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From The Back Cover:

TRILL: They are a people with secrets. For centuries they kept their true nature hidden, even taking disturbing steps to protect the small population of near-immortal symbionts with whom a privileged few Trill are joined, body, mind, and soul. They are a people who hold memory to be sacred, yet deny their own past. Now amid a whirlwind of scandal, accusations, and growing civil unrest, Ezri Dax must penetrate millennia of lies and deceptions, and rediscover what should never have been forgotten, before her civilization rips itself apart.


Following the parasites crisis, the Federation Security Council debates how to respond to the Trill government’s conduct and whether the planet should be allowed to retain Federation membership. Dax leads a team to Minos Korva to locate and destroy the parasite nest that infected Shakaar Edon months earlier. Though the site is abandoned, they find a shard from a Kurlan naiskos.

Dax is called to the Trill homeworld to testify before the government. A concerned Bashir insists on joining her though he feels increasingly distant from her personally and professionally. They find a world in turmoil, with multiple groups actively protesting the government. Some demand government accountability for its centuries of secrecy, others want to end symbiosis, while still more call for it be available to all, not just the elite (the suitability for joining of nearly half the population has also become common knowledge). The vast unjoined majority (essentially second-class citizens) are tired of aspiring to symbiosis their whole lives only to be denied symbionts. The protests escalate to riots and the main government building is breached. Senator Rylen Talris is captured; both host and symbiont are killed before the terrorists are repelled. A bomb is found and disarmed, but General Cyl’s forces learn that more are hidden across the planet.

Bashir is sent to help at the central hospital while Dax and Cyl travel to Mak’ala. The symbionts agree to meet with Ezri but only deep within the pools, so she dons an EVA suit and descends. She encounters several 2-meter long symbionts who are thousands of years older than any known symbionts, but finds that they are only caretakers to even more massive (30-meter) and ancient (20,000 years) symbionts called the Annuated. They share with Dax Trill’s most ancient and buried memories, stretching back to the Stone Age. The long-ago symbionts enjoyed temporary bonds with animals, enabling them to explore beyond their pools. Humanoids observed how the joining strengthened both beings and tried it themselves. Dax learns that Trill had spaceflight capability as long as 5,000 years ago, and that they established a joined-only colony on Kurl. This new civilization (the source of the many-voices-within-one-being Kurlan naiskos) endured for several centuries until a virus afflicted the population. Kurlan scientists used genetic engineering in attempts to cure the virus and to improve symbiosis (such as relocating the point of contact directly to the humanoid brain stem), but their decades of effort caused terrible mutations. The virus grew stronger, leading to widespread infection and insanity, and the symbionts evolved into the parasites, seizing control of the hosts rather than sharing their consciousness. The homeworld’s containment squad ultimately eradicated the colony, killing 4 million with biogenics and incendiaries. A few symbionts escaped to return their memories to the Annuated and some parasites survived to plot their revenge. Authorities completely covered up the Kurlan genocide; witnesses were killed and the very existence of the colony and even of spaceflight were stricken from all records. Dax prepares to deliver her knowledge to the surface but her EV suit is low on air.

Meanwhile, multiple bombs are detonated in population centers and at symbiont pools worldwide, releasing neurogenic radiation that servers the link between host and symbiont. Thousands are killed or injured by the blasts; many more hosts and symbionts die when the radiation severs their link, and many symbionts in the pools die. The symbiont population is reduced to less than 10 percent. Without authorization, Bashir uncovers buried research of a drug that can sever symbiosis without killing the host—the authorities fear that the drug would enable mass short-term symbiosis, further threatening to make symbionts a black market commodity. However, the Trill doctors agree to use the treatment in order to save as many lives as possible.

At the caves, Taulin Cyl’s symbiosis is undone by the neurogenic blast. Mortally injured, he dons an EV suit to rescue an overdue Ezri and to return the Cyl symbiont to the pool’s depths. He meets her halfway down, exchanging his air supply for hers before releasing Cyl and ending Taulin’s life. Dax is delivered to the surface by Memh, one of the middle-aged symbionts who was actually involved in ending Kurl. She confers with Trill President Lirisse Maz, who is forced to reconsider many important aspects of their culture. Maz issues an indefinite moratorium on all new joinings in order to allow the symbionts to repopulate. The few surviving joined will be allowed to live out their hosts’ lives, after which the symbionts will be returned to the pools rather than reimplanted. With an ultimate end to joinings, the humanoid society will equalize. Maz even uses Bashir’s treatment to prematurely end her own joining without dying, setting an example for the rest of Trill. The population overwhelmingly embraces the new policies, and the TSC will enjoy a new era of symbiont research by communicating with Memh and the Annuated; their whole society will be reborn.

