TOS: The Higher Frontier Annotations

This document explains the continuity references, allusions, in-jokes, and scientific concepts contained in Star Trek: The Original Series — The Higher Frontier (THF).   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 TCO 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.


  • ENT: Enterprise
  • TOS: The Original Series
  • TAS: The Animated Series
  • TMP: Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • ExM: Ex Machina
  • TDDA: Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again
  • TWOK: The Wrath of Khan
  • TNG: The Next Generation
  • DS9: Deep Space Nine
  • VGR: Voyager
  • DSC: Discovery
  • DTI: Department of Temporal Investigations

Chapter Annotations


Shotaro Ishinomori is the creator of the Kamen Rider franchise, as well as Super Sentai and numerous other tokusatsu productions, most of them involving transforming, armored superheroes.

The Higher Frontier is loaded with Kamen Rider in-jokes I inserted for my own amusement, including nods to characters, creatures, designs, and catchphrases from nearly all of the 20 Heisei-era seasons then extant and a couple of others; but I’ll resist the temptation to explain them all here in the annotations. They would be meaningless to those unfamiliar with the franchise (which I assume is most of my reading audience), and I’d rather leave them as surprises for fellow Kamen Rider fans to discover on their own. I will discuss some of the broad-strokes inspirations, though.



Page 4

Quoting from Memory Beta’s page on Andorian sexes as established in the novel continuity:

  • zhen – This sex roughly corresponds to female, and is the sex of the Andorian who will carry the zygote to term.
  • shen – This sex also roughly corresponds to female and is where all Andorian life originates. Although the zhen carries the infant, the child begins as gametes from the shen.
  • chan – This sex roughly corresponds to male.
  • thaan – This sex also roughly corresponds to male.

“no Aenar had raised a hand in violence for more than a century”: The last time was depicted in ENT: The Good That Men Do by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin; it occurred in 2155, 123 years before this.

The transporter damping field around the Aenar compound was established in ENT: “The Aenar,” while The Good That Men Do established the magnetic polar anomalies. I’ve attempted to reconcile the two here.


Chapter One


Once “The Aenar” established the existence of a race of blind telepaths within the Federation, it stood to reason that the Medusans would have tried to recruit them for the navigation program as well as Miranda Jones. Fortunately, their isolationism and pacifism provided an easy explanation for why they declined to participate in the program.


Sulu becoming second officer was established in Ex Machina (ExM).

The “side stairs” are not found on any existing photos or deck plans of the TMP rec room. However, I referenced a set of stairs to the balcony in ExM (probably based on a mental image of the rec deck as described in Diane Duane’s 1980s novels), so I included them here for consistency. I assume they are in the hidden portion at the rear starboard corner of the set, which Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise (the only source I know of containing a floor plan of the rec deck) depicts merely as a short corridor leading to a restroom.

The interplay between Uhura and Chekov over the cake is a nod to Chekov’s diet subplot in Howard Weinstein’s The Covenant of the Crown, the first novel ever set in the post-TMP time frame (despite the TMP-era cover art on the previous two Pocket novels and Bantam’s Perry’s Planet).


The Elisiar was established as an Edoan (what’s now called Edosian) musical instrument in the Power Records album/comic The Crier in Emptiness by Alan Dean Foster.

Spring Rain and Ki’ki’ri’ke’te are returning crew members from Ex Machina. Most of the humans mentioned here are Tuckerizations of fans whose donations helped me through a rough patch.

The V’tosh katur were established in ENT: “Fusion.”


Espers were established in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” though the term had been used in science fiction since at least 1942 in the works of E.E. “Doc” Smith and others. Much of the discussion in this scene is based on details from the “ESP rating” screen graphics for Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner, including the “Duke-Heidelburg quotient” [sic] and the native espers of Deneb IV.

In the 1960s-70s, there was serious research conducted into ESP, and many considered telepathy a legitimate phenomenon, which was part of the reason it was so commonly portrayed in science fiction such as Star Trek (though its prominence in SF was largely because influential editor John W. Campbell was a believer). However, the experimental methodology was later found to be flawed (e.g. Zener cards, by using only five distinct cards, had a much higher probability of lucky guesses than a more normal deck of cards, and testees could often see the shapes reflected in polished surfaces), and magicians such as Johnny Carson and James Randi were able to expose the tricks used by fraudulent psychics such as Uri Geller to fool scientists (who were trained to draw conclusions based on observation and thus were unprepared for deliberately misleading input). In addressing psi phenomena in the Trek universe, I wanted to do so without giving credence to the erroneous research and charlatans of the real world.


