TNG: Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within
An original e-novella in the acclaimed Typhon Pact series! The Enterprise-E is on a diplomatic mission to the Talarian Republic, the last holdout in the Federation’s efforts to expand the Khitomer Accords in response to the emergence of the Typhon Pact. In the wake of Andor’s recent secession, the Federation is more concerned than ever with strengthening its alliances. The Talarians have been a tenuous potential partner at best, given the history of conflict and mistrust between them and the Federation. But the negotiations between Picard and the Talarians are disrupted by a growing public protest of those who are demanding greater rights—and before long, it becomes clear that the dissidents are not limiting themselves to nonviolent means….
Meanwhile, Jasminder Choudhury and T’Ryssa Chen go undercover on the capital world of the reclusive Kinshaya to investigate a different kind of dissident movement that could shift the tenuous balance of power within the Pact and tip the scales toward peace or war.
- “Bennett provides a timely story, inspired by very recent real world events, combined with an accessible yet still alien background… that completely engages the reader…. ‘The Struggle Within’ is truly the best story of the five… and an outstanding conclusion to the series….” — Robert Lyons, TrekMovie.com
- TrekMovie’s Best Short Story/Novella of 2011!
Back when the Star Trek: Typhon Pact miniseries was first being developed, I was one of the first authors invited to participate, but I was soon offered a competing opportunity to write the first tie-in novel to the new continuity introduced by the 2009 Star Trek motion picture (although it later ended up being the second one scheduled for release). That was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and I was told that the scheduling wouldn’t allow me to do both, so I gave up my Pact participation to write the Abramsverse novel that was called Seek a Newer World. But then the Pact books got delayed, so I maybe could have done one after all, but someone else had already been given the gig, and I needed to devote the time to an original novel project anyway. And then the Abramsverse novels got cancelled for whatever reason. So in retrospect, passing up the Typhon Pact gig may not have been the right choice after all (although it was a lot of fun writing an Abramsverse novel, even if it never sees print).
Fortunately, the Typhon Pact miniseries did so well that Simon & Schuster decided they wanted an additional entry, a novella-length e-book which they could use to test the waters in the electronic market again (now that e-books have become a lot more widely read than they were when S&S previously published original Trek e-novellas). And I was pleased to be the one invited to write it, so that I could finally contribute to the series after all.
It also gave me the opportunity to fill a gap. The Typhon Pact has six members: the Romulans, Tholians, Breen, Gorn, Tzenkethi, and Kinshaya (an enemy of the Klingons first mentioned in John M. Ford’s classic novel The Final Reflection and finally shown and developed in Keith R. A. DeCandido’s A Singular Destiny, the book that introduced the Typhon Pact). The four Typhon Pact novels focused on the Romulans and Tzenkethi in Rough Beasts of Empire by David R. George III, the Breen in Zero Sum Game by David Mack, the Gorn in Seize the Fire by Michael A. Martin, and the Tholians in Paths of Disharmony by Dayton Ward. So the Kinshaya were the one Pact member still in need of a focus story. Meanwhile, according to A Singular Destiny, the Federation had invited the Klingons, Ferengi, Cardassians, and Talarians (from TNG: “Suddenly Human”) to participate in talks for an expansion of the Khitomer Accords. I figured if I was going to focus a plotline on the least-explored member of the Pact, I should also do one focusing on the least-explored member of the potential Accord expansion, namely the Talarians. Since prior novels had established Endar from “Suddenly Human” as the Talarian ambassador to the Federation, that let me follow up on the events and characters of that episode.
This gig came to me at the height of the Arab Spring, when nonviolent resistance had successfully brought down the oppressive government in Egypt. I wanted to do a story celebrating the power of nonviolent resistance, and the theocratic state Keith had given the Kinshaya in ASD seemed like a good target for such a revolt. The subject matter let me focus on Enterprise security chief Jasminder Choudhury, a character whose debut came in my earlier novel Greater Than the Sum, and address some issues that I felt her character arc in intervening novels had raised. It was also a chance to revisit the character of T’Ryssa Chen, the contact specialist I created in GTTS, and give her the kind of alien-contact/diplomatic mission she’s trained for but has had little opportunity to pursue in the intervening books.
Of course, I realized that to make the story marketable, it would need to focus on more than just characters and races created for the novels; hence the parallel storyline with Picard, Worf, and Crusher dealing with another bout of social unrest in the Talarian Republic. That’s nominally the A story of the novella for promotional purposes, though in my mind it’s the B story, with the Kinshaya tale being more important to the overall Typhon Pact narrative. (The official blurb doesn’t even mention the Kinshaya plot. The second paragraph of the blurb above is my own unofficial addition.) Given that “Suddenly Human” established the Talarians as a strongly patriarchal society, I called on some of the things I learned in my history studies about women’s movements and the subtle kinds of power that women can informally wield in societies that formally marginalize them.
Some early online references to this novella called it “Civil Disobedience,” which was a placeholder title I suggested for the paperwork, but that I replaced less than a day later with my preferred title, The Courage of Conscience. But that title wasn’t deemed exciting enough, so we ended up with The Struggle Within.