only shown briefly as hooded humanoids in a flashback in issue 67, and the blue-gray hue was the monochrome color scheme of the flashback panels, probably not meant to represent their actual skin tone. However, it was the only descriptive cue I had to go on, so I chose to treat it literally.

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Altair water was mentioned in The Search for Spock.

Chapter Three

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I tried to give the Warborn personalities that fit their Shakespearean namesakes. For instance, Bertram in All’s Well that Ends Well was a soldier who adapted poorly to civilian life because he saw battle as the only source of worth and believed that love weakened men, whereas Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing was a romantic who adapted more easily to civilian life. Portia and Viola were named for characters known for crossdressing and gender ambiguity, to reflect the androgynous appearance (and biology, as we’ll see) of the Warborn; Viola felt trapped between identities, while Portia was a passionate advocate for justice. As for Horatio, his name is something of a misdirect, as Horatio is the most grounded and rational character in Hamlet; but then again, Horatio in the play is defined by his loyalty to a person and a cause that perhaps don’t deserve such loyalty, given the tragedy they lead to.

Although my aim for the Warborn plot was a Shakespeare-inspired tragedy, I had a more left-field influence. Readers of these annotations may recall that The Higher Frontier was an homage to the Japanese Kamen Rider franchise, which I’ve been exploring for the past few years. In this case, I drew on Kamen Rider Amazons, a more adult, horror-themed spinoff of the franchise produced for Amazon Prime in 2016-18, written by my favorite tokusatsu writer, Yasuko Kobayashi (and loosely inspired by the 1974 installment Kamen Rider Amazon). That series featured a genetically engineered subspecies of cannibalistic fighters, the Amazons. The moral and philosophical debates among the Amazons in that series, and their opposing points of view about their right to exist and to live as the predators they were created to be, influenced my portrayal of the Warborn’s different perspectives on their nature and purpose. I love the idea that they were all created to be one thing, but all interpret it in radically individual ways.

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As I mention in the Acknowledgments, Peter Preston’s adventure as described here is based on the events of The Fantastic Journey: “Children of the Gods,” an in-joke nod to another role of Peter’s portrayer Ike Eisenmann. I reviewed that episode on my Patreon page at Eisenmann’s character — coincidentally named Scott — was introduced as the son of the series’s original lead character, but the show was heavily reworked after the pilot to write out half the original cast and elevate Jared Martin’s character Varian — a pacifistic 22nd-century healer with a Spock-like wisdom — to the lead role. The justification for Scott’s father going home without him and leaving him in Varian’s care was extremely clumsy, as a result of the rushed retool. It was easy to tie that in with Scotty’s disdain for Peter Preston’s father as established by Peter David in DC’s “Retrospect.”


The reference to Vulcan telepaths in the years after First Contact is a bit problematical, as Enterprise established that Vulcan “melders” were treated as an oppressed minority at that point in history. But it’s possible that the Vulcan diplomats could’ve made an exception and held their noses long enough to work with some melders to settle the question of elephant sentience.


It’s been a long time since I took math, but I remembered enough about standard deviations to use them here, with a little brushing up on the basics:

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There’s a rather big time jump between consecutive scenes here, but it’s necessitated by the fact that the Academy term hasn’t started yet, so I don’t have any Warborn business to cut away to.


The events Chekov references are from “Wolf in the Fold” (Argelius), just after “Amok Time” (Altair), “Operation — Annihilate!” (Deneva), prior to “Tomorrow is Yesterday” (Cygnet), and just after “The Galileo Seven” (Makus).


It’s a contrivance that the vacuum flares are aimed at the planets’ past orbital positions yet still tracking the stars’ movements through space. This is necessary since otherwise the flares would strike in empty interstellar space. We just have to assume the senders are using the stars themselves as some sort of targeting anchor and plotting the planets’ position relative to them.

I figured that Organia (crux of the Second Klingon War) and Cestus III (first contact with the Gorn) would be remembered as two of the most significant Enterprise missions of this period.

I established in DTI: Forgotten History that the Enterprise had stopped at Starbase 12 after “The City on the Edge of Forever,” and thus shortly before “Operation — Annihilate!” The 2-week layover in Sol system was also seen in DTI: FH and implied by “Tomorrow is Yesterday.” And the two Starbase 11 visits were “Court Martial” and “The Menagerie” — which are consecutive in production order, but with different base commanders.


