Wednesday 22 February 2012

Review: The Struggle Within

So back in October the latest book in the Typhon Pact series came out, The Struggle Within, a TNG story, by perhaps my favourite Trek author no less, Christopher L. Bennett. Yet it wasn't until today that I finally got around to reading it. I don't have an e-reader or tablet of any variety, and the one and only other time I tried an ebook, I found the program I used on my laptop a complete pain. Thankfully (once I finally gave in to temptation) my chosen program this time around, the desktop version of Amazon's kindle, was much friendlier. Not quite as easy as holding a book, but nice and easy to read off my laptop screen in comfort. So ebook issues aside, how was the book:

This novella has two stories, which provide a pleasing symmetry as we see complementary tales from the Khitomer and Typhon sides of the political divide. One deals primarily with Picard, Crusher, and Worf, as the Enterprise is sent to visit the Talarians. The other features the newer TNG relaunch characters Jasminder Choudhury and T'Ryssa Chen, on a secret mission to deal with the Kinshaya. Also in the mix are Romulans, Breen, and Tzenkethi, leaving just the Gorn that don't make an appearance from the Typhon Pact species.

At novella length Bennett has tried to squeeze a lot of story in here, and so it sometimes feels a little fast - I imagine given the opportunity, this could have been expanded into a full novel. I am glad it wasn't though, as I really enjoyed the television episode pacing and structure; if TNG was suddenly renewed for TV, with the new novel characters added in, I could easily imagine this as an episode, working in the finest Star Trek tradition to explore very contemporary issues (the "Arab Spring", which both influenced, and is referenced to in this story) and the strength of the ideology of our Federation heroes, and the hope they give to those they touch.

I've been developing a new love for TNG since the recent post-Nemesis series really got going (Q and A onwards, I'm happy to forget Death in Winter and Resistance), and that continues here, with my two favourite new crew members, Choudhury and T'Ryssa, getting half the story to themselves. I particularly enjoy T'Ryssa's relationship with Picard, and was in stitches towards the end of story when the two share a scene. I found the humour that T'Ryssa in-particular brings to the new TNG crew especially valuable here, as a balance to the quite dark political struggles seen in this story.

I feel Bennett might be best known for his hard science take on Trek; there wasn't really a place for that in this story, but his usual humour, and skills in world building and character development shine as ever. I'm sure the science quota will more than be made up for with Forgotten History later this year.

So would I endure another ebook after that? Absolutely! I really enjoyed the snappy pace of this story, and would be very happy to see Simon and Schuster bring out more Trek e-novellas on a regular basis. I might even be tempted to invest in a kindle or some such thing if they did (and then I'd have something to read the now ebook-only (ish) Stargate novel series). Which begs the question, nearly half a year later, where is the next Trek ebook?

Sunday 19 February 2012

STO prequel story

The Star Trek Online team have posted another little prequel story, to supplement the next Feature Episode. Prelude to The 2800: Of Bajor:
Dearest Neka,

I'm so glad that you are enjoying your time at the Calash Monastery. I visited there several years ago for a retreat during the Days of Atonement, and it is a place of peace and beauty.

I remember my last trip there. It would be good to walk the quiet mountain paths again, to wander the gardens and to hear the chimes calling the monks to prayer.

Is Ranjen Epen still there? If he is, tell him I miss our talks!

If you will be there through the summer, perhaps I will visit. It has been too long since I saw my little sister and we have so much to talk about!

If the Prophets are kind, by the summer things will be quieter here in Hathon.

By now, I'm sure you've heard of the attack on Deep Space Nine. What you may not know is that Starfleet has evacuated most of the station's crew and residents to Bajor.

We are once again at the heart of a war. May the Prophets preserve us all.

What you may not know, however, is that Hathon is now home to all of the Starfleet officers and station residents who were misplaced by the attack.

These people are so brave, Neka. They are determined to return to DS9, but they are wounded in both body and soul. I hope they can return to their home without further difficulty.

Accommodating our guests, however, has not been without difficulty.

Bajor is part of the Federation now, but there are still Bajorans who are uncomfortable with the transition. They see our young people leaving to join Starfleet and unfamiliar faces in our streets and shops. The farmers and shopkeepers fear that people will buy replicators and not want katterpods and moba fruit any more.

More than anything, I think some people fear our world has changed too much, too fast. The Bajor of our fathers and grandfathers is gone, and it will never return.

Adding to this disquiet is the presence of the Starfleet – and Klingon – officers in our small town. Hathon was scarred deeply by the Occupation, and there are many here who still remember. All those old fears are coming back, and I have had many conversations with people who are scared that the past will repeat itself.