Deneb (Alpha Cygni) is now known to be far too distant to have been a Federation system in the TOS era, and indeed was portrayed in TNG: “Encounter at Farpoint” as the most remote system ever visited by Starfleet at the time, contradicting TOS references. Thus, Star Trek Star Charts and the novels have chosen to equate TOS’s “Deneb” with the much nearer Deneb Kaitos (Beta Ceti) system.


This is my second post-TMP novel (after ExM) whose events are in some way an aftereffect of V’Ger’s ascendance. This is because I’ve always felt that such a massive event happening above Earth should have had lasting, long-term effects on the Federation and other observers.


Chapter Two


My use of “habitat” to describe Kollos’s carrier is following James Blish’s usage in his adaptation of “Is There in Truth No Beauty?”


The paracortex was established as the Betazoid psionic center in TNG: “Dark Page.” It stands to reason that other psionic humanoids have equivalent formations (especially as I tend to assume that most psionic humanoids are descended from Sargon’s people, as “Return to Tomorrow” implied was the case with Vulcans).


Seekers: Second Nature by David Mack established that a minority of Arkenites have telepathic or telekinetic abilities. The empathic abilities of Argelian priestesses were established in “Wolf in the Fold.”


The attack on Spock’s family by Vulcan “logic extremists” was established in Discovery: “Lethe,” “Point of Light,” and “Project Daedalus.” The mention of Saurian purism is a reference to the dictator Maltuvis as portrayed in my Enterprise: Rise of the Federation series. Lt. Stiles was from “Balance of Terror.”


I meant to imply that the incurable optic nerve defect making Miranda blind is similar to the one responsible for Geordi La Forge’s blindness in TNG, even though Miranda’s eyes look more normal than La Forge’s. After all, presumably there are few remaining incurable conditions in the 23rd or 24th century.


Spock’s L’tak Terai was established in DSC: “Light and Shadows.”


Chapter Three


Thelin, of course, was Spock’s replacement in the alternate timeline of TAS: “Yesteryear.” Though Thelin’s subsequent life in that timeline was portrayed in Myriad Universes: The Chimes of Midnight, I thought it would be interesting to meet his Prime-timeline counterpart.


I’m paraphrasing Thelin’s line from “Yesteryear,” “A warrior race has few sympathies, but one we do possess is for family.”


There’s an odd tendency in fandom to assume that the interstellar “transwarp beaming” that Spock Prime mentioned in the 2009 Star Trek film was a totally new concept invented sometime between Nemesis in 2379 and the film’s flash-forward time frame of 2387, despite the previously established existence of several known forms of interstellar transporter, including the three TOS-era instances mentioned here, the subspace transporter in TNG: “Bloodlines,” and the Nyrians’ translocator in VGR: “Displaced.” I wanted to call attention to the ones established in TOS in hopes of countering that assumption. Interstellar beaming has been a known phenomenon to Starfleet, though not a safely replicable one, since at least the 2260s (and was even experimented with in the 2150s in ENT: “Daedalus,” though of course it didn’t pan out).

The ionization trail left by the Triskelion transporter was what enabled the Enterprise to track it to its source in “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” The Kalandan transporter’s use accompanied a groundquake and a reading of “almost immeasurable power” in “That Which Survives.”


I initially intended McCoy’s line about an alternate universe to be a reference to “Mirror, Mirror” and have Onami take it as a joke, assuming those events were classified. Then I recalled that Onami had been to an alternate universe herself in Forgotten History. I really should remember my own books better.


Maluria’s population was wiped out in “The Changeling,” Gamma 7A’s in “The Immunity Syndrome.” (Rough year.) Spock’s observation about human history was made in the latter episode.


Chapter Four


In The Chimes at Midnight, Andorian-Aenar relations were worse and the blood feud was still active, leading to Thelin being denied permission to marry Thali sh’Dani. I presume that in the Prime timeline, Thelin’s earlier return home to Andoria (due to not getting the Enterprise gig) enabled him to find a solution to those problems.


The romance between Uuvu’it and Worene was first hinted at in Forgotten History.


Kinoch zh’Lenthar is meant to be a descendant of Anitheras th’Lenthar from ENT: The Good That Men Do. Since there are so few Aenar, it stands to reason that most of them are related.


“Such things have been known between immediate family members”: In ENT: “The Aenar,” Jhamel could sense the pain of her abducted brother Gareb from parsecs away.


