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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Star Trek: The Assassination Game Star Trek
The Assassination Game

Written by Alan Gratz

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, 2012)


Someone seems to be attempting to frame the visiting enemy Varkolak delegation for bombings of key targets at the Academy to foment war.


Notes from the Star Trek chronology


Page 193 indicates this story takes place the semester following the events of The Gemini Agent.


Didja Know?


This book is filled with nods towards the various Star Trek series and movies and some other modern day pop-culture, as well. So many that I probably missed a few.


The title of this book was probably inspired by the 1982 film TAG: The Assassination Game, in which college students play a similar game to the one described here, but with suction cup dart guns instead of sporks. The first chapter of this book is even called "TAG".


Didja Notice? 


On page 1, Nadja greets the participants of the latest round of the Assassination Game, saying, "Ladies, gentlemen, hermaphrodites, cogenitors, and asexual life-forms." A cogenitor is a third gender in the Vissian species of aliens first encountered by Starfleet in the ST-Enterprise episode "Cogenitor".


Also on page 1, Dr. McCoy muses on how Nadja's blue eyes reminded him of Romulan Ale. Romulan Ale is an illegal alcoholic beverage in the Federation, but has nevertheless appeared in several episodes/movies of the Star Trek universe, and it is, indeed, blue.


Pages 3 and 102 mention a number of alien races: Saurians, Deltans, Tellarites, Efrosians, Andorians, Orions, Caitians, Kitarians, Denobulans, Trill, Mazarians, Rigelians, and Varkolaks. These aliens have all appeared in previous iterations of Star Trek series except for Varkolaks, who appear here for the first time. The Varkolaks are a bipedal canine-like species and are quite ferocious. The name may come from the Hungarian word for "werewolf", Vérfarkas.


Page 4 may be a nod to the 1983 Ozzy Osbourne album Bark at the Moon and his song of the same name. The album cover features Ozzy dressed as a werewolf. A Starfleet cadet mentions that Varkolaks allegedly howl at the moon. And another remarks that they've heard the Varkolaks are known to bite the heads off animals and drink their blood, possibly a reference to Ozzy biting the head off a bat on stage in 1982. However, many European werewolf legends describe them as drinking blood, so the author may just be applying werewolf and wolf tropes for descriptive purposes.


Also on page 4, a cadet remarks that promotions on Varkolak ships are attained by killing the officer ahead of you. This is similar to a method of advancement allegedly practiced by the Klingons.


On page 4, Braxim remarks the Varkolaks are interested in taking Theta Cygni. This is a real star system about 60 light years from Earth. In the original timeline, Theta Cygni XII was one of the planets devastated by the infestations of neural parasites before they were stopped at Deneva by the Enterprise in TOS episode "Operation -- Annihilate!"


Braxim was previously seen in The Delta Anomaly.


Again on page 4, a cadet remarks on the Federation wanting the Gavaria Sector, which is currently part of Varkolak space. According to the 2002 book Star Trek Star Charts: The Complete Atlas of Star Trek, Gavaria is a trinary star system also known as Sigma Pegasi near the aforementioned Theta Cygni. Sigma Pegasi appears to be a fictional system.


Not liking the Varkolaks, who are currently enemies of the Federation, Kirk comments, "We have met the enemy, and it is them." This is a parody of the euphemism "We have met the enemy and he is us," originally written by cartoonist Walt Kelly for an Earth Day poster featuring his Pogo comic strip character in 1970.


Page 5 reveals that Dr. McCoy attended 8 years of medical school before starting at Starfleet Academy.


On page 6, McCoy compares falling in love to the common cold, as neither are curable. The resistance of the common cold to any cure was mentioned a couple of time in episodes of the TOS.


Page 9 gives us the first written reference in a story to a PADD (Personal Access Display Device) in the new timeline. These are the handheld electronic notebooks used throughout the various Star Trek series.


Admiral Barnett, the Academy commandant, appears for the first time (chronologically) here. He later appears (played by Tyler Perry) in "The Vengeance of Nero".


