In which Worf is tested and the political situation evolves.
So Gowron has just offered Worf a job. He doesn’t quite know what to say for a moment, but then refuses. And here we see again a fundamental aspect of Worf’s character. He refuses to break the word he’s given the Starfleet and the Federation, while Gowron questions what his word could possibly be worth if he gives it to such people. If that’s who Gowron is, then the Klingon/Federaton alliance was never real even before it was dissolved. It may be a reaction to the Federation not joining in an attack on the Cardassians, but what good is honor if it’s conditional?
Gowron thinks Worf owes him for restoring his family and his name, but I recall it somewhat differently – Worf saved Gowron’s bacon two or three times before Gowron bothered returning the favor. And now, there’s even blackmail. “Join me or I’ll dismantle your family again.” Even this can’t stop Worf, although Kurn’s gonna be pissed.
Worf’s brooding in Quark’s and is joined by O’Brien. He’s still thinking of resigning, but now he can’t even go back to the Klingon empire, and might have to hire himself out as a mercenary to a foreign power. But now that Worf has made up his mind, Sisko won’t accept his resignation. Things are too dire. In fact, the Klingons have just broken through Cardassian defenses.
Sisko places a call to the Cardassian civilian covernment and reaches Gul Dukat in his new role as military adviser. Gone is the subtle subterfuge of using Garak to deliver the message – Sisko is now offering to directly help the Cardassian leadership. After all, the alliance is toast, so why not? Sisko still thinks a Federation ship means something to the Klingons, and Sisko is even aware he’s risking assisting the Changelings – if the Klingons are right.
Kassidy comes by to see Sisko, but wasn’t she gone for a while? I guess there was a bit of a time jump in there. Anyway, Kassidy’s shipping out again soon, and won’t be around by the time Ben gets back from saving the Cardassians. He’s taking Worf along on the Defiant, because Worf has to learn about the Defiant and her cloaking device, despite the direct violation of the agreement with the Romulans not to use the cloaking device this side of the wormhole. Buton they wa, they find wreckage and can’t even stop to check for survivors. And by the time they arrive, Dukat’s ship is under attack and they have to engage.
Sisko has to up the fight a little bit, hands tactical discretion over to Worf, and starts figuring out how to rescue the Cardassian council with a brand new Klingon battlecruiser joining the fray, but in a nifty maneuver, Worf uses a tractor beam to deflect incoming disruptor fire. That’s pretty cool, and it tells us that Klingon shipboard disruptor bolts can interact with tractor beams. I gotta be honest, though. I was kind of hoping they’d use a suped-up tractor beam and a hard braking maneuver to take advantage of the Klingon ship’s ‘neck’ design and rip the bridge off the Vor’cha. The Defiant has some raw physical armor too, just enough to see them through. They’re being tailed home, and they can’t cloak. What do you suppose the chances are that Starfleet will need Romulan help to repair it? Oh sure, the device itself might be undamaged and just have a few connections shaken loose or something, but if the device were damaged, do you think the Romulans would repair it, given a breach of the agreement under which it’s held?
With the Cardassian borders closed, Quark is now offering kanar to Garak for free, and they have one of the two best scenes in the run of the show. Quark is bitter about paths not taken, and the two of them commiserate about needing to lean on the Federation. The Federation is like the root beer he foists off on Garak – bubbly and sweet and an insidiously acquired taste. Which brings me back to why the Borg are such a good foil for the Federation – they have the same goal, just a more brutal M.O.
The Defiant is coming in hot, and it seems likely that the upgrades O’Brien has been installing are weapons, and they’re going to need them rather badly. Seems like talking is over. Bashir briefs his medical staff on what to expect. The staff evacuate everyone to emergency shelters, which appear mostly to be cargo bays protected by force fields. Hard to say for certain, but one wonders what else they might have on a Cardassian ore-processing station to retrofit. Even Garak and Dukat are fighting side-by-side… kind of.
Martok and Gowron demand Sisko turn over the Cardassian council, even after he tells them the Council have been tested and confirmed non-changelings. So Sisko has to point out that they have 5,000 photon torpedoes ready to go. Martok suspects a trick, but Gowron orders the attack regardless. But DS9 does appear to have quite a few new launcher and phaser batteries, and with the power plant of an entire space station behind them.
Let’s talk about weaponry and power. Photon torpedoes are obviously extremely powerful, being the only weapon Sisko bothered to mention, and they’re discrete packages. Each photon torpedo is its own device – an occasionally-guided warhead packing some sort of powerful explosive, possibly antimatter. But when attacking a space station, phasers are just as dangerous. A starship has a warp core that uses antimatter reactions to power them, while the Romulans use a quantum singularity. What both of these have in common is that they’re relatively small and will fit aboard a mobile platform. They provide enough power to fold space and power most of the lights, but even when the Enterprise ejects its warp core they can run all the critical functions off of their onboard fusion reactor. With this small, secondary reactor, the Enterprise has enough power to drill through the crust of a planet, or wipe out all life on it. Deep Space Nine is a stationary platform which was constructed above a hostile planet it was intended to control. It has a fusion reactor sized for a stationary platform that doesn’t need to haul around the mass it has. Small wonder single phaser hits are taking out entire Klingon ships.
That said, why does nobody make any of the auxiliary consoles out of the same spark-proof material that the main consoles are made of?
The Klingons board, by transporter. DS9 never had shields, or they’ve been taken down in the opening volley. Most of the crew hold their own, especially the named crew, although O’Brien gets beaten up and Kira stabbed a little. O’Brien’s got the shields back up, just in time for the cavalry to arrive. Sisko opens a channel again, and over Martok’s objections, Gowron sees the wisdom of not destroying two armies right on the brink of a Dominion invasion.
All is well, and Sisko drops by to see Worf and talk to him one more time about his resignation, and other options. The Uniform isn’t just a reminder of the losses you had while wearing it, but all the gains. And if he’ll stay on, Sisko’s offering him an upgrade to a red uniform and head of Strategic Operations. It’s not all good news – the Klingons are occupying Cardassian colonies, so now there’s that to deal with.