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Literature / Terok Nor

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Terok Nor is a trilogy of novels and a part of the Star Trek Novel Verse.

It details the backstory to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, including the Cardassian annexation of Bajor and the early lives of several major characters (chief among them Dukat, Odo, Kira Nerys and Ro Laren). It also features a number of established supporting characters, filling in their lives and backstories as well.

Advertised as part of Star Trek: The Lost Era, it also contains many a Continuity Nod to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch books.

The three novels are Day of the Vipers, Night of the Wolves and Dawn of the Eagles. The first book was written by James Swallow, the other two by S.D. Perry and Britta Dennison.

This series contains examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: Anybody who isn't seen onscreen in the Deep Space Nine television series can die in Terok Nor.
  • Artificial Gravity: The Tzenkethi create multiple gravity envelopes aboard their starships, allowing them to comfortably use the walls and ceiling just as readily as the floor.
  • As the Good Book Says...: The Bajoran equivalent crops up. Not literally the bible, of course, but essentially in their culture quoting the prophecies is the same base trope:
    "I’m a tanner, come from a long line of tanners. It’s a respectable position, you know, working the skins. ‘And as the tradesman plies his wares, so the tanner scrapes the hides, so the ranjen studies the Word’. That's a direct quote from the Book of Seasons, isn’t it?"
  • Blessed with Suck: Miras Vara. Her spiritual awakening in Night of the Wolves may be for the good of Cardassia, but her new life is hardly a happy one, seeing as she has to give up her old identity and live on the run as an outlaw. Then there's her prophetic knowledge of her planet's future destruction, which she knows she is powerless to prevent. She sees it regularly in her dreams, and is haunted by the vision.
  • The Cameo:
    • Garak appears briefly in one scene, despite having no part to play in the plot. He isn't named, though. His codename, Agent Regnar (established in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A Stitch in Time) is used instead.
    • David Gold of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers makes an appearance near the end of the first book.
    • Lieutenant Alynna Nechayev (who will eventually rise to the rank of Admiral) is part of a Starfleet Intelligence covert insertion onto Bajor, just before the Occupation gets underway.
  • The Cassandra: Miras Vara again. Also Hadlo, whose orb vision in Day of the Vipers allowed him to see the future destruction of Cardassia. He couldn't, however, convince a sneering Dukat that the latter man was taking their people down the wrong path. As Dukat destroys his ship, Hadlo dies screaming that Dukat will lead Cardassia to the burning cities of his vision.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Kubus Oak, and the level of his collaboration explains why the provisional government later exiled him.
  • Continuity Nod: In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch books, Istani Reyla was introduced as a beloved childhood teacher to Kira Nerys. Given that Kira's childhood is partly explored in Terok Nor, Istani makes an appearance more to reinforce the Relaunch backstory than to serve any purpose to the plot.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance/No Woman's Land: Cardassian women typically aren't allowed to serve on active duty or work other similarly dangerous jobs after marriage, and infertile women typically have the marriage annulled and are outcast (as happens to Corat Damar's fiancee Veja Ketan, a war correspondent, in Night of the Wolves). On the other hand, Gul Malyn Ocett rose as high as she did in large part because of her infertility, and women dominate Cardassian research roles.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the classic Season 1 episode "Duet" we learned that Cardassian filing clerk Aamin Marritza felt great shame and guilt for standing by and doing nothing while the Bajoran prisoners at Gallitep labor camp were killed. However, we learn in Night of the Wolves that Marritza is unknowingly responsible for Gallitep's liberation. During a conversation with a scientist, he hints at Gul Darhe'el's plans to massacre the entire camp. Said scientist turns out to be a Bajoran informant who passes along the information to the Shaakar resistance cell, thus setting the liberation in motion. It makes his attempt at atonement and subsequent murder in "Duet" even more tragic.
  • Dramatis Personae: All three books have one, along with a mini-glossary.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Skrain Dukat certainly feels underappreciated by the Central Command:
    Dukat considered the place where he found himself: isolated from Central Command because of the independent streak he had exhibited during the Talarian conflict...No matter that it had won him many battles! Reviled by Kell for daring to defy the jagul, for shining a light on the corpulent fool's lack of progress with the Bajorans, and in an uneasy partnership with Ico and the Obsidian Order.
