Literature: Star Trek: New Frontier
Star Trek: New Frontier
is a series of novels from the Star Trek Expanded Universe
written by Peter David
. Set contemporaneously with Star Trek: The Next Generation
, it follows the most badass
captain in Starfleet history, Captain Mackenzie Calhoun, and his rather unorthodox crew in their journeys of Sector 221-G, Thallonian Space. The Thallonian Empire has fallen, and Calhoun and crew have been sent in to show the flag, and hopefully get the region back on its feet.
The series uses a combination of original characters and guest stars from the TV series. Other than borrowing some one-shot characters, there is little connection betweeen this series and Star Trek Canon
. This fact allowed a freedom to let characters grow, change and even die years before the mainstream Trek lit settled into a more inventive phase (which was not allowed to fully let loose until after Star Trek: Nemesis
). Basically, New Frontier
was ahead of its time by Trek standards. There is also a very strong continuity to the stories that is nigh impossible with a series written by many authors, as David has written every novel and most of the short stories in the series. Many of the earlier books have a very strong Soap Opera feel to them as well, something that is pretty much unique in the Star Trek universe.Novels, Short Stories, and Comics in the series:
- House of Cards
- Into the Void
- The Two-Front War
- End Game
- The first four books have been compiled into an omnibus entitled Star Trek: New Frontier
- Fire On High
- Once Burned (Captain's Table, book 5)
- Double or Nothing (Double Helix, book 5)
- The Quiet Place
- Dark Allies
- Excalibur: Requiem
- Excalibur: Renaissance
- Excalibur: Restoration
- Double Time (comic)
- Cold Wars (Gateways, book 6)
- Death After Life (part of Gateways, book 7 What Lay Beyond)
- Being Human
- Gods Above
- Stone And Anvil
- No Limits (short story anthology)
- Stone Cold Truths (part of Tales of the Dominion War)
- After The Fall
- Pain Management (part of Tales from the Captain's Table)
- Missing in Action
- Cutting Ties (part of Star Trek: Mirror Universe, book 2 Obsidian Alliances)
- Turnaround (comic)
- Homecoming (part of Star Trek: Mirror Universe, book 3 Shards and Shadows)
- Blind Man's Bluff
Additionally, the first three Star Trek: The Next Generation: Starfleet Academy
books focus on characters who would later appear in this series. In fact, many Star Trek Expanded Universe
novels make a Continuity Nod
or three to the series. It rarely reciprocates, and later books offer different fates for certain characters than the "mainstream" novel continuity, but New Frontier
can largely be counted part of the mainstream Star Trek Novel Verse
through Broad Strokes
, due to the sheer number of references and cameos.
This series contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Emperor Tae Cwan. He severely beat the young Si Cwan following the Rolisan incident (in which the young noble flushed the body of his dead uncle Sedi out an airlock). Apparently, Si Cwan couldn't sit comfortably for a week afterwards. Of course, the royal family were pretty much abusive in general; Si Cwan himself was the only royal who was genuinely beloved by the people.
- Achievements in Ignorance: In Requiem, McHenry is able to walk from a center platform to an outer ledge over a chasm just by letting his mind drift away from what he was doing, just like in the cartoons. admittedly, this was a test by Q...who then promptly dropped an anvil on him, making him fall anyway.
- Actor Allusion: Morgan Primus, who is apparently "Number One" from the original Star Trek pilot (played by Majel Barrett). A Running Gag has her constantly compared to every character Majel Barrett played. And she eventually ends up inside the computer (Barrett also provided the computer voice in modern Trek).
- Affably Evil: The Overlord of the Redeemers. He insists he isn't evil though; indeed, he often wishes he were, because everything would be so much simpler if he were a monster and could do whatever he wanted. This is all self-delusion; he's pretty much definitely evil. And despite what he claims, he has an entirely self-serving moral code that allows him to justify anything he wishes. It's all "the Will of Xant", to which he, humble as he is, is a mere servant. Affably Evil definitely applies, as true to his self-image he's pleasant, soft spoken and comes across as entirely reasonable in his conversations with others. He's quite friendly, really, for a genocidal warlord.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Ship!Morgan. It all comes to a head in Blind Man's Bluff. To say more would require spoilers.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: The Overlord of the Redeemers does this to Calhoun twice to try and stave off the Black Mass. First, he puts a High Priest on an unsuspecting world (see Dead Man Switch below), but Calhoun is able to send Janos to sniff him out. Then he kidnaps Selar and Burgoyne and strands them on an ice planet, and won't give them back until the job is done.
