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For other uses, see Abyss.

Abyss is a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel by Jeffrey Lang and David Weddle published by Pocket Books in 2001. It is the third novel in the DS9 relaunch series, and a part of the Star Trek: Section 31 series, a miniseries thematically linked by the use of Section 31. The book centers around Doctor Julian Bashir who is contacted by Section 31, leading to Bashir taking Ro Laren, Ezri Dax and Taran'atar on a dangerous mission to stop a fellow "superman" who has installed himself as the Khan-like leader of a group of Jem'Hadar. The novel was reprinted in the omnibus Twist of Faith in 2007.


They are the self-appointed protectors of the Federation. Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, answerable to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group committed to safeguarding the Federation at any cost.
Mere days after the startling events of Avatar, Dr. Julian Bashir faces his darkest nightmare when Section 31 compels him to undertake a mission to stop one of their own. But this renegade is no ordinary agent. Like Bashir, Dr. Ethan Locken is genetically enhanced, a human superior in body and mind. But Locken dreams of remaking the galaxy in his own image—and creating a new human empire based on the example of the infamous Khan Noonien Singh.
And as he begins to understand the terrifying truth about his opposite number, Bashir will learn more about himself than he ever wanted.
No law.
No conscience.
No stopping them.


Following the disastrous assault on space station Deep Space 9 by the renegade Jem'Hadar vessels, Lieutenant Nog has Empok Nor towed to the Bajor system in order to obtain its fusion cores to replace DS9's own. The dangerous procedure prompts Colonel Kira Nerys to order an evacuation of all but the most essential personnel.

Doctor Julian Bashir and Ezri Dax decide to leave for Earth during their forced time off. After checking in with Ezri, Bashir returns to his quarters to obtain his travel bag, and finds Section 31 operative Cole awaiting him with a secret mission on their behalf. Cole outlines the backstory of a fellow genetically enhanced Starfleet officer, who became a Section 31 operative but betrayed them in the closing days of the Dominion War.

Section 31 discovered a Jem'Hadar hatchery that was never fully brought online on the world of Sindorin in the Badlands, and believed they could resequence their DNA to create soldiers loyal to the Federation, believing that the next major conflict would not be long in coming. Ten weeks prior, Locken was dispatched, and initial reports indicated he had been able to bring the machinery online and produce hundreds of soldiers. Bashir is tasked with stopping Locken's plans before they are set into action.

After his meeting with Cole is complete, Bashir briefs the other senior staff of the station. Lieutenant Ro Laren confirms that the Maquis were interested in Sindorin due to an unusual mineral in the soil and flora which naturally blocks sensor scans. Ezri insists on going with Bashir, and Kira assigns Ro and Taran'atar to join them. Commander Vaughn seems them off, and warns Bashir to just perform the mission, and not look for information to try to take down 31.

The team takes the runabout USS Euphrates and winds an indirect route into the Badlands, finding a derelict Romulan N'renix-class starship whose crew was brutally murdered and left as a warning to those who would follow. A prerecorded message from Locken insists they are trespassing on sovereign territory of the New Federation. After setting the core to overload to destroy it and prevent the Romulans from suspecting Federation involvement, the runabout enters the Badlands and approaches Sindorin, where it is engaged by a vessel of mixed technology and shot down. Ro and Taran'atar are able to escape via transporter before the vessel crash lands on the surface.

Ro and Taran'atar are able to make contact with the Ingavi, a transplanted species Ro and the Maquis met many years ago. Taran'atar scouts the enemy Jem'Hadar and finds them weak and improperly trained; the Ingavi agree to join an assault on the Dominion As they form ranks and make their way through the forest, Ro is shown what used to be an Ingavi sacred space, and now unholy ground, as Locken slowly and meticulously killed their children by nailing them to trees and watching They are able to find the runabout, still in reasonable shape, and plan to use it. Ro is able to get the runabout off the ground, but Taran'atar is captured.

In the base itself, Bashir and Ezri awake in a holding cell, where Locken meets them and invites them to dinner, where he attempts to show off all he has accomplished - synthesizing a version of ketracel white, advances in cloning technology including steps towards memory transfers, and manufacturing his loyal Jem'Hadar soldiers. After dinner, Bashir plays the part of being interested in Locken's work in order to gain his confidence. Once away from Ezri, Locken is overconfident in his swaying of the Doctor, and shows off his other work - genetically engineering a prion which can infect any organism with a central nervous system. He plans to shoot a missile at a Romulan world, then several more later, his calculations suggesting that the entire population will be infected. The Romulans will believe the Federation behind the attack, and the two will enter a conflict, drawing in the other quadrant powers to severely weaken them.

