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After a settlement on Bajor is attacked, Kira and the crew of the Defiant pursue the suspects while Ro Laren investigates the circumstances of the attack; Sisko enjoys being back with his family, while Jake travels around Bajor; First Minister Asarem rushes to find a person to represent Bajor on the Federation Council; Opaka encourages Vedek Solis to seek to become the next Kai.

Publisher's description

From The Back Cover:

BAJOR: The honeymoon is over. Following the euphoria of Bajor's marriage to the Federation, the real work of making that union work has begun. But even on a world where politics and religion are intertwined, conflicting visions of Bajor's role in the interstellar arena divide the planet's leadership. As newly minted Captain Kira Nerys sets the tone for the kind of Starfleet officer she will be, First Minister Asarem makes a bold move to define Bajor's voice in the Federation, while the returned Benjamin Sisko prepares for a future that only he, as yet, can see.


Sisko, Kasidy, and their daughter Rebecca settle into their new lives together while a restless Jake sets off on his own to explore Bajor. In his travels, he meets Rena, a young Bajoran woman who left art school to return home for family obligations. She was raised by her grandfather, Topa, after her parents were killed working with the Resistance. Topa recently died; his last wishes were for Rena to design his grave memorial and to help maintain their village’s unique traditions amidst the changes of Federation membership. She and “Jacob” share an instant mutual attraction, though he conceals his full identity to avoid everything that goes with being the “Son the Emissary.” Bad weather delays her travels and Jake takes it upon himself to look after her, following her when she tries to brave the streets alone. They’re both swept into the river but saved by local police. Frustrated by all of her personal upheaval—Topa’s death, giving up on her dreams, the stress of designing Topa’s memorial, and losing her sketchbook (the one thing she retained from her life at school) in the storm—she accepts Jake’s comfort and they sleep together. When they arrive at Mylea (her village), she insists that there’s no place for him in her life and they part ways. Rena grudgingly resumes her old life, working in her family’s bakery and practically engaged to an old flame, Kail, but happenstance brings Jake into her circle of friends. Rena grows tired of Kail’s attitudes and breaks up with him; a drunken Kail reacts badly, but Jake stops him from assaulting her.

Soon after, Jake, Rena, and her friends travel to Yyn, the ruins of an ancient city open to the public only for the Astur festival. According to myth, Astur was a water spirit who left the ocean and transformed into a woman to pursue a fisherman with whom she’d fallen in love. She found the man, but couldn’t persuade him to abandon life on land and join her in the water. Since her transformation only lasted as long as the sunlight on solstice day, the lovers built a massive bonfire to keep the light alive, but they were consumed by its intense heat. Afterward, Astur’s father, the King of the Reef, would light a fire each solstice night in the hopes that his daughter could live again. The custom holds that any couple who captures the water spirit’s candle has the King’s blessing for one night of marriage, the “spell” broken at dawn—really an excuse for unmarried lovemaking. Jake and Rena feel giddy and creatively inspired in each other’s company; Jake writes Rena a story and she is able to complete Topa’s memorial design. At the end of the night, he brings her a candle and they spend another night together.

Elsewhere on Bajor, General Lenaris and Lt. Ro investigate the total destruction of the isolated Sidau village and its 300 citizens. Evidence suggests it was a deliberate attack, and Ro links transit records to a Besinian freighter that departed the planet shortly after the massacre. Captain Kira takes the Defiant in pursuit, but chances of locating the other ship are slim. During the investigation, Ro sees firsthand the changes brought by Federation membership. Though the Bajoran Militia will continue to serve as the planet’s home guard, she and Commander Vaughn had been leading the evaluation of Starfleet’s latest recruits. There are nearly a quarter million requests for direct transfer from the Militia, with an additional 20,000 fresh enlistments and Starfleet Academy applicants. Others in the Militia are unhappy to see so many Bajorans “abandoning” their world and fear their diminished role in protecting Bajor, especially after liberating it from the Cardassians on their own. In particular, Major Cenn Desca decries Ro as the posterchild of Bajoran desertions to Starfleet, though he does encourage her to redirect her investigation toward Bajor—understanding why the village was attacked may lead to who committed the crime. Lenaris, who is staying with the Militia, concedes that Bajor needs to have a voice within the Federation, Starfleet, and the galactic community facilitated by Bajorans serving offworld, but notes that Bajor still needs to be protected. Ro suggests reestablishing the role of a Militia liaison officer on DS9 to serve as a voice specifically for Bajoran interests in all station operations, recommending Major Cenn. Lenaris and Kira approve, and though Cenn is unhappy with the assignment, voicing his opinion that “Terok Nor” is an insult to all of Bajor, he agrees to serve.

