June 12 2024


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Retro Review: Homefront/Paradise Lost

9 min read

Sisko returns to Earth in the face of mounting evidence that changelings may have infiltrated the planet and caused sweeping changes in Starfleet.

Plot Summary: Sisko and Odo see evidence that a deadly explosion at a diplomatic conference on Earth was triggered by a changeling and travel to Earth to meet with Admiral Leyton, who asks Sisko to oversee Starfleet security there. This gives Sisko the opportunity to visit with his father, Joseph, a chef in New Orleans, and for Jake to see Nog, who is now a Starfleet cadet hoping to be chosen for the elite Red Squad. Sisko suggests security scans and blood screenings for Federation and Starfleet facilities, but the Federation president, Jaresh Inyo, resists these measures until Odo demonstrates how easily a Founder could infiltrate his office. Odo further proves his point when he spots Leyton at Starfleet HQ and demonstrates that the admiral has been replaced by a changeling. The real Leyton is very distressed and takes this as further proof of Dominion infiltration. Then Sisko learns that his own father has been arrested for refusing to submit to the blood test now mandatory for family members of Starfleet officers. While Sisko argues with Joseph, the older man cuts his finger and Sisko checks the knife, realizing that he believed for a moment that his own father might be a changeling. Later that night, the power relay systems for the planet go offline and Leyton gathers proof of sabotage. Because the wormhole has been opening and closing at odd intervals, which might mean cloaked ships have been passing through, Sisko and Leyton persuade Jaresh Inyo to declare a state of emergency and mobilize Starfleet troops all over the planet.

Curious why the elite Red Squad was demobilized just as the crisis began, Sisko asks questions of Starfleet Academy and learns that in fact the students were responsible for the power outage. When he investigates, he realizes that Leyton has no evidence of an imminent Dominion invasion but is planning to replace the Federation government with martial law, which Leyton believes to be the only way to protect Earth. Jaresh Inyo refuses to ask Leyton to step down without proof, so Sisko asks his crew on the Defiant to investigate and learns that the wormhole has been opening and closing because of a device planted near it on Leyton’s orders. He is also visited by a changeling in the form of O’Brien who explains that they need only four individuals on Earth to sow paranoia everywhere. Though Leyton orders Sisko back to Deep Space Nine, Sisko breaks into Leyton’s offices to figure out when he plans to move against the Federation president. But when Sisko tries to take his information to Jaresh Inyo, Leyton arrests him and forces him to take a blood test which appears to prove that Sisko is a changeling. Odo breaks Sisko out and goes to protect Jaresh Inyo while Sisko confronts Leyton, telling him that the Defiant is on its way, though Leyton has already told the captain of the Lakota that the Defiant’s crew have been replaced by changelings. Though outgunned, Worf is able to maneuver past the Lakota when its captain refuses to follow an order from Leyton to destroy the Defiant and kill all aboard. Leyton agrees to resign, but he warns Sisko that now all of Earth is vulnerable to the Dominion.

Analysis: The first time I posted reviews of “Homefront” and “Paradise Lost,” I complained that they were unsubtle and unrealistic. Today, finishing a review while watching the city of Boston on lockdown while the government searches for a terrorist who murdered civilians at a sporting event, the episodes seem nuanced and prescient. When Deep Space Nine first started down the path that led to the Dominion War arc, I didn’t like it; Starfleet started to look like it was run entirely by Evil Admirals, the characters never smiled, the science fiction slipped out of the stories in favor of military stuff. I still miss the optimism of the first two Trek shows, but I learned to love DS9 long before post-9/11 malaise made me come to believe that it was also the most important of the Trek series, the one that persistently engaged with the question not of how the future should look, but how we could get to such a future from where we are now. As horrible as it is seeing an American city with officers patrolling every street corner, I can’t pretend that the show’s just using scare tactics to tell us how bad things could get with Starfleet personnel crawling all over New Orleans. I only need to glance up at my television to see how bad things are in Boston today. Ultimately Sisko realizes that he’s on the verge of destroying all that’s valuable on Earth in order to protect it, yet the racial profiling, excuse me, the blood screening continues. If I’m uncomfortable with a Benjamin Sisko who accepts phaser sweeps and blood screening tests in the name of keeping civilians safe, I’m much more uncomfortable with a President of the United States – a man I voted for – accepting internet restrictions and drone strikes while citing similar logic.