Page 9 introduces Cadet Leslie. This may be the same officer Leslie who appeared, in the original timeline, in numerous episodes of all three seasons of TOS. In this novel, it's revealed that Kirk and Leslie share an Elementary Temporal Mechanics class.


Page 13 mentions an athletic game called Parrises Squares. This game was first seen, in the original timeline, in the TNG episode "11001001".


On page 13, Kirk mentions the bar called Delta Quadrant. This bar was previously seen in The Delta Anomaly.


Page 15 describes Dr. Lartal of the Varkolak as licking his jagged teeth like a hungry sehlat. A sehlat is a large, bear-like creature found on Vulcan. Spock was known to have a pet sehlat as a youth in the original timeline, as seen in the animated series episode "Yesteryear". In the Kelvin timeline, Spock's sehlat is also seen in "When Worlds Collide".


On seeing a Varkolak in person for the first time, Kirk thinks, What big eyes you have, Grandmother. This is, of course, a reference to the fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood", in which the Big Bad Wolf disguises itself as a girl's grandmother in order to catch her and eat her.


The exchange of insults and following brawl that takes place between humans and Varkolaks in Chapter 2 is an homage to a scene in the TOS episode "The Trouble With Tribbles". Here, Lartal compares humans to Regulan bloodworms, just as a Klingon does in TTWT. He also compares Admiral Barnett to a Denebian slime devil, as the Klingon does with Kirk in TTWT. Much of the dialog is even delivered almost word-for-word from the episode before the fight breaks out.


On page 21, a security officer named Lieutenant Freeman reports on the brawl that broke out among Kirk and other cadets against the Varkolak. Possibly this is the same Lieutenant Freeman of security who served on the Enterprise in the original timeline in a few episodes of the TOS. He was also one of the Enterprise crewmen who was involved in the brawl with the Klingons in the aforementioned "The Trouble With Tribbles" episode, adding more credence to the man in this novel being the same character.


On page 23, Admiral Barnett mentions Zefram Cochrane. Cochrane was the inventor of the warp drive on Earth, as mentioned in the TOS episode "Metamorphosis" and depicted in the TNG movie First Contact. On page 107, Nadja mentions Cochrane Hall on campus, presumably named for Zefram Cochrane.


On page 25, Admiral Barnett states that the Varkolak are the Federation's most notorious enemies at this time.


Uhura receives a message to meet members of the secret Graviton Society in Shran Hall. Most likely, Shran Hall is named after Commander Thy'lek Shran of the Andorian Imperial Guard, who befriended Captain Jonathan Archer over the course of a number of episodes of ST-Enterprise.


On page 27, the representative of the Graviton Society suggests the Society was responsible for the coup that splintered the Breen Confederacy before an attack on the Grazer home world. In the original timeline, the Breen appeared in several episodes of TNG and DS9. The Grazer home world is mentioned in Star Trek Star Charts: The Complete Atlas of Star Trek and is the home world of the Grazerites, who appeared in a few episodes of DS9.


On page 28, the representative also mentions curing the Hruffa Bison plague. This appears to be the first mention of Hruffa Bison, presumably an extraterrestrial herd animal.


On page 31, McCoy uses a new prototype scanning device called a phoretic analyzer in a test to find a single boridium molecule in a bowl of minestrone soup. Boridium is a substance used in Federation technology that has been mentioned in several episodes of the various ST series, first mentioned in the TOS episode "Wolf in the Fold". McCoy is upset that the device is detecting beta-carotene instead (likely from the carrots in the minestrone). McCoy later tells Nadja the device was designed by Dr. Huer; possibly this is a reference to the character called Dr. Huer in the 1979-1981 TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. In the DS9 episode "Dramatis Personae", Dr. Bashir suggests to Odo that he make use of a phoretic analyzer to determine his own biochemical make-up.


On page 32, Nadja claims that McCoy asked to meet her at the bar at 2000 hours, when McCoy thought he'd said 2100 hours. This is an early indication of Nadja's duplicity since McCoy did, indeed, state 2100 hours on page 7.


