DS9: S1E05: “Captive Pursuit”

In which a visitor shows up, O’Brien relies heavily on idioms, and old habits Die Hard. 

One of Quark’s Dabo girls is going to Sisko regarding harassment. Already we are far grittier than TNG ever got. Well, maybe that time Worf wanted to kill himself. Anyawy, Quark has put in the Dabo Girl Employment contract that he gets to molest his employees. Sisko is about to march down to the bar and staple Quark’s ears to the counter when a ship comes through the wormhole, so righteous outrage is delayed for a time.

"How dare you try to save my life?"

“How dare you try to save my life?”

The unexpected ship is a one-man craft, badly damaged, and they tow him into dock in such a way as to try to save the ship. The guy would rather risk death than leave his ship. Reminds me of those guys with the drug cargo.

Dax helpfully points out that this is a first-contact situation, but that the formal procedures may not be helpful. Hopefully, they will still find a way to scan him to see if he is made out of millions of tiny venomous spiders or whatever a bioscan is supposed to reveal. The last thing anyone probably wants is to trade Alpha-quadrant Smallpox for Gamma-quadrant syphilis. Even if we get the better part of that deal, it’s still a terrible deal.

O’Brien goes aboard the ship to offer repair services. Remember, this is the Chief of Operations. Also, the guy isn’t in the cockpit. Or rather, he is, but he’s hiding somewhere. Or cloaked. Guy can cloak. Guy’s name is Tosk. Tosk is a fellow of nervous disposition.

Deep Space Nine has a security sensor in the airlock. It flashes blue and sounds an alarm, but doesn’t throw up a force field or anything. Nearby is Bashir’s clinic – I suppose it would be clever of them to bring the unknown alien into the docking bay right next to the clinic so Bashir can examine – hey, no wait, where are you going?

Deep Space Nine’s average traffic is 5-6 ships a week, but Tosk informs O’Brien that other ships will detect the Federation traffic through the wormhole and come looking. He seems… stunned… when O’Brien indicates that they want more ships to come through. Almost as if there’s something dangerous on the other side.

Tosk only sleeps for 17 minutes per wakefulness cycle and stores food like a camel. O’brien constantly uses idioms that a newcomer couldn’t possibly be expected to understand. The Deep Space Nine computer has yet to have any fun security mods like ‘not immediately showing unregistered visitors where the armory is.’ Or ‘sending a warning to Odo when someone’s first query to the computer is the location of the Armory.’ Although to be fair, the Armory is, at least, locked.

Thus began the greatest buddy comedy of all time.

Thus began the greatest buddy comedy of all time.

O’Brien apprises Sisko of the nature of the damage. Tosk’s ship was clearly attacked, but until they know more, O’Brien is just going to keep repairing the ship and learning Tosk’s name for things like ramscoops and plasma. Ramscoops are easily replaceable by replicator.

Tosk’s world has very little luxury. Tosk’s world has nothing resembling a bar and gambling hall. In fact, he claims to have no vices that Quark could possibly exploits. He doesn’t even want a fantasy adventure in the holosuites, because he lives the greatest adventure. One which he refuses to talk about.

Later, Odo catches Tosk trying to break into a replicator bank and seals off the corridor and take him into custody until whoever is obviously hunting Tosk shows up. Tosk begs O’Brien to let him die with honor. Wait, what?

What, they haven't invented 'manners' in the Gamma Quadrant?

What, they haven’t invented ‘manners’ in the Gamma Quadrant?

Hey, speaking of which, another ship, similar to Tosk’s ship, shows up and refuses to communicate. Instead, they run a scanner through Ops. Then they start shooting. They take down the shields within a few seconds and beam aboard with menace. The intruders have suits suits with shields built into the arms, but which don’t extend over the rest of their suits. Their guns fire explosive ordinance and they go right for Tosk – evidently what the scan was for. The helmet has some sort of imaging that reveals the presence of Tosk, but only in a spot about six inches.

The whole thing is apparently a ritual hunt, and because the Tosk was captured alive, he receives ultimate dishonor. Obviously, Sisko won’t allow this, and makes it perfectly clear that bloodsports with sapient beings is a non-starter in the Alpha Quadrant. There’s an honor culture around it in their home culture, but as they say, this dog won’t hunt here.

The hunter species agrees that the wormhole should be out-of-bounds for their hunt in the future, but that still leaves this Tosk here and the problem it represents. Sisko agrees to provide asylum if Tosk asks, but since there’s fifteen minutes left and Star Trek has yet to make a space battle last that long, this probably won’t work. As expected, Tosk doesn’t go for that. He’s got this whole noble fox thing, even if he’s a lizard.

"How dare you be completely accurate about my personal life?"

“How dare you be completely accurate about my personal life?”

O’Brien mopes at Quarks about the whole thing, where Quark naturally assumes that Keiko is complaining and making life miserable for him again. Keiko has not been treated well by her screen time on this show. As an irregular cast member, she basically only gets screen time when they need to torture a civilian and a mother or when she’s making O’Brien’s life miserable.

Given that this scene is with Quark, the solution is obvious. Although actually O’Brien mostly comes up with it on his own. He’s inspired by Quark, though. See, the hunters have their rules- they have to hunt the Tosk. Tosk has his rules – he has to try to evade the hunters honorably. The Federation has its own rules – it has to fix up all the ships that come through DS9. O’Brien goes to throw a friendly wrench in the works – he offers to escort Tosk out, takes off his commbadge, leads the hunter into an overpowered weapons checkpoint, and leads Tosk to his ship to resume the hunt. Sisko picks up on it and tells Odo not to rush in apprehending the escaping Tosk. Tosk goes John McClane on the hunters, and gives O’Brien the highest praise he can think of.

Given the way they let Tosk’s ship just fly away, I wonder if there were any aliens left on that ship, or if Starfleet now has possession of a brand new warship that can take down Federation shielding in five seconds?

One thought on “DS9: S1E05: “Captive Pursuit”

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