The first book in a duology which is set in the Mirror Universe as seen in Star Trek: Deep Space 9.

Publication year: 2001
Format: print
Page count: 232
Publisher: Pocket Books

“Annika Hansen, Agent Seven of Corps Nine for the Obsidian Order, waited patiently for her quarry to appear.”
This first sentence pretty much tells you if this book is for you. If it makes you groan or want to throw the book across the room, it’s a safe bet the book is too cheesy. I giggled out loud in a train. It’s a very cheesy way to keep calling this character Seven even though she’s never even met the Borg. But that’s the way of the alternate universes: because it’s same characters but in different circumstances, they still have to be recognizable to the readers/watchers.

When Seven was a little girl, her parents died and she was adopted into a Cardassian family. She was surgically changed to resemble a Cardassian and set to the Obsidian Order at a young age. She’s been an extremely efficient agent of the Order ever since. Her personality is much the same as aboard Voyager: efficient, aloof, cold. However, she also loathes her human, Terran, appearance and wants to always appear as a member of another race. When she’s told to go undercover as a Terran, that’s very difficult for her.

At the start of the book, she’s on a mission on Khitomer to murder a powerful Klingon called Duras in order to destabilize the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance and to influence the upcoming election of an Overseer position in a way that the Order’s head, Enabran Tain, wants to. She kills Duras and gets out of the port. A space mercenary called Jadzia is helping her.

The murder enraged Regent Worf. When his parents were killed, he was taken into the Duras family, alongside with the half-blooded B’Elanna. Duras was like a brother to Worf and he vows to find his killer. Deanna Troi, Worf’s companion and Imzadi, and the Intendant of Betazed, does her own investigation and manipulates the other Intendants so that she can have her luxury gambling place.

Meanwhile, the Intendant of Bajor Kira Nerys realizes that she has a real chance to become the Overseer and makes her plans.

The plot centers on scheming and back stabbing. We get to see a lot of characters from the DS9 series from Garak to Leeta and more are mentioned. The mood is much darker than in the primary Star Trek universe. Most people here are loyal only to themselves.

Winn Adami has an important role in the book. I was fascinated how her role was a mirror to the one on the TV-show. If I remember correctly, Winn was, if not an outright villain, at least an ambitious antagonist to Kira and Sisko, and her motives were often suspect. Here, Overseer Kira is the ambitious, self centered manipulator and First Minister Winn is the “last, best hope” for her people.

Worf was also fascinatingly different. Here, he was raised by Klingons so he had no need to hold back his temper or his strength when fighting. He’s famous for his temper and people are genuinely afraid that he will kill them if they enrage him. He’s also in an intimate relationship with Troi, and B’Elanna is his foster sister. Apparently, the other Klingons look down on B’Elanna because of her Terran father, and Worf is helping her overcome that contempt. So, Worf is still brave and loyal; his loyalty is just to different people and culture.

The Betazoids have withdrawn to their own planet and so Troi is pretty much the only Betazoid in Alliance. She uses her empathy to manipulate others, Worf among them. She knows that her only tie to power is her relationship to Worf and so she guards that quite jealously.

I really enjoyed this darker side of the regular characters. Pretty much the only thing I had mixed feelings about was the non-hetero sexuality. Leeta has a live-in girlfriend and Kira uses Terrans of both sexes; apparently she and Seven get intimate. However, because the universe is a darker one, that implies to me that non-hetero relations are seen as, if not down right evil, at least the exotic Other for other people to leer at. Otherwise, the relationships were considered normal in the society and not commented at, which is always great.

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