Benecia Colony was the Enterprise’s destination in “The Conscience of the King.” Alpha Proxima II is from The Brave and the Bold: Book One by Keith R.A. DeCandido, the TOS portion of which occurred slightly before “Balance of Terror.”

Chapter Four

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Synthococcus novae comes from “The Way to Eden,” supposedly a disease arising from artificial, sterile environments. Icorians are presumably from Icor IX, a planet mentioned in TNG: “Captain’s Holiday.”

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Xuanzang was the Buddhist monk whose travels to India inspired the great Chinese novel Journey to the West.


There is no mention of a Vega Colony layover prior to “The Corbomite Maneuver,” but Vega is relatively near First Federation space as depicted by Star Trek Star Charts.

Chapter Five

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Anjani Desai makes a single-scene return after her single-scene debut in The Higher Frontier.


Research asteroids are a nod to Lower Decks: “Envoys,” in which Mariner was dismayed by Boimler’s suggestion of going to work on a research asteroid. I thought it would be funny to contrast that by having Benedick excited by the concept.

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Kirk’s first meeting with McCoy (my version of it, anyway) was depicted in The Captain’s Oath.

Chapter Six

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The description of Spock’s quarters here is based on the set design seen in The Wrath of Khan and The Search for Spock. There were differences between the two films’ versions of the set due to Leonard Nimoy’s disappointment with the TWOK version; see I’ve drawn on elements of both versions.

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My original intention with The Higher Frontier was to explore the “special missions” period I’d established years before in The Darkness Drops Again, with Kirk taking the ship out on various types of special assignment. But since I’d already done that in THF, I realized I needed to balance that out by exploring the other side of the dynamic, Kirk’s adjustment to his role at the Academy.

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Dr. Sunderland, like the Dr. Sitko mentioned later, is named for one of my favorite college professors.


Lt. Commander J. Longo was listed as an engineering instructor on a directory panel in TWOK, in the corridor behind Kirk and Spock following the Kobayashi Maru simulator scene. See Like many names on the list, it was a nod to a production staffer, in this case prop master Joe Longo, who filled that role in the second and third movies as well as TNG and DS9.


“Vandenecker” is a really deep cut. I considered hinting that the Unarmed Combat instructor was Sam, the guy who demonstrated wrestling moves to Charlie in “Charlie X” and got wished away into the cornfield for his trouble (presumably being returned at the end). But different sources have given the character different last names (including Ellis and Fuller), and I decided it was too much of a case of small-universe syndrome anyway. Memory Alpha’s page on the character notes that stuntman Beau Vandenecker was originally cast in the role, though Sam was ultimately played by Robert Herron.

Chapter Seven

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Dr. Phlox’s daughter Vaneel was featured in Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code, and my depiction of Denobulan society here is based on the foundations I laid there.


Daibak’s riddles are borrowed from another tokusatsu show, Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, the original 1975 installment in the Super Sentai franchise (from which Power Rangers is adapted). The original yellow Ranger, Kirenger/Daita Ooiwa (Baku Hatakeyama), had a running gag of being stumped by the riddles told by the young boy Taro, including the two riddles featured here. Most of the other riddles featured in the show would not have been suitable here, relying too much on puns that only work in Japanese.

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I used a similar “stone-skipping” maneuver with a starship saucer to explain how the Stargazer bounced off a Jovian’s atmosphere in The Buried Age.

I recall the Sagittarius crashing a couple of times in the Vanguard and Seekers novels, but probably not like this. But the Seekers series was cut short early, so it could’ve happened later on.

Chapter Eight

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Lieutenant Ledoux was named in The Darkness Drops Again, based on an extra from TMP. Cadet Pryce-Jones is named for a cadet from Filmation’s Space Academy, and Cadet Jason Nadel was named for its producer Arthur H. Nadel, creator of its spinoff Jason of Star Command (which co-starred James Doohan in its first season).

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I’ve italicized Nomad in keeping with the Memory Alpha wiki’s practice.


Jill Sherwin’s post-“Changeling” story “See No Evil” in the Constellations anthology established Uhura’s eidetic memory. Scotty’s comments about his prideful denial of his own ordeal also reflect the events of that story.

