Unity by S. D. Perry

I know what it is, to stay in pain.  You think it’s beyond your control, that you don’t have a choice…but you can decide to let it go.  Because here’s the thing-even if it’s true, even if you actually murdered her, it doesn’t matter anymore.  Whatever happened, it’s the past, now.  For you, this place is like a cage of the past.  It’s a trap.  And you can leave it behind.  You can-you must-choose to set yourself free.
-Benny Russell


It’s been a long time coming.

It has been almost nine months since the end of the Dominion War.  In that time, much has happened.  Kira Nerys took over command of the station Deep Space Nine, defied the vedeks of Bajor, became Attainted, and saw a former love assassinated.  Ro Laren became security chief, and became involved with-of all people-Quark.  Doctor Bashir and Ezri Dax continued their relationship, even through the manipulations of Section 31 and a grueling mission in the Gamma Quadrant.  New crew came aboard, both of Starfleet-Elias Vaughn and Shar ch’Thane-and of elsewhere-Taran’atar.  Kasidy Yates, the wife of the departed (?) Captain Ben Sisko is about to give birth.  Jake Sisko, long missing, has been found in the Gamma Quadrant, in the company of the most revered figure on Bajor outside of the Emissary.  Bajor itself is a breath away from joining the United Federation of Planets.

But there’s still a number of things that are not well.  The U. S. S. Defiant is returning from the Gamma Quadrant, its command crew emotionally beaten down-only to be confronted by a number of Cardassian warships.  Shar must deal with the fallout from the suicide of one of his bondsmates.  Vaughn and his daughter must deal with the fallout of Vaughn’s killing of Prynn’s mother.  Ro and Quark have to figure out just what their future will be after the Federation accepts Bajor, as both feel as if they do not fit in such an environment.  And Kira has to deal with the fallout of the assassination of the late First Minister of Bajor, and the reasons behind it-a war between alien forms of life that use humanoids as a battlefield.  This is the setup of Unity, the latest of the post-finale Deep Space Nine novels, the climax of a whole bunch of long running storylines, and the second hardcover for this series (anybody remember Warped?).

There’s a lot stuffed into this book.  The biggie is the war between the Trill (more specifically, their symbiotes) and the parasites (last seen waay back in the Next Generation early episodes).  To say the parasites have big plans is putting it mildly-and Perry does a great job in getting me to believe that they can pull them off.  You think the Borg are scary?  You can at least see the Borg coming a mile away!  And these things aren’t exactly locked into a logical mindset.  But to be honest, that was almost a subplot as far as I was concerned.

The real juicy parts of this book was how the various subplots built up over the last several books started coming to fruition.  Shar finally has it out once and for all with his family, making a decision that will change his life forever.  Vaughn finds that he’s taken one hit too many with the end of the Mission Gamma books, and finds that he may not even be able to reconcile with his daughter anymore.  And lest I forget-Kasidy is just about to give birth, and since it’s nice to have family and friends on hand, the remaining Sisko clan, including the long absent Jake, and the O’Briens show as well (and you know the Chief can’t resist helping out his old friends on the station a little).  Opaka Sulan is also back on Bajor, and her arrival creates a bit of a stir amongst the spiritual leaders of the world, including Vedek Yevir; hm, talk about having your ambitions thwarted just a bit….

Hm, and what about that extra face on the cover….?  Hmmm…..  And what about Wex, from Rising Son?  What’s her story?  And why’s she hanging around the local Jem’Hadar?  And what will become of Bajor and its relationship to the Federation?  Expect answers….

Let me say it plainly-this was a helluva book.  What I have always seen as the greatest strength behind Deep Space Nine has always been in the complicated characters, from Ben Sisko to Gul Dukat, from Elim Garak to Jake Sisko. Unity took that strength, along with a very nice plotline, and ran with them.  By the time the book ended, it felt as if I had seen another season finale for Deep Space Nine-one of the non-cliffhanger type.  After all, there are a number of major changes, and all have far reaching consequences.  But, up until the last two pages, I was almost certain I was seeing the end of the DS9 relaunch (sure, I know about the Worlds of Deep Space Nine series, but it’s not the same….).  But it’s hard to still feel that way when the last sentence says “The Saga of Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine Will Continue”.

To which I say:  “Good”.

(2012 note:  this gets to be the first repost because it’s the one that’s actually still floating around on some sites on the Internet-even on Amazon.com.)

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