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Devil in the Sky is a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novel by Greg Cox and John Gregory Betancourt. It was published in June 1995, as the eleventh book in Pocket Books' series of numbered DS9 novels. The novel features Horta, in the form of Ttan and her children; Ttan is kidnapped by a group of Cardassians, prompting a rescue mission, while her eggs safely held on Deep Space 9, cause chaos when they hatch and the baby Horta start to eat the station.

Publisher's description

From the back cover
The Hortas of Janus VI are the greatest miners in the galaxy, capable of burning through solid rock the way humanoids move through air. Recruited to help rebuild Bajor's devastated mining industry, the Hortas could provide new hope for the planet's struggling economy.
But when Cardassian raiders abduct the Mother Horta, Commander Sisko finds himself stuck with twenty Horta eggs -- and then the eggs begin to hatch...
While Major Kira leads a desperate rescue mission deep into Cardassian space, Commander Sisko faces a ravaging mass of newborn Hortas -- uncontrollable, indestructible, and eager to consume Deep Space Nine itself!


Station Log, Commander Benjamin Sisko, Stardate 46384.1: In the hopes of reviving the Bajoran mining industry, left devastated by the Cardassian Occupation, the Federation has arranged, in cooperation with private Bajoran investors, to transport a family of Hortas to Bajor. In theory, the Hortas will use their natural tunneling abilities to find pockets of minerals and ore which the Cardassians either missed or deemed too difficult to extract.
We are currently awaiting the arrival of the Federation cruiser Puyallup, en route from Janus VI. I have dispatched a team of officers to welcome the Hortas to Deep Space Nine...

Kira Nerys walks her way through a series of airlocks to Docking Port 8 to find Dr. Julian Bashir attempting to chat up Jadzia Dax with his knowledge of Hortas, doing quite well until he compares a Horta to a slug, which Dax takes personally. Kira gets a call from Sisko, a ship is on an intercept course with the Puyallup, the three make their way to the new runabout USS Amazon to render assistance.

On the Puyallup, Ttan the Horta tunnels through the ships specially prepared concrete filled interior to the bridge to witness the final approach to DS9, as they drop out of warp Captain Dawson points out the nearby moon, The Prodigal, which will be passing close to DS9 in the coming days. Then, the Puyallup is fired upon by a Cardassian ship; Dawson advises Ttan to secure herself, which she does by wedging her body under a console. Ttan is afraid for heself and her children, but supresses her instincts to tunnel downward, knowing that would severly damage the Puyallup. When the shields fail, Ttan is forcibly beamed away to Dawson's alarm. The Cardassian ship also attempts to beam off Ttan's eggs, but they are protected from sensor lock-on, deep inside the temporary nest Ttan dug in the thick concrete.

The Amazon attempts to intervene but the attacking Cardassian vessel warps away before they could stop it. Later on DS9 the group debrief, the Horta eggs on the Puyallup survived and are now safe on DS9 inside a stasis field. The Amazon is sent on a rescue mission to retrieve the kidnapped Ttan.

As the Amazon team departs from DS9 Ttan wakes to find herself suspended in midair aboard her captors ship. On DS9 Sisko battles with Secretary Pova of the Council on Ecological Controls to have the Horta eggs transferred to Bajor, the Bajoran is resistant, worried the Horta might disrupt Bajor’s ecology.


Meanwhile Jake Sisko and Nog decide to "borrow" a Horta egg, deactivating the stasis field around the eggs they take their prize and go to Quark's, where, in a backroom it hatches. Meanwhile Ttan's captor, Gul Mavek welcomes her to the mining moon Davonia, and blackmailing her with the fate of her eggs, which he claims to posses, has her hunt for latinum deposits.

On DS9 Quark is reporting thefts to Odo, chairs have gone missing, but Odo is convinced it's just another of Quark's scams. In the storeroom Nog and Jake feed the baby Horta their most recently acquired chair, but the Horta's appetite is insatiable; the boy’s food supply not keeping up with the Horta’s hunger she burrows into the wall to find food herself.

In a holosuite Ensign Marc Tomson eagerly awaits the advances of his holographic Vulcan partner, feeling increasing hot he looks between his legs to see, a wriggling brown and red rock burning through the mattress. He screams, deactivates the program and runs out through Quark's naked. The baby Horta, confused at the sudden loss of the tasty environment she found, burrows into the floor.

In the Davon system the Amazon arrives, having successfully tracked the Cardassian vessel. Using the system's Van Luden radiation belt as cover, they land on an asteroid and ride it near to the moons of a gas giant they tracked the Cardassians to and wait for their moon to orbit out of sensor range to make their move. On Davonia, Ttan reports back to Mavek after successfully finding her target, he refuses to let her see her eggs because she took longer than the time he gave her. He even tells her that one of the eggs was destroyed to prove that they are serious about threatening her family. Ttan is understandably enraged, but with the fate of the other children hanging over her, she can only agree to be faster hext time.

