Parallel Universes Might Exist

The idea that we might be living in just one of an infinite number of universes is not a new scientific concept and scientific debate surrounding this possibility has been going on for decades. The idea that we may be living in just one of countless universes has also been a popular narrative in science fiction as well.

The crew of Star Trek’s Enterprise has encountered multiple universes in several occasions – always leading to complex & exciting adventures.

Up until recently provable evidence to support this theory has been hard to come by. Now, researchers have discovered something in space that they can’t quite account for, and one of the possible explanations is that our universe actually bumped into a neighboring, parallel one. That’s right our universe may have had a car crash with another universe.

What the Heck Happened?

When gazing into the heavens, scientists spotted what they refer to as a “cold” area of space. It was observed some time ago, and explaining it proved difficult. Originally a 2015 study suggested it was merely an area of the universe in which the number of galaxies is dramatically lower than the rest. However subsequent investigations couldn’t support that finding, and a new study by Durham University suggests the slim possibility that it’s actually evidence of parallel universes.

The multiverse theory hinges on the idea that all possible outcomes of any given scenario are all playing out at the same time in a layered reality of which we are only experiencing one of those layers. It’s a wild idea that has a foundation in quantum mechanics, but it’s also entirely unproven. But could it be true?

As the study suggests, the researchers believe the mysterious cold spot, while still totally unexplained, could actually be “the remnant of a collision between our universe and another ‘bubble’ universe during an early inflationary phase.” In short, if the idea is correct, our early universe collided with another young universe early on, causing something of a “bruise” which we are able to observe today.

Mind blowing isn’t it? Its looking more and more like we are not alone.

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Star Trek: Discovery Trailer Premiers

It’s been 12 years since we have had any new Star Trek grace our television screens. Thankfully this dark age of no Trek is about to end.

Today we got our first glimpse into what CBS’ streaming-exclusive Star Trek: Discovery series will look like. The trailer promises a “fall” release window, and the accompanying press release reveals its run has been extended from 13 episodes to 15, and that it will include a “Talking Trek” aftershow.

The trailer begins on the same desert planet included in the tweet the Star Trek: Discovery team tweeted earlier today, but expands on just what’s happening to the newest captain and first officer in the Star Trek universe. It’s made absolutely clear that they’re lost, on a planet they have never visited before, and are stuck trying to find a way out.

There are sequences and characters — like Spock’s father — that will resonate with fans, but it’s clear this isn’t the same Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry launched in 1966. The visual effects are spectacular and, as many have already pointed out, the opening scene in question seems to borrow heavily from the planet of Jakku; Rey’s “home” planet in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The trailer does a pretty good job of introducing the newest crew members viewers will be exploring the vast universe with. Discovery takes place 10 years before the events of the original series and focuses on an important moment in the franchise’s history.

New alien races and technology can be glimpsed in the trailer, but there’s just enough references to the original series for those looking to fill the nostalgic hole in their heart.

Discovery still doesn’t have a release date, but it will premiere on CBS this fall. Following the pilot, the only way to watch the show will be through a subscription to CBS’ stand-alone streaming service, CBS All Access.

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Life Lessons from Star Trek

I recently started a re-watch of “Star Trek” Voyager” and this of all the Star Trek franchises always has me thinking of my childhood, and the original Trek, and the life lessons I learned growing up.

Watching Star Trek when I was a little kid was one of my most formative influences in terms of my entertainment choices, and I’ve always felt that it taught me a lot about life in the process of just being plain fun. And so, listed here for your reading pleasure, are a few of what I think are the strongest points the series makes as a whole.

#1: Never judge a book by its cover


The idea that things aren’t always what they appear and that people shouldn’t rush to judgment has so many precedents in Star Trek that I could hardly list them all, but my favorite one is the Horta of Janus VI. Human miners and Kirk’s crew hunted down this grotesque and rocky slug-like creature so that they could destroy it after it killed several people. But in the end, it turns out that the Horta is an extraordinarily intelligent and sensitive creature that was only driven to murder because of the miners’ unwitting slaughter of thousands of her young. With some timely mind melding by Mr. Spock, Kirk and the Horta manage to reach an understanding and agreement that benefits everyone in the end. It just goes to show that no matter what the situation, appearance isn’t everything.

