Star Trek: Section 31: Disavowed
Amoral, shrouded in secrecy, and answerable to no one, Section 31 is the mysterious covert operations division of Starfleet, a rogue shadow group committed to safeguarding the Federation at any cost.
Doctor Julian Bashir sacrificed his career for a chance to infiltrate Section 31 and destroy it from within. Now it’s asking him to help it stop the Breen from stealing a dangerous new technology from the Mirror Universe – one that could give the Breen control over the galaxy.
It’s a mission Bashir can’t refuse – but is it really the shot he’s been waiting for? Or is it a trap from which even his genetically enhanced intellect can’t escape?
There are a few things about the recent direction of Star Trek books that I’ve found questionable. Dr. Bashir’s storyline is one of them. Like with all the other questionable aspects, I totally understand how and why the authors took the stories there, it’s just it’s not quite my thing.
Dr. Bashir broke some major Federation laws to save the Andorian species from extinction. (It’s too long a story to explain here.) So, he is living on Andoria under political asylum. Living with him is his love, Sarina Douglas, who is a double agent for both Starfleet Intelligence and Section 31. The Bashir storyline has clearly been pulling him into Section 31 for some time now, so this is where he finally goes and does it. He’s one of them. But he goes into it with the long-term goal of bringing down Section 31 permanently.
I found the set-up of this novel to be adequate. When it got to the meat of the story, that’s where things got interesting. The Section 31 mission takes Bashir and Sarina into the Alternate Universe. I’ve not read the couple Alternate Universe books that came out a few years back, but there have been some regular appearances and mentions of the Alternate Universe in recent DS9 books, so there was clearly something going on.
The story became very engaging when they were all firmly in the Alternate Universe. While the Alternate Universe is and always has been a form of fan-wank, Mack did not overdo it like it has been overdone so much in the TV shows. The developments in the Alternate Universe are fascinating and I hope that we explore more of it in coming books.
While David Mack has developed writing tics over the years that irk me a bit, there’s no doubt that he is a fantastic writer who makes the Star Trek universe an exciting place to explore.