Struggle Within Annotations

Typhon Pact: The Struggle WtihinThis document explains the continuity references, allusions, in-jokes, and scientific concepts contained in Typhon Pact: The Struggle Within (TSW).   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 numerous episodes, films, and novels from all Trek series, particularly the preceding Typhon Pact novels A Singular Destiny by Keith R.A. DeCandido, Seize the Fire by Michael A. Martin, Rough Beasts of Empire by David R. George III, Zero Sum Game by David Mack, and Paths of Disharmony by Dayton Ward.  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.


A lot of what motivated me in developing this story was a series of online debates about the significance of the Typhon Pact.  Several readers seemed to come away with the notion that the Pact was merely the next set of black-hat bad guys out to eradicate the Federation, which is a profound misunderstanding of how they were explained in A Singular Destiny.  The intent of the Pact’s creators, Keith R. A. DeCandido and Marco Palmieri, was not just to create a new enemy, but to take a number of mostly obscure alien civilizations and bring them into greater prominence so that they could be developed in more depth.  The idea was also to make them an analog for the early Federation — a group of species that had formerly been isolationist and even at odds with one another, but that came to recognize the value of cooperation and were trying to build a new coalition.  Naturally there would be different factions with different agendas, and as ASD and the Typhon Pact novels showed, there were some voices within the Pact pushing for a more belligerent stance toward the Federation while others were more moderate and concerned with domestic issues more than foreign policy.  The members of the Pact aren’t used to cooperation, and are very, very far from being united behind a single agenda.  What makes the Pact interesting is that there are so many different ways its future could develop.  It has the potential to become the next Federation, to embrace the benefits of cooperation and become a very positive force.  But there are those within it who see it merely as a path to power or selfish gain, and they could turn it in a negative direction.  As I see it, the story of the Typhon Pact isn’t about us (the Federation) versus them, but more about the internal battle for the soul of the Pact itself.

So that’s what I wanted to highlight here.  I wanted to explore the Pact’s internal divisions, its multiplicity of voices and agendas.  It seemed to me that the Pact was about evenly divided between militant voices (the Breen as portrayed in Zero Sum Game, the Tholians as portrayed in ASD and Paths of Disharmony) and moderate voices (the Romulans under Praetor Kamemor as established in Rough Beasts of Empire, and the Gorn, who — although their warrior caste was portrayed as hostile in Seize the Fire — have historically had good relations with the Federation and who, according to the Wildstorm Comics graphic novel The Gorn Crisis which is considered part of the novel continuity, actually owe the survival of their current government to Picard and Data).  RBoE portrayed the Tzenkethi as manipulative and suspicious of the Federation but primarily concerned with stability, so they could go either way.  That left the Kinshaya, whose isolationism (a handy explanation for their absence from the four TP novels) made them a neutral factor preserving the tenuous balance.  So if there were a movement within their culture that might tip the balance toward peace or war, that could prove pivotal to the future of the Pact and the Federation.

My primary model for the nonviolent resistance within Kinshaya society was the Indian independence movement under Gandhi, so it seemed natural to use Jasminder Choudhury as the focus character.  I established her as a serene individual who was very influenced by the peaceful philosophies of her South Asian heritage, but in the wake of losing her home and family in David Mack’s Destiny trilogy, she’d lost her peaceful center.  The struggle between peaceful and aggressive factions within the Kinshaya would serve not only as a microcosm and linchpin for the similar tensions within the Pact as a whole, but a parallel for Jasminder’s own internal struggle, and an opportunity to bring her some healing at last.

I was uneasy about having Starfleet Intelligence mount a secretive spy mission to try to influence events within the Pact.  That’s just the kind of paternalistic intervention that the Pact resents, and even with the stated goal of promoting a peace movement, it seems kind of hypocritical.  But it was the only way I could think of to set up the story I wanted to tell.

On the Talarian front, TNG’s “Suddenly Human” had established them as a patriarchy that marginalized its women, but parables about sexism on alien worlds are a dime a dozen and somewhat dated, so I wanted to do something different.  I tried to create a culture with a clear division of function in which both sexes played vital if non-overlapping roles.  And I think that’s been the case in human history more often than we generally believe, since the men were the ones writing the histories and defining what they did — war, politics, etc. — as intrinsically more important than what the women did — raising and educating children, managing families, handling family finances, etc.  But the truth is, those societies couldn’t function without those female responsibilities, and women often wielded great informal power through their responsibility for arranging marriages, controlling the purse strings, deciding what to teach their children, etc.  Talar is a society where the males think what they do is more important than what the opposite sex does, but the thing is, the females feel the same — that it’s their work with family and education and economics and keeping the machinery of society functional that’s really important, and that all the stuff the men do with politics and war and whatnot is just frivolous games.  And there’s precedent for view in a number of human societies I’ve read about, particularly pre-agrarian horticultural societies where it really was the women who did most of the important stuff.  The problems come when the men have the power to enforce their notions of superiority, to take control of both sides of the equation, and that’s the kind of imbalance that the Talarian females are trying to redress.