On page 34, Kirk laments missing his first date with a Deltan. Deltans are an extremely sexual humanoid alien species, whose females have bald heads. The first Deltan seen in Star Trek (in the original timeline) was Lt. Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.


In this novel, Kirk has an ongoing, running battle against his campus nemesis Jake Finnegan in the Assassination Game. In the original timeline, a simulacrum of Finnegan appeared on the so-called Shore Leave Planet in the TOS episode "Shore Leave". Finnegan also appeared in a few TOS novels and comics, where his first name was "Sean" instead; perhaps Sean is his middle name which he normally goes by. Here, Finnegan often refers to Kirk, mockingly, as "Jimmy boy", just as his simulacrum did in "Shore Leave". Finnegan appears again as a commander on Starbase Yorktown in Star Trek Beyond.


On page 36, Kirk tricks Finnegan into thinking a spilled mess of laboratory chemicals has mixed into corbomite, which could destroy everything for kilometers around. This may be the origin of Kirk's corbomite bluff, which he used to great effect in the original timeline in the TOS episodes "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "The Deadly Years".


Reflecting on his current assignment, Kirk mutters about his broken date with the Deltan Areia, "I could have been getting my mind blown by a Deltan." Considering the Deltans' renowned sexual prowess, he might actually be thinking of something else blown.


On page 37, McCoy and Nadja walk along the Marin Headlands. The headlands are a hilly part of San Francisco Bay. 


Nadja tells McCoy that when her mother was pregnant with her, her parents decided to move to Vega Colony and she was born en route. Vega Colony was mentioned as a frontier world of the Federation in several ST-Enterprise episodes and was also mentioned in the TOS pilot episode "The Cage".


On page 38, McCoy refers to Nadja as a space boomer. In the ST-Enterprise episode "Broken Bow", a space boomer is described as someone who has spent most of their life on spaceships. Here, though, Nadja merely said she was born on a spaceship, not that she had spent her life on them. By McCoy's definition, Kirk is a space boomer as well.


Nadja tells McCoy that after her parents died, she was raised by her grandparents in Frankfurt. This is presumably Frankfurt, Germany.


On page 40, the Tellarite doctor, Daagen, derisively snorts that maybe one day the Federation will be allies with the Klingons. During the TNG era of the original timeline (in the 24th Century), the Federation and Klingon Empire are allies.


On page 41, Daagen remarks that his homeworld of Tellar Prime was a founding member of the Federation. This was revealed in the Enterprise episodes "Demons" and "Zero Hour".


On page 44, Uhura sees the lights of Sausalito across the bay. Sausalito is a real city on the San Francisco Bay. On page 45, Spock looks out at Fort Baker, which is an actual historical site bordering Sausalito. According to the ST-Enterprise series, some of the buildings of Starfleet Headquarters are located on the grounds of Fort Baker.


Spock tells Uhura that his full name is unpronounceable for most humans. Spock-Prime also told this to Leila Kolani in the TOS episode "This Side of Paradise".


On page 47, Uhura quotes an old African saying, "When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." This is a real world proverb from the African country of Kenya. Uhura also quotes some other African proverbs in the novelization of the 2009 Star Trek movie (see "The Vengeance of Nero").


Also on page 47, Spock quotes an old Vulcan adage, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, or the few." This is a callback to a discussion between Kirk and Spock in the original timeline, in the film Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.


On page 50, Kirk overhears a snippet of conversation by a trio of cadets, something about a yak and a rubber hose. There must be a story to this! It's either part of a joke or an unpleasant animal husbandry procedure.


On page 52, Ard Jarikar sets down the case containing his ion mallet. An ion mallet is used in the playing of Parrises Squares.


In this book, McCoy is Kirk's Academy roommate. This was not indicated in the earlier Starfleet Academy novels.


Page 56 reveals that Varkolak devices run off of kemocite as a power source. Kemocite is a fictional mineral. It was mentioned in several episodes of the various ST TV series. On page 126, McCoy describes kemocite as a radiolytic compound, meaning its molecules dissociate by ionizing radiation.