With Locken distracted, Ezri is able to escape her cell with a combadge circuit that Bashir was able to salvage and hide until he could pass it to her. Once out of the cell and into the ventilation system, she makes her way through the compound and finds the ketracel white plant, where she attempts to make modifications to the formula to placidate them. Locken finds the modified behavior and suspects Bashir; returning to his personal quarters where he left the Doctor, he finds Bashir hunched over the computer, working frantically.

Locken is furious, and launches the first missile at the Romulans ahead of schedule. Unable to break the encryption around the launch controls, Bashir had instead altered the orbit of the weapons platform, which the missile explodes against harmlessly. Bashir also points out that Locken's trusted companion at his previous posting was none other than Cole, who has orchestrated this entire event. The main assault against his facility continues on outside, the Ingavi having moderate success against the drugged Jem'Hadar. However, the modifications have altered more than Ezri expected; their loyalty to Locken has faltered, and he is killed at their hands. Their First has Taran'atar seal a set of doors, trapping them all inside, where they will kill each other.

The mission complete, Bashir expects to be able to try to locate information to implicate Section 31 and finally take them down. However, a night cleaning crew from Section 31 arrives, led by Cole himself. The data is lost completely, and the compound is destroyed as the runabout escapes. Back at Deep Space 9, Bashir confronts Vaughn, believing him to be aware of Section 31's actions. Vaughn reveals he's been attempting to fight them, the same as Bashir, for many years now. Through his connections, he was able to steal the holoship, and works to re-transplant the Ingavi back to their homeworld, now a Federation protectorate.



Julian BashirSam BowersColeEzri DaxHava RemahtKelKira NerysEthan LockenMalicMatasaMullaNogQuarkRo LarenShakaar EdonShul ToremJoseph SiskoTaran'atarPrynn TenmeiThirishar ch'ThaneElias VaughnKasidy Yates
Referenced only
CaprilCorat DamarAudrid DaxCurzon DaxJadzia DaxTobin DaxTorias DaxSarina DouglasMatthew DoughertyFemale ChangelingVic FontaineFroolElim GarakJackTiris JastKitana'klanKurnLasaranLaurenLeetaMartokMerraMornMiles O'BrienOdoPatrickJean-Luc PicardPlatoRomWilliam RossShul AbaBenjamin SiskoJake SiskoLuther SloanKhan Noonien SinghTanokWorfYevir Linjarin


Alpha QuadrantBadlandsBajorDeep Space 9Empok NorSindorinSisko's house
On Deep Space 9
Operations centerPromenadeQuark'sStation commander's office
Referenced only
AlamoCajaraCardassiaDelta QuadrantDenorios BeltEarthFerenginarFire CavesIngavMarsNew BeijingNew OrleansOrias IIIOrias systemRigelRigel systemRisaRomeSan FranciscoSoukaraVulcan

Starships and vehicles

USS Defiant (Defiant-class) • USS Euphrates (Danube-class) • Federation holoshipJem'Hadar fighterLi NalasN'renix-classUSS Rio Grande (Danube-class) • USS Sungari (Danube-class)
Referenced only
USS AldebaranUSS Enterprise-DUSS Enterprise-EExcelsior-classUSS Gryphon (Akira-class) • Nebula-classUSS RubiconUSS T'KumbraVentureWayfarerUSS Yangtzee Kiang

Races and cultures

Referenced only
BetazoidBorgBreenCardassianChangelingHirogenKlingonParasiteProphetsSpecies 8472Son'aSrivaniTzenkethiVaadwaurVortaVulcanv'Xaji

States and organizations

Bajoran MilitiaCardassian UnionDominionNew FederationRomulan Star EmpireSection 31StarfleetStarfleet Corps of EngineersTal ShiarUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only
Federation AllianceFederation CouncilKirk CabalLogiciansMaquisNinersPathfinder ProjectPersian EmpireSpartanStarfleet CommandSymbiosis CommissionVedek Assembly

Science and classification

biogenic weaponcloaking deviceclonecloningelectromagnetic pulsegenetic engineeringholosuiteimpeller winginertial dampenerketracel-whitemorphogenic virusorborbital weapon platformoxygenpalm beaconphaserphoton grenadeprionquantum torpedoShroudspace sicknesstractor beamwarhead modulewarp nacelle

Ranks and titles

coloneldoctorEmissary of the Prophetslieutenanttanvedekwatchman

Other references

Allied protectorateAndoriiAttainderBajoran prophecybatosBattle of CardassiaBattle of ThermopylaeBiblebock beerChristiancomes-in-the-night-kills-manyconvoydaboDominion WarethnologyEugenics Warsfractal knifehasperathatcheryJihadJudaismkar'takinLate EnglishlogicOccupation of BajorOxford Dictionary of Terran Languagesplanetplomeek soupThe Republicshore leavetwig teayoga


Related media


  • The German translation of the novel was released by Cross Cult in 2010. It was translated by Christian Humberg and featured new cover art by Martin Frei. Prior to release several mock-up covers were used by the company to promote the book.


