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Literature / Star Trek: Titan

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Captain William T. Riker's first permanent command. Took the guy long enough.
A series of books in the Star Trek Novel Verse. Jumping off slightly before the end of Star Trek: Nemesis, Star Trek: Titan is the story of Captain William T. Riker's first command, the Luna-class starship Titan, on a mission of exploration through the Orion Arm of the Milky Way. The Titan has one of the most diverse crews in Starfleet history, and the cast features many unusual aliens, including plenty of non-humanoids.

The series currently has eleven entries;

There are also the following short stories:

  • "Improvisations on the Opal Sea: A Tale of Dubious Credibility", in the anthology Tales from the Captain's Table.
  • "Empathy", a Mirror Universe tale in ''Shards and Shadows''.
  • "Absent Enemies", an Ebook novella.

This series contain examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: In Ki Baratan, the capital city of Romulus. Ambassador Spock and the Romulan underground frequently meet in the sewers. Tuvok, undercover on Romulus, goes down to find them.
  • Arc Welding: The Star Trek: Destiny trilogy links the Titan series and its character arcs into several ongoing plots in the wider Star Trek Novel Verse, among them the final Borg war, and the politics-orientated arc featuring the Bacco administration.
  • Artificial Intelligence: The Sentries in Synthesis.
  • Ascended Extra: The Chandir species is an Ascended Extra race. They are based on background aliens who never got a name onscreen, and were previously known only as “tailheads” due to their distinctive appearance.
  • The Atoner: Possibly Cardassian cadet Zurin Dakal, to a limited extent. Jaza Najem worries that Dakal is either trying to be this, or unfairly assuming other people are relating to him as though he is. Jaza assures him that no-one on the crew thinks any less of him simply due to the past actions of other Cardassians. In Sword of Damocles, though, there's some evidence that this isn't entirely true.
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  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Admiral Akaar is an Obstructive Bureaucrat, all set up for a Tyrant Takes the Helm storyline. The Star Trek: The Next Generation Relaunch novel Losing The Peace shows he's just your average Jerkass but otherwise entirely Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Beast of Battle: The Squales in Over A Torrent Sea use bio-engineered life-forms in place of technology, a necessity on their aquatic, largely metal-less planet. Among these life-forms are several which can be adapted into a Beast of Battle, though they probably weren't designed to be such. One is an "ice-breaker" creature with a long, serrated snout.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Orishans, a sapient example. Then of course there's crewman K'chak'!'op.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sword of Damocles.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology:
    • Syrath, of which Dr. Cethente is a member, are crystalline life-forms who can regenerate themselves from only small pieces. This is due to their non-centralized anatomy. It has the result of making them effectively immortal, if subject to personality change depending on how much original material is left over from an accident.
    • Selkies like Aili Lavena undergo a metamorphosis from amphibious breeder to fully aquatic adult part way through their lives.
    • Seleneans and their linking spines, with which they communicate chemically. Plus their original "battle-morph" forms, which they shift to when under threat (see: A Form You Are Comfortable With).
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes: The squales in Over a Torrent Sea have four sexes, as do Andorians, the latter having been revealed in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch books.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: A theme at the heart of Orion's Hounds, as the crew responds to the Pa'haquel (essentially whalers...IN SPACE!!) and their hunting of sapient star-jellies.
  • Break the Cutie: Troi. Ye gods. It starts in Sword of Damocles and goes all the way through Star Trek: Destiny to Over a Torrent Sea.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": An Arkenite crewman in Over A Torrent Sea describes his dead pet, which is clearly a cat. Not literally - it's a fictional animal given a made up name - but it's obvious that what we're talking about is an Arkenite cat.
  • Call-Back: The Husnock military technology in Fortune of War is abandoned and up for grabs because Kevin Uxbridge annihilated the entire Husnock species in season 3 of ''The Next Generation''.
  • Canon Immigrant:
  • Carnivore Confusion: Averted. The Pahkwa-thanh, of which Dr. Shenti Yisec Eres Ree is a member, have always considered their prey animals sapient. They don't eat humanoids and "civilized" beings, not because they have an objection to it as such, but because it would be rude. Humanoids don't consider themselves part of nature; to eat them would be impolite, which Pahkwa-thanh are not. If you think you're prey, though, they'll happily eat you.
