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Series: The Next Generation
Author(s): Michael Jan Friedman
Publication information
Published: Hardcover - September 2005
Pages: 320
ISBN: ISBN 074349721X
Date: 2379

Cover of the German translation


Introduction (blurb)

From the dust jacket: Long before Captain Jean-Luc Picard took command of the legendary Starship Enterprise, he fell deeply and hopelessly in love with Doctor Beverly Crusher. Though, for one reason or another, Picard never acted on his feelings, he found a measure of contentment as Beverly's close friend, colleague, and daily breakfast partner.

But when Doctor Crusher leaves her position on the Enterprise to become the chief medical officer of Starfleet, the brightest light in Picard's life is taken away from him. And he has hardly resigned himself to his loss when he learns that Beverly has been declared missing in action on a distant planet – and presumed dead.

Kevratas is a bleak, frozen world on the far side of the Romulan Neutral Zone where the Federation has become the plague-ravaged natives' only real hope of survival and freedom. Starfleet has no recourse but to send in another team to try to save the Kevrata – and Picard is the natural choice. Critical to the success of the mission are two colleagues who served under Picard when he commanded the StargazerPug Joseph, a man with a past to live down, and Doctor Carter Greyhorse, who has served time for attempted murder – as well as Decalon, a Romulan who left his people years earlier and never expected to return. Together, they follow the trail of Beverly Crusher to Kevratas, determined to succeed where the doctor failed.

On the Romulan homeworld, meanwhile, the political vacuum created by the demise of Praetor Shinzon has been filled by his staunchest supporter, Senator Tal'Aura. But there are those who oppose her, including Commander Donatra and the warbird fleets under her command, because of the way Tal'aura has mishandled rebellions on the Empire's subject worlds.

And one rebellion in particular: the movement for self-determination on frigid Kevratas.

So begins a desperate struggle – not only for the freedom of the long-oppressed Kevrata but also for the soul of the Romulan Empire. Before it's over, destinies will be forged and shattered, the Empire will be shaken to its ancient foundations, and Jean-Luc Picard's life will be changed... forever.



The wedding of Jack and Beverly Crusher in 2348. A Romulan agent named Manathas, while posing as a waiter, obtains genetic material from 4 starship captains, including Walker Keel and Jean-Luc Picard, to send back to the empire to support Praetor Narviat's plan to place clones loyal to the Romulan Star Empire in their place. Manathas also notices that Captain Picard seems to be in love with the bride, and sympathizes with him. He also notes that Picard would have to conceal his desires for the bride lest he end his friendships with both bride and groom.

Arvada III

In the year 2339, Beverly Howard takes part in her first rescue operation on the colony, caring for a group of Kevrata who escaped from Romulan space in the hopes the Federation would have a cure for their plague, the Bloodfire. The Kevrata all died within a days' time of their arrival on the colony. Before noon the same day, the first case of Bloodfire contracted by a colonist was confirmed. Beverly's grandmother, Felisa Howard, supplemented the medicines available on the colony with tubers and herbs from her garden, until the medicines were gone, and the garden remedies were all that were left. Before Federation medical teams could arrive (about a week and a half later), the disease had ravaged the colony.


Praetor Tal'Aura finds her rule of the Romulan Star Empire threatened by Admiral Braeg. She determines that assassination is not an acceptable means of eliminating him, as it would turn him into a martyr. Tomalak finds himself as the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Defense Force, and has secured the loyalty of nearly all the war bird commanders under his command. Donatra, who is loyal to Admiral Braeg, has the loyalty of the remainder of the fleet. Later, it is revealed that Donatra and Braeg have a years long impassioned love affair, which they have kept hidden for obvious political and occupational reasons. Eborion, a Romulan arms dealer, hires Manathas to spy on, and discredit, Sela, whom he sees as his chief rival as the Praetor's advisor.


Beverly Crusher undertakes a covert mission to the planet to provide a cure to the Bloodfire, in coordination with an underground movement. Sela obtains knowledge of the operation, and takes Beverly into custody, convincing Beverly that she will likely be killed. Beverly realizes she no longer mourns the loss of her husband, Jack, and that the two people who mattered most in her life were her son, Wesley, and her friend, Jean-Luc Picard. After finding herself alive, but injured, and imprisoned by Sela, Dr. Crusher determines that if additional personnel from the Federation were sent, their primary mission would be to cure the Bloodfire. She remembers her work in with Carter Greyhorse at Starfleet Medical years earlier, and his contributions to finding a cure for the Bloodfire, and reasons he would be the next logical choice to send to cure the plague, but that because of his years of incarceration, he would need to be accompanied by someone who understood the Romulans, and could control Dr. Greyhorse; Captain Picard. She realizes that she will have to get herself away from Sela, and off Kevratas, if she is to avoid certain death.