On page 57, Sulu muses on how his helm console in the simulation lights up like Shibuya at night. This is probably a reference to the shopping district near Shibuya Station (a railway station) in Tokyo, Japan.


Several Starfleet starships are mentioned in the course of the novel: Yorktown, Potemkin, Eagle, Farragut, Lexington, Excalibur, Intrepid, Nautilus, Prester John, Surprise, and Tennessee. All but the last four ships appeared in the 23rd Century era of the original timeline. The Nautilus appeared in the 24th Century in an episode of DS9. Prester John, Surprise, and Tennessee all appear to be first appearances in the ST universe. As war with the Varkolak looms near the end of the novel, Spock is assigned to the Intrepid; in the original timeline, the TOS episode "The Immunity Syndrome" stated the Intrepid was crewed entirely by Vulcans.


Cadet Tikhonov appears in the Yorktown simulation in Chapter 6. Tikhonov previously appeared in The Gemini Agent.


Page 57 describes the Varkolak space battle strategy as being one of using small ships to surround and harry larger enemy ships until it is brought down by the laser fire of the multiple attackers. This is analogous to the pack-hunting strategy of wolves and other wild canines on Earth (and also suggestive of the battle of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588, in which England's smaller, faster vessels defeated the large galleons of the Spanish navy's attempted invasion of England).


On page 60, Chekov refers to Tikhonov as a Cossack. Cossacks are members of various ethnic groups living in the Great Eurasian Steppe, mostly within the regions of modern day southern Russia and the Ukraine.


On page 62, Sulu receives an invitation from the Graviton Society to meet at Vanderbilt Hall on campus. Most likely, Vanderbilt Hall gets its name from Thomas Vanderbilt, who was the first President of the United Federation of Planets according to an article in the Picard Family Album glimpsed in the movie set in the original timeline, Star Trek: Generations. However, the article did not appear on screen, so the information remains non-canonical at this point.


As part of his tour duties, Kirk guides Lartal to Golden Gate Park. This is a real park in San Francisco, similar in layout to New York City's Central Park (but larger!).


On pages 65-66, an exhausted Kirk reflects that he must have led Lartal over 20 kilometers of territory throughout San Francisco and they weren't flat kilometers. This is a reference to San Francisco being notoriously hilly, not "flat", so he had to do a lot of uphill walking.


Page 66 reveals that McCoy's ex-wife is named Jocelyn. This name was established in several TOS novels previously. However, "The Stars Flying By" states that his ex-wife in the Kelvin Timeline is Pamela Branch.


On page 73, seeing the Varkolaks on the Academy grounds, Daagen sarcastically remarks, "I see we're letting the krogs into the vorsch pit now." This is the first mention of both krogs and vorsch in the ST universe as far as I can tell. As McCoy thinks to himself, it is probably a Tellarite expression along the lines of "letting the fox into the henhouse."


On page 74, reporters from the Federation News Service (FNS) are covering the arrival of the Federation President at the Academy. In the original timeline the FNS was the news organization that Jake Sisko worked for in the later episodes of DS9.


Page 74 reveals that the Federation President at this time is an Andorian woman named Pellan Fel. Possibly, the author derived her name from a couple of characters in the Expanded Star Wars universe (before the Disney buy-out negated the Expanded Universe of the time): naval officer in both the Republic and the Empire, Gilad Pellaeon; and members of the Fel dynasty of emperors in parts of the galaxy not controlled by the New Republic after the fall of the Empire.


Page 84 mentions duranium. Duranium is a fictional alloy used in the ST universe for the construction of starship hulls and other high-strength needs. The alloy has been mentioned throughout the various ST series.


Page 86 reveals that fencing is essentially the only recreation Sulu allows himself as a break from his single-minded determination to succeed in Starfleet. Sulu was shown to be a skilled fencer in the original series episode "The Naked Time".


Page 92 mentions a game in the student center called dom-jot. Dom-jot is a game in the ST universe that is sort of a cross between billiards and pinball. In the original timeline, the TNG episode "Tapestry" revealed that a dispute with a Nausicaan over a game of dom-jot caused a young Jean-Luc Picard to be stabbed through the heart, resulting in his surgery to receive an artificial one.