    • For a less pleasant sapient-meat eater, the Fethetrit consider slow consumption of a sapient being, while keeping them alive as long as possible, to be sport.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Out of options, Vale has to order Dakal to remain behind and trigger a warp core detonation to prevent an alien invasion.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Torvig Bu-kar-nguv, sometimes, in his own calculating way.
  • Contest Winner Cameo: Sean Tourangeau won a contest to design the Luna-class starships. Sword of Damocles also established a Dr Tourangeau as one of the design team in-story. He was killed when the USS Luna suffered a core breach.
  • Continuity Nod: As ever in the Star Trek Novel Verse, many.
  • Continuity Porn: The first few novels alone have Call Backs to previous films, series and books, including locations and characters from Star Trek: The Lost Era. One particular mission by Captain Sulu of the Excelsior is a massive part of the second book's plot and backstory.
  • Cool Starship: In-story, the Luna-class was intended as a 24th-century equivalent to the old ''Constitution-Class'' starships, and was designed for long-term exploration missions beyond the range of larger ships. In real life, the Luna-class was designed by Sean Tourangeau, who won the contest to design the ''Titan''.
    • The Pa'haquel use star-jelly cosmozoans (giant space-faring life-forms that are related to the ones in "Encounter at Farpoint") as ships. Originally they used rebooted corpses, essentially flying brainless zombies, but later they entered a symbiosis with truly living examples. The jellies are called "sky-mounts" in the Pa'haquel language, with the exact meaning of the "mount" part deliberately ambiguous; are they mounts in the sense of steeds, or "mountains" of the sky?
    • The Orishan prototype warp ship in Sword of Damocles, armed with a highly dangerous and insanely powerful warp cannon weapon.
  • Cosmic Horror: The eponymous Red King. The inhabitants of the planet in Sword of Damocles believed the Titan to be one as well. They may have a point, there.
  • Cult Colony: In The Red King, Akaar helps evacuate one of these on the doomed Neyel coreworld.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Averted with the Choblik, of which Torvig Bu-kar-nguv is a member. A race of non-humanoid cyborgs, the Choblik owe their intelligence and civilization to their implants, being a race of Uplifted Animal. Upgrades throughout childhood and adolescence are celebrated rites of passage in their culture. Ironically, this means Torvig initially has difficulty comprehending the full horror of the Borg Collective (which plays the trope straight). In Star Trek: Destiny, though, the implications finally hit him, and he ends up perhaps the most horrified of all; this trope, and thus the Borg, are essentially the anti-Choblik, their most primal horror.
  • Cyborg: The Choblik.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Easier to count who doesn't have one. Justified, in that in the past ten years or so, most of the Titan's crew have fought in two major wars and dozens of other conflicts, and are sick of it and want to get back to exploring.
  • Dead All Along: The Charon and its crew.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Will and Deanna's daughter Natasha Riker-Troi is named after Natasha Yar.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pral glasch Haaj. He's your therapist. Don't worry, there is method in his meanness. If you don't like his style, there's the Ugly Cute alternative, Huilan...
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Melora Pazlar's basic default attitude when not on Gemworld. Struggling to adapt to gravity much higher than what she's used to, she becomes very defensive. She reads most forms of pity as patronizing. She does get better over the course of the series, though.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Orion's Hounds. Orion refers both to the constellation of the hunter, and to the galaxy's Orion Arm. The Pa'haquel, hunting cosmozoans across the Orion Arm, are the titular hounds in two senses.
  • The Dragon: Tomalak has become this to Tal'aura.
  • Dye Hard: Christine Vale is an In-Universe example. Her habit of constantly changing hair colours has become a defining character trait. This is actually the result of a mini-Retcon. In her first few appearances in the Star Trek Novel Verse, her hair colour was described inconsistently. The solution was obvious; she likes to dye it. This causes a few problems aboard Titan, with its diverse alien crew. One dye, although completely black in human-visible light, appears a ridiculous colour to those crew members who see in ultraviolet. Eventually, the ship's stylist created a dye that would absorb every wavelength of light visible to any crew member.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Neyel Homeworld in The Red King. Also the Shalra planet in Orion's Hounds, which is blasted to pieces by a cosmozoan "harvester"; the giant space-dwelling creature then fed on the remains.