  • The Evils of Free Will: Not in the extreme, literal form, but Cardassia has very little tolerance for irregular thinkers, and spreads propaganda insisting that those who behave differently are psychologically and neurologically ill:
    “People with beliefs like that usually have a disorder that prevents them from understanding loyalty to anything but their own desires. A defect in their lateral cortex makes them abnormally egocentric, and the same disorder keeps them from having any impulse control. I learned about it in socio-deviance.”
  • False Flag Operation: In the leadup to the Occupation, the Cardassians stage a number of attacks on Bajoran ships, blaming them on the nearby Tzenkethi Coalition. This eventually culminates in a raid on Bajor itself using a hijacked Tzenkethi raider, giving the Cardassians an excuse to station more and more of their ships in Bajoran space, so they can protect their Bajoran "allies" from the evil, invading aliens.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Bajoran D'Jarras. Darrah Karys is of the artisan caste, a particularly high-ranking one. In choosing Darrah Mace as a husband, she married below her station.
  • Fantastic Measurement System: Cardassian decas.
  • Fantastic Racism: All over the place. The Bajorans discriminate against those of lower or higher castes, while the Cardassians are frequently speciesist (for a non-Bajoran example, regarding the Talarians on their rimward border, against whom the Central Command is waging a punitive war, as an infestation of vermin).
  • Fantastic Rank System: This series makes use of Cardassian ranks listed in unpublished RPG sourcebooks. From highest to lowest, the ranks are Legate (canonically established), Jagul, Gul (canonically established), Dal, Dalin, Glinn (canonically established), Gil, Garresh, and Gorr. These ranks are later used elsewhere in the Star Trek Novel Verse.
  • Fix Fic: Night of the Vipers reconciles the longstanding Continuity Snarl of the Bajoran Occupation's exact length (which was initially established as 60 years in "Emissary" before going back and forth between 40 and 50 years throughout the remainder of DS9). Night's fix is that the Cardassians make first contact with Bajor in 2318. Over the next decade, they slowly begin entrenching themselves on the planet until formally occupying Bajor by 2328 (and not ending until 2369). In other words, the 40 year and 50 year lengths are both correct. The Occupation's official length is 40 years, while the unofficial length combines those 40 years with the preceding 10 years of gradual entrenchment.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's a prequel series, after all. The first novel is going to end with Cardassia taking control of Bajor and occupying the planet. The third will end with Bajor's liberation when the Cardassians withdraw. And anyone who appeared in Deep Space Nine will survive the story.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Gar Osen, more or less.
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Danig Kell and many other Cardassians dismiss the Oralian Way out of hand, claiming that its adherents' devotion to a peaceful faith and opposition to imperialism are weaknesses modern Cardassia can't afford.
  • Good Old Ways: The Oralians represent the remnants of the old Cardassia - a far gentler culture.
  • Good Shepherd: Kai Meressa, certainly. Hadlo counts, although he has his dark side too, being willing to sacrifice some of the dissident sects to preserve the mainstream Oralian faith. Bennek is a somewhat ineffectual although well-meaning example, in over his head but possessed of very strong conviction.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Dukat's patronising obsession with Kira — wanting to protect her for her mother's sake and show her the 'error of her ways' — means he deliberately thwarts numerous opportunities for her to be captured. Which leaves her free to take part in crucial missions that undermine the Cardassian Occupation.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    The morality of a Cardassian can only be understood by a Cardassian. The morality of a soldier of the Union is that which serves the Union best.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: Minus the printing, the covers of the trilogy together form a triptych, seen above.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: <time period> of the <predatory animal>.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Admiral Nechayev in Dawn of the Eagles, when Elias Vaughn explodes at her regarding the supposed peace with Cardassia, which he knows wasn't accepted in good faith by Cardassia. Instead, he insists that they both know it's just a means to give the Cardassians time to regroup.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Between Cardassian Central Command and the Obsidian Order. Skrain Dukat's biased view of it is worth repeating:
    The Obsidian Order represented everything that was cancerous about Cardassia; they were an institutionalized form of decay that preyed on the military and the people even as they pretended to serve the same ends as Central Command.
  • Interspecies Romance: Bennek (a Cardassian) and Tima (a Bajoran). Tima converts to the religion Bennek preaches, and the two become lovers.
  • Legacy Character: Astraea, leader of the Oralian faith and vessel for the guiding spirit, Oralius.
    "My mother's name was Astraea. My daughter's name will be Astraea".