Chapter Nine

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Vheman was originally going to be a Barzan, as Discovery’s Cmdr. Nhan established a precedent for Barzans in 23rd-century Starfleet. However, I had forgotten that Nhan had also been established as (probably) the only Barzan in Starfleet at the time, for she had met no others of her species since leaving her homeworld. I changed it to Arbazan so I wouldn’t have to change many letters, and substituted a stylus for the Barzan breathing apparatus.


The Orion girl may have been the Prime Universe counterpart of Gaila, Uhura’s roommate from the Kelvin timeline, but I chose to keep it vague. I did, however, imply that Prime Uhura had the same reticence about her first name as the Kelvin version. I originally came up with this explanation for that reticence in my abortive Kelvin novel Seek a Newer World.

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Uhura’s mother played a brief offscreen role assisting Kirk’s Mestiko investigation in Mere Anarchy: Shadows of the Indignant by the late Dave Galanter. Kirk described her in that story as “Uhura in thirty years,” informing my description of M’Umbha in the next chapter on p. 138.

Chapter Ten

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I was hoping to do more research into Afrofuturist science fiction to shape my portrayal of Uhura’s home. Unfortunately, the pandemic lockdown, the time pressure, and my lack of money limited me to library e-books, and the Afrofuturist fiction I could find there tended to be more dystopian than what I was hoping to find, something in the vein of Black Panther’s Wakanda. I did re-read Alastair Reynolds’s Blue Remembered Earth, centering on a family from a prosperous, utopian future Africa, but that book dealt little with Africa itself aside from one main character’s work with elephants (and despite what I said in the Acknowledgments, it may not really qualify as Afrofuturist, as it’s from a white writer). Ultimately I had to rely on what I could find online about Nairobi and Kenyan culture, cuisine, and fashion, so I wasn’t able to flesh this part out as much as I’d wanted to. Hopefully what I did manage to include is reasonably authentic.


Pandro was the home planet of Commander Ari bn Bem from TAS: “Bem.” Alan Dean Foster adapted “Bem” in Star Trek Log Nine, and he opened Log Ten with a letter from Uhura to her family, including a mention of sending information on Pandronian biology to her brother the doctor. I didn’t follow Foster’s version exactly, as it named Uhura’s brother David and portrayed her father Alhamisi as still alive, but I decided to throw in this nod to it as an Easter egg.

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Penthara IV appeared in TNG: “A Matter of Time” as a Federation colony that was “well over a century” old (there was a reference to tectonic records going back at least that far).

Chapter Eleven

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I have Southern heritage myself on my mother’s side. I lost touch with that side of the family long ago, but I’m fairly sure some of my ancestors fought for the Confederacy. So McCoy’s lines about dealing with the problematical aspects of his Southern heritage reflect some of my own thoughts.


I originally intended Ashley to be half-Argelian, getting her pacifist ways from that side of her heritage. I changed my mind when I realized that featuring an Argelian and Arcturians in the same book would be too confusing.

The Vulcan ritual combat McCoy alludes to is, of course, from “Amok Time.” Captain sh’Prenni’s botched Partnership contact is from Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code.

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The theoretical memory retrieval technique Spock refers to was established in Voyager: “Flashback.” According to the Doctor in that episode, “Vulcan psychocognitive research suggests” that the technique could work, implying that it isn’t a well-established practice in the 24th century, so I decided it should only be theoretical in the 23rd.

Chapter Twelve

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Implicitly the vacuum flare briefing takes place in the same meeting room seen in the first act of The Undiscovered Country, or at least an identically furnished one.


As far as I can tell, no previous novels or comics have identified any ships that The Search for Spock’s Captain Styles commanded before the Excelsior (aside from Prime Directive giving him temporary command of the Enterprise during a refit). The Artemis, named for the Greek goddess of the hunt, is my nod to Styles’s portrayer James B. Sikking and his career-making role as Howard Hunter in Hill Street Blues. It might be the Archer-class scout of that name established in Vanguard: Reap the Whirlwind, or perhaps a later ship of the same name.

“one in a hundred thousand”: The Earth’s average orbital radius is one astronomical unit, by definition. That makes its circumference 2πr = 6.28 x 149.6 million km = about 942 million kilometers. The Earth’s diameter is about 12,760 km, which divided by the circumference gives about 1/74000. So Styles may be underestimating the odds a bit, but then again, the Earth’s orbit is not perfectly circular and precesses over time, so that creates some additional uncertainty that might bump it closer to Styles’s estimate.