  • The Eeyore: aMershik, and all Thymerae apparently.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Riker and crew think Qui'hibra is this at first; he isn't. There is great meaning and purpose in his people's hunts and it is not merely for their glory or the thrill.
  • Eldritch Location: The Null is both this and an Eldritch Abomination in its own right.
  • Emotions vs. Stoicism: As Synthesis demonstrated, an Andorian trying to play cards with a Vulcan, a Choblik and a Selenean (all known for stoic logic in contrast to Andorian passion) is going to get very, very frustrated...
  • Ethical Slut: Explored in some depth. Xin Ra-Havreii is an Efrosian, a culture where respectful sexual contact between work colleagues (or anyone you find attractive) is perfectly acceptable, indeed celebrated. Ra-Havreii also calls the Rianconi an “enlightened culture” upon discovering they’re the same. However, another character, Aili Lavena, complicates the trope. Her race exist in two life phases - an amphibious youthful/breeder stage and an aquatic form later on. The aquatic form is an Ethical Slut culture, but those in the amphibian stage are supposed to dedicate themselves to family life and avoid such sexuality. Lavena gave in to temptation and essentially tried to be an Ethical Slut too early, abandoning responsibility to her children. As such, she is now an Ethical Slut who is a non-Ethical Slut.
  • Exotic Equipment: Possibly the Lumbu Clarfel. Possibly.
  • Face Death with Dignity: T'Lirin, who calmly accepts the necessity of her abandonment when her crewmates aboard a shuttle evacuating Oghen have to leave immediately, stranding her and the child she was trying to save. Given that she's a Vulcan, this response is also true to her cultural values.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Orishans. Theirs includes - among others - a Dreamer Caste (scientists), a Weaver Caste (builders/workers) and a Guardian Caste to oversee the others and protect Orishan culture.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Andorian Shan-dru-shaan. In Fallen Gods, Pava Ek'Noor sh'Aqabaa and Tuvok have a conversation regarding their respective cultures' martial arts; Tuvok mentions the previously established Suus Mahna discipline. He also notes that in the pre-Federation years, feuding Vulcans and Andorians borrowed from each others' traditions.
  • Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: Efrosian Levithi nuts, essential for Efrosian digestion.
  • Fantastic Measurement System: A veraku is a unit of time used by the Romulans, equaling approximately 63 minutes.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • The Choblik race, of which Torvig is a member, is viewed with suspicion and anger by some due to their use of cybernetics (like Big Bad the Borg Collective).
    • Following Andor's withdrawal from the Federation, there's suggestion that Starfleet is racially stereotyping Andorians as potential saboteurs.
  • Fictionary: The Romulan Rihannsu language is used in the first two books.
  • Fish People: Pacifican Selkies.
  • Foil: In Sword of Damocles, the gloomily pessimistic Thymerae race are introduced in the form of aMershik, in order to be a foil for the Deltans, represented by Peya Fell.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Y'lira Modan and other Seleneans. In their natural state they are only semi-Humanoid at best, and rather ferocious looking. The Selenean Pod Mothers, who have great control over their offspring's genetics, have bred certain broods designed specifically for offworld contact. These individuals, Y'Lira Modan among them, take a form more pleasing to humanoid eyes, but retain the ability to shift into their natural state if need be.
  • Freak Out: Frequent and with causes that range from telepathy to pheromones. Titan seems to be very fond of this.
  • Gambit Pileup: This drives the plot of Taking Wing, in part. The Romulan Praetor is dead and his big, shiny chair is up for grabs. Cue everyone and their pet Tribble making grabs for it, and making Riker's life hell in the process.
  • General Ripper: First Myrmidon Gog'resssh, a Gorn command officer of the warrior caste. Driven slowly mad by radiation poisoning, he becomes increasingly brutal and unhinged. He switches between being completely paranoid and strangely trusting, though he's always dangerous.
  • Glory Hound: The Fethetrit, whose major "contribution" to the Great Hounding appears to be getting in everyone's way with their insane belligerence and thoughtless pursuit of prey.
