PUBLICATION: Deep Space Nine #3, Pocket Books, August 1993
CREATORS: K.W. Jeter
STARDATE: Between Vortex and Battle Lines.
PLOT: The Cardassians are in an undisclosed space race to claim the other end of the Wormhole and when the crew of Deep Space 9 find out, they attempt to get their own substation there first. Bashir's just arrived quarantine module will be converted for just such a purpose. Meanwhile, a violent Bajoran cult, the Redemptorists, have infiltrated O'Brien's engineering crew. Their hit list includes all the Bajorans who are cooperating with the Federation, most especially Kira. They sabotage the module and their leader stows aboard to kill Kira who, with Bashir, will pilot the substation through the Wormhole. But when its engines break down mid-way, the Prophets take notice. So while Kira fights for her life, Bashir attempts to negotiate safe passage with the Wormhole aliens. Temporally shunted to the very end of the universe, Bashir can reignite the engines without hurting the Prophets, and the Redemptorist leader gets a very violent death indeed. Deep Space 9 also helps by sending an important warning via the racing Cardassian ship, allowing Kira and Bashir to win the day and stake the claim first.
CONTINUITY: Sisko seeks Opaka's advice. The Prophets pull some of the same tricks they do in Emissary. Page 213 has a prophetic line about Sisko still existing in one time.
DIVERGENCES: The Bajorans have a parliament. Odo can perfectly mimic humanoid faces and has his own quarters. The word "Prophet" seems not to be in use, especially odd in Bajorans.
SCREENSHOT OF THE WEEK
REVIEW: Religion, politics, and the backdrop of the crew still fixing the station and learning to work together makes Bloodletter fit in quite well with Season 1 despite the divergences listed above. In fact, it's hard to believe the show never used this plot with the Cardassians. Of course, the stuff with the Redemptorists WAS done and more than once, though this was written before the Circle, before Kai Winn and before the Pah-Wraiths. It tends to drag in the thriller sections, but the characters' voices are surprisingly well captured and the featured characters all get to shine (that's everyone but Dax, Quark and the absent Jake). Jeter does an especially sassy O'Brien, and fills in Kira's character with flashbacks to her youth and resistance days. Odo's excellent as well. Just a couple fixes and this thing could easily be canon.