FIRST LOOK: The Next Generation & Deep Space Nine Mini-Series
Star Trek: The Fall -- a five-part The Next Generation-Deep Space Nine crossover penned by five popular authors, with covers created by three Star Trek artists -- won’t kick off until, well, the fall. But we here at StarTrek.com are so excited about the upcoming Simon & Schuster project that we’re devoting several days of coverage to it, including interviews and art.
Shall we begin? (Sorry, couldn’t resist)
David R. George III has written Revelation and Dust, out in September, while Una McCormack is on board for The Crimson Shadow, scheduled for October. It will be followed in November by A Ceremony of Losses by David Mack, with The Poisoned Chalice, by James Swallow, coming in December. And, finally, in January 2014, readers can feast their eyes on Peaceable Kingdoms, by Dayton Ward.
Speaking of feasting your eyes, the covers of The Fall books have been rendered by the tandem of Doug Drexler, Andy Probert and Douglas Graves. They’ve created a brand-new Deep Space Nine station, a necessity since, in book-canon, the previous station was -- SPOILER ALERT -- destroyed at the end of David R. George’s 2012 novel, Typhon Pact: Plagues of Night. Drexler, Probert and Graves were challenged to visually answer the question: If the Federation had the opportunity/need to build a new Deep Space Nine station, what would it look like? And their answer is the amazing art that will grace The Fall books.
Right below is a synopsis of The Fall: Revelation and Dust provided by Simon & Schuster. And under that, you’ll find an interview with David R. George. Visit StarTrek.com again on Saturday to read an interview with Doug Drexler and again on Sunday to hear from Andy Probert and Douglas Graves.
THE FALL: REVELATION AND DUST SYNPOSIS
WELCOME TO THE NEW DEEP SPACE 9
After the destruction of the original space station by a rogue faction of the Typhon Pact, Miles O’Brien and Nog have led the Starfleet Corps of Engineers in designing and constructing a larger, more advanced starbase in the Bajoran system. Now, as familiar faces such as Benjamin Sisko, Kasidy Yates, Ezri Dax, Odo, and Quark arrive at the new station, Captain Ro Laren will host various heads of state to an impressive dedication ceremony. The dignitaries include not only the leaders of allies—such as Klingon Chancellor Martok, Ferengi Grand Nagus Rom, the Cardassian castellan, and the Bajoran first minister—but also those of rival powers, such as the Romulan praetor and the Gorn imperator. But as Ro’s crew prepares to open DS9 to the entire Bajor Sector and beyond, disaster looms. A faction has already set in action a shocking plan that, if successful, will shake the Alpha and Beta Quadrants to the core.
And what of Kira Nerys, lost aboard a runabout when the Bajoran wormhole collapsed? In the two years that have passed during construction of the new Deep Space 9, there have been no indications that the Celestial Temple, the Prophets, or Kira have survived. But since Ben Sisko once learned that the wormhole aliens exist nonlinearly in time, what does that mean with respect to their fate, or that of the wormhole...or of Kira herself?
STARTREK.COM INTERVIEW WITH DAVID R. GEORGE III
How did The Fall come about for you?
GEORGE: As with virtually all of my Star Trek work, I was approached by the editors at Pocket Books to pen a novel for them. In this case, I was invited to contribute an entry to a series for which they had crafted a general premise. The plan was to have several writers produce a number of self-contained works that would weave through the greater Trek universe and, when taken together, tell a much larger story. Fortunately for me, the four other writers who eventually jumped on board are of the highest caliber: Una McCormack, David Mack, James Swallow, and Dayton Ward.
What was the process of writing the books? Did you do Revelation and Dust and share it with Una, David, James and Dayton so that they could build on what you've started? Or was your story, in essence, a standalone that you wrote and everything else fell into place after you did your job?
GEORGE: Although the writers worked individually on their books, we joined forces at the start of the process—and then throughout—to get where we were going. Together with editors Margaret Clark and Ed Schlesinger, the writers initially began to develop the overall storyline. Once we had the encompassing plots and themes worked out, we set to figuring out our separate tales. We felt it was important that each of the five novels have their own beginning, middle, and ending, while still adding to the larger mosaic.
Over the course of the process, the editors and writers worked closely with each other to ensure that we remained consistent within the overarching story and from book to book. It has been a highly collaborative and rewarding effort. I could not have asked for better or more professional colleagues in this endeavor. I would suggest that each individual novel is mostly the product of one writer and the editors, but that the entire tale belongs to all of us.