- Animated Adaptation: In reverse; parts of Star Trek: The Animated Series have been taken for this series, including the characters of M'Ress and Arex.
- Anyone Can Die: Particularly in the later half of the series. The most notable death is probably Si Cwan in Missing In Action, but there's also Selar, Dr. Villers, and Mick Gold in Treason, plus Gleau and Janos (more or less) in Stone and Anvil and Morgan Primus and Admiral Nechayev in Blind Man's Bluff.
- Apocalypse How: In order of appearance:
- Thallon is physically annihilated by the Great Bird.
- Alpha Carinae is the first depiction of a victim of the Redeemer virus, which causes total planetary extinction.
- Ahmista's sentient population (and most of its "mammalian" population) suffers extinction at the hands of Tarella Lee and her "lover".
- Rolisa and its star get annihilated by the Black Mass.
- Sinqay suffers total extinction due to the Aeron and Markanian holy war. The races are spared only because the Thallonians separated them and relocated them.
- Xenex is pretty much wiped clean of Xenexians at the hands of the Brethren.
- The Visionary D'myurj is convinced that life itself will eventually cause the total annihilation of the multiverse.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Averted. When Kalinda tries to sidestep whether she "has a certain amount of congress with the pulse-impaired" by scoffing at the notion, Mac has a rebuttal:
- Comes in handy, too, since Mac runs into about as much weird stuff as Kirk himself did (including a few repeats, such as the Beings).
- Played straight with Admiral Jellico, who gets remarkably skeptical at every unusual (but accurate) mission report from the Excalibur. You'd think he'd learn—and eventually, he does.
- And even though both Xyon and Calhoun know about Kalinda's previous "congress with the pulse-impaired", they're still both skeptical that she's been possessed by the ghost of Si Cwan...until Kalinda fights them both. She even has Calhoun yelling "Dammit, Cwan" by the end of their bout.
- Artistic License - Biology: The Y chromosome McHenry apparently got from his mother...
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: McHenry.
- Attack Hello: How Xyon introduces himself to his father, Captain Calhoun.
- Attack Its Weak Point: The Brethren have very small slits in the sides of their helmets that aid them in temperature regulation. Put something in the slit, and watch 'em suffocate.
- Attending Your Own Funeral: Calhoun in Excalibur: Restoration shows up at the launch of the new Excalibur which includes a very touching speech/eulogy about him. Both hilarious and heartwarming.
- Balkanize Me: The struggle to hold the worlds of Thallonian space together in the aftermath of the Thallonian Empire's collapse drives much of the series. Without the iron fist of the Thallonians imposing peace, the many worlds of the region revert into old hostilities, and countless little wars flare up. Eventually, later in the series, Si Cwan and his allies succeed in establishing a New Thallonian Protectorate, uniting most of these worlds into one nation. Then the Protectorate ends up having a civil war...
- Battle Couple: Calhoun and Mueller in the backstory. Mid-way through the series, Calhoun and Shelby become a Happily Married Battle Couple.
- Better to Die Than Be Killed: The eldest daughter of the Aeron royal family, in Cold Wars.
- Bioaugmentation: Dr. Bethom's illegal experiments on typically non-sapient animals, including Janos.
- Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Subverted; the crew believes this to be the case when Xyon makes an apparent Heroic Sacrifice to finish off the Black Mass, so Burgoyne and Selar name their brand new baby after him. Later, when they find out Xyon is alive, they call Burgy and Selar's son Xy.
- Bizarro World: Tulaan IV (home of the Redeemer sect) is an interesting example; the Redeemers' god, Xant, is actually said to be rather pleasant, but they have adopted the Insane Troll Logic that he is so good that they can never measure up to him, and so they should strive to be his exact opposite, resulting in a Religion of Evil.
