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Now the aftermath of that choice is revealed for the first time as Sisko is summoned to Earth to take part in the first Allied talks to come out of the Federation's new partnership with the Romulans. But Sisko's conscience weighs heavily on him, compelling him to seek some kind of penance for what he has done...while elements within Starfleet itself set in motiona scheme to use Elim Garak as a pawn against a human political dissident who may hold the key to the outcome of the war.
A TALE OF THE DOMINION WAR
Or perhaps it starts later than that. A stranger comes to town, to the island in the sky. He brings suspicions with him, and so it does not take much time for him to grasp that he has been deceived. He leaves in anger, but it is not until later - not until far too late - that he realizes he has not seen everything. He has failed to see the full extent of the deception.
But perhaps it all started much earlier. A man goes on a journey. He has been cast out of his home, and now he is stranded on an island in the sky. He brings regrets with him, and scores as yet unsettled (and some not yet even made). He knows that the past cannot be wholly put aside, and he bides his time, and he watches, and he waits for his opportunity. And when he sees it, he grasps it with both hands.
And where does it start right now? A message is sent out, perhaps, summoning someone to a rendezvous, or giving someone her instructions. A message is received, instructing a path to be diverted, foretelling events to come. Slower than messages, ships set out, and pass; and, as they journey, other communications are sent, weaving between them, weaving them together. In time, it's hard to see how they're connected; like looking at a picture of old friends found in a drawer, it is hard to guess exactly where it is that they would go. But this is how it always starts. Some men go on a journey. Some strangers come to town.
What is it about a tuxedo?
Jadzia smiled as she saw Julian catch a glimpse of himself in the two-way mirror, stop, and smooth away some of the creases in the dark jacket. He started playing with the bow tie. His other hand was holding the gun.
"Is that a real one?" she said.
He looked down at the gun and then up at her. "Of course not."
"I meant, is that a real bow tie?"
"Well, of course it is!" He sounded piqued.
"Aren't the ready-made ones less trouble?"
"They are," he said, "but they don't look as good. Garak said that wearing a fake bow tie was like taking someone on a date to the Replimat. You might as well not bother."
"Oh, well," she murmured, turning away to gaze out beyond the mirror, "if Garak said so ..."
Jadzia sighed and lifted up one aching foot, squeezed into a sparkling and thoroughly unreasonable shoe. On the other side of the glass, the banquet was well under way. Soft strains of some exquisite music floated round the hall, to the clatter of silver and the tinkle of crystal. A lavish, fabulous occasion, attended by lavish and fabulous people - politicians, diplomats, ambassadors, even the odd scion of some royal family tree here and there, very odd - and all of them upstaged by their surroundings. The hall was wide enough that there were rows of chandeliers hanging from the gilded ceiling and, beyond the huge table, in front of the long row of windows, a line of golden candlesticks, each almost as tall as a man and crowned in glass lamps. The light glanced and shimmered off every surface, seeming to fill the room with jewels. From where they were hiding, Jadzia couldn't even see the hall's most spectacular feature. Seventeen huge mirrors lined one wall, facing the long windows, and reflecting all the opulence back upon itself, duplicating it. And behind one of them, looking out through a piece of fake glass, stood Julian Bashir, Secret Agent, and his beautiful assistant, Jadzia Dax, waiting to make their entrance.
She switched feet. The other was hurting just as badly. So much for glamour.
"Julian," she whispered, "when are things going to start happening?"
"Are we going to be standing here much longer? My feet are killing me!"
Julian looked down at her shoes, and relented. "Not long now," he said. "In about two minutes, the main course will be served. Just after the waiters have finished, but before the doors close, five armed and masked terrorists will burst in and fire at the ceiling -"
Jadzia glanced upward. "I don't hold out much hope for those chandeliers."
"They're only holograms, Jadzia."
"Still, they're very impressive. It seems a shame to ruin them."
"Can I carry on?"
She lowered the fake eyelashes at him, granting him permission.
"As I was saying, the terrorists will come in and take all those very prestigious guests hostage. But a moment or two after that, we burst through this false mirror, I shoot the ringleader, and then swing round to take out the other four gunmen before they know what's hit them." He stopped and frowned. "I should probably make a quip about coming through the looking glass, but that still needs a bit of work...."
"Don't worry about it," Jadzia advised. "They'll all be too busy admiring your bow tie."
He gave her a cool look, and then went back to staring through the glass. Jadzia rocked onto her toes. How she was supposed to leap through a false mirror wearing these shoes she wasn't sure. She had a vision of herself falling flat on her face. The evening gown she was wearing was a fabulous emerald green affair, but seemed unsuited for acrobatics, and, despite everything, there was nothing in Emony's memories which might help in a situation like this.... Maybe I'll let Julian do the leaping, and I'll just do some elegant strolling.
