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CALL TO ARMS

A novel by Diane Carey (1998, Pocket Books)
The Dominion War, Book 2

Deep Space Nine is abandoned to the Dominion, and Sisko takes his crew on a secret mission into Cardassian space, while Kira and Odo adjust to Dominion rule.

 

 

4 stars

Read March 21st to 24th, 2000  
   

This was the novelization of about four episodes of the opening arc for season 6 of DS9.  In A Call to Arms, the station was abandoned, and you could feel the reluctance of the command crew to leave.  It was a smart move to start the book with the closing battle from season 5.  The energy it imparts to the rest of the novelization barely rests. 

In A Time to Stand, the war was going badly for the Federation, as standard fighting techniques failed time after time.  We are let in on the secret that the Dominion has set up a huge sensor array on several asteroids, which has been tracking the movements of Federation ships.  Martok the Klingon discovers this, and Sisko lets it filter to the high command.  We get to see behind the scenes, where Sisko maneuvers himself into the decision-making hierarchy, while still retaining his use of the Defiant.  One of those missions takes him to destroy a facility for manufacturing Ketracel White, the substance the Jem Hadar need to survive.  They are successful, but heavily damaged, in their captured Jem Hadar warship.  The scene where they get damaged is fairly weak, as the author tries to capture every detail, and couldn't do it.

In Rocks and Shoals, the best episode of the opening arc, except maybe for "Behind the Lines", Sisko and his crew are stranded on an uncharted world, and they know a Jem Hadar warship crashed behind them. 

Sisko must deal with Jem Hadar who are starving for their Ketracel White, making them less prone to obey commands, while their Vorta is dying.  Bashir is able to save him, and he reveals that he has a power source, but no transmitter.  Of course, O'Brien has a transmitter, but no power source.  The Vorta issues the Jem Hadar orders that everybody knows will get them killed, but that is the order of things, so they do it, even though Sisko gives them every chance to surrender.  The Vorta then walks into their camp and surrenders.

That episode followed the TV series almost exactly.  There was no real improvisation, and I could remember the words spoken exactly as I read them in a lot of cases.  I suddenly want to watch this arc of episodes again! 

In Sons and Daughters, from which I don't remember much of the episode, Dukat brings his daughter Ziyal to the station, and tries unsuccessfully to woo Kira.  This is the minor part of the plot, but it gets Kira very confused for a while.  It is even better than I remember it.  Odo gets to be part of the Station ruling council, with Dukat and Weyoun, and he feels conflicted, as well, realizing that he has legitimized the Dominion rule of the station by doing that. 

The weakest part of the episode becomes one of the strongest parts of the book.  That is, the coming of Worf's son, Alexander, to Martok's ship, where Worf is first officer.  Of course, father and son don't get along, and one only antagonizes the other. 

Martok is put to the best use here, after he has rescued Sisko and crew from the uncharted planet.  Martok watches everything that we saw on his monitors, and we get to see his reactions, as a person who knows how people act and react.  The way he anticipates Alexander's blunder in the mess hall, which starts a brawl, and Worf's actions, which leave him angered and embarrassed is really a treat.  He was able to convey a sense of eagerness, disappointment, and maturity to the story, which degenerated into shouting matches in the episode.  I loved it.

I found the parts where Sisko was maneuvering to become more powerful to be weak, and I don't really know why they were included.  The parts with the other Intelligence officer, Charlie, were also a little overplayed, with speeches that were quite long-winded.

On the other hand, I loved Martok, as I mentioned.  Kira and Odo also worked well, though these were not really their stories.  Theirs comes up in the next DS9 part of this series. 

Overall, the book added a little depth to the first part of the opening arc, giving characters thoughts and feelings, which may not have been apparent on screen.  It also gave information that we were left to speculate about in the series.  I can't wait for the next DS9 section.

 
   

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