Myriad Universes: Requiem Part 2/Hearts and Minds Part 0

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Major Kira is convinced Malor Ti is still alive, and pages Commander Sisko in the middle of the night to ask if they can set up a team to search engineering for her. Ben is skeptical, but cautiously optimistic and agrees, and has the Major get Odo to assemble a team and allow him to pull anyone from engineering who isn't currently working on the reactors. In engineering, a stressed Chief O'Brien and Dulath snap at each other, both aware of what's going to happen if they can't get the backup reactors online, but they soon calm down and split up to cover more ground.

Odo tells Kira he's going to personally spearhead the search for Malor Ti, because Kira is “the closest thing” he has to family, but is curious why she's so important to her. Kira explains that she sees herself in Malor Ti, or rather she sees herself as a young girl, and tells a story about how once when she was seven she witnessed a Bajoran fighter explode in the skies outside her house. Her parents were away at a secret resistance meeting and didn't tell her in order to protect her, but until they came back Kira thought she had been orphaned and alone. Odo explains that sometimes it's nice to have a past at all, even if it's painful one before he turns into a hare and jumps into an air vent to begin the search.

Back in engineering, Miles has called Commander Sisko down to show him something concerning. Namely, that there's a bomb wired into one of the reactors that was shielded from internal sensors. Had the reactor been activated, the bomb would have ripped the station apart. The senior staff now have the unpleasant task of figuring out who would have been in a position to place the explosive device...Besides Dulath. Sisko and Odo are suspicious of the Cardassian engineer, but Kira and O'Brien don't think he's the kind of person who would have done it. Though he's sympathetic and wants to believe that Dulath is innocent, the Commander will need harder evidence to dispel the shadow cast by all the circumstantial evidence against him. But before they have time to continue the debate, a massive explosion rocks Deep Space 9 as the backup reactor gives way, leaving the station adrift in space.

As Kira, Odo and Bashir rush to handle the chaos on the promenade, Deep Space 9 prepares for general evacuation. But with only three hours of reserve power left, they won't have enough time to get everyone out safely. Miles heads back down to the engineering section to try a power test of reactor five, but begs Commander Sisko to let Dulath help him: The engineer knows it was his room longer, and nobody knows the station's schematics as well as he does. With no objections from the rest of the staff, the two engineers make haste, Dulath reminding O'Brien that the station's survival depends on his instincts being right, and asking him why he trusts a Cardassian. But there's no time for that with work to be done, and with an impassioned speech about bringing life to nothingness, Dulath and O'Brien fire up the reactor core. And it's a success. As the populace literally starts to pick up the pieces, Bashir tells Kira she's needed in the infirmary.

It would seem once the station's gravity returned to normal, Miles found Malor Ti. Or rather, her lifeless body. She had indeed been alive and well...Up to several months ago, that is, when the radiation leaks finally killed her. Kira is heartbroken. Miles tells Kira the only thing Malor Ti had with her was a data disk, the last entries of her diary, and as Kira plays them back it reveals everything. It seemed that it was Malor Ti, not Dulath, who planted the bomb that almost destroyed Deep Space 9. Grief-stricken by the deaths of her parents and driven solely by vengeance, she wired the explosive into the reactor core and waited for the Cardassian engineers to bring it back online. They never did, because Dulath had the area quarantined due to the radiation leakage. But Ti wouldn't have known that, and she kept on waiting until the last moments of her life.

Dulath and Chief O'Brien say their goodbyes, and the Cardassian engineer gives his colleague a parting gift. In Kira's quarters, we see she's placed a holographic portrait of Malor Ti on her mantle. She's also started her own diary, the first entry stating that today she lost a good friend.

“Requiem” is a should-have-been classic, especially this half. It is loaded from top to bottom with unforgettable examples of those wonderful Star Trek speeches: You know the ones-The heartfelt and poetic musings about scattered bits of philosophy. Mark A. Altman is a deft hand at these (there's a doozy of one in his next story, as a matter of fact), and there's so many of them in “Requiem II” I'm inclined to quote all of them. But if I did I'd wind up quoting the majority of the book, I'd prefer you actually just read it yourself and this essay is going to be long enough as it is. For now, I'll just say that there are a handful of lines here that absolutely deserve to be remembered as among the greatest lines in the history of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, mostly from Kira.