- Book Ends: Blind Man's Bluff begins, "M'k'n'zy of Calhoun was alone..." and ends, "Mackenzie Calhoun was alone."
- The Captain: Calhoun for most of the series, Shelby and Mueller later. Shelby gets her own ship, and when she's promoted again to Admiral, Mueller takes over as its commanding officer.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": A particular animal on a backwater planet called a furn is described as lovingly chewing its cud and sighing contentedly on an alien farm. Local students at a private space academy love to beam down unawares (this is a pre-warp civilization) and engage in some furn-tipping.
- Cat Folk: M'Ress.
- Child by Rape: Soleta, who was conceived when her Vulcan mother was raped by a Romulan criminal.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Boragi, who are infamous for their lack of concern for anything but their own needs. Always neutral, they have a habit of stirring up trouble, setting other races against each other (all the time remaining suspiciously uninvolved) and then coming in to pick up the pieces once their neighbours have blown each other to smithereens. Any alliance with a Boragi is nothing of the kind - they honour only their own needs and will always, always, turn away when it bests suits them.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The All-Father.
- Common Eye Colors: Calhoun's eyes are purple, but that's common for Xenexians. That said, he seems almost disappointed when he learns just how common they are.
- Continuity Nod: Morgan Primus is mistaken for every character Majel Barrett played, possibly with cause.
- Mick and Leanne Gold. Mick is introduced as the Grissom's conn officer, and later becomes the Trident's before he was killed by the Brethren; his sister Leanne attended the Academy with Calhoun and Shelby and she eventually went missing at the hands of the Borg.
- Admiral Jellico cites Starfleet Article 14, Section 31 to gain control of a situation in which a Starfleet ship was seconds away from destroying the Excalibur. That's the same part of the Charter that gives Luther Sloan his job.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Kebron's vacation pictures.
- Cross Through:The Captain's Table, Double Helix and Gateways
- Cut Herself Shaving: Mueller gives this excuse to Shelby to cover for her breaking her fist punching a mirror in frustration. Shelby doesn't believe a word of it.
- A Day in the Limelight: No Limits and the Excalibur books are almost entirely these.
- Dead Man Switch: The Redeemer virus. The death of a High Priest by anything less than natural means releases the deadly virus into a planet's biosphere, destroying all life. The Redeemers station a High Priest on every conquered (converted) world; the high blasphemy of an attack on the Priest is therefore punished immediately with genocide. In one unfortunate case in the No Limits anthology, a planet is accidentally wiped out when the High Priest breaks his neck after slipping in a pool of water while climbing out of the bath...
- Deadpan Snarker: Kebron. Slon.
- Despair Event Horizon: Calhoun only thinks he hits this after the Grissom incident. He really hits it at the end of Blind Man's Bluff, when he returns home to Xenex to find pretty much every Xenexian except himself and his son dead or dying, thanks to the Brethren and the Visionary. And then his son blames him for it and swears vengeance.
- Disproportionate Retribution: After the Brethren attack Xenex for Calhoun, he leads his people in a successful attempt to drive them off the planet, killing all of the Brethren of one ship and allowing Calhoun to leave the planet in one of their ships. The Brethren's response? Carpet bomb Xenex.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Pretty much any story with warring factions seems to an allusion to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. In "Cold Wars", the final result of this is shown, brutally and effectively: The planet they were warring on is now uninhabitable.
- Doomsday Device: The Redeemer virus, as mentioned above under Dead Man Switch.
- Driven to Suicide: Si Cwan's uncle, Sedi Cwan, over his failure to stop the Black Mass. Si Cwan, angry that his uncle deprived him of his knowledge, ordered him blown out a torpedo tube.