#2: Don’t take life too seriously


The characters of Star Trek are frequently put into dangerous and life-threatening situations, but one thing that never fails is Captain Kirk’s ability to laugh at himself and his mistakes once it’s all over. Hardly an episode ends without Kirk cracking a joke at somebody (usually Spock) to lighten the mood. Kirk’s unfailing ability to find the enjoyment in every situation he faced was something I always admired about him, and the few times when he does get too stuck in the mud for his own good, he always gets set straight once he recognizes the ludicrous nature of the situation (see “The Trouble with Tribbles”). It’s our job to take whatever life throws our way and make the best out of it that we can.

#3: Perfection isn’t what it’s cracked up to be

In the episode “This Side of Paradise”, Kirk and the crew discover a planet where colonists live a seemingly idyllic existence thanks to alien spores that allow them to let go of their cares and concerns and just enjoy life.

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While this sounds great in theory, the flip side of it is that the colonists haven’t made any progress toward their mission since coming to the planet, which was originally intended to help all of humanity. As Kirk wisely notes at the end of the episode, perhaps paradise isn’t where humanity thrives: maybe we’re meant to struggle and better ourselves by overcoming the challenges and problems we face in everyday life. If we lived in a perfect world and didn’t have anything to strive toward, we wouldn’t really be human at all.

#4: There’s more than one way of looking at things

One of the constant highlights of Star Trek is the constant debate between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy about emotion versus logic. Kirk and McCoy often malign Spock’s seemingly unfeeling and cold deductions, but more than once Spock’s ability to act without the clouds of doubt, anger, guilt, or any other human emotions saved them and the rest of the crew where an ordinary man would have been paralyzed by indecision.

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But on the other hand, Spock’s human friends are able to offer innovative solutions to problems the Vulcan was unable to think of by himself. The moral of the story is that there’s no one point of view that will get things done or that is completely and always correct.

#5: Embrace everything about who you are

In “The Enemy Within”, a transporter accident splits Kirk into two copies of himself: one ostensibly good, and the other evil. While it’s clear the “evil” Kirk is full of unrestrained aggression, desire, and many negative emotions, it also becomes apparent that without these feelings, the “good” version of Kirk is weak, indecisive, and unable to function as a commander.

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In the end, only by reuniting themselves can the two halves make a full human being again. The lesson here is that while there may be many things we don’t like about ourselves, it’s never possible to tell when one of these traits could help us, or how it’s shaped who we are. We wouldn’t be ourselves without all of them.

#6: Good friends are the most valuable things there is


While they may bicker and argue much of the time over their differing points of view when tensions get high, it’s clear that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, along with the rest of the crew of the Enterprise, are close enough to be called a family in many respects. In many situations where one of them has been in danger, such as Scotty being accused of murder, Kirk court-martialled for offing a personal enemy, or Spock disobeying orders to help a former commander, the other crewmembers never fail to leap to their defense in any way they can. It’s clear that these people would do anything for each other, and that they’ve always got each other’s back, and that’s more important than anything in this or any other universe.

#7: Violence is never the answer

More than once, when the crew of the Enterprise is faced with a crisis, the tendency of some of the human characters, Kirk included, is to immediately attempt a military solution, and often this is shown to have catastrophic results. Overall, the characters of Star Trek manage to talk their way out of a lot more situations than they do by fighting their way out.

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Compromise and understanding is always the goal, and senseless violence is always condemned, even when it’s only simulated by a computer (see “A Taste of Armageddon”). It’s made clear in this show that violence only leads to more violence. Compassion and mercy for one’s enemies, as well as anyone else, is key to accomplishing any mission.

#8: With great power comes great responsibility

As the commander of a starship crewed by over 300 other people, it’s often made clear just how much pressure Kirk is under as a captain day in and day out.

