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A Star Trek: The Next Generation: Time #4: A Time to Harvest [Mass Market Paperback]

Dayton Ward , Kevin Dilmore
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 2004 Star Trek: The Next Generation (Book 4)
On the cusp of their epic battle with Shinzon, many of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's long-time crew were heading for new assignments and new challenges. Among the changes were William Riker's promotion to captain and his new command, Riker's marriage to Counselor Deanna Troi, and Dr. Beverly Crusher's new career at Starfleet Medical. But the story of what set them on a path away from the Starship Enterprise™ has never been told.
UNTIL NOW.

Still reeling from the disastrous events that have rocked all of Starfleet and tarnished the career of one of the Federation's most decorated captains, Picard and his crew must now endure the unthinkable: scandal, ostracism, and an uncertain future. But despite all that has occurred, none aboard the Enterprise have forgotten their duty as Starfleet officers....
Assigned to assist the imperiled Dokaalan -- a small colony of refugees who maintain a precarious existence in a rapidly disintegrating asteroid mining complex -- the Enterprise crew must somehow aid this alien race in terraforming a nearby planet so that it might someday provide a new home for their kind. But violent acts of sabotage soon turn a humanitarian crisis into a deadly confrontation. To save the Dokaalan from extinction, Picard must uncover the presence of an old adversary -- and prevent a disaster of catastrophic proportions!

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About the Author

Dayton Ward is a software developer, having become a slave to Corporate America after spending eleven years in the US Marine Corps. In addition to the numerous credits he shares with friend and cowriter Kevin Dilmore, he is the author of several Star Trek novels, the science fiction novels The Last World War, Counterstrike: The Last World War, Book II and The Genesis Protocol as well as short stories which have appeared in more than twenty anthologies. He’s also written for web sites such as Syfy.com, Tor.com, and StarTrek.com. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and daughters, but he’s a Florida native and maintains a torrid long-distance romance with his beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Find him on the web at DaytonWard.com.

Still reeling from the knowledge that Star Trek was a live-action series before it was a Saturday-morning cartoon, Kevin Dilmore is continually grateful for his professional involvement on the fiction and the nonfiction sides of the Star Trek universe for nearly a decade. Since 1997, he has been a contributing writer to Star Trek Communicator, penning news stories and personality profiles for the bimonthly publication of the Official Star Trek Fan Club. He has written for magazines including Amazing Stories, Star Wars Kids and FLIcK. Kevin’s interviews with some of Star Trek’s most popular authors appear in volumes of the Star Trek Signature Editions, published by Pocket Books. On the fictional side of things, his short stories include “The Road to Edos” in the Star Trek: New Frontier anthology No Limits and “Home on the Strange,” the first installment of Reality Cops: The Continuing Adventures of Vale and Mist for Phobos Books. With Dayton Ward, he has written the Star Trek: The Next Generation novels A Time to Sow and A Time to Harvest, a story for the anthology Star Trek: Tales of the Dominion War, eight installments of the continuing ebook series Star Trek: S.C.E. and the short story “Enemy Unknown!” for Rocket League—The Thrilling Roleplaying Game by Playus Maximus. Kevin lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Alone in her office, Fleet Admiral Alynna Nechayev relaxed in her favorite overstuffed chair and held her mug of coffee close to her nose, allowing its aroma to warm and tickle her nostrils. The chair was positioned so that she could look out over San Francisco Bay, watching as the first feeble rays of sunlight began to highlight the Golden Gate Bridge through the dense morning fog.

The coffee, along with the splendid view, was her private pleasure, one of few she allowed herself while ensconced in the surroundings of Starfleet Headquarters. The combination of Colombian beans and Klingon raktajino was a blend introduced to her by friend and colleague William Ross, and it had quickly become a favored component of her morning ritual. After all, reading status reports and intelligence briefings before sunrise went a lot easier over a good cup of coffee.

On this day, however, Nechayev was also able to take satisfaction from another quarter. The padd resting in her lap and containing the latest status report from Jean-Luc Picard, sent from the Dokaalan sector and the site of the Enterprise's current mission, had already proven to be the highlight of the scores of reports she was required to review. She had no doubt the report would cause much discussion during the various meetings she would be required to attend today.

The sound of her door chime interrupted her reverie. "Come," she called out, spinning her chair around in time to see her office doors parting to allow Admiral Ross himself to enter.