"... but, people die all the time. It's simply a question of how many, who they are, and, sometimes, how they died. That's what my colleagues and I try to do: keep the numbers as small as possible, make sure the right ones don't die, and keep the suffering to a minimum."

-Cole explaining Section 31's goals

"Most Jem'Hadar go their entire lives without ever seeing a Founder, but the Vorta are there every day - watching, prying, sneering. You all look like Vorta to us: humans, Klingons, Romulans, Bajorans, Vulcans - some of the Jem'Hadar who fought in the war said it made killing you more satisfying."


Stepping close, putting his face in Taran'atar's, the First hissed, "I am not a soldier. I am not a servant. I am a slave, but at least I know it. Why don't you?"

-Jem'Hadar first, questioning Taran'atar's blind obedience to the Founders

"It's hard to measure such things, but, yes, I believe my faith is very strong."
"How did it get to be so strong?" Taran'atar asked. "How can you... not doubt?"
"I do doubt. Every day, I doubt everything. I doubt that I'm doing this job right. I doubt that I'm a good and decent person. I even doubt that we'll all be here tomorrow. I doubt, and doubt, and doubt. But through it all, I draw strength from the idea that the Prophets are weaving a tapestry in which my life is a thread, and that my faith helps bring me closer to understanding my part in the whole. It's become my belief of late that the Prophets have no use for blind devotion. They want us - their people - to question our beliefs every day, because the only way our faith can grow stronger is by having it challenged." Kira stopped then, slightly embarrassed. "Does any of that make sense?" she asked.
Taran'atar mulled it over. "This," he said at length, "is all very paradoxical."
Kira shrugged. "At best," she said, "it's paradoxical. On bad days, it's just complete nonsense."

-Kira and Taran'atar, discussing faith

Writing process

The novel was written by David Weddle, one of the writing team of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Jeffrey Lang, who was brought in early to continue the project after Weddle moved on. In Voyages of Imagination, it is recollected that:

"The plot for Abyss was originally developed by David and Marco, shortly after the Deep Space Nine television series had ended. Marco recalled, 'One of the great things about David's involvement in the project was that Abyss was the story that immediately followed up on Avatar. It was extraordinarily cool to have one of DS9's TV writers developing a story for the post-TV fiction, with its mix of old and new characters.'"
"David was to have written the book himself, but had to bow out when he got a new TV-writing gig. Marco then turned to Jeff and offered the project to him. Jeff remarked, 'My contributions to the story were plot details and character bits. [...] The writing and publishing process were pretty straightforward: Marco said, "Here's the outline; can you have the book back to me on Thursday?"'".



Star Trek: Deep Space Nine relaunch publications and stories
Novels A Stitch in TimeAvatar, Book One‎Avatar, Book TwoAbyssDemons of Air and DarknessTwilightThis Gray SpiritCathedralLesser EvilRising SonThe Left Hand of Destiny, Book OneThe Left Hand of Destiny, Book TwoUnity • "Cardassia: The Lotus Flower" • "Andor: Paradigm" • "Trill: Unjoined" • "Bajor: Fragments and Omens" • "Ferenginar: Satisfaction is Not Guaranteed" • "The Dominion: Olympus Descending" • WarpathFearful SymmetryThe Soul KeyThe Never-Ending SacrificeThe MissingSacraments of FireAscendanceForce and MotionThe Long MirageEnigma TalesOriginal Sin
Miniseries and anthologies The Lives of DaxDivided We FallMission GammaWorlds of Deep Space Nine (Volume One, Two & Three)
Short stories and novellas "Horn and Ivory" • "The Officers' Club" • Lust's Latinum Lost (and Found)Rules of AccusationI, The Constable
Comics N-Vector • "Crossfire" • "No Quarter" • "All Fall Down" • "United We Stand"
Omnibuses Twist of FaithThese Haunted Seas
Related Star Trek: Section 31Star Trek: Terok NorStar Trek: DestinyStar Trek: Typhon PactStar Trek: The FallStar Trek: Coda


The novel is set in April of 2376, three months after the final Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode,"What You Leave Behind".

Published Order
Previous novel:
Avatar, Book Two
DS9 novels Next novel:
Demons of Air and Darkness
Previous novel:
Star Trek: Section 31 Next novel:
Previous story:
The Wake
Stories by:
Jeffrey Lang
Next story:
Immortal Coil
Previous story:
Extreme Measures
Stories by:
David Weddle
Next story:
most recent Star Trek story
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Urgent Matter
Pocket Books Timeline Next adventure:
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Urgent Matter
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