This had seemed such a good idea at the start of the evening. Julian had been so moody recently; preoccupied. She had thought asking him to take her round his spy program might cheer him up a bit. She had even hoped it might take her own mind off the casualty list she had read that morning. She certainly hadn't expected to find herself hiding behind a mirror and teetering on ludicrous heels. She wondered, mischievously, what he would say if she suggested swapping shoes, but when she turned to speak to him, she caught sight of his face, and stopped herself.
Julian was looking down at the gun. He was running his thumb along it. After a moment, he switched the gun over to his other hand, and pressed his free palm against the back of the mirror. It left a print there, the image of his fingers splayed out across the glass. He stared at it, seeming almost to be entranced by it. Jadzia frowned - and then, from the corner of her eye, she caught the door at the far end of the banqueting hall open. It was all about to start happening....
"Computer," Julian said, from beside her, his voice soft, "end program."
Everything went very quiet. Jadzia looked round. It was all gone. The mirrors, the hall, the great and the good; all the glitz and all the glamour. All of it fake. All that remained was the blank wall of the holosuite, gray-green and a bit scuffed from overuse. From too many fantasies, and too much fiction.
"Julian?" She turned to him. The gun had gone too. He was standing with both arms slack by his side, staring at the holosuite wall. "What's the matter?" she said.
With an effort, he roused himself. "I don't know.... All of a sudden it seemed a bit ... well, childish. Not the real thing." He shrugged. "You know, I think I may have outgrown it all." He gave her a smile. "Sorry about your shoes," he said, nodding down at them. "And sorry to break up the evening. Shall we just go and have a drink?"
"If that's what you want," she said. She followed him as he made his way out of the holosuite. She felt that she had missed something crucial, but she was not sure how to ask him what had just happened.
Out in the comfortable bustle of the bar, Worf was waiting for them. "Did you have a good time?" he asked, reaching for his wife's hand.
"Fine," Julian said, before Jadzia could speak.
"What do you want to drink, Julian?" she said instead.
He fumbled with the bow tie and looked around the bar. "You know, I'm actually feeling a bit tired. I think I'll just head off to bed. Thanks for a nice evening, Jadzia."
They said goodnight, and Jadzia watched him cross the bar, and worried. She reached out to lean on Worf's shoulder, supporting herself against him, and began fiddling with the strap at her ankle. Worf watched her struggle impassively.
"I do not like those shoes," he said.
"Don't worry," Jadzia replied, still watching Julian as he disappeared onto the Promenade. "I don't think I'll be wearing them again."
The cargo ship Ariadne threaded its way through space, small and purposeful, casting a line between Lissepia and Yridia. On its cramped bridge, its youngest crew member yawned and stretched and checked the time. Still an hour to go before the end of his shift, and Auger was having trouble staying awake. He thought about going to get another coffee, but decided it was too much effort. He eased back into his chair, a slight young man who twitched, with pale eyes that did not always seem to be quite focused on the here and now.
Auger stuck his legs out on top of the console in front of him, crossing his booted feet at the ankle. It was something he had seen Trasser do; he was trying the habit out to see if it fit, but it made his feet get in the way. He stared past them at the screen beyond, at the bright lights, at the specks of stars against the darkness. He picked out patterns in them; tried to see the shapes that Steyn had just taught him. One set of stars made up a club, another was like a diamond - if you ignored the missing point. He wondered what they were called. He could always check, he supposed, but a set of figures and letters wasn't really what he wanted to know. Did people on different planets see them differently, he wondered. Did they give them their own names? Make up their own stories about them? Connect up the dots in their own particular ways -
"Those boots have an impressive shine, Auger. I bet you can see your face in them." The captain's voice, deep for a woman's; only half-awake right now, but still to the point. "But they're out of place on my helm."
Auger jumped in his chair, and hastily rearranged himself, putting his feet back down. He straightened up before the helm, and tried to look busy and competent. Steyn came up to stand beside him.
"I know I run a casual ship," she muttered, "but not quite that casual."
Auger threw an apologetic glance over his shoulder. Steyn was standing with a mug cradled to her chest, and was staring down at the control panels in front of her as if hypnotized. Her eyes were hazy.
"Sorry, Captain," Auger said, brightly. "I got comfortable...."
She waved her hand at him. Stop talking. Steyn was no good first thing. She took a swig from the mug. Her eyes seemed to become a little less blurred. Black tea, Auger knew, having delivered enough cups of it to her, even in the short amount of time he had been on board. Black tea, very sweet.
She blinked a couple of times and came into focus. "Status report?" she said. "Are we still alive?"
She said something like this every morning. Auger grinned, and he caught Steyn's own smile before she hid it behind the rim of the mug.
"Looks like it," he said. "All systems running smoothly. Still right on schedule for our arrival on Yridia."
Steyn grunted an acknowledgment. She drank a little more of the tea, and then fell into the chair next to him. She heaved a deep sigh. "Any word from our guest?"