Give us your bare-bones synopsis of Revelation and Dust, and then please go into more detail about the subtext, about what's at stake for Sisko, O'Brien, Nerys, etc.
GEORGE: Revelation and Dust picks up the story of Deep Space 9 in the days leading up to the inauguration of the new space station. The dedication of the new station carries with it enough significance that the Federation president chooses to use it as an opportunity for dialogue with certain members of the Typhon Pact. It is a time of excitement and hope as the Federation and Starfleet have weathered difficult times (such as the Borg Invasion in David Mack’s awesome Destiny trilogy, and the dastardly plots of rogue Typhon Pact forces in my own Plagues of Night and Raise the Dawn) and now stand poised on a renewed era of exploration. What follows, though, is far more than simply the opening of the new station: events conspire to reveal a dangerous threat to the Federation.
Much is at stake for our favorite characters. Captain Benjamin Sisko continues to repair his relationships with his wife and daughter, while at the same time commanding his own starship, U.S.S. Robinson. Chief O’Brien has returned to help design and construct the new DS9, serving as its chief engineer, joined by Nog, who functions as assistant chief engineer. Doctor Julian Bashir looks forward to running the new state-of-the-art hospital on the station, while still hoping to work with his love, Sarina Douglas, to bring down the nefarious Section 31. Captain Ezri Dax remains aboard U.S.S. Aventine, but her ship is called to the new station for a specific mission. Odo remains essentially stranded in the Alpha Quadrant, where he mourns the loss of Kira Nerys, last seen in the Bajoran wormhole two years earlier, just before it collapsed; in the time since, there has been no indication at all that the wormhole even still exists. Captain Ro Laren and her staff and crew have dealt with their own losses surrounding the destruction of the old Deep Space 9, but they look forward not only to throwing their hatches open wide for the Bajor Sector, but to launching the new station by hosting an important event.
How does the TNG crew figure into the story?
GEORGE: Characters from various Trek series do feature in The Fall. Certain members of the Next Generation crew do make an appearance in Revelation and Dust, but probably not in the way readers might expect. My novel is fundamentally a Deep Space Nine work, although it certainly ranges farther afield than just that series, and it absolutely sets events in motion for the books that follow it.
How did you enjoy introducing, via words, a new DS9 space station?
GEORGE: When I first conceived the destruction of the original Deep Space 9, I didn’t know whether or not the ongoing storyline would call for its replacement. As I worked on outlining the tale I would tell in Plagues of Night and Raise the Dawn, though, it quickly became apparent that a new space station would be needed. I didn’t think I would have to introduce that new setting in those books, but as I completed the second one, I realized that I would indeed have to at least provide a glimpse of what was to come, even if some other writer would be picking up that thread in a subsequent work. To that end, I envisioned what I thought the new Deep Space 9 would look like, and I described it for readers in a rudimentary way at the very end of Raise the Dawn.
When I was offered the next entry in the series — which eventually became Revelation and Dust — the task of introducing the new DS9 became far more necessary, and far more demanding. I was excited to have the opportunity to provide a brand-new setting for readers, but I also realized the tremendous responsibility that entailed. I thought long and hard about what the new Deep Space 9 should be like, both in terms of what made sense for the story and with respect to how it related back to the old station. It was a daunting task, but I thoroughly enjoyed it—and I absolutely look forward to exploring the new DS9 even more, should I be fortunate enough to be given that chance.
Give us a sense of what's exciting and new about the space station, and a feeling for how it functions as a character within Revelation and Dust.
GEORGE: Well, first of all, Deep Space 9 has that new space station smell.
Beyond that, one of the things I find really exciting about it is the counterpoint with the old DS9. On the television series and through numerous literary works, the Cardassian-built structure provided a fantastic, alien environment for our characters. That, in and of itself, lent tension and conflict to the stories, simply in terms of the setting—a facility initially designed to process ore using Bajoran slave labor.
What the new station does is provide a stark contrast to the old one, giving us a look at what the Federation and Starfleet would create in such an important region of space. Because readers will be getting a detailed look at the new Deep Space 9 for the first time, it was important not only to describe the new locale, but to breathe life into it. Because of that, it truly does function as a character in Revelation and Dust.
I was excited about the distinctions between the old and new stations, but I was even more excited to imagine what Starfleet would come up with in the Bajoran system. While it is not completely different from its predecessor—the two stations needed to provide many of the same functions, after all—the new DS9 does have some unique features. I had a lot of fun coming up with those, and I’m sure other writers will help flesh out those and other details. My editors have allowed me to quote from the novel to show one section of the new station.
