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Tenmei and Matthias join Shar when he returns home to Andor.

Publisher's description

From The Back Cover:

ANDOR: On the eve of a great celebration of their ancient past, the unusual and mysterious Andorians, a species with four sexes, must decide how much they are willing to sacrifice in order to ensure their survival. Biological necessity clashes with personal ethics; cultural obligation vies with love -- and Ensign Thirishar ch'Thane returns home to the planet he forswore, to face not only the consequences of his choices, but a clandestine plan to alter the very nature of his kind.


Shar receives a message from his mother Charivretha asking him to return to Andor: her party, the Progressives, have been accused by their rivals the Visionists, of which Thriss' mother Thantis is a leading member, of secretly planning to re-engineer Andorians into a dual sex species. With Lieutenant Commander Matthias planning to visit the planet for Thriss' funeral, Shar and Prynn Tenmei choose to travel with her.

A riot in the capital upsets their travel plans and forces Shar and Prynn to travel with Matthias to Thantis' home. They are joined by Charivretha, who asks Shar to return to the capital with her. Instead, Shar and Prynn briefly abscond in a stolen shuttle. In their absence, Charivretha is kidnapped after being drugged with a quantity of the semi-illegal saf being transported by Matthias.

Thia, a woman present at the keep, admits her bondmates are responsible and guides Shar, Prynn, and Matthias to the reserve where Charivretha is being held, tending to an injured Matthias while Shar and Prynn affect a rescue. Shar discovers the materials he previously brought back to Andor have resulted in research allowing increased Andorian fertility and multiple births but that the rumours of genetic re-engineering are also true. Charivretha resigns from the Federation Council.

With some of the wounds healed, Shar is allowed to lead the mourners at Thriss' funeral but Thia is disowned by her bondmates, despite no charges being laid. Shar chooses to stay behind on Andor and form a new bond group with her, Anichent and Dizhei but not before presenting Prynn with an Andorian betrothel token.


Andor’s ruling Modern Progressive party comes under fire from the traditionalist Visionist Party, who are close to regaining a majority in the government. They call for a full investigation into rumors that the Science Institute is researching the reengineering of their species into two sexes as a solution to the population crisis. A heated dialog is opened about whether it’s better to face extinction as “true” Andorians or to survive as something different. The Visionists also call for the removal of Charivretha zh’Thane from her post, claiming that she has become a Federation tool rather than a voice for their people, and citing her failure as the parent of Thirishar ch’Thane. Vretha once more asks Shar to return home to help her deal with the current problem, offering to cease all meddling with his future in return. Counselor Philippa Matthias informs Shar that she has been invited to participate in Thriss’s Sending (funeral) and Rite of Memory. Thriss’s zhavey, Sessethantis zh’Cheen (Thantis), has long been a powerful political opponent of Vretha and blames Shar for Thriss’s suicide, so Shar himself is not invited. Still, he decides to travel to Andor with Matthias, and Prynn Tenmei joins him to provide friendship and support. Both Prynn and Shar consider taking their friendship a step further, unbeknownst to each other.

Vretha finds herself also facing opposition from her own party, who hope to sacrifice her to save themselves. She refuses to resign, criticizing the Council’s constant agenda to “buy time” in all matters, ironically using Shar’s constant argument against the status quo, and receives barely enough support to maintain her position. A riot erupts in the capital, forcing Shar and Prynn to instead travel to Thantis’s home with Matthias, per Andorian rules of hospitality. They meet Arenthialeh zh’Vazdi (Thia), a distant cousin of Thriss’s, and Shar has a tense and emotional reunion with Anichent and Dizhei, who still want him to join them in the shelthreth. Vretha arrives, imploring Shar to return to the capital with her; instead he steals a shuttle and runs off with Prynn to a nearby town. They visit a colorful festival, hide from the police pursuing them, and share tezha, but are accidentally dosed with saf. Prynn nearly dies of an overdose and Shar also suffers, but they are saved by Anichent, who saw Shar leaving and followed him. In their absence, Vretha is kidnapped by militant Visionists.

Thia reveals that two of her bondmates are responsible and agrees to be guide Shar, Prynn, and Matthias into the wilderness where Vretha is being held. Shar and Thia bond during the ordeal, making Prynn jealous. Thia treats Matthias after the counselor is infected by shax, poisonous insects that burrow under the skin to lay eggs, while Shar and Prynn continue on to rescue Vretha. Shar later learns that the Yrythny genetic material he discovered has been used to create gene therapy that can increase the Andorians’ window of fertility and to enable twin or triplet births, but also confirms the rumors of a two-sex reengineering plot. Vretha decides to resign from the Federation Council to focus on her people’s plight. Thantis allows Vretha, Shar, and Prynn to participate in Thriss’ Sending, revealing that she blames herself for her own failings with Thriss. Thantis had seen Thriss growing into a strong, focused woman, but couldn’t let her go to flower on her own. Shar decides to remain on Andor and participate in the shelthreth with Anichent, Dizhei, and Thia (whose own bondgroup has divorced her) but gives Prynn her own shapla with the promise of “someday.”


