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Literature / Star Trek: Federation

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Star Trek: Federation is a 1994 Star Trek Expanded Universe novel by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens.

Federation tracks three different timelines. In the 2060s, a fascist movement called Optimum is sweeping across Earth, and a physicist named Zefram Cochrane is caught in the crossfire between Optimum's dragon Colonel Adrik Thorsen and La Résistance.

Meanwhile in 2267, Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) receives a distress signal from Zefram Cochrane, whom he met earlier that year (TOS: "Metamorphosis").

99 years later in 2366, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701D) acquires an apparently Borg artifact from a rogue Romulan ship, containing a computer entity that rapidly takes over the Enterprise.

As the two crews struggle to fulfill their missions, destiny draws them closer together until past and future merge — and the fate of each of the two legendary starships rest in the hands of the other vessel...note 

If you're looking for the trope, see The Federation.

Star Trek: Federation contains examples of the following tropes:

  • All Planets Are Earthlike: Brack figures that if the nearest star system to Earth has an Earth-like planet then they must be all over the place.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: Despite what Riker tells Data, and their absence from the ship's computer, there are, in fact, such things as snipe, although a Snipe Hunt is not expected to actually catch one.
  • Big Bad: Colonel Adrik Thorsen is technically The Dragon to the unnamed Optimum leaders (including Colonel Green), but he serves as the effective Big Bad of the 2060s story and the actual Big Bad of the other two timelines
  • Call-Back: Many of the 21st century characters and concepts are Call Backs to Star Trek's established history of the future. The Optimum Movement is led by Colonel Green from "The Savage Curtain" and uses the symbols seen in the "post-atomic courtroom" from "Encounter At Farpoint". Cochrane's friends include Flint the Immortal from "Requiem for Methuselah" and John Burke, the astronomer mentioned in "The Trouble With Tribbles". The storyline also features the technology of the Preservers, previously seen in the original series episode "The Paradise Syndrome". The New United Nations were first mentioned in "Encounter at Farpoint", having made a human rights declaration in 2036 and from context having collapsed around 2079 (stated in this book as due to the Optimum).
  • Call-Forward:
    • The Ferengi ship is called The 62nd Rule. Since it's still season 3 of TNG, no-one on the Enterprise has any idea what that means. The concepts of the Rules of Acquisition and the 62nd ROA, "The riskier the road, the greater the profit", would be introduced in DS9: "Rules of Acquistion", set three years later. The ship's name can thus be roughly translated as "risk in hope of gain"—which is to say, as "enterprise".
    • Similarly, when a question is asked about a Warbird's warp core, Data points out that they don't even know if Romulan ships use warp cores. In fact they don't (as the omniscient description in the ramming scene notes), but the crew will only discover this later on in "Face of the Enemy".
    • Cochrane draws a diagram to try and explain warp drive to Thorsen, showing the speed of light as a star, the energy required under Einsteinian relativity to reach lightspeed being a parabolic curve to infinity over the top, and the energy required by warp drive to be a smaller asymmetric curve beneath it. When he finishes drawing the diagram, the result looks like the Starfleet arrowhead symbol, suggesting this is where it comes from.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Played with in a minor scene at the start of the TOS storyline. After Spock and Sarek clean Kirk out at poker, they explain that while Vulcans as a general rule do not lie, bluffing is part and parcel of poker and therefore acceptable in context.
  • Canon Marches On: Cochrane's exploits in the 2060's don't match up with what was depicted later on in Star Trek: First Contact.
  • Cassandra Truth: Despite multiple parties, starting from Zefram Cochrane and going all the way through Scotty and Geordi centuries later, all explaining that the physics behind the 'warp bomb' phenomenon make it highly impractical to weaponize (since the destruction is determined by local gravity conditions rather than the power put through the warp field generator, it will always be easier to make a bigger, if less clean, explosion from a smaller, cheaper, and simpler to build conventional weapon), Thorsen is absolutely convinced that Cochrane found a way to do it and spends three hundred years trying to track the man down and force him to turn over the plans.
  • The Cavalry:
    • The Enterprise is trapped in the subspace black hole, out of power and about to be crushed, when they see two brilliant blue lights...from the Lexington and Excalibur, who heard the Enterprise's distress call and got there just in time to tow them free.
    • Meanwhile the Enterprise-D, after exiting the black hole, comes under attack by Commander Tarl's warbird IRW Tears of Algeron, seeking to avenge her mate Traklamek whom Picard killed with his crazy-ass ramming attack below. Another Starfleet ship that Thorsen-as-Data had ordered out of the area earlier blindsides Tarl and blows her away.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Referenced by Zefram Cochrane when he's brought aboard the Enterprise-D. The original Enterprise's systems were familiar enough that he could at least take a guess at how they worked, but the Enterprise-D is so far advanced from his home level of technology that it's indistinguishable from magic.
  • Colonized Solar System. In Cochrane's time Mars and Earth and Saturn's moons have been colonized.
  • Continuity Nod: While being held by Thorsen in Battersea Stadium, Cochrane finds photos of several baseball players, including somebody named Bokai. Buck Bokai was first mentioned in the Deep Space Nine episode "If Wishes Were Horses" as one of the stars of the final World Series, which by this book's chronology was held about twelve years before the Optimum took over. Battersea Stadium is said to have been the home of the London Kings, which was mentioned in several DS9 episodes as being Bokai's team.
  • Continuity Porn: Dear God. Understanding the little references sprinkled liberally about isn't really necessary to enjoy the book, but did the Reeves-Stevenses ever go to town on it.
  • Crossover: Between Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul / Grey Goo: Thorsen was implanted with Grigari nanomachines to repair the wounds inflicted by Cochrane and La Résistance at Battersea Stadium. He becomes obsessed with revenge against Cochrane as the nanites gradually replace his body when the immune system rejects them. By the TOS timeline he's more machine than man. By TNG, he's become little more than a computer entity.
  • Day of the Jackboot: The UK is under Optimum Movement control and has been dubbed "The Optimal Republic of Great Britain".
  • Deadly Euphemism: Optimum foot soldiers like "contained", as in "containing a plague".
  • Deflector Shields: In order to rescue the civilians of a starliner that have been captured by mercenaries employed by Thorsen, the Enterprise overloads the liner's navigational deflectors by firing a volley of photon torpedoes at one side of the ship while timing their detonation with simultaneous phaser fire on the opposite side to short out the emitters.
  • Distant Finale: Two of them.
    • First, a chapter that takes place just after the Enterprise-D's destruction in Star Trek: Generations, whereas the rest of the TNG storyline is set between "Sarek" and "Ménage à Troi" several years earlier. Picard receives a time capsule from Starfleet Archives containing a message from Kirk that explains the whole story to him.
    • The actual epilogue takes place centuries in the future, as the Federation has united the entire galaxy and a ship equipped with "sidewarp" drive has traveled beyond it, finding another Preserver beacon out in deep space and opening a new era.
      "In the language of the time, the ship's name is Enterprise."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Thorsen cannot comprehend Cochrane's motivations at times because of this and it fuels his conviction that there is a secret warp bomb.
    • On a smaller scale, the Romulans' plan to deliver the Borg artifact to the Enterprise-D relied on assuming that Picard would just abandon the apparently defecting Tarl when Traklamek shows up, but the Romulans underestimated Picard's values.
    Picard: The Federation does not abandon its friends.
  • Explosive Decompression: Played surprisingly realistically for Star Trek when the Thorsen entity takes over the Ent-D and decompresses the shuttlebay where the main cast is. The cast remains conscious and have to be treated for vacuum exposure injuries later. (Wesley's worst off, having tried to hold his breath, which is a no-no in hard vacuum.) Data, not requiring oxygen, manhandles everyone into a shuttle and pressurizes it.
  • Eye Scream: Thorsen gets John Burke's laser cane shone into his eye, permanently damaging it. Later, as a Grigari cyborg, he is shown extracting his own eye and replacing it with machinery.
  • Fictional United Nations: The New United Nations in the 21st century storyline apparently replaced the original. Some NUN peacekeepers have the misfortune to become Red Shirts at the hands of Thorsen's Black Shirts in the prologue, and the entire organization is destroyed by the Optimum during their rise to power.
  • Floating Head Syndrome: As seen above, the dust jacket for the original hardcover has Kirk and Picard from the shoulders up and not much else.
  • Flying Car: Zefram travels in a flying Rolls-Royce limousine while visiting Earth.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Picard's first words on finding out that the chunk of Borg ship has a Preserver artifact inside it?
    "Sacre merde."
  • Framing Device: The prologue and epilogue. An old, weary Admiral James T. Kirk visits the Guardian of Forever and asks several meaning-of-life-type questions to no response, finally asking it, "Why?" Cut to the epilogue, and it seems the entire book has partly been the Guardian basically telling him, "Yes, you mattered, and all the pain and loss you endured were worth it." Kirk is noticeably more optimistic as the book closes.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Cochrane underestimates Thorsen's resolve to endlessly pursue him for this reason at first, and both Kirk and Picard are baffled at why Thorsen would spend two centuries destroying what's left of his own humanity simply 'to prove that I am right' as he says to Picard.
  • Grand Theft Me: Thorsen does this to Data, though luckily for the android his personality is only suppressed, not erased.
  • The Heavy: Adrik Thorsen is the primary villain of the piece. In the 2060s timeline he works for the Optimum movement's leadership, but is the only one who directly appears. In the TOS and TNG timelines he's in charge.
  • Inertial Dampening: Zefram finds it's been invented while he was on his mission to Alpha Centauri. Notably they use it in cars.
  • Insane Admiral: Admiral Kabreigny. She becomes almost as obsessed with Cochrane and the theoretical warp bomb as Thorsen did, and Spock has to pinch her to get her out of Kirk's hair so he can save the Enterprise. When she wakes up offscreen, she apparently realizes what she was doing and doesn't press charges.
  • Interquel: The TOS timeline starts with Kirk recuperating from the assassination attempt in "Journey to Babel". The TNG timeline picks up right at the end of "Sarek".
  • Irony: Thorsen is forced to leave Earth due to his injuries from Cochrane's escape and to try to get the "secret" of the warp bomb, becoming the same sort of human he had spent his whole life despising.
  • It Only Works Once: The Enterprise-D only succeeded in ramming Tralamek's warbird due to a combination of circumstances that quite possibly had never before happened in the history of the universe.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Near the end of the TOS story Kirk suggests that the subspace black hole could be named after Admiral Kabreigny, and Bones snarks that that's a terrible idea. The TNG story has been referring to it as the Kabreigny Object throughout.
  • Living MacGuffin: Zefram Cochrane in the TOS and TNG storylines. Thorsen is obsessed with revenge against Cochrane, and Kirk wants to protect him. Picard was mostly an innocent bystander dragged into it by Thorsen.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: The story jumps between three different time periods, eventually tying them all together.
  • Mildly Military: As usual in Star Trek, but actually acknowledged: Part of the reason Admiral Kabreigny doesn't get on with Kirk is that she sees him as representing the military side of Starfleet, whereas she represents the exploration side. The irony that she's much more hard-nosed than he is appears lost on her.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Optimum are basically Nazis, though they claim they're not making the mistakes of past fascist movements (the Nazis, Khan Noonien Singh, etc.).
  • No Warping Here: Cochrane's earlier warp drives don't work any closer to the sun's gravity than Saturn's orbit.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Romulans claim that a Borg artifact they're giving the Enterprise was retrieved when a Romulan freighter collided with a Borg cube and managed to break a piece away by pure mechanical force. Played with: the artifact itself is a clever fake, but Picard, Data, and Geordi speculate that the only way someone could make such a good fake Borg artifact is by disassembling an actual one, duplicating all of its parts, then reassembling the duplicates. So it's somewhere between possible and likely that the Romulans did have a real Borg artifact, which may have in fact been obtained by the awesome means described.
  • Oppressive States of America: In the 2060s storyline the Optimum takes over much of the world, including the United States. There the Constitution has been suspended and only the fifteen states with Optimum majorities are allowed to send representatives to Congress.
  • Phlebotinum-Proof Robot: The Enterprise-D crew are working on a chunk of a Borg ship in the shuttlebay, when something crazy happens and the shuttlebay is depressurized. The crew are collectively manhandled into a shuttle by Data, who, being an android, doesn't need to breathe.
  • Precursors: In the TNG storyline, Thorsen masquerades as the mysterious cube created by the Preservers.
  • Prisoner's Dilemma: Discussed by name at the climax of the story. Both Enterprises are trapped inside the multisingularity. Either can maneuver so as to steal spatial distortion from the other, which will allow the one doing the stealing to escape but doom the other. Or they can maneuver so as to essentially bounce a triple-wave distortion pattern back and forth between them. If this maneuver is successful, they will both be able to escape. If it fails, both of them will be doomed. But neither of them has working comms, so they cannot know what the other is thinking.
  • Ramming Always Works:
    • Par for the course with Star Trek, but the TNG storyline features a pretty spectacular instance when Picard rams a Romulan D'deridex-class warbird under difficult-to-duplicate conditions. Picard even phrases the order as "Ramming speed!" and angles the Enterprise so the saucer acts like an axe blade to cut the warbird's "head" off. The Enterprise comes off damaged but serviceable thanks to her structural integrity field, while the warbird, having been hit by a massive object traveling at a substantial fraction of c, is reduced to pieces no larger than a computer chip. Worf is so impressed he loses his English for a few moments.

      There are several reasons this shouldn't have worked. If the Enterprise's warp core hadn't been forced into an emergency shutdown, if all available power hadn't been diverted into the SIF, if they weren't covered by a boundary-layer cloaking effect from yet another Warbird, if everybody hadn't been at relative rest, if the target Warbird hadn't had their shields set for combat conditions rather than simple navigation (which would have at least diverted an Enterprise-D-size rock)... you get the idea. It was a one-in-a-BIG-NUMBER occurrence — which is lampshaded as "not being in the manual". Riker says he's not sure whether Starfleet Command will commend or court-martial Picard; Picard says he'll settle for a refit. The narrator soon remarks that it would be easier to list the parts of the Enterprise that weren't damaged.
    • The TOS storyline produces an accidental collision between the Enterprise and a Klingon D-7 battle cruiser. Both ships' sensors were impaired by their proximity to a black hole, and both had the same idea to hide from the other ship inside a particularly strong distortion (the Klingons intended to ambush the Enterprise, while the Enterprise was trying to evade them). The Enterprise suffers severe damage including a cracked dilithium crystal, but the Klingon ship is destroyed.
    • The Romulans also say the Borg artifact was the result of it being separated from a Borg cube by a ramming attack. They're lying: the Borg ship fragment is fake.
  • Science Marches On: In-Universe. Zefram Cochrane is one of the most brilliant minds of his own time. When exposed to technology of the 23rd and 24th centuries, his scientific knowledge is on par with what a grade school student would be learning. The technology of the Enterprise-D is so advanced that he, himself, cites Clarke's Third Law when he has the chance to read about how it works.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Discussed. Picard bluffs the Ferengi that the Federation has other Borg artifacts besides the counterfeit one the Ferengi wish to sell them. The DaiMon asks why the Ferengi Alliance hasn't heard of this, and Riker suggests that the Federation pays Ferengi spies more than the Ferengi do.
  • Series Continuity Error: A minor case in that the cover illustration depicts Picard from just after "Sarek" (Season 3) wearing the captain's uniform variant introduced in "Darmok" (Season 5).
  • Snipe Hunt: Apparently while Picard was running around with Vash in "Captain's Holiday", Riker sent Data on one. Wesley Crusher is another victim.
    Data: I was not successful, although I did hold the bag and call for the snipe exactly as Commander Riker had instructed me. Snipe appear to be exceptionally well evolved for remaining unseen. Even the ship's computer has no record of— (Riker bursts out laughing.) Captain?
    Riker: I'm sorry, Data. It's just that, well, there are no such things as snipe.
    Wesley: What?
    Data: Have you also hunted snipe, Wesley?
    Wesley: Geordi told me—
    Riker: Eyes on the board, Mr. Crusher!
    Wesley: Aye, sir.
    Data: At least that would explain why no one has ever seen one.
  • Space Battle: A couple of nice ones that would look spectacular if they were depicted in a film.
  • Stock Star Systems:
    • Alpha Centauri is justified for Zefram's first warp flight and one of the earliest extrasolar colonies due to it being our nearest neighbour.
    • One of the rumors about the missing Micah Brack is that he's studying alien ruins on Altair IV.
  • Streisand Effect: An In-Universe example. Thorsen's interest in the Warp Bomb leads Starfleet to classify information on it, which convinces him they know something. His increasingly determined efforts to get at the information makes Starfleet (in the person of Admiral Kabreigney) reconsider its viability, growing ever more paranoid until Kirk is suspected of being somehow connected to a warp bomb conspiracy.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Reflected on by Picard when studying a Preserver artifact with unusual mathematical symbols on it. His crew manage to identify the very first set of symbols as another way of depicting the energy curve required for warp drive. He wonders what all the later ones, describing things humanity has not discovered yet, could mean...
  • The Team Benefactor: Micah Brack is a billionaire that funds Cochrane's warp experiments.
  • Techno Babble: It's Star Trek, so naturally, there is plenty of made-up sciencey-sounding phraseology. However, and unusually for Star Trek media, there is also a fairly large amount of actual science found in this novel. The Reeves-Stevenses use Treknobabble only when there wasn't an actual scientific theory that worked better to explain a concept.
  • Teleporter Accident: Make that Teleporter Did-It-On-Purpose. Once the Ent-D has gotten Thorsen out of Data and back into the Preserver object, Picard orders it beamed off the ship at "maximum dispersion, maximum range."
  • Temporal Paradox: The Enterprise-D crew see Kirk's ship, but are paralyzed with indecision as they don't know from when in their past it comes from and thus don't know if saving it is the correct course of action or will cause a paradox. No one on the ship can remember precisely when the original Enterprise was destroyed or under what circumstances (and with both Data and the library computer off-line they have to rely on memory). Only when Worf recalls reading in one of Admiral Chekov's books that the Enterprise self-destructed without Kirk aboard do they know it's safe to respond.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: The 23rd-century Thorsen captures a civilian starliner, and threatens to kill the hostages by spacing them. To prove it, he has one of his henchmen kill one of the starliner's crew in this manner.
  • Time Police: Dedicated Time Police don't appear, but when the original Enterprise meets the Enterprise-D, Kirk immediately orders the viewscreen to be pixellated to avoid contaminating the timestream with knowledge of the future.
    • Picard later commits a minor breach of regulations by "accidentally" laying his hand on a comm panel, sending an automatic hail to Kirk's ship identifying themselves as the Enterprise-D.
  • Trouble from the Past: Adrik Thorsen in the TOS and TNG timelines.
  • Twinmaker: Cochrane gets transported and is initially horrified, because he thinks it's the kind of teleporters that were being speculated about in his own time (where you effectively make a copy of the person somewhere else and then destroy the original). He has to have it explained to him that transporters convert you to energy, shift the energy then convert it back to matter, so you're still the same person you were to start with.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: The Kabreigny Object (as it's called in the TNG timeline) is something called a subspace black hole, consisting of three singularities orbiting each other faster than the speed of light. Anything that crosses its event horizon from any time period exists in all time periods for as long as it remains inside, allowing the TOS and TNG Enterprises to meet. Lampshaded in that Spock tells Kirk, "I cannot pretend to understand how such a thing could possibly exist."
  • We Will Not Use Stage Makeup In The Future: At the start of the TOS storyline Kirk is recovering from an assassination attempt by an Orion Syndicate hitman surgically altered to look like an Andorian.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Inverted. While fighting an Orion ship at warp speed Kirk abruptly drops the Enterprise back into realspace and wipes out an incoming torpedo volley against the shockwave from the collapsing warp field.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Brack thinks a World War II style conflict is inevitable every few decades so colonizing othe solar systems is essential for humanity's survival.
  • World War III: Starts mere weeks after Zefram Cochrane escapes from Earth near the end of the 2060s storyline. Nobody really knows who started it, but when the smoke cleared 37 million people were dead.
    The inevitable cry went out: This must not happen again.
    And this time, on the colony worlds, that cry was finally heard.
    Something changed in humanity with that last war, because for the first time it was clear even to the masses that no human conflict, even one that could consume a world, could ever be allowed to overshadow or assume more importance than the human race itself.
    • Only trouble is, Adrik Thorsen is a relic of that prior age, and never learns.
  • Zeerust: Two small examples since the book was written in the mid-90s - in the 2070s Cochrane's narrative states that about 100 exoplanets have been discovered, when in the late 2010s we have already found thousands; in the same era, advertising posters on the escalators on the London Underground are mentioned, when a large percentage of these have now already been superseded by video screens.

Alternative Title(s): Federation