Searching desperately for his missing father, Captain Benjamin Sisko, Jake Sisko enters a wormhole that hurtles him across the galaxy , to an encounter with an alien ship populated by a strange alien crew whom he joins on a bizarre and unexpected adventure through the universe. Original.
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S.D. Perry is a top genre author who has written for Resident Evil, Aliens, Xena and Timecop as well as Star Trek. Her DS9: Avatar spearheaded the new, post-television series of Deep Space Nine books from Pocket.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
...battles fall and fail, and there is a Time of waiting, the space between breaths as the land heals and its children retire from war. The Temple welcomes many home, the faithful and the Chosen.
A Herald, unforgotten but lost to time, a Seer of Visions to whom the Teacher Prophets sing, will return from the Temple at the end of this time to attend the birth of Hope, the Infant Avatar. The welcomed Herald shares a new understanding of the Temple with all the land's children. Conceived by lights of war, the alien Avatar opens its eyes upon a waxing tide of Awareness.
The journey to the land hides, but is difficult; prophecies are revealed and hidden. The first child, a son, enters the Temple alone. With the Herald, he returns, and soon after, the Avatar is born. A new breath is drawn and the land rejoices in change and clarity.
* * *
Something was wrong.
Jake knew it before he was entirely conscious. He groped for understanding, roaming his mind for how and why...and because he was scared, he thought of his father, and the simple, strong emotions drew him up through the dark.
He opened his eyes at the sound of his own soft, scratchy voice, felt the numbing cold, saw his bag floating amid a frozen snow of empty food packets, like a symptom of sleep, a detail of some strange dream. He was floating, too, facing the single, outdated transporter at the back of the shuttle, muted red emergency lighting taking the sting out of the unlovely decor. Obviously, the Venture's AG had gone out...but it was the deep chill that had tipped him to wake up, that immediately had him moving before he could think clearly. Cold was bad.
Jake turned clumsily and kicked off the port wall, aiming for the tiny vessel's decidedly dead-looking flight controls; there were no alarms sounding and even the console screen was blank, a blind eye. He arranged his thoughts on the way, ignoring the growing urge to panic even when he realized that he couldn't hear anything -- not even the soft hum of the recyclers.
I was in the wormhole, waiting, about to give up and go back to the station...and everything started spinning, the prophecy was coming true, I thought, except I couldn't control the ship; I started to black out, and...
"And now I'm here," he muttered, grabbing the back of the pilot's seat and pulling himself down. Wherever that was. He tucked his feet under the chair, hooking his ankles under the manual height adjust, and tapped at the computer's old-fashioned console keys for a diagnostic.
Nothing happened. No light, no sound. He took a deep breath and went through the sequence to call up the shuttle's fail-safe backup system -- and it failed, not even a glimmer of power. He did it again, slowly and carefully, the knot in his stomach tightening further as he understood it was a lost cause. Except for the emergency lights, which ran off an independent battery, there was nothing on the ship that was working.
Okay, okay, don't freak out...check the main conduit, it's got to be a blown relay, I can fix that....
A darker thought intruded. What if it's not?
As far as anyone on the station knew, he had taken his newly acquired shuttle to Earth, to see his grandfather. He'd been too embarrassed to admit that he was following a scrap of prophetic text into the wormhole, hoping to bring his father home...though considering his current situation, finding Dad had just dropped a notch or two on his priority list. Nobody knew where Jake was, himself included, his fix-it skills were barely competent, and it was already cold enough for him to see his breath, a pale, ethereal mist hanging in front of the blank viewscreen. Where was he? How long had he been unconscious? And with the Venture completely dead, how much longer before he ran out of air, or hypothermia set in --
-- or is this all part of the prophecy?
The thought stopped him, refocused his thinking. The torn bit of parchment that had brought him here stated clearly that the journey to the land would be difficult...
...but that I would enter the Temple alone and return with the "Herald" before Kas has the baby. Kas was still months from her due date; maybe this was all part of it, maybe the Prophets had him and he just had to wait awhile....
"Knock it off," he told himself firmly. Daydreaming about salvation was as bad as straight-up panic; he knew better. He needed to check the conduit, and the relays, and about fifty other things. Anything else was a waste of time.
Jake pushed off from the chair to get his bag -- there was a light panel in it he was going to need -- reminding himself that he'd been in tight situations more times than he could count...definitely more than most men his age. Somehow, things always worked out. This would, too, because the alternative...there just wasn't one.
Jake set his jaw, clenching his teeth so they wouldn't chatter, carefully avoiding the feelings of fear and dread that had taken root in the shadows of his mind, that were beginning to grow in the powerful absence of light.
Stardate 53267.5. My name is Jacob Sisko; I'm human and a citizen of the United Federation of Planets. Whoever finds this, please contact any Federation outpost or any official of the planet Bajor and let them know what happened...that I ventured into the wormhole by myself and was caught in some sort of storm, one that caused severe damage to my shuttle. In spite of my best efforts over the last several hours, I've been unable to restore power to this ship, and will soon succumb to hypothermia.
These are my last words, it seems. I wish I could leave behind some profound statement about life or death, but all I can think is that this isn't what I expected. It doesn't seem real. All my life, I've heard "adults" talk about how young people don't really understand that they're going to die someday, and I always thought I was exempt from that particular patronizing bit of wisdom, probably because I lost my mother so early. That, and how I grew up. Who my father is. My life has been anything but sheltered.
The war changed things for everyone, I know, but even before that, before I learned firsthand about mortal terror on the front line at Ajilon Prime, I thought I understood that death was never all that far away -- that it could slip in and out of somebody's life without warning, taking, stealing, changing things. I knew, I understood, but I can see now, I didn't feel it. Because no matter how bad things got, he was with me. My father created the foundation of who I am. Guided me. He was...reality. There was a way that things weren't real for me until I could tell him, could take or ignore his advice, could feel his love for me and know that I wasn't alone. The way I'm alone now, finally understanding that I'm going to die -- this is real.
I thought I had let the need of a son for his father become the friendship of two men. I should have broken away earlier, perhaps, beyond just physical distance, beyond the surface. I should have sought my own way emotionally, looked inside of myself instead of to him...but so much of what I am is from him. It was too easy to ask instead of search, made all the easier because of his strength and certainty, even when he didn't know the answers. He has this way of making it okay, that the answers weren't always there, that things would unfold as they should. Maybe I should have done a lot of things different. Except...isn't it better that I had that time with him, now that he's gone? That we were still so close, now that it's over? My life...
Tell them it was hypothermia. There are worse ways. Already I'm getting sleepy and my fingers are cold, very cold; I can barely feel them; I don't know if I'm making sense anymore and I want to cry but I can't. Tell Kas I'm sorry and that I love her, that she has become to me what I would have wanted with my mother, and I'm sorry I won't be there for her and the baby. Tell Nog I said to look out for her, he's my best friend and I love him, too. I just wanted to find Dad so bad, I thought I could accept it but then I started to hope and I had to come. But he's not here and I'm alone its so cold. I was wrong and Tell them I'm sorry I died. When he comess home, tell him I couldn't move on, I tried but wasn't strong enouggh I miss himand love himm There was so much I wanted to be he always said I could be anythingg my father
"I've got you. You're going to be all right, I've got you."
The low voice, soft, warm, strong hands lifting him, cradling. Someone on an intercom, a woman, was talking about something, but all Jake cared about was that deep, loving voice.
He felt tears threaten, tears of love and joy, an ache in his throat that hurt worse than the cold, but then he slipped back into the dark, lulled into sleep by the same feelings that had woken him not so long ago. His father held him; he was safe.
Copyright © 2003 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
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