There are parallels to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, not only because Admiral Cartwright is playing Sisko’s father, but because Starfleet is swept by the same paranoia and the (non-human) Federation president comes across as sophisticated, likeable, and hopelessly naive. There’s also a similar father-child family bonding theme, though in this case it’s among humans, not Vulcans or Klingons. Like Kirk and Picard always did when they had to go up against evil admirals, Sisko comes across as the only true moderate in all of the Federation, trying to balance personally ambitious people eager for war against civilian leaders who have no sense of how to respond to threats. Captain Benteen, who decides not to blow up the Defiant based only on Leyton’s say-so, grows a bit of a spine in the end, but for most of the two-parter she’s Leyton’s obedient lackey with no sense of why a Starfleet officer like herself would agree to assist with what’s essentially a plot to take over the world – does she want that captaincy so badly, is she frustrated with Starfleet bureaucracy, is she genuinely afraid of the Dominion even though she knows as well as Leyton that they haven’t actually blown out the power grid or snuck through the wormhole? Even his motives are left somewhat vague; he keeps claiming that he only wants to protect Earth, yet since he is himself the person he intends to put in charge of everything, it’s impossible to see him as anything other than a power-hungry dictator. If he was taking all these extreme steps to put someone else in charge, he’d be a more interesting character with more plausible motives.

Though I’m rather tired of the Star Trek staple of mothers being absent or irrelevant while fathers bond with sons, it’s pure joy to see three generations of Sisko men try to negotiate their roles as Jake becomes old enough that he no longer needs supervision and Grandpa becomes so old that he might. The dynamics among Brock Peters, Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton are so believable that I frequently forget these people aren’t really related to each other, and how interesting to see them bonding not over sports, music, beer, the interests we’re generally shown men as sharing, but preparing and serving food, something we already know Ben Sisko loves to do and learned from his dad. The scene in which Ben tries to persuade his father to take a blood test, in which we can see that he’s harboring the dread that Joseph has been replaced by a shapeshifter, is one of the best in the entire series. Peters’s Joseph makes an impassioned speech about human rights that rivals Picard’s in “The Measure of a Man” and Brooks’s Benjamin looks like he’s going to burst into tears of relief when he sees blood on the knife. Meanwhile Lofton plays an amiable, sometimes irritated teenager so convincingly and so consistently that it’s easy to overlook the fact that this is an actor playing a role. Meanwhile Colm Meaney does a superlative job playing an O’Brien-who’s-not-O’Brien, the changeling replica version who laughs too loudly and twists his mouth with a kind of sarcasm we never see from the Chief.

And Rene Auberjonois deserves kudos for balancing Odo’s amusing moments scowling at Dax with his creepy moments transforming from a briefcase and staring down the Federation president. I really don’t like how Odo gets treated in “Homefront” – doing tricks for the President and Benteen, serving as their test subject to determine how much pain a changeling would feel from phaser sweeps, the token shapeshifter brought in to show how easily changelings can “pass” among colleagues who look as if they can barely stand to be in a room with him. I really loathe Sisko telling Odo there are times he wishes he’d never found his people; if he means he wishes the Dominion had never become a problem, fine, but it sounds like ugly bigotry. It’s even worse when Odo says he sometimes feels the same way, not because of the sentiment – of course Odo’s conflicted, on the one hand he wants to belong and on the other he wants nothing to do with them – but because already we can see what we now know will happen in the end, all the ways Odo is reminded that he will never be a humanoid and never be fully accepted among them. By contrast, Rom admits he has some problems fitting in at Starfleet Academy, but it’s not like he’s a constant victim of anti-Ferengi bullying; he’s a good student and he’s convinced that if he just does something cool like getting on Red Squad, that will all disappear. Too bad he never gets to talk to Worf, who gets one of the best lines of the two-parter as a throwaway, when Kira laments that she wishes the Prophets were opening the wormhole to reveal themselves to Bajor: “Our gods are dead. Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millennia ago. They were more trouble than they were worth.”