Rava Mehwyn, Bajor’s new ambassador to the Federation Council, dies suddenly of natural causes, leaving First Minister Asarem only days to appoint a new one before the next Council session begins. Short on choices, Asarem’s aide suggests her ex-husband, former General Krim Aldos. Krim retired from the military in disgrace following the Circle incident (though was later cleared of all charges), and withdrew from his marriage to save Asarem’s political career. He once more agrees to put Bajor’s interests ahead of his own, leaving his quiet life in the wilderness to accept the ambassadorship. Vedek Solis Tendren makes a final plea that Opaka resume her role as kai, but she once more refuses, insisting on ministering in her own way. She’s now open to many philosophies, including those of the Eav-oq and the Oralians. In her own words, “any religion is about attempting to comprehend the universe beyond what we, as merely parts of it, can perceive.  But though the faithful may scratch the surface of Truth, I believe we each see only a fragment of a much larger and more complex totality. Different religions may see different fragments, none of them wrong but none of them entirely right either. Together, they may begin to form a mosaic or tapestry” that will lead to whole Truth. Opaka spurs Solis to consider himself as a contender for kai, praising his open mind as an Ohaluvaru. She and Vaughn continue to develop their friendship.

Ke Hovath, Sirah of Sidau, awakens on an alien ship, a prisoner of the woman who destroyed his village. Though he recognizes her, her identity remains a mystery, and he can’t comprehend why she would commit such atrocities. The woman interrogates him, using his wife, Iniri, as leverage. Though a spiritual leader, Hovath has spent the last several years researching the science behind the wormhole, culminating in his publication of Speculations on the Architecture of the Celestial Temple. He theorizes that spiritual and secular approaches will converge into a new understanding of the Temple. The phenomenon isn’t like other wormholes, being stable and having an interior—a continuum unto itself outside of normal space-time. Many Bajorans were surprised to learn that the Temple was a tunnel, rather than a “room,” and are wary of what the Gamma Quadrant terminus means to their singular relationship with the Prophets. Hovath speculates that the Temple has many more doors to other distant locations, but he is unsure how to unlock them. His captor suggests that he’s had the key all along: the Paghvaram, his bracelet containing what’s reputed to be an Orb fragment.

The Defiant locates and disables the Besinian ship despite its formidable Cardassian weaponry and Dominion shields. Kira leads a boarding party, but finds the ship on auto-pilot and the entire mercenary crew murdered; a tortured Iniri dies minutes later. Hovath and his captor are not among the bodies. The team narrowly escapes when the ship’s sabotaged engines explode. Evidence suggests that the ship was a trap, a distraction for the killer to escape aboard a cloaked shuttle, though her identity and motivations remain a mystery.

Sisko senses a coming threat, the Ascendants, though he can’t fully comprehend or express his Prophetic intuition. He gathers friends and allies to prepare. Opaka volunteers to become an unofficial ambassador to the Eav-oq, to develop a relationship with them and learn what they know of the Ascendants. Jake returns home and introduces Rena (Azeni Korena) as his wife. Sisko wonders if their relationship, which he glimpsed in another timeline, means that some events are unavoidable. Ro shares her findings of the Sidau investigation. She’s learned of the paghvaram and suspects that the killer was after its Orb fragment. As the paghvaram’s existence is virtually unknown beyond the village and was only uncovered by exhaustive research and Starfleet’s encounter with it (“The Storyteller”), she concludes of the only way the killer could have known about it—the station has a mole.


The full story behind the attack on Sidau village is revealed in Warpath and Fearful Symmetry.

Rena’s full identity—as the same woman Jake was married to in the alternate future of “The Visitor”—is concealed from readers by the exclusive use of her nickname until the end of the story.

Increased trade with other Federation members gains Bajor large dilithium shipments from Coridan, which will facilitate a new era of Bajoran colonization.

Rule of Acquisition #55: Take joy from profit, and profit from joy.

Vaughn had a run-in with a Berengeria dragon in his youth. His wounds were severe but he recovered.

Vaughn ignores his 102nd birthday. Dr. Girani encourages him to consider his advancing years and take steps to retire himself before fate forces him to do so.

Dr. Girani Semna retires from the Militia and returns to Bajor.

Opaka mentions the events of the short story Prophecy and Change: Ha'mara.