On page 92, the bartender of the Warp Core is a Bolian named Bom. Bolians are a blue-skinned, bifurcated species who appeared in episodes of the TNG era.


On page 93, Finnegan refers to the bartender as "Garçon". This is a French word for a young, male waiter, though it is considered rude to refer to a waiter in that manner.


On page 95, Spock watches the Earth sunset over the Pacific Ocean, imagining 40 Eridani A setting over the Voroth Sea on Vulcan. 40 Eridani A has been established by many sources, including Gene Roddenberry, as the star of the planet Vulcan. 40 Eridani A is about 16.5 light years from Earth. The Voroth Sea was mentioned in the Voyager episode "Innocence".


On page 104, McCoy is called to meet Nadja at Cavallo Point, described as "a public area out past the marina on San Francisco Bay." In our current times, Cavallo Point appears to be a lodge and conference center on National Park land. As mentioned on page 105, Sommerville Road leads up to Cavallo Point. 


On page 110, Sulu reflects on Uhura's workout of the previous day, a Suus Mahna session against a rofarla dummy that took quite a beating. "Rofarla" is an unknown term, but is probably a Vulcan word since Suus Mahna is a Vulcan martial art, first featured in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Marauders". Uhura also uses a Po grat ma defense against Sulu in a practice session; this is presumably also a Vulcan defense form.


Page 111 mentions the planet Zakdorn. Zakdorn is a Federation member world whose native inhabitants appeared in a few episodes of TNG.


On page 117, Sulu comments on a high frequency signal that the Graviton Society is allegedly going to broadcast over the Academy grounds to annoy the Varkolak, remarking, "Admiral Archer's beagle will probably be howling for days..." On ST: Enterprise, Captain Archer had a pet Beagle named Porthos. In "The Vengeance of Nero", Scotty reveals that he performed an interplanetary transporter test on Admiral Archer's Beagle that caused the dog to disappear and not rematerialize (though it was presumably a different Beagle than Porthos since it's now almost 100 years later from Porthos' time). Whether the Beagle Sulu speaks of is the one Scotty will later dematerialize or a replacement for that one is unknown.


In Chapter 11, Kirk and Lartal play a game of Velocity. This is a competitive sport involving dodging a disk that the players must also shoot with a phaser. The game was first seen in episodes of ST-Voyager. Page 118 seems to suggest that the trademark duck-and-roll gun fighting style of Kirk seen in episodes of TOS was learned and perfected while he played Velocity at Starfleet Academy.


Page 124 mentions a drug called cortalin that is apparently a stimulant. This appears to be a fictional drug and not previously named in Star Trek.


Page 125 mentions the Starfleet Corps of Engineers. This division is based on the real world U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, both taking on specialized problems from an engineering standpoint. The Starfleet Corps of Engineers was first mentioned in 1982's Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, as the designers of the underground complex of the Genesis Project in the asteroid orbited by space station Regula I.


On page 137, Nadja mentions Madame Tussauds in Hollywood. Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London, England, with branches in several other cities around the world, including Hollywood.


As the Potemkin's transporter chief, Lt. Nguyen, beams McCoy and Nadja to their next stop, he says, "Abra...cadabra." "Abracadabra" is a word of alleged magic power used by magicians and healers dating at least as far back the 2nd Century AD.


For his date with Nadja, McCoy has the Argos Telescope pointed at the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, with the image appearing on the Argos station's viewscreen. The Pillars of Creation is an actual astronomical formation in the Eagle Nebula. The famous photograph to the right, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, has appeared in a number of space and science documentaries and science-fiction programs, including ST-Voyager.


On page 141, Kirk pours McCoy and Nadja champagne made by Chateau Picard. Do I really have to tell you that Chateau Picard is a vineyard run by the family of Jean-Luc Picard in France?


Page 144 mentions a Bajoran rug in a meeting room on campus. The Bajorans, of course, played a major role in ST-DS9.