The open-endedness of the two-parter is one of the best things about the episodes, though like most Star Trek cliffhangers, the inevitable resolution with all the regulars put back in place isn’t as interesting to watch as the setup. It’s a smaller story – Sisko versus Leyton, not Federation values versus Dominion paranoia. Still, though Leyton’s planned coup is averted, all the problems that led him to scheme it remain. We know there are four changelings on Earth, one of whom committed an act of terrorism against Romulans as well as humans and one of whom knows an awful lot about O’Brien’s life on DS9. We get reminded that Sisko has loyalties to and from Bajorans that owe more to his role as Emissary than as a Starfleet captain. We see that Worf is increasingly competent captaining the Defiant, though it’s still Kira running the station when Sisko is put in charge of Earth security. And we have a glimpse of who Sisko becomes when pushed to the point of anger: he’s quite terrifying grilling the preppy cadet who reveals how Earth’s power systems were sabotaged, even more so putting Nog in his place, and he knows precisely when to stop trying to talk sense to Leyton but bite his head off instead. (As I said the first time I saw “Paradise Lost,” there are similarities to Riker in “The Pegasus,” when the equally paranoid Admiral Pressman brought up their past bond to try to get Riker behind him in an illegal project for what he perceives as Federation strength.) Sisko seems increasingly confident of what it means to be a Starfleet captain – his speeches sound more like Picard’s – and unlike Benteen he doesn’t ever put personal ambition ahead of what’s best for everyone around him, whether they’re Federation, Bajoran, or just his dad trying to run his restaurant.

“Paradise has never seemed so well armed.” It’s even more relevant now than when it aired, as is Sisko’s observation that you can’t make people prove they are who they say they are.

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24 thoughts on “Retro Review: Homefront/Paradise Lost

  1. “Ultimately Sisko realizes that he’s on the verge of destroying all
    that’s valuable on Earth in order to protect it, yet the racial
    profiling, excuse me, the blood screening continues.”

    Yes, those two things are readily comparable…oh, no, wait, the blood screening is applied to everyone, so that comparison holds no water.

    “I’m uncomfortable with a Benjamin Sisko who accepts phaser sweeps and blood screening tests in the name of keeping civilians safe, I’m much more uncomfortable with a President of the United States – a man I voted
    for – accepting internet restrictions and drone strikes while citing similar logic.”

    Oh, boy. Your reviews have officially hit bottom.

  2. I don’t remotely agree with Michelle on most things, and here we’re hit and miss, but at the heart of it, she’s hit on a kernel of truth. These episodes of DS9 were trying to show that things on Earth were different… desperate. And in that desperation, the people of the Federation were willing to accept more and more intrusion, and less and less freedom, ironically, to try to save their freedom. Sound familiar? I wouldn’t first relate it to Barack Obama thinking he has the right to kill Americans without trial or indictment on American soil using drones… sure, that’s horrible and a huge violation of everything America stands for… Just like choosing not to mirandize this idiot they’ve now caught for the boston bombings… but, I think, the more apt comparison is to the measures we’ve come to accept in the aftermath of 9/11. The Patriot Act is the proper correllary to these phaser sweeps and the analogous loss of freedom. In this way, DS9 continues, along with the inherent questions about terrorism, to present the greatest POST 9/11 series on television regarding the very issues we face today… and it ended 2 years before that… So, a very poignant series when seen through that lens. And the question of how much of your own freedom do you sacrifice to ensure that fundamentals of that freedom is not only interesting and important, but central to DS9 and certainly a central American question for this decade… Is it worth it? And just like there might have only been a few changelings in the alpha quadrant, there are only ever a few terrorists in our society… what’s the proper balance between freedom and safety… an important subject for 2013, and while Michelle uses a meat clever to address the issue, it’s not an unworthwhile issue to address…

  3. This is one of those episodes that seems even more timely today than it did when it first aired. But don’t think just because it aired pre-9/11 that terrorism wasn’t on people’s minds.

    I live in Oklahoma. This review was posted yesterday, the day of the 18th anniversary of the OKC bombing. Our equivalent of 9/11. While terrorism seemed like a distant problem to Michelle when this episode first aired, it was very fresh and raw in our minds here, less than a year after the bombing. It really hit home for me then, just like it does now.

    And, it wasn’t foreign muslim terrorists that did it (though sadly everyone’s minds first went there when it happened). Turns out it was an American- a white male, even. Like the shape shifters, terrorists aren’t a nebulous “them” – they are “us,” and they can look like anyone. Though I have to say I think people here handled it very well all things considered. We didn’t descend into the kind of hysteria that would grip the country later after 9/11, or like we see in the episode.

    Good review and very relevant subject matter. Its creepy watching this and thinking how much more relevant it is today than it was when it first aired. 🙁

  4. On the other hand, I don’t see why citizens, for a limited period of time, should restrict certain activities so as not to inhibit the capture of a dangerous person. I, for one, have no problem staying inside behind a locked door when there is a killer on the loose. And it’s a mark of how self-centered a society we’ve become when people keep Tweeting everything the police are doing despite the mad bomber being known to use social media.

    As for these episodes, they were aired Post-9/11 and are nothing more than a typical Hollywood indictment of everything they feared George Bush would become, but never did.

  5. I agree with some of what you said but this is clearly wrong: “As for these episodes, they were aired Post-9/11 and are nothing more than a typical Hollywood indictment of everything they feared George Bush would become, but never did.”

    These episodes first aired in 1996. Clinton was just starting his second term, no one had any idea Bush would ever even run for president, and 9/11 was years away.

  6. Ending his first term, but mostly accurate as a correction… Beyond that, nobody was suggesting that staying inside was asking too much, or that people should’ve been a bit more wise when it came to detailing the search in various formats… That, however, is a far cry from a government that is trashing its own constitutional guarantees. Look, I don’t like those Westboro Baptist Church douchebags, either, but they continue to exist because the right to freedom of speech is more important than clamping down on douchers… Similarly, this guy is an American citizen and we’re revoking his constitutional rights?!? That’s not staying inside for a few hours. That’s not using social media. This from the same government that thinks it has the right to kill its citizens without due process of any sort. The right to a lawyer and the right against self-incrimination are bedrocks. Not since Lincoln suspended Habius Fucking Corpus in the civil war have American rights been so egregiously offended and abrogated. We can pretend this is all fine as we whistle past the graveyard, but when you wake up and look around one day and realize you no longer live in a society that’s worthwhile, don’t blame me.

  7. Well said. The story and yours contrasts the need for careful surveillance versus having to limit individual freedoms for their own safety.

    In this story, the most terrifying thing was not knowing how to solve or address the threat. These were not just terrorists wanting to rattle the cage, they wanted to bring down the whole Federation permanently and they actually have the real means of doing it. ‘

    These same security issues were faced by the Cardassians with the Resistance (people like Kira), acting as terrorists to liberate their own homeland. Amazingly. Odo is the perfect and right person for the job, as he knows what shape-shifters can do and he knows how the Resistance worked. For example, your words remind me of the end of the earlier DS9 episode “Necessary Evil” (which funnily I saw the conclusion of moments ago). It is the conversation between Odo and Kira, when Major Kira is caught-out lying to Odo about tipping off the collaborator Vaatrik, and here she admits because of her friendship with Odo she couldn’t tell him about it. She talks about the reasons and finally says; “Will you ever be able to trust me the same way again?“, yet Odo never answers her.

    As your saying; “…terrorists aren’t a nebulous “them” – they are “us,” and they can look like anyone.” Even ‘the good guys’ have been knowing terrorists. Odo knows this better than these Federation ninnies, and the only ones who come out wiser are Sisko’s father and Odo.

    As for; “We didn’t descend into the kind of hysteria that would grip the country later after 9/11, or like we see in the episode.” I really disagree. Oh yes you certainly do. Look what happened in Boston before and after those stinking ratbags who blew up those two bombs and killed and maimed so many. The local police and authorities turn parts of Boston (Watertown neighbourhood) into a no-go zone whilst looking for the suspects. Then we see the really disgusting display of the wild fanatical crowds chanting “Let’s Go Boston” and “USA, USA.” or setting off fireworks. Either way, it is humanity at its most disgusting base level of attributes, all only because of fear or hysteria. Whilst any normal rational human person should never be subjected to unpredictable danger or intimidation in everyday life, untempered or unfettered reactions are equally abhorrent and no excuses for vigilantes, witch-hunts or for vindication of one’s political or ethnicity beliefs.

    As for people like Admiral Leyton, if some atomic weapon, god forbid, was released n some western country, no doubt their would be some fanatic in the government who would take the lead and do any measure to inflect retribution on the perpetrators — with or without evidence. (The invasion of Iraq was started on the lie that they had WOMDs, when they did not.) Bush was the exact example of the kind of descending into hysteria, regardless of the facts, against alleged evildoers. If we act ruthlessly and lash out at those who do evil on us, we are no better than the ones who do evil. I.e. Violence by me, means I have to act as violently in return, is morally wrong. More often than not, we have to look deeply within ourselves, then stop, before we even start plotting out a path to stop those who hurt us. We must pause and check it isn’t someone supposedly on our own side. I.e. Like what happened at the Oklahoma bombing.*