  • Gone Horribly Right: According to the Pa'haquel, the so-called "vampire cloud" from an episode of the Original Series was a bio-engineered weapon that ran amok.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Neyel, who started out as human, but re-engineered themselves to better survive in space. They first appeared in Star Trek: The Lost Era.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Governance Kernel of the Sentry Coalition, in Synthesis. They refuse to listen to the warnings of SecondGen White-Blue and FirstGen Zero-Three regarding an impending incursion of massive proportions by the Null. White-Blue is frequently dismissed as unduly alarmist.
  • Heaven: Endless Sky is the Efrosian equivalent.
  • Heavyworlder: The S'ti'ach, who resemble metre-high four-armed blue teddy bears, but are denser than they appear. In early books they are said to be superdense, but in a later book a S'ti'ach character points out the perils of having a lot of mass on a high gravity world. Apparently, this is a rumour spread by the S'ti'ach themselves; they're aware of how cute they look to humanoids, and want to discourage attempts to pick them up and cuddle them. "Cute," by the way, means that the species owes its design in large part to Stitch, the species name being almost a direct shout-out.
  • Heroic BSoD: Titan is fond of this, too. So much so, that after Orion's Hounds Riker and Troi seem to be in an almost perpetual state of it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: T'Lirin in The Red King, Jaza in Sword Of Damocles, Titan's AI in Synthesis, Dakal in Sight Unseen.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: The Ferengi Bralik speaks of a character taking to something “like a slug to the swamp”.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: Of Oghen, the Neyel homeworld, in The Red King.
  • Honor Before Reason: Akaar in the flashback scenes of The Red King. See: Unwanted Rescue, below.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: Sometimes.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Sentries.
  • I Choose to Stay:
    • Jaza Najem, the head of the Titan's science department, decided to remain in the past of the planet Orisha in Sword Of Damocles, in order to repair the damage caused by the Charon's crash.
    • In Fallen Gods, SecondGen White-Blue stays behind on the planet Ta'ith to help keep its aging computer intelligence functional.
  • I Have a Family: A somewhat comic variant in Over a Torrent Sea. Dr. Ree, in his people's paternal protective mode, insists on releasing immediately the hostage who pleads that he has a son. Ree orders him to go home and protect his son at once.
  • In Harmony with Nature: Orilly Malar, and all Irriol, to the point where they will sacrifice themselves to predators for the greater good of the biosphere. In fact, Orilly is in exile precisely because she refused to allow this, saving her sister from a carnivore despite "knowing" it needed the nourishment - and that the biosphere currently favoured it over the sister.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: In the primary language of the Skorr, "shit" has the meaning of English "bride".
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: As of Over A Torrent Sea, Torvig has discovered these - to the horror of his crewmates.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Orishans and the Pak'shree.
  • Insufferable Genius: Xin Ra-Havreii approaches this at times.
  • Interface with a Familiar Face: Titan's AI in Synthesis.
  • Interrupted Suicide: See Unwanted Rescue, below.
  • Ironic Name: Pacifican Selkies, sort of. The term "selkie" brings to mind a being who, despite an aquatic nature, forms relationships with humans on land before later returning to the sea. This is indeed how visiting humans relate to Pacifica's natives (Starfleet officers on shore leave particularly); however, in Pacifican culture it's the late-stage aquatic form that's supposed to be sexually available. The younger air-breather stage is the one that's supposed to distance itself from potential sexual partners in order to focus on raising children. "Selkie" is a name that obscures and contradicts the reality...or the reality of the Pacificans themselves, if not the human visitors' perceptions.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Inverted. Several of the carnivores on the crew, including Dr. Ree, tear into their raw meat in a highly inelegant manner, usually spurting blood all over the table. This isn't because they're villainous or ill-mannered (in fact Dr. Ree's culture is incredibly polite), but because their species' instincts and metabolisms require them to "play" with their food.
  • Just a Machine: The Romulan attitude towards the Rokhelh AI computer systems, which their officers regularly purge if they start showing signs of true self-awareness.
  • Killer Robot: The creators of the Sentries in Synthesis wanted them to be this in order to defeat the Null, though they are far more complex than most sapient fighter robots, and many question what the creators did to them in programming them as machines of war.