These fears are baseless, of course. The Starfleet officers have been nothing but gracious, and have done all they can to make this transition as comfortable as they can. But fear is the enemy of logic, and even explaining that Starfleet is here to help is not enough for a few.

My services are full these days. Adversity always draws people to the Prophets. Their love is all-encompassing, and I have faith that they will protect Bajor now, as they have done so often in the past.

I only have a few moments before my next service, so I must leave now to prepare.

May the Prophets be with you, my sister. Be well and remember Hathon in your prayers.

With love,


Saturday 18 February 2012

Latest Full Circle fleet images

Mark Rademaker has posted on his twitter feed, his latest work-in-progress image of the USS Voyager refit, showcasing the sleek new saucer, optimised for slipstream drive:

He also recently posted a new view of the Merian class, show how the mission pods connect, and showing the vertical warp nacelle variant being used for the USS Hawking.

Follow Mark's twitter and blog for all the latest on the Full Circle feet.

Cross Cult's Worlds of DS9: Bajor

Hot on the heels of the first four Worlds of DS9 covers to be released, here is the cover for Cross Cult's fourth book in the series, Bajor (Bajor: Fragments and Omens):

Just Andor left now; I wonder if we'll get a new portrait of Shar, or new view of Andor.

Friday 17 February 2012

More details of Cold Equations

8of5 cover mock up
David Mack has posted on his blog some more details of his forthcoming TNG 25th anniversary trilogy, Cold Equations. Describing the structure of the trilogy:
Unlike the Star Trek Destiny trilogy, which was one epic story split across three volumes, Cold Equations will comprise three separate novels that are set during a brief span of time (a few months), and share a cast of characters, a number of themes, and some narrative subplots.
One of those themes also inspired the title of the trilogy:
...each of the three stories hinges on a moment in which one or more characters must make terrible moral or ethical choices, weighing the cost of one life, or a few lives, against those of many more, or deciding how much — and who — they are willing to sacrifice for the sake of victory.
He also posted slightly longer descriptions of each novel, revealing more plot details and appearances from familiar characters:
Book One of the trilogy, which is written and now with the editor, is The Persistence of Memory, and it will put the Enterprise crew at the forefront of an effort to stop the Typhon Pact from exploiting stolen Soong-type android technology as a weapon of war.

In Book Two, Silent Weapons, Captain Picard and his crew must protect Federation President Nan Bacco when it becomes clear she has been targeted for assassination. However, in the course of their mission, the Enterprise crew discovers that there might be an even greater conspiracy lurking behind the assassination plot.

In Book Three, The Body Electric, the Enterprise crew is brought to the center of the Milky Way by an old friend — Traveler and former shipmate Wesley Crusher — to try to stop a massive sentient machine whose mysterious labors threaten the future of every civilization in the galaxy.
Sounds good to me! I wonder if any familiar Soong-types might make an appearance.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Cross Cult's Worlds of DS9

Cross Cult have announced they will be releasing their German translation for the Worlds of Deep Space Nine series as six individual novels, rather than three anthologies of two, like the original English versions. All six are currently scheduled for release from July to November this year (with two volumes coming in October). They have so far released two new Martin Frei covers for the series, Book One: Cardassia - Die Lotusblüte (Cardassia: The Lotus Flower), and Book Three: Trill - Unvereinigt (Trill: Unjoined).


UPDATE: Book Five: Ferenginar - Zufriedenheit wird nicht garantiert (Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed) cover too:

UPDATE 2: Book six: Dominion (Dominion: Olympus Descending):

Meanwhile Cross Cult have also revealed the final format for their Crucible poster, which they will be giving away with orders of their books:

2013 TNG calendar too?

Amazon have a listing up for a fifth Star Trek calendar for 2013, the Star Trek: The Next Generation 2013 Official Calendar, which it says is coming from ML Publishing in July. The only detail other is to specify it as a 25th anniversary calender, which is sort of is, being published in the 25th anniversary year, but the actual calendar year is the 26th year of TNG.

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #5 retail incentive cover

TrekMovie's review of this week's fifth issue of the Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes series reveals the latest retail incentive cover, this time featuring Sulu and Chameleon Boy:

Tuesday 14 February 2012

New DST Trek toys from the Toy Fair

Diamond Select Toys have previewed a couple of new Star Trek toys at the recent Toy Fair. The next in their retro cloth range appears to be a mirror universe set, featuring Kirk and Spock:

And we have a return for Star Trek minimates, with a minimatised USS Enterprise:

Official details on the Doctor Who crossover

IDW have officially announced their Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover, Assimilation2, which they describe as follows:
Launching in May, STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION2 will feature fan-favorite villains the Borg and the Cybermen as they create an unholy alliance resulting in potential disaster for all humanity. Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise find themselves joining forces with the Doctor and his companions, with the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance.
The series will be eight issues long! Which, apart from Star Trek ongoing, is the longest Trek series IDW have ever released. As previously reported artwork will by J.K. Woodward, while the story comes from Scott and David Tipton, with some involvement from regular Doctor Who writer Tony Lee as well.

