© 2000 Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
When Captain Sisko and the rest of the Ds9 crew recovered three lost Bajoran artifacts -- the lost Orbs of Jalbador -- they thought a great mystery and the murderous schemes surrounding it had finally been put to rest. When when the three orbs spontaneously gathered together and opened a second wormhole, glowing crimson, the Defiant and all aboard her were thrown into the future while attempting to escape the destruction of Deep Space Nine. They found themselves trapped in a nightmarish future, where Klingons, Cardassians, and humans were all but extinct species -- where the remnant of Starfleet which remained is allied with the Borg and dedicated to the wholesale destruction of Bajor --a Bajor which is the seat of power for a new, mighty empire intent on enacting the Apocalypse.
Defiant jumps 25 years into the future and is immediately caught between the opposing forces: the Ascendancy need Sisko alive to fulfill prophecy, while Starfleet is determined to kill or capture Sisko to prevent his taking a role in the things to come. Gone is the Prime Directive and Starfleet's scientific, diplomatic culture: the universe may very well be doomed if Bajor is not eradicated. It's a bizarre, disturbing future the authors introduce us to, and when Defiant's crew is captured by both warring parties, the readers are able to see how truly demented the powers that be have become. Weyoun, formerly an agent of the Dominion, is now Kai of the Bajoran people -- and while he happily waits for the universe to end in two weeks, Starfleet -- and specifically, Fleet Admiral Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Nog -- are sending a timeship 25,000 years into the past to prevent cosmic catastrophe.
Sheer morbid curiosity in this strange world kept me reading the first time, but now I enjoy it more for the fun the authors had with their characters. Kira is the only weak point, reduced to a religious fanatic who yells "That's blasphemy" and does little else. Garak, the station's longterm resident Cardassian and former covert operative for the Obsidian Order, gives a unique perspective on the end of things, commenting surreally as he awaits the inevitable. The drama ramps up toward the end, when Starfleet's master plan is supposed to unfold....but it all goes to hell.
I had no intention of reading this so soon after The Fall of Terok Nor, but I picked it up to read with supper...and didn't stop until I was done. If I can find the third book, I just may read the entire trilogy in as many days.