Dark Victory (Star Trek)

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9780671008840: Dark Victory (Star Trek)

James T. Kirk returns to the mirror universe that was first seen in the original televised Star Trek, to engage in a battle with the cleverest and most dangerous foe he has ever encountered, his mirror universe duplicate.

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About the Author:

William Shatner is the author of four previous Star Trek novels: The Ashes of Eden, The Return, Avenger, and Spectre. In addition to his ongoing role as Captain James T. Kirk, he has appeared in such hit plays as The World of Suzie Wong and A Shot in the Dark, in such notable films as The Brothers Karamazov and Judgement at Nuremberg, and on television in T.J. Hooker and Rescue 911. He is also the author of several other novels, including the popular TekWar novels which inspired a hit television series.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

The waiting was over...

"Ten," the emperor said.

It was the number of seconds James T. Kirk had to live.

Behind him on the mirror Voyager's bridge, Kathryn Janeway lunged for the conn. Kirk knew her well enough to understand her intention.

Once, it would have been his as well.

"Nine."

Kirk turned from the viewscreen, from the man in the mirror, and shouted at the Voyager's captain. "No!"

Spock, following his captain's lead, now pushed ahead, one hand extended, fingers ready to remove Janeway from the equation of this moment.

But he was blocked by T'Val, the young, drawn Vulcan woman who haunted him, the ghost of a possibility unexplored, child of his mirror counterpart and the mirror Saavik. The follower of Janeway.

"Eight."

T'Val's mechanized hand swung up to divert Spock's attack. Janeway reached the controls. Kirk felt the ship's warp-core generator sing its song in the vibration of the deck.

The stunning blow of T'Val's mechanized hand swept Spock to the side. Then T'Val joined her leader.

"Seven." Tiberius laughed mockingly, seeing everything, the chaos that he had brought.

Kirk leaned over the central flight-control console, to reach the controls on the captain's side, then gasped with pain as the ruins of his hands strained but did nothing.

Hours ago, transtator feedback had destroyed the controls of the runabout he had piloted. He had kept the craft on course, completed his mission, but had paid the price in charred flesh, shattered bones, now wrapped in McCoy's glittering bandages.

Kirk called for help from the one person left to give it. "Teilani!"

"Six."

No more than a moment ago, his beloved had agreed to become his wife. No more than a month ago, in the peace of a glade on Chal, their love had quickened their child within her.

Now, for him, their child, and their future, she became the fighter Kirk needed at his side.

Teilani, child of Qo'noS and of Romulus, Klingon warrior and Romulan tactician, vaulted over the console.

T'Val had no chance.

Teilani's boot made contact with the Vulcan female's jaw. Teilani's arm cut across Janeway's neck.

All three women flew back from the console. T'Val crumpled to the floor, unconscious. Janeway fought unsuccessfully against Teilani's grip.

"Five."

Without functioning hands, Kirk did what he could. He ran. Charging around the console to reach the empty conn, even as the bridge tilted in the lag of the inertial dampeners and the Voyager began her suicidal run, just as Janeway had intended.

But in the mirror universe, this Janeway had lived as a Terran slave to the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, cursed with the burden of a scientist's intellect and dreams.

This Janeway knew what had been taken from her. This Janeway burned with hate.

Directed at one man -- Tiberius -- just as her starship was now directed in a deadly collision course with the Enterprise.

But on the viewscreen, Tiberius did the unexpected. He abruptly broke off his countdown and commanded his gunner to target the Voyager.

Hunched over the keyboards of the flight-control console, Kirk tore with his teeth at the bandage on his right hand, like an animal gnawing at its own limb to escape a trap. As the sparkling bandages fluttered to the floor, they took with them shreds of torn flesh. Kirk's mouth bore fresh bloodstains.

The Voyager shuddered and he swayed as the first salvo from the Enterprise's aft phasers blazed around her shields, but he remained on his feet.

On the screen, Tiberius grinned fiercely. His long white hair was tied back in an immaculate warrior's queue, his deeply tanned skin unblemished and unmarked, his face the face of triumph.

On the Voyager's bridge, it seemed as if Kirk was now the beast. Broken, bleeding, desperate.

But not desperate to kill.

On his right hand, his thumb was still intact. He jammed it down on the helm controls, gasping as a blade of fire shot through his raw palm, up his arm.

"Scotty! La Forge!" he cried out to the two engineers. "Everything to the starboard shields, now!"

A second salvo blasted the Voyager. But her weakened forward shields had not been the target.

Kirk had succeeded in forcing the ship into a turn. Her undamaged starboard shields had absorbed the full charge.

The bridge lights flickered. The deck and bulkheads echoed with the groaning of metal as the structural integrity field fluctuated.

"We've lost half the shield nodes," Scott called out. "We cannae go to warp."

La Forge's urgent voice rose above the ship's din. "We'll barely be able to manage half impulse!"

Suddenly, Janeway broke free of Teilani and rushed Kirk at the console, trying to drag him from the helm.

"We can't run! We can't protect ourselves! Let it end now!"

But Kirk shouldered her away even as Teilani recaptured her. Even as the ship rocked and bucked violently. The readouts confirming that Voyager was spinning on her central axis, her inertial control damaged by the last phaser hit.

"It's not your decision," Kirk shouted at her. "You're not alone on this ship!"

Hate had blinded Janeway. But not Kirk. Spock and Scott and La Forge were on the bridge of this ship. On the other decks were McCoy, Picard, Spock's counter part, Data, Dr. Crusher, Will Riker, Deanna Troi, and dozens more from Starfleet who had been rescued from the asteroid labor camp below. No one had the right to force death upon others without giving them a say.

Teilani held Janeway secure at Kirk's side, ready to deliver a deathblow if that was what was required.

The grinning image of Tiberius vanished from the viewscreen, leaving in its place a blur of streaming images: the roiling clouds of the Goldin Discontinuity in which the two starships were embedded; the two asteroids in their decaying orbit rushing dangerously closer to each other; the Enterprise encased in her metallic, webbed cage.

"You're weak," Janeway screamed at Kirk. "Letting that monster live because of her!" She struggled in vain to escape Teilani's hold.

Kirk clenched his teeth as he forced his right thumb over the controls, bringing the ship back into trim. "There's been too much death already."

"It's him or us!"

But Kirk could not be distracted. He was focused on his ship and survival. "There is always another way!"

Recovered from T'Val's attack, Spock was on his feet again, already at tactical. "Phasers, captain?"

"On my mark!" Kirk answered.

Janeway exploded in fury and frustration. "We can't outfight that ship!"

Kirk grunted to mask the agonizing pain he felt as his thumb and bloody knuckles stabilized the Voyager. He brought her around to face the Enterprise's stern again, and then moved her forward. But not on a collision course. "We don't have to outfight the ship," he gasped. "Just the man!"

More vibrations coursed through the bridge, but they were weaker this time. The Enterprise had scored only a glancing blow.

And then the Voyager was to the port of the larger ship, moving slowly, a perfect target. Yet untouched.

Confusion dampened Janeway's rage. "He's not firing."

Kirk's attention was on the positions of the Enterprise and the intricate construction that wrapped her like a mechanistic cocoon. "Of course he's not firing," he said. "Not after what he went through to build that thing. He's not about to risk shooting it." He turned to Spock. "Spock, has the Enterprise enlarged her shields to protect the device?"

"She has."

Kirk nodded, unsurprised. It was what he would have done in the same situation.

Then the turbolift doors opened and Jean-Luc Picard rushed onto the bridge, still

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