In which Leeta says ‘screw that’ to the dress, war is declared, and a new comedy trio is formed.
The Risian traditional wedding gown looks like either the first reaction to, or the reason for, the Federation choosing to make the planet its unofficial sex resort. And no, due to my no-blatant-fanservice policy I will not be screencapping it. Suffice it to say that it clearly requires some Warp-Age adhesives to stay attached without taking skin with it on the wedding night, so I don’t know how ‘traditional’ it can really be. The reason this came up, by the way, is that Leeta and Rom are choosing wedding accouterments. Rom’s a fan, Leeta less so, and Garak reminds them that they’ve gone through literally all of his options. Quark has his own opinions, but Leeta’s taken by seeing Sisko. She wants him to officiate the ceremony, and of course he agrees.
It’s about now that the regularly scheduled Dominion fleet deployment comes through the wormhole. This is convoy number five to Cardassia, and an imminent attack is suspected, but life goes on. At dinner that night, Jake gets roasted for writing an article about Sisko opposing the Bajoran-Dominion nonagression pact. Jake’s gotten a job for the Starfleet news service, as well. And Sisko is News, as little as he enjoys the prospect.
During an inventory, Kira has found ten thousand units of Yamok sauce that Quark has smuggled in, in preparation for a Cardassian takeover. Nog’s also heard rumors that the Romulans are signing non-aggression pacts with the Dominion. The local cosmo-poltiical landscape is a quadrant divided, and while Sisko cautions Nog not to trust unsubstantiated rumors, he also puts in a call to Starfleet command to let them know about this new intelligence, because it’s always good to know a kid who keeps his ears open.
Starfleet has made a decision – they’re going to stop the Dominion from bringing any more ships into the Alpha quadrant by mining the entrance to the wormhole. This will precipitate a war, but since that’s inevitable, better to have it on their own terms.
O’Brien and Dax discuss options for the mines. Pulse mines with variable-geometry generators are out, as the Dominion will be able to pick them off. O’brien wants to cloak them, and since they’ll be tiny and stationary, there’s no energy signature to lock onto. Mines small enough to do the trick, a meter across, won’t have much explosive power after accounting for the space taken up by the cloaking device, so it would need to be a deep minefield, and that runs into an attrition problem. Oh, Rom’s there too, freaking out about his wedding, but in the midst of his panic attack he hits on the idea of self-replicating mines programmed with swarm tactics. Sadly, this means that the whole minefield will have to be in place before it’s activated. Because it can come down to the wire, we therefore can expect that it will.
Also, let it not be missed that Rom has to request new, larger quarters, and that might not come through within the two weeks before his wedding. Bureaucracy is all.
Starfleet isn’t sending any reinforcements. Sisko won’t say why, but presumably Bajor’s lack of Federation affiliation has something to do with it. Their orders are to deploy the minefield, and since there are no reinforcement scoming, the station will have to cover the Defiant while it does the deed. Odo calls Kira in to discuss some nifty security measures, and also their personal status. Odo has decided not to ask Kira out and make her uncomfortable.
The minefield construction is under way, and remember all that trade with the Gamma quadrant? That must be pretty much over, if Starfleet is willing to take this measure. Weyoon is on-station to Officially Object, and threatens to remove the minefield by expedient of taking the station. After this initial bluntness, Weyoon falls back on his charming ways, and blames the military buildup on the insecurities of the Cardassians. By this point, I think both sides know that they’re lying directly to each other’s faces, and barely even trying to buy time. The minefield has to go up now. One has to wonder if they’re using the runabouts, or if they would help. Sisko has a special assignment to Kira – tell the Council of Ministers to sign the non-agression pact with the Dominion. Protecting Bajor and helping it rebuild are still his primary orders on this assignment. Bajor is standing alone.
All Bajorans are now evacuating the station, including Ziyal. Garak will be staying on the station and defending his tiny little shop and slice of life. Sisko also gets the chance to perform that wedding before everything goes nuts. Small ceremony, Quark is bitter and cynical, and indeed now that they’re married they have to split up, as Leeta has to evacuate and Rom has to stay on the station to finish up. The Casablanca speech was a nice touch.
Sisko has created a program to run, the details of which we don’t know but will presumably find out soon, as Martok has engaged the Cardassians, and the channel is hijacked by Dukat, smugging smugly at us. The Defiant is an hour away for completion, and the Dominion have an ETA of 20 minutes. Everyone’s preparing for battle, including Jake handing out trauma kits and waiting in the infirmary to help with wounded and to Report the News.
Garak and Odo discuss their relative uselessness, and Garak laments not shooting Dukat in the back when he had the chance. Rom is staying on the station to help with repairs, and to watch out for Quark. It’s adorable.
The battle is imminent. Kira delivers her official protest as a major in the Bajoran milita, and then gets to work as the Dominion fleet advances. Dukat’s underling, Damar, is pretty excited too. Both Damar and Dukat are really excited to push on to Bajor, and Weyoon has to remind them that the Dominion is in a state of non-agression with Bajor and Cardassia needs them. With that not-so-subtle smackdown to Cardassian autonomy, and Damar already seeing the downsides of this alliance, the shooting war begins.
Deep Space Nine’s shields are holding against Dominion weaponry, despite the history of prior engagements. The Defiant is almost done deploying, but is beset by Jem’hadar fighters. It’s a near thing, but Martok and the B’moth come to the rescue of the critical path. The Dominion forces focus fire on a specific point in the docking ring to punch through. Just as the station is taking a beating, the minefield goes up and Weyoon expresses his annoyance. But they have reinforcements and the Federation crew don’t. It’s time to retreat.
As they evacuate, Jadzia agrees to marry Worf, when they see each other again after their separate deployments – Worf to the B’moth and Jadzia to the Defiant. Sisko has a little time to speechify on the way out and gloat about how all of the Starfleet forces that weren’t defending the wormhole were instead blowing up a Dominion shipyard that would have made control of the Wormhole moot. A skin-of-the-teeth victory on two fronts – Respect to the Starfleet strategists who correctly calculated the balance of forces necessary on each task.
Benjamin “Douglass MacArthur” Sisko promises to return, and beams out. Garak’s also evacuating Deep Space Nine, probably because Dukat would have him tortured and killed just for funsies. Kira and Odo are now the only staff remaining on the station, and surrender it to the Dominion moments before activating Sisko’s program and hard-crashing every console and memory bank in Ops. Giving Terok Nor back to the Cardassians in the same condition they received it.
Oh, also, Rom is now a federation spy, and Jake decided to stick around as an embedded reporter. He decided he was safe under the aegis of Ben Sisko’s status as Emmissary – hurting Jake would come back to hurt them diplomatically with the Bajorans. Ben is not at all happy but taking it better than anyone ought to expect.
The station is dark and empty, and Weyoon bemoans the Pyrrhic nature of their victory.Woyoon’s first act is to annoy Odo with all that discussion of godhood, which Dukat upstages. Dukat won’t let Weyoon ruin his day, but Sisko’s baseball might do it. Then again, Dukat enjoys this kind of bravado in the Great Game, so who knows?