    As in the end of DS9, and the Dominion is defeated, the Klingons wanted to celebrate over the enemy’s dead, and no doubt those like Admiral Leyton would have done the same. Yet we know that we really should be humble, like Admiral Ross and Sisko on Cardassia Prime, who are devastated by so 800 million dead of their presumed enemies. Acting humanly to own ones enemies makes us better people, understanding them and why they do it, even better. Learning from our mistakes, and being better than those who wish to hurt us, is the advanced way of the Federation as time and again portrayed in DS9. Worry about all the victims and look after them, but wipe away those who ultimately hurt you by not even thinking or speaking their name. Without their notoriety they become totally irrelevant for the rest of time — exactly the total opposite of what they really desire most.

    * My sincerely sympathies go to Bobby here and the people of Oklahoma, against such a wicked act that was done to your city. The Remembrance site for the 168 victims will the lit Field of Empty Chairs is terribly moving and poignant. Still, even on the other side of the world, 9:02 am that morning has not been forgotten. (It is even better known than the actual date of the attack.)

  8. “As for; “We didn’t descend into the kind of hysteria that would grip the country later after 9/11, or like we see in the episode.” I really disagree. Oh yes you certainly do.”

    Minor correction, I simply meant: in Oklahoma, in 1995, the reaction wasn’t as severe as America’s reaction to 9/11 or the other examples you cite. I wasn’t suggesting that Americans aren’t capable of that sort of thing. 🙂

  9. Fair enough. Americans alone are also not the only ones who are capable of this. Look at Iraq and many of the Arabic countries who so openly celebrated the attack on the World Trade Center, or those who just destroyed the priceless irreplaceable documents in Timbuktu in Africa several months ago. There are too many examples in human history to mention like this.

    If anyone is to blame for stirring up this kind rotten behaviour, it is the probably the media who just suck on every sensational bit of minutia. Even the movies openly celebrate the murder and violence perpetrated by others; focussing mostly on the perpetrators and very little on the innocent victims who happen to get in the way.

    In the DS9 episode, we see those who see it as an opportunity to exploit the circumstances against the Federation, and not at all worried in working to a decent solution or treading on its own citizens which they promise or have sworn to protect.

    I too was appalled at the loss of life in Oklahoma, and when it happened, I thought of the victims just going about their everyday business. (The same too for those city volunteers who were just being honoured during the Boston marathon and being plainly decent caring people.) I never have given a moment of thought to the perpetrators, being such scum, that they are just unworthy of even being called as humans. Just by speaking their names, we are already awarding them.

    Plain silence will make them go away faster than anything else. (I will also make others think twice if there will be absolutely no recognition for their dark, evil deeds!) “We will simply get you, and without any kind of celebration or remembrance, we will permanently erase everything, of who you are and what you ever stood for.” This is the open message that should be getting out there.

    I take zero offence at your correction, and give apologies myself for misinterpreting your sincere words.

  10. Blood screenings and racial profiling are very comparable even if the blood screenings were for everyone. Both promote the notion that “they could be living next door,” also reminiscent of McCarthyism in the 1950’s. And considering the nationalities of the two bombing suspects, that could possibly fuel even more paranoia–one Senator remarking that the bombing could have an affect on the immigration reform bill in Congress.

  11. Hey stupid Anon Guest!. You are as per usual dead wrong. This DS9 story only highlights the dilemma of security versus freedom of individuals. Sometimes people will happily sacrifice their freedoms for a short time to the authorities if it ultimately saves them from being injured or killed. The episode also highlights the paranoia of some, and the willingness of presumed leaders in authority who exploits the situation for their own political or personal advantage. (Admiral Leyton, here.)

    Sisko’s father is the best balance of this dilemma. He even says that “Jake, the only time you should be in bed is if you’re sleeping, dying, or making love to a beautiful woman…” I.e. Be awake and vigilant, to threats and authority, but don’t stop living your life. He here is us, and knows there is no perfect solution nor in cowering in fear and distrust.

    Speaking of distrust, why are cowardly and not have a name? I like discussing Trek with people not dingbats who cannot even put their words to a personable name.

  12. The reviewer said…”Ultimately Sisko realizes that he’s on the verge of destroying all that’s valuable on Earth in order to protect it, yet the racial profiling, excuse me, the blood screening continues. ”

    You’ve got to be kidding me…blood screening is nothing like racial profiling because NO ONE was specifically profiled…everyone was subject to it, not just certain people.

