The Cardassians aren’t our enemies any longer. They’ve never been your enemy. Your people served alongside them in the war.
Do you know their minds?
Bajorans aren’t telepaths, if that’s what you’re asking.
Do you have knowledge of their goals-their strategy?
I’m assuming they’re here to meet with the First Minister, but outside that, no, I haven’t tapped into their database or spied on their private discussions.
Then they are your enemy. The unknown is always the enemy, Lieutenant.
-Lieutenant Ro Laren and Taran’atar, Chief of Security of DS9
You gotta love a book that starts out with an excerpt from Burning Hearts of Qo’noS. It’s not central to the plot, but I just had to say it.
Mission Gamma continues with This Gray Spirit; it seems that Tennyson’s Ulysses is going to be the continuing inspiration for Mission Gamma, as both books thus far have opened with quotes from that work. The last book ended on a very high note, having resolved issues both personal and galactic. But this is DS9, the most edgy of the Treks out there, so as you might guess…things start to get a little out of hand.
There are about four plots moving along on this one; two center on the station, and two in the Gamma Quadrant. I’ll cover the Defiant situation first; after all, the arc is called “Mission Gamma”. The situation begins when the Defiant gets walloped by an attack by nanobots that cripple the ship. It seems that the ship has blundered into a disagreement between a pair of races known as the Yrythny and the Cheka. It turns out that the Cheka want to genetically engineer a servitor race (hm, that sounds familiar, don’t it?), and the Yrythny chromosomal segments that had jumped their evolution faster than usual (which they call the Turn Key). The Yrythny aren’t enthused about being lab experiments. To stir the pot a little more, the Yrythny are having some civil unrest from the two portions of their society: the Houseborn, who are the “upper crust” so to speak, and the Wanderers, who are seen as flawed-and treated like it. When Ezri Dax suggests a mediator, she discovers that she has been “volunteered” for the job.
As Ezri tries to find some way to find a middle ground between them, Shar ch’Thane is drawn into the Wanderer’s society; he also hopes to understand the Turn Key as well, in order to help the Andorian people. Yes, at last, we get the full story (well, almost) behind the plight of the Andorians. And it actually makes sense.
Speaking of the Andorians…. Back on DS9, the Cardassians come to call. Well, specifically, Gul Macet (who still rubs many Bajorans the wrong way for looking so much like his more infamous relation, the late Gul Dukat), who has brought a Cardassian ambassador to the station to speak to present something to the Bajoran people…and perhaps resolve their long standing enmity. That’s enough trouble to begin with; but Shar’s bondmates are also staying at the station, awaiting his return from the Gamma Quadrant; and one of them, Thriss, is giving every indication of being an extremely unstable person….
In some ways, we get the best of both Treks, in a manner of speaking. The Mission Gamma is very much a Star Trek story, in that the crew of the Defiant is fulfilling the Starfleet charter of “seeking out new life and new civilizations”; and while it’s been seen before, the situation with the Yrythny would fit just fine for the Next Generation or Voyager. And at the same time, we get the intrigue, politics, and character development that I’ve come to expect from Deep Space Nine.
And, naturally, we get the subplots moving along. Taran’atar is about as untrusting a fellow as you could ask for, as shown in the above quote. Quark and Ro actually go on a date (scary enough). Bashir and Dax’s relationship again hits a bit of a bumpy spot due to his concern about her relying too much on her symbiont’s other memories. And I especially like the nature of the presentation made by the Cardassians, bringing back memories of a character long gone. (I was also moderately disturbed by what happens later….)
I admit that the book doesn’t stamp itself on my mind as much as previous DS9 offerings, but the last few chapters (including the epilogue) deliver some serious punches, and keeps the reader on edge waiting for the third book.