Some specific story notes follow.  The page numbers here are based on the galley pages I was sent, and might turn out differently on e-readers using customized fonts or text sizes.

Chapter Annotations

Chapter 1
1 The story begins on November 18, 2382.
2 Alrescha is Alpha Piscium, an A-type binary star in the constellation Pisces.  Star Trek Star Charts places it in Federation territory somewhat near Talarian space (just rimward of Cardassian space).  The star system has no other Trek-universe significance.
2-3 The events of TNG: “Suddenly Human” are summarized here.  Some viewers misinterpreted the episode, believing that Jono actually had been abused, so I felt it was important to clarify that issue from the start.
4 Worf’s diplomatic career began in the series finale of Deep Space Nine and was explored in several novels (notably Diplomatic Implausibility and A Time for War, A Time for Peace, both by Keith DeCandido) before he finally returned to Starfleet prior to Nemesis.
4-5 The Imperial Romulan State (a schismatic offshoot of the Romulan Star Empire introduced in Articles of the Federation by DeCandido) was reabsorbed in Rough Beasts of Empire.  Andor left the Federation due to Tholian manipulation in Paths of Disharmony.  The trade deal with the Kobheerians is an “offscreen” occurrence mentioned here for the first time.
6 The events involving ch’Lhren occurred in Paths of Disharmony.
7 The Vulcan term cthia (“reality-truth”, generally translated as “logic”) was introduced by Diane Duane in Spock’s World.
8 T’Ryssa is the only person who calls Choudhury “Jazz,” though some people call her “Jas” (with a soft S sound at the end).
9 The meditation lessons are from Greater Than the Sum, the debut of both Jasminder and T’Ryssa.  The death of Trys’s mother was established in Losing the Peace by William Leisner.
12 The relaxation of state control sparking pent-up revolution is a process seen in the Soviet Union following Premier Mikhail Gorbachev’s glasnost reforms, which led to the dissolution of the USSR in fairly short order.
13 “Hippie-griffs” is a pun on “hippogriff,” a hybrid of a griffin (or gryphon) and a mare, and a creature popularized by Harry Potter.  It might be a bit unreasonable that someone in the 24th century would know what a hippie was (or a peacenik, for that matter), but I couldn’t resist the pun.  Given that Trys was rather a rebellious youth herself, she may have sought out literature, art, or music from counterculture movements in history and learned about hippies that way.  As for Jasminder, she’s studied peace movements and spiritual awakenings from across the galaxy, so she’d probably recognize the reference.
The mention of a nonviolent revolution on Argelius is conjectural.  We know from TOS: “Wolf in the Fold” that Argelius II had a Great Awakening sometime in the 21st century, during which they gave up violence and transformed themselves into a peaceful society.  It’s reasonable to assume that nonviolent resistance was a key part of this process.
14 Spock’s Unification movement was decriminalized in RBoE.
Chapter 2
This chapter begins about six days after the previous one, spanning November 24-27.
16 Since the Talarians were a bumpy-headed warrior race, it seemed reasonable that they might be somehow related to the Klingons, perhaps through transplanting by some ancient spacefaring civilization (the Hurq, perhaps?).
17 Worf has indeed endured worse endings to his relationships.  Both his great loves, K’ehleyr and Jadzia, died.
Since we never saw a female Talarian onscreen, I was free to postulate that they were substantially smaller than the males.
18 The Talarians’ tactile taboos are extrapolated from their unwillingness to touch aliens in “Suddenly Human.”