  • Lovable Rogue: Syjin, who skirts the edges of the law but isn't an out-and-out criminal. Darrah Mace considers him a personal redemption project, since they grew up together.
  • Mad Scientist: Crell Moset shows up (see Star Trek: The Battle of Betazed and Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch for further details). He's not quite so unhinged here, but still his usual Affably Evil, cheerfully mass-murdering self, while paradoxically being opposed to unnecessary suffering - it's just that in his twisted worldview, medical experiments For Science! are necessary.
  • Manipulative Editing: Lonnic Tomo, a Bajoran, sends a distress signal after her ship and its companion vessels (along with a Tzenkethi Marauder) are attacked by Cardassians. Bajor receives a chopped and rearranged version of the message, in which the Tzenkethi are the supposed attackers and no mention is made of Cardassians.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Oralius has her moments, despite being a force for good.
    • Pasir.
  • Mask of Power: Oralian recitation masks. The Oralian Way, a Cardassian religion dating back to the time of the Hebitians, features masks in its rituals and ceremonies. The masks channel a being's spiritual power, even allowing a priestess to serve as a vessel for Oralius, the guiding spirit.
  • Military Maverick: Skrain Dukat.
    Danig Kell: "Dukat's a fine officer, but he lacks an understanding of the nature of command. Some hounds need to be kept on a tight chain".
    Rahn Ico: "Some hounds bite".
  • Morton's Fork: Darrah Mace married above his caste, to a woman who expected him to support her in the lifestyle to which she was accustomed. However, to do so, he has to put in long hours at work, spending time away from his family and angering his wife. During Dukat's false flag operation, Darrah Mace is ordered to remain at his post or lose his job, despite his protests that he should be with his family. When he returns home, this is the last straw for his wife, who leaves, taking the kids.
  • Out of Focus: Very few Federation characters appear in the novels, as The Federation cannot interfere in the Cardassian annexation and occupation of Bajor because of the Prime Directive and their ongoing diplomatic problems with the Cardassian Union.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Kosst, the Bajoran curse derived from Kosst Amojan, which is their version of Satan.
  • Planet Looters: From the start, the Cardassian Union cares more about acquiring Bajor's food and mineral wealth than anything else.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: Kubus Oak claims that he has prayed for guidance after signing an order that he knew would lead to a massacre. Prylar Bek says that it's too late for guidance, and that all he can do now is pray for forgiveness.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Well, everyone exposed to an orb at some point, even if they have no actual psychic talent. Hadlo, Opaka Sulan, Miras Vara...
  • The Purge:
    • Cardassian Central Command moves against its ideological competitors by destroying the Cardassian church. Members of the Oralian Way religion are eventually slaughtered in their enclaves on Bajor. They had fled Cardassia due to persecution there, but of course Central Command had its eyes on Bajor, too.
    • An Obsidian Order agent whose cover is accidentally blown by a trio of Cardassian soldiers makes a note to ensure they meet with an "accident" before they can file any sort of report.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Dukat gives one to his superior officer, Kell, and the Obsidian Order agent Rahn Ico.
    “That is the endgame for your great plan? You've been here for five years and that is the best you can do? You don't know anything about these people! Both of you, you sit cosseted inside your compound and your enclave, playing off against one another, living well while Cardassia continues to starve! Obsidian is opaque, but you are transparent. Do you think that your desires are hidden from the rest of us? I know what you want. I know all about the legends of the Orbs. I understand why I was sent here now. You've become comfortable and hidebound, like the Bajorans. What's needed here is boldness”
  • Refusal of the Call: Miras Vara, when Oralius first makes Herself known and insists Vara is the next Astraea. Knowing that Oralius will send her psychic dreams, Vara tries to avoid sleep. This is of course futile, and eventually she gives in and accepts her new destiny. She certainly makes a good effort at refusing the call, though.
  • Religious Bruiser: Thrax Sa'kat.
  • La Résistance.
  • The Reveal: The second and third novels take advantage of the medium to set up a reveal they couldn't pull off onscreen. Specifically, two apparently different characters turn out to be the same man. The security chief on Terok Nor station, Thrax, is revealed mid-way through the third book to be the same character as Sa'kat, the loyal second to outlaw priestess Astraea.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Bajorans are prone to holding grudges and vendettas long past the point of reason, as is noted throughout the series, by Bajoran characters and Cardassians both. Their stubborn commitment to stewing over wrongs both real and imagined becomes a fatal flaw when Dukat decides it's the perfect means of controlling them; all he has to do is fan the flames of their anger against a preferred target, and they'll be too angry and focused to see his agenda unfolding.
