“Deep Space Nine Was Once Terok Nor / Now It’s Deep Space Nine, Not Terok Nor…”
The novelty song ‘Deep Space Nine Was Once Terok Nor’ by Star Trek-themed group Roddenberries – a parody version of tune ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’, which is part of the repertoire of They Might Be Giants – reminds us the titular space station in Deep Space Nine was once known by another name, before being rechristened when the Federation took over its operation.
In the ‘Mirror Universe’, however, DS9 is still known under its original moniker Terok Nor, a reminder that things are very different from the Trek which we know and love. Intendant Kira Nerys runs Terok Nor, very much an iron fist not so much inside a velvet glove but a tritanium one. In this issue of The Mirror War, we get another cutaway from the main action, only focusing not upon the crew of the ISS Enterprise-D, but the occupants of Terok Nor.
Having already made a brief appearance in the fourth issue, here we get to spend some more time in the company of the Intendant and her favourite toy, Benjamin Sikso, whom she has allowed the privilege of having a ship and crew in return for doing her bidding in order to maintain control. Sisko is a character who, in the familiar ‘Prime Universe’ version, never truly seemed to quite get his due from fans of the franchise, for a variety of reasons.
Leaving aside all the unsavoury implications of the section of fandom which seems intolerant of having Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations when it comes to casting, there also looked to be a snobbery prevalent, in that Sisko was inferior as a lead to some, due to his holding the rank of Commander when he took charge of DS9, rather than Captain. Although a subsequent promotion addressed this, the initial stigma did still hang over him for a section of the fanbase.
Whether coincidental or not, the character of Sisko seemed to become far more interesting and dynamic about the time he shaved his head and acquired a goatee. In a rather ironic twist, with the presence of a beard having long since been a shorthand cliche for an ‘evil’ doppelgänger (all thanks to Mr Spock’s counterpart in the original ‘Mirror, Mirror’ episode), our ‘Mirror’ Sisko is devoid of all facial furniture, although to be fair, his morality is far more complex than just being ‘bad’, much as the hirsute ‘Mirror’ Spock’s was.
Writer Danny Lore delivers us some insight into the lay of the political land aboard Terok Nor, under the feared Intendant’s rule. She has plans to destroy a potential rival, Kaarak Tyr, a Cardassian who has aspirations to run Terok Nor in her place, and she intends to use Sisko to carry out her dirty work. The task proves not to be quite as straightforward as indicated, as Sisko soon learns a secret which changes everything, and means he has to take a very different approach in order to be able to achieve the Intendant’s goal.
The issue offers a reasonably interesting diversion from the main storyline, helped by artist Hendry Prasetya’s sterling work in bringing to life Terok Not and its denizens, as well as serving up a glorious double-page spread of the Defiant in a devastating attack upon the enemy. Whether the issue ends up feeding into The Mirror War’s overall plot, or will simply provide some additional colour and a temporary respite from things, remains to be seen.
Star Trek: The Mirror War – Sisko is out now from IDW Publishing.