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Series: The Original Series & The Next Generation
Author(s): Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Publication information
Published: Hardcover - November 1994
Reprint(s): Paperback - October 1995
Paperback - September 2006
Pages: 467
ISBN: Hardcover: ISBN 0671894226
Paperback: ISBN 0671894234
Date: 2061, 2078, 2117, 2267 & 2366
Stardate: 3849.8 & 43920.6

Original 1994 cover


Introduction (blurb)

At last, the long awaited novel featuring both famous crews of the starships Enterprise in an epic adventure that spans time and space. Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) are faced with their most challenging mission yet - rescuing renowned scientist Zefram Cochrane from captors who want to use his skills to conquer the galaxy.

Meanwhile, ninety one years in the future on the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), Picard must rescue an important and mysterious person who safety is vital to the survival of the Federation.

As the two crews struggle to fulfill their missions, destiny draws them closer together until past and future merge - and the fate of each of the two legendary starships rest in the hands of the other vessel...


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From Memory Alpha:

The book begins with an aged James Kirk, ready to retire from Starfleet, visiting the Guardian of Forever one last time. The Guardian has been inactive since a few years after he discovered it, (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever") and a researcher there requests that he ask it a question. He does, and it doesn't respond. But when the researcher walks away, leaving Kirk alone with his regrets, he whispers the word "Why?", and the Guardian answers. Zefram Cochrane has just returned from his historic first warp flight – to Alpha Centauri and back in just eight months. His friend and patron Micah Brack warns him that the Optimum – a militaristic political movement bent on the eradication of any person deemed genetically and/or ideologically "inferior" – has taken an interest in his work, and that a high-level officer, Colonel Adrik Thorsen, will arrive in a few hours. Brack explains that he's about to release the warp research he funded, royalty-free, because he believes the Optimum's rise will result in a bloody, planet-levelling war, and he wants extrasolar colonies established well before then. He arranges for Cochrane to be taken to a secret lab where he can continue his research outside the Optimum's grasp.

Nearly twenty years later, Cochrane returns to Earth. The Optimum has taken power across most of the civilized world, suspending the Constitution in the United States, imprisoning the British royalty, and everywhere making sure to "contain" nonoptimals. Thorsen captures Cochrane and demands that he explain how to build a "warp bomb." During early research on the warp drive, an accident caused an antimatter explosion. Everything within eighteen meters of the equipment disappeared without even a trace of radiation. The diameter was determined by the laws of physics and couldn't be changed – but Thorsen refuses to believe that. Cochrane eventually escapes, nearly killing Thorsen in the process – making him suboptimal. With prosthetic enhancements, Thorsen survives World War III and comes after Cochrane in his old age, killing the scientist's wife. Cochrane flees his home in the Alpha Centauri system and disappears.

Eventually Cochrane winds up on the planetoid Gamma Canaris, having been rescued by the Companion. Years later, the Enterprise under command of Captain Kirk is called to answer for a mysterious transmisson from a person who appears to be Nancy Hedford, who was thought to be dead. The Enterprise discovers that Cochrane has been kidnapped by the Optimum. They rescue Cochrane, and eventually begin to head toward a black hole to escape the Optimum. Meanwhile, Picard's crew has been dispatched to retrieve a "special science package" from the same black hole, eighty years in the future. In a strange twist of black hole physics, both Enterprise's end up trapped inside the same black hole, time having been compressed.The two ships cannot communicate with each other in order to preserve the timelines. Eventually, the Enterprise-D is able to rescue Cochrane, and both ships escape the Optimum. Thorsen's conciousness is destroyed when Picard destroys an aincient artifact containing all that is left of him. The story fast forwards to just after the Enterprise-D is lost on Veridian. Picard and Riker are on Titan, when Picard receives a letter that had been written to him before his birth. He discovers it is from Kirk, who is finally telling him the entire story.

The final scene is back at the Guardian, where we discover that the entire story was a revelation to Kirk, an answer to his question, "Why?"




Zefram CochraneRichard GalenSarek • Adrik Thorsen

Starships and vehicles



Ellison Research Station

Races and cultures


States and organizations

Ferengi AllianceOptimum MovementRomulan Star EmpireUnited Federation of Planets


Guardian of ForeverLaw of Parallel Planet DevelopmentnanotechnologynorsehlatPost-Atomic HorrorPreserver obeliskWorld War III



  • This novel is a sequel of sorts to the TOS episode "Metamorphosis"
  • Though the events of this novel were largely contradicted by Star Trek: First Contact, it remains a fan favorite
  • Federation was reissued in 2006 as part of the Star Trek 40th Anniversary Celebration along with The Entropy Effect, Vulcan's Glory, and Strangers from the Sky
  • In this novel, which pre-dates the movie Star Trek: First Contact, Cochrane's ship is the Bonaventure, rather than the Phoenix. The Bonaventure was the ship identified as the first to have warp drive in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Time Trap".

External Links

published order
Previous novel:
Shadows on the Sun
TOS Stories Next novel:
Previous novel:
TNG Stories Next novel:
Balance of Power
Previous novel:
TOS unnumbered novels Next novel:
The Ashes of Eden
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Pocket Next Adventure:
Ménage à Troi
Previous Adventure:
Journey to Babel
Voyages of the
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
(2264 to 2270)
Next Adventure:
Mission to Horatius
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2366.
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in seven other timeframes:
Previous Adventure:
Chapter 39
2065 Next Adventure:
The Valiant
Previous Adventure:
The Lives of Dax
First Steps
2078 Next Adventure:
Encounter at Farpoint
Chapter 3
Previous Adventure:
Surak's Soul
Chapter 2, Section 5
2119 Next Adventure:
A Girl for Every Star
Previous Adventure:
Journey to Babel
2267 Next Adventure:
To Reign in Hell: The Exile of Khan Noonien Singh
Chapters 12-13
Previous Adventure:
Shadows of the Indignant
2272 Next Adventure:
A Flag Full of Stars
Previous Adventure:
War Dragons
2293 Next Adventure:
The Last Roundup
Previous Adventure:
Past Tense
2371 Next Adventure:
The Ashes of Eden

This article uses material from the "Federation (novel)" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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