On DS9 the rest of the Horta hatch, they quickly consume the room they were stored in and spread out into the station. In short time Horta appear in Keiko O'Brien's classroom, on the Promenade and at Quark's. The populace of DS9 run in fear, though Molly O'Brien calmly feeds the Horta in her mother’s classroom computer PADDs which keep it happy for a time. In ops Miles O'Brien announces power outages all over the station and the Cardassian computer insists it should beam the intruders into space, only convinced not to do so by a direct order from Sisko. On the promenade Odo takes on the delightfully comfortable form of an adult Horta and gathers the babies away from the station’s population. Meanwhile the first young female burrows down to a tempting food source below...

On Davonia a team from the Amazon beam into the Cardassian mines, whilst scouting the beam-in point they find a group of Bajoran slave laborers, including an old Bajoran Resistance friend of Kira's; Anten Lapyn. Resisting the urge to jump straight into a fight Kira regroups the team to plan how they might rescue Ttan and the Bajorans.

On DS9 Miles O'Brien leads a team to try and prevent the young Horta from eating the station's weapons platforms. After repeated phaser bombardment the Hortas persist and break through. Meanwhile Odo, with most of the Hortas following, leads them into a habitat suite. His success is short lived though as one of the Hortas begins to burrow into the wall, opening the room to the vacuum of space. Odo rushes to the hole to try and spread himself over it before all the Hortas are sucked out, but the one that caused the breach is sucked outside and has to be retrieved by transporter, but upon examination, is declared to have died.

On Davonia the team from the Amazon make their strike on the chamber containing the Bajoran slaves, the limited number of Cardassian guards make it a quick and successful strike and the Starfleet and Bajoran personnel begin to organize taking the rest of the base. Meanwhile on the Amazon Dax picks up subspace communications, a Cardassian convoy is en route to the moon, but she cannot warn the teams on the moon, as it is out of communications range.

Back on DS9 Odo holds on, making himself as hard as possible to deflect the Horta bouncing off of him. In ops the hull breach is detected and shielded and Odo beamed back to a more comfortable environment. Their mother vanished the young Horta begin to burrow again.

On Davonia Kira and her team begin their strike, bursting into a room and taking out Cardassian prisoners, pretending to kill them to trick the remaining Cardassians into giving the team a plan of the base. But the Cardassians play their own trick and instead of bringing up a map on their screens open a visual channel to another part of the base, alerting the rest of the Cardassians to the teams' presence.

Meanwhile Bashir tries to treat some of battered Bajorans still in the chamber. One of the team alerts them an alarm is sounding and the group ready themselves to fight. Kira's team leave there position and ambush a lift full of Cardassians, she uses one of their communicators to threaten Gul Mavek, claiming she and her team had placed dilithium bombs throughout the lower levels of the complex.

In the slave chamber Bashir and his group use a set of remote mining carts to create a blockade to the Cardassians attacking them, they then advance the line, crushing the Cardassians. Elsewhere Kira is in her element setting traps for pursuing Cardassians. Below Bashir’s group finds a freight lift, he resolves to take his group and try and help Kira and her team rescue the Horta.

Back on DS9 the crew attempt to stop the Horta with a powerful shield, but it is ineffective. Then Odo tries to trick the Horta again, but this time they ignore him, his silent facade not enough to convince them a second time. Then O'Brien tries another trick, dropping the artificial gravity in the section the Horta are occupying. The plan is a momentary success as the Horta, accustomed to a solid environment, find themselves in the air, but it soon goes wrong as they panic and start spraying acid, damaging their surroundings and causing radiation leaks. Gravity is restored, and O'Brien has another idea, taking inspiration from his daughter, they should feed them. He quickly starts throwing loose bits and pieces to the Horta and orders everyone to bring anything to the Horta to sate their appetite.

Ttan tries to communicate with Kira and Bashir.

On Davonia the two groups meet up and make their way to rescue Ttan. Dax finally manages to warn Kira about the soon to arrive Cardassian convoy, though the Major had already become aware of this fact. In her cell Ttan, hearing phaser fire, decides to risk it and make a break for freedom, she tunnels out and re-emerges behind her guards to attack them, moments later Kira and Bashir arrive to rescue her. She greets them but her universal translator was damaged in the escape. She carefully burns abbreviated text into the ground to communicate, and discovers her eggs were safe all along, to her great relief and rage toward Mavek.

