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A novel by S.D. Perry (2006, Pocket Books)
Star Trek Deep Space Nine Relaunch Book 8

Kira, near death, experiences a vision of the future among the Prophets, as Vaughn tracks the renegade Taran'atar to his destination.



Read February 1st to 9th, 2009  

This was a filler book if I ever saw one, a real bridge with very little to do except get the characters from one place at the beginning of the book to the next place at the end of the book, hopefully making the journey interesting at the same time. This book did the first, but was quite lacking in the second.

One thing that struck me as annoying was the writing style. The author would show events from several points of view. Each point of view would contain the same dialog, though, which made it repetitious when it didn't have to be. Instead of repeating comments heard on a comm-badge over and over, the author could summarize what was said in commentator form. There were also a lot of repeated clichés, or usages of the same terms to tell us what Taran'atar resembled at this point in his flight, which got really annoying, too.

The story only takes about a day, and picks up during the last chapter of Olympus Descending, from the Ferenginar/Dominion book. There are only a handful of actual scenes. Bashir transports Ro and Kira to sick-bay, where Kira's heart is replaced and a revolutionary new procedure is used to repair Ro's spine. Quark spends all his time by Ro's bed, comforting her, while Kira spends the day with the Prophets. My review of Horn and Ivory relates how the ancient Bajora who fought with swords and spears had no impact on me whatsoever. Their return here at least has some purpose, but I still didn't enjoy the swords and sorcery style of the plot.

The point of having Kira spend so much time among the Prophets was to impress upon her the threat the Ascendants pose to everybody. Odo went searching for an Ascendant, who freed Opaka and her followers from the deathless planet in Rising Son. Jake Sisko found the Eav'oq who had hidden their planet in subspace forever, and who were returned to normal space in that same book. Apparently the Prophets were guides to the Ascendants and the Eav'oq before the Bajorans, and now all three of the "children" races are coming back. The Ascendants, however, are single-minded in their beliefs, and will destroy all in their paths. Kira in ancient times agrees to help the Eav'oq defend their fortress, knowing it will be a hopeless battle. I wonder what the authors of this series have in store for that war.

The main plot of the book is Taran'atar, and discovering why he left Kira near death, and why he suddenly hates her so much. As I suspected back in Fragments and Omens, the Bajor story of the Worlds of DS9, the person who destroyed the village was actually Kira of the Alternate Universe. She has been subliminally programming Taran'atar to come to her and be her slave. Nog manages to piece this together from the ruined communications device in the Jem'hadar's quarters.

Taran'atar steals a runabout, which happens to be piloted by Prynn Tenmei. Vaughn goes after them in the Defiant. Taran'atar is always one step ahead of Vaughn, though, and I had trouble believing the Starfleet officers were so predictable. Prynn sabotages the runabout, but only after Vaughn thinks she is dead because he detonated a comet with her comm-badge attached to it, thinking he was beaming her up. Prynn's sabotage seems to be for nothing, however, as she only gets ties up tighter with every incident. I suppose it makes it more interesting than having her compliant the whole time, but the only reason for her to be aboard the runabout was to cause Vaughn grief and to place her in the Harkoum cavern to save Vaughn at the end.

For Taran'atar is going to Harkoum, an abandoned Cardassian prison planet. We are given a snippet of how wretched the planet is by the bounty hunters sent to kill the "Cardassian woman", who turns out to be the woman surgically altered to look like Kira back in the TV series. She is hunting the Intendent Kira, who had discovered a way to hack into not just this alternate universe, but as many more as she wants. At the end of the book, as Taran'atar is pledging his loyalty to Intendant Kira, another Kira materializes and kills the Intendent! That was quite a surprise, and I wonder what universe she comes from, now!

Vaughn hunts Taran'atar down to the lowest levels of the prison, where he plans to use a make-shift device to remove the conditioning on the Jem'hadar. He fails, and Prynn also fails to save him. Strangely enough, it is the Intendent who calls Taran'atar to her universe which saves the two of them, though she activates the facility's self-destruct. I really thought they were going to let Vaughn die at the end, but Prynn jumps overboard to catch him, and they are in turn caught by the Klingon cruiser Taran'atar commandeered when Prynn sabotaged the runabout.

I didn't like the way the characters were described as having so many broken bones, yet are able to continue on a few pages later as if nothing happened. The escape scenes are a prime case, as both Vaughn and Prynn were badly beaten by Taran'atar, yet they still managed to climb and fight and hold onto a ship as it navigated small tunnels and away from a giant explosion. Which leads to another question: was this the most violent DS9 book yet? So many people were killed for no real reason by Taran'atar and the bounty hunters. I wonder how much of it was really necessary.

In the end, we get yet another cliff-hanger, with presumably a mirror-universe crisis in the waiting. How many Kira's are we going to see in the next Trilogy? I can only hope it is written better than this book.


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