Nightshade (Book #24)

by Laurell K Hamilton

The Enterprise is summonsed to negotiate a peace treaty on the planet, Oriana, between the ruling Venturies and their enemies, the Torlick's/Green's, a secretive race, forced to hide away because the Venturie's abhorred their experiments, despite the fact that their entire planet was only a decade from becoming nothing more than a poisonous dust ball and the Green's had the technology to halt it.
Picard, Troi and Worf beam down to the planet to begin the peace negotiations as Will and the Enterprise are called away on an emergency rescue mission to rescue the ship and crew of the Zar. Deeply disturbed, Troi also discovers Oriana's secrets; one, that the planet's inhabitants are empaths, and two, that their children were being born disfigured and being raised and partially cured in vats similar to incubators. They were the lucky ones. Most were not even born, deformed beyond help because of the planet's rapidly dying eco-system. Poisoned water, acid rain and dying crops slowing killing the entire planet, and its inhabitants.
Picard manages to instigate a meeting between the two warring parties, only to watch in horror as the leading negotiator of the Green's falls dead, poisoned. The Venturie's blame Picard and he is imprisoned, leaving Worf to take over the peace treaty, as well as find the real murderer.
Meanwhile, on boarding the crippled Zar, Geordi discover that the ship is a living organism, and after he is shown how to, merges his mind and body with the ship's engines and repairs it. He also discovers that the ship was sabotaged by its chief engineer, Veleck, and on further interrogation find out that a leader on the planet Oriana had bribed him with their technology in exchange for luring the Enterprise away from the planet.
Back on the Oriana, Colonel Talanne, General Basha's wife, and ally to the Enterprise crew, as well as the Greens, reveals that her beloved son was born because of the Green's intervention and is keen to end the rift, but her husband is determined to eradicate the Green's even if it means destroying his own planet. Even after his wife tells him about their son, he is still unbending, hatred completely overwhelming him. He is overpowered and handed over to the Torlick's for murder.

Notable Imzadi moment:

Page 7 to 8

Picard nodded. "The sooner we get these talks underway the sooner we can put and end to this nonsense. Counselor Troi, please accompany me to the surface. I think your insight may be invaluable on this mission."
Troi smiled at that. She followed Picard's lean figure into the turbolift. The last thing she felt as the doors closed was Riker's worry over her safety. Duty and friendship made him worry over Troi. They were no longer a couple, but the thought of her in danger troubled him a great deal, she knew.



Thank you Carol for putting this together =)