||Plot: In this book it is found out that the dead zones 'age.' As a dead zone becomes, for lack of a better term, 'older,' more and more primitive technology begins to fail within them. This at least could partly explain some of the YATIs in the previous book. The ship heads for Romulan space, to the planet where the Ancient Tech is. Apparently, there was a Mysterious Sphere inside of a black hole, monitored by a technology station on a nearby planet. They pulled the Sphere out of the hole, and oops - the dead zones (or the Romulan term, 'power deserts'). Enterprise approaches the system only to discover that the edge of the system is experiencing severe spatial anomalies. They go in anyway (after some experimenting with a shuttle) and find that the system is mostly normal - except for the region directly around the sphere, which seems to contain multidimensional space and severe distortions. Several Romulan ships have been trapped there in a Meanwile, and Folan was able to save one - however, its crew were all either melded with the bulkheads, or insane. When the Enterprise enters the area and it's made known T'sart is aboard it, Folan decides to try and destroy the Enterprise - T'sart was the one that sabotaged her experiment. However, the situation is explained to her, and she, being a Smart Honorable Enemy, agrees to help the Enterprise get to the sphere, even though there are several other warbirds in the system (Romulus must be wasting an awful lot of military resources on a very dangerous area). She fights valiantly against the other warbirds (after evoking the Something Pandect for Martial Crisis, requiring all of her orders to be followed, under penalty of immediate death). Her ship is destroyed, but the small remaining crew is beamed into the Enterprise cargo bay. Folan is beamed to the bridge. They use the ship's computer to calculate the spatial disruptions and adapt the ship's deflectors accordingly. They can only account for every 67th shift; they're too rapid even for the computer. They go into the area around the sphere only to find that space doesn't make sense; the human (and Vulcan and Romulan) members of the bridge crew are having extreme difficulty even thinking. Data, however, suddenly understands everything and plots a course. Inside the sphere, normal 3-dimensional space is maintained (YATI: why?). Spock surmises that since Data is a being of mathematical, rather than biological, nature he could intuitively understand this extradimensional space. Inside the sphere, they find that there is a projection of the outside scenes on the inside surface. The sphere enhances their sensors - they can scan literally any object in the universe. The sphere creates a Starfleet LCARS terminal on the bridge that allows communication with it. The sphere is sentient, and its purpose is evidently a scanner. Its scans are sub-quark-level, disrupting the very fabric of reality as it scans it, hence the dead zones. It was not supposed to initiate scanning until the end of the universe (when the destructin wouldn't matter anyway) but T'sart started it prematurely. It cannot stop now, as it can either time-travel to the end of the universe or bring the end about; apparently, the latter has occurred. It apparently uses the energy of the Big Crunch to propel itself past the next Big Bang (as the machine says, a 'simplistic, but not inaccurate' explanation). I can't recall what they decide to do to stop the machine (unfortunatly both of these books were destroyed in a flood and I'm working from memory) but I do recall that it was expected to save the entire universe, but that the Milky Way was already destroyed - the Big Crunch was apparently happening many trillions of times faster than it should. However, after doing this Something, everything is restored - it turns out that in every universe (parallel, prior, and following) that this occurred, each Enterprise's sacrifice saved the other's universe and nothing was lost. (This was fun actually, several parallel versions of reality - in one, Picard had a thick mop of hair; in another, T'sart was the good guy instead of Folan; in yet another, Tasha Yar was still alive; and in a final, the Enterprise-D had never been destroyed). Happy Ending. Analysis: This book's not as good as the first, I don't think. Too much mumbo-jumbo about advanced 'magical' science and so forth, and less story. There were some good bits though. I've also left out many minor plot details (obviously) that are worth reading.