- Dueling Scar: Mueller has one. Bonus points for actually being shown swordfighting recreationally in the holodeck. Further points for mentioning she got it at Heidelberg, implying that it was the result of a (probably even more illegal then than it is now) mensur fencing duel - one where the students don't wear protective masks.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Peter David wrote the first three Star Trek the Next Generation: Starfleet Academy books in 1993, and they contain several of the New Frontier characters as cadets (alongside the Next Generation crew at the academy). This was years before the New Frontier books were written. Also, his 1991 novel Vendetta features Shelby with her background details from the New Frontier series (including her first name, Elizabeth, which she was never called by in "Best of Both Worlds")- and her superior, the Excalibur`s original captain, albeit here commanding the Chekov. This character was killed offscreen just prior to the New Frontier series and was mentioned in the first book.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Danter is said to be a member of the United Federation of Planets in the first book (written in 1997, prior to the trend towards consistency in the novels (which started around 2001)). This seems rather odd, seeing as they're most definitely not what we'd expect from the Federation. Indeed, they're openly imperialistic. Later books seem to have retconned this, making Danter definitely an independent nation.
- Similarly, Janos is introduced as an intelligent Mugato, but is retconned into a genetically created being who only looks like a Mugato.
- In Xyon's first appearance, The Quiet Place, he's able to glean information about one of the Dogs of War's targets by reading the mind of one of the Dogs. Though it might be plausible that Xyon has a more concentrated version of his father's sixth sense for danger, it's not been mentioned since (thus, never mentioned after we finally learn that Calhoun's his father.)
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Thallon, thanks to the Great Bird of the Galaxy. After having gestated inside the planet for millennia (being responsible for its strangely fertile climate in the process), it eventually "hatches", and bursts free of Thallon's core.
- Elsewhere Fic: Most of the series.
- Empty Chair Memorial: The crew leaves one for the (presumed) dead Captain Calhoun in the opening scene of Requiem.
- Expecting Someone Taller: The Redeemers are never put in context with other races until The Quiet Place, when Xyon utters the line...as he finds that the Overlord, tallest of the Redeemers, is barely 4 feet tall.
- The Extremist Was Right: The Thallonians brought peace to the warring races of their sector by conquering them all, forcing squabbling factions to settle on different planets, and generally ruling with an iron fist. They were a harsh and often brutal empire...but they did keep the peace. With the empire gone, Si Cwan rightly fears all the old conflicts will start up again.
- Fastest Gun in the West: In Once Burned, people believe Calhoun to be one after he killed an enemy before they could kill the captain. He's not; he was actually already raising his phaser to kill the enemy because he felt he had to kill him so the captain didn't have to. Only the fact that the enemy had taken the captain's phaser and was about to kill him with it changed the perception. Meanwhile, in Restoration, the Orion hunter who is tracking Calhoun down turns out to be one, so Calhoun has to use...other means to defeat him.
- Feuding Families: The Unglza and Eenza in Martyr; Aeron and Markania in Cold Wars.
- Gladiator Games: Planet Barspens enjoys these; criminals are forced to participate for the crowd's entertainment.
- Glamour Failure: Gleau's Selelvian charms, which usually allow him to influence other people's actions and perceptions, do not work on Janos. Nor do they work on artificial life forms, allowing Calhoun and Picard to use Ship!Morgan and Data to foil their plans with a No Matter How Much I Beg tactic.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: The Beings.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Calhoun and Mueller have good scars, despite Calhoun sterilizing his with a laser welder.
- The Great Offscreen War: The Dominion War is only given a passing mention in Calhoun's Captain's Table story and an obviously false story from Kebron in Tales of the Dominion War. And other than Shelby's Captain's Table story, the Selelvian-Tholian War that brewed after Gods Above was also completely offscreen.
- Handsome Lech: Burgoyne 172.
- Harmful to Minors: 9-year old Tsana of Aeron sees her entire family slaughtered by Markanian soldiers. This includes two thirteen-year old brothers, whose blood she practically ends up sitting in. Also, 11-year old Moke sees his mother shot dead by an outlaw.
- Heal It With Fire: Young M'k'n'zy of Calhoun has had his face slashed open by an opponent. After he dispatches him, he closes up the wound with a laser welder. Even though Starfleet medicine could have fixed the resulting scar, he keeps it to remind him of how he freed his people.
- Heavyworlder: The Brikar, the race to which Deadpan Snarker security chief Zak Kebron belongs.
- Heel-Faith Turn: Rajari, but turns out to be a subversion when his final act was to use his illegitimate daughter as a pawn to commit a terrorist attack on the Romulan Empire.