Andor’s crisis has seen a population of more than 3 billion reduced to fewer than 90 million in all the universe. Experts project total extinction within ten to fifteen generations. The genetic matching of bondgroups was instituted in desperation, and society was socially reengineered with regard to mating and childrearing, but those measures have only slowed the decline. Children are indoctrinated to believe that their highest purpose is reproduction, that they are nothing without their bond, and to accept the mates chosen for them. Critics have noted that this system leaves no room for failure; a single death or voice of dissent can destroy four lives.

When the members of a bondgroup are officially joined, they each receive a shapla, a pendant containing the interwoven locks of hair of all four mates.

Zhaveys grow a pouch known as a kheth over their lower abdomen during the final phase of gestation. The child nurses within the pouch after birth and eventually outgrows it, at which point it scabs and falls off the zhen. One of a chan’s responsibilities is to help the zhen recover from this process.

Once a bondgroup has raised their children, they may separate by invoking the Whole Vessel Law, in which the marriage is officially dissolved, or by gradually drifting apart to pursue their own careers and interests.

When a person dies, each person close to them contributes a memory in the form of a neuro-imprint as part of the Rite of Memory. These are combined into a crystalline Cipher, which is used in the Sending ritual, then kept by the survivors as a remembrance. The widowed bondmates’ shaplas are also returned to the deceased so that they can be made Whole in the next life.

The term Whole has many meanings. It is an endearment of great intimacy; describes the unity and intimacy of the shelthreth; means that everyone lacks a crucial piece of self-knowledge, making them unworthy of evolving beyond themselves without the shelthreth.

Andorian mythology tells the tale of Thirishar, an ancient (single-sex) warrior who completed all of the tasks given to Mortals by Uzaveh the Infinite and demanded a place in the presence of infinity. Uzaveh judged that he was not Whole, denied him the Throne of Secrets, and broke him into four individuals: Shanchen (blood, led by the Water Spirit), Thirizaz (passion, led by the Fire Daemon), Charaleas (wisdom, led by the stars), and Zheusal (strength, led by earth). These figures were dispersed to the ends of the world, to constantly seek out each other, and are the mythological basis of the four sexes.

Andorian rules of hospitality override personal considerations. If someone is in need, they are obligated to seek that aid from someone in a position to provide support, and vice versa, despite any interpersonal conflicts. It is a great offense not to seek or provide such help.

Complex, extended Andorian families often live in great communities, such as the Cheen-Thitar Keep. Within these communities, there is very little in the way of personal space. Everyone lives, relaxes, eats, and sleeps in communal areas, though each immediate family is provided a discrete storage space. The Enclave is when everyone gathers for meetings and meals. All participants are stripped of their clothes and possessions, instead wearing a simple smock. Historically, this was done to set people at all levels of society at the same level, and also to provide security against untrusted outsiders; today it’s more of a polite custom/tradition. Andorians have no nudity taboo.

Saf is a power drug made from a plant native only to Andor and unable to be transplanted elsewhere. It has long been a part of their culture, though its potency means it is only available for tezha within the shelthreth, or by a medical prescription. A powerful aphrodisiac, it has proven highly addictive and easily fatal to non-Andorians and is thus strictly controlled by the government, though illicit supplies are common enough in the Orion Syndicate.

The patron Guardians of each geographic region are very important to those cultures, and are celebrated in festivals. Historically, the Water Guardian festival of the northern Archipelago was quite intense and saw widespread use of intoxicants, public sex outside of bondgroups, and even sentient sacrifice, though such extreme practices were curtailed decades ago.

The Andorian storyline continues in Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony and concludes in The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses.

Andorian humanoids are the only four-sexed life-forms (plant or animal) known on their world, leading some scientists to suspect that Andorians are not native to that world. The 2376 discovery of a wild variant of the plant Shanchen’s mantle proves that four-gamete fertilization is native to Andor beyond humanoids.

Legally, Andor is still a constitutional monarchy, though no single ruler has reigned over the planet in centuries. Thalisar the Last deliberately died childless, having instead instituted a parliamentary system to replace her. She singlehandedly abolished the clan warfare that had divided Andor for generations.

Zhevra is the planetary capital.

This story suggests that the difference between the names Andor and Andoria is the same as Terra vs Earth.

Thia is returning from a month of botany field studies on Dramia. 