Captain Ro Laren waited uneasily atop a bluff that overlooked the rolling parkland below. She glanced down at the lush vista, at the walking paths that rose and fell throughout, at the stands of trees and arrays of colorful flowers. A gentle breeze wisped past, carrying with it fresh scents, including the crisp hint of water.
Ro peered down briefly at the small lake off to her right, then cast her gaze in the opposite direction. Atop the highest point in sight, Prynn Tenmei stepped toward the edge of a promontory. The lieutenant wore not her Starfleet uniform, but a formfitting lavender flight suit that contrasted dramatically with her porcelain complexion. Her jet hair—which, though not long, typically rose in wild kinks from her scalp—had been pulled back and gathered into a small bun.
Anxiety mounted in Ro as she watched Tenmei. The lieutenant stood ramrod straight, her arms tucked behind her back. With a quick motion, Tenmei suddenly took one more pace forward, to the brink of the stony outcropping, and then flung herself headlong into the open air.
Tenmei fell in a graceful arc, but at a rate noticeably slower than normal. Even so, she descended fast enough to injure herself—seriously, even fatally—if she struck the ground. Ro knew that couldn’t happen, that local sensors would detect an impending accident and trigger an automatic transport to safety, but she still tensed watching Tenmei plunge toward the park.
Seconds seemed to elongate, and the captain consciously stopped herself from clenching her hands into fists as Tenmei drew uncomfortably close to the ground. When the lieutenant reached a height of perhaps ten meters—surely close to the sensors’ safety limit—Ro expected her to vanish in a blur of white transporter light. At that instant, though, Tenmei thrust her arms out to her sides and waved them downward. The gossamer wings she wore swelled as they caught the air. Her descent slowed, and when she flapped her arms once, twice, her course curved upward. She banked to one side and described a fluid turn, fluttering her wings to gain altitude.
The susurrus of distant applause reached Ro. Satisfied that Tenmei controlled her flight, the captain looked away from Defiant’s primary conn officer and about the park. Around the tree-lined base of the half-dome-shaped enclosure, and interspersed along the footpaths and up and down the knolls, hundreds of her crew had congregated. Although still five days away from the station’s formal dedication and its transition to full operational status, Ro had made the decision to conduct a small celebration ahead of time, exclusively for the complement of the new Deep Space 9.
Have you seen the renderings done by Drexler, Probert and Graves? If so, what did you think? Did you work in tandem at all with those guys in terms of the station's function within The Fall storyline? Maybe even give/get suggestions for the inner workings of the space station?
GEORGE: I felt very strongly that the new Deep Space 9 should adorn the cover of Revelation and Dust, but just because that’s what I wanted didn’t mean that it would happen. Creating artwork requires an artist, which is of course an added expense. In this case, somebody would not only have to produce the cover for the book, but images of a never-before-seen space station would have to be created.
Fortunately, when I approached my editors about the possibility of actually seeing the new DS9, they were very receptive. Actually, more than receptive, they were very supportive. They enlisted the aid of longtime Star Trek artist Doug Drexler to craft the cover of Revelation and Dust. In turn, Doug—who has won both Academy and Emmy awards—called upon Trek vets Andrew J. Probert and Douglas Graves to produce a digital rendering of the new station.
I provided Doug Drexler with my initial description of the new Deep Space 9 in Raise the Dawn, as well as what I had written in my first draft of Revelation and Dust. He, Andy, and Douglas took my words and turned them into a visual reality. As artists, modelers, and professionals themselves, all three men had their own ideas about what the new DS9 should look like, how large it should be, what it should include, and the like. We exchanged thoughts and suggestions—those three men had some wonderful ideas, which I gladly accepted—and I saw numerous renderings. I even took to making some of my own drawings—of a far more basic nature than those of my colleagues; I sketched out my ideas of the station’s basic form, as well as some of its internal details, such as the command-and-control center. The result is a combined vision of my words and their artwork. In the end, Andy and Douglas provided a fantastic digital model of the new Deep Space 9, and Doug Drexler brought it to life in his magnificent cover art. I could not be happier with the results, or with the process that got us there. I’m excited that StarTrek.com is doing this feature, not only because it will help get the word out about The Fall, but also because it is providing readers a glimpse of the cover and the new DS9.
Click HERE for additional details about The Fall: Revelation and Dust.