- Heroic RROD: Soleta, after using her mind-meld as a weapon to destroy Nechayev.
- In Double or Nothing, Sela intentionally invokes a Villainous RROD to keep Riker and the Excalibur from finding out the master plan. Soleta was involved in this one, as well, though her mind-meld this time was more akin to Spock's mind-meld with Valeris.
- Hermaphrodite: The Hermats, as the name alludes to. Chief engineer (later first officer) Burgoyne 172 is a Hermat.
- Horde of Alien Locusts: The Black Mass, a swarming space-dwelling creature composed of billions of constituent parts. It periodically migrates from its home in the Hunger Zone in order to feed on planets.
- Human Aliens: Xenexians are almost indistinguishable from humans, aside from having additional eye colours such as Calhoun's purple.
- Impossibly Delicious Food: The Beings' ambrosia is so good, whoever eats it immediately starts to worship their new gods. This happened to both the Danteri and Soleta.
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Xyon has one when he sees his beloved Kalinda kissing Tania Tobias. Whether he would've done anything is unknown, however, thanks to his father's quick thinking.
- Inhumanly Beautiful Race: Selelvians.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Shelby and Calhoun get interrupted by Selar and Burgoyne's search for Xyon.
- Interspecies Romance: A great many. Prominant examples include: Xenexian captain Calhoun/multiple partners (and he eventually marries a human), Xyon/Kalinda (Xenexian/Thallonian), Burgoyne 172/Selar (Hermat/Vulcan), Burgoyne 172/McHenry(Hermat/Human), Lefler/Si Cwan (Human/Thallonian). Exploited in Treason, wherein the new villains are kidnapping cross-species hybrids to make bodies to put their intelligence into and infiltrate the Federation. And Nechayev turns out to be one of them.
- I See Dead People: Kalinda.
- Jumping on a Grenade: During the Selelvian War, Soleta does this to save Elizabeth Shelby. Unfortunately, it was a dummy grenade. She'd save her in another way later.
- Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Lyla.
- Lampshade Hanging: Many.
- A running one that stands out is the characters calling attention to the difference between the original series and Star Trek from The Next Generation onwards, such as pointing out the changed characterisation of the Romulan and Klingon races.
- Longest Pregnancy Ever: See Retcon, below.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Xyon is introduced to the reader through a mission involving Si Cwan's lost sister. Xyon is introduced to his father through a right hook and a declaration that his full name is Xyon of Calhoun.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Bethom.
- Man Behind the Man / The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Gribble to Dr. Bethom. His most successful creation, the bio-engineered Gribble isn't just an odd pet; in fact it's running the entire operation.
- Martyrdom Culture: The Xenexians, at times.
- Mathematician's Answer: "May I ask why?" "Yes."
- Mayfly-December Romance: The relationship between Selar, a Vulcan, and Burgoyne 172, a Hermat. The average Vulcan lifespan is 200 years, while the average Hermat lifespan is 40 years. They even produce a child...whose lifespan is barely 10 years at least until he comes across a life-extending drug.
- Medal of Dishonor: Calhoun was very nearly given one for his actions in the Grissom incident. Everyone thought him a hero; he thought himself a failure. So he resigned and punched Jellico's lights out.
- Mighty Glacier: The Brikar species, of which security chief Zak Kebron is a member. So much so, they're practically immobile in normal gravity unless they have anti-gravity devices available. Of course, this being Star Trek, that's usually not a problem.
- Military Maverick: Calhoun. To Admiral Jellico's distaste.
- Mind Rape: After Soleta goes Romulan, she hones the mind-meld for use as a weapon like this. She generally only uses it that way on really bad people, though.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Arex.
- Never Heard That One Before: M'Ress has heard all the cat-related jokes in existence.
“So let us be clear with one another, Admiral. I have one life, not nine. I have never been killed by curiosity, my parents do not live in a cat house, my mother did not rock me as an infant in a cat's cradle, the preferred Caitian method of self-defence is not cat-boxing, I do not deposit my earnings into a kitty, if I am trying to be delicate about a subject I do not pussyfoot around - shall I go on?”
