I just wanted to thank you for your vote of confidence in me. But I’m confused about what you said regarding my Starfleet status. My commission was always supposed to be temporary. I resigned it when I returned from Cardassia after the war.
Did you? We must have lost the paperwork.
-Colonel (Commander?) Kira Nerys of DS9 and Admiral L. J. Akaar of Starfleet
Lesser Evil is the grand finale of the Mission Gamma books. But is it truly grand?
On Bajor, things have gone to hell. A major figure has just been assassinated, and it looks like someone in the Federation’s to blame. At a time when Bajor was dead certain to be joining the United Federation of Planets, a bold move has derailed the process. Needless to say, Kira Nerys is not happy with seeing the bright future that was opening up near the end of the last book go down the toilet. For that matter, the Federation ambassadors aren’t too thrilled by it, either-and when a cloaking signature is found heading away from the station is detected, a Starfleet ship is dispatched to pursue, with a Bajoran officer (hm, wonder who) tagging along to help. Ro Laren, on the other hand, isn’t at all certain that all is at it seems; and as chief of station security, she takes it very personally….
In the meantime, the mission in the Gamma Quadrant is reaching conclusion. The previous books only have touched upon some of the highlights, as chapter one shows that they’ve made a bunch of new friends, some new enemies, and essentially done a pretty good job on fulfilling Starfleet’s charter to explore strange new worlds, and seek out new life and new civilizations. But the Defiant stumbles upon something that isn’t at all new, and potentially very, very dangerous-and for Commander Elias Vaughn, something very personal-something that overrides his better judgment, but something he can not ignore.
And in a bit of a subplot, Joseph Sisko, father of that famous captain, is recovering physically from a collapse, but emotionally he’s a wreck, dealing with not only the loss of his son, but possibly his grandson as well. We get to meet Ben Sisko’s sister (I didn’t know he had a sister; I guess I don’t qualify as being a serious Trekkie, I guess!), who seems to have a good head on her shoulders, but can’t figure out what to do about her father. Luckily, her sister-in-law has a desperate idea that might help.
Of the four Mission Gamma books, this one certainly had the smallest page count; it also was the least impressive. If this were an episode on television, I’d say this was a filler episode. The encounter in the Gamma Quadrant seems contrived (even given the way the Orbs affected Vaughn, this stretches coincidence way too far); while I don’t have a problem with certain aspects of it (and I hate having to tip-toe around it, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise), the personal aspect makes little sense to me. I also have a problem with the way it all turns out in the end. This isn’t to say that there weren’t good points to it-because it does fill in some gaps in Vaughn’s background, which is good; and I did like the reasoning behind the reasons why the Defiant detected the signal leading to this encounter (although I refer to the personal reasons, not the coincidental nature of it).
On the Alpha Quadrant front; well, I didn’t see this one coming. My predictions foresaw a certain shadowy organization (although I won’t rule out their involvement completely-they can make a guy paranoid!) behind all this. However, the explanations create a nice tie between DS9 and the Next Generation-and explain a bit on just what was going on with Shakaar Edon before it all hit the fan in the last book. Ro gets a chance to show off a bit, with a little help of the local Jem’Hadar soldier (nice to see him being useful again instead of scaring the locals). I was also happy to see Kira getting a chance to show off a bit too, joining the Starfleet pursuit-especially when certain truths become known, which are setting things up for a very different kind of conflict that won’t necessarily be fought in space. I’m also a bit cheered to see a little bit of the maverick in Admiral Akaar; “lost the paperwork”, indeed!
While Lesser Evil itself didn’t leave me with the same feeling as the rest of the series had, it did manage to put together a passable story (well, at least in the Alpha Quadrant); and we get to see the return of a number of characters-including the most tortured man in Starfleet, the slimiest character in the Dominion, and the-well, heck, I’ll leave the last couple as a surprise (and no fair peeking at the inside back cover). It does advance the main storyline of Deep Space Nine, but it didn’t have the same “meat” to it as the other books had.
In closing, the Mission Gamma series seems to be pretty good; while it often seemed that the goings-on at Bajor overshadowed the Defiant mission, it did manage to blend the continuing storyline that fans of DS9 enjoy with the episodic stories that characterized the other Star Trek series. We got insight on the most mysterious of the current cast, closure on some storylines, movement on the strange relationship between Quark and Ro, and a peek at the potential future for Bajor and the Federation. All in all, I’d say Mission Gamma was a very respectable series.
So far, the Deep Space Nine relaunch continues to gather steam!