ST DS9: Devil in the Sky
© 1995 Greg Cox and John Gregory Betancourt
In the classic TOS episode, “Devil in the Dark”, Kirk and the Enterprise were dispatched to a mining colony to discover and put an end to the monster that had been killing the colonists. The ‘monster’ turned out to be a silicon being, a Horta, who was waging a war of self-defense against colonists unwittingly destroying her eggs. Now a Federation outpost is again imperiled by the Horta, after a mother Horta is kidnapped and her eggs arrive on a freighter to Deep Space Nine as hungry orphans. The Horta had been invited to Bajor to jump-start a dormant mining industry, but she was kidnapped by Cardassians enroute. As Kira, Dax, Bashir are dispatched on a rescue mission into Cardassian territory, Sisko and the others labor to keep the hungry rock-slugs from literally eating them out of house and home.
The only high point here, really, is Kira and Bashir’s maturing ‘friendship’. Bashir begins as a caricture of himself. His youthful arrogance and total confidence in himself are taken up to eleven, and made all the more obnoxious by Bashir swaggering around like a lady-killer. Kira, with an established disdain for Bashir’s patronizing view of Bajor, only likes him slightly more than the Cardassians. Forced to work together to free the Horta from a death camp filled with Bajorans, however, Bashir matures and Kira starts to find him tolerable. It’s the Bashir-Kira version of that Bashir-O’Brien episode: evidently the key to liking the doctor is facing death with him.
The rest is fairly average: Odo is grumpy and doesn’t like Quark, Quark is scheming, Jake and Nog get into trouble, that sort of thing. There’s at least one nice call back to the original episode, in which the Mother Horta is forced to communicate by writing letters in acid on the floor — not “NO KILL I”, but “FOLLOW ME”. Sisko takes entirely too long to remember that Bajor has deserted moons that he can stick the Horta babies on without angering the Bajoran government who have suddenly decided that nope, Horta have no place in Bajor’s delicate ecosystem.
If the first one hundred pages — of Bashir being utterly obnoxious, far more so than he was in the show — can be survived, it’s an enjoyable enough action tale.