Re: Star Trek: Destiny: Gods of Night - SPOILER Thread I have just tried to post my review of Destiny: Gods of Night and was told that the text is too long. Therefore I am splitting it now in two: PART ONE After the big build-up towards the Destiny trilogy and especially after having read some excerpts before getting the first book I could see myself that Destiny will be one of the biggest events in Star Trek literature. Yes, it is about the Borg but already the first book offers so much more. What we first of all see in “Gods of Night” is a rich tapestry of character development. Some of them are influenced by the Borg threat, some aren`t. This book is dealing with a lot of characters but when reading it, I never felt overwhelmed. I am admittedly a regular Star Trek book reader and familiar with most of these people and their back stories. Nevertheless, I think also people who aren`t shouldn`t have trouble to follow what is going on and I found the Appendix helpful, too. David Mack did an excellent job when introducing these people in this book, providing the foundation and then build on that. There are four main storylines in this book: AVENTINE (Captain Ezri Dax) I admit it, when I first learned that this book will feature a captain Ezri Dax, I was very sceptical. As much as I like her, I still had the Ezri from the DS9 TV series in my mind and that Ezri Dax was not suitable for being a captain. On the other hand, when I thought about it more thoroughly, I definitely noticed a change in Star Trek literature. One of my frustrations was that with the exception of “Abyss”, authors and editors had the unfortunate habit to show that when Ezri and Bashir were a couple, they tended to turn immature and annoying, losing a significant portion of their professionalism. I still love “Abyss” and had high hopes that this relationship will build on that but later I gave up and thought, if they are determined to show a bickering, childish couple, better to get it over and done with and separate them. I think Ezri Dax blossomed after the separation and I am glad that she is now allowed in the Star Trek books to find her full potential. I liked Captain Ezri Dax very much in this book and am looking forward to read much more. But I am also curious now what will happen in DS9 Relaunch, how Ezri will develop in that series. What also makes me happy is that Simon Tarses is now chief medical officer on her ship. I still remember “The Drumhead” very well and Picard`s prediction that his career has ended. I was glad when I first met him in DS9 Relaunch again but this goes much further than I hoped for. I also liked the other characters but although some of these other names sound familiar, I can`t place them right now in my memory. I have no problems with it that Ezri Dax advanced in rank so quickly and the circumstances of it. Ezri Dax is not only highly qualified because she is a joined Trill but also because she proved herself in battle and in this war so many qualified captains (and, of course, so many other people) were already killed. I think David Mack captured the spooky atmosphere of the mysterious wreck of the Columbia very well. I kept wondering with Dax and her crew what happened here. It was interesting to discover the answers step by step. I had the right suspicions after I read about the mutiny and that one of the Caeliar was on the ship. What the poor alien went through is dreadful and I very much felt for him. For a species to whom life is so sacred, I am sure it was little consolation for him that he was not responsible for his actions when he killed and fed on three of Ezri Dax officers. Then he died so close to finding out about the recovery of his species. Very sad indeed. TITAN (Captain William Riker) We have seen that even so very different species like Vulkans and humans or Bajorans and Cardassians can have children with each other without or with little help. That Deanna as a half Betazoid and half human has so serious problems having a child with her human husband surprised me. I wondered if Deanna would have this problem also if the combination would be different, including with a Betazoid male. On the other hand, counsellor Haaj mentioned her husband`s “genetic shortcomings”. But then I learned what the cause for her problems really is, that it is rooted in the TNG episode “The Child”. The explanations make a lot of sense to me, so much that I wondered why I didn`t think of this before. At a time when medical science is so much more advanced than today in real life, maybe it is good to see that the miracle of life is still partly a mystery and that there is still a lot to discover and learn. I feel very much for Deanna and Riker but I think it is important to show sometimes that there are limits to medical science and that doctors are not gods. I do like Dr. Ree but his treatment and attitude towards Deanna leaves a lot to be desired. I had to remember what Dax told Bashir in an episode, it is arrogant to believe that because he can`t find a cure that there isn`t any. This story touched me more than any other in this book because it feels so personal to me. My husband and me had to wait nearly 10 years for our daughter. She was born a year after a miscarriage and I know from experience that pregnancy and birth can be dangerous. It just made this experience and our child more precious, also because I have been told that me getting pregnant again is not impossible but very unlikely. It wasn`t spelled out that clearly in the book and I also think that wouldn`t have been necessary or even desirable but the debate between the “pro life” position and “pro choice” one was very visible. David Mack walked a very fine and sensitive line. It was mentioned quite a few times that Deanna`s baby is not viable, that the little girl definitely won`t survive and that this doomed baby is endangering her mother`s life. I can understand that (if I am correct) this is as far as Star Trek literature is probably willing to go but I wonder if things would be different if this baby has a chance to survive but with severe disabilities. I can understand both sides of the fence, the choice Deanna made and Riker`s position. It is one of the most difficult choices any couple could face but first of all it must be the choice of the pregnant woman who is carrying the baby and who has to face the risks of pregnancy and birth. I am very much pro-choice. Long before I had my daughter my husband and me discussed what we would have done if we had found out that our child is severely disabled. Especially if the mind is affected, I would have aborted it. We both agreed on that. Our daughter was born with a hip defect that took nearly a year to fix but now she is a