Star Trek 1024: Antimatter

1024. Antimatter

PUBLICATION: Deep Space Nine #8, Pocket Books, November 1994

CREATORS: John Vornholt

STARDATE: Unknown (between Armageddon Game and Whispers)

PLOT: Bajor is building its first starship since the Occupation, the USS Hannibal for Starfleet. But the project is plagued by terrorists who bomb the shipyard, then hijack the tanker full of antimatter destined for the Hannibal. Sisko, Odo and Dax are in pursuit, leading them to the planet Eco in the Gamma Quadrant where they use undercover identities to infiltrate both the Bajoran terrorist cell (who plans to destroy the Wormhole with the antimatter to end the Federation presence on Bajor) and the Ferengi doing business with them. The natives of Eco are an insect species with a hive mind, and that hive mind sees an opportunity for profit in the whole affair. It blackmails Sisko, threatening to blow his cover if it doesn't get a piece of the action. Everyone wants antimatter! Odo steals into the Ecocid hive and kidnaps the queen, holding her for ransom in exchange for not interfering. After defeating the Bajorans, our heroes attempt to evade the Ferengi Marauder and get the antimatter back to DS9. The Marauder is destroyed by Cardassian fighters who've gone after the loot, and in turn, Dax uses an antimatter pod to destroy the fighters. When the tanker and runabout make it back to the Alpha Quadrant, renegade Klingons in the Bajorans' employ destroy the tanker, but the explosion isn't big enough to destroy the Wormhole. The runabout docks crammed with antimatter pods. The Hannibal successfully launches.

CONTINUITY: The antimatter tanker is called Phoenix, presumably after Zefram Cochrane's historical ship (First Contact). The terrorists are remnants of the Circle (The Circle). Admiral Nechayev has been supervising DS9's operations since Emissary. Her choice of replacement for Sisko would have been Shelby (The Best of Both Worlds).

DIVERGENCES: The show never mentions Bajor's shipyard either before or after this.

REVIEW: John Vortnolt's sixth original Star Trek novel, and his only take on DS9, is a pretty good one. While TOS and TNG novels tend to feel like disposable one-offs, DS9 books are much better at building on the world that's already there. There's still a new species to explore, the Ecocids, a role that could easily have been played by your run-of-the-mill humanoid, but Vornholt plays with a totally alien idea to good and original effect. He also has a lot of fun with his action scenes and such moments as Sisko being assailed by a Ferengi harem (which narrowly avoids tawdriness). This is definitely a good book for Sisko and Dax, but everyone gets a little something to do, especially Kira. The characters sound reasonably like themselves, and the story fits the larger tale of Bajor's entry into the galactic community. So what if the premise is basically the same as Past Prologue's?


mwb said...

Hmm, doesn't sound half bad.

I tried some of the ST:TNG novels once and wasn't overly excited about them.

But I never tried the DS9 ones (I thought the series itself was the best of the bunch.)

Siskoid said...

Amen to that, brother.


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