The J Continuum – We Find Ourselves.. In a Hall of Mirrors

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LLAP, Jolan’tru and Qa’pla fellow STO’ers. I hope everyone had a great October and a Geek-tacular Halloween. I’ll be posting about the New Dawn FE’s in subsequent articles for for now I’d like to shine some light on the newly revamped Cardassian Story Arc. They’ve added some things that tie into the newest content like the new Mirror Universe STF’s and Badlands adventure zone and they’ve excised some old story content which, I feel, is for the betterment of the overall meta story. The whole Joshua Riker, son of transporter clone, Thomas Riker storyline has be removed but you still get to hunt down a True Way conspiracy in the badlands in a much more simplified mission free of giant turrets, lol.

Other episodes have likewise been removed, replaced, renamed and reduxed to provide a very interesting and engaging story arc that helps lay the foundation for our current Mirror Universe crisis. I’m sure that my Boff’s are very very grateful that Cage of Fire is no longer part of the Cardassian arc and with it goes the whole Cerin Teresa, daughter of Gul Dukat and acolyte of the Pah’Wraiths story line. However, if you gain experience in the new Terran Task Force reputation, you begin to see a new champion of Kost Amojen arise. We get to see what Bajor looks like in the mirror universe and we also get to see some beautifully rendered ground maps. Here are some synopses of the new episodes added to the Cardassian story arc so if you haven’t played them… SPOILERS!

Episode: Spoils of War:

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A new addition to the DS9 crew, Commander Sarish Minna, the Operations Officer of DS9 has a mission for you. The True Way, A Cardassian Nationalist splinter group has stolen a Bajoran Orb that the now fallen Obsidian order never returned after the Dominion War. You’re sent to the newly revamped Badlands to find True Way bases and search for the Orb. The new look of the Badlands is awesome, btw. You rescue a Bolian freighter from some True Way ships that the captain reports came out of some “strange anomaly.” Upon investigating the anomaly, you discover that it is a tear in the fabric of the space/time continuum and could conceivably be widened to act as a portal.

Beaming down to an old Maquis base on a nearby moon, you find it overrun with True Way soldiers, you fight your way through the patrols in the expansive shuttle bay until you reach the control room where you find and retrieve the Orb of Possibilities after defeating Gul Kardek. You also come across a coded message from Captain Leeta of the Terran Empire thanking Kardek for creating the tear in the space/time continuum and promising to make use of it. Gul Kardet escapes into the anomaly as Terran Empire ships from the universe begin to pour out. After defeating them, Commander Minna orders you to return the Orb to the Temple of Hanthor on Bajor, but all is not as it seems.

 

Episode: Jabberwocky

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Upon entering orbit of Bajor you’re attacked by more True Way vessels attempting to steal back the Orb. After defeating them you beam down to the surface and seek out Vedek Krin to return the orb. Once you place the orb onto its pedestal you receive a visit from The Prophets, they tell you that the service rendered was not the service desired and this orb does not belong in our universe. It is the Mirror Universe counterpart to the Orb of Posiblites.

Vedek Krin directs you to a book written by a former member of the Vedek assembly who was obsessed with the Mirror Universe. From his writings you manage to find out that he did successfully cross over to the Mirror Universe only to find that Terok Nor (their DS9) had been taken over by the Terran Rebellion and they were attempting to take control of Bajor.

A little side note here; In the DS9 episodes to the Mirror Universe, we do know that the human slaves did rebel against the Cardassian/Klingon Alliance oppressors and take the station. They were only able to hold it because they’d trained all of it’s weapons on Bajor. In the Mirror Universe, Bajor was never conquered by the Cardassians. They became quite politically influential in the Alliance, acting as liaisons, administrators and mediators for the Alliance. It’s no wonder that their former Terran slaves would be less than cordial to them now.

