Beyond Gloomy Chaos
|Title:||Beyond Gloomy Chaos|
|Cover Artist(s):||Lauren Francis|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine & Star Trek: TNG|
|External Links:||online here|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Summary from the author: "Following Sisko's entry into the Celestial Temple in "What You Leave Behind," the Q find themselves facing a dilemma that could result in interplanetary catastrophe. Can Picard, Kira and Data retrieve the mysterious Book of the Resurrection before all hell breaks loose on Cardassia?"
Reactions and Reviews
"Beyond Gloomy Chaos" is a 180-page DS9/TNG "novella" by Laura
Taylor. This post-Dominion War saga features Q, Picard, Data, Kira, and Damar. If you're familiar with Laura's fanfic, then you already know this lady can tell a great story, and tell it with style.
Bajor and Cardassia: a conflict between a spiritual society and a militaristic one. DS9 began with a nearly-annihilated Bajor struggling to rise again from its own ashes, and ended with the destruction of Cardassia. "Beyond Gloomy Chaos" closes the circle in an ultimate resolution the TV show never gave us.
A disruption in the continuum sends Q to seek the help of Jean Luc Picard. He wants Picard to mount an archeological expedition to Cardassia, in order to seek an ancient Bajoran artifact. Bajor, rather than The Federation, is overseeing relief efforts on post- Dominion War Cardassia Prime--and the Bajorans don't relish what they view as Federation interference in their affairs. So, while Picard chooses Data to accompany him, he must also take Kira, now the commanding officer of DS9. What they seek and what they find has profound consequences, not only for Bajor and Cardassia, but also for the Prophets, the pah wraiths, the Q continuum, and the individual characters we know and love (or not).
I've always loved Picard best when he wears his archaeologist's hat, I've always been fascinated by Cardassia and Cardassians, and I'm a long term fan of Laura's writing, so this novella was just the ticket for me. I've studied enough archaeology to get a particular kick of Picard's human-centered arrogance in making detailed cultural extrapolations from very little physical evidence in passages such as this one:
"'Captain,' [Data] said, 'there is a drain beneath this table.'
'And blood stains on top,' Picard said. 'This was clearly an altar. The drain existed to allow blood and other liquids to escape. It also means the Hebitians may have had an advanced sewer system,' he added, trying to rein in his growing excitement. 'As with many cultures, the priest probably slaughtered an animal here, using a special libation cup to catch the blood, opened the carcass to read the entrails, then roast the remains on that fire for the temple officials to eat.'"
Well it made *me* laugh out loud, and I had fun imagining alternative explanations for a table with a drain in it and blood stains on top...
Less to my personal taste was the prologue, which succeeds pretty well in capturing the ambiance of a "gods on Mt. Olympus" scene from a Greek drama, but also made me worry that the whole story was going to be an exercise in pseudo-classicism. I needn't have worried. There are elements of "divine" commentary throughout the story, but these just add to the fun.Even if it weren't a great story, the full color cover by Lauren Francis is well worth the price of the zine... All in all, if you love DS9 and/or TNG, "Beyond Gloomy Chaos" is an unsung classic of fanfic, and one I'd heartily urge you to acquire for your collection. 
There is a magic trick some authors can pull off in which they take various pieces of things that weren't supposed to go together, and make them fit beautifully. In this fanfic, the war in the Continuum is connected to the battle between the Prophets and the Pagh-wraiths, and we discover that we may have rooted for the wrong side. Q sends Picard, Data, and Kira on a quest to Cardassia to uncover an ancient artifact, in order to prevent Sisko's rise to Prophethood from causing disaster throughout the galaxy. Plotty, with a good bit of the philosophy that is the author's forte, and with a firm grasp of the characters, this is a story many DS9 fans, as well as fans of Picard, Data and/or Q, should enjoy.