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Publisher's description

Months ago, young Jake Sisko came upon a mysterious prophecy in the ruins of B'hala, one that told of a Son destined to enter the Celestial Temple of the Prophets and return home with a lost Herald. Certain that the ancient text was intended for him, Jake entered the wormhole to bring back his father, Captain Benjamin Sisko -- missing since his final, fateful confrontation with Gul Dukat in the Fire Caves of Bajor. But Jake's quest has failed. Or so he believes.

Flung across the galaxy by a power beyond his understanding, Jake is rescued by a strange ship with an even stranger alien crew. Joining them on a voyage unlike any he has ever experienced, Jake learns that his search for the truth will lead him to find the last thing he ever expected, and to discoveries far beyond his wildest imaginings.

Part of the tenth anniversary celebration of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.


Stardate 53267.5: Expelled from the wormhole and thrown nearly a hundred parsecs into the Gamma Quadrant, Jake's shuttle drifts powerless and he prepares for an icy death. Instead, he is rescued by the Even Odds, a ship of freelance fortune hunters. Self-described "retrievers," they make their living by recovering lost or stolen artifacts and salvage, often running afoul of local authorities. With his shuttle beyond repair, Jake settles in for a months-long trip aboard the Even in the direction of the Anomaly (wormhole).

Easy-going Captain Zin Dezavrim ("Dez") takes an instant liking to Jake, seeing himself in the young man, and works hard to convince Jake to stay with the Even rather than return home. Dez's father abandoned his family for the life of a retriever, and his mother was only marginally interested in him. When Dez was Jake's age, he spent a year tracking down his father, but found the elder man wanted nothing to do with him. Though greatly disappointed, Dez realized that he had to make his own way in the universe and that the last year of adventure was the best of his life. He wants the same for Jake—to stop chasing the father who abandoned him and to follow his own path, with Dez as his surrogate father. First officer Facity Sleedow, a Wadi, shares her people's love of gambling and betting. She has a casual relationship with Dez and is the voice of reason against Dez's most fanciful plans. Pifko "Pif" Gaber is an overeager and talkative canine Aarruri with a love of running, danger, and adventure. Arislelemakinstess is a Friagloim, whose five mushroom-shaped segments (Aris, Le, Lema, Kin, and Stess) can operate independently (hive mind), though only Stess can talk. She also projects emotions. Cardassian medic Allo Glessin, a haunted survivor of the Battle of the Omarion Nebula, keeps to himself. Karemman engineer Atterace Prees works closely with Srral, a living machine who lives inside machines. His "species" was engineered by the extremely advanced Himh to effect repairs and improvements to their global technology network, though they have the free will to chart their own paths. Rounding out the crew are Ferengi accountants/traders Feg and Triv, and artifact specialists Neane Tee, Aslylgof, Brad-ahk'ka, Pri'ak, and newcomer Coamis.

The ship itself is just as unique. Built two centuries ago by an unknown but advanced race, it's had at least a dozen major overhauls utilizing disparate alien technologies. (Mostly) contained within a subdeck is a mysterious chamber(s) known as the Wa—a dimensional shift pocket that changes shape and position at will, and that presents as an infinite room full of colored splotches. Approaching different splotches activates different functions or rooms (such as extra control centers that control unknown things, simulators, etc.); no one's been able to catalog or understand them all. The gray splotches are deemed too dangerous and may be responsible for the unexplained disappearance of the previous crew.

During the "Quadrant War," the Dominion annexed the region surrounding the Anomaly's GQ terminus, upsetting the geopolitical landscape. Since the war's end, they've retreated into their borders, leaving less scrupulous species to take advantage of the power vacuum. Among those are the Drang, aggressive and territorial sauropods who believe that the end of the universe is near, and that whoever has the most possessions will be saved by the gods. To that end, they have plundered many worlds. The Even was hired by the Yaron to retrieve their Oracle—a pot containing the mortal remains of their divine being—from the Drang, and the crew plans to make the most of their incursion, picking up other plunder as well in what may be their biggest score in years. They are surprised and uncertain when Dez asks Jake to join the team only two weeks before the mission. Upon arriving at Drang, the landing party are trapped by a transporter scrambler and attacked by guards. Dez and Jake sneak and fight their way to the scrambler, deactivating it so that they can escape. Though the mission was not an easy and bountiful success, they do retrieve the Yaron Oracle and Jake proves his worth by recovering a priceless Giani'aga box.

