In which everyone continues to be stupid, a bromance develops, and it’s possible for couples to be too close for their own good.
Bashir’s log. He and O’Brien are helping the T’Lani and the Kelleruns eliminate a stockpile of deadly nanoweapons called Harvesters. Harvesters eat DNA, and both sides have used it in this terrible, but apparently not quite endless war. They’re also apparently nearly indestructible, which I frankly find to be utter nonsense because you have a space ship. You can fire them into a star. Nobody ever chooses the easy way. Or heck, Federation transporters can be set to beam something out and never rematerialize it. Maybe do that instead of spending weeks trying to delicately balance muuon flows.
I mean, it’s cool that you eventually found a way to denature the stuff, but what are you going to do now, sell souvenirs?
O’brien was brought along so that he could write a database query that purges all knowledge of how to build the things from both planets central computers, which will be fine as long as nobody on the planet has a grudge and a hard drive. I expect this sort of boundless optimism from Bashir, but O’brien was an enlisted man. I am disappoint. I mean, the Federation got some good press out of it, but still.
Seems like Bashir and O’Brien are a little friendlier after their shared SpaceBall tournament. They’ll stick around long enough to go to a party, dispose of the last batch of Harvesters, and get kidnapped by militants intent on seizing the last of the Harvesters. Man, what a terrible itinerary. Bashir and O’Brien managed to be the sole survivors and get rid of the militants, but O’Brien gets a drop of Harvester on his skin and doesn’t notice. Together, they beam down onto the surface.
The ambassadors of both worlds show up on Deep Space Nine to tell the bad news – that Bashir and O’Brien are dead, killed by a security device that flooded the station with lethal radiation. Lies, of course, but lies to save face with the Federation? Or for a more sinister purpose?
The planet below is desolated, which is worse than decimated. O’Brien knows things about field-checking supplies for traps, and the two discuss the situation. The Kellerans are the ones who attacked the station, but is it because they have their own Harvesters or because they don’t need them and want to have a good old-fashioned war without the threat of mutually assured destruction? All we really know is that O’Brien has little respect for Bashir’s Engineering prowess.
Sisko and company watch the sensor records of the ‘accident,’ and Odo looks supsicious. I’m not sure what he’s seeing, but we the observer can tell that it’s probably going to come down to the pixels, since the footage is clearly ‘shopped with dialogue from earlier in the day. The pulse appears to vaporize everyone there. Nobody on the DS9 senior staff is at all pleased.
Back on the surface, Bashir is annoyed at waiting and O’Brien is annoyed at Bashir being annoyed. Bashir also winds up chatting with Miles about why so few career officers have families – they’ve all had it drilled into them that Starfleet means danger, and Bashir eats some tasty foot. Also, O’Brien begins to show symptoms of Harvester infection. It starts with chills, low blood pressure, and a gross lesion on his arm. Good thing you deleted all the data on them so that you have no idea how to treat them!
Sisko has the unenviable duty of telling Keiko that O’Brien is dead. She seems to take it rather well, as these things go. And it’s not like that grief is out of place, just slightly premature. With O’Brien’s eyes going, he now has to talk Bashir through the repair. On the station, their fellow senior staff discuss them. Dax tells Kira about Bashir’s medical school diaries – Bashir was extremely focused on graduating top of his class, driven by a constant fear of failure. Heck, even Quark is being generous and offering drinks on the house for a toast to the departed. Quark’s tribute rings a little harsh to Dax and Kira, but it’s pretty clearly heartfelt.
In the next scene, Keiko storms into Ops claiming that something is wrong with the video and O’Brien isn’t dead. This may be the poor quality of Netflix on my internet connection, but to me it looks like the coffee cup appears out of nowhere. Keiko’s objection is that O’Brien never drinks coffee at 3:30 PM. She insists the clip is faked and wants to know why.
To keep O’Brien awake, Bashir consents to tell him of the time he almost got married. It was with a drench dancer and Bashir covers rather smoothly for his foot fetish. They even used to finish each other’s sandwiches. Sadly, when Bashir graduated Starfleet Medical, he chose Starfleet over a cushy hospital job with fast-track promotion prospects and also love.
Dax and Sisko take a runabout to the station to retrieve the other runabout and some answers while Bashir tries to get the comm system they found to work. He manages to start up a distress signal, but O’Brien is already accepting his inevitable death as his DNA is eaten cell by cell.
Sisko starts trying to interrogate the T’Lani ambassador, and gets nowhere. But Dax has found a sensor record that was almost erased that shows a remote transport request, after Bashir and Julian were supposed to be dead. Hooray! It looks like Bashir is going to get rescued, the question is whether O’Brien will be alive to see it, and what magical nonsense that nobody has even bothered to bring up will be used to save him?
Or not. Bashir and O’Brien are found by a joint task force of T’Lani and Kellerans who do not at all seem interested in helping. The task force is here to kill everyone who knows enough about the harvesters to recreate them. Thus the assault killing the scientists and Starfleet and, I stress this again, why bring Starfleet into it when you have a perfectly good nuclear fusion engine within a light-hour of your planet? This is like punching Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the balls in the hope that he’ll swat the mosquieto off your face. There is a simpler way with far less risk to accomplish the task.
O’Brien has something to say, even it if’s just that he wants to die on his feet. He also seems to be solidifying his ‘I don’t hate your guts anymore’ relationship with Bashir. In the last instant, they get beamed up, and Bashir happens to have the drugs to stabilize Harvester infection. I’m okay with this if they’re on Bashir and O’Brien’s shuttle, rather than on Dax and Sisko’s. Bashir would probably have taken steps to prepare drugs in case of accidental exposure, but if that stuff is just hanging around in every Starfleet medical kit, then how were these things so deadly in the first place?
Sisko turns, chats for a bit to make sure there’s no diplomatic way out, and then sets ramming speed on the shuttle. Since it’s a dinky little shuttle, it is immediately exploded by a full-on battlecruiser. Good thing we were reminded earlier in the episode that runabouts can accept remote commands. And that photoshopping exists. The other runabout is gone, and our heroes have escaped. The Federation also now has legit cause to go to war with the T’Lani and Kelleran, if they want.
Bashir has a nice moment with O’Brien and then manages to immediately ruin it because he’s still a puppy. Still bedridden but on the mend, O’Brien asks for a cut of coffee out of the mug his daughter painted for him. Keiko is shocked that O’Brien would have coffee so late, but it turns out O’Brien is always down for an afternoon cuppa. Just think – if Keiko knew her husband better, he’d be dead.