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: Spoiler: Prophecy and Change "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 Spoiler: Watching the Clock 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?