"Not a sound from him all night."
"Good." Her voice held a grim satisfaction.
Auger had not quite got to the bottom of the dislike that lay between the captain and their Lissepian client. He knew - because Steyn had said so, and often - that she took exception to how humorless Mechter was. Auger himself took more exception to how armed he was. It seemed to him to be impolite, never mind how nervous it made him feel whenever Mechter was around.... The details of their antagonism were in fact unimportant, since Auger was firmly on the side of the captain. But given how even mention of Mechter seemed to make Steyn grind her teeth, it had to be something serious, Auger guessed. It was either that or Steyn just liked something to complain about. Whichever way, as long as the captain was happy, then Auger was happy.
"I bet you'll be glad to see the back of this cargo, Captain," he said.
Steyn sighed. "Two more days," she said, "and that'll be it. I tell you, Auger, if I'd had the choice, I'd never have got myself stuck with this job. Still, you have to play the hand you're dealt."
Auger nodded, trying to look wise or, at least, trying to give the impression that he understood what the captain was talking about. He watched anxiously as Steyn brooded into her cup. He tried a safer topic.
"Do you want some more tea, Captain?" he suggested, tentatively, hoping to cheer her up. For a fleeting second, the thought of more tea did seem to perk Steyn up. Then she shook her head.
"No, I'll pass. Thanks though."
Auger went over to the replicator and got himself a coffee. He had never had the stuff before he had come on board the Ariadne, and now he was nurturing a fair addiction. He balanced his mug on the edge of the console, pulled out his chair, and started the complex maneuver of sitting down. Hundreds of muscles must be coordinated - relaxed and tensioned just so - to fold and lower the body safely to the cradling framework of upholstery, designed by experts to support the lower back during a long and arduous space journey. His mind had wandered by now far from the confines of the Ariadne to contemplating what they were going to do when they got to Yridia; this meant that his whole sitting-down maneuver was orchestrated - unintentionally and yet perfectly - to knock his coffee over. He flung out both hands and caught it just before it went flying, and then noticed how hot the mug was and said, under his breath, "Ouch." He glanced over at the captain. She had been watching his efforts with a detached and benign fascination, gnawing at the knuckle of her thumb. Auger put down the mug, and began blowing furtively on his hands. He was still busy cursing his clumsiness and thinking how much he hated looking like a fool in front of the captain when Steyn leaned forward in her chair. Her morning fog had completely lifted.
"Auger," she said evenly, "what the hell is that red light?"
The communication had come late in the station-day, the chime of the console echoing brash and loud around the empty office, and just when he had been contemplating sleep. Now Sisko sat running his finger along the edge of the desktop, trying to listen to Bill Ross.
His back ached a little, and he shifted in the seat.
Excerpted from Hollow Men (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) by Una McCormack Copyright © 2005 by Paramount Pictures. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted December 9, 2009
Let me start out by saying that I love DS9, read all the DS9 books I can find, and especially love the episode about which this book is written.
"In the Pale Moonlight" (on which this book is based) is quite possibly the most original, cleverly written episodes of the entire Star Trek franchise. It is also one of my all time favorite episodes and, as you can well imagine, I was quite delighted to discover that a book continued that particular story line.
Perhaps it should have started like this:
DISCLAIMER: AUTHOR HAS DECIDED TO CHANGE THE PERSONALITIES AND NATURES OF THE CHARACTERS ON WHICH THIS STORY IS BASED.
Garak struggling with his conscience?? And over the murder of (in his words) "one Romulan Senator, and one criminal." The very notion is ridiculous.
The dialogue between characters is amateurish and not at all insightful into their established personalities or relationships with one another.
Also included is a side-story about an odd criminal back on the station who turns out to be a robot. I kept waiting for the revelation of how this side story effected or intersected with the main story, but it never happened. It was neither exciting nor mysterious, just confusing and anticlimactic.
This is the worst Star Trek novel I have ever read.
Posted August 8, 2006
This book continues the story told in the Season 6 episode of 'Deep Space Nine' entitled 'In the Pale Moonlight,' which was probably one of the best, if not the best, episodes of 'Deep Space Nine.' If you are into 'Star Trek' but never got into 'Deep Space Nine,' I suggest you rent the series and watch it through Season 6 before reading this book. If you want to save a little time, you can even skip Season 1 and all but the last few episodes of Season 2, as it took that long for the series to mature and start to connect to the more realistic and gritty universe you occasionally saw during the end of 'The Next Generation.' If you are not a 'Star Trek' fan, 'Deep Space Nine' is the series to cut your teeth on episodes like 'In the Pale Moonlight' and books like 'Hollow Men' are futher proof that 'Deep Space Nine' was 'Star Trek's' first real foray into the realm of science fiction, and not science fantasy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 15, 2010
No text was provided for this review.