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Takedown (Star Trek: The Next Generation) Mass Market Paperback – 29 Jan 2015

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek (29 Jan. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476782717
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476782713
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 342,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

John Jackson Miller is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Kenobi; Star Wars: Knight Errant; Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith―The Collected Stories; and fifteen Star Wars graphic novels, as well as Overdraft: The Orion Offensive. A comics industry historian and analyst, he has written for franchises including Conan, Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Mass Effect, and The Simpsons.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Takedown

One


The one good thing about having a job that took you to hell and back was that you slept soundly. All your nightmares had already happened during the day.

William Riker had always slept well. But this morning, rising was the hard part—and he wasn’t surprised in the least to discover he was already dressed. He’d slept in full uniform many times as an overworked ensign, never as an admiral. But this behavior made perfect sense: He’d been through the wringer in recent days. He was just glad he’d made it to the bed. Falling asleep in a turbolift wouldn’t have done, at any rank.

He knew he’d earned being this tired. There had been another voyage to perdition—or worse—just behind him, but it made his head hurt to think much about it. It didn’t matter. The best way to escape a bad day was to start the next.

Or to try to start it, at least. Riker’s muscles objected as he attempted to sit up in bed, and he nearly fell back down. Standing was the next frontier, and that took longer to accomplish as well. Finally, he succeeded. Looking groggily around the VIP quarters aboard Starship Titan, he wondered for a moment where his wife was—before remembering the vessel’s destination was Betazed, her homeworld. That was one of the last things he’d heard before going to sleep. Deanna had hoped to take their daughter to Betazed’s capital city on a visit, if they had the time.

The time. He checked it as he shambled to the mirror. Sixteen hours, he’d slept. Riker shook his head. It was a good thing he wasn’t on duty of any kind. But then, oversleeping was the bad dream of an ensign. Admirals’ problems were a lot worse; he’d held the rank just long enough to learn that. And his body showed it. The face in the mirror was a fright. His dark, gently graying hair had gone this way and that during his repose, and a whole lot of new whiskers had appeared.

“Must have been some party,” he mumbled. His condition owed to something else entirely, but it didn’t matter. Drydock was about cleanup work, and that went for people just as well as their ships. He set to making himself presentable.

A short time later found Riker in the turbolift. He didn’t fall asleep on this ride either—but he wouldn’t have been able to snooze for long in any event. The doors weren’t halfway open when a firm Vulcan voice declared, “Admiral on the bridge!”

“You make a fine wake-up alarm, Tuvok.” Riker looked over to the tactical station, where the dark-skinned Vulcan didn’t acknowledge the joke. Tuvok simply bowed his head slightly and turned back to his console.

Stepping onto the bridge, Riker looked up and saw through the forward viewport that Titan was indeed orbiting above Betazed, the vessel parked near a large mushroom-shaped space station. The ship had been ordered here for replacement of faulty parts for some subsystem or other; it wasn’t Riker’s job to know about it anymore. That responsibility lay with the woman who looked back at him from the captain’s chair.

“Welcome, Admiral,” Christine Vale said. “How are you?”

“Shipshape,” Riker said, scratching his beard. “If the ship is a garbage scow that’s seen better days.”

“Forgivable, after what you’ve—” Apparently thinking better of her comment, Vale stopped in midsentence and gestured ahead instead. “I’m afraid you missed Counselor Troi by a few minutes. She said to let you sleep.”

“She’s nice like that.”

Walking past the command chairs, Riker studied the scene outside more closely. He’d never heard of Betazed Station 4 before, much less visited. Its spacedock doors were open, waiting to accept the Luna-class vessel. Just beyond the station, he could see a shuttle heading for the blue-green planet below.

That’s one of ours, he thought. But before he could ask about it, a chirp came from the communications officer’s panel. “Shuttlecraft Armstrong hailing us.”

Riker looked back to see Vale smiling at him. “Someone wants to say hello,” the redheaded woman said. “On-screen.”

Turning back forward, he saw the giant image of his little dark-haired daughter waving at him. “Hailing frequencies open, Daddy.”

“Hello, Natasha.” Riker put up his hand in a slight wave and smiled wanly. “You flying that alone?”

“She wants to,” Deanna Troi said, appearing over the child’s shoulder. “She takes after her father.”