Page 149 mentions a statue of Yuri Gagarin on the campus. Gagarin was a Soviet cosmonaut who was the first human to journey into space, in April 1961.


As McCoy is spying on Daagen on page 154 and he tells Nadja to be quiet, she playfully asks him, "Are we hunting wabbits?" This is a reference to the Looney Toons cartoon character Elmer Fudd, who was known to frequently be hunting Bugs Bunny and would tell the audience, "Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits."


On page 157, one of the hooded Graviton Society members remarks, "Let us not forget the P'Jem incident." This is a reference to an Andorian attack on a Vulcan monastery on the planet P'Jem in the ST-Enterprise episode "The Andorian Incident".


On page 159, Nadja calls McCoy her hero, "Charging in here, like Archer against the Xindi." Captain Archer and the Enterprise NX-01 faced off against the Xindi in a number of episodes of ST-Enterprise.


On page 161, Kirk thinks of a game that buzzes when you try to take out the funny bone. This is a reference to the electronic board game Operation, currently made by Hasbro, which has been in production since 1965. The game scenario is a humorous version of a doctor operating on a patient.


Page 161 mentions a J'naii doctor at the medical conference. The J'naii are an androgynous species who are members of the Federation. They appeared in the TNG episode, "The Outcast".


On page 163, one of the Starfleet security men searching for Lartal with Kirk is named Johnson. "Johnson" is a common English name, so it may be a coincidence, but there was a member of security on the Enterprise in the original timeline in the TOS episode "Day of the Dove".


After Kirk is caught in an explosion, McCoy uses a number of drugs and medical devices to treat him on pages 168-169. All of the drugs and devices mentioned by him have appeared in episodes of the various ST TV series and used for pretty much the same purposes as stated here.


On page 185, McCoy realizes his alibi on the night before the bomb was planted on the President's shuttlecraft is "as full of holes as a Bolian sponge worm." This appears to be the first mention of a Bolian sponge worm in Star Trek.


Also on page 189, McCoy mentions Daagen acting "smug as a Tarkanian pig." This also appears to be the first mention of this creature, though Tarkanians are a known race to the Federation. McCoy probably used the pig reference because Daagen is a Tellarite, who have facial features reminiscent of a pig.


On page 186, McCoy reveals he has a case of Saurian brandy hidden in the closet of his and Kirk's dorm room. Saurian brandy was mentioned and used in numerous episodes of the various Star Trek TV series and movies.


Page 189 reveals that Earth is located in what the Federation refers to as Sector 001. This terminology has been used many times in the various Star Trek TV series and movies. Here, it also seems to be referred to as the Sol Sector (Sol being the name of our sun). According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, a sector is approximately 20 light years across.


Page 189 also has the FNS reporting that a Varkolak fleet is massing near Theta Draconis. This is a real star, about 68.6 light years from Earth, in the constellation Draco.


On page 190, Uhura muses that Theta Draconis is right on the border of the Theta Cygni and Tznekethi sectors. Theta Cygni we've already discussed earlier in this study. "Tznekethi" is probably meant to be Tzenkethi instead, a space-faring civilization known to the Federation that has been mentioned in a couple episodes of ST-DS9 and several ST novels.


On page 192, Kirk reflects briefly on his knowledge of a Tholian incursion into Federation space a hundred years ago. This is likely a reference to events in the ST-Enterprise episode "Future Tense".


Page 192 reveals that Nimitz Hall is where Chekov's dorm room is located.


On page 193, Kirk reflects on how he nearly drowned Chekov in the kid's own room while under the spell of a neural code infection. This is a reference to the events of The Gemini Agent.


On page 195, Kirk asks Chekov to uncover the real voice behind a communicator message that sounds like an artificial Nadja voice, asking if the boy can "back-mask it, or whatever..." Actually, back-masking is the process of recording an audio message backwards so that the published recording must be played backward to hear the actual message.


Also on page 195, Chekov picks up a hyperspanner. A hyperspanner is a handheld engineering tool that has been seen or referred to in a number of episodes of the various ST TV series.