Jaza Najem conducts his final assignment with the Militia before enlisting in Starfleet. He will be posted to the USS Titan in the book series of the same name.



Asarem WadeenAzeni KorenaJulian BashirSam BowersCenn DescaFofen ParshIliana GhemorGirani SemnaGordimerJaza NajemKe HovathKe IniriKrim AldosLedahn MuriLenaris HolemKira NerysMarjaNogOpaka SulanQuarkRo LarenJason SenkowskiBenjamin SiskoJake SiskoRebecca Jae SiskoSolis TendrenSorati TeruTaran'atarSimon TarsesPrynn TenmeiThirishar ch'ThaneThenoElias VaughnKasidy Yates
Referenced only
Azeni JiramAzeni LariahBareil AntosDave BrubeckEzri DaxJadzia DaxDay KannuSkrain DukatEkoshaEnand AdassaEnkar SirsyJaro EssaNatima LangLi NalasAkellen MacetModoMiles O'BrienOhaluRava MehwynRozahnShabrenShakaar EdonJennifer SiskoJoseph SiskoSorati HerekTalnotTanin PremTopaTora ZiyalTrakorTriuUsayaWinn AdamiYevir Linjarin


Alpha QuadrantAshallaBajorB'hava'elDeep Space 9InfirmaryJanitza MountainsMyleaRiver WayShikina MonasterySidauSisko's houseTanin MemorialYolja RiverYyn
Referenced only
Argaya systemBadlandsBajoran wormholeBerengaria VIIB'halaCestus IIIColosseumCoridan IIIEarthFerenginarGamma QuadrantGaron IIIlviaJalanda spaceportJanirJo'kalaKenda ShrineKran-Tobal prisonLondonNew BajorNew OrleansParthenonProphet's LandingRakantha ProvinceRellikethSahving ValleySindorinSouth AmericaSudanTaluno LibraryTamulnaTessikTrill

Starships and vehicles

Besinian freighterUSS Defiant (Defiant-class)
Referenced only
USS AlexandriaUSS BrahmaputraEven Odds

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations

Bajoran MilitiaKendra RangersStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only
Alliance for Global UnityBajoran ResistanceCardassian UnionCentral ArchivesCircle CommissionDahkur Institute of ArtDominionFederation CouncilMaquisMusilla UniversityNavotPaquSen Ennis


ablative armorantimatter injectorceiling fanisolinear cubepulse phasersensor droneskimmerskycarSpiral-wave disruptor

Other references

Allied protectorateApex Chairasnor fishAsturAttainderAvatar of PeaceBajoran Embassy on EarthBajoran languageBajoran prophecyBajoran religionbargeBook of Ohalucelacela teacoffeeDal'RokdilithiumdinosaurD'jarraDominion WarDraco BerengariusduranjaEmissary of the Prophetsesanievent horizonFederation StandardFerengi Rules of Acquisitionfusionstonegrave markergroszgumbohasperathellhoverballjazzKaferian lilykaikuja flymakapamoba jamOccupation of Bajororborb fragmentOrnithochirusOstenex-DOstenex-EoysterpaghpaghvaramPsionicspterosaurranjenRule of AcquisitionscorcashafashamanshodiSirahnaSpeculations on the Architecture of the Celestial Templespringballspring wineteabagtessijentessipatetribbletriceronUnity Dayvedekvolewerewolfwormholexiqai


Background information

A version of the cover featuring Sisko.

  • This novel is written by J. Noah Kym. Kym commented: "As a fan, it was especially fun to be the one who got to marry off Jake, to show Sisko being a dad to his new daughter, to offer a shadowy glimpse of the major new villain who is eventually revealed in David Mack's book Warpath, and to be the the first author ever to have Kira say, 'This is Captain Kira Nerys of the USS Defiant, representing the United Federation of Planets'. That was just too cool". (Voyages of Imagination)
  • This is the second of two stories in Worlds of Deep Space Nine, Volume Two. The first story contained in this book is Trill: Unjoined.
  • Fragments and Omens introduces Cenn Desca and Jaza Najem, a main character of the Star Trek: Titan series.
  • In this novel, Enkar Sirsy's given name is spelled "Syrsy".

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:
Trill: Unjoined
DS9 Stories
Next story:
Cardassia: The Lotus Flower
Previous story:
Stories by:
J. Noah Kym
Next story:
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Grand Designs
Memory Beta Chronology Next Adventure:
The Soul Key
Chapter 2 Section 3
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2376.
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in one other timeframe:
Previous Adventure:
Shadowed Allies
Next Adventure:
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