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It’s his responsibility to ensure the safety of all these other lives, and take the well being of every single person under his supervision into account when making any decision. He’s also stated more than once that a captain is by proxy responsible for the actions of everyone under their command. While this seems like a bit of an unfair burden for a person to place on themselves, the fact that Kirk commands the strength and firepower of this many people and a ship like the Enterprise means he has to make responsible choices about how and when to use them. It’s the same for anyone in life who has some measure of power, and it’s up to them to utilize it for the benefit of others.

#9: The good of the many outweighs the good of the one


This is a tried and true Spock-ism that can sound a bit odd at first. Doesn’t that just advocate for tyranny of the majority and denying a voice to the individual? But that’s not what the real meaning is here. What this saying really is about is the demonstrated willingness of Kirk, Spock, or just about anyone else on the Enterprise to sacrifice themselves, or put themselves in harm’s way, in order to save each other and the ship at large. The selflessness of the characters on Star Trek is something we could all take a lesson from: always consider the consequences of your actions, and make sure that you’re not just doing things for yourself, but for the benefit of others. Its utilitarianism at it’s finest, something I think we could do with a little more of in real life.

#10: Boldly go where no one has gone before

This is the most famous tag line in Star Trek for a reason, you know. The entire show is basically a giant metaphor for how humanity in general approaches the unknown. We can approach it with fear and trepidation, or we can embrace it and enjoy the wonder of discovery. Blaze new trails. Don’t get stuck in conventional thinking. Don’t be afraid to take some risks. And most importantly, always believe in a positive outcome. If there’s one thing I learned from James T. Kirk, it’s to never, ever give up, and that there’s no such thing as a no-win scenario. All you have to have is the tenacity, patience, and courage to look in the right place.

If you are a young parent you could do a lot worse then introducing Star Trek to your child.

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Star Trek’s Fantastic Predicted Gizmos

It’s been a slow tech news week so lets take some time to look at some fantastic gizmos we are actually enjoying now and will be enjoying in the years to come as predicted by my favorite TV series.

For many of us a vision of the future has been provided by one very successful television franchise: Star Trek. And the future, it turns out, is coming sooner than even Star Trek‘s writers could have imagined. Here are 12 technical gizmos used on the Star Trek television shows that are now becoming real.


Captain Jean-Luc Picard used to say ‘Tea, Earl Gray, hot!” and it would be replicated instantly. Today’s 3D printers don’t tackle tea, but there are machines that actually can print food. And other printers, like the MakerBot Replicator 2 are quite adept at making small objects—just as they were shown to do on later episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.


In several episodes, we marveled at the universal translator, which decoded what aliens said in real-time—and in the later shows, it was integrated into the communication badges (which explains why basically everyone, regardless of home planet, spoke English). Now, there’s an app for that. Voice Translator by TalirApps understands 71 languages (no Klingon yet, though). You speak in your native tongue and the app translates your phrase into another language.


Lieutenant Commander Geordi Laforge—you know, the guy from Reading Rainbow—used a tablet computer (what they called Personal Access Data Devices, or PADDs) to punch in coordinates for the next star system. Other Starfleet personnel used them to watch video and listen to music—just the things we use tablets for today.


In the TV show, a tricorder is a handheld device that scans for geological, biological, and meteorological anomalies. Handy! In 2012, Peter Jansen from McMaster University in Ontario built a working prototype that scans for magnetic fields and other interference. And there are lots of other real-world tricorders, too.


On Star Trek: The Next Generation, you could walk into a chamber onboard the Enterprise and visit your home planet for a quick barbecue, or even have an affair with a hologram. Leave it to a bunch of University of Southern California students to make virtual reality a little more down-to-Earth—Project Holodeck used virtual reality goggles to create a fictional world. (Though no encounters with Minuet were reported.)


On the original series, Kirk and crew carried handheld communicators. But in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Starfleet personnel wore communicator badges on the left breasts of their uniforms. A California start-up called Vocera has created a similar device you pin to your shirt. They’re used mostly in hospitals to avoid having constant overhead pages.


