Here There Be Dragons (Book #28)
by John Peel
On arrival at an interstellar cluster, the crew of the Enterprise are surprised
when a ship emerges from it. They are even more surprised when it attacks them,
and then self destructs. Capturing an escape pod that flees before the ship
explodes, they find a man inside claiming to be an undercover federation operative.
The crew don't believe him, but they do believe his story about a secret planet,
hidden within the cluster, and that he knows a way through the volatile mass.
Picard, Ro, Riker, Troi, Data and Miles, a security officer, beam down to the surface, into an almost medieval time, ruled by tyrants and dragons - and a long thought extinct race called 'The Preservers'. The crew soon find out that there is a band of interstellar hunters intent on ridding the Enterprise, and its crew so that they can continue plundering the planet of its precious gold.
One by one, the away team are captured, each managing to free themselves before being incarcerated into a life of prostitution and slavery by the evil duke.
The Enterprise, under attack from gravity mines, battle to save their own lives as the away team finally solve the mysteries surrounding the planet.
The preservers, long deceased leave behind their minds and their technology deep beneath the castle. Only the hunters knew of its existence, and its powers, until Deanna, Will and Ro discovered its secrets, and they all escape.
Notable Imzadi moment:
Page 246 to 247
Riker shuddered. "Is that what all this is?" he asked her, appalled. "Is it like some giant ant farm to them? Is that what the people on the surface are to them?"
"No, not like that," she replied. "It's much more complex than that." A tear trickled out of her eye. "I can't quite grasp it. I can't..." She shivered. "Will, we're not supposed to be here. This world should be left alone. That's why it was placed here - to protect it from us."
"They know about us?" snapped Riker.
"Not specifically. They only know that what they are doing is very delicate. It's like an artist at work, much more than a scientific experiment. I get the definite impression that what they are doing is more like painting a masterpiece than studying an experiment. But we're the wrong colors. We may be damaging to the picture."
Ro frowned. "Do they want us to leave? Or are we a mistake to be erased?"
Deanna shook her head. "I can't tell. It's a kind of stray thought. Not focused. It's just there. The Preservers don't see us, exactly. They're like gardeners, who've discovered a mold growing on a prized plant. They don't see the individual cells, just the blight itself."
"I don't like the sound of that," Ro said to Riker. "It suggests we're in for a dose of weed killer."
"I don't like it, either." Riker gripped Deanna by the shoulders. "Deanna. Imzadi. Listen to me. Can you speak to them at all? Can you give them a message?"
Deanna struggled to focus on him. "No. They can't hear me. My mind is too quiet, too small for them to hear. I can only understand them because there's just a tiny fraction of their substance here. If there were more, I'd be overwhelmed. I simply feel some of what is going through this small part of their minds."
"Are they planning to do anything about us?" Riker demanded. "Are we in danger here?"
"Danger?" Deanna sounded as if she were far away. "Yes, I feel something about danger." Then she suddenly snapped back to full awareness. "Will - it's the Enterprise! There's some kind of attack under way against the ship!"
Thank you Carol for putting this together =)