Avenger (Shatner novel)
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|Preceded by||The Return|
Avenger is a Star Trek novel by William Shatner (co-written with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens), depicting the events shortly after the feature film Star Trek Generations and the previous "Shatnerverse" novel The Return. It is a direct sequel to the latter, and forms part of the "Shatnerverse" collection of novels, being the third novel written by Shatner for the Trek series of novels. It was published in 1997 by Pocket Books.
The Federation must contain a plague that is killing plant life, damaging animal young, and killing people on several vital systems that collectively supply food for the entire Federation. Avenger opens with the Federation trying to maintain a strict quarantine to contain the spread of the disease while the Federation's reserves run low. The Enterprise-E is assigned to a blockade of the Alta Vista system, home to the Gamrow Station, a research facility designed to house about 60 scientists that is temporarily being used as a refugee camp for 1400 people. Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his crew attempt to stop a shuttlecraft, piloted by a Vulcan called Stron and a pregnant human woman, from fleeing the quarantined system, but the two appear to commit suicide by trying to jump into warp while caught in the Enterprise's tractor beam. Picard is unconvinced that the couple actually died in the warp core explosion, because Vulcans do not believe suicide is logical.
Meanwhile, on the once-verdant planet of Chal, a mysterious stranger walks through the desolation towards a Starfleet medical outpost. He meets with the commanding officer, Christine McDonald, and requests the location of the burial place of a native woman named Teilani. He discovers, with Christine's help, that Teilani is not dead yet, but will be soon—the disease is quickly working through her body. He goes to her and prepares a curious herbal tea with dried leaves and hot water, while Commander McDonald and the doctor, Andrea M'Benga, look on in amazement as Teilani begins to miraculously recover. The stranger reveals to M'Benga that the leaves are Trannin leaves, native to the Klingon home planet. Christine determines to send a message to Starfleet, to announce that a way to combat the virogen has been found. Christine's suspicions of the stranger's identity are aroused when Teilani calls the stranger "James." Her suspicions are further confirmed when she finds a plaque that the stranger had used as a tray for the tea, emblazoned with the name and number of the first Enterprise. Christine confronts the stranger with her belief that he is James T. Kirk, and he does not deny it, but insists that she only call him "Jim," and that she reveal his real identity to no one. As it turns out, Kirk was saved by a last minute beam out made by creatures and people who were able to release themselves from Borg assimilation. The Borg nanites that had been killing Kirk were cleansed out of him, and after two years of work aiding the survivors, he stumbled upon a Borg scout ship that he used to return.
Jean-Luc Picard sends out a search party onto an asteroid that was nearby to the explosion of the shuttle to find out if Stron and his wife really died there. Commander Data confirms that there are no traces of organic particles in the area, proving that Stron and his mate somehow escaped the shuttle before its demise. However, the manner of their escape remains a mystery. Picard reports his findings personally to the commander of the Gamrow Station, Chiton Kincaid, by beaming down alone to speak with her. He realizes with horror as their conversation goes on that she was already, in fact, aware that Stron and the woman did not die in the explosion. Before he can react, she attacks him with a disruptor and he blacks out.
Back on Chal, Teilani is almost fully recovered, but still weak. Kirk cares for her faithfully, and is in the process of building a home. However, their peaceful life is jarringly interrupted when a wing of Orion pirates begin mercilessly attacking the medical base. Jim begins running towards the base, only to be beamed up to Christine McDonald's ship, the U.S.S. Tobias. Christine insists that he take charge of the situation and take out the Orion fighters. Reluctantly, Jim agrees on the condition that Teilani be beamed up immediately. Once he knows she is safe, he takes a course of action: sending the Tobias into the atmosphere and successfully outmaneuvering the pirate ships. To Christine's dismay, he insists on destroying all of the pirates, rather than letting the survivors flee. Jim explains that Orions are pirates for hire, with no reason to attack Chal if there's no money in it—therefore someone must have intercepted Christine's message to Starfleet about the Trannin leaves, and sent the Orions to ravage the base. Kirk's suspicions are aroused: there's no way in his mind that the rapid spread of the virogen is an accident.
It is soon discovered that this outbreak was created intentionally by the Symmetrists, a group of eco-terrorists who have links to Captain James T. Kirk's past. The resurrected Kirk, along with Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and their respective crews, must unite to uncover the conspiracy that caused this before it undermines the Federation.
Ambassador Spock is on a mission of his own, and a deeply personal one at that. He is determined to find the murderer of his father Sarek, for that is what he believes the true fate of his father was. He and Kirk reunite to avenge Sarek's death. During this time, Spock lets go of all the self-control that makes him Vulcan. It is later said that his insides were sabotaged by the Vulcan Bendii disease, the one that supposedly killed his father. Kirk and Spock find out that the people who killed his father are now after him, infecting him with a disease very much like Bendii—the same thing that killed Sarek. It is revealed that a personal aide to Sarek's father and later Spock was the killer of Sarek by use of a poison precisely similar to the Bendii syndrome. In the end, it is Kirk who avenges Sarek's death, while Spock is taken away for further treatments.