Sessethantis zh'CheenThavanichent th'DaniThezalden ch'LethaPhillipa Matthiaszh'NasthaVindizhei sh'RraazhVanazhad ch'Shalch'Shelosth'SivasPrynn Tenmeith'TethisCharivretha zh'ThaneThirishar ch'ThaneArenthialeh zh'Vazdish'Veilethsh'YetheZhendeunnamed Andorians
Referenced only
AriosJulian BashirCharaleasShathrissia zh'CheenChon SibiasJack DiAngeloEarth GuardianFire GuardianVic FontaineKira NerysLeiloMikaela LeishmanJosef MengeleMirehCrell MosetTujiro NakamuraNogQuarkReshusRistath'SaarashJason SenkowskiShanchenBenjamin SiskoNoonien SoongStar GuardianSimon TarsesRuriko TenmeiThalisar the LastThirisharThirizazT'LatrekUthiriUzavehElias Vaughnth'VrashWater GuardianZheusalHravishran th'Zoarhi


AndorArchipelagoBajorB'hava'elCentral CanalCheen-Thitar KeepCheshras IslandCoral CanyonDeep Space 9 (docking pylondocking ringReplimat) • Frost RiverGrand ChamberGrand StaircaseGreat Rift RangeGreat WashHarbortownHeroes AntechamberHill CountryKhyzhon SeaMoss RiverNitra BridgeOrbital Control StationPlaza of FreedomReserveShessTemple ButteTemple PathThelasa-veiThelasa-vei ProvinceTherin ParkTower HillVezhdar PlainZhevra
Referenced only
AshallaBadlandsBetazedDenorios BeltDodge CityDramiaEarthEuropa NovaGamma QuadrantMarsMediterranean SeaNew GuineaQuark'sRomeRomulan Neutral ZoneSan FranciscoStarbase 219TitanTrillVic'sVulcan

Starships and vehicles

USS Defiant (Defiant-class) • Sagan (Type-10 shuttlecraft) • saucer car (aircar) • Violaunnamed civilian shuttles
Referenced only

Races and cultures

Andorian (Reiji) • HumanKtarianVulcan
Referenced only

States and organizations

Andorian Imperial GuardAndorian Science InstituteEnclaveHomeworld SecurityParliament AndoriaProgressive PartySat 2 newsnetStarfleetUnited Federation of PlanetsVisionist Party
Referenced only
Art Institute of BetazedByzantine EmpireDominionFederation CouncilFederation News ServiceOrion SyndicatePromenade Merchants' AssociationSat 6Satellite Station 3Starfleet AcademyStarfleet CommandStarfleet MedicalTal ShiarZhevra University

Science and technology

ablative armorAndorian gendersbloodbombchronometerCipherDNAEM pulsefossilholoMarbagonian plaguemedical tricorderpaddphaserplasteelrebreatherrecyclerreplicatorsensorstarbasetoothcleanertransparent aluminumtransportertransporter scramblertricordervolcano


beetlecave lilychallorndogekethaeltafishgrassgrelthklazhpeacocksehlatShanchen's mantleshaxshayshasmokefishtarastidal crabtreevithixixuzletha

Ranks and titles

admiralbotanistcaptaincommandercouncillordoctorensignFederation CouncillorFirst Princesslieutenant commandermagistratepiratePresident of the United Federation of PlanetsPresider of the Parliament Andoriarepresentativesentinel

Other references

Andoriiarboretumbat'lethBattle of BetazedcearacoppercreditcrystalDeepeningDominion WardrumEmpty ThroneFederation StandardfruitgargoylegraniteGre'thorharikathekakatrakhethleatherThe Liturgy of the Temple of Uzavehmask of griefmess hallmonstermoonobsidianoceanorbital skydivingquartzraktajinoration barRigelian cream cakeRite of MemorysafThe Scarlet LetterSendingshaplashelthrethshreyasilkSpring Water FestivalstatuesuicidesunglassessurfboardsurfingThe Tale of the BreakingtapestrytattootezhaTime of Knowingvithi bulbwaterWholeWhole Vessel LawwinewoodWorld War IIzhiassa


Background information

  • This novel is written by Heather Jarman.
  • This is the second of two stories in Worlds of Deep Space Nine, Volume One. The first story contained in this book is Cardassia: The Lotus Flower.
  • Andor, rather than Andoria, is given as the favored Andorian name for their homeworld.
  • The end of the book contains a glossary of terms in Andorii.

Related stories

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



published order
Previous story:
Cardassia: The Lotus Flower
DS9 Stories
Next story:
Trill: Unjoined
Previous story:
Mirror Eyes
Stories by:
Heather Jarman
Next story:
The Officers' Club
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
The Dominion: Olympus Descending
Memory Beta Chronology Next Adventure:
A Burning House