USS Enterprise

Picard is overseeing the repairs to his ship after the events in Star Trek: Nemesis, as well as transfers of several key personnel. He finds the advisor and confidant he misses most is Beverly Crusher. He finds himself unable to choose a new Chief Medical Officer to replace her, an admission that she had truly moved on without him, and delegates the responsibility to Commander Worf. Picard is notified by Admiral Edrich that Beverly has been declared missing and presumed dead, after not making contact for 3 days during a covert mission in the Romulan Star Empire. The Federation is still interested in providing a cure to the Kevratans, not only for humanitarian reasons, but for political reasons as well. The Admiral orders Captain Picard to complete her mission with the assistance of former crewmates Carter Greyhorse and Pug Joseph, and a Romulan defector named Decalon. USS Enterprise Picard argues that Beverly is not dead, and secures permission to find her and return with her upon completion of the mission.


Manathas assists Dr. Crusher in escaping from Sela's prison, and takes her to an abandoned government hall where he intends to kill her, to hasten his rise to power with the praetor, and Sela's subsequent demise. Dr. Crusher points out to Manathas that he has also contracted the Bloodfire, and that killing her also eliminates a cure for himself.

Dr. Greyhorse begins working on cure for the Bloodfire, while Captain Picard arranges with the rebel leader, Hanafaejas, for the distribution of the cure. During the remainder of the mission, Picard is withdrawn, causing both Pug Joseph and Decalon concern regarding his agonized state. Joseph realizes that Picard's motivation is personal, not just professional.

Manathas makes arrangements to take Dr. Crusher back to Romulus to develop a cure for the Romulans instead. Beverly is left alone in the frozen government hall while Manathas organizes supplies and transportation to Romulus. She continues her efforts to escape on her own, working to free herself from Manathas' bounds. She begins contemplating her life up to that point – the happiness she'd felt during her marriage to Jack, and how she'd filled her days for years after his death with distractions from her daily grief. Lastly, how the time she shared with Jean-Luc was what she'd treasured most about the recent years, because of the lack of pretense between them.

Picard assembles his team, and travels to Kevratas. Under the guise of Barolian traders, the team makes contact with Phajan, who quickly betrays them to Sela. Captain Picard suspects Phajan's deception, and the team flees, just before Sela and her team can capture them, into the Kevratan catacombs where the 'underground' congregates. After making contact with the rebel leaders, the team learns that Sela has taken Dr. Crusher prisoner.


Tal'aura privately acknowledges that she is losing control of the outer worlds, and that should Sela fail in her task to capture and kill the Federation agents assisting the rebels on Kevratas, she will also have to deal with Braeg sooner than later. Tal'aura also learns from Eborion's aunt, Cly'rana, that he has betrayed her trust. Tal'aura orders him executed in public, as punishment for his treachery. Upon learning of Eborion's death, Braeg makes preparations to seize power from Tal'aura.


The bloodfire mutates and begins infecting the Romulans on the planet in addition to the Kevrata. Manathas returns to the government hall to find Dr. Crusher weakened from cold and hunger, incoherent and mumbling. He provides her with food and water, and she falls asleep. Manathas' transport back to Romulus arrives at Kevratas. He escorts Beverly to the transport site at disruptor point. Once in the city again, Beverly spots one of the rebels she met when she first arrived on the planet, and escapes her captor while revealing herself in broad daylight. The rebels reach her first, and guide her to a safe house. After ensuring her safety, the rebels send word to Hanafaejas that Beverly is safe. He relays the message to Picard, who is visibly relieved. While Picard was delivering the news of Beverly's safety to Peter Joseph, Carter Greyhorse announces that he has finished the cure, and is ready to start delivering it to the Kevrata.


