Without warning, Benjamin Sisko is living another life. No longer a Starfleet captain, commander of space station Deep Space Nine, he is Benny Russell, a struggling science fiction writer living in 1950s Harlem. Benny has a dream, of a place called Deep Space Nine and a man named Ben Sisko, and a story he has to tell. But is the Earth of that era ready for a black science fiction hero?
Everyone tells him no, but Benny cannot abandon his dream. One way or another, he will tell the world about Captain Benjamin Sisko and Deep Space Nine.
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
April 01, 1998
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Excerpt from Far Beyond the Stars by Steven Barnes
From Chapter One
From this far perspective, the planet Bajor was a misty, radiant opal, beautiful as a star, peaceful as the long-lost memories of the womb. Alone in her shuttle pod, Major Kira soared high above the surface of her home world, aching with the irony of that apparent quietude. Once, Bajor might have known only harmony -- but not in Kira's time, nor her parents, nor her grandparents. War had torn the planet apart for far too many bloody years. But the planet of her birth, a gentle haze of oceans even now receeding to a glittering demistar, was still the most beautiful place that Kira could ever dream of.
The shuttle's engines hummed beneath her. Escape from Bajor's gravity was the only tricky part of the entire journey: she could begin to relax and slip into one of the vexing contemplations that often plagued her at this point. This time, her mind took a particularly troublesome turn: What small shifts in circumstance might have given Bajor a greater chance at peace
Bajor was too close to the Cardassian border, a tempting prize, too wealthy by far, whether wealth was measured in material or spiritual values. That last, perhaps, was what had proved her undoing. To have nothing and be unprepared for the predators in the world, was one thing. But to be rich and still unable to defend oneself seemed to motivate not merely greed, but anger.
Her reflection gleamed faintly in the shuttle's windows. She watched her hands play across the controls. Major Kira was still attractive, and she would be for many years to come. She had dedicated her life to service, a decision it was too late to change, or turn back from. Like too many, she had both the gift and the curse of knowing her place in the world. A gift because it removes uncertainty. A curse because it sometimes eliminates wonder.
She was not the only one possessing this barbed gift. Another, she knew, understood his place in the world. And although they had experienced difficulties and differences, of all of the people who worked and lived in the place called Deep Space Nine, Benjamin Sisko was perhaps closest to a brother. He knew what it was to find his place in the world. He grasped both the positive and negative aspects of that understanding, the way in which it was both gift and curse. Benjamin Sisko. The man to whom she would have to relay her data, information too precious to be trusted to any transmitted message, no matter how secure. Information which would add to his already passive load of stress.
The shuttle trip between Bajor and DS9 lasts approximately three hours. Originally, DS9 was a Cardassian mining station built in orbit above the planet Bajor during the Cardassian occupation. Constructed in 2351, initially called Terok Nor, DS9 was intended to exploit Bajor's rich uridium deposits. The Cardassians retained control of the station until 2369, when they relinquished their claim on Bajor and retreated from the region. Now administered by the Federation, the station fell under the jurisdiction of the Bajoran government and was subject to its laws.