This book was very
fast-paced, and a very easy read. However, there were so many different
plots that we had very little room for anything else, including
Once again, the book is divided up into the Station Plot, and the
Defiant's Gamma Quadrant Plot. On the station, nearly everything goes to
Ro, as she picks up where the last book left off, trying to figure out
why Shakaar was killed.
I suppose my grasp of politics is incomplete enough that I initially thought
the Federation/Bajoran treaty should have continued in spite of the
attack the same way the peace treaty between Federation and Klingons did
in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. However, the new First
Minister Wadeen's judgement is very sound: if an organization within the
Federation killed Shakaar, does Bajor want to "risk" entry? They really
do need to re-evaluate their resolve to do this. Kira's emotions toward
the Federation were strange however. Just because a rogue organization
killed Shakaar, it doesn't mean the Federation is not worth joining. She
has worked with some officers worthy of huge praise, and others who were
pitiful, both in the Federation and on Bajor. She knows better, and it
seemed like the author was trying to make an issue out of something that
shouldn't have been an issue.
Ro's plan to search the station for the assassin made perfect sense
to me -it's actually similar to what I said in my review of
The cloaked ship that they tracked was an obvious decoy, except that it
didn't exist in the first place! Sending Kira on the Gryphon to pursue
it was very strange, but was really only a way to get one of the main
characters on-board the ship. Even Kira says "what the hell?" This left
Ro in charge of security, with higher-ranking officers who disliked her.
I love the way Starfleet Admiral Akaar is such a pompous character.
He personifies the Starfleet attitude, which is modeled on the American
government. He thinks he can assume authority on the Bajoran station,
though he is an invited dignitary. He tries to summon security,
forcefully suggests policy, and so on. To try and arrest Ro for
implementing security procedures is beyond his authority, and I'm glad
General Lenaris saw fit to let Ro do her job, making Akaar eat his
words, though he didn't seem very sorry afterward. Ro and Taran'atar
seemed perfectly capable of working together. I liked his attitudes
toward her "you're not supposed to do that" speeches. He sounds like
Garak, who once said that "humans make rules for war, which makes war
much more difficult to win". He doesn't realize that the means does not
justify the end, without having the people who do the investigating lose
their humanity, like Section 31. Still, it was an interesting
She finds the assassin hiding in a small alcove in ops, of all
places, and when he recovers from his fall, he reveals that Shakaar was
no longer himself -which the readers no doubt figured out by the last
book. He had been implanted with those gross aliens that Picard found
trying to take over Starfleet Command back in the first season of The
Next Generation. This feels more like setup for another series, than an
actual plot point. Was that what Shakaar had in the little green box in
Cathedral? Did Ro or Asarem ever go through his stuff and find it? It
turns out that these creatures are related to the Trill -when did that
happen? Is it like Vulcans and Romulans? Is that the big secret Dax was
holding in Cathedral that it thought put the whole Alpha Quadrant at
risk? I'm sure the details have been given in some form somewhere, and
more than likely in The Lives of Dax, which I suppose should be my next
Trek book. Regardless, now we know why Shakaar disliked the Cardassians
so much: the creature didn't seem to be able to invade Macet, which is
one of several plots left hanging for the next book (or books).
On board the Gryphon, we are given hints that the Captain has also
been infected with one of those nasty parasites. Which means that either
the story is too simplistic, or that she was not the one infected. I
expected the latter, and was correct. But it seems to me that Kira
should not have started a mutiny before she checked her fellow mutineers
-both the second officer and the doctor- for the telltale gill at the
back of the neck. Once the second officer takes over the ship, the story
turns into a re-take the ship tale, which is pretty predictable. We've
seen this too many times before for it to be completely interesting. In
the end, Kira kills the parasite, and sends a cryptic message to the
intercepting ships, captained by Solok from the baseball episode, so
that he helps them regain control of the phasers and torpedoes before
the ship can open fire on Trill.
The book seems to end too abruptly for all the stories. A Trill
officer docks with the ship to tell Kira all about the parasites' plot,
but we don't get to hear it. Somehow, it seems that they plan to disrupt
the Federation by getting Bajor admitted into the Federation, though.
That doesn't make sense, but it brings the title of the book into play:
which is the lesser evil -entry into the Federation, or remaining
Before I get to the Gamma Quadrant plot, we get a few scenes with
Joseph Sisko, who is recovering from his stroke in the last book. He is
severely depressed, however. His daughter's solution, with Kassidy's
advice? Call Miles O'Brien! Although I was ecstatic to see him again, my
first question was whether O'Brien had ever met Sisko's father, and how
useful he would be. Being the every-man, however, O'Brien found a way.
He made cabbage in Sisko's kitchen, bringing the old man out of his room
to take over. "Got a phaser?" was his response to what O'Brien should do
with the cabbage! He takes an immediate liking to Molly and Kiryoshi,
teaching Molly to ride a bicycle. In the end, he asks O'Brien to bring
him to DS9 to see his grandson be born.
The author did a great job in bringing Joseph Sisko to life. His
dialog was just perfect. He, too, assumes what he thinks is what is best
for everyone, though. Who is to say that O'Brien's children will like
Creole food at all? Being part Irish, they might like their food plain!
O'Brien's dialog didn't really do justice to the character, for the most
part, though Keiko's was just as I remember her -stilted and annoying.
Regardless, I love having O'Brien return to the station!