Pulling a ship with an invisible tractor beam seems impossible, but two New York University professors are making it so. Their experiment, which uses a light beam to control tiny microscopic particles, is not going to be deployed on the next NASA mission, but shows we’re making progress.


In the Star Trek universe, you can talk to a computer (voiced by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, Trek creator Gene’s wife) in casual conversation. These days, we’ve got Apple’s Siri and Google Now, and while they aren’t fully developed systems yet, they are baby steps toward a service like Star Trek‘s computer, which has a complex understanding of context. Google even codenamed their voice-based service “Majel,” in honor of Barrett-Roddenberry.


No one in Star Trek ever sits down and explains how a warp drive works in detail, but we know it has something to do with bending space and traveling faster than the speed of light. Doesn’t seem possible, but NASA has suggested that a warp drive is possible.


Captain Kirk was pretty handy with a phaser, and he didn’t always set his to stun. Ironically, we’ve been using something similar since the first Iraq War. Known as a dazzler, the directed-energy weapon sends a pulse of electromagnetic radiation to stop someone cold in their tracks.


To get from place to place, Captain Kirk and company didn’t need an airplane—they didn’t even need a space elevator. Instead, they teleported using the U.S.S. Enterprise‘s transporter (a scenario we all dream about while standing in line at airport security). We’ve already done some teleportation—specifically, of photons and atoms. These particles don’t disappear and reappear, though. According to Forbes, “the information contained in the photon’s quantum state is transmitted from one photon to another through quantum entanglement – without actually travelling the intervening distance.” An exact copy appears on the other side, while the original photon is destroyed. According to theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, we consist of 15 trillion cells, so we’ll need to wait a few centuries before we’re teleporting like Kirk. And we’ll still have to destroy the original.


In the world of Star Trek, there’s no need for needles (and thus no trypanophobia)—Bones administered medicine through the skin using painless jet-injected hypospray. Recently, MIT created a similar device that, according to, “delivers a drug through the skin at speeds of up to 340 meters per second and in under a millisecond. The amount of drug can be varied, as can how deep it is injected. And as far as the patient is concerned, they shouldn’t feel anything other than the tip of the injector against their skin. That’s because the jet is as thin as a mosquito’s proboscis.” It’s not the first, but it does have more control than other hyposprays, which means it could actually be a replacement for needles—and that would make visits to the doctor’s office with your kids much easier.

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Star Trek Invades Alexa

I am a big fan of Amazon;s Alexa devices. These far outpace Siri (Apple) or Cortana (Microsoft) in how they can actually be a useful tool in your home.

Amazon’s Alexa devices are constantly being improved through updates and skills. An now we learn that Amazon has added another Wake Word option.

Wake Words, of course, are the words you can use to cause Alexa to start listening to your requests. Without the Wake Word, Alexa just sits waiting. For privacy nuts, this should be proof enough that Amazon is respecting the customer’s private moments and conversations, but some still suspect she’s listening anyway. Alexa devices provide a hardware button to stop her from listening completely.

Originally, Alexa came with just three Wake Word options: Alexa, Amazon, and Echo. But, now Alexa has a fourth Wake Word as Amazon has added “Computer” to the mix.

Rumor suggests that Amazon is still intent on providing the ability to allow customers to create their own Wake Words sometime in the future.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 19 – “Legacies Book 2 – Best Defense”

My TOS Book Mission in celebration of Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary continues with David Mack’s “Best Defense” which is part 2 of the special Legacies series.

Legacies is a trilogy celebrating Star Trek’s 50th anniversary. Spanning decades and several captains of the early Enterprise. The first novel, “Captain to Captain” by Greg Cox was and excellent start to this trilogy and of course left off with a major cliffhanger. “Best Defense” is just as action-packed, if not more so.