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Morgan Primus.
- 90% of Your Brain : McHenry can tell you what percent of his brain is being used on any given task.
- No Man of Woman Born: A variation in the prophecies of Ontear on planet Zondar; "no man or woman" will save Calhoun before he is ritually murdered. "No man or woman" would be a problem for most crews; most crews don't have Burgoyne 172, both man and woman.
- No Matter How Much I Beg: Picard and Calhoun in Stone and Anvil, when testing Selelvian mind control.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Si Cwan. Is it See Kwan? See Swan? Sy Kwan? Sy Swan?
- In universe, M'k'n'zy of Calhoun changed his name to Mackenzie Calhoun because he was tired of everyone bungling his name.
- Noodle Incident: Until Once Burned, Calhoun's involvement in the Grissom incident that led to him resigning his commission.
- A bizarre Noodle Subversion: The cliffhanger last line of Dark Allies is "Five minutes later, the ship blew up." The next book opens some months later, with the characters saying, "Hey, we've been through all that, let's not talk about it any more, or try to explain it." Oh, and, the captain apparently died in the explosion. This inexplicable catastrophe remains a noodle incident for most of three whole books until we learn the full explanation, just in time for the captain to come back from the dead and take command of a new ship. Oh, and because of McHenry, it was a really long five minutes.
- Not So Stoic: Dr. Selar sometimes snaps rather spectacularly, most memorably in After the Fall when discussing how she really feels about her son. (In fact, her son and her feelings towards him and his condition become a plot point that leads to her eventual death that drives most of Treason.)
- Oh My Gods!: A Danteri says the phrase almost exactly. Also, on the fictional gods angle, there's Xant, the god of the Redeemers. Xant is darkness. We are light. Praise Xant. Also, the inhabitants of Yakaba are good, Kolk'r-fearing people.
- One-Gender Race: Sort of; all Hermats are both genders, as the name alludes to. One of the early books name-checks the other One-Gender Race in Star Trek, the J'Naii. Also, one of the stories in the No Limits anthology features Hermat character Burgoyne 172 and a J'Naii on a mission together. To Damiano, of all places - where the natives have three genders.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Zoran si Verdin on Si Cwan. Subverted in that Zoran dies first.
- Our Elves Are Better: The Selelvians. They're graceful, beautiful and have the most aesthetically appealing starships. They seem to glow with an inner light and are ridiculously attractive. They're also up to no good.
- Out with a Bang: Selar's mate during her first pon farr.
- The Phoenix: The Great Bird of the Galaxy. It's a giant bird-shaped creature seemingly made of fire, and apparently there's only one, which is periodically reborn (although the presence of a possible offspring while the parent had just "hatched" suggests the "only one" part might be inaccurate legend after all). It incubates inside planets, making them warm and fertile, until it's time to hatch; then it's an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
- Planet Eater: The Black Mass. A star eater too; after consuming Rolisa, it moves on to the planet's sun, to the horror of the watching Thallonians.
- Planet of Hats: Tulaan IV, the Redeemer homeworld. Of course, all non-conformists were killed off a long time ago. And any modern dissenters will probably end up being killed by the Overlord (See: Your Head Asplode).
- Powered Armor: The Brethren are encased in such armor. It regulates their volcano-like body temperature, and includes powerful pulse weapons in their gloves. It does lack actual eyeholes, using instead infrared-type sensors, a weakness that the Excalibur and Trident can exploit. Another weakness is, of course, the tiny vents on the side of the helmet. Block that up, and watch them fall.
- Powers via Possession: In Treason, when Kalinda becomes possessed by Si Cwan, she gains all of his fighting abilities and intellect...and absolutely Squicks Robin and Xyon out.
- Pronoun Trouble: "S/he" and "hir" and the rejected "sheeit" for the hermaphrodite Hermats.
- Prophecy Twist: The Savior in Martyr.
- Public Execution: Possibly the only true form of entertainment on Barspens.
- Punctuation Shaker: M'k'n'zy and most male Xenexians.
- Punny Name: Gleau.
- Purple Eyes: Calhoun; though purple is a common eye color for Xenexians.