You can read the full press release on the 8of5 Archive.

Monday 13 February 2012

IDW's Star Trek comics for May has posted details of IDW's Star Trek comics in May. They allude to the Doctor Who crossover, but promise details on that later. Bleeding Cool meanwhile have got some more details on the crossover though; they say it will be titled Assimilation, and (amazingly) will have a Borg/Cybermen crossover! It will be written by the Tipton Brothers, with art by J.K. Woodward (which sounds good to me!).

The rest of May's releases are the next issue in Star Trek (ongoing), which returns use to TOS episode adaptations, and the next Classics omnibus:

Star Trek (ongoing) #9
Star Trek #9 continues the buildup to the Star Trek sequel with a re-imagining of the TOS episode “The Return of the Archons,” as Kirk, Spock and their Enterprise crewmates seek to find a lost Starfleet ship that just might hold important clues to the Federation’s future. Mike Johnson wrote the story, while Stephen Molnar provided the art, Tim Bradstreet and Joe Phillips handled the covers, and Roberto Orci, producer-writer of Star Trek (2009) and the in-production sequel, oversaw the project.

Encounters With the Unknown
Star Trek Classics, Vol. 3: Encounters with the Unknown gathers together a quartet of Voyager adventures. The titles include “False Colors,” “Avalon Rising,” “Elite Force” and “Planet Killer.” Among the writers whose work is featured are Nathan Archer, Janine Ellen Young, Doselle Young, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Kristine Kathryn Rusch & Dean Wesley Smith, while artists include Jeffrey Moy, David Roach and Robert Teranishi, and the cover is by Drew Struzan.

Star Trek towels has announced a new range of Star Trek towels, loosely based on TOS uniforms (including Huge deltas). They look like this:

Meanwhile it seems a long version of the red Star Trek bath robe has been added to the range, for all those engineers and security guards out there to lounge in:

Sunday 12 February 2012

2013 Star Trek calendars

Amazon now has listings up for the four Star Trek calendars for 2013, coming from new Star Trek calendar publisher Rizzoli (or more specifically their imprint Universe Publishing). All four are listed for August release. Covers and descriptions from Amazon below:

Ships of the Line
A longtime favorite among serious Trekkers and casual fans alike, Star Trek 2013 Wall Calendar: Ships of the Line gives Star Trek features spectacular illustrations of the ships and vessels from the various series, films, and Starfleet history. Each spread takes the viewer into the very heart of the Star Trek universe.

* Twelve beautifully rendered illustrations feature all the action, drama, and painstaking detail by fan-favorite illustrators.

* Great moments from Star Trek history--famous battles, first encounters, and early milestones in interstellar travel--are brought to vivid life by these dedicated, passionate illustrators.

* The unique horizontal format maximizes the image space without sacrificing practicality or detail.

* Bonus poster included!

The Original Series
Led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), first officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and chief medical officer Dr. Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), the original adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise have inspired an entire universe of television series, blockbuster films, novels, and games.

* Featuring full-color photos of the entire original cast, including Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Lieutenant Sulu (George Takei), Ensign Chekov (Walter Koenig), and Mr. Scott (James Doohan).

* Sleekly designed with the original series’ s iconic retro-futuristic inspiration, this calendar makes a cool, sci-fi addition to any home, office, dorm room, or work space.

* Bonus poster included!

Daily Calendar
The sci-fi fanatic's ultimate calendar, Star Trek Captain's 2013 Day-to-Day Calendar features quotations from each of the franchise's television series and films, lore from the Star Trek universe, and trivia from over four decades of Trekker mania.

* Covering all things Star Trek, the Star Trek Captain's 2013 Day-to-Day Calendar offers a daily glimpse of an exciting, ever-expanding futuristic universe--sure to enliven any cubicle, desk, or work space.

* Fans will find iconic lines including "I'm a doctor, not a magician" (Dr. McCoy) and lore, including how the Romulans are related to the Vulcans.

Captain's Log
One of the true hallmarks of the entire franchise, the captain's log has played an iconic role in every Star Trek series and film.

* The Star Trek Captain's Log 2013 Engagement Calendar is a 16-month engagement-style calendar that features images, quotations, and reflections from all of the Star Trek captains, including Captains Kirk and Sulu (the original series and later films), Jean-Luc Picard (The Next Generation), Benjamin Sisko (Deep Space Nine), Kathryn Janeway (Voyager), and Jonathan Archer (Enterprise).

* Smartly designed, with a sleek, futuristic look, this calendar is perfect for captivate casual fans and die-hard Trekkers alike.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Details of David Mack's next trilogy: Cold Equations

The latest issue of the Star Trek Magazine includes a run down of this year's novel releases, which finally reveals titles and descriptions for David Mack's TNG trilogy, which is to be titled Cold Equations. Here's the descriptions of each book in the trilogy:
In Book I: The Persistence of Memory, Picard and the Enterprise crew try to stop the Typhon Pact from raising an army of androids. Book II: Silent Weapons sees the Enterprise crew race to avert the assassination of the Federation president - only to confront an even greater conspiracy. Finally, in Book III: The Body Electric, Picard and his crew must stop a massive sentient machine from unleashing a catastrophe that will exterminate all organic life in the galaxy.
David Mack promises life changing events for the TNG crew, and to once again set the stage for their continuing adventures. The article suggests the trilogy will be out from October to December. However the recently revealed Typhon Pact novel Brinkmanship, is currently in the October slot but is not listed in the magazine article; so perhaps this late addition to the schedule might push the trilogy back a month?

The article includes descriptions and comments from the authors for all of the rest of this years novels, as well as an illustrated extract from the recently release TOS novel The Rings of Time.

Aside from novel news, this issue of the magazine is focused on espionage in Star Trek, and is also the final edition from the editor Paul Simpson.

STO prequel story

The latest Star Trek Online blog post takes the form of an in-universe prequel of sorts to the new feature episode series. So have a read of Prelude to The 2800: Second Wave:
Personal Log, Lieutenant Commander C'thal, Starbase 375

My team has completed our analysis of the Jem'Hadar vessel – a 35-year-old mystery found floating derelict in a system two light years from nowhere. Another team is investigating what happened to the crew. I think their working theory involves a quantum anomaly.

Our job was to find out all we could about the ship itself.

At this point, I'm not sure what to tell Admiral Sola. That's not a position I like. The admiral looks to the Starfleet Corps of Engineers to solve any problem. I'm used to being able to give her what she wants.

We've confirmed that this vessel is from the Dominion War. Quantum dating puts its construction somewhere around stardate 51133, and analysis of the materials used in its construction turned up trace energy signatures that are only found in ships created at the Dominion shipyards in the Rakhar sector.

Every Jem'Hadar ship that Starfleet has found derelict – and there were dozens scattered across seven sectors – is from the same fleet. We're assuming that the ones the Klingons found in their space are connected, but they haven't been inclined to share technical data with their enemies. I can't say I blame them.

At least I know where this "ghost fleet" came from. The neutrinos detected by the Belfast when they found this ship in the Enocha system were the key. At first I thought that they indicated that there was a cloaked ship in the region, but it didn't make sense. If the ship was there as bait for some trap, then whoever placed it there wouldn't have simply let us haul it away.

Besides, these ships found over a six-week period, and neutrinos were detected on all of them. That's a heck of an operation – I don't know of anyone who could have pulled that off.

Anyone on a cloaked ship, that is. The neutrinos had to come from somewhere. We looked at coded neutrino pulses, searched for neutrino fields in the systems where the ships were found – I even asked the Belfast to go back to where it found the ship and search for signs of null space. Lieutenant Commander Tem, the Belfast's science officer, argued that null space only develops during the formation of star systems and that the Enocha system was far too stable for their creation. She was right, of course, but by then I was grasping at straws.

Tem was the one who finally figured out the mystery of the neutrinos. They came from a wormhole. More specifically, they came from the Bajoran wormhole. Great!

But solving that mystery just brought up more questions. How did that ship get from the wormhole to the Enocha system? Why didn't DS9 detect any unusual activity from the wormhole in the time period in which the ships appeared?

And why would the Bajoran wormhole start spitting out Dominion ships?

It's safe to assume that the appearance of the ships is a temporal anomaly. We know that the wormhole contains large amounts of verteron nodes. Maybe there is some variation in the nodes that caused the temporal anomalies? Does that mean the wormhole is destabilizing?

Lieutenant Commander Tem is from Bajor, so I asked her if she had any insights. She doesn't think the wormhole is in danger of destabilizing, but recommended that DS9 send out a runabout to do a proton scan anyway.

Like I said, I was reaching for any explanation at this point, so I started searching old logs from the Dominion War. Took me about six hours, but I found something.

During Operation Return in 2374, there was a report that a wave of Dominion reinforcement ships passed a listening post in the Gamma Quadrant and then entered the wormhole, but never came out. Could these ships be from that fleet? And if they are, what happened to the rest of them?

As far as I can find, the U.S.S. Defiant was the only Federation vessel in range of the Dominion ships. I've requested her sensor logs and battle reports, but a lot of them are still classified.

If I can't get the files through official channels, maybe there is another way. The Old Man was on the Defiant that day. If anyone knows what happened, he will.

Friday 10 February 2012

Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover coming in May!!!

So, one of my Star Trek dreams is coming true: According to Bleeding Cool, IDW will be starting a Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover comic series in May, which will feature and encounter between the eleventh doctor and the crew of the Enterprise-D. Here's the first cover art released for the series:

Currently you can't get the IDW Doctor Who comics in the UK, due to some licensing issue. I hope this series is exempt from that annoying rule!

Fingers crossed next on the parade of Trek crossovers from IDW (Infestation, Legion of Super-Heroes and now Doctor Who!) will be something with Jurassic Park!

New movie game pushed back to release next to film

Namco Bandai has been announced as the publishing partner for the new Star Trek video game, which has, as one expected, been pushed back from release this year, to early 2013, to tie-in with the release of the new movie. The game might also have a title of sorts, as seem to be referring to it as Star Trek: The Video Game. You can read the full Namco Bandai press release on the 8of5 Archive.

Hasbro to produce Star Trek toys

Hasbro has announced a new licensing deal to produce Star Trek toys! The line will launch next year, to tie in with the release of the next movie. You can read their full press release on the 8of5 Archive, but the important part is this bit, describing what they have planned:
Leading the product offering from Hasbro will be a line of premium KRE-O STAR TREK building sets featuring fantastical spaceships and legendary characters from the franchise. The KRE-O STAR TREK sets will offer high-quality KRE-O bricks as well as new KREON figures in the likeness of popular characters. Among its additional new play experiences, Hasbro will also offer robust line of roleplay toys for kids and fans to act out the intergalactic saga as well as select new figures.
Hasbro replacing Playmates as the Star Trek toy maker I think is pretty exciting. But I'm disappointed to see that includes Star Trek Kre-o sets, as Kre-o is Hasbro's newish Lego rip-off (launched a year or so ago with Transformers sets), and I just can't stand Lego that isn't Lego. Oh well, Lord of the Rings had a range in Playmate's Intelli-blox before Lego managed to get it, so maybe after Mega Blok's brief attempt at Star Trek a few years ago, Kre-o is a detour on Trek's own path to full Lego glory (I can dream!). Toy News International posted this first preview of the Kreon Star Trek figures:

Posters from Cross Cult

Remember a little while ago Cross Cult floated the idea of producing a poster of the cover art from the Crucible trilogy? Well it looks like they're going forward with it, and will even offer it for free to customers who buy a Trek book directly from their online shop. They posted this version on their Facebook page to get some feedback on whether or not to include text, and it seems they're leaning towards not at the moment:

And it also seems they're thinking about doing the same for their Destiny covers. They posted this mock-up, the actual poster would blend the three covers better:

Galor class in STO

The Star Trek Online blog has been updated with details of the Galor class being added to the game. This ship will be available as the highlight of the potential awards available when you open a Cardassian lock box; which are starting to appear in the game. Here's the description of the STO version of this Trek classic:
The broken alliance between the Cardassians and the Dominion was one of the pivotal conflicts of the Dominion War. Faced with the loss of a valuable ally and continued pressure from the allied forces of the Alpha Quadrant, the Founders were forced to retreat to a hostile Cardassia Prime where Damar led a popular revolt that sapped away Dominion soldiers and resources. This rebellion opened the door for the Dominion's ultimate defeat.

Recently unclassified documents reveal that during the rebellion, Damar arranged for a small surplus of Cardassian Galor-class warships to be given to both the Federation and the Klingon Empire to aid in their efforts fighting the Jem'Hadar. With the threat of the Dominion again looming, the Cardassian Detapa Council has finally agreed to release these forgotten vessels for Starfleet and Klingon Defense Force use.

The Galor is a cruiser, but smaller than many other vessels of its type. Its hull is not as strong as other cruisers in its class, but its smaller size makes it fast and maneuverable. It also has some of the best shields of any cruiser. The Galor class employs Spiral Wave Disruptor Arrays. This technology differs from standard disruptors by utilizing phaser technology as well. As such, it has the best properties of both energy types. Spiral Wave Disruptors have a chance to reduce the target's damage resistance and to damage a target's subsystems. They are also more accurate and deliver more damage than standard disruptors.

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #5 preview, plus covers

IDW has posted, on their new tumblr page, all of Phil Jimenez's amazing covers for the Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes series, including these newly revealed covers for the last two issues:


Meanwhile has posted a seven-page preview for issue five, which is due next week. You can read that after the jump:

Saturday 4 February 2012

DTI: Forgotten History blurb

The Simon and Schuster website has been updated with a blurb for Christopher L. Bennett's second Department of Temporal Investigations novel, Forgotten History:
The agents of the Department of Temporal Investigations are assigned to look into an anomaly that has appeared deep in Federation territory. It’s difficult to get clear readings, but a mysterious inactive vessel lies at the heart of the anomaly, one outfitted with some sort of temporal drive disrupting space-time and subspace. To the agents’ shock, the ship bears a striking resemblance to a Constitution-class starship, and its warp signature matches that of the original Federation starship Enterprise NCC-1701—the ship of James T. Kirk, that infamous bogeyman of temporal investigators, whose record of violations is held up by DTI agents as a cautionary tale for Starfleet recklessness toward history. But the vessel’s hull markings identify it as Timeship Two, belonging to none other than the DTI itself. At first, Agents Lucsly and Dulmur assume the ship is from some other timeline . . . but its quantum signature confirms that it came from their own past, despite the fact that the DTI never possessed such a timeship. While the anomaly is closely monitored, Lucsly and Dulmur must search for answers in the history of Kirk’s Enterprise and its many encounters with time travel—a series of events with direct ties to the origins of the DTI itself. . . .

Friday 3 February 2012

Excerpts from new TOS novels

The Simon and Schuster website has been updated with excerpts from new and forthcoming TOS novels: The Rings of Time, which just came out, and That Which Divides, which is out next month.

The Rings of Time
June 28, 2020

“Launch minus five minutes . . .”

The space shuttle Renaissance faced the early-morning sky at Cape Canaveral. Its enormous fuel tanks and boosters dwarfed the vessel as it towered over the launch pad. The launch tower pulled away, leaving the shuttle and its booster rockets clear for flight. It was a beautiful morning, the last Colonel Shaun Christopher would see for more than six months. It would be winter the next time he set foot on Earth.

Assuming all goes well, he thought.

Inside the cockpit, Shaun was strapped into his seat, staring up at the nose of the ship. A flight suit and helmet provided meager protection from the titanic forces about to be unleashed. The Atlantic Ocean could be glimpsed out the starboard window. A pair of old-fashioned military dog tags dangled above the lighted instrument panel in front of him. A good-luck charm, the tags had accompanied him into space before.

“Ready to go, Colonel?” the pilot sitting next to him said. Commander Shirin Ludden was among the first of a new breed of shuttle pilots. She seemed shockingly young to Shaun, who was in his early fifties.

“You tell me,” he answered. “I’m just a passenger on this flight.”

Despite their banter, the launch procedure continued on schedule. The sound-and-heat-suppression system fired up far below the cockpit, but Shaun could feel the vibration from all that water where he was sitting. He and Ludden closed the visors on their flight helmets. He took a deep breath of piped-in oxygen. The entire shuttle trembled as the launch engines gradually came online. Shaun felt a familiar excitement growing inside him.

The Renaissance had been intended to be the first in a new fleet of second-generation shuttles, but then the aerospace bubble had gone bust, cratering the economy again and creating entire districts of homeless people in many of the world’s cities. The latest round of budget cuts had left the Renaissance as a one-of-a-kind prototype, kept alive primarily by private investors and international partners who couldn’t afford to build ships on their own. She was an impressive vessel, state-of-the-art. A shame she had to fly alone.
Continue reading the rest of chapter one on Simon and Schuster's website.

That Which Divides
As a former science officer and now the captain of a science vessel, Ronald Arens had encountered his share of interesting stellar phenomena. There had been the odd black hole or quasar, stars in the midst of going nova, and the occasional nebula here and there. He even had spent two weeks studying a rogue pulsar. Nothing Arens had seen with his own eyes or read about in reports submitted by those observing even stranger examples of spatial oddities compared to the image now displayed on the main viewscreen of the U.S.S. Huang Zhong’s bridge.

“Okay,” Arens said, rising from his command chair and moving closer to the screen, “I think this qualifies as an impressive welcome to the Kondaii system, especially considering how we nearly blew out our engines trying to get here.” Built for speed, the Huang Zhong, an Archer-class scout ship configured to hold an enhanced suite of sensor arrays and other science-related information-gathering equipment, had proceeded here at maximum speed after its abrupt reassignment from patrol duty. Despite his comment, the dependable little craft had handled with ease the exertion of traveling at high warp for nearly a week. As for why they had been dispatched, the captain had been told that the ship originally assigned to be here, the U.S.S. Lexington, had been deployed elsewhere on a task of greater priority. Though his ship’s science equipment would do in a pinch, Arens knew it could not substitute for a Constitution-class vessel. To that end, the Enterprise was being redirected to the Kondaii system to take on the brunt of the survey and research tasks. Until then, it was the Huang Zhong’s show.
Continue reading the rest of chapter one on Simon and Schuster's website.

STO's next feature episode: The 2800

Cryptic have released a trailer for Star Trek Online's next feature episode series, The 2800, which seems to be a sequel to Sacrifice of Angels, with the return of the missing Dominion fleet. Cool:

Enterprise-F designer Adam Ihle has also posted a picture of said starship in spacedock on his twitter feed, also cool:

USS Titan orthographic views

Sean Tourangeau, the designer of the USS Titan, has posted on his Facebook page, orthographic views of the CGI mesh model of the ship by Ellery Connell. These were apparently used to build the real world model of the Titan for Star Trek: The Tour (photos of which you can see in a post from all the way back in 2008!).

Now can someone explain to me why this still has never been in a Ships of the Line calendar!?

UPDATE: Looks like the Titan model has resurfaced as part of Star Trek: The Exhibition. As far as I can tell it wasn't in show until the Exhibition set up in the Kennedy Space Center last summer though. Anyone seen her anywhere else? (Picture from Flickr):

Star Trek (ongoing) #8 cover art

Tim Bradstreet has posted on his Facebook page, his cover art, without the titles, for Star Trek (ongoing) #8, part two of the first original story, The Vendetta Conspiracy:

Warship Voyager in Tactics, and individual ships now on Amazon

Wizkids have released a second Tactics preview this week, to mark the release of the game. This time we have "Warship Voyager", the variation of Voyager recorded in Kyrian history as seen in the episode Living Witness:

Unfortunately, this seems to be a straight reuse of the standard Intrepid class model, so none of the extra weapons emplacements seen in the episode are present here.

As the game is now out there are already Amazon listings springing up for the individual ships. I've made a handy list of all those already up. There should be more to come though, as the previews so far suggest the following missing ships are also part of the initial wave: IKS Gr'oth, Regency One, IKS Maht-H'a, USS Enterprise-E, Warship Voyager (assuming there is a standard Voyager as well), and one of the two versions of the USS Reliant. Also suspiciously absent is the USS Enterprise-D, and as these ships are reusing the Fleet Captains molds, which included a Galaxy class, I would surprised if that didn't turn up too.

Those already up include a USS Montgolfier; has anyone ever heard of this ship? It's Saber class, but doesn't ring a bell to me, and neither Memory Alpha or Memory Beta seem to list it either.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

This Month: February 2012

New this month from the Trekverse:

The Rings of Time
This month's novel is a TOS story by Greg Cox, with a time travel plot featuring Colonel Shaun Christopher from the 21st century.
2020 The U.S.S. Lewis and Clark, under the command of Colonel Shaun Christopher, sets off on humanity’s first manned mission to Saturn. But the unexpected presence of a stowaway complicates the mission—as does a startling encounter with an alien probe. But when Colonel Christopher attempts to capture the probe, he suddenly finds himself transported across time and space to a future era of space exploration...

Stardate 7103.4 The U.S.S. Enterprise responds to an urgent distress call from a mining colony orbiting Klondike VI, a ringed gas giant not unlike Saturn. For unknown reasons, the planet’s rings are coming apart, threatening the safety of the colony and its inhabitants. Searching for a way to avert the disaster, Captain James T. Kirk and his crew investigate a mysterious alien probe that has just entered the system. But when the probe is beamed aboard, Kirk abruptly finds himself floating in space above Saturn, wearing an old-fashioned NASA spacesuit, with the Enterprise nowhere in sight...

Two missions. Two crews. And a time-twisting crisis that spans the centuries...

Star Trek (ongoing) #6: Operation: Annihilate!, Part 2
The concluding part of the third episode adaption in the Star Trek ongoing series, by Mike Johnson, with art by Joe Corroney.
It's the stunning conclusion of OPERATION: ANNIHILATE! The events of the new timeline unfold in shocking ways as Kirk reunites with his estranged brother to save a colony from extinction. STAR TREK writer/producer Roberto Orci oversees this story that continues the lead-up to the much-anticipated film sequel!