  • Lady Land: K'chak'!'ops's homeworld of Pak'shree, where the inhabitants are born neuter, become male at puberty and then become female at maturity. All Pak'shree in any position of influence are by default female. Because "male" and "immature" are synonymous in her species, K'chak'!'op instinctively finds it difficult to take males of any race seriously. While she means no offense, she can occasionally come across as very patronizing (well, matronizing). Most people shrug it off, knowing she means no harm, but Holor Sethe, a male scientist from the Cygnet system, gets angry about it. Cygnet is itself a Lady Land, and it's rare for a male to work in the sciences as he does; intellect is usually considered a feminine trait. Therefore, he has a massive chip on his shoulder over his occupation/gender combination. He and K'chak'!'op invariably end up bickering.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Will and Deanna try to have kids multiple times. Deanna miscarries twice before they succeed with Natasha.
  • Literal-Minded: Torvig Bu-kar-nguv. His experiments to determine the truth about "gut feelings" in Orion's Hounds consisted of introducing nanites into his crewmate's food, so as to monitor their intestines.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: The Romulan Tal Shiar (their state intelligence agency) use tiny crawling robotic bugs to eavesdrop on a closed meeting of Romulan and Federation dignitaries, in Taking Wing. The devices are discovered only afterwards, but do prove useful in a later mission (in the next book, The Red King).
  • Living Ship: The Pa'haquel's relationship with the star-jelly cosmozoans. Originally, they reanimated the corpses of star-jellies they killed, but as of Orion's Hounds they've entered into a symbiotic relationship with the creatures, and therefore use genuinely living individuals as starships.
  • Lost Technology: In Fallen Gods. The inhabitants of planet Ta'ith are the degenerate descendants of a technologically advanced race that fell from power. The environment of Ta'ith is regulated by the mysterious remnants of the elder race's technology, which many of the Ta'ithans don't understand.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Troi, Vale, Minuet, Lavena < Riker.
  • Martial Pacifist: Cheerfully invoked before being utterly quashed by Klingon General Khegh:
    "Wars do not make one great. VICTORY makes one great!"
  • Meaningful Funeral: Ledrah. As is Tiburonian custom, the crew ingest her cremated remains.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Fortune of War puts the Titan and her escorts in the middle of a conflict involving Pakleds, Orion pirates, Nausicaans, Breen and mercenaries led by Gaila for Husnock technology. Plus Brunt, the only other party who helps the Starfleet crew.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The Titan is oddly skilled at wrecking things, be they alien governments or ways of life, for an exploratory ship.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: Y'Lira Modan, like all Seleneans, has solid green eyes.
  • Most Writers Are Human: Lampshaded in The Red King, in which nonhumanoid crewmember Torvig Bu-kar-nguv takes bets on whether the ship's motto will be a human proverb despite the extreme diversity of the ship's crew. He loses when the Vulcan saying "Infinite diversity in infinite combinations" is chosen. He asks whether Vulcans count as human. From his perspective, it's a fair question, as they're far more humanlike than a cybernetically-enhanced featherless ostrich with a prehensile tail...
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Frane and his counter-culture movement in the Neyel Hegemony. His entire outlook on life is essentially one of repentance for the traditionally imperialist ideologies of his people.
  • Nay-Theist: A'churak'zen in Sword of Damocles. Assigned to pilot a spaceship to a phenomenon believed to be the god Erykon, she privately intended to confront it on the meaning of life. Having previously suffered great personal loss, she no longer believed that Erykon was just, fair or benevolent and refused to worship it. She certainly still believed in its power though. She also decided that if it didn't answer her questions satisfactorily, it would feel the wrath of A'churak'zen, in pleasing symmetry.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Deflecting an asteroid on a collision course with planet Droplet, in order to save a small number of natives, Titan accidentally disrupts the natural rhythms of the planet and places the entire civilization at risk.
    • Qui'hibra demonstrates how Riker's intervention in the Great Hounding has resulted in the destruction of entire worlds.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The Acknowledgements at the end of Synthesis states "No computers were harmed during the making of this production." The novel is about a society of sentient computers.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: General Khegh.
  • Odd Friendship: Ranul Keru and Torvig Bu-kar-nguv. Possibly Shenti Yisec Eres Ree and the Riker-Trois.
  • Oh, Crap!: A Crystalline Entity appears in Orion's Hounds. No, actually: there are three of them.
  • Oh My Gods!: The Selenean ''Spines of the Mothers!".