“Hybrid children are never telepathic”: This is a clue to the true nature of Aenar telepathy, as revealed later.


Nizhoni’s question about windows and lights is one I’ve had about the set design in “The Aenar” ever since it first aired.


Chapter Five


This scene was added in rewrites, when I realized I’d done too little to characterize the shipboard New Humans other than DiFalco. Daniel Abioye is a new character, but Edward Logan and Jade Dinh are minor characters from Ex Machina, whose names are partial Tuckerizations of old friends of mine from high school and college. Jade’s waist-length hair herein is based on my old friend, as I’d initially forgotten that I’d identified the character with an extra from TMP who had shorter hair. Fortunately there were four and a half intervening years, enough time for Jade’s hair to grow out.


The assertion of DS9: “Doctor Bashir, I Presume” that the Federation outlaws genetic engineering because of the Eugenics Wars was, frankly, ridiculous. No culture perpetually retains its ancestors’ fears of new technology from centuries prior, or else we’d still have laws against electric lights and railroad trains. The only way it makes any kind of sense is if the fear was reinforced by later incidents like the Augment crisis from ENT, though something more recent would be better. (I also mentioned in Rise of the Federation that part of the reason for Federation laws against genetic engineering is to avoid retaliation from the Klingons, who would perceive it as another attempt to breed Augment soldiers.) In general, the Federation as portrayed in modern Trek has been surprisingly extreme about banning technologies such as genetic augmentation and androids/synths (as seen in Star Trek: Picard).


Kirk first encountered the Redheri in my Constellations story “As Others See Us,” though his subsequent encounters remain unchronicled. Their interest in ancient technology was not depicted therein, and if anything is more reminiscent of the Vomnin Confederacy in my 24th-century novels. But first contact with the Vomnin doesn’t occur until Orion’s Hounds, and I’ve been looking for a chance to reuse the Redheri. And really, no civilization would be limited to only a single stereotypical interest or activity. It’s close enough to fit the Redheri’s looser and more pragmatic sense of ethics.


The unreliability of verifier scans (“Wolf in the Fold,” “Journey to Babel”) is my attempt to explain why the technology is not used after TOS.


The “psion” explanation for psionic phenomena is one I came up with back in college for a potential comic-book universe (back during the ‘90s indie comics boom when it seemed anyone could start their own comics company). There are parts of my model that I didn’t mention here, though, just in case I have an opportunity to use the whole thing somewhere else.


The toxic aftereffects of kironide injection are, again, my attempt to explain why the technique was never used after “Plato’s Stepchildren.” A shot to give people telekinesis is such a potentially useful thing that it had to have a very serious downside to be abandoned after one go.


Cheremis’s name is an anagram of the surname of TAS producer and Filmation co-founder Lou Scheimer.

Barbara Attias is named for Rosanna Attias and Barbara Minster, two of the background extras in the TMP Rec Deck briefing sequence, as mentioned in Walter Koenig’s nonfiction account Chekov’s Enterprise. Thanks to “Daddy Todd” at the TrekBBS for sending me a copy of that book, the one major TMP reference book I didn’t have when writing my previous post-TMP fiction. I was determined to include some detail from that book in this novel, but Attias’s name was the only relevant thing I could come up with.


Chapter Six


The Naazh’s armor design and ability to draw weapons from another dimension are an homage to Kamen Riders, who wear full-body armor and more or less insect-themed helmets that are sometimes nearly faceless (specifically in the cases of Kamen Rider Hibiki and Kamen Rider Wizard), and most of whom can materialize armor and weapons out of thin air (though the majority of Riders are heroic, unlike the Naazh). The Naazh’s belt-like formations with power crystals are similar to the belt-style “drivers” (transformation devices) traditionally used by Kamen Riders.

In their original incarnation in the 1970s-80s (the Showa Era), Kamen Riders were cyborgs whose transformation ability was inbuilt and whose armored forms were insect-based, sometimes implied to be a form of chitin (as with Kamen Rider Black in particular). In the 21st century/Heisei Era, Riders are usually normal humans whose belts/drivers create their armor technologically (including numerous variant forms and upgrades), much like Super Sentai heroes. The Naazh’s armor is a hybrid of both these ideas.


While most of the human guards here are Tuckerizations of reader donors, Sakamoto is named in honor of Koichi Sakamoto, a former Power Rangers action director and producer who moved to Japan to become a director for Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, Space Squad, and other Toei superhero productions, providing some of those franchises’ most impressive action sequences.