Riker nodded. Titan’s bridge wasn’t really the place for a family call, and out of the corner of his eye, he could see members of the crew turning away to hide their amused expressions. Several seconds passed, silently, with neither of them talking: Deanna would have known he wouldn’t want anyone else asking about his health, not here. She, at least, looked well rested—and as beautiful as the day he’d met her. “Why did you take a shuttle?”

“Admiral,” Vale said, “we’ve taken the transporters offline in preparation for the new upgrade equipment we’re getting from spacedock.”

“Natasha thought it’d be more fun to fly over this way,” Deanna said. “She likes to look at the clouds as we—”

Before Deanna could finish the sentence, an alarm screeched aboard Titan—and Riker heard an echo from Armstrong’s cabin, where a similar alert went off. “Warning,” announced a computerized voice aboard Titan. “Plasma storm approaching, high magnitude.”

“Here?” Vale seemed startled. “We weren’t expecting anything like that.”

“Origin unknown. Danger posed to orbiting vessels.”

“How soon?”

Tuvok had the answer. “Four point seven seconds!”

“Shields up!”

Riker looked up to Deanna on the screen. “Deanna, shields, now!”

He grabbed for the railing at the rear of the bridge even as the world around him went sideways. Titan shook, apparently battered by a flood of plasma ejected from Betazed’s sun. Yet his eyes never left the forward viewscreen. Lit by the unholy fury of whatever was outside the shuttle, Deanna clung desperately to Natasha. Riker could barely hear the child screaming over the din of impact.

Riker looked around, not understanding. Like many other populated areas, the Betazed system was monitored by satellites that transmitted information faster than light, via subspace. Even a freak plasma storm should have been preceded by some warning before a tsunami of fire and radiation struck. And yet, here it was, shaking Titan like a tree in a hurricane.

And Armstrong was bearing it far worse. “Counselor!” Vale yelled, clutching the armrests of her chair. “What’s your condition?”

“Not good!” Internal lights strobing across her terrified face, Deanna punched at controls with one hand while hanging onto Natasha with her other arm. “Shields failed. Losing structural integrity!”

Forgetting who was in command, Riker barked, “Beam her out of there!”

“Engineering reports transporters will take three minutes to be placed back online,” Vale said. “Helm, put Titan between the solar wind and Armstrong!”

“It’ll take a moment, Captain,” came a voice from behind her. “We’re still oriented for spacedock approach.”

Damned repair mission! With the ship turning into the storm, Riker lurched over to a control panel whose operator had fallen away. Titan rocked and quaked, fighting against the fiery tide. Riker found his bearings and checked the ships’ relative positions, trying his best not to focus on Natasha’s wail, now in the background but unmistakably there. “Any ideas?”

“I have one, Admiral,” Tuvok said, his fingers a blur over the keypad. “I may be able to extend Titan’s shields to cover the shuttle.”

“At this range?”

“It will require reshaping the shield on the side of Titan facing the shuttle into a hyperbolic paraboloid, to maximize its range and effectiveness.”

“Do it!” Vale ordered.

“The spatial geometry needed is complex,” Tuvok said, seemingly calculating even as he tried to make himself heard. “And Titan is in motion, further complicating—”

A deafening crack came from above—followed by plummeting metal beams as the supports holding part of the bridge’s storm-weakened ceiling gave way. One girder swung down like a club, belting Tuvok from behind and slamming him into the console. He collapsed, bleeding and senseless.

“Tuvok!” Without regard for his own safety, Riker dove into the area near the collapse. Tuvok was alive but out cold.

Vale called out to him. “Armstrong’s hull is failing!

Riker stepped over the fallen Vulcan to reach his console, hoping against hope that he only needed to push a button to enact Tuvok’s stratagem. No such luck, he saw. “He never finished entering his equations!”

“Will, do something!” It was Deanna. He looked back at the huge display screen nearly in a panic. His wife and child were in mortal danger. He was powerless to help them—unless he could complete a mathematical sequence that it would take most people a lifetime to figure out. Still, he turned to the panel, looking at the maze of numbers and variables controlling the shields. There had to be something he could do, anything.

Another shock shook the ship. He heard Vale’s voice. “Finish the sequence, Admiral!”

And now, Deanna. “Do it, Will!”

Riker focused on the figures on the screen—and suddenly saw clearly.

“I won’t,” he said, turning around to face the bridge crew. “It’s not necessary.”

Vale was flabbergasted. “What do you mean?”

Titan quaked again—but this time, Riker wasn’t swayed. “I mean there is no plasma storm.”

From his right, a plaintive call. “Daddy!”