Using the portal back in the Badlands, you cross over into the Mirror Universe. You encounter Captain Leeta of The Terran Empire, as far as we know she’s the highest ranking Bajoran in the Mirror Starfleet at this time. This is most likely due to the fact that she worked as a mercenary for the Terran Rebellion in the DS9 Season 7 episode: “The Emperor’s New Cloak.” She teases, taunts a purrs at you much like Indendant Kira would have then beats a hasty retreat once you defeat her. Heading to the Mirror Bajor you find a version of Hanthor that reminds me of the alternate universe Sun Valley in Back To The Future 2. Bars, clubs and other dubious establishments fill the familiar yet very different city which appears much more urban. Terran Empire Checkpoints are everywhere and Leeta sends her goons after you repeatedly.

Finally you get a showdown with Gul Kardek but you find that he’s actually a changeling, a changeling has been leading the Cardassian True way in your home universe and is making secret alliances with the Terran Empire. Placing the Mirror Orb back onto its rightful altar earns you a visit from the Mirror Universe’s prophets who thank you for restoring the balance between our two universes. It appears  that Gul Kardek was using both Orbs to create a bridge between our two universes.

 

Episode: The Factory

You head to the Devos system, after defeating some Cardassian/Dominion patrols you beam down to the ketracel white production facility controlled by the Alpha quadrant dominion. There you meet a Vorta named Nemon who asks you to help him with a “moral conundrum.” It appears Laas has gathered together many of the 100 changelings sent to the Alpha Quadrant when they were in their infancy and formed a new Great Link. He’s convinced them that we solids exterminated the original Great Link and are attempting to exterminate their link as well, hence their aggressive posture to us.

He wants you to help him get to the New Link and reveal the truth to them.  His caveat is that you only defeat Laas, promising not to kill him, and allow the New Link to mete out justice as they see fit. Kill the Alpha Jem Hadar and download the data to expose Laas while planting charges to destroy the facility.

 

The New Link:

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Using the data Nemon decrypted from the Alpha’s terminal in the previous mission, you head for the location of the New Link in the Orias ystem. Once you fight your way past the orbital defenses you beam down to what I can only describe as a most autumnal-looking forest, painted in hues of orange purple and violet. The air is thick with mist and golden dust motes, creating a most tranquil setting for the battle that’s about to ensue.

Heading down the path you discover a lakebed filled with changelings, the New Link. You circle the lakebed fighting off Jem Hedar sentries. Nemon summons the changelings from the link and you present your evidence. Laas appears and you fight him, once he is defeated and reverts back to liquid form, the other changelings are able to learn the truth. They cease all hostilities with the Alpha Quadrant powers with the proviso that they be left alone. For this episode not much has changed except the ground map and some graphics upgrades.

 

All-in-all, the changes to the Cardassian story arc are a resounding success, making it more relevant to the current state of the game’s greater meta story. My one remaining critique is the whole Alpha Jem Hadar alliance with the true way. Even if it were being orchestrated by a changeling masquerading as Gul Kardek, I still have a great deal believing that the very traditional, militaristic extremists of the True Way would ever ally with members of the species that laid waste to their homeworld and killed millions of their people. It didn’t make sense in the old arc and it still doesn’t in the new one. It would be like Tibet gaining their independence only to form a military alliance with China, it’s just not done.

As for the changes to the story line itself, that can be canonically explained away quite easily. The STO devs, whether by accident or design have engineered the perfect explanation for an retcons they see fit to implement. The Butterfly Effect created by the Krenim Incursion in the Butterfly featured episode seems to have more far-reaching consequences than anybody originally realized, eh? Tell us what you think about the new Cardassian story arc, do you love it or hate it? What are you thoughts?

1 Comments ON " The J Continuum – We Find Ourselves.. In a H... "
  • alt_example

    seannewboy November 19, 2015 at 11:11 am - Reply

    More than anything i love the new map changes as well as the reduction in overall number of missions in the arc. The writing is quite nice, except for the points you raise about TW working with founders.

    Excellent article.


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