“Arne Darvin.” Those were the dying words of Nilz Baris, and Federation News Service reporter Marta Jensen wants to find out why. Her investigation leads her through Baris’s long career, from the agriculture undersecretary who lost Sherman’s Planet, through his years of political battles with the Klingon Empire, his winning of the Federation presidency, his appointment as ambassador to the Empire, and, finally, his waning years of retirement. It all leads to shocking revelations of secret agents and political compromises that could ruin Baris’s reputation and destabilize relations between the Federation and the Empire.

The Myriad Universes series explored alternate timelines in the Star Trek universe; authors had to pick some singular point from the filmed canon, change its outcome, and then see where it led. I ended up using “The Trouble with Tribbles” as my springboard, imagining what would have happened if the tribbles hadn’t led to the discovery of the poisoned quadrotriticale. You can read the whole tangled story behind the publication of Honor in the Night in my blog post “The Long, Strange Voyage of a Novella from Pitch to Publication,” but long story short, I eventually decided to pitch an idea I thought no one would ever expect. Doing a dramatic sequel to a comedic epsisode and making its love-to-hate guest character Nilz Baris the lead in a Citizen Kane pastiche seemed to fit the bill. (Sidenote: Honor in the Night’s word count, about fifty-five thousand, actually qualifies as a novel by most definitions.) The excerpt below is from the prologue, set in Nice, France, in 2366; you can also read an alternate opening scene from an early draft, which I call “Doctor McCoy Goes to Nice.”

Honor in the Night

Nilz Baris, his white hair bright against the dark blue pillow like clouds in the night sky, rolled over in his deathbed, all elbows and knees and other stiff joints, a careless collection of fragile bones shifting under the light covers.
       The rustling of fabric, even from across the room, was enough to wake Leonard McCoy, who had nodded off in the window seat overlooking the Alée du Palais toward the Mediterranean Sea. Awakening at the slightest sound was a doctor’s talent he had perfected decades ago, back when he was still practicing, and somehow, against all common sense, the ability hadn’t faded as much as his hearing. He shifted toward Baris with careful turns, swiveling his whole torso to avoid aggravating his neck, which had grown stiff while he dozed. There were no lights on in the room, and it must have been well past midnight, but enough light spilled in through the open window for him to see the bed. With a squint he saw the covers rising and falling, just barely, with each shallow breath Baris took.
       McCoy sighed deeply, running a hand over his wrinkled face. He felt old tonight, like the ancient willow trees he often saw in cemeteries in Georgia, their trunks gnarled and their branches drooping to the ground. Certainly much of the reason he felt old was simply because he was old, ancient even, at 140 years; but it didn’t help that Baris would likely not make it until morning, or that he was about the same age as McCoy. . . .

Cover and excerpt copyright CBS Studios.
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