I have a memory of a Star Trek TNG novel that I read years ago, but having searched both my own personal shelves and the Memory Alpha website, I can't find any evidence of its existence. It's possible I've been caught in a temporal anomaly, but I'm hoping it really does actually exist in this timeline. And that someone can help me find it.

What I remember most strongly is that the Enterprise officers are on an alien ship, in a waiting room, waiting to be greeted by the leader (Captain? Admiral?) of the alien fleet. Worf is concerned they are being observed and listened to by the aliens. Worf reminds the group of their experiences with the Tamarians (TNG episode "Darmok") and they all agree to speak only in metaphor. They communicate with phrases referencing fairy tales, so the aliens are unable to decode their discussion.

I think there may also be a scene where Riker and Troy are exploring the ship and masquerading as residents, and they somehow end up being clothed in some color which indicates they are newly _____ (engaged, or married, or selected to be parents, or something!) and everyone they meet wants to celebrate with them. I say maybe because it's possible that was actually a different book (or an actual episode - I'm pretty rusty)and I am lumping the two together.

Can you help me identify this book?

  • 1
    Can you remember any of the fairy tales they reference?
    – Valorum
    Apr 13, 2015 at 0:52
  • I think one was Hansel & Gretel, referring to the witch being nice to the children to trap them. But that's a stretch, and I can't really say for sure.
    – UFPSpock
    Apr 13, 2015 at 2:04
  • This sounds more like a tactic for prisoners or unwilling "guests" than something a peaceful delegation would need to do.
    – Joe L.
    Apr 13, 2015 at 18:17
  • Indeed - the alien fleet really had nefarious intentions, and the Enterprise officers were right to be suspicious. I don't remember what caused them to be concerned, but something didn't feel right to them. I think the Hansel & Gretel reference was one of the officers being concerned that the super-nice seeming interactions with the aliens felt too good to be true, and that they were worried that they were being set up for something.
    – UFPSpock
    Apr 13, 2015 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


The name of the story you are referring to is "The Last Stand" book #37 in the Next Generation Series. Worf feels they are being spied upon and Picard makes the suggestion to talk in "code" based on human fairy tales. This of course resembles how the people in the episode of Darmok communicated with the federation:

“Excellent,” Picard said, nodding. “Counselor, Lieutenant, do you recall our good friend Dathon?”
“Why, certainly, Captain,” Troi replied. “Didn’t he have two good friends, Darmok and Jalad, who met at—”
“Tenagra,” Worf finished. “Yes, I remember them all quite well. They were to be emulated.” “Yes, they were,” Picard said. “They were fine role models for Starfleet officers. Actually, I think of them quite often. I recall especially well their story of how Pinocchio’s nose grew during his time inside the whale.”
Both Troi and Worf nodded. It was helpful that both of them had been raised by at least one Earth parent, and so each had a working knowledge of some of that faraway world’s more celebrated myths and legends......

.......And then shortly afterwards.....

“What is this gibberish?” Hek fumed. “Pinocchio? What in hull is a Pinocchio? Aren’t these people ever going to talk about anything important?”
“No one ever speaks about anything important in the reception lounge,” Drappa said. “It’s too thoroughly monitored for that, and everyone knows it. I don’t bother my people about it anymore, except in special circumstances. Presider, either these people from the starship are mindless idiots capable of speaking of nothing but old stories, or they’ve assumed they’re being monitored and are speaking in a kind of code.”
“Fine, then. Break it.”
“Oh, we’re trying,” Drappa said. “Our best cryptographers are already working on it—but they have no chance of success, Presider. The code clearly depends on cultural references with which we are not familiar—”

  • 1
    Particularly with story-id questions, we generally prefer answers to mention at least some of the matching points from the question.
    – phantom42
    Apr 14, 2015 at 12:45
  • @phantom42 - I've taken the liberty of adding some book quotes.
    – Valorum
    Apr 14, 2015 at 19:31
  • This is the book! Thank you, thank you! And what do you know, it was indeed on my shelf. I appreciate all of the help from everyone! My confidence in the continuity of my timeline is restored.
    – UFPSpock
    Apr 15, 2015 at 3:02

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