DS9: S5E25: “In the Cards”

In which the Noh-Jay Consortium is back in business.

"Or I could leave this right here for you."

“Or I could leave this right here for you.”

Jake and Nog are clearing up after a senior staff feast where everyone looks like their dog just died. Several Starfleet ships have been lost in action near Cardassian/ Dominion space and while Sisko is trying hard to to talk about anything else, but all signs are pointing to the loss of the station. After the feast is over, Sisko gets word that his trials are not over, Kai Winn is coming tomorrow. Later, at the bar, Jake and Nog discuss Sisko’s depression, and how he has nobody to lean on.

While at the bar, Quark reminds them that he’s hosting an auction of rare antiquities, and suggests that Nog bid on something with all his stashed latinum. The items were found on a derelict freighter in Bajoran space. Most of it is junk, but one of the items is a Willie Mays baseball card, in mint condition. It’s the perfect item to get for Sisko, and Jake decides to make it a surprise present. On this line, we head into the credits, so I’m sure it’ll be no big deal. Hardly worth mentioning, even.

Nog won’t loan the money, and Jake mentions that he doesn’t have any money because he’s human. So apparently liquidity isn’t even a thing on Earth at all any more. The Federation still has to maintain a capital of currency negotiable with the outside forces, and maintain some way of measuring resources, but it would seem that interpersonal transactions just aren’t a thing anymore between humans. Nog’s philosophical rebuttal is “then why are you asking me for money?” which is, unfortunately, exceptionally concrete. Jake’s rejoinder is “hey, would you like to pay off a debt to the man who sponsored your entry to Starfleet Academy.

More bad news for Sisko – Kai Winn is here for her meeting. They discuss the abandonment of Deep Space Nine by Bajoran forces, but also to let Sisko know that a Dominion representative asked to meet with her, which is actually pretty decent of her. Let’s give credit where it’s due. Sisko promises to do whatever it takes to safeguard Bajor, no matter what intrigues the Dominion is pulling.

"Furthermore, I don't know why you'd assume I'm constructing deeply-illegal weapons technology." "Uh... what?"

“Furthermore, I don’t know why you’d assume I’m constructing deeply-illegal weapons technology.”
“Uh… what?”

Quark’s style of auctioneering is to cajole his patrons personally. The lot that Jake and Nog want to bid on contains a collection of small, seemingly-unrelated items, and I have to wonder who put these items together into a single lot. Nog is right about one of the competition, but a dark horse comes out of nowhere and pays twice Nog’s whole life savings. Jake is out of the bidding, but refuses to give up on the card. After the acution is finished, the confront the guy who bought it to make a side deal, but he leads off with ‘paranoid’ and goes from there. The phrase ‘soulless minions of orthodoxy’ and ‘laws of nature’ are thrown around, and then he’s gone.

There is a Dominion cruiser docked at the lower pylon, and in struts Weyoon, jovial as ever and trying hard to keep things diplomatic. Sisko is not in the mood for it. He also suggests that they’ll be seeing more of each other, pending his meeting with the Kai. Meanwhile, Dr. Geiger, who bought the card, has sent for Nog and Jake. Geiger’s quarters are full of a hodgepodge of equipment from various races, and he’s not selling but trading the card for a shopping list from two people with Contacts. Nog is now a cadet and has responsibilities to consider as to how this trade chain will go, so he has to ask what the purpose of all the equipment is. Dr. Geiger explains that his purpose is to stave off death by preventing boredom on a cellular level. Cells get bored of metabolism and reproduction, and eventually they die. His life’s work has been the creation of a cellular Regeneration and Entertainment chamber, a concept silly enough to even sound silly after three years of Voyager. And since the research isn’t dangerous weapons research, Jake and eventually Nog agree to the fetch quest.

The kind of image that could sell a home security system.

The kind of image that could sell a home security system.

First on the list is a neodymium cell. They go to Chief O’Brien, but they have to keep it a secret so that it won’t get back to Sisko and ruin the surprise. Nog reminds Jake how incentive-based economics works by offering O’Brien to do his boring menial task for him so Miles can go kayaking on the holodeck, in exchange for him sending them the power cell. Next up is Bashir with the medical supplies, but the problem is that Bashir’s doing something he actually wants  to do, so that angle doesn’t work. Instead, a little digging through the LucasArts Adventure Game Dialogue Tree determins that after their breakup, Leeta took Bashir’s teddy bear, and apparently amicable breakups work differently on Bajor, because she never gave him back. It is for this reason that we find Nog Indiana Jonesing a teddy bear away from his dad’s sleeping fiancee.

Back in the B-plot, Kai Winn explains the Dominion’s proposal – a non-agression pact between the two entities, made possible by Sisko’s advice against joining the Federation. Since Sisko can’t make promises regarding the safety of BajorIt’s a rough choice, and Winn has only the Emmissary to guide her. His advice is to stall, claiming special, Prophetic knoweldge, and he seems to do so sincerely as the Emissary and not as Captain Benajamin Sisko.

"That sounds worrying, and yet somehow entertaining."

“That sounds worrying, and yet somehow entertaining.”

Jake is halfway through the shopping list, and one of the components makes his bank of blinky lights power up. Unfortunately, his room is right under Weyoons, and the noise and sudden power signatures puts him and his guards on edge. Meanwhile, one of Nog’s tasks is to listen to all of Worf’s operas and filter out distortions, while Jake edits Kira’s speech.

 

It seems they might be just about finished, but Dr. Geiger isn’t answering his door, and it’s not locked, either. They enter to find all of his equipment gone. Jake and Nog go to Odo, who is not particularly helpful. Their next lead is the Vedek who was bidding on the same lot for a Bajoran mandala, and they set off to find out from the Kai where to go next with the best-set-up pun in history. Yes, greater even than ‘better Nate than lever.’

Winn and Weyoon are wrapping up their negotiations, including introducing Weyoon to the particular Bajoran custom of aura-reading-via-ear-pinch. If you’re not on board by now with Jeffrey Combs, you never will be. After they accuse Kai Winn of burglary and kidnapping, Jake keeps the secret by instead claiming to have been drunk, so they get confined to quarters. On the way, they’re beamed off to the Dominion ship, under guard.

There they are met by Weyoon, with his Interrogator face on. He explains his plans to Weyoon, because that gossip won’t get back to Sisko. Weyoon expresses some skepticism that Jake the station commander’s son and Nog, a cadet and thus theoretically beneath notice, have been having secret meetings with a mad scientist running experiments on charged particles right below Weyoon’s quarters, with Kai Winn, and with the entire senior staff, could possibly be coincidence. In the face of this skepticism, and Geiger’s entrance as a prisoner, Jake ‘confesses’ that they’re working for Starfleet Intelligence, Department of Temporal Investigations, and the sudden appearance of Willie Mays in the timeline.

Weyoon buys the first story, and when Nog dismissively explains Geiger’s work, Weyoon buys into that too. Before they have to listen to Geiger’s lecture again, they beg off, taking the card with it. And all the little odd jobs they’ve done for everyone have spread a wave of optimism  and joy throughout the station. Except for Leeta, who’s missing the bear.

 

Did we miss something awesome?