Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lesser Evil

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Mission Gamma, Book Four of Four
Lesser Evil by Robert Simpson
Published October 2002
Read February 23rd 2014

Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Mission Gamma, Book Three: Cathedral
Next book (Deep Space Nine): Rising Son

Mass-market paperback: | |
E-book (Kindle): | |

Spoilers ahead for Lesser Evil, Mission Gamma, and the rest of the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
Chaos erupts aboard Deep Space 9 as the crew begins a desperate search for a killer in their midst, catapulting Colonel Kira Nerys on a dangerous chase into the heart of the Federation. But the crime she seeks to avenge is part of a plot more ancient and far-reaching than anyone suspects, and that secret, if exposed, could divide worlds throughout the Alpha Quadrant.
Meanwhile, as the starship Defiant makes its way back toward the wormhole and home to DS9, a startling discovery shakes Commander Elias Vaughn to his core and brings to light the truth behind the most tragic mission of his long life. As the crew struggles with the implications of what they've found, their captain's judgment comes into question… and casts doubt on the final outcome of their historic voyage through the Gamma Quadrant.

My thoughts:

Lesser Evil is somewhat of a departure from the previous three novels in the Mission Gamma series. Whereas the previous novels in the series had a high page count, Lesser Evil is significantly thinner, and also has a larger typeface. However, the shorter length means a faster pace, which actually serves the story quite well.

Kira once again dons a Starfleet uniform and accompanies the Gryphon on a mission to capture Shakaar's assassin.
Once again, the narrative is divided between two settings: the Defiant mission in the gamma quadrant, and the on-going story back on Deep Space Nine. At the conclusion of Cathedral, Bajoran first minister Shakaar Edon is assassinated by the security officer who came with the Trill delegation to DS9. In Lesser Evil, we learn the reason behind that attack. Shakaar was not really Shakaar at all; rather, he had been taken over by a bug-like parasite, apparently the same species that nearly took over the Federation during the first season of The Next Generation. Colonel Kira must face down an officer who has been taken over by another parasite as she races toward Trill aboard the U.S.S. Gryphon.

The parasites from "Conspiracy" return to wreak havoc on Deep Space Nine and the Federation.
Meanwhile, in the gamma quadrant, the Defiant comes across a startling discovery: a crashed vessel that was infiltrated by the Borg. Faced with the alarming possibility of the Borg having encountered the Dominion, Vaughn's crew urges him to make for the wormhole and report their findings to Starfleet. However, Vaughn has a much more personal stake in the matter when he discovers a connection to a mission he ordered years earlier, which threatens to tear his newly-renewed relationship with his daughter asunder.

As I mentioned above, the faster pace in this novel serves the story. I particularly enjoyed the story of Kira aboard the Gryphon. The reintroduction of the parasites is an interesting twist, and I feel that they are handled much better here than in the episode in which they were featured. My one complaint about this story is how easily Kira was duped, as I had figured out one particular plot twist well ahead of its revelation.

The gamma quadrant story is a little slower and strains credibility somewhat, but was still interesting enough. My favorite part occurred after the main story had wrapped up, when the Defiant comes across some unexpected characters in what is an intriguing set-up for stories to come.

Final thoughts:

A faster-paced story that ups the stakes for future stories in the Deep Space Nine relaunch. Some good character moments for Vaughn and his daughter, Prynn, but the real meat of this story comes in the DS9 portions. The re-introduction of the parasites from TNG's "Conspiracy" makes for some exciting prospects for stories to come. Maybe not quite as satisfying a story as the previous entries in the Mission Gamma mini-series, but still a very solid effort and a fun read. I'm very excited for where the story goes from here!

More about Lesser Evil:

My next read:

My next review will be for this month's new release, Enterprise: Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel by Christopher L. Bennett. I've been looking forward to this one for some time!

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