One interesting piece of this plot took place from Judith Sisko's
point of view. She recalls her conversation with Benjamin Sisko before
he left for Bajor, in orbit around Mars. I thought it was pretty cool.
Even though nearly half of the chapters in the book were devoted to
it, the Gamma Quadrant plot was rather mundane. As with the Station
plot, it started out really interesting, and became dull afterward.
I dislike it when normally-rational people go out of their way to
become irrational. I like it even less when a reputable commander like
Vaughn doesn't tell his crew, or at least his inner circle, what is
going on. When the Omega crisis occurred on Voyager, what would have
happened if Janeway was on an away mission at that time? The ship would
have been helpless. If she had been killed, would the information have
been given to Chakotay? I doubt it.
Here, Vaughn doesn't share anything about what he thinks is down on
the planet even with Dax. How can she effectively prepare for what lies
ahead? Bowers had every right to question his Captain, and shouldn't be
threatened with insubordination for it.
As Dax explains to him later, even if he felt like he should put his
personal feelings above duty for once, the crew of the Defiant has
supported him for a long time on this mission, and would actually be
anxious to help.
The initial search on the planet was very exciting. I liked the way
the mystery deepened, when they found a crashed Jem'hadar ship, then a
stranded Founder, then a Borg ship, which turned out to be a Borgified
Federation ship. On board, they found Prynn's mother, also Borgified. It
seems like a stretch to think that all Federation special operations
officers have transmitters implanted in their brains. Wouldn't that make
detecting them by the cultures they were spying on rather easy?
Although I somewhat enjoyed Vaughn's story of how his relationship
with Prynn's mother developed, it wasn't really interesting. Maybe it
just wasn't well-told. Compared to the rest of the book, it was kind of
stilted. Maybe Vaughn's character just doesn't interest me as much as it
should. After the tale, I figured the Borg ship must have been one of
Lore's, though it appeared to be still connected to the Collective
before it crashed. This
brings in another plot point -that the Borg might be sending scouts into
the Gamma Quadrant. I would rather see that one of Hugh's -or Lore's-
Borg ships survived, and went on its own. However, I also liked the
reference to the Pathfinder mission. As of this book, Voyager had not
returned to Earth, and the Borg had not been reduced to a Pakled-type
This plot doesn't go anywhere after Prynn started to talk with her
mother, and Vaughn felt sorry for himself. Prynn lied when she said he
was a good father, even though he was never there. Is only knowledge of his
love enough? I seriously doubt it, when he never demonstrated it. In the
end, he kills his former lover because he is convinced that she was trying to
infect Prynn with nanoprobes, after another Borg corpse tried to infect
the Founder -and might have succeeded, I think, if not for the ingenuity
of the shapeshifter. Strange. Also strange is that Bashir couldn't
restore Rurriko from her Borg self. Considering what an artificial
lifeform did with Seven-of-Nine, Bashir should have had a much easier
time, especially since Voyager's Doctor had sent his reports back to
Starfleet long ago.
I don't understand how we could go from a 50% finished mission at the
end of the last book, to a 90% finished mission on the first page of
this one. Where are all the good stories? Instead, we get a list of
numbers of friendly and hostile species.
Strangely enough, the series ends at an emotional position nearly
identical to where Avatar left off, for each of the characters.
Specifically, Prynn hates Vaughn again for killing her mother -a second
time. The other characters have some strange near-regressions, as well.
Does this mean that the books in between have no meaning?
This book was like a couple of episodes, but without the resolution
required. I don't see the reason to end a series like this on a
cliff-hanger. Aside from the thought of a parasite war in either the DS9
series or a completely new series (how would they get these characters to
Trill justifiably?), we even get the return of Jake Sisko! More than
that, he returns with former Kai Opaka! Their tale will undoubtedly be
told in full in Rising Son. There is also the mystery of how an entire
solar system was transported light-years to where the wormhole emerges
into the Gamma Quadrant.
Unfortunately, the return of Opaka is foreshadowed really poorly.
O'Brien relates how she "died" and was brought back to life just pages
before her actual return. Other background material was similarly
The book read very quickly, but was short on introspection,
especially compared to the other books in this series. The story was all
plot, and although it started out with a big bang, it started to get
strange halfway through. The first half felt like a conclusion to the
previous book, and the second half felt like setup for the next books.
It didn't feel like a conclusion to a four-book series at all. Actually,
on the Defiant side of things, only the Gamma Quadrant related the
tales, as they barely mentioned each other!
I said previously that I enjoyed seeing so many characters from the
TV show appear, but this author seems to have gone a little overboard.
Weyoun's appearance was superfluous. I don't understand why Vaughn was
so adversarial toward the Vorta, either. There is no reason to suspect
that Odo failed in his mission. Also, if he was cloned from a Gamma
Quadrant source, how would he have known Ezri, who appeared only to the
Alpha Quadrant version, which was lost.
In total, however, I did enjoy this book, probably more than I should
have. It was very much like an actual TV episode, which doesn't usually
dive deep into the psychological state of the characters. Spelling
mistakes aside -and rude cliff-hangers that changed location every
second break, this book did give us some interesting clues as to what's
ahead for the Deep Space Nine series. The book could have been twice as
long, and resolved some of the issues presented within, but it was
action-packed, and filled with tension. I wouldn't like to see too many
of these books, but once in a while, light-weight is fine.