As the crew of the Enterprise tries to reclaim the Transfer Key (stolen in Book 1), the crew must deal with a mystery and stop a war from breaking out with the Klingons. Meanwhile, Una tries to rescue her old crew mates from a bizarre alternate universe. This story is full of suspense, political intrigue, and family drama which in many ways I enjoyed even more than the first in the trilogy. There was much jammed into this fast-paced story and for the most part it all works very well. We even get to see Dr. McCoy’s estranged daughter, JoAnna as well as Sarek who is trying to make peace with the Klingons. Oh and we even get to see Councilor Gorkon (Star Trek VI) which is great fun.

The story leads up to a cliffhanger and very much sets the tone for what is sure to be a exciting conclusion, “Purgatory’s Key” which arrives later this month.

Happy 50th Star Trek.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 18 – “Legacies Book 1 – Captain to Captain”

This year I have truly enjoyed delving into old & new Star Trek novels as my little way to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary. The three book “Legacy” series which launched with Greg Cox’s “Captain to Captain” brings with it much promise as a Trek universe spanning adventure.

The cover art really sets the tone of the story in “Captain to Captain”.

This first novel did not let me down and it was one that I could not put down.

The best part of this novel is the character of Number One who only appeared in the original pilot “The Cage” and as part of flashbacks in the Original Series episode of “The Menagerie.” There wasn’t much character development in “The Cage” but in this novel the character is fully fleshed out and three dimensional. The entire time I was reading this story I could picture Majel Barrett as the character.

The story itself was very interesting and included a great sub-story involving Robert April, a captain with little backstory in the Trek Universe other than being the first captain of the USS Enterprise. Overall, this is a great Star Trek story to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Original Series. I look forward to reading the next two novels.

Oh and slugs were terrifying!

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 16 – “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”

My year long Star Trek Book Mission continues and I went back to 1979 and Gene Roddenberry’s novelization of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”. I last read this book about 30 years ago but I still remember enjoying it way back then because it added so much back story to the first Trek film.

Gene Roddenberry’s novelization does a great job providing background and context to the events that are played out on the screen. This book actually moves along at a fast clip, and while it isn’t written with a lot of style it does accomplish what it sets out to do: fill in the blanks that might seem to be missing in the film.

Needless to say, the book and the movie have the same plot and the book remains engaging throughout due to the insight it gives us into the characters’ thought processes. Gene Roddenberry is able to do things in the prose format which the movie was not able to do, such as presenting the opening attack on the Klingon ships as a thought transmission from Starfleet Command which Jim Kirk receives while visiting the Library at Alexandria (which Gene correctly predicted would someday be rebuilt). We gain much more insight into the civilization of 23rd-century Earth, and into the characters and how they have changed since the end of the original series, than the movie gives us.

Roddenberry also covers instances of technology and commentary never mentioned within canon, including Starfleet cranial implants and Kirk’s views on a rumored romantic relationship between himself and Spock. The introduction, written by Roddenberry from Kirk’s point of view, should be mandatory reading for anyone involved in future movie/series material, and is almost worth the purchase price in itself.

This is a great novelization of the first Trek film and I enjoyed reading it again.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 15 – “Elusive Salvation”

25814484With Dayton Ward’s latest time travel adventure “Elusive Salvation” we are treated to 4 centuries of Star Trek – spanning several Trek time periods.

The story opens with the crash landing in the Arctic in 1845 of a ship by a race known as the Iramahl who are fleeing the oppression of a race known as the Ptaen. Flash forward to 2283 where an unidentified object is spotted approaching Jupiter station that eventually is determined to be an Iramahl ship which is looking for its missing people who may or may not be still alive some 4 centuries later.

To locate the crew in the past, Kirk sends a message to Roberta Lincoln (see the classic episode “Assignment Earth” who is living in the 1970’s to see if she and Gary Seven can help locate the lost Iramahl crew.

Dayton Ward, as he did in his previous novel of this series, “In Histories Shadow” does an awesome job of mixing parts of the past & present (star Trek) with a fascinating tale of oppression while at the same time drawing on episodes of three (yes 3) Star Trek series which make for nice references throughout the adventure. The book is a very easy read and an enjoyable one up through the breakneck finale which will take your breath away.

