This is a dual-plot novel. Spock, as a captain, receives a distress call from an old friend named Rabin. Rabin is now a starfleet liaison with the natives of a desert planet. The novel shifts back and forth between this plot and another; a previous instance when Spock met Rabin, when Spock was undergoing his Vulcan rite-of-passage
and Rabin was a Space Cadet
visiting Vulcan. The two rescued Rabin's mother and a number of hostages from a religious fanatic secretly supported by the Romulans. The relationship between the two stories is revealed at the end.
This novel contains examples of: