Star Trek: Mere Anarchy #4: The Darkness Drops Again

Star Trek: Mere Anarchy #4: The Darkness Drops Again

by Christopher L. Bennett

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Mere Anarchy

A new six-part epic covering thirty years of Star Trek ® history, continuing with an adventure that takes place between The Motion Picture and The Wrath of Khan !

Book 4: The Darkness Drops Again

The rebuilding of Mestiko is starting to make progress: the atmosphere is partially restored and Federation scientists are introducing new methods of replenishing the planet's biosphere. But their efforts are being stymied by the growing power of the mar-Attya, who shun all offworlders.

The arrival of the Starship Enterprise under the command of James T. Kirk proves less than fortuitous, as the ship becomes a flashpoint for all of Mestiko's troubles. Now Raya elMora, the leader of the planetary council, finds herself facing exile -- which could spell doom for Mestiko....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416534525
Publisher: Pocket Books/Star Trek
Publication date: 02/01/2007
Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 108
Sales rank: 307,041
File size: 226 KB

About the Author

Christopher L. Bennett is the author of two previous works of Titan fiction, the novel Star Trek: Titan: Orion’s Hounds and the short story "Empathy" in the Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows anthology. He has also authored such critically acclaimed novels as Star Trek: Ex Machina, Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Buried Age, and Star Trek: The Next Generation: Greater Than the Sum, as well as the alternate Voyager tale Places of Exile in Myriad Universes: Infinity’s Prism. Shorter works include Star Trek: SCE #29: Aftermath and Star Trek: Mere Anarchy: The Darkness Drops Again, as well as short stories in the anniversary anthologies Constellations (original series), The Sky’s The Limit (TNG), Prophecy and Change (DS9), and Distant Shores (VGR). Beyond Star Trek, he has penned the novels X-Men: Watchers on the Walls and Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder, and is also developing original science fiction novel concepts

Read an Excerpt

On the Air

"Good midday, and welcome to Mestiko This Week. I'm Hanni orLitza. Before much longer, it will have been a dozen years -- a dozen Mestiko years, I should say for the benefit of our nonnative viewers -- since the Pulse ravaged our planet. For those years, we have looked outside our domes and tunnels to see a surface barren of life. Now, the Zamestaad and the Federation are about to institute a program that they claim will begin the gradual process of restoring the surface to habitability. Will this program be successful? Is it too slow a response to Mestiko's needs? Or is it, as many claim, merely another step in an insidious agenda to transform Mestiko into an alien colony, or worse?"

Hanni turned to face the second camera, maintaining his earnest expression but making sure his pose still afforded a good view of the elaborate tattoos on his left cheek and neck, which the director considered more photogenic than the ones on his right. "Joining me to discuss these questions today are Blee elTorno, former councillor and current chief of staff to the Jo'Zamestaad." The on-air monitor cut to a close-up of Blee, a dainty, soft-featured woman who was unusually young for a person of her status. "Nal Kotyar, leader of the Payavist Inward Party." Kotyar was a tall, lean Tazokkan woman, her tattoos basic and simple, serving the traditional function of denoting caste and family rather than the modern, purely decorative use that the Tazokkans scorned. If not for that and her pinched, haughty expression, she would have been quite a beauty. "Dr. Marat Lon, the Federation's chief scientific advisor to the Zamestaad." Dr. Lon was a lean, ascetic-featured human, yellow-pink of skin and covered in fur over much of his body, though his neck was not quite as stubby as most humans' and his head was less fur-covered than it had been several years ago. "And Odra maVolan, spokesman for the mar-Atyya spiritual movement." Like the human, maVolan was entirely devoid of tattoos, his faith considering them impure. But with no body hair to compensate, his skin seemed austere and naked, like a blank parchment. His eyes were whitish as well; he had been blinded by ultraviolet exposure following the Pulse and had refused offworld treatment to cure it.

"Thank you, Hanni," maVolan interposed, taking his introduction as an invitation to speak. "I'd like to begin by protesting the use of the Gelta term Mestiko for our world, which should be more rightly called hur-Atyya."

"Uhh, thank you for pointing that out, sir. Of course, in mar-Atyya belief, our world is hur-Atyya, the Home touched by God. And of course, this network intends no slight to the linguistic or religious preferences of any of our world's diverse peoples. For clarity's sake, however -- "

Kotyar interrupted. "Then why continue using a name in the language of the Gelta? Those neckless wonders are all but extinct now. And it serves them right for conspiring with the Dinpayav to keep the Pulse secret from us."

"That's absurd!" Dr. Lon exclaimed. "It was the Gelta government's own choice to keep the secret, at a time when the Federation was preparing to initiate first-contact proceedings. We simply respected their -- "

"Please, Dr. Lon," Hanni said, reasserting himself.

"You'll each get a chance to speak. Actually, I'm glad you brought that up, Nal, because I'd like to begin with a recap of the events of the past twelveyear. As you say, it began when Gelta scientists discovered a rogue pulsar, now popularly called the Scourer, entering our star system." The screen showed a graphical representation of the Scourer and its trajectory through the Hertex system. "Many astronomers had suspected the presence of a massive body due to the changes they had begun to detect in the orbits of the outer planets, but only the Gelta's deep-space telescopes were in the right position to detect the narrow cones of deadly radiation that sprayed out from this spinning orb.

"At the time, a Federation precontact team was clandestinely monitoring our world -- "

"Spying, you mean," said Kotyar.

" -- and communicating with the Gelta scientists. Opinions remain divided on what role the offworlders played in the decision to keep the discovery secret from the people."

"What?" It was Lon again. "There's no doubt what happened. The whole thing is thoroughly documented in the contact team's records, all of which have been public for years."

Kotyar scoffed. "As if that were an unbiased source."

Hanni tried to continue. "While Mestiko -- or hur-Atyya, if you prefer -- remained in the dark, the Federation debated what action, if any, it should take. Eventually an experimental array of force-field satellites was deployed to shield Mestiko from the pulsar's radiation, but the Federation's delay in dealing with the crisis meant that the shield was deployed with mere hours to spare."

"Now, that's not right," Lon said. "Mestiko was in no danger until the emission cones intersected it, so there was no point in acting any -- "

"Dr. Lon, please. You'll be given a chance to rebut."

"Typical," Kotyar said. "You've been letting this alien monopolize the discussion already, and now you're promising him more time while the rest of us have hardly gotten a word in."

"I assure you, everyone will be given an equal chance."

"Then why are you only echoing the Dinpayav party line about the heroic Kirk of Starfleet saving us from the Pulse? What about the large numbers of Payav who sincerely believe that the Federation set the Scourer on us in the first place in order to soften us up for conquest?"

"So it is written," maVolan intoned. "The mar-Tunyor were sent to bring about the Cleansing and test the resolve of the faithful. The Scouring Fire was their instrument."

Inevitably, Lon interrupted again. "That's insane! Federation technology is nowhere near capable of moving masses of that size."

"So you say."

"Dr. Lon, please, let's avoid name-calling here."

But Lon talked over Hanni. "That's why we had to use a shield in the first place. There was no chance of diverting the pulsar."

Kotyar, in turn, talked over most of Lon's second sentence. "A shield that didn't work."

"If it hadn't worked, none of you would be alive right now. It was an experimental technology operating in an intensely irradiated environment -- it's amazing it worked as well as it did."

Blee elTorno spoke for the first time. "With respect, Doctor, that's easy to say if you didn't live through the Pulse, or its aftermath. Yes, we are fortunate to be alive and we are grateful to the Federation for its role in that. But in no way can the word well be used for anything we endured in the Pulse."

"Indeed," Hanni said, taking quick advantage of the opening to get back on course. "The consequences of the Pulse were truly devastating. More than a billion dead in the Pulse or the ferocious storms immediately following it. More dying ever since due to famine, lack of medicine, violence, and suicides. Our planet rendered barren, our people huddled underground. Even the heavens themselves have been rearranged. Our moons have shifted in their orbits, with Varnex growing and shrinking in the sky with each cycle and Kifau pulled out of orbit altogether to become an independent planetoid. Mestiko's own orbit is changed, bringing more extreme seasons.

"And our relationship with the worlds beyond our star system is forever changed as well. Now we have been thrust into a community of alien worlds whose power and advancement dwarf our own, dependent on them for our very survival...and sometimes at the mercy of their factional disputes. It was two years before the Federation brought us satellites to clear the toxic smog from our air, and almost immediately those satellites became weapons in a territorial clash between them and the Klingon Empire, hurtled from the sky to bombard refugees and orphans. Councillor Traal, leader of the Norrb nation and one of the leading forces behind Payav survival in those early years, gave his life to bring an end to this conflict."

Lon had been struggling to restrain himself, but only until Hanni took a breath. "We didn't bring the aerostats -- the satellites, as you call them -- earlier because our initial priority was arranging basic shelter and survival. Since then, they have successfully purged the nitrogen oxides from your atmosphere and have been reconfigured for ozone production."

"This is mar-Tunyor propaganda," maVolan said. "Our world is the holy abode of life, and its regeneration has come despite the alien elements."