  • Rich Bitch: Darrah Karys skirts around the edge of this trope.
  • Savage Wolves: The Cadge Lupus is a wolf of the "it's going to eat you" variety.
  • Space Station: This is the backstory for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, after all. Night of the Wolves and Dawn of the Eagles detail much of the station's early operational history. Funnily enough, we don't actually see it constructed; that happens between the first and second books. The earlier novel ''The Art of the Impossible'' revealed a few minor details about that, including the role played by Legate Kell in getting it funded.
  • Start of Darkness: Dukat's rise to power is detailed in part by these novels. He was already dark, though - the difference between young Dukat and elder Dukat is simply that in Day of the Vipers he hasn't yet started believing his own lies. He's as power-hungry as ever, only not yet delusional. Whereas the Dukat of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine insisted he loved the Bajorans as a benevolent dictator, this Dukat merely sneers when another character speaks of "Cardassian-Bajoran alliance". He does express a genuine belief that Bajorans require Cardassian leadership, however, and says that the Cardassian annexation will prove beneficial to the stagnant Bajoran culture. His ruthless intelligence is still holding any fanciful egotism in check, though.
  • Stealth in Space: Two Cardassian warships conceal themselves in the magnetosphere of a moon, escaping detection by the Bajoran and Tzenkethi ships they intend to hijack or destroy.
  • Taking the Kids: Darrah Karys in Day of the Vipers.
  • Talking in Your Dreams: The Fates communicate with Cardassian mortals like this. Oralius appears in Miras Vara's dreams to convince her to become Astraea, the leader of the Oralian Way faith and corporeal vessel for Oralius Herself. Vara tries not sleeping to avoid Her, but of course it doesn't work. Eventually, she relents.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Aboard the Kornaire during the first contact mission to Bajor, Gul Kell makes it clear to Hadlo that he hates the Oralians, seeing them as a bunch of worthless hippies and throwbacks to a more primitive Cardassia. But Central Command has ordered him to bring them along, so he does.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: From a meta-perspective: Aamin Marritza, a guy from the Deep Space Nine episode "Duet" who lived with tremendous guilt for not doing anything during the Occupation. Turns out, in Night Of The Wolves, he hinted to Daul Mirosha the impending extermination of the Gallitep labor camp workers, who in turn informed the Shakaar resistance cell, who managed to liberate the camp before Gul Darhe'el could have his orders carried out.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: A single character is secretly both a member of the Oralian religious underground and a Central Command officer. Both roles use his real name, with the twist that the narration for one role is on a First-Name Basis, and the other on Last-Name Basis. Thus, The Reveal is as simple as him saying his full name.
  • Willing Channeler: Astraea, who allows her body and mind to be temporarily controlled by the guiding spirit, Oralius.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Opaka Fasil, but then he’s Opaka Sulan’s son, so it’s probably to be expected.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Dukat's plans to annex Bajor. Manipulating the Bajorans into accepting closer ties with the Cardassians (achieved through whipping them into a paranoia about the Tzenkethi) is this trope in that his "winning" does not truly depend on its success - and this because Bajor is weakened either way. He fakes Tzenkethi attacks and manipulates communications to construct false accounts of Bajoran/Cardassian/Tzenkethi encounters in space. Finally, he hijacks a Tzenkethi marauder, using it to bomb Bajor before the Cardassian fleet "heroically" responds. The Bajorans end up rushing gratefully into the arms of their Cardassian "saviours". Even if the plan "failed" (and the Cardassians' duplicity revealed), Bajor would still have been crippled and vulnerable; the Cardassians were in a position to take over no matter what. The success of Dukat's Tzenkethi scheme only makes his ultimate plans unfold with less resistance, and with less Cardassian bloodshed. Indeed, even as The Plan unfolds masterfully, Dukat reflects that Bajor was an easy target for outside forces.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: In Day of the Vipers, Cleric Hadlo gets a little of this. He proves willing to make a deal that involves sacrificing breakaway sects of his faith as scapegoats, to secure the safety of the mainstream religion. The fact that he's getting rid of troublesome elements to his church in the process, thus strengthening his position further, is praised by another character. She decides that maybe he is a modern Cardassian after all, despite his clinging to the Good Old Ways.