In Chapter 20, Kirk and Nadja follow Daagen into Chinatown. This is a real world district in San Francisco. The Dragon Gate is also referred to, one of the entrances to Chinatown (at Bush Street and Grant Avenue).


   While in Chinatown, Kirk remarks to Uhura that he thinks it's the year of the rat. In the Chinese 12-year cycle, each year is represented by one of twelve animals, one of which is the rat. However, Kirk is wrong about the year of this story being the year of the rat (unless the Chinese cycle has drastically changed in the centuries leading up to the 23rd).

   Kirk started at Starfleet Academy in 2255 in The Edge. And The Gemini Agent is stated to take place at the end of his first year at the Academy, making it 2256. Since this story is said to take place the semester after the events of The Gemini Agent, it must be either 2256 still or 2257, neither of which is a year of the rat. 2256 is monkey and 2257 rooster. One might presume it is 2257 and Kirk just got his "R" animals mixed up, it being the year of the rooster. The closest year of the rat would be 2260.


On page 203, Admiral Barnett reveals that he has a long list of students who have filed complaints regarding the bullying behavior of Finnegan.


Also on page 203, Admiral Barnett comments that when Finnegan graduates, he could be assigned to a duty where the only person he would be able to pick on would be his own transporter echo, mentioning an ice planet near Vulcan where he'd be lucky to see a supply ship once a year. The ice planet is a reference to the world called Delta Vega on which Spock will strand Kirk in "The Vengeance of Nero", and where Scotty had already been exiled for his error in using Admiral Archer's prize Beagle in a transporter experiment.


On page 206, Barnett warns Kirk and Finnegan he could have them on a shuttle back to whatever cornfield they came from faster than they could say "converter coil". I've not been able to find a reference to converter coils in the ST universe, but they are part of the Star Wars universe, as components of landspeeders and small starfighters.


Page 207 features the first chronological appearance of Spock's 3-D chess set and Vulcan lute, next seen in "Operation Annihilate" Part 2. They also appeared in the original timeline in episodes of TOS.


On page 214, Spock seems to make a disparaging remark about the Pakleds. Pakleds are an alien species not known for their high intelligence. They appeared in several episodes of ST-TNG and ST-DS9.


Doing detective work in his bid to clear McCoy of the charges of the shuttlecraft bombing, Kirk runs into two Tarsians. These may be the alien species responsible for half of the Tarsian War with the Angosians in the TNG episode "The Hunted". The Angosians' Tarsian opponents in the war were never seen. Here, they are described only as nocturnal, with enormous black eyes the size of grapefruits.


On page 226, McCoy shuttles to McKinley Station before continuing on to the Argos Telescope station. In the original timeline, McKinley Station was the docking and repair station orbiting Earth which was used to refit the Enterprise-D in the ST-TNG episode "Family", after it was badly damaged in battle against the Borg in "The Best of Both Worlds" Part 2.


On page 228, Nadja claims to have been working on a faulty ODN relay in the Jefferies tube on the Argos Telescope station. ODN stands of Optical Data Network. ODN relays are components of the computer networks of Federation technology. This seems to be the first mention of ODNs prior to the 24th Century. Jefferies tubes are small service access tunnels on Starfleet ships and space stations; they are named for Matt Jefferies, production designer of the original Star Trek TV series.


Page 236 introduces a Starfleet Academy faculty member named Professor Usarn, an Illyrian. The Illyrian species previously appeared in the ST-Enterprise episode "Damage".


Page 247 reveals that the captain of the Potemkin at this time is a Captain Mitchell and the chief medical officer is Dr. Thomas Arnet. These are references to the real world IRC role-playing game USS Potemkin, hosted by the Starfleet Legacy Alliance. The game's CO is referred to as Admiral James "Warp" Mitchell and one of the ship's medical personnel is Dr. Thomas Anthony Arnet.


On page 249, McCoy mentions a drug called anesthezine. This, as its name suggests, is an anesthetic in the Star Trek universe. It was used or mentioned in a number of TNG, DS9, and Voyager episodes.