The Even later makes a run to planet Hw17, where a rival retrieval crew was forced to dump its cargo before being arrested. Lema and Kin are killed by the planet's security measures, and the remaining parts of Arislestess, though physically unharmed, cannot survive without the whole and die a few hours later. In her final moments, she profoundly touches Glessin, encouraging him to truly live again. Using the tragedy and his own history, Dez convinces Jake to stay onboard permanently. Though the Even's crew are friendly and welcoming, and Jake finds fortune hunting exciting, he never quite feels at home in the alien region, where Federation morals are a luxury. There is no Starfleet to help those in need, and his crewmates are more interested in payoffs than in charity. He's unwilling to steal from a graveyard when he realizes that the abandoned Dominion outpost they are scavenging is the site of the massacre of the New Bajor colony. Though Dez claims to be open to Jake's values, it's more of a subterfuge to placate him.

On the planetwide trading post of Ee, Jake encounters a distracted Tosk. Months earlier (about the same time Jake started his own adventure), this Tosk set down on a desolate world in the Idran system. He found a small crystal that gave him a glimpse of a whole city in place of the barren landscape, then implanted in him a new mission—to find the "Other." Lacking any further guidance, he warily set off in a directionless search. At the same time, Jake and Tosk meet Wex, a Trellian pilgrim seeking a local mystic who is helping the planet's poor. When they find her, Tosk is certain that she is the Other, and Jake is shocked to find that its Bajor's lost kai, Opaka Sulan.

Opaka spent a year learning the language of the Ennis and Nol-Ennis tribes and trying in vain to start peace talks. She began meditating on the battlefield, refusing to pick up a weapon in self-defense or vengeance despite being killed multiple times. The soldiers' suspicions eventually gave way to intrigue, and Zlangco and Shel-la agreed to the first of several cease fires. The tribes began to meditate with Opaka, ultimately uniting into one tribe, the Sen-Ennis. Soon after, an alien ship crashed, the latest victim of the planet's security web, and Opaka and the Sen-Ennis nursed her back to health. Upon recovery, the alien revealed herself to be Raiq, an Ascendant. Her people are on a millennia-old Quest to find the Fortress, the hidden home of the True (gods), cleansing the stars of heresy (genocide) as they go. They hope to be judged worthy before burning in eternal fire. As a reward for saving her life, Raiq disables the security grid, as well as the microbes keeping the Sen-Ennis immortal yet infertile, allowing them to have a normal life again. Though most people remain at their new home to raise families, Opaka and some of the Sen-Ennis venture out to the stars, helping those in need on several worlds before ending up on Ee.

Having foreseen this encounter in her dreams, Opaka agrees to help the Tosk fulfill his mission, and then to return to Bajor as the Herald of Jake's prophecy. Dez is easily convinced to ferry Tosk and Opaka to Idran, confiding only in Facity that he suspects Tosk discovered the fabled world of the Eav'oq, who disappeared 50,000 years ago. On the barren world, Opaka follows a strong sense of pagh to a cave containing Bajoran stones arranged unnaturally and alien writing scratched into the wall. Tosk is able to read the text to the group, fulfilling his mission, moments before the Hunters arrive and kill him. Following Tosk's instructions and using his own knowledge of ancient Bajoran archaeology, Jake touches the stones in the proper sequence, revealing the lost Eav'oq and their city in a sort of stasis. At the same time, the Wa momentarily erupts throughout the Even and the entire Idran system moves to the position of the wormhole. One Eav'oq, Itu, awakens and warmly greets Opaka and the landing party, thanking them for restoring his people. The Eav'oq are pacifists who revere the "Siblings" and their "Eyes of Light," but they were attacked for their religious beliefs and fled into a transdimensional realm. Unable to wake themselves, they had left the crystals (like the one Tosk found) for someone else to summon their return. Opaka realizes the similarities (and some extreme differences) in the religions of the Bajorans, the Eav'oq, and the Ascendants: the Prophets, the Siblings, and the True are all the same creatures living within the wormhole/Temple/Fortress; their orbs are the same whether called Tears of the Prophets, Eyes of Light, or Eyes of Fire; Bajoran pagh and Eav'oq res are the same spiritual energy. Opaka marvels at this new "sister" race, though she's uncertain how her people will receive them. She can feel that their pagh is strong, but the Eav'oq have no actual worship or rituals; they believe each person will ascend to become a new Sibling themselves. Though beautiful, their beliefs are quite different from Bajor's, and they challenge Bajorans' singular relationship with the Prophets. However, she is sure that Bajor and the Eav'oq must stand together against the coming Ascendant threat.

