DS9: S5E23: ” Blaze of Glory”

In which Sisko plays babysitter, Nog plays Dangerfield, and Eddington plays both Sisko and Enjolras. 

It's comforting to know that even in the far future, as a post-scarcity utopia clashes with a fascist empire, that dads will always tell us we liked it before we knew what it was made of.

It’s comforting to know that even in the far future, as a post-scarcity utopia clashes with a fascist empire, that dads will always tell us we liked it before we knew what it was made of.

Today, Nog is enjoying the taste of Sisko’s calimari preparation. Especially when Sisko puts in the effort to bridge the cultural divide and makes a tube grub sauce. Nog’s been working security in his cadet training, and in revenge, Jake outs his dissatisfaction with the posting to the station commander. Nog’s problem with the drunk, rowdy, smelly Klingons is at least in part due to him being literally half their mass, and Sisko suggests engaging them on Klingon terms. His timing is well and truly awful, as Martok comes in and seems rude. Sisko saves Nog’s life, and gets briefed on some Maquis transmissions sent to Eddington, advising about some missiles launched towards Cardassia. It’s going to be an interesting day for them, since the Klingon High Council has just provided the Maquis with some cloaking devices. The understanding was that the Maquis would use them on ships, but they’re instead going to be used on tricobalt missiles headed towards massive civilian populations, and even Martok doesn’t think the war’s gotten that bad.

There are political ramifications here, of course. If humans attack Cardassia, they can be certain of reprisal by the Dominion allies heating up the war. Sisko says it like there isn’t already a war, though, rather than just that the current state of elevated tensions, rampant spying and abduction of officers, and fire-on-sight policy by the Dominion is doomed to elevation but they’d rather it come later than sooner.

Apparently finding a cloaked missile is really hard, and yet the Jem’Hadar are able to home in on the Defiant while cloaked by detecting the way the engines ionize the nebula gasses in the badlands. Gee golly gosh if only they could use that information to find the missiles or, failing that, just warn the Dominion to be on the lookout for it. Hell, broadcast the warning to the Cardassian civilians to so that the Dominion can’t let the attack go through and use it as casus belli. Instead, Sisko goes to get help from Eddington.

Eddington is not feeling particularly helpful, since the Dominion slaughtered the Maquis, but does wind up being gracious enough to gloat that the missiles are not only cloaked but programmed to change course at random to avoid detection. Sisko wants to transmit the abort code, but in confirming that there is a code, Eddington states that it has to be transmitted from the hidden launch site. He’s going to sit back, endure the Federation’s counseling and rehabilitation programs, and wait it out. Sisko’s even offering him freedom, but without his Cause it’s not really worth it. Say what you want about Eddington, he’s an idealist.

Morn apparently went nuts, attacked Quark, streaked through the promenade and begged forgiveness at the Bajoran temple. Witnesses say Quark was talking to him beforehand and mentioned that the military on the station were ‘looking nervious’ and also theorizingthat the Dominion are about to launch a full-scale assault. Odds that Odo wants to slap Incitement to Riot on Quark just because he can? 100%.

"I've learnt the meaning of those nineteen years; a slave of the law." "Shut up, Mike."

“I’ve learnt the meaning of those nineteen years; a slave of the law.”
“Shut up, Mike.”

Sisko is going in anyway, in a runabout, rather than with the Defiant. He managed to bring Eddington along. I guess there’s nothing stopping him, and he assumes he can convince the guy along the way. Even though Eddington is so determined to be insouciant that he’s railing against the manufactured-ness of the replicator food as if he’d rather be eating emergency rations. He uses Sisko’s thankgiving feast for the senior staff, including food he grew for months in hydroponics (do lower crew have that privelege?) to extoll the virtues of subsistence farming for the Maquis.  This seems to be kind of a proxy for the formal rigidity of the Federation against the more ‘genuine’ life out on the fringes. We’ve certainly seen that luxury in the Federation, and especially on Earth, is often most associated with genuine food. Joseph Sisko’s restaurant and the Picard family vinyard are the pole stars here. After all, new replicatable materials may make for more comfortable furniture and more soaring towers, but Star Trek is firmly humanist in its approach to the human condition itself, and a natural body will (so goes the argument) always prefer Real Food(tm).