The rec deck battle proved a very difficult sequence to plot out due to the sheer number of participants. I eventually had the idea to use my Scrabble board to represent the rec deck and letter tiles to represent the various combatants (by initial, mostly) and my sister’s old D&D dice to represent the Naazh (by color). The scale of the board was too small relative to the tiles, but it did help me keep track of where everyone was.


The Red Naazh’s ability to draw a sword from his buckle is evocative of several Kamen Riders including Black RX, Agito, and Ghost.


Reader Josh Vidmar asked me to give his Tuckerized character a gruesome demise. Crewman Vidmar’s brushes with danger in earlier scenes (the magic act and the Oresan chase) were my way of faking Josh out a bit to build suspense.


I debated with myself whether to kill off Uuvu’it, a character I’ve enjoyed writing since Ex Machina. But I wanted the Naazh attack to have a real cost. On a more pragmatic level, I realized I was having trouble coming up with new character business for Uuvu’it, who’d become mostly comic relief. That was a sign that it was time to give his arc closure.


Chapter Seven


Sulu suggesting the Betelgeusian exchange program occurred in The Face of the Unknown.


The sickbay scene was added in the revision stage at the suggestion of my editor Margaret Clark, since the first draft came out a bit short and I asked if she had any ideas for additions. Fortunately, a Kindle bonus offer came along at the right time to prompt me to finally obtain a copy of Scott Pearson’s e-novella The More Things Change, allowing me to use its Spock/Chapel storyline as the basis for their interaction here. I had to reverse Scott’s plot point of Chapel deciding to leave the ship (or at least postpone it until after this section of the novel), since I’d established her as still aboard in Forgotten History. But I tried to stay as consistent with his story as I could.


Spock’s and Thelin’s farewells are an inversion of the valedictory exchange between Spock and the alternate Thelin in “Yesteryear.” It’s a bit coincidental that Thelin would happen to say “And you in yours” exactly as Spock did, but what the hey, it’s poetic.


In the first draft, I resisted the idea of a romance between Kirk and Miranda, concerned it would be gratuitous or inappropriate given how problematical his behavior toward her was in “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” Once I was done, however, I realized a couple of things. One was that the manuscript was too short and needed something added. The other was that the reason I kept having to resist letting a romance happen was because the story wanted a romance to happen. My instincts were telling me that it was the right path for the characters, something Kirk had earned through his greater maturity and Miranda through her greater openness. So it wasn’t something gratuitous that I’d be imposing on the characters; rather, it would be artificial not to let it happen. Once I realized that, I felt comfortable going ahead with it.


Chapter Eight


This version of the events of the first five-year mission’s conclusion was introduced in Ex Machina and depicted in Forgotten History, drawing on ST:TMP and its novelization.


This version of the end of the second five-year mission was introduced in The Darkness Drops Again.


Worene enrolling in Starfleet Academy is a patch for my own continuity, since I portrayed her as a lieutenant in the 2282 portion of TDDA. At the time, I failed to consider the difference between enlisted personnel and officers.


Kirk teaching as a lieutenant was established in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” which is of course the source of the Gary Mitchell quote. Morrow being a classmate of Mitchell’s is an extrapolation based on their actors (Robert Hooks and Gary Lockwood) being the same age.

I’m continuing the gag from TDDA of Morrow being bad with numbers, to handwave his “the Enterprise is 20 years old” line from The Search for Spock (roughly 31 in-story years after the Enterprise’s earliest chronological appearance in “The Cage,” and only 12 years after it was rebuilt into “an almost totally new Enterprise” in TMP).


Morrow’s list of Kirk’s successes is a hodgepodge of references:

  • V’Ger: ST:TMP, of course
  • Lorina: Ex Machina
  • Empyrea: The Better Man by Howard Weinstein
  • Yannid VI: “The Enterprise Murder Case” by Mike W. Barr, Dave Cockrum, and Klaus Janson (issue 6 of Marvel’s 1980 Star Trek comic)
  • Vedala incident: Forgotten History



The fan Spacedock plans that inspired my description here can be found at:

There is a tendency these days to assume the Enterprise NCC-1701 was “the flagship of Starfleet,” and the Kelvin Timeline movies have portrayed it this way; however, in the Prime continuity, that description was never used for the 23rd-century Enterprise, only for the Enterprise­-D in TNG and for the Mirror Universe NX-01 in ENT: “In a Mirror, Darkly.” The term’s correct military usage is as Spock characterizes it, the command ship for a squadron or the ship that a flag officer (commodore or admiral) reserves for their own use. The TNG sense of the most prestigious vessel in a fleet is more of a civilian or vernacular usage.