  • Once an Episode: The Titan will encounter an alien species and accidentally cause massive upheaval within their society, and then have to find a way to mitigate the damage they've caused. Capt. Riker himself lampshades this in Orion's Hounds, wondering if they're always going to be wrecking peoples business wherever they go, and already weary of doing so. Also, a major character will have some kind of conflict with a recurring one, and Riker and Troi will have some kind of falling out or other marital dispute. Of course, in the Destiny trilogy the upheaval they cause on New Erigol turns out to be a good thing, for once...
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: In Sword of Damocles, Torvig Bu-kar-nguv resorts to this when linked into the computer to aid repairs.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Because they're actually giant space-dwelling star-jelly corpses being piloted by Pa'haquel hunting clans.
  • Papa Wolf: Dr. Ree, and all male Pahkwa-thanh, when in their paternal protective mode.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "In the name of cultural kyeshing diversity!"
  • Planet of Hats: The Thymerae are apparently a culture of snarky pessimists. An entire civilization of Eeyores, essentially.
  • Prophecy Twist: The plot of Sword of Damocles is driven by several of them.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Pava Ek’Noor sh’Aqabaa comes closest, particularly in Synthesis and Fallen Gods. A highly passionate Andorian, Pava’s actually a Proud Warrior Race Girl.
  • Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër: Pak'shree names, e.g. K'chak'!'op. The "!" represents a click created (in humans, anyway) by smacking the tongue against the roof of the mouth, as in several real languages. The entire name is an approximation anyway, of the clicks and pops that Pak'shree use to communicate. Her real name is basically "click/puff of air'click/tongue to roof of mouth click/pop". No wonder the human characters tend to use the nickname "Chaka". Orishan names tend to be Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër too.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: A'churak'zen in Sword of Damocles.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Admiral Masc.
    • Admiral Akaar is one as well, though true to his Capellan homeworld he's still an almighty Jerkass.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Dalit Sarai believes she's doing "penance" for her actions in Star Trek The Fall by being assigned to Titan.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
    • Dr. Ree is a very friendly and gentle being, but most people he meets have to get over a primal revulsion to what amounts to a sentient velociraptor for a doctor. His friendly bedside manner usually helps, if his predator's sense of humour doesn't unnerve them first.
    • The trope is discussed in depth in Seize the Fire, and reversed by the reptilian Gorn, who show instinctive revulsion towards mammals.
    "Mammals. Why did it have to be mammals?"
  • Running Gag: Fo Hachesa bungle his grammar when he trying to speaking Federation Standard. However, in Star Trek: Destiny he finally learnt how to use his verbs properly, bringing the gag to an end. In fact, Hachesa leaves the ship in the aftermath, because bungling grammar was pretty much his only role in the series.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Chief Engineer Ledrah probably counts, having a reasonable amount of interaction with other characters as part of the ensemble cast, before being suddenly killed towards the end of the first book.
  • Schrödinger's Butterfly: The plot of The Red King. The novel features an eponymous intelligence, which resides within a protouniverse overlapping with our own. As a result of this overlap, its expansion threatens several worlds with destruction. The legends of many local races speak of the protouniverse, or at least the associated intelligence. They describe it as a sleeping dreamer, the surrounding region of space being the content of the dream. The expansion and its resultant destruction is therefore supposedly the dream coming to an end as the being begins to wake. Frane, a native of the Neyel (whose world is part of the threatened region), describes the myth to Titan's crew:
    "And when it wakes, it ceases to dream. But all the worlds that surround it are part of that dream. Like Newaerth, the first world to vanish as the Sleeper begins stirring from its long ages of slumber".
  • Self-Deprecation: The Trek universe’s tendency to ignore Beta Quadrant - and sum up the Alpha/Beta meridian region (where the Federation is located) as simply “Alpha Quadrant”- is given a wink in Over a Torrent Sea, with Vale’s struggle to give a motivational speech:
    "But let's remember, people, it was our pure exploration that found the Caeliar and saved the whole damn Alpha Quadrant. And...and Beta. You guys from Beta know what I mean".
