Star Trek's Seven of Nine returns in new novel 'Picard: Firewall' (exclusive)

a portrait of a woman with long hair and a metal implant on her face circling one eye
Cover art for "Picard: Firewall." (Image credit: Pocket Books)

Beaming in from the Delta Quadrant and straight onto your bookshelf is prolific "Star Trek" author David Mack's latest sci-fi jewel, "Picard: Firewall," a 336-page hardcover coming Feb. 27, 2024  

In this compelling story set before the unfolding events of the premiere season of Paramount+'s "Star Trek: Picard," "Firewall" focuses on the former Borg character of Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) as she links up with a notorious band of space vigilantes and we have an exclusive chapter excerpt to share below.

Mack is a multi-award-winning science fiction master who's authored 38 novels in the arenas of science fiction, fantasy, and adventure, including the "Star Trek Destiny" and "Cold Equations" trilogies. His impressive resume of writing credits includes episodes of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and consultant work on the debut season of the hit animated series, "Star Trek: Prodigy."

Related: Star Trek streaming guide: Where to watch the Star Trek movies and TV shows online

Star Trek: Picard: Firewall: $27.99 from Amazon

<a href="https://target.georiot.com/Proxy.ashx?tsid=72128&GR_URL=https%3A%2F%2Famazon.com%2FStar-Trek-Firewall-David-Mack%2Fdp%2F1668046350%3Ftag%3Dhawk-future-20%26ascsubtag%3Dhawk-custom-tracking-20" data-link-merchant="Amazon US"" target="_blank">Star Trek: Picard: Firewall: $27.99 from Amazon

Two years after the USS Voyager's return from the Delta Quadrant, Seven of Nine finds herself rejected for a position in Starfleet … and instead finds a new home with the interstellar rogue law enforcement corps known as the Fenris Rangers. The Rangers seem like an ideal fit for Seven — but to embrace this new destiny, she must leave behind all she's ever known, and risk losing the most important thing in her life: her friendship with Admiral Kathryn Janeway.

Here's the official publisher synopsis from Pocket Books:

"A thrilling prequel adventure based on the acclaimed TV series 'Star Trek: Picard!'

"Two years after the USS Voyager's return from the Delta Quadrant, Seven of Nine finds herself rejected for a position in Starfleet and instead finds a new home with the interstellar rogue law enforcement corps known as the Fenris Rangers. The Rangers seem like an ideal fit for Seven—but to embrace this new destiny, she must leave behind all she's ever known, and risk losing the most important thing in her life: her friendship with Admiral Kathryn Janeway."

Cover of "Picard: Firewall." (Image credit: Pocket Books)

What Mack found most compelling about writing "Firewall" was the need to make a deep dive into the psychology of Seven of Nine during a critical phase of her life. 

"Because she and Kathryn Janeway are the only two major canon "Star Trek" characters in the novel, and most of the book is told through Seven's perspective, I needed to immerse myself in Seven's point of view as a queer woman on a journey of self-discovery as well as that of a heroine on an adventure," Mack tells Space.com. 

"It gave me a chance to connect with much of what makes Seven such a great character: her intelligence, her integrity, and also her hidden vulnerability. She is a richly layered person, able to contain seemingly contradictory multitudes, and that made it a joy to explore her psyche during her transition from ex-Borg to a fully empathetic human being."

Here's our exclusive excerpt from "Picard: Firewall" courtesy of Pocket Books:

She switched back to the team's channel. "Everyone! Use the storm as cover!"

The team responded in overlapping transmissions — "Are you crazy?" "Oh, hell no." "You’ve gotta be kidding!" — until a fresh barrage of disruptor pulses from the fighter quelled dissent and spurred them all into powered dives toward the thunderhead.

"Don't cluster! Split up and regroup on—"

Another fusillade of disruptor blasts cut across the strike team’s descent vector—and one tore through Ellory's thruster pack, which exploded in a burst of sparks and shrapnel.

Seven struggled to see past the inky plume of smoke pouring from Ellory's fragged suit. "Ell! Talk to me, Ell! Ell, can you hear me?"

Harper cut in: "Her suit’s offline! No power, no comms! Anyone got eyes on her?"

"Affirmative," Speirs said. "No movement, falling like a rock."

"About to lose her in the clouds," Ballard said.

Seven keyed her suit's thrusters to maximum. "Everyone, get clear. I’m going in." Hands outstretched and pointed ahead of her, she chased after the unresponsive Ellory and speared her way into the thundercloud just a second behind her.

Everything went pitch-black, and then the world flared blinding white—lightning slashed in great forks all around Seven, and entire banks of black cloud pulsed with inner light, all of it followed by crushing roars of thunder that hit her with walls of sonic force.

Her eyes pulsed with green and purple afterimages, and her head spun from the shock of thunderclaps, but she forced herself not to blink, not to pass out, not to pull inward or do anything to slow her dive. Hands first, head lowered, she arrowed through another wall of roiling black and gray vapors—to see Ellory just a hundred meters ahead of her, tumbling wildly, out of control, with no sign of consciousness.

Beneath them, the belly of the cloud flared white with electrical fury.

Seven accelerated directly into Ellory and wrapped her arms around her, and then her legs.

"Computer! Shields!" Her suit's command system activated the low-power shield normally used for extra protection during the most perilous moments of atmospheric entry.

Please be enough—

She and Ellory plunged through the bottom of the cloud as it resounded with thunder and flashed—just for a few milliseconds—with sheet lightning hotter than the surface of a star.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.