On page 253, Uhura wishes she had an emotion chip in her head that could be deactivated at any time. This is sort of an in-joke to the emotion chip that was installed in the android Data in the movie Star Trek: Generations and which he had learned to turn on and off at will by the time of the follow-up film Star Trek: First Contact.


On page 258, Kirk reflects back on the night in Iowa when Captain Pike had talked him into signing up for Starfleet. This is a reference to events in "Parallels".


On page 259, Nadja tells her little cairn terrier, Mrs. Penelope, "greif an!" This is German for "attack", and the dog does, indeed, latch onto McCoy's pant leg.


Also on page 259, Nadja steals the Class F shuttle Davy Crockett from the Academy grounds. Class F shuttles are the type that were carried on the Enterprise in episodes of the original series, as seen in the TOS episode "The Galileo Seven". Presumably the Davy Crockett would be like the Galileo shuttlecraft seen in the new timeline storyline of "The Galileo Seven" parts 1 and 2.


Chapter 27 is titled "The Hitchhiker's Guide to Starfleet". This is a reference to the book series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.


On page 264, Chekov recites pi in his head to focus himself. "Pi" is the name assigned to the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Pi has an infinite number of digits in its decimal representation and the series of numbers shown on this page are accurate as far as they go.


On page 267, Chekov mentions Jupiter Station. This is a Starfleet facility in orbit around Jupiter seen or mentioned in numerous episodes of the various ST TV series.


Page 276 indicates that a Captain Prax is the commander of the USS Excalibur at this time.


When Cadet Sulu speaks up on the bridge of the Excalibur about Spock's message on page 277, the senior officers are said to look at him as if he had suddenly sprouted white fur and grown a rhinoceros horn on his head. This is an in-joke to the mugato, a large bipedal carnivore that appeared in the TOS episode "A Private Little War".


Page 279 indicates that blue beams from a Federation phaser indicate a "stun" setting and red beams indicate "kill".


On page 280, Kirk mentions to Nadja the Federation attack on Chi Herculis, presumably in relation to past Starfleet attacks against the Varkolak. Chi Herculis is a real star seen in the Hercules constellation, about 52 light years away from Earth.


Discussing Nadja's plan for vengeance against the Varkolak for the death of her parents, Kirk remarks that the death of his father has not made him spend his life trying to figure out a way to kill off his father's killer's entire race. This may be a dual reference to Nero's desire (as revealed in "The Vengeance of Nero") to destroy Vulcan and the Federation itself, and, in the original timeline, Kirk's own bitter comment to Spock regarding the Klingons in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, considering a Klingon killed Kirk's son (in Star Trek: The Search for Spock), "Let them die!"


When Spock tells Admiral Barnett that he is unable to comply with his order on page 294, Barnett is described as looking at Spock as if he had just confessed to being an undercover Romulan. This is probably an in-joke to the TOS episode "Balance of Terror", in which Lt. Stiles intimates that Spock may be a Romulan spy.


On page 301, Kirk and Lartal visit Portsmouth Square. This is a real world park in Chinatown.


Also on page 301, Andorians are practicing ushaan-to alongside Chinese San Franciscans practicing tai chi. "Ushaan-to" may be a reference to the Andorian weapon/tool ushaan-tor seen in the ST-Enterprise episode "United" as part of a code-of-honor death duel. Tai chi is a reference to tai chi chuan, a type of Chinese martial art.


Page 302 mentions the Goddess of Democracy statue in Portsmouth Square. This is a real world bronze statue, a replica of the foam and papier-mâché statue created by artists during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China. The original was destroyed by Chinese Army soldiers on June 4, 1989, as they forced protestors out of Tiananmen Square.


Observing that Lartal and Gren are engaged in romantic foreplay on page 303, Kirk begins to feel that he and McCoy are a third nacelle. This is obviously a play on the euphemism "a third wheel". However, a number of Starfleet ships have had a third nacelle, just as a number of ground vehicles have had third wheels.


On page 303, Gren reveals she has booked a room for her and Lartal at the Huntington Hotel. This is a real luxury hotel in San Francisco.


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