Jake finds the Even's crew carrying out minor plunder of the Eav'oq city and realizes that Dez had no intentions of charity; he was only chasing the next reward. Wary of Dez's different values and well-intentioned though still hurtful lies, and finally accepting his own life's path, he decides to return to Bajor with Opaka. Dez snaps at him, then pleads, but they ultimately part on good terms. After spending a few days with the Eav'oq, Jake, Opaka, and Wex pilot Tosk's ship towards the wormhole. Their ship breaks apart, but they are "rescued" by Weyoun aboard a Jem'Hadar ship before being delivered to the approaching Defiant. Jake learns that he can chart his own course, independent from his father, having helped to change the face of the Gamma Quadrant on his own merits, and that his adventure was a promising start to a whole series of stories.


This story establishes Opaka's given name as Sulan, the Ascendants, the Ea'voq, and the crew of the Even Odds (later revisited in Sacraments of Fire).

The last time Dez was as quick to trust (as he is of Jake), Vash took advantage of him.

Friagloims are born as 3-, 4-, or 5-segment beings, no more or less.

Merdosians, such as Pri'ak, have transparent teeth implanted in place of real teeth due to cultural belief that liars' tongues turn color. It's more of a cultural habit than it is based in fact.

The Ennis/Nol-Ennis homeworld is Tevlin-De.

The Ascendants' Quest (and Cleansing) have been going on for millennia, their homeworld lost to time. They have a lifespan of at least 300 years. Their numbers are diminishing, and they now rely on advanced technology to carry out their mission. They gather every fifty years to exchange information, technology, and to mate.



Arislelemakinstess (Aris, Le, Lema, Kin & Stess) • AslylgofBrad-ahk'laBrynCoamisZin DezavrimElshadaFajginFegPifko GaberAllo GlessinHaladaItriumaItuKorinMisjaOpaka SulanAtterace PreesPri'akRaiqGolin Shel-laJake SiskoFacity SleedowSrralTadiaNeane TeeTrivToskUmiunnamed Eav'oqWexWeyounYimisZlangco
Referenced only
Akorem LaanBareil AntosJulian BashirFrank ChalmersMason CooleyEzri DaxJadzia DaxDezavrim's fatherVic FontaineGabaGabekGabeleGiani'agaHyrcham the SwibIstani ReylaJaro EssaJirroKeshaKira NerysLi NalasMardahMornNogKeiko O'BrienMiles O'BrienOdoOff-ZelOpaka FasilPtasmeQuarkRomSfeilaShakaar EdonBenjamin SiskoJennifer SiskoJoseph SiskoRebecca Jae SiskoRym ThijmenPalor ToffVashVilix'pranWinn AdamiKasidy YatesYimMaZek


DrangEeGamma QuadrantHw17Idran IVIdran systemThe Laughing ThisNew Bajorunnamed moons
Referenced only
AarruAjilon PrimeAlpha QuadrantArshivArshiv PrimeAscendant homeworldBajorBajoran wormholeBerasB'halaBuofCelestial TempleDeep Space 9EarthEnskithEnskith VIFerenginarThe FortressFounders' homeworldFriagloim homeworldGaGalaxy's edgeHimh homeworldMerdosaOmarion NebulaOrias systemPrethQuark'sRiRomulusSyll VIIITeplanTerok NorTevlin-DeTombs of LuwTosk homeworldVic's loungeXlidu ExpanseYaron

Starships and vehicles

Ascendant vesselEven OddsEven Odds dropship (dropship) • freighterJem'Hadar fighterTosk starshiptransportVenture (shuttle)
Referenced only
Cardassian warshipDanasketD'deridex-class (warbird) • USS Defiantescape podGlimnisKeldon-class (cruiser) • land hopperMerdosian salvage shipMy'ltaRomulan warshipUSS Saratogascience vesselsurvey shiptransport shuttleUSS Yangtzee Kiang (runabout)

