In which Zek instigates another armed conflict while hunting for new business opportunities.
Quark is not a fan of Julian and Ezri hanging out. And being so unreasonable that Odo doesn’t even have to try to make fun of him. Thankfully, Odo is saved from this when Rom barges in with an emergency from Moogie – Zek has disappeared on a business safari, and is 7 days overdue on a five-day trip. Quark shoos Rom on so he can go back to brooding over Ezri, and that night goes to pray to/brive the Blessed Exchequer .
So, the concept of sacrifice and tithing is alive and well in the Ferengi religion, although I have to wonder – what happens to the latinum? There’s no way it goes to waste. Does Quark have a key to this lockbox, and the sacrifice to the Blessed Exchequer is in the interest he doesn’t make on re-investment? Or does someone from the FCA or the Nagus’ office come around once every few years and take his idol away to the coffers?
When he’s done, just after asking the BE to help him out with Ezri, who should walk in but Ezri wearing black leathers, studs, and a bit more sultry makeup than usual. He’s pretty committed to the idea of naked time, even after she pulls the knife on him and explains that she’s not Dax. She has a message from Zek. He’s in the mirror universe, where this Ezri is from, and being held prisoner by the Alliance (Klingon/Cardassian) and Regent Worf wants a ship’s cloaking device as ransom.
So, analysis time. If the KCA gets a cloaking device, the Resistance is screwed. Therefore, they do not want the KCA to get a cloaking device. And since the resistance was not raised on progressive, diplomatic values, they only arrived at ‘help rescue the Nagus and send him home’ after someone pointed out that he represents a trade empire and could be a valuable friend to have. Their first instinct, and really tempting backup plan, is probably just to remove his value as a hostage by killing him. Of course, Ezri seems to be with the KCA, so it’s entirely possible the resistance hasn’t even gotten that far yet, if they’re even aware.
And so, Quark and Rom have stolen a cloaking device. It is, of course, cloaked so that they won’t be seen blatantly carrying a Klingon cloaking device down the hall. They stole a Klingon one because the Defiant’s is even heavier. Rom’s got some question’s about Ezri’s allegiance, but they have to pause for a moment while Sisko and Martok walk by. Towards the Klingon ship whose cloak they just stole. I wonder if the ship has the equivalent of a ‘check engine’ light, or if they’ll find out when they head towards battle only to have it not work.
Ezri is… well, I wouln’t say happy that they’ve fulfilled their end of the bargain, tells them they’ll just have to trust the Regent will hold up his end of the bargain, suggests they don’t come with her. However, since Martok is about to straight-up murder both of them, they jump on the pad to go see that the deal comes through. They’re joined on the other side by Vic Fontaine, the hologram. I suppose Bashir’s friend who wrote the program might have modeled Vic after himself? Sadly, Vic Fontaine gets a phaser to the chest from none other than Bashir. They get taken captive by the Rebels, Julian smacks Ezri around a little, and Quark goes kind of ballistic.
The Terran Resistance has appropriated the cloaking device. Smile is fairly easygoing, but Julian is in a bad mood, since Jadzia bit the dust in a skirmish a few months ago. This, coupled with the existence of Vic Fontaine, ought to cause Federation researchers to look really askance at any powerful energy-beings they know of who might be maintaining the Mirror Universe as a joke.
In this universe, Ezri Tigan is a mercenary, and the Rebels didn’t pay her for the last job so she’s working for Regent Worf. Smiley gives them until morning to decide on whether to go home or rescue Zek. Quark, for all his many faults, is a loyal Ferengi.
Zek isn’t doing too badly for himself in his incarceration. He’s in the same cell with Intendent Nerys, who’s gotten a bit edgier durng her own incarceration, if she thinks things aren’t going to go her way.
Since the Nagus is exceptionally rich, Ezri is suddenly interested in rescuing him. Even though Quark is only doing it out of loyalty. Hilariously, Quark is getting the same kind of reaction from Ezri that other people usually get from him. As they discuss this and Rom has a very low-wattage epiphany, Brunt shows up. Apparently, he’s Ezri’s partner, hypercompetent, and pretty generious. I also get the sense that he’s in love with her, she knows, and she doesn’t.
He also hates the alliance, but he’s working for Ezri and Ezri picks the jobs. He’s ‘not her type.’ She’s very ‘particular’ about her choice of men.
Zek, meanwhile, has introduced Regent Worf to beetle snuff. Worf, who lives on a musty Klingon ship, has the first clear sinuses he’s had in years. Garak tries to get the Regent to focus on actually killing Nerys, but he’s not really all about that. And it is into this political quandary that Quark and Rom come to make a trade, moments after Worf tests out his new spikey gauntlets on some random bridge officer.
It seems, however, that all is not what it seemed. Ezri wasn’t doing this for Worf, she was doing it for Nerys. The two are about as close as Brunk would like to be with Ezri. This was Nerys’ idea, and she’s earned her freedom, to Garak’s dismay.
Zek made it here because Rom was studying the multidimensional transporter on O’Brien’s orders, and decided to branch out into new markets. Meanwhile, Brunt is guilt-dripping Ezri over the way they’re treating Quark, and he stands up to the Intendent. She does not appreciate the suggestion, and stabs him, then immediately goes into damage control mode with Ezri by begging her not to betray her with the bloody knife in her hand.
The Regent’s ship is about to meet the Defiant, but the cloaking device is not operational yet. Rom knows how it works, but Quark is a sufficient master of the obvious to ask why they would possibly help, since the Regent has been shown not to keep his word anyway. Ezri claims to have had a change of heart, and Rom, who understands how critical he is to this endeavor, makes Garak say ‘sorry’ while the Intendent pretty clearly explains the virtues of a good prostate massage to Worf.
Once installed correctly, the cloak is functional and running. And Rom is no longer needed, so Garak gets to kill them. It would’ve been really good if Rom had thought to install, and then tell them about the deadman switch or booby trap he installed. After all, there’s no point in a doomsday device unless everyone knows you have one. Preferably before Garak injects them with a virus that boils all the fluids in your body. Quark and the Nagus then proceed to fast-talk an inferiority complex into them, because while their Garak is subtle and clever and once got someone to break down just by staring, this Garak is just a flat, uninteresting sadist.
Even Rom joins in, and they drop the hint about how their Garak is a master of, among other things, sabotage. Meanwhile, the Defiant is running headlong into the Regent’s ambush. Worf is just tailing them for fun at the moment. When he drops the cloak to open fire, all the power goes out, because Rom had a pretty good plan after all. Worf throws a tantrum, Ezri saves all the Ferengi from their combat skills, and the Defiant goes to town on the Regent’s ship and extract an unconditional surrender from him. Nerys steps out prior to his tantrum and goes to meet up with Ezri, then to escape.
With the day saved for the Rebels, Quark offers to stick around for a while to hit on Ezri, but she’s looking forward to being debriefed by Leeta, so there’s that.