Rhenas Sherev was Kirk’s science officer on the Sacagawea in The Captain’s Oath.


Chapter Nine


The time travel scenarios Desai mentions are, of course, based on “The City on the Edge of Forever” and “Assignment: Earth.” Ferris was mentioned in “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” as a tyrant in the same class as Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Hitler, and Maltuvis (see Rise of the Federation).


While the Lieutenant Xon that David Gautreaux was slated to play in the cancelled Star Trek Phase II revival never made it into Trek canon, Captain Xon did, after a fashion — in on-set signage outside the Academy bridge simulator in The Wrath of Khan:


The new engineering workstations are those seen in TWOK, rented from the Modern Props company and seen in many other 1980s productions such as The Incredible Hulk, V, and Airplane 2: The Sequel. Whenever I saw them in another production, I recognized them from TWOK, and so I came to think of them as “the Wrath of Consoles.”


The discussion about advances in deflector technology is my attempt to reconcile the dual force field/deflector shield system depicted in TMP & TWOK (and my post-TMP novels) with the single system later used in the 24th-century series, which is called deflector shields but manifests as a single spheroidal bubble like the TMP-era force field, rather than the TMP version of deflector shields, which were meant to be multiple separate directional layers hugging the hull.


Starfleet: The Enterprise Chronicles is my riff on the idea suggested by Gene Roddenberry in his preface to the TMP novelization, in which he presented himself as a 23rd-century producer of an “inaccurately larger-than-life” account of the Enterprise’s adventures — justifying the changes between TOS and TMP by suggesting that TMP was a more accurate account subject to Admiral Kirk’s approval. Given how modern productions like Discovery and the Kelvin movies visualize 23rd-century technology and design in a radically different way than the original 1960s show was able to do, I’ve become more inclined toward Roddenberry’s tendency to interpret Star Trek as a dramatized approximation of the “real” events, true in the broad strokes but subject to inaccuracy and artistic license in the details. (After all, Roddenberry did get his start in Hollywood by adapting real police cases for Dragnet to dramatize. TOS was very like Dragnet in that it was framed by narration in the form of the lead character’s official reports on the depicted events.) It’s a handy way to cope with inconsistencies and implausibilities that are hard to reconcile if taken literally.

Of course, by calling it Starfleet: The Enterprise Chronicles rather than Star Trek, I’ve left it open to interpretation. Readers are still free to believe the “real” versions of the characters and events are the ones from TOS. But it’s an interesting idea to play around with.


The details about Sulu and Demora are derived from The Captain’s Daughter.

Chekov’s unfamiliarity with tie-ins is sadly plausible. Those of us who read and write tie-ins often fail to realize how obscure the concept is to the average person. Like most of my colleagues, I’ve often found myself having to explain the concept of tie-in fiction to people who have no idea how it works. (“So you write for the show?” “So they turn your books into episodes?” “Wait, you created Star Trek?” No kidding, I’ve actually gotten that one.)


The “fictional” tie-ins here are inspired by various classic Trek comics. In order:

I was amused by the thought that some of the more questionable Trek tie-ins could be justified as in-universe fiction based on the real thing.


The Agni and their use of subspace lensing are from The Captain’s Oath.

The Malachowski class was designed by John Eaves for Discovery. It’s quite similar in size and shape to a Miranda-class ship like the Reliant. One of the ships of the class seen in DSC was the Clarke, named for science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, so it’s an appropriate class for the Asimov (which I first mentioned in The Captain’s Oath).


Chapter Ten


The “climactic battle with the Tholians” is from Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack. My characterization of Terrell is partly informed by his portrayal in the Vanguard and Seekers series by Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore.


The character of Haru Yamasaki is one of my most direct Kamen Rider homages, inspired by Jun Yamasaki’s character of Toru Hojo in Kamen Rider Agito — an antagonistic figure within the police whose passive-aggressive condescension and politely worded insults rose to the level of an art form.


The idea that Chekov met Khan while leading the resistance in engineering was established by Allan Asherman in DC Comics’ Who’s Who in Star Trek, and previously referenced by me in Ex Machina and (IIRC) by Greg Cox in To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh.


The anecdote about the spelling-bee trophy actually happened to me in sixth grade, pretty much exactly as described here (except it was a second-place semifinal trophy). I do, in fact, still have it to this day, as it’s one of the only two trophies I’ve ever won:


Caution: Actual shelf may be more cluttered than shown.

The difference is that I eventually outgrew my humiliation and bitterness, not clinging to it into adulthood to the degree that Haru has. Well, mostly. I still feel I was robbed…


Chapter Eleven


The “knife to a gunfight” myth was explored by the Mythbusters in 2012:


Chapter Twelve


Reader Francesca Vassallo asked to be Tuckerized as a villain. I hope I didn’t go overboard with it.


The Andorian reproductive crisis was established in the Deep Space Nine post-finale novel series, particularly in books by Heather Jarman such as Mission Gamma: This Gray Spirit and Worlds of Deep Space Nine: Andor: Paradigm, and eventually resolved in Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony by Dayton Ward. Thelin is being overly optimistic about the time it will take to solve the crisis.

The Ware conflict is from Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic and Live by the Code. The Docana’s involvement at Ardan IV under Captain Senthofar ch’Menlich is from Live by the Code, though Ardan IV originated in The Klingon Art of War by Keith R.A. DeCandido. The ultimate conflict with Maltuvis remains unchronicled.


Kardia is named for the traditional Greek name for Regulus, Kardia Leontes (Heart of the Lion).

The species mix on Regulus is consistent with that established in The Captain’s Oath.


Chapter Thirteen


In The Captain’s Oath, the Asimov was named as an in-joke reference to the starship Searcher from season 2 of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which was commanded by Admiral Asimov. Captain Erin Blake is something of an homage to Erin Gray, who played Colonel Wilma Deering in Buck Rogers and was probably the best thing about the show (though she was wasted in season 2).


Chapter Fourteen


The Palmares is named for the Quilombo dos Palmares, a major settlement of escaped slaves that existed in Brazil as an independent state for most of the 17th century, repelling numerous conquest attempts by the Portuguese. It seemed appropriate, especially since Palmares’s warriors are sometimes claimed to have fought using the capoeira martial art, tying into the whole Kamen Rider theme.

The Chrysaor is named for the son of the Gorgon Medusa, who along with his brother, the winged horse Pegasus, was “born” from her neck (or from a drop of her blood) when Perseus decapitated her. And you thought Andorian reproduction was weird…

The Medusan ship design featured here is the one introduced in the new digital effects shots in the Star Trek Remastered edition of “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” See:

The Palmares is a Soyuz-class vessel, the same type as the contemporary U.S.S. Bozeman from TNG: “Cause and Effect.” It needs to extend a docking tunnel because the lateral sensor pods stick out too far to let it dock directly to the Enterprise’s hull.


Jaulas nd’Omeshef was introduced in The Captain’s Oath as one of Kirk’s fellow captains assigned to the patrol fleet based at Starbase 24 in the first year of Kirk’s captaincy. I made very little use of the character there, so I used him here to make up for that (although it doesn’t ultimately turn out too well for him — oops).


According to the Vulcan Language Dictionary site, mesuvulau is Vulcan for “transform” — or rather, for Henshin (変身), the traditional Kamen Rider transformation call (literally “change body/identity,” though the hen meaning “change” can also mean “strange”). I had to sneak in a “Henshin!” somewhere, but I didn’t want to make it too obvious, so I translated it to Vulcan.

The Probert Designs site featuring Andrew Probert’s concept art and matte paintings for ST:TMP, which I used to plot out the action in the cargo/hangar bay battle sequence, is unfortunately no longer online as of this writing, but can be accessed at the Internet Archive. Here are the pages containing the specific illustrations I was guided by:

Cargo Bay Design page 3

Landing Bay page 2, page 3


The following page contains multiple images of medieval Chinese lamellar armor, which was probably the most advanced armor in the world at that time, at least according to the article’s author:


The name “Cargo Management Unit” for the TMP-era craft traditionally known as work bees comes from a screen graphic in the remastered edition of TNG: “Coming of Age.”


Rather than trying to choose between the original and TOS Remastered versions of “Truth No Beauty”’s extradimensional space, I found a way to acknowledge them both.


Chapter Fifteen


The Enterprise’s first two departures from the galaxy (or at least the stellar disk) were in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and “By Any Other Name,” both of which are referenced repeatedly in the following discussion.


Yes, I am suggesting that Marvick’s accident was the basis for the Excelsior’s transwarp drive.