Races and cultures

AarruriAscendantBajoranCardassianDrangEav'oqEe nativesEline-dumayoFerengiFriagloimHissidolanHumanJeflinicJem'HadarKaremmaMerdosianRenticianSrral's speciesToskTrelianunnamed races and culturesVortaWadi
Referenced only
ArgrathiBiaMertisBreenBwadaDosiGocibiHimhHorginIconianKlingonMetronOol'spOrganianQParadaProphetsRodulanRomulanSwibT-RogoranTwelfthrayunnamed races and culturesv'XajiYaron

States and organizations

DominionHunterSen Ennis
Referenced only
AlliesChamber of Ministers of the Third Republic of BajorEnnisFederation News ServiceThe Five KingsFoundersGroup 67Nol-EnnisObsidian OrderStarfleetTal ShiarUnited Federation of PlanetsVedek Assembly

Ranks and titles

agentappraiserarchaeologistassistantathletebartenderbeggarcaptainchiefchief engineerconsultantcopilotcounselorcreditordabo girldoctordrink serverEmissary of the Prophetsengineerengineering techequipment dealerfarmerFirst Minister of the Third Republic of Bajorfirst officerfortune huntergemologistglinnGrand Nagusgulinstructorjournalistkaimedicministerpilotrefugeereporterresearchersagesalvage dealerservantsmugglersoldierspytechnicianterroristthieftour guidetradervedekvendorwriter

Science and technology

actuality-web roomAD lightadrenalineair filteralienalloy-density illuminatorandroidanimalantigrav haloartificial gravityarva nodeatmosphereautomated medbaybeaconbiologybirdblack holebloodbonebraincaninecartilagecentimeterchemicalchemical watercloaking deviceclockclock patchclonecodebreaker keycomcom piececomacommunication boardcommunication collarcommunicatorcomputerconduitcontrol panelcore stickdatabasedimensiondimensional-shift subspace deckdirectional pickupdirectional sensordisposal systemdisruptordistress beacondrugearpieceEav'oq vanishing crystaleggenergyenergy stormenergy weaponengineenvironment suitevolutionexoskeletonexplosivefail-safe backup systemfeatherfeeding beltfiberpatch storage boardfilterfirefishflight control consolefolded spaceforce fieldforce field generatorfountainfuel tankfungusfurgeologygravityhairhandheld scannerhearthigh-intensity optic deviceholoholodeckholodecoyhologramholosuitehourhumanoidhumidity meshHunter bowhypohypo gunhypothermiaiceice stormIconian gatewayindustrial incineratorinsomniaintercominterspatial gatewayketracel-whiteklicklifeformlift tubelight panellight panel connectorlight-yearliquidlong-range sensormagnetic fieldmagnetic flash effectionmammalianmanual height adjustmathmattermedical bioreadermedicinemetermicrobemineminutemirrormonitormusclenon-corporeal lifeformnose-filterobservation relayoiloptical boardoptical sensory bulborbitoxygenpaddparasiteparsecparticulate transmitterphaser riflephysicsplantplasmaproximity sensorpsionic wave disruptionpulse surveyrainreaderrecyclerremoterepeater hardwarereplicatorreptilerootsatellitescalescan patchscreen cubesearch keysecondsecondary communication arraysedativeseedsensorsensor arraysensor line patchsensor-repellent containment boxsensory probeshadow-trigger pit trapshieldsshiftershowersiliconskullsnowspacespace stationspannerspeakerstarstarshipstar systemstat readerstomachsublightsubspacesubspace relaysubspace variancesupport beamsurgerysystem connectortemp stationtendonTeplan blighttext translatorthermal oiltimetoilettonguetranslatortranslator implanttransmittertranspondertransponder beacontransportertransporter padtransporter tagtransport scramblertrifiltered sensor array consoleuniverseveinviewscreenvisor scopevocal cordwall commwarp drivewaterweather shieldwormhole