Styles’s desire to deny the seriousness of the threat for the sake of saving face is a critique of the lethally negligent response of various Republican national and state administrations to the COVID-19 pandemic. This book was mostly written before the 2020 presidential election.

The Naazh crisis and New Humans were featured in The Higher Frontier.

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I am assuming the Kaferians are the insectoid species seen on the Elysian council in TAS: “The Time Trap” (see An image of an insectoid Kaferian (copied from a FASA game manual) appeared faintly on a screen graphic in TNG: “The Big Goodbye.”

The only other canonical mention of Kaferia is the reference to Kaferian apples in “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”


Pike did command Discovery in season 2 of its namesake series, but those events were classified when he returned to the Enterprise. Spock shows no reaction in order to avoid giving anything away.

The Klingon mind-sifter, aka mind scanner or mind-ripper, was established in “Errand of Mercy.” Oddly, it was never referenced again in canon.


I’m presuming that both the Prime and Kelvin timeline versions of Uhura wore their hair the same way in their Academy years.

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The nature of the Kaferian language was established in Seekers: Second Nature by David Mack.

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McCoy’s line about talking to himself is a very delayed callback to a gag from “The Corbomite Maneuver.” That was 13 years before from his perspective, so it’s a stretch that he remembers it. But maybe it’s something he’s said on various occasions, just usually not onscreen.

Chapter Thirteen

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My outline had Chekov in the role of investigator at this stage. The reason I had the Reliant crippled was to free Chekov to come to Earth and shift over to the Warborn subplot. I even defended that choice to my editor, on the grounds that Chekov made more sense for a security role than Sulu. But in the writing process, as I developed the thread of Starfleet’s preparations for the flares’ arrival in the Sol system, I realized what Cartwright says here, that Chekov was needed for flare response. So I ended up using Sulu after all.

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Though Lower Decks featured another member of Arex’s species in “Much Ado About Boimler,” it did not confirm outright whether that species is really called Edosian, as generally assumed in modern usage, rather than Edoan, as used in older references and tie-in fiction. I prefer Edoan, as it’s what I grew up with.

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There are a number of Kamen Rider in-jokes in the U.S.S. Amazon scene, specifically to the aforementioned Kamen Rider Amazon from 1974. Jangura was the Japanese phonetic rendering of the name of Amazon Rider’s motorcycle, Jungler. Amazon himself had a green lizard-like body with bulging red eyes (the only 20th-century Kamen Rider not to have an insect theme). Ensign Rider needs no explanation. Molly Chu is a reference to Amazon’s sidekick Mogura (Mole), a reformed monster with a verbal tic of crying “chu-chuuuu!” These are the ways I amuse myself when struggling with writer’s block.

Mizuki City is not a Kamen Rider Amazon in-joke, but a reference to the leader of the lost L5 colonies established in The Lost Era: The Sundered. By coincidence, though, Mizuki was the given name of the lead female character from the 2016 Kamen Rider Amazons (plural).


I established “Joel Randolph” as the character’s married name because Vijay Amritraj played the character (unnamed onscreen in TVH) with a strong Indian accent, making the Western name somewhat incongruous. I figured his birth surname is probably Indian (and maybe Joel is a Westernization of something like Jawal), and he married someone named Randolph and took their name (I avoided specifying the gender of his spouse).


Vijay Amritraj was a professional tennis player before becoming an actor, so I made that part of Randolph’s bio as well.

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My assumption is that the class namer U.S.S. Miranda is NCC-1800, and that the next ship in the sequence would be named for Miranda’s father in The Tempest.


The sequence of events Chapel describes after “The Changeling” incorporates the events of both “Communications Breakdown” from Star Trek: The Manga (the ship damaged in the aftermath of Nomad) and “See No Evil” from Constellations (the ship diverted by a distress call).

Chapter Fourteen

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The Sherlock Holmes quote is from “A Scandal in Bohemia,” the first short story in the series, known for featuring the character Irene Adler. Holmes used other variations of the phrase in A Study in Scarlet and “The Adventure of the Second Stain.”

