The fourth book about the adventures of Captain William Riker and USS Titan.

Publication year: 2007
Page count: 370
Format: print
Publisher: Pocket Books

The story focuses on exploring the space outside known space and I love that!

The book starts with “Epilogue” (which isn’t quite apt because the starting chapter would technically belong in the middle of the book) where one of the crew is in bad shape on a planet and hallucinating about his childhood and youth in refugee camps. He was in a shuttle that crashed.

The we jump to the start of the story. Titan is exploring a region of space dubbed the Occulus Ora while her First Officer is trying to work out some personnel problems. The chief engineer has managed to rile up quite a few people, and the captain and his wife are having some problems that are effecting the ship, too. However, soon they get a distress call and head out for rescue mission. Instead, they are caught in a sector of space where warp drive doesn’t work and they are dead in the water. When they investigate, they find a nearby planet Orisha inhabited by an insectoid species. Apparently, the Orishans are experimenting with warp drive but as a power source. They aren’t interested in exploring space.

The captain decides to send an away team to the planet but something goes horribly wrong.

I found the story’s structure near the start pretty weird. The Epilogue ended when Jaza started to remember what had happened before. Still, the majority of the start of the book is from the POV of the First Officer Vale and Jaza had no access to her thoughts. I also wasn’t wild about the time travel aspect of the book or the Riker/Troi tension. Otherwise, I found the concept of the Orishans and their culture fascinating. They seem to have two or three classes (the Dreamers who make the decisions and are scientists, and the Guardians who are the soldiers) but they don’t fight amongst themselves. They have a bigger problem: a large structure on their orb which destroys their world from time to time. Not surprisingly, the Orishans think it’s a god and try to appease it.

The main point-of-view characters are the First Officer Vale and the Science Officer Jaza. However, there are many other POV characters who are touched on just briefly. The familiar characters Riker, Troi, and Tuvok are minor characters in and Alyssa Ogawa doesn’t appear. However, there was a lot of interaction among the other characters and the multi-species crew seems to be finally working together, for the most part, anyway. Also, because most of the characters in the book were not established ones, they can and do have character development and might even really be in danger.

While I enjoyed exploring the new society (pretty different from usual Star Trek fare!), the ending left many mysteries open. What is the thing on the orbit and how did it appear here? Who built it or was is really sentient? Why was it there and behaved the way it did? No idea. This was frustrating.

You can read the first chapter for free on Amazon.

Apparently the next books in the Titan timeline would be the three book Destiny series. However, that one seems to have Ezri Dax in a large role and I’m still not ready for that. Reading about Data in the past tense in this book was traumatic enough. So, I’m going to dive into the Mirror Universe books!

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