"Good morning, Alynna," Ross said as he stepped into the room. With his immaculately tailored Starfleet uniform, close-cut dark black hair liberally peppered with gray, and blue eyes that seemed powerful enough to bore through tritanium, the admiral presented the epitome of a Starfleet flag officer. That description went far beyond simple appearances, of course, as Nechayev knew all too well. Ross had overseen much of Starfleet's operations during the Dominion War, establishing himself as a dynamic leader and imaginative tactical commander. It could be well argued that a significant portion of the Federation's success during the war was directly attributable to William Ross.

"Hello, Bill," Nechayev replied as she rose from her chair. Crossing the room toward the replicator set into the wall to the left of her desk, she asked, "Coffee?"

Ross nodded. "Absolutely," he said as he took a chair opposite hers by the window. Holding up the padd he had brought with him, he added, "The morning briefs make for interesting reading, don't they?"

"You could say that," she replied as she moved back across the room, offering to Ross one of the two coffee mugs she carried. Settling into her own seat, she looked through the window and saw that the hills surrounding the bay were becoming visible as sunlight began to peek over the eastern horizon, signaling the start of a new day. "I'm sure the day's meetings will be just as enjoyable." She took a sip from her second mug of the morning, savoring the rich brew and knowing that her private time to truly enjoy the enticing beverage had passed. It was no more than fuel now, providing what she hoped would be enough energy to push through the numerous reports, briefings, and meetings that were part and parcel of the day-to-day life of a high-ranking Starfleet staff officer.

"Some of these new directives are a little troubling," Ross said, glancing down at his padd. "Can you believe all this? Proposals for augmenting security patrols along the Klingon and Romulan borders as well as the Bajoran sector, long-term plans for retrofitting all Starfleet vessels with heavier armaments regardless of their current mission, permanent assignment of ground-combat units to line ships." Looking up, he shook his head. "I've even heard rumors of some new kind of elite classified unit being developed to test starship and starbase security using the tactics of known enemies. That's a bit extreme, don't you think?"

"I hadn't heard that one yet," Nechayev replied, thinking to herself as she spoke the words that, on the surface, the idea did indeed seem a bit over the top. Upon further reflection, however, the admiral realized there might well be some merit in the concept worth pursuing.

Shrugging after a moment, she added, "Still, we've learned some hard lessons over the years. Mr. Azernal seems hell-bent to see that we learn from them and that we don't get caught with our pants down ever again."

In addition to his notable political skills, Koll Azernal, chief of staff to the Federation President, had garnered like many of his fellow Zakdorn a reputation as a renowned and cunning military strategist. More so than people like Ross, Benjamin Sisko, and even Nechayev herself, Azernal's tactical prowess had contributed significantly to the Federation's winning of the Dominion War. Now, in the wake of that success, Azernal was using his formidable talents along with his newfound popularity to push forward policies designed to ensure the Federation's continued protection.

His speech to the Federation Council a month previously had left no doubt as to his feelings on the matter. Citing the invasions by the Borg and the Dominion in recent years as well as other interstellar emergencies along the way, Azernal had shown no mercy in recounting how these incidents had exposed and exploited numerous weaknesses in Starfleet's ability to defend the borders and people of the Federation. In his view, drastic changes were required, and it was an opinion that appeared to be gaining support.

"You have to admit he has a point," Nechayev continued. "Maybe it is time we reexamined our approach to defense. We've been taking it on the chin for a long time, Bill. Some of what Azernal is proposing makes sense, when you think about it."

Sipping his coffee, Ross replied, "I'm not going to argue that we can always do better when it comes to defense." He held up his padd for emphasis. "But some of this smacks of 'too much too fast.' Even Starfleet Academy's having to jump through hoops. Admiral Brand's staff worked two nights straight putting together a proposal for expanding the Academy's combat strategies and tactics curriculum, and introducing it earlier in the cadets' training cycle. Azernal wants to increase class sizes at Command School, too, so we can put more junior officers through before they take their first assignment."

Her attention partly focused on the world beyond her window, Nechayev said, "None of that is out of line. In fact, some of it's been on the table for discussion for quite a while now." Light flickered beyond the window that formed the back wall of the office and a crack of thunder reverberated through its thick glass. She turned to see that the approaching dawn had revealed a distant squall line of gray clouds converging on the bay. Rain was about to christen the new day, it seemed. She hoped the imminent storm was not an omen that might signal a change in her mood.

Nechayev knew that getting Admiral Brand to recommend changes to the Academy's military training curriculum would not have been difficult. The Academy superintendent had proposed greater emphasis on such subjects almost from the first day she had assumed that posting and soon after the initial discovery of the Borg and the awesome threat they represented.

