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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Star Trek: The Delta Anomaly Star Trek
The Delta Anomaly

Written by Rick Barba

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, 2010)


A serial killer known as the Doctor seems to have returned to San Francisco after a 20-year absence.


Read the story summary at Memory Beta


Didja Know?


This book was published before The Edge, yet seems to take place after since The Edge covers the cadets' first weeks at Starfleet Academy while this story is well into the first year. Yet, here Dr. Griffin is still an instructor at the Academy's medical school even though he should have lost his medical and teaching licenses after the events of the The Edge. Also odd is that Gaila is already Uhura's roommate in The Edge, but is only a friend here, though the two are considering becoming roommates.


Didja Notice?


Page 6 reveals that this story takes place in the summer of 2255.


Page 6 mentions the Transamerica Pyramid. This is the name of a building in San Francisco completed in 1972 for the Transamerica Corporation, an insurance and investment firm. Page 7 describes the building as being 286 years old in 2255; this includes the construction period of 1969-1972.


Page 8 mentions that the Transamerica Pyramid's 48th floor is a conference room featuring a 360-degree view of the city. This is true.


On page 11, Jackie tells Will to call Aviation Safety Systems to repair the pyramid beacon. This is probably intended to be a fictional company made up for this story.


On page 12, Kirk, McCoy, and Glorak are clubbing on Chestnut Street. This is a real street in San Francisco.


Glorak is a Tellarite, a species first seen in the original series episode "Journey to Babel".


On page 14, the new holo-karaoke bar is called Delta Quadrant. Presumably it is named after the so-called Delta Quadrant of the Milky Way Galaxy, best known as the setting of the TV series Star Trek: Voyager.


Page 18 describes a slushy green drink that Gaila orders at the Delta Quadrant bar. This may be a Slusho drink as mentioned in "Parallels" and which has appeared in two previous J.J. Abrams productions, the 2001-2006 TV series Alias and the 2008 movie Cloverfield.


Page 19 describes a character named Braxim, a member of the Xannon species. This does not appear to be a species previously seen in the Star Trek universe.


Page 19 also describes the Starfleet Academy campus as being on the grounds of the Presidio. But this does not appear to be the case as described in the chronologically earlier novel, The Edge. The ST: TNG episodes "Time's Arrow" Parts 1 and 2 establish that Starfleet Academy is located on the Presidio grounds by the 24th Century.


Also on page 19, Uhura mentions the Powell Street shuttle. This is likely a reference to Powell Station, which in current times is a rapid transit and light rail station near Market Street in San Francisco.


On page 20, McCoy remarks, "Good god, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a babysitter."


Page 23 mentions Russian Hill and the Marina District. These are both real areas of San Francisco.


Apparently, you can still call 911 in an emergency in the 23rd Century, according to page 24!


On page 27, Dr. McCoy tells Gaila to take her hospital gown off and Gaila tries to seductively insinuate he wants something more by asking, "Is that a Code Seven medical directive, Doctor?" Hospitals use various types of codes to indicate different sorts of emergencies; in our own time-frame though, I'm not aware of a standard meaning to Code Seven.


Page 32 introduces a Starfleet Academy scenario called Derelict Cairo, involving a powerless Constitution-class starship, the U.S.S. Cairo. There was an Excelsior-class U.S.S. Cairo in the ST-TNG episodes "Chain of Command" Parts 1 and 2, and the ST-DS9 episode "In the Pale Moonlight".


Page 41 mentions that Kirk doesn't believe in no-win scenarios. This references both Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, where Kirk tells Lt. Saavik that he doesn't believe in the no-win scenario and the rebooted timeline's "Parallels", where Captain Pike tells Kirk that Kirk's father didn't believe in no-win scenarios.


Apparently there are still paper magazines in the 23rd Century, because Uhura is reading one on page 44. Print isn't dead!


Page 47 reveals that the Starfleet Academy motto is Ex astris, scientia: "From the stars, knowledge."


Page 50 introduces SFPD Homicide Detective Harve Bogenn. Possibly the name "Harve" comes from the producer/writer of the original Star Trek films II-V, Harve Bennett.


On page 54, Detective Bogenn comments on attempting to deconstruct voice patterns in the police department's VOX database. VOX generally stands for data related to vocalizations.


On page 58, Dr. Reyjik mentions Amoeba proteus. This is a common species of amoeba which behaves just as depicted in the story.


Page 64 reveals that Kirk's favorite low-key off-campus hangout is the beat-era coffeehouse Brewsky's at the corner of Union and Fillmore. In our time, there is no "Brewsky's" there, though there is the Union Street Coffee Roastery, so that may have been author Barba's inspiration for "Brewsky's".


Page 64 mentions a LiquiLED light box. "LiquiLED" is a term used to describe liquid-filled LED (Light-Emitting Diode) bulbs.


On page 65, Kirk asks for directions to Fisherman's Wharf. This is a famous neighborhood and tourist draw on the San Francisco waterfront.


Also on page 65, Kirk meets a Hupyrian, largely known as servants of the Ferengi. The Hupyrians and Ferengi appeared in episodes of ST-TNG and ST-DS9.


On page 68, Hannah tells Kirk she's a graduate student in botany at San Francisco State.


On page 77, Kirk reads an old news article about the serial killer called the Doctor. It mentions an attack on a student from USF. USF is University of San Francisco.


On page 79, Kirk jogs past the Palace of Fine Arts. This is a real structure in the Marina District of San Francisco, originally built as part of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. After the exposition, it served a variety of purposes over the decades. It was recently renovated (completed in 2009) and continues to be a major attraction for both tourists and locals.


Page 82 mentions Mount Zion Hospital. This is a real hospital in San Francisco, officially known as UCSF Medical Center.


Page 84 reveals that Uhura has an Aunt Uhnu.


On page 92, Dr. McCoy says to Dr. Parag Chandar, "Parag, I'm a doctor, not a computer scientist."


On pages 93-94 Kirk and Chandar discuss Clarke's Three Laws and it's author, Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008). Clarke was a real world inventor and writer of science and science-fiction; he was also famous for Clarke's Three Laws:
   1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
   2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
   3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.


Page 95 describes Kirk's realization that he could always count on McCoy to look at the human side of any equation. This goes towards setting up the eventual triumvirate of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy as officers aboard the Enterprise, where McCoy embodies humanity and emotion, Spock logic, and Kirk making command decisions between the two.


Page 103 mentions Nimitz Hall on the Academy campus. The hall's name is probably a reference to U.S. Navy Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz (1885-1966).


Page 105 relates a 15-year ongoing campus prank involving stealing a holo-bust of 22nd Century naval Rear Admiral Carleton Schiller and displaying it personally, however briefly, to earn prestige among one's fellow cadets. This prank appears to have been borrowed by author Barba from a tradition at the current day Carleton College in Northside, Minnesota, to steal a bust of Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805), a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright.


Page 111 reveals that Kirk's dorm is in Farragut Hall, possibly a reference to the original timeline in which Kirk, as a lieutenant, was posted to the U.S.S. Farragut under Captain Garovick as revealed in the original series episode "Obsession". In the rebooted timeline, it would seem that Kirk did not serve any time on the Farragut, instead graduating from the Academy to the rank of Captain and taking command of the Enterprise (although the Farragut does appear in The Gemini Agent as part of the Zeta Fleet Training Exercise at the Academy; in addition, Yi Sun-Sin Hall is said to be Kirk's dorm in that book).


Page 113 reveals that Kirk's family grew wheat on their farm.


Throughout the book, the Starfleet communicator is depicted more like the modern-day cell phone than was seen in the original series; it can receive voice calls, display the name of who is calling, receive text messages, etc.


On page 118, Spock reflects on how the Academy cadets spend an inordinate amount of time devising ways to humiliate each other, but when one of them is imperiled, they become as protective as a Hyborian mite colony. There does not appear to have been any previous mentions of Hyborians in Star Trek; possibly it is a reference to the prehistoric world of the fictional Conan the Barbarian, who lived in "the Hyborian Age".


Page 126 reveals that Hannah likes to hike in the Marin Hills north of the city every weekend. The Marin Hills do actually exist north of San Francisco in Marin County.