I have always assumed that the Enterprise passed through the barrier at the “edge of the galaxy” in order to enter the extradimensional space, since the FX footage of the barrier passage from the previous two episodes was used. That assumption shaped the storyline that’s about to be revealed. However, I subsequently realized that the actual dialogue doesn’t specifically mention the barrier, and it makes little sense that the edge of the galaxy would be so close to a ship traveling between Federation and Medusan space, even with a “transwarp” boost. Still, I was locked into my story at that point, so I fudged the issue by saying the ship was heading toward the barrier but didn’t necessarily reach it.


I’ve often heard it said that Spock was ruthless in the second pilot for recommending that Mitchell be killed. I’ve long felt that was a misreading of his intent, so I made a point of addressing it here.

It was nice that I was able to both make that point and use it as the explanation for how Spock and McCoy’s animosity began. I regretted that The Captain’s Oath didn’t let me show their first meeting, so I was glad to find a way to work in a reference to it this time.

The earliest version of the idea that inspired this novel was a proposal in which the force behind the New Humans turned out to be a revived Gary Mitchell, recovered from his near-death on Delta Vega and seeking revenge on Kirk. But in the decade-plus since then, stories about Mitchell’s recovery have been done more than once, for instance in Marvel’s Star Trek/X-Men crossover (in which Mitchell merged with the similarly godlike Marvel antagonist Proteus) and IDW’s Kelvin-timeline Boldy Go series (although I hadn’t yet read that storyline when I plotted this book). Thus, I decided to go in the other direction here and establish that the question had been definitively resolved right off the bat by Mitchell’s cremation.


The question of why Spock wasn’t affected by the barrier passage is another thing that I’ve thought about many times over the years. The real reason, of course, was that Spock’s psionic abilities hadn’t been established yet when the second pilot was made (he didn’t even get a species name until “Mudd’s Women”), but in retrospect it creates a continuity problem. I used to assume it was because of his Vulcan heritage — but then, if that was the reason, why wasn’t Miranda affected by (what I assumed to be) the barrier passage? Addressing these questions led me to the ideas about to be revealed in the story.


The concept of psionic individuals being targeted for extermination is influenced by the storyline of Kamen Rider Agito, written primarily by Toshiki Inoue. The Spectres are also somewhat influenced by the Imagin, created by Yasuko Kobayashi for Kamen Rider Den-O, one of the most beloved series in the franchise.


Chapter Sixteen


Euryale (pronounced “you-RYE-ah-lee”) was one of Medusa’s two immortal Gorgon sisters, Stheno being the other.


The description of the Class-J transport is, again, based on the TOS Remastered version seen in “Mudd’s Women,” “Operation — Annihilate!” and “The Way to Eden”:


The technobabble in the transporter sequence is based on actual terminology pertaining to error correction in quantum computing, as discussed at:

Quantum error correction nicely accounts for how a transporter signal can suffer heavy interference or degradation, yet still be reassembled into an intact traveler as long as the degradation doesn’t reach a critical level. It seems implausible, but QEC involves spreading information redundantly among multiple entangled qubits (quantum bits), so that the complete information can be recovered as long as enough qubits survive.


My intent was that only a small minority of humans would have Spectres within them, but then I remembered that in “Where No Man…,” the barrier killed nine Enterprise crew members and six aboard what was presumably the much smaller S.S. Valiant. Proportionally, that would come out to at least a couple of hundred million Spectre-bearing espers on Earth alone, which was far too high a percentage for my purposes. The only way to reconcile it was to assume that the casualties were false positives and only Mitchell and Dehner were genuine espers/Spectre hosts.


My editor Margaret was uneasy with the Spectres’ possession of unconsenting humans and encouraged me to explore the moral ambiguity more than I suggested in my original outline. This let me add texture by having DiFalco react negatively to the discovery while others like Miranda embraced it.


Chapter Seventeen


The blindingly bright, fluid universe is not the fluidic space inhabited by VGR’s Species 8472, just one with similar physics. The fungus-like network of strands is meant to be the mycelial network from Discovery, though presumably only Spock would recognize it as such and he wouldn’t say anything about it.