Other references

access codeaccountingAclim AgeAhswidus cupAkada chairalcoholalehousealgaealloyalpha-currant nectarAlphieAncient BajoranandrogynyAppliance WormarchaeologyarchitecturearmorartAscendant languageashflakeAvatar of PeaceAxwismBajoran earringBajoran prophecyBajoran religionballbaseballbasketbasotilebasted espodbathing cubiclebathroomBattle of the Omarion NebulabeanbeltbenchBienwon'ata lampbillbirthdayblanketbloodwinebodysuitbookbootbrain blastbrandybreadbridgebulkheadcamouflagecandied roast-birdcandle holdercarb-protein packcargo holdcasinocenturychulachula hallcitruscitycivil warClass Mclayclothingclubcockpitcocktailcoincollarcommunicationsconference roomcontractcontrol standcorridorcrowncrystalcuris ribcurrant juicecurrencydabodaggerdancedaydemondezomindirakdirected-channel messagedogDominion WarDominion War Accordsdom-jotDosi birth-rite maskdessertdisposable cupDrang languageearringEav'oq languageEe shield toweremergency signalemotionempathyengineeringEnnis-Nol-Ennis languageequipment cartera stoneEyisla AgefabricFerengi Rules of Acquisitionferment-grapefield reportFive Kingsflowerfolk artfoodFriagloim languagefruitgamblingGamma-speakgardengear beltgemgenocideGiani'aga boxglassglovegobletgodgoldgovernmentgrassgravelgreenhousegremgruelhalf paeghevginhistoryhomeworldhoneyhors d'oeuvreshospicehullThe HuntHuntedice fishingimmortalityindustrial fabricatorirrigationjacketjeweljewelryjournaljuicekatterpodkavakejeliouskioskklon paegknifelablanding partylanguagelatinumleatherlemonlibrarylibrary banklinenliquorlizardlodging housemacemagicmaintenance baymantramapMardi Grasmeatmeditationmess hallmetalmetal foilmilitarymillenniaminingmini-transport casemonasterymoneymonstermonthmoonmountainmuseummushroommusicmythnightmareOccupation of Bajoroceanochsheaochshea-hosOff-Zel vaseorb shadoworphanagethe Otheroutpostoysterpaghpaintingpaintparliamentpeace treatypeachpearlpetpillowplanetoidplanetpoempotteryPrime Directiveprospect-propensity testpsionicspuppyquadrantQuadrant WarquartersquartethThe QuestquintethraktajinoReckoningreligionresresin beadrestaurantrocksaladSaurian brandysciencescience survey filesculptureseafood stewsectorSeerwagah clay furnitureself destructsensor jamserkSh'dama AgeshipyardshoeshuttlepadSiblingssickbaysmugglingsnail juicesongsouvenirspicespinewaterstardateStarfleet bratstatuestewstickstonestostorage lockersubdecksugarfruitsuicidesyntheholtattootavernteatechnologytemonisThasThree BayTirges daggertoolkittoyT'p urntransmitting stationtransporter roomTreaty of BajorTrueTumika AgeUnnameableuniformurnvasevegetable pasteVeltan sex idolvictory shroudVihnAKAn scissor pearlWaWa festivalWadi lullabywarwater tubeweaponweatherweekwhistlewhistling rockwinewine rackwintwoodwork permitxenophobiaYaron OracleYaron robeyear


Background information

Related Stories

External links


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 novel:
Mission Gamma
Lesser Evil
DS9 novels
Next novel:
The Left Hand of Destiny, Book One
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Pocket Next Adventure:
Cold Fusion
The above chronology placements are based on the primary placement in 2376.
The Pocket Books Timeline places events from this story in eight other timeframes:
Previous Adventure:
early May 2376
Chapter 8, Section 2
Next Adventure:
Doors Into Chaos
Previous Adventure:
Caveat Emptor
mid June 2376
Chapter 8, Sections 3-4
Next Adventure:
Part Two
Previous Adventure:
late June 2376
Chapter 8, Section 5
Next Adventure:
This Gray Spirit
Previous Adventure:
This Gray Spirit
early July 2376
Chapter 9
Next Adventure:
Foundations, Book One
Previous Adventure:
Wildfire, Book 2
late July 2376
Chapter 10
Next Adventure:
Being Human
Previous Adventure:
A Good Day to Die
Chapters 5-13
early August 2376
Chapters 11-14
Next Adventure:
Home Fires
Previous Adventure:
Stone and Anvil
mid August 2376
Chapter 15
Next Adventure:
Honor Bound
Previous Adventure:
Lesser Evil
late August 2376
Chapters 16-20
Next Adventure:
Ishtar Rising, Book 1