(written from a Production point of view)
- From the book jacket
- Following the surprise resignation of Federation President Min Zife after the disastrous Tezwa affair, Nan Bacco of Cestus III has won a hotly contested election to become the new chief executive of over one hundred fifty planetary civilizations and their colonies. But no sooner does she take office than the Romulan Star Empire falls into chaos. With tensions already high, a Reman refugee ship is sighted approaching a Federation outpost, its intentions unknown.
- As the first year of the Bacco Administration unfolds, the Federation Council is slow to work with its new president, and not always supportive of her policies or her appointments to key council positions; a successful first contact suddenly becomes a diplomatic disaster; and the sins of President Zife prove difficult to lay to rest…as one celebrated Starfleet officers career reaches a turning point.
- In the wake of the USA Today best-selling A Time for War, A Time for Peace and Titan: Taking Wing comes a unique look into the halls of power in the Star Trek universe…
Young Ele'er and her mother on Bre'el IV watch Illuminating the City of Light, an audio/visual program presented by the Federation News Service concerning itself with Federation politics, featuring a guest panel commenting upon current events. President Nanietta Bacco has just been sworn in, after winning the election against Federation Special Emissary Arafel "Fel" Pagro of Ktar. Guests include Ra-Yalix, an Efrosian foreign policy adviser for previous presidents Amitra and Jaresh-Inyo; Sovan, a Bolian reporter, the chief Earth correspondent for Bolarus and You; Federation Councilor Nitram of Bre'el IV; and retired Federation Starfleet Admiral Taela Shanthi.
Presidential Chief of Staff Esperanza Piñiero takes note of how surrounded by Starfleet Security the President is as she tries to get the President's assistant, Sivak, an elderly Vulcan male, to let her into the Presidential Office without his being snippy. She finally gets him to let her in, but the President is angry about something. The President throws a PADD on her desk, getting ready for her trip to Luna, complaining that the next day, the Federation Council will be voting to renew trades with Aligar, a planet whose population is 90% enslaved, owned by the other 10%. She complains that the Federation shouldn't be doing business with them anymore, as they had only done so previously because they needed a mineral called Kellinite during the Dominion War. Esperenza tries to remind the President it was wartime, but President Bacco tells her she knew what wartime means; that a faction of the Gorn Hegemony had tried to take advantage of the war and conquer Cestus III, but were successfully fended off. Also on the agenda, the Tzenkethi Ambassador wants to speak with her regarding a child of one of the Tzelnira (Tzenkethi aristocracy) being ill. The President leaves on her shuttle, the al-Rashid, for Luna.
On Betazed, two students at Enaren University prepare to watch Illuminating the City of Light. Sephara telepathically argues with her roommate Gira over not going food shopping, and all they have is hirep fruit, to which she is allergic.
On ICL, Velisa's guests include Admiral Kathryn Janeway of Starfleet; Edmund Atkinson, a political reporter for the Times; Antedian Federation Councillor Selora Quintor; and Sorlak, a female Vulcan associate counsel with the Palais legal office.
While the topic was originally going to be about the disputes between the Council and the President, information regarding the Reman refugees at Outpost 22 has just been released to the public. Their subject moves to the President's speech to the Council on not renewing trade agreements with the Aligar. The topic then shifts to Councillor Altrin's assignment to the Judiciary Council (the committee of the full Federation Council concerning itself with judicial affairs).
Gira and Seraph get bored with their arguing and turn the program off, deciding to shop for food.
This timeframe contains these events:
- The collapse of the state dinner when the Trinni/ek get leave rudely, accusing President Bacco of poisoning them.
- Xeldara Trask's resignation as Deputy Chief of Staff.
- Ozla Graniv discovering that the nadion pulse cannons used by Tezwa against the orbiting Klingon fleet the previous year were given to Tezwa by former Federation President Min Zife rather than having been stolen and sold to Tezwa by the Orion Syndicate, as the public believes.
- The moon of Klorgat IV, a Klingon planet to which the Remans have voluntarily emigrated following their conflicts on Romulus, explodes; no Remans are killed, but tensions between Klingon Empire and Romulan Star Empire rise. It is believed to be the work of rogue Romulan Admiral Mendak.
- Former President Jaresh-Inyo dies on Mars, where he had retired. Former President Zife does not attend and no one can locate him.
- President Bacco gives the 2380 Starfleet Academy Commencement Address at Golden Gate Park. She tells the cadets that they are the first graduates in over 20 years that didn't have to deal with war directly before, after or during their Academy training.
Chapter Thirteen began in a Pike City pub on Cestus. A baseball game is airing – the Gulls versus the Pike City Pioneers, in the bottom of the ninth. Gulls are up 2-zip. Faith Martinez is put in by the Pioneers and they get three runs off him, defeating the Gulls 3-2.
The owner of the pub, Gordon, gives a round of the local beer, called Homebrew, to everyone in the pub, as he always does after a Pioneer win. One of the patrons requested the feed be changed to ICL. Appearing on ICL are Fred MacDougan, the President's senior speechwriter; FNS Palais de la Concorde correspondent Regia Maldonado; Councillor Gorus Gelemingar of Gnala; and retired Starfleet Captain Rixx of Bolarus. The discussion revolves around the President's goodwill tour and the upcoming address to the Federation Council by the Trinni/ek. MacDougan pumps up the Council appearance but doesn't say anything of substance. Councillor Geleminger rips into Trinni/ek appearance first (to boos in the pub) and then into the tour, stating it is pointless. He also lies, claiming that he was present at a Federation Security Council hearing where asylum was denied to the Remans at Outpost 23 shorty before they decided to ram the outpost and kill themselves.
Both MacDougan and Maldonado defend President Bacco and expose his life, earning each a Homebrew should they ever appear in the pub.
Captain Rixx is asked about the Trinni/ek and says that they are very friendly.
The chapter ends when someone requests the program be changed.
Cadets Casey Goodwin and Jeremy McCall watch Illuminating the City of Light in their Starfleet Academy dorm room. Goodwin complains, "For the sake of kimchee… do you have to watch that show every week?" McCall jokes that he uses the term kimchee, which is actually cole slaw. Goodwin says his mother used the term back on Alpha Proxima II, as they watch the show for Professor Mlikk's class.
Guests today include: Betazoid Rina Tran, senior aide to Federation Councillor Sanaht of Janus VI; Tellarite reporter Kav glasch Vokrak; retired Starfleet Admiral Gregory Quinn; and former Andorian Federation President Thelianaresth th'Vorothishria.
The panelists, for the most part, insult President Bacco's first year as president. Admiral Quinn reminds the panel that while many possibilities for war have come up, Bacco has successfully avoided it at all points, finding the peaceful solution and successfully carrying it out. President Thelian also supports the President. "The job is difficult… she was expected to keep the Klingon alliance intact. She's done that, but she wasn't expected to deal with the fall of the Romulan government… for that we have to giver her some credit."
The cadets decide to turn the show off, and go out for some kimchee'.
The Observer, an extra-dimensional alien studying the Federation for a report to his superiors, watches Illuminating the City of Light. The guests include Starfleet Captain Charles Reynolds; Ythrilasifsa sh'Zathrosia of Andor, former Federation Secretary of the Exterior under President Zife; Federation Councillor T'Latrek of Vulcan; and Teneso, a Deltan, the Federation News Service's Klingon Empire correspondent. The discussions are on the upcoming summit between the Federation President and Klingon Chancellor, and on the question of the attendance of the Romulan Praetor.
All discuss whether the three powers can ever truly cooperate. Ythril claims that Romulans aren't trustworthy, but Captain Reynolds reminds him that the three were able to ally themselves during the Dominion War, when he captained the USS Centaur. Before the Observer can record anymore, his reporting device dies out. Omnipotently, he shifts the universe so that he may return home to file his report.
As President Bacco looks out the window of a Venture shuttle, on its way down to the surface of Koa for the ceremony admitting the world into the Federation, she contemplates her term to date. Upon landing, she discusses with Esperanza the problems and successes of the past year. Esperanza tells her that she's had a great year, the Federation didn't collapse, and now she gets to admit a new planet into the Federation.
Bacco and Caliph Sicarios, leader of Koa, discuss the turmoils it took to get the planet to the Federation, specifically transporting the planet into Federation space. Sicarios and Bacco go onto stage, in front of thousands of Koans, and sign the admittance document.
- To keep the names straight, a timeline of all the presidents mentioned can be found on the last pages of the book. Included are some Presidents mentioned, but created in other novels or works.
- (Dates unestablished: 22nd Century): Haroun al-Rashid (Human male)
- (Dates unestablished: 22nd Century): T'Maran of Vulcan (Vulcan female)
- (Dates unestablished: 22nd Century): Avaranthi sh'Rothress (Andorian shen [female])
- (Exact dates unestablished: early 2230s, two terms): Madza Bral (Trill female)
- 2265 – 2268: Kenneth Wescott (Human male) (Errand of Fury, Book I: Seeds of Rage)
- 2269 – 2272: Lorne McLaren (Human male) (Star Trek Core Games Book)
- 2285 – 2288: Hiram Roth (Human male) (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
- 2289 – 2300: Ra-Ghoratreii (Efrosian male) (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
- (Dates unestablished; during Cardassian First Contact): Thelianaresth "Thelian" th'Vorothishria (Andorian than [male]) (Enter the Wolves)
- (Dates unestablished; during the Cardassian-Federation border wars and the Tzenkethi War): T'Pragh of Vulcan (Vulcan female)
- 2364 – 2368: Amitra of Pandril (Pandrilite female)
- 2369 – 2372: Jaresh-Inyo (Grazerite male) (DS9: "Homefront", "Paradise Lost")
- 2373 – 2379: Min Zife (Bolian male) (A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal)
- 2379 – Present: Nanietta Bacco (Human female) (A Time for War, A Time for Peace)
"It sure is hell to be president."
- - President Harry S. Truman
"For one thing I'm coming around to the idea of bringing beheadings back… it'd make the meetings go faster."
- - President Nanietta Bacco
"Why is it that whenever you say that, I get nervous."
"You're a crazed, paranoid, old woman?"
"Yeah, that's probably it."
- - President Bacco and her Chief of Staff, Esperanza Piñiero
"I don't know what impressed me more, that you had the name David Lloyd George at your beck and call or that you actually used implacable in a sentence."
- - Esperanza Piñiero
- The general idea behind this novel – "a Star Trek version of The West Wing" – came from Pocket editor John Ordover, who approached author Keith DeCandido to tackle the idea in the early 2000s. Although DeCandido wrote some sample scenes, the project went no further at that time. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 417)
- Some time later, with the A Time to... series being developed to explore the Federation presidency, DeCandido began incorporating elements of the concept into what was then his concluding duology A Time for War and A Time for Peace. When the series was cut down and DeCandido's contribution became a single novel, he removed most of the political elements to form this stand-alone novel. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 417)
- The idea for the novel to span a full year came from Marco Palmieri, who had taken on the principal editorial role, and was keen to expand the ambition of the novel. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 417)
- DeCandido was keen to explore the nature of the Federation governing structure, noting that "[after] forty years, we know more about the Klingon government, the Bajoran government, the Cardassian government, and the Romulan government than we do the Federation government. We thought it was past time to address that, extrapolating from what little we did get on screen." (Voyages of Imagination, p. 417)
- The cover of the book – by Mark Gerber, with design by John Vairo, Jr. – is a reference to the famous image of John F. Kennedy, which itself was reused in the opening credits of The West Wing. The image of President Bacco is based on an image of DeCandido's great-grandmother.
- Outpost 22, the destination of Reman refugees in the novel, is listed on the title page as the location of one of Pocket Books' offices.
- The events of this story take place after the A Time to… series, and follow on from the events in that series.
- Because the events of this novel span an entire year, a number of other Star Trek novels take place at the same time:
- Nanietta Bacco (β)
- President of the United Federation of Planets. Former Governor of Cestus III (now a Federation Member State), she is a major fan of baseball (especially the Pike City Pioneers).
- Esperanza Piñiero
- Presidential Chief of Staff. While the president does the official business, Esperanza makes sure all goes according to plan, and when it doesn't, it is her job to have a backup plan ready.
- Ashanté Phiri
- Deputy Chief of Staff. She is married to the President's head speechwriter, Fred MacDougal. Her main duties (along with the other DCOSes) include advising the President on various subjects and carrying out the various tasks assigned to her by the Chief of Staff.
- Z4 Blue
- Another of Esperanza's Deputies. Gave up a forest quadrant governorship on his homeworld of Nasat after "a great deal of wheedling" by Esperanza.
- Myk Bunkrep
- Another of Esperanza's Deputies. A Zakdorn female, she is often seen as hyperactive.
- Xeldara Trask
- Rounds out the last of the four Deputy Chiefs of Staff. A female Tiburonian, she resigns midway through President Bacco's term to spend more time with her husband.
- Dogayn 418
- Replaced Trask as the fourth Deputy Chief of Staff under Esperanza Piñiero. Formerly served as COS to Councillor Saltroni 815 of Hermat. Originally served as a junior aide to Councillor Saltroni.
- Fred MacDougan
- Head speechwriter for the President. He is married to Deputy COS Ashanti Phiri. He tends to get annoyed when the President deviates from what he has writen for her, especially when it is a useless word in his estimation, such as the "well" she added during her speech at President Jaresh-Inyo's state funeral.
- Kant Jorel
- Palais de la Concorde Press Liaison. A Bajoran male, he has a well-earned reputation for being an ass–something he himself would not deny. He takes great delight in trying to get his assistants to quit; his current assistant holds the record for staying with him the longest.
- Jas Abrik
- Retired Trill Starfleet Admiral, currently Federation Security Advisor.
- Raisa Shostakova
- Federation Secretary of Defense. A short, stout woman from the high gravity colony on Pangea.
- Rigelian, serving as Federation Secretary of the Exterior.
- William Ross
- Admiral seen in ST:DS9 and Starfleet Liaison to the President. The highest ranking officer in Starfleet, Admiral Ross forced former President Min Zife to resign after the Tezwa disaster. President Bacco then demanded Ross' "retirement" for committing a coup d'état. He complied and is at the time of the novel retired to civilian life.
- Captain Holly Hostetler Richman
- President's Liaison to Starfleet Intelligence.
- Kathryn Janeway
- Starfleet Admiral
- Former President
- Bruce Maddox
- Starfleet Captain
- Lhian Mendak
- Rogue Romulan Admiral
- Gregory Quinn
- Retired Starfleet Admiral
- Charlie Reynolds
- Starfleet Captain
- Retired Starfleet Captain
- Ozla Graniv (β)
- Reporter for the Seeker, leading news magazine on Trill. During a trip to Tezwa, she uncovers the real reason behind President Zife's resignation.
- Rebecca Emmanuelli
- Starfleet Doctor. Born in 2310, she was taken prisoner during the Tzenkethi War, and forced to perform several surgeries on high class people, and made to ignore lower class people. The Tzenkethi informed her family that she had died, and while she was prisoner her husband remarried and her children moved on. When she was freed, her family despised her for ruining her husband's new marriage, and making her children miserable. In 2380, she was asked to perform surgery on the son of a prominent Tzenkethi politician.
- A Deltan ambassador. Negotiated with Ambassador Yorgas for use of the Carrean's water reclamation system.
- A doctor at the Daystrom Institute, he petitions the Federation Judiciary Council to have B-4 handed over to his authority to be dismantled, but loses his case.
- Thelianaresth th'Vorothrishria
- Former President of the United Federation of Planets.
- Klingon Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets. Allied with some of Chancellor Martok's enemies on the High Council.
- Romulan Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets; commits ritual suicide.
- Min Zife
- Bolian former President of the Federation. Just after being elected, he illegally gave advanced nadion pulse weapons to the Tezwan government as part of a contingency plan during the Dominion War, and hid it from the public and Starfleet. Later, when Starfleet and the Klingons sent a fleet to Tezwa, he didn't warn them. Admiral Ross forced him to resign at phaser-point, and he was then assassinated by Section 31.
- Karin Noosar
- Starfleet cadet.
- Her name is an anagram for Aaron Sorkin, the creator of The West Wing.
- Jeremy McCall
- Starfleet cadet.
- Casey Goodwin
- Starfleet cadet.
- These two characters are named after Casey McCall and Jeremy Goodwin, characters in Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night series.
A great number of the minor characters are members of the Federation Council.
- Alpha Centauri : Huang Chaoying
- Andoria : Kellerasana zh'Faila
- Antede III : Selora Quintor
- Ardana : Strovos
- Bajor : Krim Aldos
- Benzar : Linzner
- Betazed : Cort Enaren
- Bolarus : Nea
- Bre'el IV : Nitram
- Damiani : Ra'ch B'ullhy
- Delta : Eleana
- Earth : Matthew Mazibuko
- Gemworld : Lari Beltane
- Gnala : Gorus Gelemingar
- Grazer : Severn-Anyar
- Hermat : Saltroni 815
- Janus VI : Sanaht
- Koa : Sicarios
- Nasat : C29 Green
- Ontail : Eftheria Lo
- Pandril : Govrin
- Tellar : Bera chim Gleer
- Tiburon : Gnizbreg
- Trill : Jix
- Vulcan : T'Latrek
- Zalda : Molmaan
- USS Hood
- After diplomatic relations with the Trinni/ek failed with Captain T'Vrea, Captain DeSoto and the Hood are sent in.
- USS Intrepid
- Captain Emick's ship, the prototype of the Intrepid-class. It was one of several ships sent to Outpost 22 to offer assistance in case the Reman refugees decided to start trouble.
- USS Titan
- Sent to Romulus to try and repair the damage that Shinzon and his followers had caused. The situation there begins to fall apart and must be fixed as soon as possible and therefore, the federation council allows Spock to continue his unification.
- Brannik IV
- A planet under Deltan jurisdiction.
- USS Cheiron
- A Centaur-type vessel, in orbit of the planet Carrea during March, 2380. It has eighteen phaser strips, and four photon torpedo launchers.
- "Illuminating the City of Light"
- A political talk show hosted by Velisa, a Kriosian. "The city of light" referring to Paris, the location of the Palais de la Concorde, the building that houses the office of the Federation President.
- A planet whose sun went nova, so they asked the Federation for assistance. Starfleet sent the SCE, who used an ancient technology to shrink the planet to the size of a small box, and put it in a small pyramidal transport box, taking the planet to a new system.
- A sentient species native to Koa. They are non-humanoid arachnids, with heads similar to Octopi.
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