Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Cadet Geordi sees a ghost!

The Haunted Starship is a Star Trek: The Next Generation - Starfleet Academy young adult novel – the thirteenth novel in the series – written by Brad and Kathi Ferguson. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in December 1997.


From the book jacket
Geordi La Forge has been given the chance of his lifetime! He's been chosen to join the training vessel Benjamin Franklin as assistant engineer, an opportunity rarely given to plebes. Geordi is determined to live up to Commander Sanchez's expectations. Their mission is to chart a neglected sector of the asteroid belt that lies between Mars and Jupiter. That night, Sanchez calls up a history of the old starship and Ben's first commander, the heroic Ike Ikushima, who died after saving the crew from disaster. The next night, Geordi sees Ikushima's ghost, arm raised, pointing directly at him! When he tells Sanchez, everyone begins to doubt Geordi's reliability – until the ghost reappears, pointing a warning finger at them all!
What does it mean? Is the ship haunted? Is it an alien invasion? The cadets are about to make history themselves – if they escape with their lives!

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Memorable quotes

"You must always be ready," Hassan went on. "Keeping everything on the ship running is only half the job, Geordi. The main job of a starship's chief engineer is to be as prepared as possible for anything that might happen. That's what a chief engineer's captain wants most of all. Give your captain that and you will have a job for life."

Background information

  • This is the third Star Trek novel by Brad Ferguson, who also wrote Crisis on Centaurus and The Last Stand. It is his wife Kathi's only Star Trek credit.
  • Brad Ferguson noted that he was "very happy with the way the book turned out", even though there were some difficulties in bringing the characters together – in particular, he found that it was only when he changed the character of Trennek Sann to be female that "the whole thing worked", although editor Lisa Clancy did not realize the change had happened until Ferguson told her later. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 685)
  • Ferguson also had particular praise for interior artist Gordon Purcell: "whomever they got to do the drawings, he was brilliant. I never met the guy but I want to. He came up with people the way I imagined them." (Voyages of Imagination, p. 685)
  • La Forge refers to positive remarks on his performance record received during the events detailed in Atlantis Station, an earlier Starfleet Academy novel.


Geordi La Forge 
Cadet. A first year engineering student at Starfleet Academy who serves as the assistant engineer during this training mission.
Commander. Head of Academy command training, who personally assigns La Forge to this mission to observe his competence in the field.
Robert DePalma 
Commander. The first officer of the USS Benjamin Franklin at her launch in 2179.
"Billy Devil" 
The alias of an outlaw miner who was responsible for the murder of hundreds of miners at the Ceresville mining facility. He perished during the Battle of the Belt.
Hassan el-Dallal 
Cadet. A third year Terran student from North Africa and the chief engineer on the training mission.
Iwasaki "Ike" Ikushima 
The captain of the USS Benjamin Franklin who was exposed to fatal levels of radiation during an overload of his ship's warp reactor in 2181. Captain Ikushima knowingly exposed himself to the radiation while attempting to prevent a meltdown that would have destroyed the ship.
Siobhan McKenna 
Cadet. A fourth year mathematics major at the Academy who serves as first officer and navigator on this mission.
Bernardo O'Higgins Sanchez 
Cadet. A senior at the Academy who is in command of the USS Benjamin Franklin for the training mission. As this is his first mission in command, his thoughts often turned to his father, who was lost on the Enterprise-C ten years earlier.
Trennek Sann 
Cadet. A second year pre-med student from Andoria who serves as the communications and medical officer on this mission.
Trennek Sann's mother, for whom the asteroid "3300002 Malakeh" was named.


Battle of the Belt 
A conflict that occurred in 2179 when Captain Ikushima attempted to capture Billy Devil. Of the thirty renegade ships that opposed the USS Benjamin Franklin, fourteen were captured and the rest were destroyed. Included among the destroyed ships was Billy Devil's vessel, which he self-destructed to avoid capture.
A domed mining community on Ceres, the largest asteroid in the belt. It was mostly abandoned by 2354 due to the widespread use of replicators and the resulting decline in the mining of raw materials.
Pioneer 10
The first Earth probe to pass through the asteroid belt studied on this mission.
USS Benjamin Franklin (β
A Daedalus-class starship, NCC-013, that was first launched under the command of Captain Ikushima in 2179. As of 2354, it was being used as a cadet training vessel and was believed to be the oldest ship in Starfleet still on active duty. Limited by her old-style fission-powered reactors, the Benjamin Franklin could only reach a maximum speed of warp two.
USS Independence (β
An Ambassador-class starship.
USS Ohio (β
An Excelsior-class starship commanded by Captain Manning.

Previous novel: Series Next novel:
#12: Breakaway Star Trek: The Next Generation - Starfleet Academy #14: Deceptions
Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.