Spock’s statement about orbital stability in higher dimensions is only half-right, because my reference was not available online at the time I wrote the scene, so I had to rely on faulty memory. In 1920, physicist Paul Ehrenfest showed that stable orbits could not exist in higher than three spatial dimensions, because in four dimensions, gravity would drop off by an inverse-cube law instead of inverse-square (with successively higher-order dropoffs as you add dimensions), and thus would not be able to hold objects in steady orbits. The concept of 5-dimensional orbits is discussed on novelist/physicist Greg Egan’s homepage in connection to his novel Diaspora, specifically here:

As you can see on that page, though, while circular orbits could exist in 5 spatial dimensions, they would be unstable, like a ball rolling around the top of a raised ring. Any irregularity would cause it to “fall off” the orbital path, so an orbit could only be maintained artificially. Perhaps the 5D planet Spock comments on is an artificial construct?

Ceto was the mother of Medusa and the other Gorgons.


The way Meihua’s disembodied Spectre manifests, along with Meihua herself, is inspired by the striking depiction of the time-displaced entity from Kamen Rider Gaim known as the Woman of the Beginning (Hajimari no Onna), played by Yuumi Shida. Her brief “heels over head” glitch is an homage to another KR visual I found strikingly imaginative, the appearance of the disembodied Imagin in Den-O. I also couldn’t resist a nod to an actual “esper” character from tokusatsu, police detective Marika “Jasmine” Reimon from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger (the basis for Power Rangers S.P.D., though Jasmine’s American counterpart was not an esper).


Chapter Eighteen


Elysia is from TAS: “The Time Trap.” The Terran Empire is from “Mirror, Mirror,” and the Vulcan Consortium is an erroneous reference (my mistake — I don’t know how it happened) to the Vulcan Protectorate from Forgotten History.

However, the term “Terran Empire” was never actually spoken in “Mirror, Mirror” or in any of the DS9 Mirror Universe episodes. The earliest use of “Terran Empire” I can find is in the 1998 novel Spectre by William Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, followed by Susan Wright’s Dark Passions duology in 2001. Before then, it was always just “the Empire,” except in Diane Duane’s Dark Mirror, which called it the Earth Empire or the Empire of Earth. Its first canonical usage was in ENT: “In a Mirror, Darkly” in 2005. (Discovery has the bad habit of using “Terran” as if it were a unique identifier for Mirror humans, even though all prior Trek shows frequently used the word “Terran” to mean an Earth person from our universe, e.g. when the Vulcan children in “Yesteryear” taunted Spock as a “Terran,” or when “The Best of Both Worlds” referred to Sector 001 as “the Terran system.” This has been its standard usage in science fiction since at least the 1950s.)


The term “hovercruiser” for an antigrav motorcycle-equivalent vehicle comes from the 2009 Star Trek movie. This is another Kamen Rider nod; the reason for the “Rider” part is that they are traditionally motorcyclists.


Terrell told Khan in TWOK, “I’ve never even met Admiral Kirk!” Thus, I had to keep the Reliant separate from the Enterprise.


Chapter Nineteen


“You’re a hundred (or more) years too early to take me on” is a common Japanese saying that often crops up in tokusatsu and anime. It basically means you’re way out of your league, that you’d need a century more training to match the boaster’s skill (and thus could never actually achieve it).


Stheno: See p. 245 note.


“Bulk” is a term in brane cosmology for the higher-dimensional or more fundamental continuum in which various branes/universes reside. In which case I probably made an error by having Spock refer to “local bulk spacetime.”


Chapter Twenty


VGR often showed that Tuvok needed hours of meditation to prepare for a meld, while Spock was usually able to do it on the spur of the moment.

t’kam’la: See Forgotten History p. 199 note.


The nominal dissolution (or at least theoretical reform) of Section 31 occurred in 2257, at the end of season 2 of Discovery.


Chapter Twenty-One


Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony established that the Aenar were believed to have gone extinct in the late 23rd century, so it was necessary for them to stay behind and let the galaxy think they were dead. Indeed, that reference helped inspire this whole novel, when I was looking for events from the 2270s-80s that I could base a story on. I also wanted to explain why we’ve never seen a human telepath in the 24th-century shows, except for human hybrids with species like Vulcans or Betazoids.


Terrell’s comment about power and corruption is based on articles like this one:




“Eldman” is a name from Gary Mitchell’s personnel file in “Where No Man…,” although the name is clearly just filler (an anagram of “Delman” on Elizabeth Dehner’s file) and is apparently used interchangeably as both a street name and a place of birth. The presumption that Eldman is in New York (as opposed to some other interpretation of the “NEW” on the personnel file) comes from the My Brother’s Keeper trilogy by Michael Jan Friedman.

The Dimorus incident was mentioned in “Where No Man…,” while the Nacmor mission was featured in The Captain’s Oath.

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