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The Lost Era: One Constant Star (Star Trek) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 27. Mai 2014

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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

David R. George, III, has contributed to the Pact saga with Rough Beasts of Empire, and he has written more than a dozen articles for Star Trek Magazine. His work has appeared on both the New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller lists.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Star Trek: The Lost Era: One Constant Star

1


As Enterprise approached the shrouded world, Captain Demora Sulu leaned forward in the command chair and studied the image on the main viewscreen. The second of seven planets in the unexplored Rejarris system, the dun-colored orb looked lifeless and uninviting, despite that it floated along the inner edge of the star’s circumstellar habitable zone. Clouds ensphered the globe, completely obscuring its surface. To Sulu, it resembled the second planet in Earth’s own solar system, Venus, and as with that desolate world, the captain expected sensors to describe an arid wasteland, with an atmosphere composed mostly of carbon dioxide, and ground-level temperatures in excess of four hundred degrees Celsius.

“We’ve achieved standard orbit,” reported Ensign Torsten Syndergaard from his position at the helm.

“Initiate planetary scans,” ordered the ship’s first officer, Xintal Linojj, who stood to the captain’s right. The Boslic woman maintained a workstation on the starboard curve of the circular bridge, but during the course of active operations, she often vacated her panel and took up a position beside the command chair. “Take a set of basic readings,” she went on. “Identify anything out of the ordinary that might warrant further study.” Sulu and her crew concentrated their survey of previously unvisited solar systems on those that would supply something new to the Federation’s body of knowledge. Such contributions typically came when they encountered alien life or discovered something scientifically unusual, but when they found nothing more than common stars and empty planets, they simply collated fundamental data about the astronomical objects and moved on in their journey.

“Aye, sir, scanning,” replied Lieutenant Commander Borona Fenn. Sulu glanced to her left, over to where the Frunalian woman crewed the primary sciences station. As Fenn worked her controls, her eltis—the flesh-covered sensory appendage that extended upward from her brow, across her hairless head, and down her spine—rippled slowly, like the forward edge of a wheat field beneath the soft breath of an autumnal breeze.

“Continue monitoring for interstellar transmissions and executing long-range scans,” Linojj said. She looked aft, past the command chair, toward the freestanding console on the raised, outer ring of the bridge, and Sulu followed her gaze. On one side of the console, Ensign Hawkins Young manned the communications station, while on the other, Commander Tenger kept watch at tactical. “We need to know if anyone enters the neighborhood.”

Although Linojj did not specify the Tzenkethi Coalition by name, she didn’t need to: on their open-ended exploratory mission, the Enterprise crew had taken their ship into an unclaimed, unaligned region of space that, although distant, measured closer to the borders of the Coalition than to those of the Federation or any other known warp-capable power. Aware of the notorious territoriality and belligerence of the Tzenkethi, Starfleet Command had instructed Sulu to avoid not only a confrontation with them, but any contact at all. In the ten months Enterprise had traveled the sector, the crew had detected only two Tzenkethi vessels, both of them civilian, and which they’d given a wide berth.

After Young and Tenger acknowledged their orders, Sulu leaned toward her first officer. “Somehow, I doubt we’ll be seeing the Tzenkethi around here,” she told Linojj. “This star and these planets won’t appeal to the Coalition any more than they do to us.” With an unexceptional main-sequence sun, five conventional gas giants, and only two terrestrial worlds—both of which appeared unsuited in the extreme for humanoid life—the Rejarris system would offer little in the way of valuable resources, and its remoteness meant that it lacked any sort of strategic worth.

“You’re probably right, but it’s difficult to know with the Tzenkethi,” Linojj said. “They might show up just because we’re here.”

Sulu nodded her understanding. “They do sometimes seem preoccupied with the Federation, don’t they?”

Before Linojj could respond, Lieutenant Commander Fenn spoke up. “Captain,” she said, and in just the single word, Sulu could hear surprise in the science officer’s voice. “Sensors are reading a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere.”

Sulu looked to Linojj, whose deep-set eyes widened beneath the smooth, protruding ridges of her brow. “Is it breathable?” the first officer asked.

“Yes, but . . .” Fenn started, but then she operated her controls once more. Finally, she turned toward the center of the bridge. While the science officer peered at the captain with one of her eyes, Sulu saw that her other remained trained on her displays—an initially disconcerting sight back when Fenn had first joined the crew, but to which the captain had long ago grown accustomed. The eyes of Frunalians functioned independently of each other, and the organization of their brains allowed the concurrent processing of both sets of visual information. “Surface temperatures are near or below freezing almost all across the planet.”

The unanticipated readings gave Sulu pause. Where she had expected a poisonous atmosphere and unrelenting, lethal heat, sensors found non-toxic air and wintry conditions. An explanation began to percolate in her mind, an intuition, but she pushed it away in favor of waiting for concrete information to tell the story. “What about life signs?”

“Indeterminate,” Fenn said. “There appears to be some sort of substrate within the planet’s land masses that interferes with biosensors.” She turned fully back to her station and worked her controls again. “But I’m reading ports on bodies of water, and ships in those ports. There are buildings . . . what look like towns and cities . . . connected by complex road and transit systems.”

“Captain,” said Tenger, “there are a number of artificial satellites in low orbit.”

Sulu spun her chair to face the security chief. Standing on muscular legs, the stocky Orion had broad shoulders and a barrel-shaped chest. “Has the Enterprise been detected?” Sulu asked him.

“Negative,” Tenger said. “We have not been scanned. Sensors show that most of the satellites are configured for communications, and possibly for global positioning, but regardless, I’m reading no signal traffic to or from any of the devices.”

“And there’s no indication of warp travel in or around the system?” Sulu wanted to know.

“No, sir,” Tenger said. “At least not recently.”

Sulu turned her chair forward again. “So we know that the civilization here has begun to reach out from their world into space. They’ve sent satellites into orbit, but we’ve explored most of this solar system and seen no evidence that they’ve developed interplanetary, much less interstellar, travel.” Speaking to her first officer, she asked, “Recommendations?”

“Under normal circumstances, I’d suggest transporting a landing party down to an uninhabited location so that they could gather more detailed readings on both the planet itself and the people who live on it,” Linojj said. Starfleet’s Prime Directive barred interference with pre-warp...


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