"Yes, we'll be addressing that issue shortly," Hanni told him. "Certainly, our relationship with alien races has been a source of controversy. For nearly a twelveyear, we have depended on their technology and resources for our sustenance, and for the hope of our world being made habitable again. And yet many complain that the offworld powers act more for their own interests than ours. They say not enough has been done to improve living conditions, to provide medicines for the diseases that ravage our close-packed populations. Many feel the Zamestaad itself is an instrument of alien policy, more interested in appeasing powerful interstellar states than tending to the needs of Mestiko."

"Don't downplay it like the media always do," Kotyar spat. "Let's not forget that Raya elMora herself was implicated in the conspiracy to arm insurrectionist factions with alien weaponry."

"Excuse me," Blee interposed. "Jo'Zamestaad Raya had no awareness at first that Alur orJada was smuggling Klingon weapons to Mestiko -- specifically, to militant Payavist factions that to this day are allied with the Inward Party and the mar-Atyya. Once she learned of this and was provided with proof by Admiral Kirk, she herself came forward -- "

"Former Admiral Kirk," Kotyar interrupted. "He's been demoted. Even his own masters must think his performance was inadequate."

"He took that demotion willingly so he could command his ship against V'Ger," Lon said.

"Yes, and isn't that interesting?" Kotyar shot back. "The Federation had only three days' notice of this so-called V'Ger and were able to save their homeworld without a single life lost. Yet they had the better part of a year's notice of the Pulse and allowed half our population to die! That proves the lie behind their claims that they wish to help us."

"We've done nothing but help you! The Federation has devoted massive resources to the restoration of Mestiko. We've spent years gearing up for the major terraforming effort we're about to undertake, tasked dozens of ships to ferry personnel and materials here. That's part of the reason Earth was so underdefended when V'Ger came."

"Oh, so now it's our fault you almost lost your homeworld? Supposedly."

"The point is, we were willing to put our own world at risk to help yours. The least you could do is show some gratitude."

Kotyar thrust out a bony finger. "There it is! That Dinpayav arrogance, this insistence that we should be down on our knees thanking you for the meager scraps of food and medicine you give us."

"I'm sure he didn't mean that," Blee told her. "Let's remember all Dr. Lon himself has done to restore our atmosphere."

"And of course, the Jo'Zamestaad's puppet, the puppet's puppet, does her best to underline the Dinpayav doctrine of infallibility. Every time the good people of Mestiko dare to challenge the alien party line, the government and the media remind us of how they've saved us from annihilation, and we're not allowed to question their sincerity for fear of seeming to trivialize the disaster. Well, I'll tell you, no one has profited as much from the Pulse as the Dinpayav have. Except maybe for Raya elMora and her cronies, who seized power only by virtue of being the ones who were left, and who've used the disaster to justify trampling our national sovereignty."

"Every nation in the world was devastated," Blee countered. "We have to cooperate to survive. The Zamestaad simply facilitates that cooperation."

"Facilitates the mar-Tunyor agenda, you mean," maVolan said. "Aids them in keeping us weak and starving as they pursue their mad experiments to contaminate our blessed abode with the unclean spawn of other spheres."

"Oh, please," the human cried, "you'd have to be mad to believe that!"

"Dr. Lon," Hanni said, "I've warned you about name-calling."

Lon stared. "What about calling aliens 'mar-Tunyor'? It means 'touched by evil'! Doesn't that count as name-calling?"

"We're not in the business of censoring religious expression here, Doctor."

"Then why," Kotyar countered, "do you insist on only reporting the Dinpayav ecological dogma in your broadcasts? The majority of Payav believe that our biosphere is regenerating on its own, that these alien plants and animals being introduced are only going to suppress its recovery."

"Pure superstition," Lon said. "Most indigenous species have been driven nearly or completely extinct. Oxygen levels are falling because there isn't enough plant life left. Nothing is going to recover without help. Now, the plants we're seeding were developed for terraforming my homeworld, Mars. They grow rapidly and thrive in cold conditions, their dark color absorbs heat and accelerates the melting of permafrost, and they're powerhouses of oxygen produc -- "

"Their very existence is a desecration," maVolan declared. "The people of hur-Atyya will not tolerate their presence in our holy abode. Nor will they tolerate a regime that allows free rein to the mar-Tunyor desecrators."

"Our administration has done everything it could," Blee said, "to respect the wishes of the people and ensure that the restoration effort remains Mestiko-oriented. We've pushed to guarantee that Payav are involved in as many key positions as possible and to ensure that as many native life-forms as possible are preserved and incorporated into the new biosphere."

Kotyar turned up her nose. "Symbolism. Nothing but a sop to the people."

"Hardly," Lon said. "It's a politically motivated, scientifically unsound policy that has served only to delay our work."

"Your work to turn our world into another Earth!"

"It's not like that! If you'll just let me -- "

"I'm sorry," Hanni said, "but we're out of time for this segment. When we return, we'll examine viewer response to our poll question: Is the alien terraforming plan the answer to restoring our world, or should Mestiko be allowed to recover on its own? You may log your response during the break, if you haven't done so already. The results should be illuminating."

