ST Section 31: Disavowed
© 2014 David Mack
Disavowed is the brilliant result of multiple spy plots intersecting one another, bringing together the standard and ‘mirror’ universes. Following Rise like Lions, a political entity much like the Federation has established itself in the Mirror Universe, and is strengthened by a hidden organization called Memory Omega. Established by Emperor Spock to conceal itself and to become a galactic puppetmaster, Memory Omega functioned rather like Hari Seldon intended the Second Foundation to function in his attempt to shorten the galactic dark age and create a second Republic. Because of Omega, the nascent Commonwealth has tremendous weapons at its disposal — weapons the Breen of the standard universe have caught wind of, and are planning a covert invasion of the mirror universe in order to steal. Section 31, the amoral organization which pledges itself to protect the Federation without sanction or oversight, which previously nearly effected genocide by turning Constable Odo into a Typhoid Marry, is intent on preventing the Breen from gaining this kind of advantage — and to help scotch the Breen’s plan, they are putting Julian Bashir — who is helping them only because of the threat the Breen might pose with these weapons — into play. But there’s always another level of conspiracy, and before this one runs its course we’ll see a Dominion invasion of the mirror Alpha Quadrant, a beloved character on trial, and a faction who are even better at pulling strings than Section 31. This is, in short, a very cool book.
Many years ago one of Trek lit’s best miniseries hit the shelves: Section 31, telling stories of that very interesting organization as it acted in TOS, TNG, DS9, and VOY; I was very glad to see their return, especially under the able pen of David Mack. Mack here writes a sequel to both Rise like Lions and The Fall series, bringing two universes together, and allows us to spend time with a lot of beloved characters who are long gone in the standard universe, but still active in the mirror. People like Weyoun, that merry villain, and Eddington — a rebel in one universe, an admired head of state here. And not to mention Saavik, whether you’re imagining her as Kirstie Alley or Robin Curtis. We get glimpses of some of Section 31’s toys, there are the expected allusions (“Not good enough, damn it, not good enough! — thank you, Captain Picard), and a fair bit of comedy to balance out what is one edge of the seat moment after another. Bashir, for instance, is entering Section 31’s service as a double agent; he intends to work for them only to bring them down, and so does his girlfriend. When she ‘seduces’ him into joining 31, however, members of 31 are in fact observing them and mocking their poor acting skills…even the Vulcan. Why 31 is still using Bashir and Sarina Douglas is one of the wheels-within-wheels ops that won’t be unveiled until the end. We also receive regular insights into the Breen and into the mirror-Dominion, who are..very much the same, but different in an important way.
This is a thoroughly gripping tale, and I’m looking forward to the sequel, Control.
“Because this isn’t about strength. Justice isn’t decided by power. It isn’t born through the force of arms. It comes from people of conscience taking responsibility for their own lives—and accepting the consequences of their actions.”