Every thirty-three years, a rift in space connects the Federation with a mysterious race called the Calligar who live on a planet hundreds of light years away -- much too far to travel in a Starship. Captain Kirk and the USS Enterprise are dispatched to transport a Federation delegation of diplomats, scholars and scientists who will travel to Calligar directly during the brief period of time that the rift will be open.
Mr. Spock leads the Federation party as they travel by shuttle through the rift just as a group of the aliens arrive in Federation space. The meetings go smoothly until the Calligar take Spock's party hostage and Kirk discovers that the aliens are keeping a deadly secret. With angry Tellarite and Andorain fleets ready to attack the Calligar, Kirk must save Spock and the others before war breaks out and the rift closes for another fifty years.
The story begins with Captain Pike, seen in the original pilot episode for Star Trek. It then features Captain Kirk and his crew from the future.
Mr. Spock learns his favorite word, "fascinating", from the female first officer known only as Number One, deciding it wasn't too emotional and would be a good word to remember for the future.
David submitted three novel outlines to Paramount, written in three different styles. The two he thought were good were rejected, and the one he said was "simply a conglomeration of old cliches from previous Star Trek episodes" was the only one they liked, and approved. He has said that it was designed to make the other two look good, and wasn't designed to be the one they picked.