ST: DS9 Enigma Tales Reflection

Posted: April 5, 2018 by Ty in Spirituality

Cardassian Empire. From occupiers in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine of Bajor, to enemies to aligned with the Dominion to being decimated by the Dominion’s lemming army-Jem’hadr. It has been a hard knock life. Now 10 years out from the end of Deep Space Nine, they are an allied planet, not a member like Bajor, of the United Federation of Planets.

th                They are a people who have lost many. They ruled by fear and might, and were broken. Left to find their own way back, humbled violently, needing help, it was their enemy that came to their aid to rebuild in the Federation. Their military has younger blood, but some of the past tyranny still linger, the vaunted and feared Obsidian Order (think Cold War KGB) has been destroyed. They have lost much of who they were as a people to the decimation, yet a university still stands and grows in spite of the Dominion trying to wipe them out. The beginning of a new enlightened age.

Treason like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


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Even the move from military dictatorship to democracy that elected Garak as Castellan (think planetary president).  Who is Garak? Any Trekkie worth their salt know he is the former Obsidian Order agent; attempted genocide of the Founders; tailor of Deep Space Nine, pan sexual pursuer of Dr. Bashir, and truly seeking the light from the darkness.

This is the stage that Una McCormack brings Dr. Pulaski (the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 attempt at a Dr. McCoy clone) and a PSTD ridden former federation Secret Agent Dr. Alden into in her 2017 novel; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Enigma Tales.

What is an enigma tale? Summarizing the explanation of Professor Lang, a free thinking Cardassian Academic that survived all the previous shenanigans and cleanses, they are Cardassian mystery novels. Although where Human mystery novels have the innocent seeking the one guilty party, in the old Cardassian dubbed enigma tales it was to discover the guilt of each character. The thesis she proposes as the new day dawns on Cardassia Prime, could it be possible an enigma tale may contain an innocent now?

“The truth is usually just an excuse for lack of imagination.”


As the tale unwinds, what you find is the new Cardassia amid facing their own past. And facing tough questions around military-human rights courts for actions of the past; truth and reconciliation with not only Bajor, the Federation, the Quadrant and their own people as true and false tales of the past, eugenics, heroics and atrocities spin out.

Will the current Castellan have evidence that would put him firmly in the cross hairs? Will Land become the new lead academic? What will become of Pulaski receiving and award? And what is the fate of Dr. Bashir?

The novel itself has good anecdotes such as Garak pondering if he should simply retire and write novel reviews to Pulaski and Alden’s dance around coupling…but no spoilers…though Garak’s letters of affection/love to his doctor are truly touching as he is much a man in search of himself, as he is in where the future leads for his people.

Like any good science fiction the work is a fun and brisk read much like a pulpy mystery/spy novel. Dig deeper and you can see the challenges facing our own world. Are we willing to state the truth of what the past was? Are we willing to be present in the now? And even more, are we willing to step into a better future? Opening a new tale after closing the old?

What is the Enigma Tale you stand within?

“Truth is in the eye of the beholder, Doctor. I never tell the truth because I don’t believe there is such a thing. That is why I prefer the straight line simplicity of cutting cloth.”


*Garak quotes are from the Star Trek Deep Space Nine television show


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