In which Nog takes a test and Jadzia gets testy.
Nog is in a shuttle being yammered at by the ship’s computer. It seems very likely this is a simulation, which he appears to have passed. When Nog ends the program to talk to Jake, the chair disappears from under him and he falls on his dignity. So, when manually ended, Cardassian-designed holosuites do not account for user safety. Good to know. Either way, Nog is cramming for Starfleet Academy preparatory programs so he can get out of his dead-end Uncle’s job. Quark asks why Nog can’t be more like Jake – writing holo-porn is apparently very profitable indeed.
Dax has called the whole senior staff together for something important. The senior staff, as well as Quark and Leeta, who she’s recently become close with. You may remember Leeta as the Dabo girl Bashir brushed off. They’re all there because Jadzia is closest to them and wants them to take part in a Trill ritual, the Zhian’tara, in which Joined Trill humanoids can meet the previous hosts of their symbiote, by projecting their psyches onto the bodies of others. With a psychopath and a lunatic in there, I don’t see how this could go wrong. If we’re lucky, Yedrin wasn’t in the chain long enough to form a lasting impression.
O’Brien is a little confused as to how this works. The memories will be taken by a Trill guardian and telepathically transferred into their bodies. It’s a fragile state, so at any time the host can reassert, but there’s shades of stage-hypnosis here. The fact that there doesn’t seem to be a problem between human, Bajoran, Ferengi, and even Changeling consciousness indicates either that Jadzia the Science Officer and Bashir the Doctor are incompetent, or that certain telepathic procedures work based off of a Dualist conception of the universe. Sisko has also volunteered to embody the psycho Joran, after having certain security precautions are implemented. Everyone agrees except for Quark, until she gives him a handjob in the wardroom, at which point he agrees to whatever she wants.
Nog’s testing time has come, and true to Starfleet form, they dump him into a situation he’s not quite expecting. Instead of runabout combat, he’s Ops on DS9 – a scenario he should be familiar with, but not prepared for.
The Guardian comes aboard and sets up in some crew quarters. This goes a little beyond the ‘sensitivity’ we saw last time – Trill, at least some Trill, appear to be touch-telepaths. The first transfer seems to go well – Kira, now inhabited by Leela, last remembers talking to Curzon at his ceremony, meaning that new memories are created during this process. Also, Jadzia no longer has those memories. Dax no longer has those memories. One question appears to be enough to confirm the whole transferrence, Leela’s a bit of an odd duck, and from far enough back in Trill history that she was one of the first females to hold a legislative position. Jadzia has some physical habits from her.
I wonder how Leela’s consciousness and memories experience this – after a while, they pop into active consciousness in a new body, having just remembered giving the last interview. I wonder if they get bored, or go on strike. I bet we’ll find out when it’s Joran’s turn.
Next up is Tobin, a nervious fellow with a habit of biting Chief O’Brien’s nails. He, is among the many who have tried and failed to solve Fermat’s Last Theorem, although his attempt was apparently pretty novel. Maybe they’re all just trying to figure out how Fermat did it. Leeta’s new inhabitant, Emony, was a gymnast and is really enjoying Leeta’s body, and seems to be the most physically adept, influencing Jadzia’s pursuits of Klingon martial arts. Quark’s inhabitant, Audrid, is maternal and nurturing. Quark is Not Happy. Bashir/Torias is thrilled to be back in a body, and lamenting the accident that ended his life early. Julian ends the parade for the night, and Sisko’s up next.
First, he has to hand himself into the brig, which means only Sisko is at risk of Joran gets any ideas. He seems pleased to have influenced Jadzia’s musical talents, until he gets cruel, angling for release. He also starts beating on the force field, Sisko takes control, and Dax immediately lowers the force field because she’s apparently an idiot after all. She can take care of herself physically when Joran breaks out, but that’s no excuse.
Rom is pacing nervously, waiting to see if Nog gets to wear the uniform he had Garak make as a present. That brief check-in aside, Sisko and Jadzia talk about what Joran said. I hope that the Guardian properly locked Joran back in his cage, and Jadzia has to ask Curzon about why she was initially washed out of the program. Odo will be there to provide answers, and with a little extra flourish. Although, if he’s got the spots, why didn’t he also get, like, lips?
Odo-Curzon’s first act is to seek out Ben Sisko and take him out drinking, and his second is to mess with Quark. In this case, rather than temporarily overriding the host mind, the transferrence has let Curzon meld with Odo. He’s both of them, as if they’re Joined. The Guardian says it’s nothing to worry about, but how would he know? It’s not like there are a lot of Changelings hanging around Trill rituals. Odo-Curzon changes clothes, his communicator vanishing in the process. Was it sucked inside his body, or has it been made out of Changeling this whole time?
Sisko pushes off to let Jadzia and Curzon discuss serious matters, but Curzon is more interested in messing with Quark and his patrons. Also, Nog has failed his exam, messing up in a subject he thought he was good at. Now that Nog failed, Quark is supportive-in-retrospect. Building employee morale. Curzon finally lets Jadzia ask the question, after basically a full day of distraction. And he admits to letting Jadzia back into the program mostly because he felt sorry for her, and she’s pretty. Curzon’s also staying in Odo. They like it there.
This isn’t life-threatening for Jadzia, and since she doesn’t want to deal with Curzon’s memories feeling sorry for her, she’s not putting up much of a fight. Sisko gives her a bit of a pep talk about what an ass Curzon is, and how he occasionally needs to be stood up to. In wonder if this lesson applies to anyone else?
Nope. This isn’t a test by Starfleet, Quark just reconfigured the test so Nog would fail, so Sisko has agreed to give Nog a redo. Also, don’t mess with Rom’s kid. Rom will get straight-up medieval.
Jadzia steps up, and gets Curzon to admit that he washed her out of the program because he wanted to bang her. A lot. When she re-applied he was off the hook for gross ethical violations. Now he doesn’t want to be inside her for the same reason. It, uh, makes sense in context. Kind of.
Either way, everything seems to be turning out alright, with everyone Important hanging out in Quarks waiting for Nog to come in with his cadet uniform and to congratulate him on passing the test and qualifying for the entrance exams. O’Brien is also dreading having to call Nog “sir” when he graduates from the academy. I guess there really is a Commissioned/Noncom division after all, although I’m pretty sure that if Ensign Nog actually gave Chief of Opererations Miles O’Brien an order, they’d never find his body.
Nog orders a Root Beer from the bar. A human drink. Thus goeth cultural imperialism – slow and insidious.