    Typical liberal bullcrap review from a typical liberal. Shocking.

  13. I already explained why the two are comparable. So feel free to get back to me after reading it.

  14. Actually, I think a better parallel would be the full body scanners in airports. “Grandpa” Sisko’s reluctance to undergo the blood screenings is like many people’s reluctance to be subject to a very invasive (and potentially dangerous) screening process that is widely in use in airports today.

    Honestly, I know how he feels. I feel a little violated every time I step into one of those things. (I know I could opt for the grope, er pat-down instead, but that’s even worse.)

  15. Well, that’s not really true. You declare the two are comparable, but there’s no reasoning in your previous entry to “explain” it… You suggested that it was tantamount, then switched the discussion to McCarthyism… therein suggesting that it was similar in that “they could be living next door.”


    That’s not remotely an explanation that allows for blood screening and racial profiling to be grouped.

    Racial profiling is the means by which a group in power uses nothing but a person’s race to cast suspicion on them and force them into a greater degree of scrutiny. Racial profiling is exactly the opposite of McCarthyism. McCarthyism was the fear of communists from every corner… from everywhere… from everyone. The whole point of that idiocy was that anyone, in fact, could be a communist, and, could be living next door. If you’re living next door to a Pakistani, it’s not McCarthyism, or anything like it, to fear those people might be terrorists. Irrational? Sure. Suspect of mostly innocent people? Sure. But, does it indiscriminantly choose people?

    NO!!! WHY? BECAUSE, RACIAL PROFILING IS INHERENTLY DISCRIMINATORY!!! McCarthyism isn’t discriminitory, it’s just invasive. If everyone is forced to endure arduous hoops to jump through to defend themselves from pervasive paranoia, that’s not discriminatory… You can’t have it be both indiscriminant, and discriminatory… sorry…

    The blood screenings are nothing like racial profiling. McCarthyism is nothing like racial profling. McCarthyism IS like the blood screenings… but that was never in question… you raised something that does correlate, and then pretended that that proved a different correlation… It didn’t.

  16. And, last I checked, those screenings weren’t just being given to Arabs, Indonesians, Indians, etc… as such, nothing like racial profiling… Did Sisko get back to Earth and suggest they screen everyone but the Vulcans? No… So….. Not sure how indiscriminant screenings is being confused with entirely discriminatory policies. A logical disconnect for some somewhere… The body scanners are a more apt analogy, as Bobby rightly points out.

  17. On the whole, no, the two phenomena are not comparable. As Bobby said, the more accurate analogy is body scanning at airports. Whether it singles out one particular ethnicity or not, these activities have the effect of fueling a culture of fear and paranoia in the case of making us worry that anyone, even our next neighbor regardless of race or ethnicity, is a shapeshifter or a communist, or suspecting anyone of Middle Eastern descent is a terrorist.

  18. Ummmmm… So, just to be clear, you made a point that wasn’t accurate, someone else said something that was true, you came in and pointed to your previous inaccurate comment as proof that that guy was wrong, said to get back to you when the previous statement was reviewed, and then, upon that, you admit that the two aren’t remotely related, and, in fact, go on to say that it’s “regardless of race”… So, again, just to be clear, you had no point at all and are giving fainodraino shit for nothing, right? Get back to me when you figure it out.

  19. And that’s a really rude response: I was trying to write something, I was editting, had browser issues, it got anonymised & I couldn’t delete it. Chill. Anyway, my post (several days later, after computer issues, above)

  20. There is an excellent sequel scene to this two parter in Una McCormack’s DS9 book Hollow Men, which you can preview on Google Books (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7M7uHN7Jt9sC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false). The book is a direct sequel to ‘In the Pale Moonlight’, and examines Sisko’s and Garak’s responses to the Vreenak event on Earth. It is about the conflict between the utilitarian aspects of war and espionage and the morality that finds such things objectionable or evil. It’s pretty good – existing in the vein of British spy books occupied by Le Carre and others. Although it is not as good as McCormack’s best ‘Cardassian’ book, The Never-Ending Sacrifice (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yEMIhe-PJ20C&printsec=frontcover&), and her feminist critique of espionage and political hierarchies in Brinkmanship (not previewable on googlebooks, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uVGOtgAACAAJ&dq). But as with all her Star Trek work, it critiques the Trek world as represented and suggests a much more complex, nuanced world.

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