Today, (3rd January) marks the 22nd anniversary of DEEP SPACE NINE‘s debut on TV, (and, in doing so, entering the lives of stalwart ‘Niner’s hearts, forever). It’s no secret, that I’ve been a staunch supporter of this brilliant Star Trek series, from day-one, so, how-fitting, (for me), that I get to review Una McCormack’s THE MISSING, on this day. Her latest DS9 novel moves the inhabitants of our favorite station ahead, picking-up after the tragic events in the New York Times Bestselling series, THE FALL. I finished this remarkable book, upon-waking, this morning (despite – the delays and distractions that life has thrown at me); and the lessons Una has left with me, have me looking at my own life with a fresh perspective.
In THE MISSING, Una gives us a broader view of this new state-of-the-art Federation space station, while painting a picture of how the political landscape has changed across the quadrant, (since the fallout of Nanietta Bacco’s assassination during its christening). With the seas calming (so-to-speak), Capt. Ro Laren welcomes the People of the Open Sky aboard, offering them safe-harbor, and – medical aid, from Dr. Beverly Crusher (who is filling the CMO void left by Julian Bashir). Also-visiting the station is Dr. Katherine Pulaski, who is heading a civilian research/exploration expedition on a state-of-the-art vessel of her own; the Athene Donald. The ship carries species from the Khitomer Accords and the Typhon Pact; the hope is, that science will do what diplomacy has not. Things do not go smoothly, on DS9, or – the Athene Donald; the former has to investigate a burglary in Crusher’s office (containing highly-sensitive files), even-as another murder amongst the People, once-again sours the mood of the new station’s personnel, while – the latter, is stopped dead-in-space by a formidable ship that appears seemingly from nowhere. Both doctors must put aside their differences, and – egos, to solve the mysteries plaguing both crews, lest the quadrant be drawn into another war, with a hitherto unknown species.
For months, I’ve been anticipating Dr. Crusher and Pulaski’s meeting-up. I was not disappointed; indeed, it is everything I had hoped for, and – more. I have always been a fan of Pulaski and Una brings her to life brilliantly; crusty, feisty, opinionated, passionate about her work; Una gives us new insights on how she views her place amongst her peers, as well. Una has given me a real treat in her portrayal of Katherine Pulaski. I loved the new characters that Una has brought us, in-both, the Athene Donald‘s crew, as-well-as, the supporting players in the People of the Open Sky and the Chain. What a great new alien species; plus, a potential new foe to replace the Borg. I loved seeing the mysterious Tzenkethi, fleshed-out as a species (that, until-now, we’ve only-been vaguely familiar with), but – they’re vibrantly brought to life (literally); their importance to this story is pivotal, yet – their roles are in-question, throughout. I was glad to see Garak and Odo in the sub-plot, and its resolution brought me to tears. I don’t like Commander Blackmer and, it’s my hope, that someday Odo will reclaim his post, as Constable Odo. However, Una leaves us with a tantalizing peek at what his future role might be (and – I’m genuinely intrigued…)
All of it is woven together in the finest possible way, and the lessons are ‘classic,’ in what makes #GreatStarTrek. Una makes us look at family and friendship, loyalty and trust, the age-old struggles between the rich and the poor, (the lost and forsaken, at the hands of the former), technology (and how it brings us together, but divides us, as a society). Plus, Una forces us to face how we see other societies, how we perceive their cultures and beliefs; while putting our own under the microscope, (with Captain’s Logs, at the beginning of each chapter). I liked how characters overcame their prejudices and how they interacted with each other; how the stories all came together It may be, because of my own personal challenges, right now, but THE MISSING has given me a fresh perspective on how I view my own friends and family, and – their place in my life; as-well-as, making me think about what’s happening around the world, today, (and how I’ll go forward, from here). I give THE MISSING an A+; it’s Star Trek at its best, and – Deep Space Nine at its absolute finest. I highly-recommend Una McCormack’s THE MISSING; as, she’s at the top of her game, here!
Michael Clark has some thoughts for Una, also, and I’m honored to include them. He says: The opening line was brilliant! Una knows Pulaski was not everyone’s favourite character. During the course of the book we see Una tackle some of these issues including taking over from Crusher & her treatment towards Data. This is perfect.
Finally new life and new civilisations! I enjoyed the People of the Sky and The Chain. I enjoyed how both crews worked together to solve the mystery.
As well as links to Cold Equations there are references to Una’s previous stories including The Never Ending Sacrifice. Una links them so well and doesn’t bog the story down.
Really nice finding out more about the Tzenkethi during the story. Mack has the Breen, will Una write more about them?
I would like to read more about the Athene Donald in the future. I wonder if this will happen? I think this could be a back door pilot?
I normally find DS9 stories rather slow but Una has written the story at a good pace, the characters are interesting and the story is really enjoyable.
Other great points: reading Ro (my favourite character) and Odo. Of course it wouldn’t be a DS9 book by Una unless Garak was in it. He was not a main character but you could feel his presence. We learn more about Cardassian society which pleases me no end.
The Missing has it all; a look at first contacts, meeting new races, political intrigue, murder & mayhem and getting to know a character most of us disliked because she wasn’t Crusher. Una has written another great Star Trek story.
Well, that’s it for me (and, Michael); I am not surprised to learn, that we agree on many points. I, too, would love to see future adventures aboard the Athene Donald. Wouldn’t that be grand?! I could really-go for more Dr. Katherine Pulaski storylines.
‘Til, next-time, see ya ‘out there…’
Lt. Eric Cone