19 It’s not clear, but the tall blonde protestor here is supposed to be Velet, the main resistance character featured later in the story.  I didn’t really have the opportunity to establish her name here, or to tie it together with later scenes, since Dr. Crusher isn’t present at this point in the story and she’s the viewpoint character for the later Velet scenes.  I hoped the description would be sufficient to suggest it.
Picard’s speech about the turbulent times provoking unrest on many worlds is my attempt to justify why two such similar movements are taking place simultaneously on unconnected planets.
20 Rennan Konya will be familiar to readers of my work; I created him for Aftermath and brought him aboard the Enterprise in Greater Than the Sum.
22 Lysistrata is the famous comedy by Aristophanes about a woman who persuades the women of Greece to withhold sex from their husbands in order to pressure them to end a war.  (Slightly NSFW image at the link, but it’s Wikipedia so it’s legit.)
28 In real life, knockout gas is a far more life-threatening weapon than it’s usually portrayed in fiction.  Recall the 2002 hostage crisis in a Moscow theater, where the knockout gas used by Russian forces to subdue the militants ended up killing over a hundred of their hostages.  If not administered in a carefully controlled dose, and if the patient isn’t closely monitored, any anaesthetic drug can be potentially fatal.  So I tried to justify how Starfleet’s anesthizine gas could be reliably nonlethal.  An antagonist in this sense is a drug that blocks the effects of another drug.  I’m assuming some kind of advanced antagonist that only kicks in once a certain dosage is reached, and is somehow able to calibrate itself for different-sized bodies, different metabolisms, etc. through some kind of chemical feedback.  I’m not sure that actually makes any medical sense, though.  (Perhaps it’s activated when blood oxygen levels fall below a certain point, or something?)
Chapter 3
30 This chapter spans roughly the same period as Ch. 2, beginning back on Nov. 24.  I decided the pacing worked better if I segregated the Kinshaya and Talarian stories into separate chapters, so there are a couple of places where the chronology isn’t quite linear.
Glintara was established in DS9: “In the Pale Moonlight” as the name of a sector in Romulan space, and as a planet in Star Charts and the novel Hollow Men by Una McCormack.
I wanted to have T’Ryssa say “I look like a menhir,” but I figured it was too obscure.
31 Star Charts establishes T’Met as a system near the Romulan border in the Glintara sector.
32 The “Ferengi saying” mentioned here is the 270th Rule of Acquisition, which I coined in “…Loved I Not Honor More.”
33 The possiblity of a romantic interest between Trys and Taurik was set up in Paths of Disharmony.
I named Janalwa as a reference to Jallianwalla Bagh in Amritsar, India, for reasons that will become evident later on.  The problem with the name is that whenever I typed it, my fingers thought I was writing “Janeway” and stuck a Y on the end from force of habit.
34 Travel time to Janalwa was about three days; the catacomb meeting is on the 27th.
Keith DeCandido’s A Singular Destiny established a Kinshaya hierarchy based on that of the Catholic Church.  Rather than go with “Pope” for the highest rank, I opted for the Latin Pontifex Maximus.  But Keith explained to me that Kinshaya females handled government and politics while males were military, so that meant the pontiff would be female, hence Maxima.  Apparently -ifex is a suffix that’s technically masculine but gender-neutral in practice.  (Rough Beasts of Empire established a male Kinshaya ambassador, but diplomatic and military roles could be linked as “external” affairs, both about interacting with outsiders.)
35 ASD gave limited description of the Kinshaya; the more detailed description here of their mammalian features, coloration, and hands is my own addition.  I gave them four fingers to match the four compass points of their circle-based theology.
Here’s what Keith DeCandido told me about ‘Aya in an e-mail dated April 24, 2011:

They say ‘Aya quite a bit. I adapted that from my karate studies. In the dojo, you always say “Osu,” which means respect. It’s a greeting, acknowledgment, opening, closing, expression of gratitude, and any number of other things. In the dojo, you can’t go wrong by saying “Osu.” ‘Aya works the same way.

I based my Kinshaya character names on a variant of the same pattern Keith used in ASD, but I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine that pattern.
37 I think “griffological” or “gryphological” would be more appropriate than “griffinological,” but I was concerned about clarity.
38 Surak’s Analects were established in Diane Duane’s novels and quoted in a chapter heading of Ex Machina.  The Kir’Shara was established in Enterprise‘s fourth season as the true writings of Surak, lost until the 2150s.  If Surak’s true writings were only known secondhand or in fragments until the Kir’Shara was found, then what are the Analects?  Well, the Analects of Confucius are second- or thirdhand accounts of Kong Fuzi’s teachings, mostly written by his pupils or their pupils decades after his death.  Perhaps the Analects of Surak are a similarly secondary source that served as the principal basis of Vulcan beliefs about Surak’s teachings prior to the recovery of the Kir’Shara. (I elaborate on this in Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic.)
The first rally is held on Nov. 28.
39 Trys’s curiosity about the effect of the Kinshaya’s beliefs on their development of astronomy is a reference to the equivalent problem in Western civilization: for many centuries, it was believed that heavenly bodies moved only in perfect circles, and it was not until Johannes Kepler proposed elliptical orbits that humans were able to gain a real understanding of orbital mechanics.
The creche-based structure of Kinshaya society also comes from Keith.
40 A line in Rough Beasts of Empire suggested that Kinshaya were comfortable in cooler temperatures than Romulans.
41 No idea what a reonmet is, besides being some kind of aggressive Romulan animal.  I think I was in a doctor’s waiting room when I wrote this part and I coined the name by taking fragments of magazine titles in my line of sight.
Chapter Four
46 This whole chapter is set on Nov. 28.
Dr. Tropp is a Denobulan physician who’s been Crusher’s assistant chief medical officer in the novels since A Time to Sow by Dayton Ward & Kevin Dilmore.
48 The Kevratas incident and the beginning of the Picard/Crusher romance are depicted in Death in Winter by Michael Jan Friedman.
52 The Tzenkethi’s appearance was established for the first time in Rough Beasts of Empire.
55 This Picard-Worf scene was suggested by my editor and works much better than my original idea, which was to have Picard arguing against a Starfleet admiral’s urgings to intervene.
59 Jono’s line that Admiral Rossa would “go to any lengths” to keep her family safe is a veiled reference (on my part, not Jono’s) to Rossa’s implied involvement with Section 31 in the novel Section 31: Rogue by Andy Mangels & Michael A. Martin.
61 The Talarian females’ objections to their government’s tax policies are not in any way intended to be a statement about American fiscal policy.  The two cultures and situations are very different.  And the females don’t object to taxation per se so much as Ronzel’s spending priorities — taking revenues that the females would use for education, social programs, etc. and reallocating them for military purposes.
Chapter Five
63ff The meeting in the catacombs is on November 29.  The second rally is the next day, on the 30th.
68 “Ghoc” is a Breen rank of my own invention, meant to correspond to a brigadier general (for reasons that will become evident shortly).
71ff The climactic events in Niamlar Circle were inspired by the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre in Amritsar, one of the most brutal acts committed by the British against the Indian resistance.  Ghoc Reyd’s name is derived from Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, the officer who ordered the massacre and showed no remorse for it afterward.
Chapter Six
77 This whole chapter actually takes place on the 29th, the day before the Niamlar Massacre.  But since the Talarian story is nominally the A plot, I figured its climax needed to come later in the story.
78 The assumptions made here about the Tzenkethi’s evolution and history are my own extrapolations based on what David R. George III established in RBoE.  It seemed logical to me that their bioluminescence and flexible bodies were adaptations for cave-dwelling, and this was consistent with their preference for enclosed spaces.
79ff I admit, it’s a bit awkward that the resolution of the hostage crisis happens off-camera.  But the real resolution of the storyline is about the question of whether Picard will or should intervene militarily, and I wanted to leave some suspense there.  I still wish I could’ve found a better way to structure this, though.
Chapter Seven
84 The final scene on Janalwa is on December 2, two days after the Massacre.
85 I regret that Ghoc Reyd’s death is so incidental.  I try never to treat death as a casual or irrelevant plot point.  But I had space limitations here.
86 The Enterprise scene is three days later, on December 5.  It’s six days after the end of the Talarian affair.
88-9 Presumably whatever’s going on in engineering that drew Picard away is the same thing occupying Taurik.  It’s probably nothing too serious, since Worf can spare the time for a chat with Jas.


  1. ED
    September 30, 2019 at 11:36 am

    One must admit to a certain fascination with the Talarians – the major reason, other than your name being attached to it, that I purchased this work – based on my suspicion that their highly Patriarchal culture, xenophobic tendencies and highly competitive attitude would make them a useful vehicle for stories that showed how a ‘Modern’ (arguably post-Modern and more properly Futuristic) Democracy like the Federation might interact with a quite literally Classic Democracy like Ancient Athens.

    While the Talarian culture’s apparently state-sponsored upbringing of males suggests a barrack-based system comparable to Lycurgan Sparta or Shaka Zulu’s impis it does strike me that the Talarian Republic might be more interesting as the sort of civilisation Plato would have approved of (populated by the sort of muscular thinkers who would doubtless enjoy chess-boxing matches and likely regard ‘mere’ females – along with many others in the Galaxy – with a lordly condescension).

    With that in mind I was pleased to see your mention of Lysistrata and a little bit sorry you didn’t really have room to dive further into comparisons between Talaria & the Hellenistic World (I’d have loved to see the Talarian Commander-in-Chief have to deal with a gimlet eyed council of Elders like the Spartan ephors, for instance; while Hellenic poets sang “Always be the Bravest, always be the Best, excelling other men” their politicians tended to experience regular attacks of the Tall Poppy Syndrome).

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: