- From the book jacket
- A LESS PERFECT UNION by William Leisner: More than a hundred years after the Terra Prime movement achieved its dream of an isolationist Earth, humanity is once again at a fork in the river of history... and the path it follows may ultimately be determined by the voice of a single individual: the sole surviving crewmember of the first Starship Enterprise.
- PLACES OF EXILE by Christopher L. Bennett: Midway through Voyager's journey across the galaxy, Captain Kathryn Janeway and Commander Chakotay must choose whether to brave a deadly war zone or abandon their quest for home. But an attack by Species 8472 cripples the ship, and the stranded crew must make new choices that will reshape their destinies... and that of the Delta Quadrant itself.
- SEEDS OF DISSENT by James Swallow: Khan victorious! Almost four centuries after conquering their world, genetically enhanced Humans dominate a ruthless interstellar empire. But the warship Defiance, under its augmented commander, Princeps Julian Bashir, makes a discovery that could shake the pillars of his proud civilization: an ancient sleeper ship from Earth named the Botany Bay.
A Less Perfect Union
2155. John Paxton and his Terra Prime movement are on the rise. The crew of the Starship Enterprise deactivate his verteron beam located on Mars, but it suddenly reactivates and fires. San Francisco is devastated by the blast, and the event turns humanity against their intergalactic neighbors.
2264. Captain Christopher Pike, commanding the United Earth Starship Enterprise, picks up a twenty nine year old distress call in Coalition space, and alters course to investigate. The Interstellar Coalition, a Federation-like alliance of Vulcans, Andorians, Tellarites, and Denobulans, has been at odds with United Earth for over a century, and Enterprise attracts the attention of a Vulcan cruiser. At the Robinson Nebula, Enterprise comes under fire from two Orion pirate ships, and is saved by the arrival and assistance of the Vulcan ship. After a tension-filled conversation, Enterprise heads for the nearest Starbase to effect repairs.
Meanwhile, on Earth, T'Pol agrees to attend a seminar at Berkley University to provide her insight on twenty-second century history. Her human contact, Amanda Grayson, escorts her across campus, where she witnesses several human protests about the Vulcan's prescence on Earth. T'Pol responds by claiming Terra Prime has led Humans down the wrong path, but the students retaliate by reminding T'Pol that the blast in 2155 was caused due to aliens on Earth. Realizing that she will not be heard or understood, T'Pol leaves the campus.
At Space dock, Pike and Chief Engineer Scott survey the damage before returning to Enterprise, where Doctor Boyce informs Pike of his intentions to retire from Starfleet. Pike receives a message from Starfleet Command ordering him to return to Earth quickly, and Enterprise heads for the human homeworld. On Earth, Pike takes part in a meeting with several of Starfleet's top brass, where he learns that Starfleet intends to retreat from the last century of isolation and extend the hand of friendship to the Interstellar Coalition.
Pike travels to Death Valley, where he meets with T'Pol, the last surviving member of Jonathan Archer's original Enterprise crew, and asks her to join the mission to Babel, where the talks between United Earth and the Coalition are going to be held. At first, T'Pol refuses. As Pike speaks with her, however, she has further thoughts on the matter.
As work continues on Enterprise's repairs, Commander James T. Kirk and his friend, Gary Mitchell, remark about the feminine qualities of the starship, realizing why such vessels are referred to as "she". Years earlier, Mitchell had introduced Kirk to his future wife, Carol Marcus. Mitchell remarks how Kirk could have had his own command by now, but Kirk says that he would rather remain a first officer under Pike. Kirk sees a picture, one of himself, Marcus, and Mitchell at her graduation, seven months pregnant. Clearly upset, Kirk turns away and Mitchell apologizes for leaving the picture out. Glasses of Saurian brandy lead to Kirk's description of a sad event six months previously, in which Carol Kirk and her three year old son, David, were traveling aboard a ship bound for a scientific conference with the Coalition. The freighter was destroyed by a Vulcan vessel, who claimed to have received no message from the ship, though the distress calls were heard for light years around. Kirk has had a strong hatred of aliens ever since.
Enterprise takes on Ambassador Nancy Hedford to participate in the conference and departs Earth. Newly appointed Doctor Leonard McCoy says goodbye to his daughter on Earth before joining Kirk in a game of chess. McCoy loses, and suggests that Kirk play Lady T'Pol, who finally agreed to join the mission and is also onboard. Kirk's outraged reaction silences McCoy.
Enterprise arrives at Babel, where they are welcomed by the Interstellar Coalition. The conference gets underway, and Kirk reluctantly joins Pike and the away team to the surface. Once there, the team meets Sarek, the Vulcan representative to the Grand Council of the Coalition, and his aide, T'Pring. Hedford spends time conversing with a Tellarite and Denobulan ambassador, while Pike trades space stories with Coalition Fleet Commander Ra-ghoratreii. T'Pol attracts attention from several dignitaries and reminisces about her life with Charles Tucker III, the father of her cloned child. Sadly, her child died in 2155. Fellow Ambassador Garret Tarses, however, has less luck, arguing about foreign policy with Ambassador Shras of Andoria. Commander Kirk suddenly yells out as he receives unwanted attention from a Deltan Ambassador. He is approached by Sarek, who recites Kirk's history and tells him that he does not want Earth to join the Coalition because Vulcan is preparing to secede. As well, the Klingon Empire is drawing its forces and is expected to launch attacks at United Earth and the Coalition within the next five years. Sarek makes his request to speak with T'Pol privately, and departs.
Kirk escorts T'Pol to the planet, where she meets with Sarek. After Kirk leaves, however, T'Pol reveals that she knows the man she is speaking with is not Sarek. As she is taken, T'Pol is informed that she is now an honored guest of the Romulan Star Empire.
The next morning, the ship and planet security are informed that T'Pol is missing. A search for her turns up no evidence, and though Kirk admits to his involvement, Sarek informs the security that he made no effort to speak with Kirk or T'Pol, suggesting that it must have been an impostor. Evidence in the chamber where "Sarek" and T'Pol met reveals transporter traces, more than can be corroborated. T'Pring's data suggests that three of the six transports were aimed at Enterprise, while the other three seemingly lead to empty space below Enterprise. Syvak, captain of the Vulcan vessel Kuvak, realizes what the data means, but does not reveal the two thousand year old secret the Vulcan's have kept.
In orbit of Babel, the Kuvak bears down and aims at the mysterious point in space, but the Humans aboard Enterprise misinterpret the action. When the Kuvak fires at the point, Lieutenant Kelso orders shields up. A photon torpedo suddenly erupts, apparently from Enterprise, and slams into the Kuvak, blasting the ship to atoms. Despite Enterprise's uninvolvement in the destruction, the Earth vessel is surrounded by Coaltion ships, demanding their immediate surrender. On the surface, Captain Pike is phasered into unconsciousness. T'Pring shares a transport code that allows Enterprise to beam herself and Pike to the Earth ship. Kirk takes command of the Enterprise, and T'Pring orders a stand down of Coalition forces. Enterprise then leaves orbit, heading in the direction of the escaping vessel.
On board the Romulan vessel, T'Pol screams until spoken to by a Romulan. She realizes that the Romulans are indeed offshoots of her own race, and that their goal was to disrupt the peace talks between United Earth and the Coalition. The Romulans believe that, if Earth becomes part of the Interstellar Coalition, war with the Romulan Empire will occur, costing millions of lives. T'Pol agrees to help the Romulans ensure that Earth does not join the Coalition.
Pike awakens in sickbay and learns what has transpired. McCoy shares his doubts about Kirk with Pike, and Pike tells McCoy that Kirk really is a good officer. On the bridge, T'Pring informs Kirk that the Romulan ship is either hiding to make repairs, or is waiting to make a strike on Enterprise. Lieutenant Stiles asks Kirk what his wife would have thought about his cooperating with a Vulcan, which provokes Kirk into a fight. Uhura holds the officers apart, but Stiles finishes by cursing at T'Pring, who performs a nerve pinch. As Pike steps onto the bridge, the Romulan ship appears and attacks. Enterprise disables the ship, and Commander Kirk leads an away team to rescue T'Pol.
On the Romulan ship, Crewman Chekov manages to take out a Romulan before he is gravely injured. The rest of the away team manages to defeat the Romulan guards, and T'Pol is rescued, while the only conscious Romulan asks for asylum. Back on Enterprise, Kirk apologizes to T'Pol for his rude behavior during the mission. T'Pol asks Kirk what fueled his hatred of Vulcans, and Kirk tells her that his wife and son were aboard the Galileo when it was destroyed by the Vulcans. Understanding, T'Pol tells Kirk of the tragedy of her past. On New Years Eve in 2200, T'Pol and Trip had been celebrating in New York City, when she accidentally showed her Vulcan ears. An angry mob descended upon her, Trip fought back in her defense, and he had been killed by the angry humans. Kirk and T'Pol understand each other much better, and they come to terms with their pasts.
The Interstellar Coalition holds a session to debate the entrance of United Earth and its Commonwealth Worlds. T'Pol speaks of her experiences during her century on Earth, watching as Humans retreated from the interstellar community. She proclaims that she has always believed that United Earth and the Coalition will one day be ready to merge, if not today. She closes by asking everyone to share in her hope for the future, no matter how long it takes for the future to arise. In the end, Pike and Kirk discuss Earth's chances. Kirk wonders if T'Pol might have helped Earth in the long run. When asked why he thought this, he simply replies that he has hope.
A hundred years later, Sarek, his aide (implied to be Tuvok) and a Romulan watch a sunrise on Vulcan. The two remark on how negotiations with the Legarans are going well, and how unfortunate it was that T'Pol did not live to see it. Talk turns to the newly commissioned I.C.V. Enterprise, the newest Coalition vessel, whose naming must, of course, have been a coincidence. The two men beam up to their vessel, and the future begins.
Places of Exile
Seeds of Dissent
June 18, 2376: after capturing rebels Kira Nerys and Skrain Dukat, Princeps Julian Bashir of the Khanate starship Defiance stumbles upon the SS Botany Bay, which had been launched from Earth in 2010. He revives some of the crew, which includes Shaun Geoffrey Christopher, Shannon O'Donnell and Rain Robinson, whom Bashir brings back to his ship to show how wonderful Khan's rule has been. Rain tells him it's the other way around, as she had been a refugee from the Khan-backed terrorist nuking of Los Angeles.
Ezri Dax, a helot (slave) and Bashir's concubine, is actually a member of the nonhuman resistance to the Khanate's despotism. She learns from Christopher and Shannon that the Botany Bay has hard evidence of all of Khan's actions, primarily to show to their own descendants why they fled Earth. She copies all of their video files and documentation to an isolinear chip which she intends to get to Bynaus for mass distribution.
- An excerpt from "Art of War", a story in the third volume of Star Trek: The Manga, "Uchu", appears in the collection. The reverse also takes place, with an excerpt from "A Less Perfect Union" appearing in the manga.
- The final cover for the collection features Kathryn Janeway, Julian Bashir, James T. Kirk, T'Pol and an image which could either be Sarek or the Romulan Commander. The original solicitation cover showed multiple images of Jean-Luc Picard.
- An extract from "A Less Perfect Union" appeared in Star Trek Magazine issue 138.
- In A Less Perfect Union, the Romaulan Commander, who had been able to pass as Sarek with no diguise whatsoever, comes to believe that the two shared a common ancestry before the Time of Awakening.
- Memory Alpha receives an acknowledgment in "A Less Perfect Union".
"A Less Perfect Union"
- Carter Winston
- Prime Minister of United Earth in 2264.
- Christopher Pike
- Captain of the United Earth Starship Enterprise.
"Seeds of Dissent"
- Julian Bashir
- Princeps of the Earthfleet Starship Defiance.
"A Less Perfect Union"
- Terra Prime
- Xenophobic movement. In 2155, members of Terra Prime hijacked the Mars verteron array and vaporized Starfleet Command in San Francisco. The surviving Starfleet leaders demanded that John Paxton be tried on Earth for crimes against Humanity. However, the incident was successful in creating a popular political movement which dominated Earth politics and isolated United Earth from the developing Interstellar Coalition.
- UESS Enterprise
- UESPA starship, Constitution-class. Represented Earth at the 2264 Babel Conference.
"Places of Exile"
- Xindi superweapon
- A superweapon created by the Xindi to destroy earth in 2154 based on their knowledge that Humans destroy their home planet in 400 years (a deception of the Guardians to get the Xindi to aid them), this was referenced when multiple Species 8472 bioships created a beam that created a "reversal-field" that destroyed an M-Class planet that the Borg inhabited.
- Species 8472 bioship
- The means that Species 8472 move around their universe and how they move between universes, one Bioship severed one of Voyager's nacelles, essentially stranding Voyager, requiring a call for help from the Vostigye Union.
"Seeds of Dissent"
- Earthfleet starship, assigned to the Bajor Sector, under the authority of Lord-Commander Sisko of station D9. It is that universe's equivilant of the USS Defiant.
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