In which Weyoun doesn’t really ‘get’ empathy, Dukat might get discouraged, and Odo gets laid.
The Defiant appears to be limping along, trailing warp plasma and sending distress calls. They’re picked up by a pair of Dominion ships. Their weapons are down but they seem remarkably unworried, possibly because it was a trap and the Rotaran was waiting in ambush to pick off any attackers. They repower and take out the last one. Unfortunately, the victory dance is short-lived, as they’ve been ordered to retreat further in the face of Dominion attacks. Maybe if they weren’t spending their time picking off minor squadrons of scouts, they’d have better luck?
Jadzia’s not happy about the order to retreat, and is already treating Sisko like a longtime desk jockey about it. Troop morale is low, but Sisko doesn’t seem particularly worried. He’s got a plan in the works, to take back Deep Space Nine.
Garak thinks that Starfleet Intelligence has implanted a neural tap to monitor his thoughts, or else this is a convoluted scheme to keep spirits up and the troops entertained. Garak is being debriefed for any intel he might still have on Cardassia, and he’s not really happy to be on that side of the bright bare lightbulb. During this conversation, Sisko is presenting his plan, which has the added bonus of diverting the Dominion fleet, providing a flank to strike at, and slowing their advance. It provides the disadvantage of diverting protection from Earth somehow. The question of why Earth is more vital to protect than the 24th century-equivalent Hot Gates, particularly when the Dominion is already apparently encroaching on other Federation worlds, is best answered by the fact that the admiral answering this question is an old silver-haired white guy. Seems like Sisko is getting his point across, though.
Quark is indulging in a little advice to his best patron when he gets distracted by Kira walking by, so they can go about getting Rom out of lockup. Unfortunately, Odo and the Founder aren’t taking visitors at the moment, since he’s showing her how humanoid solids have sex. I could be charitable and suggest he’s trying to judo her sympathy tactics back on him, but either his methods are slow or he’s not very good at them. He also didn’t notice that he’s lost three days.
Weyoun is studying Ziyal’s art, and looks very confused by it. When Kira goes to confront him about the Rom situation, Weyoun confesses that the Vorta have no sense of aesthetics. The Founders didn’t give them any sense of art, just the ability to taste toxins. Weyoun will be executing Rom for terrorism, and has no plans to cave to any external authority, even given political complications with his marriage to Leeta. Quark offers to help, but Rom refuses. Saving the minefield takes precedence.
Kira’s next attempt is getting Ziyal to lobby Dukat for a pardon for Rom, from the angle of proving that he’s not a vicious dictator or foreign puppet-leader to the Bajorans and to Kira. It might be working, but daughterly disdain is something of a depth charge. Meanwhile, Damar is getting really intolerable with what little power he’s got, but fortunately it’s loosening up his lips. Well, that and the anticipation of getting blissfully drunk. Damar is basically a mole for the Resistance at this point. He tells Quark that they’ll have the minefield down within the week.
Gowron has so far refused to commit Klingon forces to the assault, so Martok is going to have to take Worf to go change his mind.
While Kira and Quark discuss the looming end of the world and how they need to get a message out to the Federation, Jake saunters by to gloat about finally being able to get a message out to Ben Sisko. How fortuitous. Morn will be smuggling the message out in a present for his mother’s birthday, and that message is about to get updated. Sisko gets the message in time, and they have to rush the plan without the Ninth fleet or the Klingon backup, setting up that the cavalry can arrive just as things seem darkest.
Among the things Vorta don’t have is acute long-distance vision. The Founders did not gift their diplomatic servants with that either, particularly not compared to the Jem’Hadar. He can’t see the small flashes of light caused by disabling the mines, but Dukat’s sure Weyoun will be able to see the massive explosion when they detonate all the mines. Damar, meanwhile, is bringing news of troop movements of Starfleet ships disengaging from border skirmishes. The loyal-dog relationship between Damar and Dukat is really kind of adorable, particularly when Dukat takes advantage of it to use Damar as a go-between to try to patch up things with his daughter. The Gul’s Itch is pretty on-point, but imagine if Kiff actually admired Brannigan professionally, and Zap made him clean out the Captain’s Fleshlight. Kira’s trying to be Ziyal’s friend at the same time as guiding her against Dukat, when Damar shows up in the Cargo bay to give Ziyal a very Cardassian pep-talk, manhandles her a bit, andgets the snot beaten out of him by Kira.
Sisko’s been studying some ancient Bajoran texts and prophecies for any hints as to the upcoming battle. He’s even planning to make his home on Bajor after the war. Other preprations for battle are underway – Nog has been made a full Ensign and technically outranks O’Brien, after all the times they’ve doubled down on the Commision/Enlisted division over the course of Miles’ carreer. Although Nog would clearly be courting death if he ever gave O’Brien an order. Sisko’s commanding the Defiant again, now that they plan to retake his permanent assignment, and heading up a fleet that includes at least four Galaxy-class cruisers. It is at this time I would like to point out that the Galaxies all have their saucer sections still attached. Hopefully all the non-combatant civilians were offloaded for this, at least.
Dukat and Weyoun now know that the Federation fleet is coming, and discuss it in a shot framed perfectly with Sisko’s Baseball looming over them. Dukat never got rid of it, which tells you a lot about Dukat. He and Weyoun agree to pull ships off the front lines, just as Sisko predicted, but are counting on their own reinforcements coming through the Wormhole. Damar walks in with a busted face asking to arrest Kira. Dukat shoots him down and concludes (correctly) that Damar insulted or threatened or attacked Ziyal. Amusingly, the one place the Founders were generous to the Vorta were with their hearing – a useful sense for a diplomat.
Odo and the Founder stand on the balcony looking down at the Solids, pitying them. Odo sympathizes, and the Founder offhandedly remarks that they’ll ‘break’ the solids of their love of freedom. When Weyoun arrives to deliver news of the war, he gets the chance to watch one of his gods reassure a very nervous and unsure god. It must be a bit disconcerting. It’s disconcerting enough that he speaks out of place to the Founder, and she puts him back in it by reminding him that returning Odo to the great link is worth more than the whole Alpha quadrant. Odo tries to catch up with Kira, but she’s not interested.
Garak’s been allowed to join the Starfleet attack, and he’s keeping track of all the Starfleet ships that are falling out of formation due to technical problems. The Dominion fleet comes into range too, and it outnumbers the Federation fleet 2-1. Too late to back out now, though.
To be continued…