The Alpha Quadrant is mired in crisis. Within the United Federation of Planets, a terrorist strike on the shipyards of Mars has led to the shutdown of all relief efforts for millions of Romulans facing certain doom from an impending supernova.
But when the USS Titan is drawn into a catastrophic incident on the Romulan-Federation border, Captain William Riker, his family, and his crew find themselves caught between the shocking secrets of an enigmatic alien species and the deadly agenda of a ruthless Tal Shiar operative.
Forced into a wary alliance with a Romulan starship commander, Riker and the Titan crew must uncover the truth to stop a devastating attackbut one wrong move could plunge the entire sector into open conflict!
This book contains the following tropes:
- Adorably Precocious Child: Thaddeus Riker is exhuberant, intelligent, and curious.
- Adult Fear: Riker and Deana have to deal with their son being lost and later critically injured.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Zhat Vash have been working against AI in the Romulan Empire and have since spread their crusade to every part of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
- Anti-Mutiny: Captain Medaka attempts to take back his ship from Helek with the Titan crew's help. He succeeds.
- Benevolent A.I.: Friend in the Jazari's ship. The Jazari as a whole are this.
- Big Bad: Sansar Helek is a Tal'Shiar officer who serves as this. Because she's also a member of the Zhat Vash.
- Bittersweet Ending: Verging on Downer Ending. The Jazari are able to escape to the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy and avoid extermination. However, they have abandoned the galaxy due to the Federation's synth ban and will never meet with humanity in our heroes' lifetimes. The Romulans are defeated but the Zhat Vash remain hidden and will do nothing to make the Romulan supernova any less devastating. Thaddeus Riker will die at a very young age due to the synth ban.
- Call-Forward: During his cameo following Riker's trial, Spock states he's initiated a joint-research project between the Vulcan Science Academy and Romulus in the hopes of developing a solution to the supernova. Those who have seen the 2009 film of course know this will result in the creation of the Red Matter.
- The Cameo: Again, Spock during Riker's trial. The cameo also seamlessly acts as a bridge between [[spoiler: Spock's previous appearance during The Last Best Hope and the beginning of the 2009 film.
- Canon Welding: Some of the elements of the Star Trek: Titan books like Christine Vale make it into this volume.
- Also overlaps with Author Appeal, as James Swallow had previously written three Titan novels in the Novel Verse continuity.
- Disaster Dominoes: The book makes the Mars disaster into this. Not only does it lead to the Synth ban but the Synth ban results in one of the Federation's unknowingly powerful allies leaving the galaxy.
- Doomed by Canon:
- Riker and Deana are going to have to deal with the fact Thaddeus is going to die at a very young age.
- Romulus' sun is going to explode and kill 900 million Romulans who were not evacuated.
- Likewise, Spock's joint-research initiative between the Vulcan Science Academy and Romulus will produce a means of stopping the supernova. But not only will it fail to save Romulus or those left behind in time, but it will also initiate the chain of events creating the Kelvin timeline...and doom an alternate Vulcan to Nero's wrath.
- Driven to Suicide: Sansar Helek is given a choice between dying in her cell via a poisoned pill or spending the rest of her life imprisoned. She chooses suicide.
- Fantastic Racism: The Zhat Vash, of course, consider all AI to be something that must be destroyed at whatever cost required. Even if it means sacrificing a bunch of their fellow Romulans to do it.
- Frame-Up: Helek frames Captain Medaka for collaboration with the Federation. It's only accepted by his crew because the frame-up suggests he's doing it to evacuate his family from Romulus.
- Kangaroo Court: Riker is put before one of these on Romulus. Subverted as Helek's actions are so outrageous and nonsensical due to their lack of context (and even with them), that they rule against her. Ambassador Spock, who is still working to save Romulus, also exerts his influence in Riker's favor.
- Planet of Hats: The Jazari have a hat of extreme privacy the Federation reluctantly respects. This is because they're all androids.
- Town with a Dark Secret: The Jazari are all androids.