(written from a Production point of view)
The galaxy's most relentless predator clashes with its deadliest soldier!
- From the book jacket
- Scattered throughout the galaxy are Gateways which link star systems across unfathomable distances. The technology that built them has been lost for tens of millennia... but that doesn't mean that it can't be found again. Once they moved from world to world in a single step, through innumerable transdimensional gateways that spanned the galaxy. They were masters of space, and to those that feared them, they were demons of air and darkness. But long ago they left their empire and their miraculous technology behind. Now the key has been rediscovered, and all the doors have been flung open. Open for exploration... or open for invasion. On a world near space station Deep Space Nine, Colonel Kira Nerys, her crew, and some unexpected allies fight to avert destruction on a planetary scale. Meanwhile Lieutenant Nog and Ensign Thirishar ch'Thane search for a way to shut down the portals forever; and behind the scenes Quark plays a dangerous game that could determine, once and for all, who wins control of the Gateways...
Two weeks after the events told in Abyss...
When the Iconian gateways open all over the galaxy, chaos breaks out - also aboard DS9. The crew is assigned to firstly evacuate the inhabitants of a planet that is threatened to be contaminated by radiation, because some alien species from the Delta Quadrant keeps throwing anti-matter waste through one of the gateways that leads directly into the orbit of that planet; the other assignment of the crew is to find out why there are no gateways within the area of Bajor and DS9.
While the evacuation goes on and Julian Bashir does his best to treat the local people against radiation, Nog and Shar come up with a possibility on shutting down the gateways - a possibility that ultimately works, but only for about ten minutes, until the gateways have rebooted. The Starfleet and Bajoran personnel in charge get sudden help from Gul Macet, who tries to build bridges between the Cardassians and the rest of the quadrant.
Kira and Taran'atar are forced to fly through the gateway, leading them into the Delta Quadrant, because of a massive amount of anti-matter waste; they successfully manage to hold the waste from flooding through the gateway, but are attacked by some Hirogen; Kira beams on a very dry and hot planet, while Taran'atar fights the Hirogen. He manages to kill them and, severely injured, have himself escaped in a small pod back to the Alpha Quadrant. Kira, in the meantime, almost dying from radiation and heat, discovers another gateway - one that leads her directly to the Prophets. Assuming that she will die anyway, she steps through it.
Behind the scenes, Quark has been engaged by the Orion Syndicate; the Iconians want to sell the gateways to the most bidding party, and the syndicate is in the game. However, negotiating for the Iconians is no one else but Quark's cousin, Gaila. As the situation escalates, the Dabo girl accompanying Quark is revealed to be Ro Laren; they manage to escape, but not without taking an Orion slave girl, Treir, hostage (and later release her on DS9, where she will likely start to work as a Dabo Girl for Quark). They also manage to rescue Gaila, while they reveal the so-called Iconians being in truth a race called Petraw.
Shar, in the meantime, tries to cope with his "mother", Charivretha ch'Thane, which does not go well. Also, a "business associate" of Quark's on Cardassia is discovered doing illegal business and gets visited by Elim Garak - Ro apparently helped Quark, because she could do some damage to the Orion Syndicate, but she still delivered some of the information she got about the Ferengi to Cardassian authorities.
- The fourth of seven books in the Gateways saga, and also a continuation of the DS9 relaunch series.
- This novel was reprinted as part of the 2007 omnibus Twist of Faith.
- Gul Macet is Gul Dukat's cousin; during the Dominion war, he was in Damar's resistance.
- USS Voyager is mentioned in the book (and also the Pathfinder Project).
- The Hirogen and the Jem'Hadar had encountered each other centuries ago.
- 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
- Kira Nerys
- Colonel, commander of DS9
- Elias Vaughn
- Starfleet commander
- Jem'Hadar ambassador aboard DS9
- Engineer aboard DS9
- Thirishar ch'Thane
- Starfleet ensign assigned as science officer of DS9 following the Dominion War
- This novel marks the first time Shar appears on a cover.
- Ro Laren
- Security chief on DS9
- Cardassian gul of the Trager
- Jean-Luc Picard
- Captain of the USS Enterprise-E
- Montgomery Scott
- Engineer genius
- William Ross
- Charivretha ch'Thane
- Andorian member of the Federation Council, zhavey (mother) of Thirishar
- Ferengi, Quark's cousin
- Orion slave girl
- Captain of the Ng
- Captain of East Winds
- Captain of Halloran
- Elaine Mello
- Captain of USS Gryphon
- Walter Emick
- Captain of USS Intrepid
- Malon supertanker
- East Winds
- Risan ship of Captain Cassandra
- USS Euphrates
- DS9 runabout
- Goldblatt's Folly
- Civilian ship
- USS Gryphon
- Template:ShipClass ship of Captain Elaine Mello
- Mars freighter of Captain Monaghan
- USS Hood (NCC-42296)
- USS Intrepid (NCC-74600)
- Captain Walter Emick
- civilian ship of Captain Hawkins
- USS Sungari
- Deep Space 9 runabout, destroyed
- Klingon ship
- Cardassian Template:ShipClass warship of Gul Macet
- Old Bajoran ship
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