"There may be such a thing as going too far," Ross countered, rising from his chair and crossing to the replicator. "Azernal's paying a lot of attention to military initiatives, but what about other areas? We still have a lot of problems to solve, after all."

He had a point, Nechayev conceded. More than a year after the end of the Dominion War, rebuilding efforts were still under way on many member worlds and would require much in the way of time and resources to complete. If those concerns were ignored, the Federation risked alienating valuable allies at a time they were most needed. While Nechayev appreciated the need for a strong defense and had always advocated what she believed to be reasonable measures to assure that security, she had not joined Starfleet merely to wage war. Were the policy changes proposed by Koll Azernal too drastic?

"I imagine the Federation Council will make sure he doesn't go too far," she said. "President Zife has assured the Federation that his first priority is rebuilding and reconstruction efforts. I'm sure that when he submits his plan to the council, all the issues, civilian and military, will be addressed accordingly."

"I hope you're right," Ross said as he retrieved another cup of coffee from the replicator and moved back toward his chair. "For the first time in a while, we're at a point where we can concentrate on something besides war. I joined Starfleet to explore, after all."

As he passed her, Nechayev caught the scent of his coffee, its pleasing aroma touching off a grumbling in her stomach and reminding her that she had not yet eaten breakfast. A glance to the wall chronometer told her that she had fifteen minutes to see to that particular issue before the demands of her daily schedule began in earnest.

Ignoring her stomach for the moment, she instead said, "I take it you've reviewed Picard's report?"

Ross nodded as he sipped his coffee. "First thing." Shrugging, he added, "I needed a pick-me-up after the stuff I've been going over the last few days. His report is remarkable, to say the least."

"That there are survivors is what's remarkable," Nechayev replied, "but considering their predicament, that they're thriving the way they are is incredible."

Rather than finding the decimated remnants of a planet that had once been home to a prosperous civilization, Jean-Luc Picard and the Enterprise had instead found survivors of the catastrophe that had destroyed the home planet of the Dokaalan more than two centuries earlier. Having accomplished rudimentary spaceflight, the Dokaalan had established a network of mining colonies in the immense asteroid field that drifted in orbit betw...

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
ALONE IN HER OFFICE, Fleet Admiral Alynna Nechayev relaxed in her favorite overstuffed chair and held her mug of coffee close to her nose, allowing its aroma to warm and tickle her nostrils. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid conclusion. Aug. 16 2005
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Following on the build-up of A Time to Sow, A Time to Harvest is another great outing. However, the ending seemed rather rushed and used TNG's old "press a button to save the day when you're running out of time" formula. But overall another great novel in the A Time series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not as suspenseful as it should be July 19 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As with the first book, the authors spend the first quarter of the book filling us in on recent Trek history, both the events of the previous books, the Dominion War, and activities at Starfleet. It could probably have been done in half the pages and combined with more interesting content. After that the book becomes much better. The characterisations are good and the action scenes are well done. The pacing of the story is generally effective. There is still a fair amount of historical material, but most of it is relevant and a lot of it is presented character to character, instead of essentially author to reader. There is even one occasion when a character starts giving historical examples and gets told to stop because they don't have the time. However, the book develops one major fault. A critical element of the plot is that undercover operatives are in action, some on the Enterprise. The authors keep jumping to them, telling us who they are impersonating, what they are doing and what their plans are. It would have been far more suspenseful simply not to tell us, and much more dramatic for us to find out who is a spy at the same time as the Enterprise crew. The book is still quite good, it just could have been much better and how is pretty obvious.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read! June 17 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read other Star Trek TNG books and by a host of other authors. However, in this book and "A Time to Sow" you'll read some of the best TNG trek out there.
I won't say anything here that will spoil your read, other than in this book, the plot tightens up. The action gets more intense. Here, almost every key TNG character is heavily involved with some facet of the plot. In the end, it all comes together like a nicely tailored suit.
It's clear that the authors clearly know the TNG characters as they are written extremely well. Unlike other authors (ahem..Vornholt?) who know very little about the TNG characters.
The "old adversary" will keep you guessing and will probably hit you (as it did me) like a ton of bricks once you put the peices together.
These two books (this and "A Time to Sow") are the best books of the "A Time to....." series. It's a must read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars nice sequel June 13 2004
By tammy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
the book starts out slow but gathers lots of steam. the enterprise is still trying to help the dokaan people terraform a nearby planet when they discover lies and deceit from an old enemy who has grand plans of their own. the book is well written and the reader will not be disappointed in the end. i wish they would put wesley back in the story though because he made for interesting reading in the first 2 books of the series.
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