Meaningful Moments

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Deranged Nasat, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I imagine that one of the reasons many of us follow the continuity of the novels is that we have, to varying degrees, an investment in the universe and its inhabitants. They likely mean something beyond mere entertainment (though I'd never devalue that!). I thought I'd start a thread exploring the little scenes and key moments in the novels that really pay off for us. Moments that have or had a significant impact emotionally, whether they were intended to carry that significance or not.

    Here are twelve that come to mind for me. Moments that sent little shivers through me, I guess you'd say. Moments that meant something profound.

    ***

    1. From "Face Value" in Prophecy and Change, a little detail inserted into what we saw canonically that literally made me tear up:
    "For Cardassia!" Kira shouted back - and meant it.


    Kira Nerys is one of my favourite Trek characters, and this was a moment that was entirely earned after all she'd been put through over the course of the series (and her life). The final episodes of DS9 brought her full circle in fascinating form anyway, but this was the final step that closed it. It was so low-key and all the better for it.

    ***

    2. From Plagues of Night, when President Bacco is meeting with Castellan Garan regarding Cardassia taking the final step and officially becoming an ally of the Federation:

    "You are indefatigable, Madam President".

    "I am tired, Castellan".

    Perhaps it was simply the way that I "read" Bacco saying that. But for all that Cardassia was just a minor subplot in the book, I felt upon reading this that it was the moment where everything crystalizes for Cardassia. When there's nothing left to say, nothing more to discuss, just the unspoken need to make a choice. "You can stand here in the dust and just slowly fade away, or you can put your trust - just enough of it - on something that you've been afraid to do for a very long time. I have nothing to offer but my hand, and I ask nothing but that you cautiously take it". No judgement, no ultimatum, just two people in a room and one moment where I honestly felt that an entire civilization was choosing between the end and a chance for a new chapter.

    ***

    3. More Cardassia (can you tell that I love the Cardassians?) In The Crimson Shadow, Garak's "assassination". Then the rains came. (Yes, pathetic fallacy, but honestly one of the most effective examples of such I've read). Even though I knew that he wasn't gone (I doubt anyone believed he was), the scene was so very effective that it actually had an impact akin to how it would have been if I believed he had been blown up. The subsequent descriptions of how Cardassia was abuzz with the sense that something uniquely and difficultly Cardassian had been loss were very convincing because of it.

    ***

    4. Ch'Nuillan of Andor to Velk of Tellar in The Poisoned Chalice:

    "Your people have never understood us, not from the very beginning".

    The Andorians have caused quite the headache recently, and there's good reason for hard feelings, but this perfectly captures the stark beauty of Andor. It's a perfect epilogue to the story of the Andorians that concluded so memorably in A Ceremony of Losses (One of the other rare times in which I felt that a major civilization was truly hanging in the balance).Velk thinks that ch'Nuillan's antics are just Tellarite-style bluster and posturing, but he's wrong - Andorians really are that nuts. Ch'Nuillan's subsequent insistence that Andoria's re-admittance to the UFP is less important that their commitment to Bashir, and that Velk should know this if he knows them at all, is a powerful statement of where the Andorians stand. They are, once more, the true friends of the other Federation races, but they are still Andorian.

    ***

    5. Hernandez attempting suicide in Mere Mortals. The sense of disassociation from her surroundings and from the other people in the crowds around her, her sense of disorientation and distance from the narrative of her life, was honestly masterful.

    ***

    6. In another incident of civilizational tipping points, the moment in The Left Hand of Destiny, book one, where Martok looks at the Klingon crowds jeering and cheering on his impending execution and sees the face of a people who have come to despise themselves. They've rotted for so long, and they don't know how or why, or how to express it, but on some level they know that they have nothing of substance left anymore, and there is so much that is unbearable, there for Morjod and Gothmara to tap into. The Klingons look in the mirror and they hate themselves.

    ***

    7. In Day of the Vipers, when Cleric Hadlo is ranting at Dukat about devastation and proclaiming his love for Oralius and the Prophets both, just before Dukat kills him.

    ***

    8. From To Brave the Storm, when T'Pau turns down a seat on the Federation Council and announces her intention to step down as Vulcan's leader. One of the interesting and genuinely surprising things about that novel was how it made T'Pau the true protagonist, as it was her hard choices and personal decisions that carried the most weight. After ushering in a pacifist, non-interventionist system of cultural values and Vulcan identity, circumstances and her own conscience see her using Vulcan military and political might to keep the Humans from losing their war against the Romulans. A favourable outcome, but not one that can rest easily with T'Pau, or the reader. To do the right thing for the right reasons might well still be wrong.

    ***

    9. From Watching the Clock; the epilogue, in which
    Lucsly gathers representatives from the various bickering powers and begins plans to build the temporal protection grid, speaking of how their ancestors built cathedrals and the like, promoting the virtues of perseverance and steady, mundane commitment to worthy goals. As the Minbari say, "What is built, endures". Given that every race and society in local space and beyond has struggled out from the mud and thrown themselves into the hardest game there is, the idea that they literally protect the history they created and struggled through from being potentially demolished is really poignant.

    ***

    10. Perhaps an odd one, but a moment in Protectors when Torres and Chakotay are talking and Torres says to Chakotay regarding Janeway, "You're going to marry her, right?" I just loved how that was the obvious step in Torres' eyes. After all the woe and tribulations they've been through, with Torres preparing for her second child, after all the Federation recently lost, that she should just come out an say it was really satisfying.

    ***

    11. From Catalyst of Sorrows:

    Was the silence absolute, or did their ships sometimes...pass in the night? And if, when Earth and Romulus were at war and the Vulcans hung their heads and said "we don't know who these people are", was it at least partly true?

    Possibly, in my estimation, the most poignant and beautiful line in any Trek book.

    ***

    12. From Vulcan's Soul: Epiphany. During the chapter that serves as Solor's death scene, his childhood memories of playing at the ancient sagas on the homeworld, of being a part of "something eternally Vulcan".

    ***

    It's pretty clear that there are recurring themes and ideas in that list. So... what about everyone else? You don't have to do twelve, of course.

    What are some of your moments that mattered?
     
  2. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Children of the Storm, Eden's speech at the end; "This work can only be done by those who maintain a spirit of optimism about our future."

    It reminded me how to be a good teacher, in a particular struggling school where I was having a hard time being anything other than fatalistic. I made a printout of the quote and still hang it on my wall behind my desk. It's weird how some lines that other people would never notice can punch you right in the stomach; I honestly cried a little at that speech.

    I might post a few more later, but that's definitely at the top of the list.
     
  3. KRAD

    KRAD Keith R.A. DeCandido Admiral

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    For me, one of the biggest was the moment of Kirk's death in The Entropy Effect, because I believed it. Even though I knew it couldn't possibly be permanent because it took place before The Motion Picture, so it had to be reversed, but Vonda just sold it to me that Kirk was dead and that Spock felt it happen. Beautifully done (as evidenced that it's still vivid in my brain meats thirty years later....).
     
  4. Shane Houston

    Shane Houston Commander Red Shirt

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    Star Trek Voyager Full Circle. The moment that Chakotay, who had consummated his relationship with Janeway months before and had been separated the next day. He was waiting for her in Venice and was ready to begin a new future with her,until he was told by friend and former fiance of Kathryn's that she had died.

    Chakotay had made a special gift after he thought that Janeway was in love with him during the mission. He had gathered stones throughout the seven year journey and had them crafted onto a beautiful mirror with the inscription, "When in doubt look here."

    When it sank in she was dead, he dropped the mirror and it shattered and all of his hopes and dreams went with her.
     
  5. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dr. McCoy is one of my favorite characters. So the most gripping moment that stuck in my mind was in Crucible - McCoy, Provenance of Shadows (or better the German translation thereof): McCoy´s death in his alternative life. Until the end he wanted to help, in this case the crashed and injured German pilot. Not wanting to be treated by the enemy, the pilot struck first.

    Or Cast no Shadow, where Valeris´
    bad experiences with Klingons are revealed and her troubled relationship with her father of whom she felt abandoned
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  6. DS9Continuing

    DS9Continuing Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Two that especially jump out at me from recent years are :

    From The Crimson Shadow, Garak's media interview scene. After verbally eviscerating his opponent in a real mic-drop moment on live TV, and cutting to the very heart of Cardassia's problems and the Directorate's problems, he ties it off with the line, "We fought so long and hard to achieve freedom of speech. Seems a shame to waste it on lying to each other." What a boom line. I said at the time that the book was worth the price for that line alone. How much of western culture's current problems could be solved by paying attention to that line?

    And the other one was the moment in Children of the Storm when Voyager led the children home and introduced them to their mother. As the mother entity gradually recognised what these beings were, its sluggish brown atmospheric eruptions became glowing white blooms of sheer joy and excitement. The sheer emotion in that moment, described only in abstract colours and actions without a word of dialogue, was overwhelming. I was literally brought to tears. Not even exaggerating.

    .
     
  7. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Another one comes to mind (Eternal Tide): Miral Paris giving away her toys to the children of the former Borg Cooperative instead of replicating new ones, as her toys have already known love. How cute is that :lol:. Now I´m getting sentimental.
     
  8. OverlordSpock

    OverlordSpock Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I will second Crucible: McCoy - Provenance of Shadows, but keep it in the "real" world. The scene at the end with Spock's final visit with McCoy literally moved me to tears. To me, that scene spoke volumes about the genuine caring and deep relationship between those two. I'm actually tearing up just typing this. It is, by far, my favorite scene from any TrekLit.
     
  9. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    I really liked the scene toward the end of Rise Like Lions where
    Picard, Saavik, and Calhoun are convinced that they needed to lay waste to the rest of the Alliance, and O'Brien passionately argued that they needed to be better than that if what they were building was to endure.
     
