(written from a Production point of view)
Elias Vaughn leads the Defiant into the Gamma Quadrant on a mission of exploration while Bajor's entry to the Federation looms. (Book 1 of 4)
- From the book jacket
- The time has come... for a new era of exploration. With the Dominion War behind them, the crew of the USS Defiant journeys through the wormhole as Commander Elias Vaughn leads a "corps of discovery" to blaze new trails into the unexplored reaches of the Gamma Quadrant.
- The time has come... for a civilization to reach a crossroads. As political forces throughout the Alpha Quadrant intersect at Deep Space 9 to determine the future of Bajor, the planet's theological unity threatens to shatter. And for Colonel Kira Nerys, the path of the Prophets may become a road to ruin.
- The time has come... for a father and daughter to confront their past while a mother and son fight for the future, for lovers to be tested and for friendships to transform, and for worlds on opposite ends of the galaxy to face the dusk ...or the dawn.
Part One: Vexed the Dim Sea
In the aftermath of the evacuation of Europa Nova (in Demons of Air and Darkness), the Defiant is attacked and Elias Vaughn sees his daughter Prynn Temnei almost die. They escape, however, and return to DS9, where big events are unfolding: Admiral Leonard James Akaar announces to Kira Nerys that Bajor's request for joining the Federation is reconsidered. Akaar and some other Starfleet representatives, including Charivretha zh'Thane, travel to Bajor to meet with Prime Minister Shakaar Edon. After some talks, Shakaar finally announces the good news, that Bajor will be part of the Federation soon – a thought that both Quark and Ro Laren do not find thrilling - the Ferengi because of the Federation's moneyless economy, Ro because of her experiences with Starfleet. During these days, the two of them get quite close, and finally, Laren asks Quark out on a date. This is despite the fact that Quark flirted quite heavily with Treir, his new Orion dabo girl, who had again hired a dabo boy called Hetik – and Quark comes to like that, as he sees that it is good for business.
Part Two: To Sail Beyond the Sunset
Elias Vaughn, in the meantime, fulfills one of his big wishes – to travel and explore. He starts on a three month mission to the Gamma Quadrant, taking Ezri Dax, Julian Bashir. Thirishar ch'Thane, Nog and Prynn with him. Shar leaves DS9 with mixed feelings, because his "mother" has invited his bondmates to the station, and he finally agrees to return to Andor once he comes back – still, one of his bondmates, Thriss, feels very uneasy, even though they are allowed to stay in Shar's quarters until he returns.
Part III: Gloom the Dark Seas
In the Gamma Quadrant, the crew encounters a peaceful species, the Vahni Vahltupani; while enjoying their hospitality, the planet suddenly is struck by an energy blast. Leaving one of his crew members and many more Vahni dead, Vaughn and the Defiant crew head for the energy source – which they finally find on a nearby planet. As the planet's atmosphere makes it impossible to scan, Vaughn, Tenmei and Shar decide to take a shuttlecraft to land on the planet, but crash due to the atmosphere. With Shar injured, Vaughn decides to walk to the source of the energy blasts, leaving Prynn to watch over Shar.
On the ship, Ezri Dax deals with the fact that, while defending the planet of the Vahni, someone died under her command. The Dax symbiont makes an uncomfortable contact with a strange grey matter, that has appeared on the ship. After waking up from coma, Ezri insists that the matter is alive, although sensor readings are confusing. Bashir finally finds out that the matter not only exists in our universe, but also in subspace. Dax manages to get in contact with the being again, and she learns of the planet and its history.
A long time ago, a race called the Prentara created some sort of virtual reality when they discovered something they called the Thoughtspace. Unaware of what this really was, the connected their VR to it and the Thoughtspace, essentially being alive, defended itself with the energy blasts. The Prenara called the Thoughtspace being(s) the Inamuri. Ezri and the Defiant's crew manage to send this information onto the planet, where Shar and Prynn have developed some sort of deeper friendship, as they understand that they share some similarities in their history.
Vaughn can finally make use of the information, after having gone through a lot of painful memories, that were apparently created by the Inamuri. However, his action leads to more power eruptions, and the Defiant just barely manages to pick up all three of them from the planet, and although it is clear why Prynn and Shar survived (they wore environment suits), the survival of Vaughn remains a mystery.
During their stay on the planet and the confrontation with painful moments and death (Vaughn) and the situation of being alone and taking care of a crewmate (Prynn) lead to a deeper understanding; Vaughn can finally apologize for not being there for Prynn as her father, when he sent her mother, Ruriko, on an away mission where she died – Prynn would have needed him then deeply. And she can finally understand that he had feelings to which made it impossible for him to be there for her.
Meanwhile on Bajor, while still sad about Jake Sisko being nowhere, Kasidy Yates finally tries to make herself at home. She also learns that Kira's actions of uploading the old Ohalu text into the Bajoran comm-system might well divide the vedek assembly (see Avatar, Book Two).
Taran'atar, the Jem'Hadar "ambassador" aboard DS9, tries to understand the Alpha Quadrant's species - and scares them twice, because in his trials, he remains shrouded, and once is discovered within a childcare service, and a second time in Quark's Bar. Kira explains to him that also the people from the Alpha Quadrant need to get accustomed to him.
- The first novel in the Mission Gamma series.
- Bajor will soon join the Federation.
- Ruriko, Elias Vaughn's wife, has died on an away mission he sent her on.
- Capella IV is listed on the title page as the location of one of Pocket Books' offices.
- 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 Mission Gamma characters.
Regular and recurring characters
- Elias Vaughn
- Starfleet commander, the CO of Defiant.
- Kira Nerys
- Colonel, CO of Deep Space 9
- Shakaar Edon
- Prime minister of Bajor
- Admiral Akaar
- Starfleet Admiral
- Charivretha zh'Thane
- Andorian member of the Federation council, zhavey (mother) of Thirishar
- Thirishar ch'Thane
- Ensign aboard DS9 and the Defiant
- Prynn Tenmei
- Ensign aboard DS9, daughter of Elias Vaughn
- Chief engineer on DS9
- Kasidy Yates
- Wife of the Emissary of the Prophets
- An Orion dabo girl (see Demons of Air and Darkness)
- A dabo boy
- Ro Laren
- Chief of Security on DS9
- Julian Bashir
- Chief medical officer on DS9
- Ezri Dax
- Second in command on the Defiant
- Sam Bowers
- Tactical ops
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