DS9: S5:17: “A Simple Investigation”

In which Odo goes all mushy over a woman.

"Want to see my Risian tapestries" is the 24th century equivalent of playing Wonderwall at someone.

“Want to see my Risian tapestries” is the 24th century equivalent of playing Wonderwall at someone.

A gentleman from a non-primetime species is getting the snot beaten out of him by two gentlemen from a different non-primtetime species. They’re probably after the thing he slipped into his sleeve, which is unfortunate for them because they vaporize the guy, so now they have to wait and accost the woman he was going to give the macguffin to. Meanwhile, the main cast is  eagerly looking forward to Bashir’s new holoprgram, elaborately designed by ‘a friend’ back home. I bet it’s Barclay.  It is, as is Bashir’s idiom, a spy novel in which Bashir plays the dapper british spy and Miles plays the evil Falcon… again. Sadly, Odo’s busy that day, and every day. Instead, he goes to bother Quark and stop him from bothering a nice lady. A nice lady who’s better at watching customers cheat at Dabo than Quark is. What follows is a kind of hilarious crossed-wires are-you-flirting-with-me moment between her and Odo that falls apart into hilarious sparks and fizzing, and we fade out to the two thugs watching her intently.

Odo and Kira are in the cargo bay going over shipments, and Odo is staring at his reflection in reflective surfaces trying to figure out what ‘bedroom eyes’ look like. Kira encourages him to see where that relationship can go, and good news – she’s in his office. She was arrested for hacking the manifest. From two lines of dialogue, we find out that she’s from a cyberpunk dystopia planet where people can have dataports, the police can’t be trusted, and brainhacking is a common enough skill that Odo built defensive software into the computers specifically to counter that type of intrusion. Once they get the initial respectful acknowledgements out of the way, Odo starts gently interrogating Arissa about her situation.

Arissa is here to get information on how to locate her daughter from the Idanian who those thugs murdered. Based on that sob story which either has to be false or the very outward surface level of the truth, otherwise why did those dudes vaporize that dude? Odo and Arissa make entry and find the chair covering the ash marks and confirm it came from the guy. She suggests it was a robbery, since none of his belongings were there. Odo drops the cybercrime charges against her so that she can go keep tracking down her daughter, and I will leave it to the viewer as to whether he flashes bedroom eyes at er.

Once she leaves, she goes right back to hacking the station, and this time manages to break in past Odo’s defenses, then break into the station’s assay office, where Odo is already waiting for her, and they flirt a little more about her criminal methods. She admits to grabbing a datacrystal from his deposit box – a crystal that is way too complicated just to have some information about her daughter on it. Odo finally confronts her about the obvious lie, and it turns out the crystal contains some vital information that she doesn’t know but needs in order to survive. See, she works for someone in the Orion Syndicate, and the dead Idanian contacted her saying he had information that would help her break away. She doesn’t know why she trusted him, only that she had a hunch. For all this, Odo decided to give her protective custody.

Everyone makes that face when they find out they've been flirting with a shapeshifter.

Everyone makes that face when they find out they’ve been flirting with a shapeshifter.

The two thugs have some more Pulp Fiction moments, talking about how vital it is not to let Arissa access the crystal and how spicy hasperat is. Odo, meanwhile, takes her to some quarters and then beams her to his place, which is a way more effective method  than asking if she wants to see some Risian Tapestries. She seems to appreciate the accommodations. Also, she can’t jack into the cube because its security protocols are way stronger than the ones Odo invented.

Now we get some more background on Arissa’s home planet of Finea. She grew up as a netgirl, literally the 24th century cyberpunk equivalent of a camgirl. It’s not prostitution if it’s only your virtual body, et cetera. That’s how she fell in with the criminal syndicate. Now that she wants out, she’s going to get killed, but Odo offers to personally bodyguard her long enough to testify against the space-godfather Draim.

In the middle of all this, Bashir is playing his holoprogram and seducing one of the Bond girls, when Odo walks up to his moving car (miracle of holo-cinema) to consult with Bashir about women and romantic advice. Everyone knows about Odo’s infatuation with ‘Bedroom eyes,’ because Kira was never asked to keep it to herself. This talk is interrupted by Miles/Falcon, who does not respect the rules of Time Out. Which is pretty neat, when you think about it. O’Brien was fully engaged in his own story, tracking down Bashir. This task was made easier when Bashir’s car stopped, but in order for a holo-novel to be fun for all the participants, all the playable roles have to have basically equal ‘screen time’ even when they’re not interacting. You can’t really just end someone’s scene and make them wait around for the plot to catch up – you’ve got to give them something fun to do. I’d also presume that savvy players start to recognize meaningless time-filler activity, and you can really tell a good holo-novel from a bad one by the calibration of the activity times. The good ones would barely have any ‘filler’ at all.

Odo has, as they say, gotten his gelatinous tentacles wet. This is apparently the first time ever, not counting his experience Linking with other Changelings. Arissa couldn’t tell, which means a) Odo studied up, and b) porn in the 24th century is probably a lot less sensationalized and a lot more reasonable. I mean, either that, or he shapeshifted himself a pizza box for his Extra Large with Sausage. What really gnaws at me, though, is this: If he didn’t replicate a humanoid nervous system, the whole experience probably wasn’t as fun as his languid speech makes it seem like it was. If he did shapeshift himself a humanoid nervous system, would he have lost his shape momentarily during climax? According to Larry Niven’s greatest essay ever: Probably. Also, don’t think about the fact that if he can’t even shapeshift himself realistic-looking lips, what he looks like under the covers.

Pictured: Jadzia Dax and Kira Nerys, thinking about it.

Pictured: Jadzia Dax and Kira Nerys, thinking about it.

I told you not to think about it. Or what him gelatinizing against her hand actually feels like to a Solid.

Next day, Odo’s slightly late to a briefing with Starfleet Intelligence, and Worf is very unhappy that Jadzia is gossiping about his private goings-on, while Arissa tries to patch things up by text with crimeboss Draim. Draim has agreed to set up a meeting so she can hand over the crystal to his thugs in return for her life. The thugs will then kill her at the meeting, because of course they will.

Odo is next met by an Idanian, regarding the message Odo sent to her. Turns out she’s an Idanian intelligence agent who’s had her memories cut-and-pasted into that crystal and replaced with a new identity, so she could better infiltrate the Syndicate. And if she hadn’t just done something rash, everything would be fine. Sadly, she attacked O’brien and took the crystal, but happily they can home in on the crystal, and will hopefully find her before Space-Jules-and-Vince-Vega vaporize her. Which Odo does, with a little misdirection and violence.

While loading her memories back in, the Idanian gives the rundown – she’s been undercover for two years, Draim scans all new hires with a telepath, she had a trace memory telling her to trust her contact, and everyone is mad about all the secrecy but it was, strictly speaking, necessary. She’s also Idanian, not human, and she’s married back home.



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