- Readings Are Off the Scale: lampshaded in Being Human. A character wryly points out that Starfleet really needs to invest in larger scales.
- Redemption Equals Death: Selar in Treason.
- Religion of Evil: The Redeemers. Their mandate is to teach others about the grace of Xant - which means imposing their faith on entire planets on pain of genocide. Ironically, they consider their evil to be serving a greater good. Thanks to Insane Troll Logic, they act in the opposite manner to how Xant would want them to. This will serve to speed up his promised return, apparently - so by being ruthless and genocidal now, the Redeemers will, in the long-run, help bring Xant's wisdom and light to the galaxy a lot quicker. Plus, how can they possibly measure up to his godly example? Best not to try, and instead encourage the god to return and bestow his incomparable wisdom himself. Or possibly the Redeemers are just utterly insane...
- Remember the New Guy: Mueller, who was on night shift until she became a major character. Hash and Gold were with her on the night shift, as well, and Doc Villers became Shelby's CMO on the Trident.
- Restricted Expanded Universe: Mostly avoided.
- Retcon: The Time Travel hijinks of Double Time were introduced as a means of explaining an earlier continuity error, which saw Selar suffering what was apparently the Longest Pregnancy Ever. Turns out thanks to the Retcon that the central characters "missed" a year or two.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Si Cwan and Kalinda (though they don't have much choice following the collapse of their empire).
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Redeemers are a culture of religious fundamentalists; indeed, the only members of their species left are this, as most were wiped out by the Redeemer virus the survivors later used to cower subjugated (converted, "saved") peoples.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Ontear was accused of making these when he was alive. When he specifically named a man who would do great things in the future, half of a country named their babies after that man. In reality, Ontear had access to a machine that was able to look into the future.
- Shoot the Hostage: A virtual example. In Stone and Anvil Mackenzie Calhoun's solution to the "Kobayashi Maru" is to blow the Maru out of space, taking the Klingons with it. He reasons that either:
- The crew of the Maru were already dead, meaning the whole thing was a Klingon trap.
- The crew of the Maru were not dead and would become Klingon prisoners when he inevitably lost, an idea to which he considered a quick death by friendly fire preferable.
- The crew of the Maru were actively assisting the Klingons by acting as bait for their trap, making them traitors to the Federation.
- Shout-Out: Oh, lots.
- Morgan Primus, who now lives in the Excalibur's computer, offers to appear with an H on her head, to remind people she's a hologram.
- Peter David has a habit of dropping in little references to his show Space Cases, particularly in the first few books. Select shouts include three appearances by the actors, one cameo from a character, as well as a city bearing the name of one of the characters. (That would be Catalina City, on Saturn. A real jewel of a city.)
- Blind Man's Bluff has Seven of Nine introduce Soleta to the Doctor (the Voyager EMH). Soleta's reaction to that name:
- Then later in that same book, this Doctor uses a familiar Catch Phrase:
The Doctor: "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
: A deadly virus is threatening to wipe out the lives of everyone we hold dear...and only the good ship Excalibur
has a hope of stopping it...You're frowning, Lieutenant. I hope you're not feeling daunted. McHenry
: No, sir. Just the strangest feeling of deja vu
- Jelico thinks Captain Kirk was a blowhard who liked to show just how little he thought of Star Fleet Command by filing the most rediculous reports—like that one time that he claimed someone had stolen his first officer's brain . . .
- Someone to Remember Him By: Basically how Moke was conceived. Also, Si Cwan left Robin Lefler pregnant before he was captured and killed by his political enemies.
- Space Is Noisy: Averted in Dark Allies, where the lack of sound in space becomes a plot point - sound is the only way to damage the Black Mass, yet naturally it's quite impossible to put that knowledge to use while the Mass is in a vacuum.
- Spaceship Girl: Lyla; Morgan Primus ascends to Spaceship
Girl Woman after her physical body is killed.
- Stealth Pun: In Double or Nothing, Calhoun is basically thrust into a Star Trek version of a James Bond film. Near the beginning he goes to pick up some new advanced weapons and technology from a nameless man; when Calhoun asks him his name, he simply says he's the man with the gadgets. It's then implied that he vanishes in a flash of light when Calhoun's back is turned. So, in other words, Star Trek's equivalent of Q is Q.