“That’s enough.” Looking stern, he faced the terrified pair on the screen. “Whoever’s doing this, you can stop now.”

The bridge shook again, and then again, until all went silent. “As you wish,” said a gravelly male voice behind him. Then the lights went out.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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Excellent use of a TNG episode given new clarity and a fitting end!

Wonderful use of the Typhon Pact as well!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Seriously. This is epic. If ever there was the Star Trek novel that cried out to be a film this is it. When Will Riker commandeers Ezri Dax's ship, the Aventine, and sets out on some unusual missions, Captain Picard is obviously the man to send after him.

The thriller kept me gripped solidly throughout and every page - from character moments with our friends, to exploring new relationships, to mega space battles - was fantastically crafted to provide a great reading experience. The story is very engaging and inescapable as a reader. I loved every single moment.

The author has a fantastic grip on the wide range of characters that make appearances, although I must admit the size of the cast meant that there were a number of them who didn't get as much page time as I would have liked. The new characters he introduces, particularly the Romulans, have a lot of depth and aren't the run of the mill bad-guy-of-the-week characters that sometimes appear.

The best Star Trek adventure novel for a long time - absolutely loved it and have all my fingers crossed that Miller will be invited back to contribute more to the canon.
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Great story
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Minor spoilers follow.

When I saw the cover of Takedown, I recognised the author's name - but I couldn't think from where...then it hit me - KENOBI!

And yes, Takedown is a bit more Star Wars than Star Trek - the first two-thirds of the novel are all action. And that was great. JJM writes a fantastic adventure yarn. We get a bit of time with many of our favourite TNG characters and a good slice of Dax - but Takedown is NOT a character study. It's a caper mystery. Why are communications arrays being destroyed all over the quadrant? Why has Riker commandeered The Aventine - and when did he become a maths savant?

I flew through the first two-thirds of the book. But the reveal was a disappointment. The instigators are revealed to be a species we met once in a TNG episode (I didn't remember said episode very well, I fear). And in the end, Takedown is an example of what I found most frustrating about TNG. At the close of the book, the "reset" button gets pressed. Everything goes back to the way it was. That was a cop-out in the TV series, and it's a cop-out in the novels.

BUT...I hope they give JJM another book - one where he can shake things up permanently (a la David Mack). I think he would do a fantastic job with a BIG story.
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I really enjoyed this book. It is the first Star Trek book I've read, even though I've been a fan since a young age. For some reason I never got around to trying one. Well, I'm glad i did as this was highly entertaining.
Being amongst old favourites of the TV shows was a real treat. I could hear their voices all through the story, particularly Riker's, which has always been a strong one. Only occasionally did I feel a character was saying something in a way that possibly didn't match that voice I could hear (in my head of course).
The action is fast and exciting, the plot moved along nicely and, above all, it was easy to get into. I also loved all of the nods to episodes of the TV shows.
The reason I gave it 4 rather than 5 stars was because of the last third of the book. I felt it didn't have the impact I was hoping for when those behind the plot were revealed.
Over all this was an interesting book with lots of great moments. I'm now planning on ready another Star Trek book. It has opened up an entire galaxy of stories for me!
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This is a good story from start to finish. Pace, storyline and action all the way.
If you watched TNG OR NOT you will still love this as the back story is there for you. I dare you to put this book down.
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Takedown By John Jackson Miller. is a decent read and the fact that i made it all the way to the end warrants its 3 stars. But as has been said here it does borrow from a TNG episode and in my opinion it also borrows heavily from David Macks fall novel A Ceremony of Losses but where Mack writes his chase in which USS's Aventine and Warspite with their faster ships, chase Bashir with his superior mind across the quadrant, in an effort to stop him delivering a civilization saving cure to the Andorians is written with both intensity and tension an on the edge of your seat thriller with the stakes as high as can be. Sadly Millers effort falls flat its clear from the outset that the stakes are low at best with the enemy reluctant to take lives should tell you all you need to know about their real intentions and i dont know about other i was able to guess the perpetrators long before the reveal.

In nutshell this is a decent book that will keep the pages turning, but if you want a far superior read go get A Ceremony of Losses and see how good this book could have been, it is the 3rd book in the fall series but can be read stand alone without 2 much difficulty only a cursory summary of the previous 2 books is necessary to really enjoy it.
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An enjoyable tale. Didn't set the world alight but ok. Other titan books are better. Started well then fissiled out a bit.
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