Eddington blames Sisko for making the Maquis hunt personal, conveniently forgetting that his forces used chemical weapons on civilian planets. It was personal because Sisko came after them. And to be fair, Sisko certainly did a lot to convince Eddington that it was personal. Up to the viewer as to whether that was a ploy, or a big step on the path to deep moral greys. And of course, Sisko blames Eddington for helping to drive the reconciliation-amenable Cardassian civilian government straight back to military rule and the Dominion. It’s quite well done that they’re both a little right and have legitimate grievances against the other, neither of them are handling things well, but there’s still a clear correct side.

On the station, some Klingons are roughhousing in Quark’s, and Nog is waiting patiently until they officially cause an infraction so he can Stand Up To Them. His first attempt does not start out well.

Sisko’s encountered some Jem’Hadar warships, and is banking on Eddington’s willingness to help save his own skin. He bets right, and Eddington comes out of his shell to use some tricks to mask the runabout’s warp trail, and from there even agrees to take Sisko to the launch site, on the condition that they’re gonna have a good old-fashioned dust-up after that. The kind from the old west, where someone dies.

"Hey Steve? I think we're boned."

“Hey Steve? I think we’re boned.”

Eddington’s first trick didn’t work, so the next plan is to rejigger the engines in-flight so they can detonate some nebular plasma. This is an incredibly dangerous operation, the kind that can get two bitter enemies to respect each other. Or not – Sisko’s really pissed about being battered around like that.

Jake and Nog are arguing about the fact that it’s impossible to put a sock on the doorknob of sliding doors, and when the conversation transitions from Nog’s inability to get a girl to the Klingons loitering at Jake and Nog’s old spot, Nog’s patiences is up. Again. He tries to shoo off Martok. As Sisko predicted, standing up for himself… to Martok… gets him a bit of respect. Imagine him trying to stand up to the Duras sisters, though. Orange paste.

Eddington has taken Sisko to Athos IV, a mostly-barren rock full of sensor interference and several kilometers of manmade caves hiding the launchers. Despite his promise to kill Sisko, Eddington’s hands are still free, which is going to come in handy since the Jem’Hadar are patrolling. Sisko even gives Eddington the phaser so he can go hand-to-hand with the Jem’Hadar soldiers. About that respect thing. – it seems to be blooming after all.

The Maquis who used to crew this base are all dead, of course, and strewn across the halls, and Sisko’s single-minded focus on The Mission contrasts with Eddington falling into despair. If Eddington hadn’t been mostly talk so far, you could even say that his despair is so deep he doesn’t have the heart to kill Sisko. As it is, though, we’re not sure whether this is true despair or just self-pity and showmanship.

Sisko remembers that the Jem’Hadar have personal cloaking, and they safely break into a bunker containing a whole lot of Maquis survivors including Eddington’s wife. Hey, remember how Eddington is an absolute master of deception and duplicity? There were never any missiles. There was never a launch site. The message was a ploy to let Eddington know that there were survivors at their safehouse. The Jem’Hadar weren’t supposed to be there, and I’m really torn on whether or not encrypting your signal inside a message that would force the Federation to take notice was good steganography or the worst possible plan under any circumstances except the exact ones where you happened to need help. I can only assume that this particular signal was concocted specifically for if Eddington was captured, and they would have sent a different one if he was just running around on missions.

In the running firefight, Eddington gets shot and does the Hero Holding Off The Implacable Advance thing. It was inevitable once we found out that he was married. But he’s a spymaster to the end. I will admit to being a little disappointed that he didn’t start singing “Red And Black” before his last defiant charge, though.

In the end, Eddington gets to die a hero, Nog gets a little damn respect around the station, and Sisko winds up with some lingering respect for Michael Eddington. This more or less puts the Maquis Resistance to bed, though. With Cardassia no longer calling the shots for itself, it’s time to move on to larger-scale conflicts.

Did we miss something awesome?