(written from a Production point of view)
Vaughn and the crew of the Defiant pursue Taran'atar into Cardassian space, while Kira and Ro lie near death on Deep Space 9.
- From the book jacket
- They were created to be killing machines. Highly intelligent, resourceful, and deceptively complex, the Jem'Hadar are a species engineered for war and programmed at the genetic level for one purpose: to fight until death as soldiers of the sprawling stellar empire known as the Dominion. No Jem'Hadar has ever lived thirty years, and not even their masters, the shape-shifting Founders, know what such a creature is capable of becoming were it to be freed of its servitude.
- One Founder, however, has dared to wonder.
- Appointed by Odo himself to learn peaceful coexistence aboard Deep Space 9, Taran'atar, an Honored Elder among the Jem'Hadar, had for months been a staunch, if conflicted, ally to the crew of the station, ever struggling to understand the mission on which he was sent... until something went horrifically wrong.
- Consumed by self-doubt and an ever-growing rage, Taran'atar has lashed out against those he was sworn to aid. While Captain Kira Nerys and Lieutenant Ro Laren both lie near death aboard Deep Space 9, their assailant has taken a hostage and fled into Cardassian space, pursued by Commander Elias Vaughn on the USS Defiant. But as the hunt unfolds, Taran'atar's true objective becomes increasingly less certain, as the rogue Jem'Hadar leads the Defiant to a discovery even more shocking than his crime.
After wounding and incapacitating Ro Laren and severely injuring Kira Nerys, Taran'atar escapes from the station by capturing the runabout Euphrates; because Prynn Tenmei is in there practicing, he takes her hostage. When the crew of DS9 discovers this, Elias Vaughn immediately pursues them with the Defiant. Taran'atar manages to trick him, making him believe he has killed his own daughter, and escapes with a Klingon smuggler ship; after a while, the Defiant catches the signatures of the ship and continues the pursuit. Meanwhile, Prynn tries to sabotage the ships, but she does not succeed; ultimately, she ends up in chains. Taran'atar is heavily disturbed and haunted by images - images of people he knew, and also images of her face.
On DS9, Nog and Bashir find out that Taran'atar was possibly mind-controlled by some messages he received; they ultimately find out that he is heading for Harkoum - an old Cardassian prison site, now overseen by the Romulans.
Vaughn and the Defiant's crew ultimately manage to almost catch Taran'atar, but he escapes at the last minute. At least, Vaughn learns that Prynn is still alive. They reunite and barely manage to escape from the prison, which is self-destructing. They meet the mirror universe's version of Iliana Ghemor, who tells about the danger posed by Iliana of our universe.
The alternate universe
While it seemed that Intendant Kira was behind Taran'atar's "abduction", when he finally meets her, another Kira Nerys joins them - the Intendant thinks it's the real Kira, but it is Iliana Ghemor, now looking like a Bajoran. She kills the Intendant, and it then becomes clear that it was her who was influencing Taran'atar.
Kira and Ro
Bashir manages to save both Kira and Ro; Ro has severe injuries in her back, but he can save her and her ability to move and to walk. Kira gets an artificial heart; while the women are in surgery and later on asleep in the sickbay, Quark watches over Ro - and Benjamin Sisko arrives to watch over Kira. Both awake and will be fully restored.
Kira's near-death experience
While in coma, Kira suddenly finds herself in the Celestial Temple, where the Prophets take the forms of many people she knew, including Jadzia Dax, Tora Ziyal, Bareil Antos, Shakaar Edon, Kira Taban and Aamin Marritza. She learns that she has to "set the hand upon the path", but does not fully understand.
She then finds herself in the ancient Bajor as a general - trying to defend a fortress against an army of the Ascendants. However, it takes a long time to convince the inhabitants of the fortress - the Ea'voq, that she is on the same side as they are. When she "dies" in this vision of the old Bajor, she is back in the Celestial Temple - and finally understands; she is "the hand" of the prophets, and apparently they want her to defend the temple against the Ascendants.
- This novel follows immediately after the events depicted in "Olympus Descending", the Dominion story in Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume 3.
- The Star Trek: Mirror Universe Obsidian Alliances anthology story "Saturn's Children" is a prequel to the events that take place in the mirror universe in this novel.
- The near-death experience of Kira's is closely related to the short story "Horn and Ivory" in the final Gateways series book What Lay Beyond.
- Intendant Kira is killed by Iliana Ghemor, who has found a way to mind-control Taran'atar. The method is later revealed in The Soul Key.
- Prynn and Vaughn are finally reunited.
- Kira now has an artificial heart.
- The prophets are afraid of the Ascendants and want the Bajorans and the Ea'voq to fight against them.
- Warpath won Psi Phi's Best Star Trek novel cover of 2006. Marco Palmieri said "I recall thinking that I wanted Taran'atar to appear dangerous and vulnerable at the same time. To that end, I had the idea of him looking really pissed off as he stared back at the reader through crosshairs. We went with an amber wash over the whole thing because that was the color we'd established for Jem'Hadar blood."
- Sisko tells Kira the story of the three brothers from Jo'Kala, just as she did for him when he was injured aboard the USS Defiant in "Starship Down". Author David Mack co-wrote that episode.
- The mirror universe double of Section 31 agent L'Haan from the Star Trek: A Time to... novels A Time to Kill and A Time to Heal is one of Intendant Kira's Vulcan handmaidens.
- Ezri mentions the Luna-class starships from Star Trek: Titan.
- This novel features an excerpt from the Star Trek: Vanguard novel Summon the Thunder.
- 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.
- Kira Nerys
- Bajoran Starfleet captain in command of Deep Space 9.
- Ro Laren
- Bajoran Starfleet lieutenant serving as Deep Space 9 security chief.
- Jem'Hadar elder.
- Elias Vaughn
- Starfleet commander assigned as Defiant captain and Deep Space 9 first officer, father of Prynn Tenmei.
- Prynn Tenmei
- Chief helmsman of the USS Defiant and Commander Vaughn's daughter.
- Ferengi Starfleet lieutenant assigned as chief of operations.
- Ezri Dax
- Trill Starfleet lieutenant assigned as Vaughn's executive officer.
- Julian Bashir
- genetically enhanced Starfleet lieutenant commander assigned as Deep Space 9 CMO.
- Benjamin Sisko
- Starfleet captain, former CO of DS9, who recently returned to this realm from the Bajoran wormhole's entrance to the Celestial Temple.
- Simon Tarses
- Starfleet medical officer.
- Opaka Sulan
- Former kai of Bajor.
- Kurn (mirror)
- See also: Kurn
- Kira Nerys (mirror)
- Intendant of the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance
- Iliana Ghemor
- Cardassian look-alike of Kira Nerys
- Iliana Ghemor (mirror)
- murderer of Intendant Kira
Alpha Quadrant; Bajor; Bajoran; Deep Space 9; Cardassian; Chalna; Chalnoth; Defiant, USS; Dominion; Dominion War; Eris; Ferengi; Rules of Acquisition; Founder; Gre'thor; Klingon; Jem'Hadar; mirror universe; Nausicaan; Odo; Obsidian Order; Panora; Romulan; sickbay; Starfleet; Starfleet Medical; Tiburonian; Trill; United Federation of Planets; Vorta; Vulcan; warbird
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