Midway point of Star Trek Relaunch’s the Fall series. Scripted by David Mack, A Ceremony of Losses, in many ways, feels like the most direct sequel to Dust and Revelations. Chronologically, CoL takes place in the immediate aftermath. Let’s get to it, shall we?
This book is amazing. That’s where I want to start. A Ceremony of Losses follows my favorite Starfleet doctor, Julian Bashir, and uses all his talents to the utmost, while pursuing an agenda so far beyond politics that only the truest intentions remain, this book sees conclusion of the Andorian genetic extinction story line.
The story plot synopsis is that ever since his involvement with Section 31 during the initial rounds of the cold war with the Typhon Pact, Bashir feels that he has lost part of himself. He went against his oath as a doctor, for politics and the Federation. If you know anything about Bashir, you’ll understand how much this weights against him. So, ignoring the political ramifications of the Andorian succession from the Federation (which in itself was a result of political machinations), Bashir decides to cure the genetic problems, which if left unsolved, will see the Andorians become genetically unviable as a species in less than 6 months.
To do this, Bashir obtains top secret data on the meta-genome, ancient genetic engineering technology that, if made public, could destroy the galaxy. Best example? See Star Trek II. That technology sparked project Genesis. If he’s discovered, he’ll at worst, be charged with treason and locked away forever on an asteroid prison with no name. Or killed without a trace, along with anyone who helped him.
CoL is Bashir at his finest. He puts aside all political reason aside, gives up his career, for what he knows is right. Along the way, he even manages to piss off president pro tem of the Federation and the separatist leader of Andor, who want to use the extinction cure as political leverage. This is Star Trek at it’s finest in many ways, the high minded ideals that humanity strives for, that we rise above the need for personal vendettas and do what is right.
Joining Bashir in his quest are his old friend from the DS9 Relaunch, Thirishar ch’Thane, who gave up his Starfleet rank to return to Andor to attempt to save his people, and Ezri Dax, captain of the Aventine, who is ordered to stop Bashir. Dax eventually sides with Bashir because saving an entire species is worth her career.
The interaction between Bashir and Dax is welcome. They finally manage to move past their estranged lover phase. Honestly, that relationship never worked for me, especially considering DS9 sticking them together was more of a wish fulfillment for the series ending than anything the characters deserved.
A primary concern with Ceremony of Losses is it’s dependence on David Mack’s other Star Trek series, Star Trek: Vanguard, which explores the Meta-Genome of the Shedai. While not strictly speaking necessary, it does fill in some of gaps. For instance, in CoL we are constantly told how dangerous the meta-genome is but that’s just talk. A lot of telling, not showing. Then again, that kind of information saved a species from extinction, so that’s pretty powerful.
As with the other Fall books, Ceremony of Losses leaves a bunch of plot threads dangling, most notably the direct and immediate personal and political consequences for Bashir after he’s arrested. It also begins to firmly establish several eccentricities of the mysteries of the series, including the idea that the Federation has some corruption in it’s walls that goes beyond the normal political games. Admiral Akaar, who has appeared as the highest ranking Starfleet officer, takes a more prominent role, after his appearance in the Crimson Shadow, where he and Picard first voiced their concerns regarding the former president Bacco’s assassination and the Cardassian involvement.
The story of Akaar and how he decides to deal with the corruption of Starfleet continues in book 04, the Poison Chalice, which focuses on Captain Riker and the crew of the Titan.