healthy, bright little girl. As much as I understand Deanna`s instinctive reaction to keep her baby and how difficult it must be to deal with her emotions, I felt very uncomfortable with it that she resented her husband for feeling otherwise. What counts is that he supported her decision because at the end it must be hers. This brings me to the incredible statement Dr. Ree made, that he has the right to force Deanna to have the fetus removed, in other words, to have an abortion. I was shocked. It is now finally against the law to order a Vulcan to force having a mind meld with someone else, something that was long over due. Forcing a woman to have an abortion, that is so wrong on so many levels and this is not something that I would have expected to find in Star Trek that is supposedly about a humanity that is more advanced and better than in real life. I also wonder, on a more general level, I thought also people in Starfleet as in real life have the right to refuse treatment. I am sure, if Dr. Ree would really have insisted, Deanna would have resigned and I definitely could not have blamed her. It wouldn`t surprise me if Riker would have done the same. I am surprised that the choice between following such an order and resigning was never mentioned in this book unless I overlooked it. And what would forcing mean: Physically dragging Deanna on the operating table or stun her before doing it? I doubt it. I am also appalled that he suggested a hysterectomy to Deanna. Yes, her ovaries, her genetic code is severely damaged. But her womb is perfectly fine. Even if she will never be able to use her own eggs, there are other possibilities even today in the real life world to get pregnant. Taking that away from Deanna would be a worse crime than forcing an abortion on her. From early on I wondered if Dr. Ree is actually unable to understand what this unborn baby means to Deanna and Riker because his species is so different. Maybe Dr. Ree should talk to the counsellors on board so that they can explain the situation to him. From what I have seen about dinosaurs and reptilians, many of them lay eggs, bury them in the sand and walk away from them. That is very different from carrying a growing and moving baby inside you for nine months, give birth and look after a completely helpless infant afterwards that needs you to survive. I am no biologist but I can imagine that laying eggs is much less dangerous to a female than giving birth to living babies. From what Dr. Ree thought later in the book, I could see that I was right. I was very impressed and very moved how David Mack dealt with this sensitive story, how he looked at it from different perspectives and described the thoughts and feelings of everyone involved. That included colleagues and friends. I think it was a good choice to show very clearly that Riker and Picard are different people who also approach command differently. Vale showed that she is an excellent first officer who understands people, an important skill for a high ranking officer but who also showed that she is a good friend. I liked the scene in which he finally told her about what happened and she supported him very much. Unfortunately that changed later. I also think it would be wrong to remove Deanna from duty completely. She has skills that are very valuable and keeping her busy and challenged will help her and benefit the ship. I also think it was unfair to assume that Riker gave Deanna special treatment. I am sure, if any other female officer would be in the same or similar position, Riker would have defended her right to choose as well. Bv the way, I enjoyed the refreshing honesty of the Tellarite counsellor, Pral glash Haaj, very much. His approach takes some getting used to but it is very effective. I like him a lot. As much as I understand that Riker and Deanna need to get their feelings sorted out, I think what happened between Riker and Vale should be a warning to Riker: The longer this goes on, the more it will poison not only the marriage but also affect his relationship with the crew. In other words, it is all right to fall down in a crisis but you have to get up and deal with it as quickly as possible because the longer it takes, the more difficult it will be. I am hoping very much that Riker and Deanna will both be able to do that, to master this crisis. I know from experience that a serious crisis can either break up a marriage or – as it was in our case – make the bond between the couple even stronger. I don`t know at this point what authors and editors have in mind but there are several options. The most obvious one is considering adoption but there are others that are less obvious I don`t want to spell out here because they would be seen as giving story ideas to professional writers. I even see some theoretical possibilities for a happy end but my gut feeling tells me not to count on that. I wonder what will happen now that Vale, Deanna and the rest of the very colourful mix of the away team have reached New Erigol, the rebuilt home of the Caeliar. The Caeliar were burned by an unknown more advanced species as well as desperate humans who couldn`t understand what they were meddling with and what consequences it could have. I wonder how such a powerful but extremely non-violent species will deal with the Borg threat. My guess is that they might have an idea how to deal with Deanna and her baby. It could very well be something also Dr. Ree was not even able to imagine. It was a nice touch that Tuvok immediately recognized the human woman who welcomed the team together with two Caeliar. I must admit, when I first heard of the idea to place Captain Hernandez from the time frame of the series Enterprise into the present day Star Trek, I was not happy about it. I kept joking, after nearly all members of the TOS Enterprise ended up one way or the other in modern Star Trek, when will the same trend start with the people from the series Enterprise? Captain Hernandez ship is not Archer`s Enterprise but nevertheless. I am torn now. I still don`t like the general idea but I must admit, the story is excellent and doesn`t feel forced to me at all. All right, if it will really stop here it might even add an interesting element to present day Star Trek. I want to mention another character story, the one dealing with Melora. I found the descriptions of what Ra-Havreii designed for her very interesting indeed and could understand Melora very well who feels so comfortable in this environment. But I am worried what this will do to her, emotionally and physically, if she keeps herself locked away in her own comfortable world for too long and only interacts most of the time with holographic avatars. I don`t think this is healthy.