  • Selkies and Wereseals: Aili Lavena is a Pacifican "Selkie" who's one of Riker's former lovers. The term "selkie" is interesting when applied to her species. It brings to mind a being who, despite an aquatic nature, forms relationships with humans on land before later returning to the sea. This is indeed how visiting humans relate to Pacifica's natives (Starfleet officers on shore leave particularly); however, in Pacifican culture it's the late-stage aquatic form that's supposed to be sexually available. The younger air-breather stage is the one that's supposed to distance itself from potential sexual partners in order to focus on raising children. "Selkie" is therefore a name that somewhat obscures the reality, being based on the human visitors' perceptions. This causes some friction between Lavena and Riker when she confronts her guilt over having been his lover during her amphibious stage, and so having turned her back on her responsibilities.
  • Shout-Out: The S'ti'ach, to Lilo & Stitch. They're blue teddy bears with four arms, large black eyes, and standing a metre tall. They're said to be very dense. Read the species name again, and it should click. Also the S'ti'ach character's name is Huilan, which basically sounds like 'hula' and 'Hawaiian' stuck together.
  • Shown Their Work: The science and astronomy in Orion's Hounds and Over A Torrent Sea. It's not annoying, though.
  • The Shrink: Huilan Sen'kara (the Ugly Cute Heavy Worlder Shout-Out, and all-round great guy) and Pral glasch Haaj, the Tellarite therapist, who's a wonderful example of the "tough love" subtype.
  • A Simple Plan: Taking Wing. Things just don't go smoothly when dealing with the Romulans, do they Riker?
  • Single-Biome Planet: Justified with Droplet, an ocean world based upon genuine (and cutting-edge) scientific theories. While most such worlds wouldn't have higher order life, due to a lack of landmass to provide mineral runoff, the novel provides a reasonable explanation for the existence of a complex ecosystem on Droplet. Essentially, the life-cycle of a native plankton aids in bringing heavier elements from the hypersaline depths to the surface.
  • Space Whale: Many. Orion's Hounds introduces a whole galactic ecosystem, taking space-dwelling lifeforms seen previously on the various Star Trek TV shows, as well as inventing new varieties, and placing them in relation to each other. Collectively, they are known as "cosmozoans".
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the first book, the planet Kevratas is misspelt as Kevatras both times it's mentioned by name. A minor error, of course.
  • Stable Time Loop: The history of the planet Orisha, as well as the history of the Caeliar.
  • The Stoic: Y'Lira Modan.
  • Straight Gay: Ranul Keru, Norellis, Lt. Hawk.
  • Starfish Language: Squales, Selkies and Alonis all communicate at least in part through song, which is common to aquatic species. The Efrosians, who are humanoid, are one of the few land-dwelling races to share this trait. Efrosian crewmember Xin Ra-Havreii can communicate complex schematics and diagrams through music. This becomes an important plot point in the fourth book, Sword of Damocles.
  • Take a Third Option: Averted. Kyzak begs Dakal to find another way to stop the aliens that doesn't involve dying in the process. Dakal tells him off.
    Dakal: I don't want to die here! But we don't have any other choice! I am the only one who can do this. Not you. Not him. Just me.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Federation, Klingon and Romulan crews in The Red King. Although the three nations are allies, it's always an uneasy partnership.
  • Terraform: Introduced later in the series as a major theme, and now an ongoing arc. In Seize the Fire, the Titan investigates an ancient terraforming station being used by the Gorn to create a new Hatchery World for their Warrior Caste. The origins of this technology are further pursued in the next novel, Fallen Gods.
  • Thank the Maker: Choblik swear on the Great Builders, whom they revere. The Choblik are cyborgs who were non-sapient until the Builders installed their implants. Essentially, they're an example of an Uplifted Animal, and the unknown race responsible for the uplift are their "gods". The Choblik religion also interprets creation in general as the work of a "builder":
    “It is empirical that we were Upgraded to our current state millennia ago by some technological agency. It is also empirical that the galaxy contains many other life forms, worlds and phenomena that could not have come into being without technological intervention. And many of the fundamental mysteries of the universe can be resolved by postulating it as a construct of some entity or civilization existing on a transcendent plane. Given the power and pervasiveness that such a creative agency would require, it's logical to interpret all lesser creative agencies in the universe as aspects of the ultimate Builders”.
  • That's No Moon!: It's an artificial intelligence, a First-Gen Sentry.