Braeg rallies his supporters in Victory Square, much to the dismay of Tal'aura, who gives the order to destroy Braeg and his followers. Concurrently, Donatra and Tomalak muster their forces & begin their battle against each other. Tal'aura's centurions close in on Victory Square and Braeg's followers, and Braeg surrenders to Tal'aura. Donatra receives news of this in mid battle, and resolves that she will die fighting, rather than surrender. Tal'aura has Braeg executed following his right to statement, in which he professes his love of Donatra. Tal'aura notes that even in failure, Sela was still loyal to her, and while she would leave Sela on Kevratas until she was needed again, Tal'aura knew who she could trust.


Upon completing distribution of the vaccine for the bloodfire, Picard moves toward his second objective on his mission – Beverly Crusher's safe return to the Federation. Having arranged through Hanafaejas and the other members of the underground to meet Beverly at the transport site, Picard and his team arrive early, as he is eager to see her. However, Sela and her centurions appear, as they were tipped off about the meeting and beam out point. A firefight breaks out between the two groups, and Picard finds himself at the business end of Sela's disruptor. He sees another rebel attack Sela, and realizes an instant later that the rebel had long red hair. Sela and Beverly clash, as Beverly knocks Sela unconscious, Manathas enters the throng, intent to recapture Beverly, and Decalon fights Manathas, resulting in his death. Having dispatched another Centurion, Jean -Luc obtains a disruptor and continues his quest to find Beverly. He finds her at Manathas' disruptor point, at which point he kills Manathas. At the conclusion of the fight, Picard embraces Beverly, and shares his genuine feelings for her, convinced that their feelings are mutual. Beverly, however, appears stunned, and begins surveying the battlefield and the other former combatants, when Peter Joseph signals for their beam up.

Annabel Lee

During the return trip, Beverly interacts with everyone as though nothing happened, but says nothing more to Picard. He senses that he has damaged the relationship between them, and finds himself relieved of the discomfort when she and Carter Greyhorse meet with further transportation to a star base for debriefing. He and Peter Joseph return to Earth.

USS Enterprise

Having returned to his ship, Picard is still distressed. Picard spends the next three days in quarters, before returning to duty. On Picard's first day back on duty, he has entered his ready room, when Worf notifies him that the new Chief Medical Officer has arrived, and is ready to report in. Picard turns to his view port, still unable to admit to himself that Beverly was gone from his life. His CMO enters the ready room quietly, and he, still turned toward the windows, quickly welcomes the new CMO to his ship. Beverly responds that she "requested the assignment", taking Picard back with her choice of words. They reunite.




Idun AsmundBarojaGilaad Ben ZomaBeverly CrusherEdrichCarter GreyhorseFelisa HowardJaiyaKathryn JanewayJeffersonPeter JosephWalker KeelGeordi La ForgeMomosakiJean-Luc PicardSariel RagerShinzonElias VaughnZipporWorf, son of Mogh
Referenced only 
Gerda AsmundChakotayDataDezraiWilliam RikerDeanna Troi • Thomas Wolfe

Starships and vehicles

Annabel LeeUSS EnterpriseUSS HedderjinUSS HoratioUSS ZapataUSS Zodiac


Arvada IIICh'rannosCrannac OghilaKevratasNew Zealand Penal SettlementVictory SquareWophan Square
Referenced only 
Assaf GolavKolarus IIISantora Prime

Races and cultures

Referenced only 

States and organizations

Romulan Star EmpireStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only 


BloodfireDominion WarDurienpojjimaUttaberry puddingWarrior's DawnWetraza


  • The working title for this novel was "Sonnets".
  • This is the first story featuring the USS Enterprise immediately following the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. Slightly more than half of the Enterprise personnel remain aboard the ship while the rest were killed during the events of Nemesis or have since transferred.
See also: Romulan history

Related stories


published order
Previous novel:
A Time for War, A Time for Peace
TNG novels Next novel:
The Worst of Both Worlds
Previous novel:
To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh
Star Trek hardcovers Next novel:
Missing in Action
Previous story:
Stories by:
Michael Jan Friedman
Next story:
Most recent story
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
A Time for War, A Time for Peace
Epilogue, Sections 1-6
Pocket Next Adventure:
Improvisations on the Opal Sea: A Tale of Dubious Credibility
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2379.
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in two other timeframes:
Previous Adventure:
Chapter 6
San Francisco
Next Adventure:
Captain's Peril
Previous Adventure:
Chapter 14, Section 6
Arvada III
Next Adventure:
Book Two, Chapter 8, Section 2

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