"No, they won't!" Lon cried. "You can't illuminate matters of scientific fact with opinion polls! Reality isn't decided by majority rule!"

But the break had already begun, Lon's microphone was off, and no one heard him outside the studio -- while the people inside mostly ignored him. Hanni sighed in relief, glad for a respite from dealing with this contentious bunch. Still, the director looked pleased. It had no doubt been a most entertaining spectacle.

Copyright © 2007 by CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Star Trek 0 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not one of the best ST:TOS novels, but not bad. It's meant as a fill-in between the encounter with V'Ger, & The Wrath of Khan. Kirk's having the usual problems with being stereotyped as hero or villain, Spock's working through the aftereffects of his mind-meld with V'Ger (& the bigoted attitudes of some Vulcans), McCoy's dealing with new medical technologies & biologies he's never met before & feeling somewhat inadequate. And the other 'originals' are having their own problems. This on top of being sent to deal with a theological clash turned physically violent among some old acquaintances.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The second story was the best! Loved it! Great read if ur a star trek and a J/C fan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I started reading the book I couldn't put it down. It kept my interest all the way though.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I continue to enjoy the cross-over incorporation of elements from The Next Generation television series. The continued character development has definitely improved the flow on this novel. It was a good read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Star Trek Universe.
Solarix-Star More than 1 year ago
An interesting concept in star trek taking you outside what is considered the federation. A great read if a little abstract at times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book! This novel finally answers why it's usually only starships that experience time displacement problems and why it's nearly impossible for the proverbial "average Joe" to travel back into time to change something minor in regards to a mistake he may have made in his life. It also tackles the subject of what the point of any action is since there is an infinite amount of alternate realities where that action would never have taken place or would have had numerous outcomes. And they're actually refferng to the Manheim Event and the Berlinghoff Rasmussen debacle!! Finally!!!! This novel is a gold mine of one-off characters that have appeared in Star Trek lore never to be seen or heard from again. It was nice to not only see them again, but find out how the DTI was founded (a foundation that was based in canon). And, FINALLY, a reason is given why the Guardian of Forever acted the bizarre way it did and why it made no sense of what the Borg did in "First Contact." Certain species that we rarely ever saw after their initial introduction are finally seen. Even the mystery surrounding VGER is solved, to a degree (though it's just one little line), the reasons for the convoluted differences in Kes' version of the "Year of Hell" and what really happened in the "Year of Hell" after she left the ship, and why Janeway wasn't immediately arrested after blatantly ignoring temporal laws when her future self brought her crew back sooner than they ever should have been in "Endgame." Lots of new species shown and it's refreshing that these species really have no need for the Federation as they have their own political realities. Lots of species from the past and future that have never been seen in a Star Trek novels before. The book also fixes mistakes made during Star Trek's television run (especially "Enterprise's." Up until I read this book, I didn't realize how many stupid ENT storyline errors there were), the fact that it couldn't possibly have been Samuel Clemens in "Time's Arrow," (or at least why it is highly problematic that it was him), etc. And not only that, but the book features a plethora of incredible insights in regards to how some individuals viewers always thought were right are wrong, vice-versa. Benevolent beings seem more sinister and those that have been maligned by history seem to have actually had good intentions, after all. It also makes it very clear that the universe did just fine before the Federation and will do so after. It actually fixed the mess that the "Temporal Cold War" was on ENT (not an easy thing to do!). I genuinely loved reading this book!
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MikeDeLaney More than 1 year ago
I should preface this by saying that I really enjoyed the other two Myriad Universes books. I like the alternate takes on established characters and lore. With that said, this was easily the most expensive, and most disappointing of the entries in this series. None of these stories actually felt like it was worthwhile or complete. That this was double the amount of the other entries in the series, I presumed it was longer or better. It is neither. In fact, I can't recommend this. Save your money, get a different Trek book.
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Arthur Schwab More than 1 year ago
This book is simply outstanding. It excellently ties in the events of the Typon Pact series while expanding into an untapped area of the Star Trek universe while also challenging modern day concepts of time that the average person would otherwise never think twice about. This is a must read for ant Trek fan!
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717Reader More than 1 year ago
First, who thinks a book that says "STAR TREK" on the cover is a Star Wars book?! Anyway, this is the first ST book I have ever given up on. A third of the way through and I've yet to determine if there is even a plot. The movement back and forth through time is cute for a book about time travel but it just makes the story confusing, especially when reading on a Nook. I consider myself moderately intelligent and educated but this is just a pain, reading should be enjoyable. There are so many wonderful ST books out there, don't bother with this one.
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