This anthology has twelve short stories which span all the five tv-shows and two books only series. Several of the stories continue story lines from the previous collections.

Publication year: 2009
Format: print
Page count: 432
Publisher: Pocket Books

The first four stories deal with the original and Enterprise crew, so I didn’t read them. There’s also one Peter David’s story about the crew of the Excalibur.

Pretty much all of the rest have quite brutal situations, especially compared to the usual Star Trek: TNG/DS9/Voyager stories. Characters face desperate situations and can be killed. Many characters are tortured or have horrible pasts. This is, of course, part of the appeal of the Mirror Universe which is deliberately different from the genteel ideals, people and stories of Federation. However, when read together, the reader can become jaded instead of shocked. Also, the first few times when your favorite character turns out be a bloodthirsty murderer is great (for me at least) but after that the shock also starts to wear off. Thankfully, some of the familiar cast are still heroes. Sort of.

Another feature all these stories had in common is quick plot twists. Very rarely things are what they appear to be on the first glance and characters are being betrayed left and right. This is also quite different from usual ST stories.

Michael Jan Friedman’s The Traitor brings to Mirror Universe the characters from his book Reunion where Picard reunites with some of his crew from the Stargazer. In this story, Picard is a collaborator who works with a Cardassian Gul to uncover treasures from the past. The crew of the Stargazer, and their surprise captain!, are on the side of Rebellion. Needless to say, they aren’t on friendly terms.

Rudy Josephs’ the Sacred Chalice takes place in Betazed. Lwaxana Troi is the owner of a high class bordello where the remnants of the Betazoid race are hiding. Deanna is her half-blooded daughter and she doesn’t have any empahtic or telepathic gifts. Lwaxana claims that she keeps the Betazoids safe but Deanna has started to doubt her.

Susan Wright’s Bitter Fruit is a continuation to ”The Mirror-Scaled Serpent” in the Obsidian Alliances book. Kes is now an integral part of the Terran Rebellion and the Vulcans have been training her to use her telepathic powers. However, Neelix thinks that Kes is dead and Kes can’t bear to continue living like that. So, in preparation to reuniting with Neelix, Kes goes on a dangerous mission with Tuvok.

Keith R.A. DeCandido’s Family Matters is written as transcript of discussions and emails, sorry, messages from one Klingon ship to another. Without descriptions, the story is quite skeletal. The Klingons are trying to set up an ambush for the Rebellion’s ships which have been raiding Klingon transport ships. At the same time, several Klingons are trying to benefit from the situation themselves.

Jim Johnson’s A Terrible Beauty is a continuation to ”Saturn’s Children” in Obsidian Alliance and focuses on Keiko Ishikawa. It jumps around in time and reveals quite a lot about Keiko’s past and her motivations to stay in the Rebellion. We also get to see Tasha, briefly! Like many characters in the Mirror Universe, Keiko’s life is about doing what she has to in order to survive.

Christopher L. Bennett’s Empathy focuses on the crew of Titan. Jaza Naajem is a respected scientist in the Alliance even though he abhors the violence and excess some of the Klingons stoop to. He’s also in love with his only slave concubine, Christine Vale. Jaza and his whole outpost are on the planet Lru-Irr. They are researching the local people who have a telepathic connection with their planet. The research centers on torturing the locals. Meanwhile, a Rebel ship lands on the planet. The small crew is led by Captain Ian Troi with bitter Will Riker as his second officer.

The final story is David Mack’s For a Want of a Nail. K’Ehleyr and Barcley are one of Rebellion’s top teams; K’Ehleyr is the leader and the field agent while Barcley is the engineering support. This story had a James Bond like quality (or more properly Modesty Blaise like) with K’Ehleyr using a suit which made her invisible while she’s sneaking into a Klingon stronghold and killing guards when she had to. I rather enjoyed it.

These are all pretty typical Mirror Universe stories so they don’t bring anything really new to the line. On the other hand, as a lover of alternate universes, I’m very happy that we have so many stories, that there can be typical MU stories.

I like these stories more for the characters than for the writing or plotting. I’ve liked K’Ehleyr a lot ever since her first apperence and I think she was killed off in TNG far too soon, so it was great to see her again. Same with Tasha. I also enjoyed reading about Keiko.

I’d recommend reading at least Obsidian Alliances before this one.