Chapter Fifteen

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“Buffer time” is a concept from Lower Decks: “Temporal Edict,” the practice of junior officers to inflate their time estimates for task completion to give themselves more leeway. The concept is supposedly unknown to senior officers, but since most senior officers started out as junior officers, it’s hard to see how that works. And of course, the concept ultimately goes back to Scotty’s joke in The Search for Spock about padding his repair estimates, and he was a senior officer.


Spatial gradients and transkinetic vectors are wormhole parameters established in VGR: “Bliss.” “EPR” stands for the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox of quantum entanglement, which is sometimes theorized as being linked to Einstein-Rosen bridges, aka wormholes (“ER = EPR”). I may have mentioned before that Einstein’s colleague Boris Podolsky was the graduate advisor of my Uncle Harry.


I don’t know exactly where I learned about the idea that more events happened in the first few minutes of the universe than in all the time since. It’s a concept I’ve been familiar with for quite a long time, and I don’t know if I learned it from the real Dr. Sitko, another professor, or some book, science magazine, or PBS special. Perhaps it was all of the above. But one notable book about the subject is Steven Weinberg’s The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe (1977, updated 1993).


Mineral intelligences include the Horta in “The Devil in the Dark” and possibly the Excalbians of “The Savage Curtain.” The vampire cloud in “Obsession” was an intelligent gaseous creature, as was the cosmic cloud in TAS: “One of Our Planets is Missing.” And TOS/TAS featured multiple incorporeal, psionic intelligences such as the Thasians (“Charlie X”), Trelane’s species (“The Squire of Gothos”), the Organians (“Errand of Mercy”), and the malevolent entity in “Beyond the Farthest Star.”


The Exeter’s crew was found dead from disease at the start of “The Omega Glory.”

Chapter Sixteen

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I established President Lorg in DTI: Forgotten History.


Verteron arrays for Martian terraforming were established in ENT: “Terra Prime.”


Kettaract’s disastrous experiment with omega molecules was established in VGR: “The Omega Directive.” The Enterprise’s involvement in that event was established in Section 31: Cloak by S.D. Perry.

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The Dramia incident is from TAS: “Albatross.”

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A palimpsest is an imprint of the original text on a parchment or other writing surface that’s been scraped clean and reused. Modern techniques can often reconstruct the erased text from the traces left behind.

Chapter Seventeen

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“…roughly one chance in eight of engulfing Earth”: Recall that the Earth’s orbital circumference is 6.28 AU. So 0.76 AU divided by that is 0.12, or just under 1/8. Meanwhile, the separation between Earth’s orbit and Mars’s orbit is about half an AU, and can be as little as 0.36 AU at closest approach.


Mahmud al-Khaled was created by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore in SCE: Foundations, and has appeared in subsequent SCE, Vanguard, and Seekers installments.

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I established Uhura’s work with nonhuman recruits way back in Ex Machina, as a nod to Nichelle Nichols’s work recruiting female and ethnically diverse astronauts for NASA.

Chapter Eighteen

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People have been referring to ST:TMP as “Where Nomad Has Gone Before” since it came out. I’ve always felt its plot bore a stronger resemblance to TAS: “One of Our Planets Is Missing” than to “The Changeling.”

Chapter Nineteen

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McCoy’s summary of the factors behind non-binary gender is simplified but basically consistent with medical science. Here are some articles about the science:

I chose Mako as the name of Sulu’s cousin as it’s a name used by both men and women in Japan — although the same goes for Sulu’s first name Hikaru, and for quite a few Japanese given names.

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The idea of using depressurization to minimize blast damage in a starship was used in Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda, the first couple of seasons of which were the most scientifically accurate SFTV series until The Expanse came along, with JPL’s Paul Woodmansee on board as a technical consultant, and with producers who actually listened to their technical consultant.

Lying flat with the feet toward the bow presents the smallest possible surface area to oncoming projectiles, thus minimizing the probability of being struck. I’m not sure it makes much difference in this case whether you lie feet-first or headfirst, since any flare that did strike would be going fast enough to penetrate your entire body in an instant. But it seemed like a good idea anyway, for psychological reasons if nothing more.


Cygnians are the species of Magen from TAS: “The Time Trap.”