  10. Paper Moon

    Paper Moon Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm sure I'll come back to this thread with more, but a big one for me definitely was the epilogue of The Crimson Shadow– Garak's scene with Parmak. I think I have interpreted it more strongly than others, but I think it is breathtakingly beautiful, both in the context of that novel and in the context of Garak's long, long arc.

    As I said in the review thread last year:

    Ooh– just thought of another one.

    Again, also with Garak, also written by Una McCormack: the scene in The Never-Ending Sacrifice, where Rugal is meeting Ambassador Garak in his office. They start by discussing Rugal's friend, Penelya Khevet, while admiring one of Tora Ziyal's drawings:

    Boom. Every. Single. Time.
     
  11. dstyer

    dstyer Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    For me a genuine moment came in a book I recently re-read, "Q-Squared." The scene is where Trelane tells Track A's Captain Jack Crusher that out of all the myriad possibilities of alternate universes and timelines, this is the only Jack Crusher that still survives.

    Although I don't necessarily believe in real alternate timelines, just the shock of thinking about that - the idea that if true, you were the only instance of yourself in ANY timeline anywhere . . . chilling.
     
  12. Paul Weaver

    Paul Weaver Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I always thought that was a test by
    Saavik to see if they had really learned, or if they were going to be all Empirey. OBrien meant she didn't just Genesis their asses and start again. Picard/Calhoun's attitudes might be fine for captains, but not for leaders. O'Brien, and more importantly the reaction he got, meant they were safe.
     
  13. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    The scenes featuring Clark Terrell in Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again, particularly his standoff with an angry protester who believed the Federation was trying to rig his planet's elections. Despite having a gun to his head, Terrell managed to talk down his adversary and prevent the situation from escalating.

    Afterwards, Terrell was visibly shaken by the experience and admonished Chekov to never let him do "a damned fool thing like that again."

    What stands out for me is not that a starship captain would be profoundly disturbed by the idea of his own life being placed in danger, but that he did his duty in spite of any reservations he may have had about the situation--precisely the attribute that most likely made him a captain in the first place.

    The entire sequence of events was depicted beautifully by Christopher, who wrote that portion of the Mere Anarchy series.

    --Sran
     
  14. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Some of moments that got to me:
    The prologue of Day of the Vipers. Reading about the beginnings of the Occupation and knowing what it would do to the Bajorans was really intense.

    I've always loved the scene in Unity when a Parasite crawls into Taran'atar's mouth, and he just bites it and spits it out. It's just so badass. I've always pictured Chris Judge, Stargate SG-1's Teal'c, as Taran'atar and I could easily see him doing that.

    The transformation of the Borg at the end of Destiny is amazing.

    The big reveal with involving Sandesjo loyalties in Vanguard was a huge holy crap moment for me.
     
  15. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    MU can also be quite impressive and memorable.

    The Sorrows of Empire:

    Spock being confrontet with his executioners, insisting on freedom to come and reign of terror to be doomed. He embraced death calm, with his head held high and convinced of his long-term plan and believing in its success. "A flash of light was all Spock saw of the killing blow, but in that moment he knew he had won", Glass Empires - The Sorrows of Empire by David Mack, p. 329

    I have bought all of it.
     
  16. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I forget which Mission Gamma book it comes from, but I was quite moved when the Bajoran protesters called out, "Kira was right!" at various gatherings and events at the station. Kira had been struggling with being Attainted for some time at that point and all those people vocally supporting her decision to release the lost texts to the Bajoran public felt like well-earned vindication.
     
  17. DS9Continuing

    DS9Continuing Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^ That was in Cathedral. The Ohalavaru gathered in the shrine on the station (and we later find out, in shrines all over Bajor), interrupted the service, took off their earrings and shouted "For Kira Nerys, the Truthgiver!" A wonderful example of peaceful, non-violent protest.

    .
     
  18. Etoile

    Etoile Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    For me, it would have to be the conversation between Nan Bacco and Rebecca Emmanuelli in Articles of the Federation. Going into the scene, both women are firm in their convictions. Intellectually, I don't agree with Dr. Emmanuelli's refusal to do the surgery, but I understand her reasoning, to the point where I want to defend her.

    But the way in which Bacco made her personal appeal swayed me completely. She is the only person who could have convinced Emmanuelli, and she convinced me, too. That's what makes this such a meaningful moment for me - that I was as persuaded by Bacco's argument and demeanor as the character she was talking to.
     
  19. Sto-Vo-Kory

    Sto-Vo-Kory Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's the one. Thanks for the identification, lvsxy808, and the more detailed description.:)
     
  20. Kilana2

    Kilana2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In one of the Destiny novels, Geordi LaForge stood up to Picard and refused to employ a Thalaron weapon, as it would have been the same means by which Data has been killed. Geordi risked his career in the process. But I appreciated his reasoning. A intense moment.