This is a very worthy book to be included as part of the 50th anniversary Pocket Book run which is occurring throughout 2016. The Star Trek novels released throughout 2016 should pay homage to the best of Star Trek which “Elusive Salvation” surely does.

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TOS 50 Book Mission # 14 – “Death’s Angel”

What I Am ReadingFor my 14th Star Trek book read this year I traveled back to 1981 for Bantam’s final Trek adventure before Pocket Books took over the franchise.

Kathleen Sky’s, “Death’s Angel” describes a rather, for the Enterprise, disturbing incident on one of its many planetary surveys. It also describes a rather disturbing incident during what promised to be an interesting and necessary part of being near one of the two Empires who greatly desire our region of space. While others have commented or complained regarding the content, the big problem was one of explaining without doing so, how an entirely new (to us) agency was spun up and taking control of that situation. The Federation’s government model resembles its own model that of the UN, and as such the charter contains provisions for every single aspect of governance. And that includes an investigation agency that runs concurrent with the components of Star Fleet who also have their own.

One of the cool things in this story is the incredible amount of truly alien – aliens. Just check out this roster of the ambassadors travelling on board the Enterprise in this adventure. (Thank You Memory Alpha!)

Agnatha of Jezero

A lamprey-like being who required a special tank to survive aboard the Enterprise. He was a strong opponent of the peace treaty until his death.

Damu of Chiroptera

An ambassador who reminded Capt. Kirk of a Terran vampire, due to his appearance and his species’ custom of taking nourishment from mammalian blood. The inhabitants of Chiroptera harvested their blood from stock animals, as opposed to killing for it like the vampires of lore. Damu was neutral on the issue of the treaty.

Edentata of Tandenborstel

A retiring armadillo-like ambassador who kept to himself during the entire voyage. His position on the treaty was neutral.

Hotep of Djoser

A polymorphite whose slight shape-changing abilities were directly related to the amount of energy he consumed. He was neutral in regards to the peace treaty, as his sole interest in this mission was the amount of food he could eat.

Karhu of Hanaja

A large bear-like ambassador who intentionally magnified his ursine characteristics to appear less threatening. He was in favor of the peace treaty.

Naja of Dalzell

A feathered snake-like diplomat who was opposed to the peace treaty, partly due to his dislike of Romulans. Before the truth of the Death Angel was discovered, his death was attributed to his advanced age of 157 years.

Neko of Gyuunyuu

A large grey felinoid with violent tendencies who was strongly opposed to the Romulan treaty, partially because of his extreme dislike of all Vulcanoid species.

Rovar of Hemiptera

An insectoid who had a strong dislike of the Romulans and therefore opposed the peace treaty. He died of massive self-inflicted wounds after a visit from the Angel of Death.

Sirenia of Cetacea

An amphibious humanoid who was romantically involved with Ambassador Agnatha. She was in favor of the peace treaty.

Sarek of Vulcan

A representative of the Federation Council and the lead ambassador on this mission. He was the strongest supporter of the peace treaty, but spent most of the trip ill in his quarters.

Si-s-s-s(click) of Gavialian

A blue crocodilian who supported the peace treaty. As is customary of his people, Si-s-s-s(click) enjoyed “persona games,” in which he would adopt the characteristics of a specific fictional character or genre. During his stay on the Enterprise, he adopted the personas of Don Juan the romantic, Sherlock Holmes the detective, and Sam Spade, a character from an archaic Terran detective film called The Maltese Falcon.

Spiracles, a Gyomorian

A slender, winged creature who suffered from heavy oxygen intoxication in the atmosphere of the Enterprise. His people cocoon into a chrysalis form when threatened. Originally neutral in regards to the peace treaty, he became a supporter of it after his visitation from the Angel of Death.

Telson of Manteiga

A member of the Federation Council and a grandmaster chess player who supported the Romulan/Federation treaty. He bore a strong resemblance to a three-meter long Terran lobster with a bright yellow carapace.

This was an enjoyable novel which like many of the early Bantam books has the feel of a TOS episode.

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