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #5
Chris Roberson brings us the penultimate issue of his Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover, with art by Jeffrey and Philip Moy.
In the distant past, one team of Legionnaires and Starfleet officers come face to face with the force that erased both of their timelines from existence, while in the altered 23rd century another team confronts the latter-day version of that same force. But now that they know how history was changed, can anything be done to set things right?
Enemy Unseen
The second in IDW's Star Trek Classics series, this reprint of a 2001 WildStorm Comics omnibus, includes the TNG stories Perchance to Dream, Embrace the Wolf, and The Killing Shadows.
In a long and distinguished career, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew have faced uncounted foes and vanquished incredible dangers. But what happens when the ememy can't be easily seen–when it lurks in the shadows, disguises itself as polite society, or emerges from the depths of one's own mind? These are the antagonists with which the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise must contend in this volume, the most dangerous kind of enemy–the enemy unseen. Contains the three stories "Perchance to Dream,” "Embrace the Wolf,” and "The Killing Shadows.”

Expeditions Expansion Set
An expansion of Star Trek Expeditions, Wizkids game's first Star Trek game, designed by Reiner Knizia, and arguably the first original story set after the film in the new timeline. This set includes three extra characters; Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov.
Joining the original crew from the base game Star Trek Expansions, is the charismatic trio of Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov! Featuring their own unique talents and skills to the game that give way to even more avenues of gameplay for you to enjoy! The Expansion Set also allows for you to bring a Fifth Player to the table, increasing the size of your away team by one! Requires Star Trek Expeditions Game to play!

A new Star Trek game from Wizkids, kicks off with a four ship starter set, and a selection of individual ship boosters.
Star Trek HeroClix: Tactics puts you in command of Federation and Klingon vessels and is 100% compatible with the HeroClix core rules system. Tactics is intended as a standalone game system and will exist outside of the Modern and Golden Age tournament environments. What this mean is Tactics operates by the same rules and Powers and Abilities card that your standard HeroClix game is played with, but is meant to be played as its own game.

Tactics features more than 20 pre-painted ships from both the Federation and Klingon affiliations and will be available for sale in both a 4-Ship starter product and single figure boosters.

Masterpiece Collection: Kirk and Picard
Titan Merchanidise kick off their Masterpiece Collection series of Star Trek busts this month, with Kirk and Picard.
Titan Merchandise is proud to introduce the high-quality, limited edition Star Trek Masterpiece Collection! This amazingly detailed 8-inch tall maxi-bust painstakingly recreates pop-culture legend William Shatner's iconic performance as Captain James T Kirk. Every detail of Kirk's facial appearance, Starfleet uniform, and accessories is captured in this astonishing three-quarter length sculpt.
Titan Merchandise is proud to introduce the high-quality, limited edition Star Trek Masterpiece Collection! This amazingly detailed 8-inch tall maxi-bust painstakingly recreates Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart's signature performance as Captain Jean Luc Picard. Every detail of Picard's facial appearance, Starfleet uniform, and authoritative demeanor is captured in this astonishing three-quarter length sculpt.

Enterprise Plush
ThinkGeek's latest innovative Star Trek product, your very own cuddly starship!
James T. Kirk never raised a child, but if he did, that baby would teethe on a type-2 phaser, learn to dive-roll before he could walk, and his teddy bear would be a plush Enterprise. Would you want your child to be anything less?

But who are we kidding... we're pretty sure you know more than one full-sized human who would love to cozy up with this cuddly replica. In fact, there's probably a Klingon in your life who would enjoying sinking their teeth into the hull of this cute reminder of their enduring shame and defeat.

The Star Trek Plush Enterprise was lovingly designed by the Trek nerds at ThinkGeek. Our goal was to create a plush adorable and snuggly enough for wee geeks but with details that would make a manchild or womanchild of any age squee with delight. Our NCC-1701 measures a little over a foot in length with a saucer section width of about six inches. Give the ship a squeeze to fire the photon torpedoes and see the red LEDs light up on the nacelles.
Pre-order: ThinkGeek.

Drinking vessels
Finally, Entertainment Earth have a variety of Star Trek items for drinking coming into stock this month. A nice mug covered in images of the TOS Enterprise, a travel cup also covered in Enterprises, and a set of glasses with TOS characters and phrases.

For a listing of prose, comics, games, music and DVDs in the rest of the year ahead, see the 2012 schedule page.

Find Star Trek comics, toys, statues, and collectibles at!