(written from a Production point of view)
No law. No conscience. No stopping them.
- From the book jacket
- Section 31. They are the self-appointed protectors of the Federation. Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, answerable to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group committed to safeguarding the Federation at any cost.
- Mere days after the startling events of Avatar, Doctor Julian Bashir faces his darkest nightmare when Section 31 compels him to undertake a mission to stop one of their own. But this renegade is no ordinary agent. Like Bashir, Dr. Ethan Locken is genetically enhanced, a Human superior in body and mind. But Locken dreams of remaking the galaxy in his own image – and creating a new human empire based on the example of the infamous Khan Noonien Singh.
- And as he begins to understand the terrifying truth about his opposite number, Bashir will learn more about himself than he ever wanted.
Deep Space 9 is running in reduced power mode after having been crippled by recent events. The engineering crews are taking part in a detailed plan by Nog to use materials from Empok Nor to repair the stations power generators.
Bashir is approached by one Cole, who reveals himself as member of Section 31. He tells Bashir about a Dr. Ethan Locken, a former Section 31 agent, who is genetically-engineered, just like Bashir, and who has now started to build his own, private Jem'Hadar army on a distant planet. Bashir reluctantly agrees to go after Dr. Locken, and he takes Taran'atar, Ro and Ezri with him. Julian talks with Elias Vaughn before their departure, and is surprised that he does not seem to be surprised by the existence of Section 31.
After some hours of flying through space, the away-team encounters an unknown Romulan vessel – inside, they find Romulans that have been murdered brutally and a recorded message of Locken; he seems to think of himself as the new Khan Noonien Singh. When they finally approach the planet, their runabout gets shot by some defensive weapons; while Ro and Taran'atar can beam out, Julian and Ezri are caught by Locken's Jem'Hadars.
While Taran'atar and Ro, with the help of the Ingavi, a ape-like species that settled on the planet some decades ago, try to reach both their runabout and Dr. Locken's headquarters, Dax and Bashir finally meet Locken, who invites them to diner, shows them his headquarter and does everything to pull Julian on his side. This almost seems to work when Julian, forced to choose between Ezri and Locken, chooses Locken. But he was only pretending, helping Dax to break out of their prison, and in the cause of that, she manages to poison the White of Locken's Jem'Hadar. When Locken realizes Bashir's treachery, it is too late - Taran'atar, being caught by the other Jem'Hadar, manages to convince their First that Locken is not a real god, and Locken is finally killed by his own creatures.
The crew wants to save some of Locken's work for evidence reason; however, the headquarter all of a sudden is attacked by Section 31 forces, and they flee from the planet - thinking that the Ingavi are now all killed by Section 31. Back on DS9, Vaughn reveals several things to Bashir: first, he is a member of a secret group who has been fighting against Section 31 for a long time; second, he used the vessel shown in Star Trek: Insurrection (where it was used to relocate the Son'a), to secretly relocate the Ingavi; in fact, Section 31 is responsible for the events told in Insurrection, although they made it look like the fault of one admiral. Bashir joins the secret group, happy to do something against the sinister organization.
Kira, in the meantime, gets a message from Shakaar Edon, prime minister of Bajor; he warns her that with her recent actions (see Avatar, Book One and Avatar, Book Two), she has made some powerful enemies. Kira realizes that she has not many Bajoran friends left on the station because of her Attainment; only one security guard, Shul Torem, does not seem to bother with this fact. Also, we learn that ensign Prynn Tenmei is commander Vaughn's daughter. Finally, Kasidy Yates and Joseph Sisko find out that Jake Sisko is missing - as he never arrived on Earth, as he was claiming.
- Co-author David Weddle co-wrote the episode which introduced Section 31 - the sixth season episode "Inquisition".
- In this novel, it is revealed that Section 31 was in truth responsible for the events told in Star Trek: Insurrection.
- This novel was a part of the Star Trek: Section 31 series, and a continuation of Pocket DS9's "relaunch" series. A photo cover was used, but the artist photoshopped Bashir's new relaunch series rank insignia, that of a lieutenant commander.
- An editorial collaboration occurred between this story and Greg Cox's Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars: "The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 1". The description of Khan's flag was used in both works.
- This novel is included in the Twist of Faith omnibus.
- Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Pocket DS9 characters.
Regular and recurring characters
- Julian Bashir
- Lieutenant commander, CMO of Deep Space 9.
- Kira Nerys
- Colonel, station commanding officer.
- Ro Laren
- DS9's new security chief, Bajoran Militia lieutenant.
- Elias Vaughn
- Starfleet commander and DS9's first officer.
- Lieutenant, chief of operations.
- Jem'Hadar "ambassador" on DS9.
- Ezri Dax
- Starfleet command division lieutenant.
- Ethan Locken
- Shul Temor
- Bajoran security guard aboard DS9.
- Shakaar Edon
- Bajoran prime minister.
- Prynn Tenmei
- Starfleet ensign, daughter of Elias Vaughn.
- Bennett (Rear Admiral)
- Starfleet JAG officer who ruled on Bashir's status as a recipient of gene enhancement.
- Tiris Jast
- Starfleet commander who was the late first officer to Colonel Kira. Jast died in Avatar, Book One.
- Miles O'Brien
- Starfleet CPO, Nog's predecessor as operations chief. O'Brien was remembered as saying that the Cardassians built stations to last. O'Brien left the novel series in the "What You Leave Behind" novelization.
- Section 31 agent.
- Ingavi native.
- Deep Space 9
- USS Euphrates
- DS9 runabout.
- USS Gryphon
- Federation starship, Akira-class
- Li Nalas
- Bajoran flagship, named for Li Nalas.
- USS Rio Grande
- DS9 runabout.
- Section 31
- USS Sungari
- DS9 runabout.
- Starship, a civilian transport.
|Previous novel:||Series||Next novel:|
|Avatar, Book Two|| Pocket DS9|
|Gateways: Demons of Air and Darkness|
|Shadow (VOY)||Star Trek: Section 31||Final novel in series|
|Rising Son||Chronological order||As release order|