How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford
Pocket Books, 1987
Price I paid: Either one or two bucks, I don’t remember
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Dilithium. In crystalline form, the most valuable mineral in the galaxy. It powers the Federation’s starships…and the Klingon Empire’s battlecruisers. Now on a small, out-0f-the-way planet named Direidi, the greatest fortune in dilithium crystals ever seen has been found.
Under the terms of the Organian Peace Treaty, the planet will go to the side best able to develop the planet and its resources. Each side will contest the prize with the prime of its fleet. For the Federation—Captain James T. Kirk and the starship Enterprise. For the Klingons—Captain Kaden vestai-Oparai and the Fire Blossom.
Only the Direidians are writing their own script for the contest—a script that propels the crew of the Enterprise into their strangest adventure yet!