He welcomes Chief O’Brien’s offer to loan him some of the action-packed books that both men relish: tales about hard-boiled private eyes, threatening thugs, and duplicitous dames. Then Quark suddenly goes missing during a hastily planned trip to Ferenginar.
His concerned friends on Deep Space Nine feel that Odo, as the station’s former chief of security, is uniquely suited to track Quark down.
But once on Ferenginar, Odo learns that Quark is trapped in the seamy underbelly of a criminal enterprise that could have been ripped from the pages of one of O’Brien’s novels.
To find the bartender, Odo discovers that he must rely not only on his law enforcement background, but his knowledge of all things noir….
Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann return with their third e-book exclusive Star Trek: Deep Space Nine novella with this month’s “I, The Constable.”
Block & Erdmann have carved out a great niche for themselves of telling fun stories that focus on fan favorite character dynamics, and their stories supplement the larger Deep Space Nine narrative arc under the auspices of David R. George III.
The focus of their story this time is Odo, though the Ferengi supporting cast that the authors have focused on in their previous two stories have a central role. These stories feel a lot like the Ferengi-centric episodes of the main series, where hijinks and capers ensue. As a big fan of some of those episodes (like “Little Green Men,” “Body Parts,” and “The Magnificent Ferengi”) it is wonderful to see the humorous stylings of them recreated.
“I, The Constable” plays like an old-fashioned noir novel, with Odo serving as the central detective character as he attempts to unravel a mystery involving the disappearance of Quark on Ferenginar. Odo’s affinity for crime fiction is an established trait of the character during the series, including 20th century stories of Mike Hammer, by real life 20th century author Mickey Spillane. Block & Erdmann build upon that established trait to create their own Deep Space Nine detective noir story – and I love it!
It’s fun to see Odo back in his role (albeit briefly) as a security officer solving crimes, and Block & Erdmann do a great job of capturing the essence of the character. It’s enjoyable watching Odo maneuver in curmudgeonly harrumph-ing fashion around Ferenginar, looking for his friend/nemesis Quark.
The last few pages may have leaned into the lingo of noir novels a little too hard for my tastes, and felt slightly out of character for Odo, but it was done with such love of the genre that I cannot help but enjoy it.
It’s also great that we get more development of the planet of Ferenginar, and continued depth to the characters of Quark and Rom. On previous visits to Ferenginar in Deep Space Nine, we were only exposed to the Tower of Commerce and the family home of Quark. In this story though, we travel to other parts of the planet and learn much more about the Ferengi culture.
There’s an important nuance to Ferengi stories that Block & Erdmann get right; while Ferengi characters are frequently humorous, they should never be treated disrespectfully. The Ferengi culture is very different, but it’s important not to look down on them. This was something that Armin Shimmerman struggled with during his time on the series – the writers of the show did not always handle the Ferengi characters with the respect that they deserved (for example, “Profit and Lace.”)
Block & Erdmann do a good job in their stories with making these characters humorous, but giving them motivation and agency that treats them with respect.
The relationship between and Quark and Odo was one of my favorites of Deep Space Nine. Given that David R. George III has chosen to focus on a larger narrative tapestry for the DS9 crew that frequently separates the characters, it’s fun to get these smaller stories that allow us to revisit some of the show’s best dynamics.
We’re blessed as Star Trek fans that the universe created by Gene Roddenberry is so rich and full of characters that we can get all kinds of stories that go beyond the simple science fiction adventure.
“I, The Constable” is definitely science fiction, it’s definitely an adventure, but it’s also a classic detective story in the style of your favorite detectives, starring Odo and Quark! I hope that Simon & Schuster continues their Star Trek e-book line, and give Block & Erdmann the opportunity to tell more of these stories.
If you liked I, The Constable, you should check out:
- Lust’s Latinum Lost (and Found) by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann – Their first Quark-centric e-book novella, Quark must find a way to excite customers on the new Deep Space Nine, and does so through pursuing the latest installment of the popular holographic epic, Vulcan’s Love Slave!
- Rules of Accusation by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann – In order to entice Ferenginar’s best and brightest to the station to dedicate the new Ferengi Embassy in Quark’s Bar, Quark convinces Grand Nagus Rom to bring the original scroll bearing the Rules of Acquisition. Hijinks ensue.
- Star Trek Costumes by Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann – I addition to their e-book novellas, Block & Erdmann are accomplished non-fiction writers. Their latest, Star Trek: Costumes, is a richly detailed book with great photography about the 50 years of Star Trek costuming.