On their way back to DS9, Bashir and Ezri take stock of their handling of recent events and of their whole relationship. He feels less important to her since her switch to command, and she fears that his latent love for Jadzia was a poor foundation for their bond. Growing in different directions, they agree to end their relationship.



Leonard James AkaarAsalJulian BashirRa'ch B'ullhyHuang ChaoyingCylTaulin CylDax (symbiont)Ezri DaxDoyosFalHiziki GardBera chim GleerJenkJuarezRanul KeruKira NerysRantic LanNelenne LefLevMazLirisse MazMatthew MazibukoMemhDynkorra M'RelleRarnRenholBehza RianuRame SagadoSengDapo SengDula SengPran SevosTalrisRylen TalrisJirin TamborTaran'atarCharivretha zh'ThaneT'LatrekVadel TorvinTreborVahVluMin Zifeunnamed Trill
Referenced only
Dante AlighieriNeema CylAudrid DaxCurzon DaxEleenEmony DaxJadzia DaxJoran DaxTorias DaxJerella DevDhejFelixGrekelSean HawkHenneneHodakLenara KahnNilani KahnVerad KalonLiakAbraham LincolnEthan LockenAkellen MacetMornChristopher PikeBethan RoaWilliam RossSarekSefShakaar EdonMary ShelleyKhan Noonien SinghBenjamin SiskoKal TamborGrala TemPrynn TenmeiTimorJayvin VodDuhan VosWorfZiranne


EarthMinos KorvaTrill (Ayai'leh-hirhBes ManevCaves of Mak'alaLeran ManevNajana LibraryTrill Senate Tower)
Referenced only
AfricaAlpha CentauriAndorArdanaBajorBanaBetazedCaitCapella IVCardassiaDamianoDeep Space 9DenevaLake DevritaneFloridaGanses PeninsulaGheryzanGheryzan HospitalGulf CoastKurlNew FranceNew ScirapoNew SydneyQuark'sTenaraTenaran ice cliffsVulcan

Races and cultures

AndorianBajoranBolianCaitianCapellanCardassianDamianiHumanJem'HadarParasiteTellariteTrillTrill symbiontVulcan
Referenced only

Starships and vehicles

USS Rio Grande (Danube-class)
Referenced only
Akira-classUSS DefiantUSS Enterprise-EUSS Gryphon (Akira-class) • USS KellyUSS NileTDM 1-12USS TereshkovaTrill patrol vessel

States and organizations

AnnuatedDefense CommandFederation Security CouncilManev Central HospitalTrill Defense MinistryTrill Symbiosis Commissionneo-PuristsOrder of the GuardiansStarfleetTrill SenateUnited Federation of PlanetsWatchers
Referenced only
Council of the United Federation of PlanetsGheryzan HospitalOrion SyndicateSection 31Symbiosis Evaluation Board

Other references

afterlifeAmerican Civil WarBattle of RigelburialcancerCathedral artifactcccemeterydermal regeneratorDominion WardrenoctazinedreolineEmissary of the ProphetseomrekerEugenics WarsFederation Constitutionfenza birdfirst contactfistriumfleet admiralFrankensteinGettysburg Addresshovercarhover-gurneyisoboramineisolation suitKurlan naiskoslectrazinelidaMak'relle Durmanateemun'ika bugneurogenic radiationparasitepiracyplisagraphPresident of Trillreassociationskimmersyto beanteertelepathyTenaran sealterrorismtransparisteelTrill GuardianX-rayxenoanthropologyyilga moth


Related media




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:
Andor: Paradigm
DS9 Stories
Next story:
Bajor: Fragments and Omens
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Grand Designs
Memory Beta Chronology Next Adventure:
The Officers' Club

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