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“Risk is our business” is a famous Kirk quote from “Return to Tomorrow,” though Kirk was beaten to the punch by Batman, who said the line (to Bruce Wayne, no less) in Batman: “Ice Spy” in March 1967, more than ten months before “Return to Tomorrow”:


I was tempted to keep the audience in suspense about the killer’s identity and save it for a later reveal, as per the classic murder-mystery formula, but it didn’t work out. I couldn’t come up with a plausible justification for his name not being uttered here, and there’s a bigger surprise in store in Horatio’s next scene, making it better to get the reveal out of the way here. I was going more for Shakespearean tragedy than murder mystery anyway.

Chapter Twenty

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I wrote “Two Moons” back in the 1990s for a spec comic book script based on my Troubleshooter series concept. It was always meant to be a cheesy pop song, built around a somewhat labored extended metaphor between Phobos and Deimos’s orbital physics and the plight of two lovers afraid to connect. It was lucky that it proved thematically suitable here, and that I hadn’t already recycled it in the interim. What I had written in the novel’s outline was merely, “Finally, just in time, they make contact.” When the time came to decide how Uhura made contact, I realized I had to pay off what I’d set up about her singing to the plasma beings. But I was pressed for time and struggling with writer’s block, so how could I write a whole song? I considered just using “Beyond Antares” from “The Conscience of the King,” but that felt cliched, and I wasn’t sure if we’d have the rights to the lyrics, even though it’s from a Star Trek production. In desperation, I went back through my handful of old experiments with songwriting, and “Two Moons” struck me as a possibility.

I wrestled with whether to use the song, because it was written to be kind of dumb on purpose. But I came to realize that its lyrics were a good fit to the story at this point, the theme of seeking to overcome fear to make a connection. I did what I could to refine the lyrics, and I left out the clumsiest lines, hence the cutaway in mid-verse at the end of the scene. But I still had my doubts, hence the dialogue about Uhura finding the lyrics silly.

The audiobook team did not ask me for input on the melody of the song, which is just as well, since I wasn’t fond of the kitschy, bubble-gummy, probably highly derivative tune I’d composed for it in my head back in the day. If they had asked, I would have deferred to their composer anyway. I’m decades out of practice at writing sheet music, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to embarrass myself by singing it for them.

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Of course someone named after a character from Hamlet would use poison as his means of killing everyone in the last act. It’s also the traditional method of mass suicide for cults.


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I’ve come to suspect that Shakespeare was being metatextual when he wrote Polonius, by including a character who thought he was in the wrong kind of play and died from terminal lack of genre-savviness. I’ve wondered if the role was written for a member of the Globe repertory company who was known for his comedy work, so that regular theatergoers would have gotten the in-joke. Honestly, there are a number of characters in Hamlet who seem to be there just to give repertory members something to do. There’s really no other point to Osric that I can see.

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Yes, it’s a Star Trek cliché of sorts — “We’ve successfully gained access to this trove of ancient knowledge, but it may take centuries to decipher.” But what else could I do? Continuity must rule. And in this case, it’s justified, since the plasma beings’ entire existence would’ve been so alien that there could be few points of commonality to build understanding from.


The Sagara are another Kamen Rider in-joke, specifically to a character from Kamen Rider Gaim, whose storyline involved a threat to Earth from an invasive alien species with what turned out to be ambiguous motives. That aside, when characters mention past events like this, I always like to throw in a reference or two to things we haven’t seen in any episode or movie, to acknowledge that there’s a bigger universe out there. I find it very contrived when the only things anyone ever mentions in a Trek story are things previously encountered by ships named Enterprise (or Voyager).


Forgotten History established that Simok had taken over as the DTI director by this point — though I’d forgotten that and needed copyeditor Scott Pearson to remind me of the events of my own earlier book. They say the memory’s the second thing to go…

Prior to Discovery, Star Trek did surprisingly few storylines that involved saving the entire galaxy or universe from destruction. There were threats that were implied to be a gradual or long-term threat to the galaxy as a whole if not stopped, such as the Doomsday Machine, the space amoeba, and the Kelvan invasion, but the only instances I can think of where the fate of the entire galaxy or universe was imminently at stake were “The Alternative Factor” and DS9: “Playing God.” It happened rather often in early Pocket TOS novels, though, including Corona by Greg Bear, The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane, and The Three-Minute Universe by Barbara Paul.

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The elm tree study spot at Starfleet Academy was established in TNG: “The Drumhead.” It might be the same tree seen at the end of Discovery: “People of Earth,” but I don’t know if that was an elm.

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