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Published by Manor Books in 1980 under the pseudonym Mary Vigliante

Although this book is out of print. Used copies are still available at:

They were a proud race, these beings, convinced that they were the living form that should reign supreme above all things. It was not unusual that thoughts of supremacy had manifested themselves. When all life forms were in their most primative state, they tended to think themselves the sole creation of God. It was only when beings progressed to a point where they realized that they were not alone, that their actual place in the universe made itself evident. When there was contact among living beings, the realization of their insignificance to the scheme of things became apparent. The knowledge served to humble them, all, that is, except the Empireans. Somehow, in some way, they perceived the covenant their creator had made with them. They were fearful of nothing, arrogant, and in many respects lacking the gentle kindness that was part and parcel of other living things. Like a parent who loves too well and spoils the child, so had the creator been to them. To him his special children could do no wrong. No matter what manner of thing they did, no matter how self-centered, how egotistical, how unfeeling and unkind; they were not impeded. Being mortal, they were allowed certain mistakes, temporary wanderings from the path of right. Like all experiences, they would learn even from their errings. Eventually, as it had been preordained by their maker, they would reach perfection, be perfection. The life form whose achievements dwarfed all others.

At this point in time they had strayed far from what their creator intended. Like willful children, they did as they pleased. The acme of their mortal creation, the pride of their Starfleet, the Logo, was starting on her maiden voyage. They were reaching out into the worlds that lay around them, but they were doing it in their fashion, not as their creator had decreed. It watched the ship closely as it sped through the blackness. Their intentions were not for the good, it had sensed that long ago. Was it possible for perfection to have within it the seeds of imperfection, a faint touch of malevolence? No, that could not be. Those formed by the supreme builder of life could be nothing less than what he decreed and yet there seemed something wrong, as if the power of their brains had suddenly gone awry. They were bent on brutal conquest. Perhaps it should not spend so much time ruminating about these strange creatures. They were changeable, perhaps the course of action they'd set for themselves would be modified. It would be sometime before they would begin their plan, maybe they'd abandon it in pursuit of another that more appropriately demonstrated the benign logic of their brains. Still, the very idea that they had conceived of such an evil undertaking troubled it greatly."