Page 126 also reveals that one reason Hannah broke up with her former Starfleet cadet boyfriend is that he didn't like the movie Casablanca. Casablanca is a classic film noir romantic film from 1942 starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.


Page 127 states that Kirk was born in Medical Shuttle 37 (as depicted in "Rebirth").


On page 128, Kirk and Hannah travel along Hyde, the Powell-Hyde cable-car line, the Powell-Mason line, and Nob Hill. These are all real parts of San Francisco.


Page 129 mentions Jackson Street, which is a real street in the city.


Page 131 mentions the San Francisco National Cemetery. This is a real cemetery in the city.


Page 133 mentions City Lights Bookstore on Columbus Avenue. This is a real bookstore (and independent publisher) since 1953.


Page 134 mentions North Beach, the Financial District, and Washington Square. These are all real parts of the city.


Page 135 has Kirk and Hannah on Green Street, another real street in the city.


While Hannah comments on the Transamerica Pyramid on page 135, Kirk remarks that pyramids make great tombs and casinos. He is referencing the many ancient historic pyramidal tombs of Egypt, Central America, etc. and the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Page 138 reveals that Starfleet Academy's cryptology lab is the best code-breaking unit in the known galaxy.


Page 138 also reveals that the Academy's science center is called Hawking Hall. This is probably named after renowned modern-day theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (1942-2018).


Page 143 mentions that the Mongol Saints street gang is from Oakland. Oakland is a real city on San Francisco Bay.


On page 147, Dr. Chandar suggests that the mysterious nanites are interested only in human cells, investigating, but not attacking, other types of cells. Then why do they attack and devour the Amoeba proteus on page 58?


On page 148, Dr. Chandar introduces McCoy to the concept of gray goo, the idea that nanites could escape and devour the entire world by consuming the matter of Earth (or other planets) in order to produce more and more copies of themselves. This is a real world concept originated in 1986 by molecular nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler. This, in combination with the Amoeba proteus, may be a nod to the original series episode "The Immunity Syndrome", in which a stellar-sized amoeba is found to be devouring planets by the crew of the Enterprise.


Page 150 reveals that Academy cadets wear a medallion on their arms, underneath their clothing, that can be activated to instantly transport them to an Academy transporter room in an emergency.


Page 151 reveals that Starfleet Academy trains its cadets in the martial art of Krav Maga, from the old Israeli Defense Force combat system. This is an actual martial art taught to IDF agents, developed by Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1930s.


On page 153, Kirk's team boards the Class F shuttle Gilliam for the Tanika Station Scenario test. The Gilliam later appears in "The Vengeance of Nero", shuttling cadets to the Enterprise to respond to the distress call from Vulcan.


The cadets in the book make a few pig jokes at the expense of the Tellarite, Glorak.


The description of the Tanika Station arboretum on page 163 is somewhat reminiscent of the Genesis cave seen in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. One of the cadets on Kirk's team who enters the station is even named Marcus, perhaps an homage to the character of David Marcus in the afore-mentioned film, who was revealed as Kirk's son.


On page 166, the vivid colors of the plant life of Tanika Station remind Kirk of a Matisse watercolor. Henri Matisse (1869-1954) was a French artist known for his use of color in paintings.


Page 187 mentions an old Romulan military code cracked by the United Earth Intelligence Agency almost 100 years ago. I think UEIA was first mentioned in the Star Trek: Enterprise TV series, but I have not been able to confirm it.


On page 202, a group of SWAT units has surrounded the Transamerica Pyramid. SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) teams are elite units assigned to law enforcement divisions.


Page 211 mentions the nadion discharge of Kirk's phaser. Nadions are fictional artificially-generated particles produced by phasers and some other technologies of the Star Trek universe.


Page 213 suggests that the Borg term for humans is Species 5618. This designation also appears in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Dark Frontier".


Unanswered Questions


Why was there a 20-year gap from the original killings by the Doctor and those in the current story? It's never explained.


Although it's not specifically stated, clues throughout the story hint that the killer and his nanite swarm in San Francisco may be an early indication of the approach of the Borg (note such trigger words and phrases as "assimilated", "Delta Quadrant", Species #'s, etc.). The Borg appeared or were mentioned in most of the spin-off Star Trek TV series of the original timeline. 


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