For a series that so frequently confused “moral ambiguity” with “grimdark”, here's the rare example of it actually hitting the real thing. The story's comparison and contrast of Dulath with Malor Ti (and Kira and Miles O'Brien) against the backdrop of the Cardassian occupation is *very* well-handled. Malor Ti is utterly sympathetic, even (perhaps especially) when it's revealed in the end that she was a would-be mass murderess. It's hard to fault people like her or Kira for the actions they took (or might have taken) in the extreme circumstances of the times they lived. And yet at the same time, one feels for Dulath: Yes, he worked for an oppressive and fascist regime, but one suspects he probably didn't have much choice in the matter and, much like his Deep Space 9 counterpart, was likely a cog in the machine trying to make the best of things day to day. You have to wonder if, had Malor Ti's plan succeeded, Dulath and people like him would have been innocent casualties. But then again, they were still the occupiers. As one former resistance fighter once said “You were all legitimate targets”.

But wait! That's not the end. There's a backup story this month, also from Altman. And with a title like “Hearts and Minds: Prelude”, it's immediately clear something massive is brewing on the horizon for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine this summer.

The Klingon Attack Cruiser K'Tang is on a scientific and military expedition to the Gamma Quadrant, and the crew has stopped off at Deep Space 9 before setting out on their long journey. It's the last day of their visit, and the DS9 staff is a bit relieved to be rid of them. Quark is entertaining one of the Klingon officers reluctantly, but he knows a barfly when he sees one so he keeps him talking until his ship finally checks out. But beneath the bar, in an unused storage room shielded from sensors, a mysterious woman named Maura is setting up her own place of sorts. Apparently, it was used by the Cardassians to process ore shipments, or so says a Bajoran military officer who has sold Maura the location. Well, I say sold. The descriptor “sold” would tend to imply some form of financial transaction took place, and Maura guns the Bajoran down with a Romulan disruptor pistol before any bars of cold-pressed latinum can actually change hands.

In the Gamma Quadrant, Captain Krek of the K'Tang records a captain's log entry explaining he and his crew are going to explore an uncharted sector of space known locally as “The Abyss”, having already dropped a survey team off on a planet called Keltara and stopped to pick up some supplies and “non-essentials” at a colony called Caldonia 3. Just as the captain begins to retire to enjoy his “non-essential”, the K'Tang's starboard nacelle is suddenly struck by phaser fire. The K'Tang turns to return fire, but it seems the ship's weapons and defense systems have all been sabotaged, rendering them utterly defenseless. The Klingon crew can only watch as a Cardassian Galor Warship appears out of the dark and a Gul Marel accuses them of “crimes against the Cardassian people”. Krek orders the K'Tang to be turned into an antimatter bomb so that even in death they can strike back against their attackers, but before the engines can be converted, another volley of phaser beams blasts the ship apart.

As they say,

To Be Continued

Comments

John G. Wood 6 months ago

Josh, is it my imagination or are you getting fewer comments since the blog moved over to join Eruditorum Press? It would be ironic, given that I'm not the only one who came to Vaka Rangi from here. Perhaps having your own button in the banner would make a difference?

[It occurred to me after I started writing that it could just be because you're between seasons, and the spin-off stuff gets less attention anyway. Still, I might as well go ahead and post this since I'm not sure.]

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Josh Marsfelder 6 months ago

The spin-off material does traditionally tend to get a far more indifferent reaction. Which is a bit annoying for me, as it also tends to be the material that *I'm* most passionate about.

On the other hand, I am also quite aware that I am likely far from the top of the list of marquee draws to this site.

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Josh Marsfelder 6 months ago

And I'd love a button on the top of the banner, but I don't have any control over that.

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Phil Sandifer 6 months ago

Oh jeez, did we never get that set up? I'll e-mail Anna right now.

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John G. Wood 6 months ago

oh, and the subject of this particular essay, is Captain Krek posting captain's log entries about his ship's scientific and military mission to seek out new worlds and new civilisations as obvious a reference as it sounds?

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Josh Marsfelder 6 months ago

I would not be at all surprised :-)

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Steve 6 months ago

Hearts and Minds is the only Malibu DS9 comic I've read (I found the set in a back issue bin at a con and bought it on a whim). I didn't know there was a prelude.

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