Star Trek 744: The Siege

744. The Siege

PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine #2, Pocket Books, May 1993

CREATORS: Peter David

STARDATE: Between Captive Pursuit and Q-Less.

PLOT: As the Wormhole becomes temporarily unusable thanks to "subspace compression", Edemian religious zealots board the station tp preach their faith. They have a young son with a curable disease, but their faith prevents them from treating him. At the same time, a Ferengi who hates Quark's guts proposes a business deal - the purchase of the station itself. Against the backdrop of those subplots, a changeling serial killer called Meta has started killing seemingly random people on DS9. In the end, we learn that Meta is an assassin hired by the Ferengi to kill Quark, the other murders red herrings. Bashir unethically convinces the Edemian mom to get her son treated, attracting an Edemian warship to the station, just as a Cardassian ship sidles over as well because a Cardassian officer was killed by Meta. The climax involves lots of shapeshifting, Odo hanging on to a fleeing runabout caught in the warships' crossfire, and Meta being torn apart by the Wormhole's compression.

CONTINUITY: The book opens with a Borg Cube being smooshed by the Wormhole. Meta at one point morphs into a Mugato. Dukat appears. Peter David uses some of his stock characters from TNG novels, Meyer, Tang and Boyajian (later on New Frontier).

DIVERGENCES: "The Siege" would later become the title of a second-season episode. Later episodes put the lie to Odo meeting another changeling so early. Quark has a XXX holosuite program that includes a Kira dancing girl, contradicting "Meridian". When Odo turns into a mouse, he retains his normal weight, which isn't how it worked on the show. As David has been known to opine: It's the show that got it wrong. Can't say I disagree.

REVIEW: Peter David writes some of the most entertaining Star Trek fiction, though his roots are clearly in superhero comics. In this case, the changeling battles are really heavy on the special effects side, with Odo and Meta essentially using their powers like Metamorpho, with omni-arm weapons and the like. Great fun, though there are two ways of looking at it. Some might like the books to read and feel like a standard (if well-padded) episode, with the same general tone. Others might prefer the novels to actively "break the bank" since they have no fx budgets or television-imposed mores. I stand somewhere in the middle and freely admit that Odo-as-superhero goes beyond fx concerns and actually contradicts the tone of the character. Still, for a book written in a couple weeks using only the series bibles and first handful of scripts, David gets DS9. The characters generally sound and act like themselves, many of them get some attention and a little subplot (except maybe Dax and Kira). There's a lot of action, but also a classic Star Trek dilemma/allegory, with the Edemians standing in for those faiths that don't allow, for example, blood transfusions. In fact, it's nice that David could include a religious issue in the first DS9 novel (#1 was the Emissary novelization), and probably did well to steer clear of the still developing Bajoran faith. Doesn't quite stand up in light of later continuity, but as an action-packed romp, a qualified success.


abc said...

When I read it, I thought the brief Borg appearance and the in-story explanation of why, therefor, the Borg wouldn't be showing up again was quite elegant.

De said...

I read this in the span of a day when it was released and loved it. The ending still cracks me up to this day.

Siskoid said...

Abc: In hindsight, since the DS9 creators could theoretically have had a Borg story later (but did well not to).

De: Do you mean Molly's birthday gift? :)

De said...

I do indeed :^)


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