In which the station is evacuated again, mercenaries are never good news, and sometimes the bureaucracy knows what it’s doing.
The station has been temporarily evacuated, which must be really aggravating given that they literally just did that during the Bajoran coup. After this, I imagine everyone is going to start keeping a bug-out bag packed and ready. The good news is, this time it’s environmental, not political. They have a skeleton crew on the station and a shuttle prepped and ready to go, and are sealing as much off as possible. When O’Brien and Odo are doing their rounds, they find Quark meditating in an airlock saying so long to his brother. Odo is suspicious, but Quark assures us all that hes only there out of fraternal devotion. I’m sure that device he planted on the inside wall is just a welcome-back message.
Incidentally, if Odo were actually suspicious rather than just giving Quark a hard time, he could probably check the access logs for that airlock to find out if Quark had really been there for three hours.
Plasma storms are rare and unpredictable, and it’s a really good thing they kept a skeleton crew on, because there’s a cargo ship incoming that’s been damaged. Incidentally, the placement of those turrets seams really poor. The tractor beam has a giant piece of station in the way of it doing its primary job, and the docking ring and pylons also cast a fire control shadow. One faulty targeting lock at the station could self-immolate.
O’Brien has to manually release a lockdown to let the freighter dock, but it turns out to be full of bandits, including a couple of Klingons who don’t enjoy the peace and a trill who looks a little hesitant as he brings out a locking box and forces Odo inside, on pain of O’Brien getting executed. Of note, the box seems not significantly heavier after it’s full of Odo, and the bandits force Bashir to put it in a stasis chamber. These chambers are the same form factor as the vault boxes used in “Q-Less” because wall storage is awesome.
With O’Brien as a hostage and Odo in a box in stasis in a wall, this merry band of bandits takes control of the Ops skeleton crew. At least we know how they managed to disable the security. Qrark. Always Quark. Also, sisko being racist by thinking that all Trill know each other. Quark had a deal with a Klingon, but forgot about the fact that there’s nobody around to force him to pay. It turns out the Trill is the mastermind behind this Oceans 11 travesty – he’s here to steal the Dax symbiont.
The Trill, Verad, was in the trill joining academy but washed out, and wants to change that. Given the lengths he’s willing to go to, it should be obvious why they rejected him, but I’ll try to spell it out. Once joined, we know that Trill and bellyworm become a single gestalt consciousness – the host, and the symbiotic parasite carrying lifetimes of memories. When Verad gets the slug implanted in him, it will have a memory of being Jadzia, of now being in Jadzia’s murderer, and it won’t want to use the wormhole as an escape plan because if it dies outside of Trill-influenced space it will die forever, and the entire Dax line of memory with it. Verad is either too stupid or too psychotic to think this through, which probably showed up in his psych profile and is why he washed out. Don’t let John Glover’s seeming timidity and mild stutter fool you, he hired some Klingon mercenaries and shot O’Brien (although, to be fair, O’Brien hasn’t been suffering enough lately).
Adding a little pathos to this is that the female mercenary, Mareel, has a little nascent romance going with Verad. Which is going to die the instant his personality completely changes. Nevertheless, it is time for the procedure. Verad refuses a general anaesthetic, and Jadzia reassures Julian that this is for the best.
Once the worm is removed, Jadzia’s time will be measured in hours, but since she’s a lot younger and healthier than most Trill getting a symbiont removed, it will be a lot of hours. After a short and pointless fight in Ops during which Kira gets her ass handed to her and Sisko goes toe-to-toe with a Klingon, we are treated to John Glover’s O-Face as Bashir slides it in, something I wish I could un-see.
We get to learn a little bit about Mareel. She grew up on some terrible little world and Verad was a Clerk with the local Federation outfit and took her away from all of this. Kira is, understandably, not impressed. Sisko tries to tell Mareel about the personality change, but there are none so deaf as those who will not hear.
For such a momentous surgery, it took a remarkably short time. Bashir actually manages to impress one of the Klingon mercenaries enough to help him stabilize Jadzia, who wakes up and is… not happy to be alone inside herself.
Sisko seems to be taking this whole thing in stride, and goes right into reminiscing. Kira looks upset that Sisko is being so friendly with the guy. Mareel looks like she’s trying hard not to believe the personality change. And then Sisko guides Verad into remembering Jadzia. How you say? Womp womp. Verad seems to have retained his sense of self-preservation, though, because there’s a whole fifteen minutes left in the episode. Enough time for Mareel to stew over the personality changes she’s noticed so far.
Amusingly, it’s Quark that makes the next escape attempt. Nobody backs him up, and he winds up having landed on his ear and in extreme pain. Only… it’s a ruse, you big dumb idiots. It’s unclear what he’s attempting to accomplish. Man, it’s lucky that none of Dax’s past lives were good actors. Mareel finally can’t ignore how different Verad is. And Quark manages to keep one of the Klingons distracted for long enough to tranquilize him, at which point Quark manages to break into Odo’s safe.
With Verad, his remaining guard, and Kira going down to their ship, which gives Sisko a chance to finish up talking some sense into Mareel and get into ambush position. Odo has released the freighter and he (who let’s remember can’t mass more than a kilogram or two) and Nerys beat up a Klingon together. Ben takes a risk and stuns Verad long enough to get him sedated and Dax transferred back to Jadzia. Jadzia now has the memories of Verad in her, at least from that short period. Verad, meanwhile, can’t remember anything and lapses into existential despair while the woman who loved him does the same, and for comparable reasons. Hope you wanted to be depressed today!