The team’s goals are nearly complete, but Cardassians are approaching from all angels. Fortunately Ttan provides an escape, tunneling in the wall and making a passage to the base's docking bay, she even makes a column at the entrance of the tunnel to collapse once the group is through to prevent pursuit. But not all goes to plan, the Cardassians use a stun grenade and Kira is knocked unconscious, Bashir pulls her out but looses his phaser, so cannot collapse the tunnel.

The Prodigal passes near to Deep Space 9 and glows as it passes the wormhole.

On DS9 the attempt to feed the Hortas fails and they continue to march onward. In ops they figure out the Horta's target, the liquid silicon tanks of DS9's reactor chambers. Then a proximity alert goes off as "The Prodigal" is nearing the station, and then it strikes Sisko: the perfect home for the Horta is flying by. Just as he has O'Brien begin to start beaming the Horta to the moon, the power drops; the first lone Horta had already made it to the reactors.

On Davonia Ttan burrows out of the floor of the docking bay and advances on Mavek, only replying with "Liar" through her damaged translator as he continues to attempt his blackmail by threaten her eggs. Realizing Ttan is not going to stop, he panics and tries shooting her, injuring Ttan but she ignores the pain. She in turn takes revenge for her and her children by killing him, the other Cardassians fleeing in terror at the sight of Mavek dissolving. The Starfleet and Bajoran personnel follow close behind and take Mavek's ship, the Dagger. In the tunnel Bashir struggles to pull Kira along until he is aided by a pair of Bajorans, they soon make their way to the docking bay, but can hear Cardassians in pursuit in the tunnel.

One of the Starfleet ensigns in the team offers her hand in helping Kira and Bashir aboard, but is shot through the chest by Cardassian fire. All aboard, Bashir makes his way through to the bridge and to have the ship escape, has them fire on control booth of the bay, deactivating the forcefield. As the atmosphere is blown out, and continues to blow, to his horror Bashir realizes the open tunnel in the floor will have opened the entire base to space, killing all the Cardassians.

The Dagger lifts off and is hailed by Dax, giving them a heading, meanwhile the Cardassian convoy arrives and realising something is wrong. Bashir watches as the Amazon fires and then warps towards Cardassian space, the convoy take pursuit. Dax then walks onto the bridge, having beamed aboard before leaving the soon to be destroyed runabout on autopilot.

On DS9 Sisko has O'Brien get the female Horta out of the reactors first, but it's a struggle to lock onto the silicon lifeform in the liquid silicon and O'Brien has to do some manual tinkering before finally being able to. The Horta is beamed to the moon, and the rest follow shortly after.

On the Dagger the crew prepare to drop out of warp, the convoy not fooled for long by the Amazon in close pursuit. Dax quickly gives Sisko the gist of the situation before the Cardassians arrive. Sisko takes a gamble and fires phasers on the Cardassians, the rest of the stations weapons offline thanks to the Horta. The lead ship hails demanding the Dagger but Sisko refuses, noting the crew of the ship are Bajorans, and following a brief stand off the Cardassians depart.

The Dagger docked, Ttan's injuries are easily treated by Bashir, who gives credit to McCoy's logs from treating the Prime Mother. O'Brien then takes Ttan to see the body of the child who had accidentally spaced himself. However to everyone’s great relief, he awakens by hearing his mother’s sobbing, having apparently only been comatosed by the experience.

Later in Quark's Jake and Nog work to repair the store room, under threat of Quark telling their fathers how the whole affair had been the boys fault. Jake does not tell Nog that he had already told his own father.

In his office Sisko talks with Vedek Sloi of the Council on Ecological Controls, the Bajoran furious that Sisko beamed the Hortas to The Prodigal. However the Vedek is quickly swayed when Sisko informs him of the vast mineral wealth discovered by the Hortas on the moon and concludes that maybe a comprise can be found.



Anten LapynNatalia AponteJulian BashirBattes AngCellaChramDawsonJadzia DaxDyoranEddonGannElim GarakGaysd TelSven JonssonKaboKira Nerys/Bata HuriMavekMornMoruIan MuckerheideMuluckNaka TormakN'HeydorNogNogarKeiko O'BrienMiles O'BrienMolly O'BrienOdoDalia ParksPova LergQuarkRomSangerShirarBenjamin SiskoJake SiskoSloiT'LeenaMarc TomsonTtanVu KuzasDuane WilkensYakkanYelsiunnamed Asominianunnamed Gelloidunnamed Wollowan
Referenced only
Bareil AntosBuck BokaiSkrain DukatMarching GoddessLeonard McCoyPrime MotherPied PiperProdigalQJennifer Sisko

Starships and vehicles

USS Amazon (Danube-class runabout) • Dagger (Bruja-class) • USS Puyallup (Federation cruiser) • Ramoth's Revenge
Referenced only
USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)


