A novel in the Star Trek Novel Verse.
It continues the plot thread begun in Star Trek: Immortal Coil and continuing in the Star Trek: Cold Equations trilogy, following the life of the newly revived Data and his similarly revived daughter, Lal.
From the blurb:
- He was perhaps the ultimate human achievement: a sentient artificial life-form self-aware, self-determining, possessing a mind and body far surpassing that of his makers, and imbued with the potential to evolve beyond the scope of his programming. And then Data was destroyed. Four years later, Data's creator, Noonien Soong, sacrificed his life and resurrected his android son, who in turn revived the positronic brain of his own artificial daughter, Lal. Having resigned his commission, the former Starfleet officer now works to make his way on an alien world, while also coming to grips with the very human notion of wanting versus having a child. But complicating Data's new life is an unexpected nemesis from years ago on the USS Enterprise - the holographic master criminal Professor James Moriarty. Long believed to be imprisoned in a memory solid, Moriarty has created a siphon into the "real" world as a being of light and thought. Moriarty wants the solid form that he was once told he could never have, and seeks to manipulate Data into finding another android body for him to permanently inhabit... even if it means that is Data himself.
This book contains examples of:
- Came Back Wrong: Although Data's behavior is much milder than the usual trope, it's different enough, and not necessarily for the better, that Geordi spends the novel becoming increasingly disturbed. By the end, their once-solid friendship may be on the rocks.
- Continuity Porn: This is a sequel of sorts to Immortal Coil, so this was pretty much expected. We have cameos from every sapient hologram and many of the people with whom Data associated or tangled with over the years, from Reg Barclay to Kivas Fajo.
- Corrupted Data: Moriarty's "world" suffers this twice. First when the Enterprise-D crashes on Veridian III and then again during the events of Immortal Coil. Both times he says it was akin to being folded in half and expecting the universe to simply cease to exist, followed by chaos.
- Love Triangle: Partly as a result of the need to smooth over possible continuity bumps, La Forge can't seem to decide on either Leah Brahms or Tamala Harstad.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Moriarty, of course.
- Data shows shades of this to keep up appearances, though he also enjoys disguising himself to work various jobs from short-order cook to bartender.
- No-Tell Motel: Where Data and Geordi find Vic Fontaine, who is laying low in his own holoprogram due to some very unsavory characters looking for him.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Data has his ship land in San Francisco to pick up Geordi. When Geordi asks how he managed to get the permits to do that, Data blithely admits he didn't and that his ship's AI is already taking care of the massive fines he's just racked up.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Albert Lee. Though from the way Geordi reacts, he wasn't all that polite before he retired from Starfleet.
- Sequel Hook: Moriarty invites Data to join him in the investigation of a potential new threat, after delving into the history of Mudd's androids.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Moriarty, of course.
- Lal does this every once in a while, though she admits it's mainly to annoy her father.
- Super-Powered Robot Nanny: Alice.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Comes up quite a bit, as several characters basically pull a What the Hell, Hero? on Geordi and Data for not doing more to ensure that Moriarty's "world" was protected.
- Geordi brings Albert Lee up short, saying that while Albert is chewing them out for not doing more to protect Moriarty's program from the crash of the Enterprise-D he's ignoring that they had several shipmates who lost their lives in that disaster.