  • Theme Naming: The starships of the Luna class are named after moons in the solar system; and all of the Titan's shuttlecraft are named after 20th century jazz artists (obviously, the captain named them.)
  • Third-Person Person: Urgar.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The history of planet Orisha, and the Titan crew's interactions with it, in Sword of Damocles.
  • Too Dumb to Live: This is General Khegh’s final opinion of captain Tchev, who ended up having his ship destroyed by Donatra. Rather than seek restitution from the Romulans, Khegh insists Tchev was clearly an idiot, and drops it.
  • The Masochism Tango: Seriously, it almost looks like Riker and Troi spend more time not speaking to one another than actually enjoying each other's company.
  • Turtle Island: The trope is referenced in Over a Torrent Sea, when the characters observe floating "islands" in the ocean of planet Droplet. Torvig asks a Chelon crewman (as the name suggests, Chelon are turtle-men) if they're relatives of his.
  • Twin Maker: Andorian Intelligence, aided by the Tholians, is working on a transporter that duplicates the transport subject. Commander Zhrar, assigned to repatriate Titan's Andorian officers to their homeworld to aid in its ongoing reproductive crisis, secretly duplicates them when they prove reluctant. He then makes off with perfect copies, leaving the original versions unaware.
  • Uneven Hybrid: Will and Deanna try very hard to have children. Deanna miscarries twice before their quarter-Betazoid daughter Natasha is born.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • A Chandir says admiringly that Starfleet has “trunks”, in the same manner a human might say “they’ve got balls”.
    • Pava the Andorian is fond of "blade", as in "for blade's sake" or simply "blades!"
  • Uplifted Animal: The Choblik, of which Torvig Bu-kar-nguv is a member. An unknown race came to their world when they were nothing more than reasonably smart woodland animals, and transformed them into cyborgs. Their sapience and civilization are entirely a result of brain implants, and as they mature they receive periodic "upgrades". They refer to the race that uplifted them as "Great Builders".
  • Unwanted Rescue: The backstory with Akaar and Tuvok. Akaar was performing a ritual suicide in order to keep Tuvok alive (they were stranded with limited resources, and Akaar was prepared to die to ensure his friend got the food and water). Tuvok saved him, refusing to allow him to die, and in Akaar's eyes this was a betrayal. Being from a culture valuing Honor Before Reason, Akaar could no longer call Tuvok a friend following the rescue.
  • Villainous Glutton: The Mirror Universe version of General Khegh (as seen in the short story Empathy). The regular Khegh is a glutton, too, but can’t be considered a villain.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Akaar and Tuvok.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Qui'hibra of the Pa'haquel spends much of Orion's Hounds calling out Riker, whose interference in a Pa'haquel/Star-Jelly conflict disrupted the ecological and cultural balance of the region. Qui'hibra demonstrates that while Riker's intentions were good, his ignorance as to the complexities of the situation resulted in great harm. Which he responds to by... futzing with the situation even more.
  • White Man's Burden: Whether Riker is an actual example of it as the white human captain of an almost totally non-human/non-humanoid crew is debatable. The fact that he spends most of his time in the novels wringing his hands worrying that people will think this of him isn't.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Seleneans, of which Y'Lira Modan is a member. They don't have a moral aversion to lying; it's simply that their usual form of communication renders it pointless (they communicate chemically, directly altering one another's brain chemistry to convey information).
  • With Friends Like These...: The belligerant Fethetrit to the other races in the Pa'haquel's hunting alliance. Besides considering the slow torture of sapient beings a game (they can win trophies), Fethetrit love to theatrically bluster about their imperialist past in an insanely over-the-top manner: "we raped worlds until they begged for mercy, then raped them harder until they screamed for death!!" At this point, a Pa'haquel usually face-palms (well, the equivalent, anyway) and tells the Fethetrit in question to "sit down, you fool!"
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair:
    • One of the many colours Christine Vale makes use of. In Over a Torrent Sea, her latest dye is a bright blue, partly in honour of the crew's exploration of Droplet (a pelagic world).
    • Boslics naturally have extremely bright hair colors. A brilliant purple is the most common, while Titan security officer Ellec Krotine's is a cherry red.
  • You Have Failed Me: In Fallen Gods, Commander Zhrar apparently kills sh'Agri after she fails to keep his modified transporter functioning.


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