When the Borg destroyed the U.S.S. Saratoga at Wolf 359, killing Captain Sisko's beloved wife, one chapter in his life came to a tragic end. Now painful memories are reawakened when the U.S.S. DefiantTM carries the survivors of the Saratoga to an important Starfleet ceremony. But Sisko's bittersweet reunion with his old crewmates is cut short when an unexpected malfunction threatens the Defiant as well as the lives of everyone aboard. Even worse, evidence suggests that the accident was caused by deliberate sabotage.
Has one of Sisko's oldest friends betrayed them all? Sisko and Dax must uncover the truth before death claims the survivors of the Saratoga.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
September 30, 1996
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Saratoga by Michael Jan Friedman
Text Excerpt 1
OLD FRIENDS, THOUGHT Pernon Obahr. You come to know them as you know yourself, to love them, to rely on them. You allow yourself to believe they will never let you down.
And yet, in the course of time, even the oldest friend may betray you. It was a fact of life, he mused -- not only on Bajor, but on any world in the great, star-spanning cosmos.
Pernon stood on the highest balcony of the highest building in Karvis and followed the curve of the glistening river with his gaze. On its near bank, a few kilometers north of the city, a half-dozen large, grey water pumps worked with the power and perserverance of prehistoric animals.
It was a good thing, too. Thanks to the pumps, some thirty percent of the river's volume was redirected through a channel that bisected the city. At the other end of the channel, the river water fanned out along a steep incline, eventually spilling into the sea.
Were the pumps not there, the city would have been washed away long ago. If that had happened, Pernon and his family would have been left penniless and destitute, like a great many other Bajorans at the time. Hence, his abiding love for the machines, a love shared in full by his fellow Karvisians.
But circumstances change, he thought. All manner of things decay. And what a man thought was solid as a rock in his youth turns out to have been anchored in shifting sands.
The words were those of Inartha Dor, one of Bajor's greatest poets before the Occupation. But they fit the situation, Pernon told himself -- fit it as a hand fits a well-made glove.
After three decades, the pumps were beginning to fail -- not because they were structurally unsound, for they had been given a good deal of attention over the years. No, the machines themselves were not the problem.
It was the power source that made them run. That was the problem. And if it were not solved, Karvis would eventually be destroyed.
Pernon sighed. As a youth, he had seen the birth of the pumps. He had witnessed the arrival of the Cardassian architects and the terrain engineers, the excavation specialists and the builders. He had watched the ground vehicles converge on the river bank day after day, bringing all kinds of construction devices and raw materials.
Of course, for the Cardassians, the pumping station was a bandage on a self-inflicted wound. To obtain cheap power farther north, they had meddled with the river's tributaries. The result had been a massive increase in volume and several bad floods the following spring.
This was not pleasing to the gul responsible for the area -- a scaly-necked festival pole of a man named Divok. After all, it was Divok's head that would roll if the problem were not corrected somehow.
The point of the occupation had been to exploit Bajor's resources with a minimum of effort. Wiping out a fair-sized city was not part of the plan, nor did the Cardassian authorities wish to deal with additional backlash.
There was already a resistance movement brewing. Why fuel it any more than they had to?
Even as a boy, Pernon had hated the Cardassians as much as any Bajoran. He had detested them with every drop of blood in his body, with every muscle and every bone. Had he seen the pumps as something Cardassian, he would certainly have hated them as well.
But right from the start, he saw the lack of enthusiasm in the building of the things. The invaders had fitted the pieces together methodically, as if they themselves were nothing more than automatons. There was no joy in the project for them.
And even when they were finished, the Cardassians seemed only to tolerate the machines as a necessary evil. That, as much as anything else, made Pernon see the pumps as something Bajoran.
"Obahr? Is that you?"
Pernon turned at the sound of the familiar female voice. As he watched, his friend emerged from the shadows of the room behind him.
"Nerys," he said, glad for the opportunity to speak her name. "What's it been? Almost a year?"
"More like a year and a half," she told him, approaching with her arms thrown wide.
"You're kidding," he declared.
"I'd never try to kid an old Resistance fighter," she assured him.
As they embraced, he remembered a time when he had hoped she would be more than a comrade. As it happened, the opportunity to express that hope had never materialized. And with their lives constantly on the line, he came to value her friendship too much to try to change it.
Kira leaned back to look at him. "You're gaining weight," she observed. "Being a city administrator agrees with you, I see."
"That's not it," he explained candidly. "I'm making up for all the times we went hungry fighting the Cardassians."
Her smile faded. "I remember." Then she patted him affectionately on the shoulder. "So what can I do for you, Pernon Obahr? Or were you serious when you asked me down here for a game of nobnoch?"
"Don't I wish," he replied.
That's when he told her about the pumps. And he told her some other things as well, things he had learned through the network of former resistance fighters -- a network made more useful since Shakarr had come to power.
While Pernon spoke, Kira nodded. And when he was done, she nodded some more. Despite the circumstances, he couldn't help but remark inwardly on her beauty. It wasn't easy to pull his thoughts back on course.
"Do you think you can help?" he asked at last.
She looked at him. "I can try," she promised.
Pernon smiled with relief. When Kira Nerys said she would try, the reward was as good as won. It was good to know at least one old friend could still be counted on.