- Straight Gay: Selar's brother Slon. You can't get any straighter than a gay Vulcan.
- Take Care of the Kids: This is how Calhoun ends up with custody of his adopted son, Moke.
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Calhoun in End Game
- Throw-Away Country: Played with in Dark Allies. Rolisa is indeed a Throw-Away Country, but the text informs us the world had a destiny, and if the Black Mass didn't exist it would become the galaxy's leading nation in time.
- Throwing Down the Gauntlet: The son of the man Calhoun killed in the first novel challenges him to a "Final Challenge" duel to the death in the fourth book. note
- Time Skip: Between Stone and Anvil and After the Fall.
- Tykebomb: Moke.
- The Unfettered: A Vulcan in the Shal'tiar state is basically this: when a Vulcan is presented with a problem that no form of logic can solve, that Vulcan will attempt to solve it by any means necessary. Selar is thought to have slipped into Shal'Tiar over her son's condition, and her solution was to kidnap her friend's baby and commandeer her other friend's ship with help of an accomplice, and heed a voice promising a cure. She gets better, but too late to rectify the situation with any other means than a Heroic Sacrifice.note
- Unperson: Si Cwan declares his intention to do this to a suspected traitor. A soldier believed responsible for turning off New Thallon’s defence network and allowing a bombardment of plasma bombs is to be punished by having his existence wiped from all records, and his family ordered never to speak of him again or share the fate. And then it turns out the guy is innocent.
- Unreliable Narrator: Kebron in "Stone Cold Truths".
- Unusual Euphemism: The all-purpose Xenexian curseword grozit.
- Unwinnable Training Simulation: Calhoun had a rather interesting solution to the Kobayashi Maru.note
- Warrior Heaven: The Xenexian afterlife of Kaz'hera is a single battle, repeated ad infinitum, basically analogous to Sto'vo'kor, Klingon heaven. In Kaz'hera, there are no regrets, no grudges, no responsibilities; only endless mayhem and the ability to fight and die over and over. Calhoun apparently believes in it; his human wife does not.
- We Are as Mayflies / Younger Than They Look: Selar and Burgoyne's son, Xy, ages at a vastly accelerated rate, an unfortunate consequence of his mixed Hermat/Vulcan genetics. He appears doomed to die before he hits double digits; until his mother gives her life to save him.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Inverted in Restoration: After getting her own command, Shelby staffs it with by-the-book, spit-and-polish Starfleet officers. Within a month, she realizes she misses the old, "unprofessional" crew she left behind, and accepts command of the new Excalibur until Calhoun reveals himself to be alive and takes it.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The last time we see the Dogs of War, their new leader is having an inauthentic epiphany that the Redeemers' Xant is the one true god. The Redeemers themselves haven't been seen since the Excalibur saved their homeworld from the Black Mass...save for a small gift that Xyon left for them...
- Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: The Redeemers. The Overlord explains:
"If you refuse to accept Xant, or act against his interests, then your life is nothing. Less than nothing. One has no right to complain about the extinguishing of something that is less than nothing. Those who attack a High Priest have rejected the name of Xant, and so rejected life itself. Don't you understand? In such circumstances, we have not killed them. They have killed themselves”.
- With Due Respect: Jellico and Shelby both mention that this phrase usually precedes the least respectful things said to them.
- Women Are Wiser: The Zarna to her husband the Zarn, in Cold Wars.
- Words Can Break My Bones: The Redeemers' killing words. The Overlord has knowledge of "ancient" words that can be used to inflict pain or death. In one case, Your Head Asplode was the eventual result.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Some of the Thallonians. Many, like Si Cwan, shave their hair. Also, a Thallonian's hair yellows as he ages.note
- You See, I'm Dying: Rajari, when Soleta tracks him down in Requiem.
- Young Rebel Warlord: Mackenzie Calhoun's origins.
- Your Head Asplode: The Overlord of the Redeemers uses one of his Brown Note words to cause another Redeemer's brain to explode.