BajorBajor systemBajoran templeBajoran wormholeCentralDavon IIIDavon systemDavoniaDeep Space 9Mineral assay officeThe ProdigalPromenadeQuark'sReplimatSchool
Referenced only
Cilas XIIDaffodon IXEarthGreeceItalyJanus VIKonnoria VMalvestia IVSetlik IIIVault of the AgesXoxa colonyXoxa system

Races and cultures

ArgelianAsominianBajoranBenziteBetazoidCaitianCardassianCentaurianChangelingCoridanDeltanEeiauoanFerengiGelloidHortaHumanKlingonP'alblaakisTellariteTiburonianTrillTrill symbiontVulcanWollowan
Referenced only

States and organizations

Bajoran Liberation FrontBajoran Provisional GovernmentCouncil on Ecological ControlsFederation StarfleetUnited Federation of Planets
Referenced only
Bajoran ResistanceNazi

Science and technology

acidartificial gravitybloodbullet-probecalciumcarboncarbon-based lifeformcarbon dioxidecarbon trichloridechitinchlorineciliaclockcomacomputerdilithiumdilithium bombeggferrous oxideholosuitemercurymicrotorpedomineralnitrogenorbitoxygenPADDparalysis dartphaserpolymerpon farrprotoplasmpubertySaltah'na clocksensorsiliconsilicon-based lifeformsleepspacestasis fieldstun grenadetectonic platetelepathytransportertricorderturboshaftuniversal translatoruraniumVan Luden radiation belt

Ranks and titles

captaindabo girldoctorensignOrion slave girlslavevedek

Other references

aluminumAndorian wildflowerarboreal slugarchaeologyasteroidavianBajoran religionbaseball batBattle of Wolf 359body oilbronzecadiumcarboniteCardassian wineChateau Picardclass Lclass McobaltconcreteconvoycopperDenebian horned goatDumesite man-lobsterduraniumerotic action figurefairy talefrogglassglopsiclegold-pressed latinumhumanoidIllumination of The Prodigalironkaafa milkkamoy syrupkelinidelatinummalnutritionmetalminingmolybdenitemoonnickeloccupation of Bajororeperfumepergiumphlaginumplanktonplasticplatinumplaying cardpokerpornographyquartzraperazorcatreligionrenewalrhodiniumrockrules of acquisitionScroll of Eternal Feastingsea-tigerslaveryslime devilslugSOSStone of MemorythunderbirdtritaniumT-shirtVegan truffleweaponzero-g billiards


Related media

  • The Devil in the Dark (TOS episode) - The Horta were established in this episode and this novel includes numerous references to events and established facts from it.
  • DS9 episode references - A number of references are made to events and outcomes of various DS9 episodes:
    • Dramatis Personae - Sisko looks to the clock he made in this episode whilst conducting a briefing in this novel.
    • Battle Lines - The loss of Kai Opaka Sulan, as depicted in this episode, is lamented several times in this novel.
    • If Wishes Were Horses - The events of this episode were amongst those listed by Jake Sisko as some of the odd things to have happened on DS9 since he arrived.
    • In the Hands of the Prophets - When one of her students describes the Bajoran faith as a fairy tale Keiko O'Brien is quick to explain the Bajoran's religion as something to be respective of, worried she might incite another attack on her school following the events of this episode.


  • When asked about the origins of the novel, Greg Cox commented: "I have to give credit where credit is due. That in fact was John Ordover’s idea. He actually called me up and asked if we wanted to write a book about Hortas and Deep Space Nine".
  • This novel includes a historians note stating the book takes place the second season of the TV series. However the stardate given in the book is 46384.1, a year earlier than the stated setting. The Pocket Books Timeline adjusts the stardate to 47384.1 to account for this.
  • The authors began working on the book before the first DS9 episode had aired. (Voyages of Imagination)
  • Greg Cox wrote the chapters detailing events on DS9 whilst John Gregory Betancourt wrote those featuring Ttan and her rescue from the Cardassians. (Voyages of Imagination)
  • The inside front cover of this novel features an advert for The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition while the inside of the back cover advertises the TNG novel Into the Nebula.


"The altar! A devil is eating the altar!"

- A furious and panicked Bajoran priest proclaiming the fate of his Horta ravaged alter.

"They burn through shields faster than Quark slips through loopholes."

- Odo describing the futility of using shields to stop the Horta.




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The Laertian Gamble
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First Star Trek novel
Novels by:
Greg Cox
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Dragon's Honor
Previous novel:
First Star Trek novel
Novels by:
John Gregory Betancourt
Next novel:
Incident at Arbuk
chronological order
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