In which Ezri and Worf fight. A lot.
Sisko is singing the praises of rural Bajor, a monastary he visited yesterday and in an area where he just bought some land to build a house, once the war is over and where he wants to retire. He’s come a long way from where he started as a broken man on a temporary exile assignment. In point of fact, it was his destiny to come here – atemporal beings with the ability to see all possible timelines decided that the exact sperm-and-egg combination that led to Sisko would be the best person for the job, so they created him. While reminding us that Sisko is a Chosen One, we also get a little moment where Kassidy has to deal with what that means on a personal level, and possibly setting up more consequential fallout.
Ezri is chatting about Captain Boday, the transparent-skulled Galimte, to Bashir and Miles’ amusement, when Kira brings bad news. Worf and Martok’s ships have been taken out, and Worf wasn’t aboard any of the ships to make it out of the battle. I’d like to say it’s a quality reminder of how the perils of war can sneak up on you, but truthfully nobody in Star Trek, or indeed in television, can ever finish a conversation without some disaster interrupting it because “So… uh…. well see ya” does not make for compelling scenes.
Rumor says that Worf was the last to leave the bridge of the ship, and so the Defiant has been out searching for him in the badlands for three days, leaving Ezri to just wait. Quark reassures Ezri that Worf will be back – nobody as… Worf… as that could possible rest easy in Valhalla owing someone like Quark money. Dax is woken up that night with bad news from the Defiant, the Jem’Hadar are closing in on them and they have to give up the search. Worf is now officially MIA.
Cut to Cardassia, where Damar continues to chafe under the calm, measured thumb of Weyoun. He also pointedly explains non-expendable footsoldiers to Weyoun, and it’s clearly a point of contention between the two forces. Things are going very badly for the Cardassian population, and to add insult they’re keeping the war council room cold for the Founder, who doesn’t even show up. Gosh, it’s almost like making an alliance with a vast uncaring distant superpower comes with downsides. She’s also getting a subspace comm installed in her quarters, for Reasons(tm).
Ezri is breaking into Worf’s room using her medical authorization in order to relive all the memories Jadzia had with him. And thus, by the time the Defiantis back on-station, Ezri has stolen a runabout to go looking for Worf, braving space-sickness and making terrible static noises in the least-plausible deniability since Han Solo asked station control how they were doing. Ultimately, Sisko’s not going to enforce at her, just send her the Defiantsensor logs. If he stops her, he’s lost an officer. Ezri, meanwhile, is doing a bit of basic detective work that begs the question – do different fleets have different design philosophies for escape pod design?
Okay, so the point of an escape pod is to get your crew rescued from a dying ship. But what do you want your escape pods to do once they’ve launched? Hang around near the hulk? Form up and keep roughly together to aid in rescue efforts? Split up so that the have a better chance of attracting attention? In this case, only escape pods from one side of the ship were recovered, and apparently they would have different enough trajectories that Dax has to plot where Worfs would be likely to go. Would Klingon escape pods, which would be expected to see use from critical battle-damage more than from space wedgies, be programmed differently from Federation escape pods?
To try to follow Worf, Ezri cuts the engines and casts herself adrift on the plasma currents, gambling on those prevailing eddies being largely the same from week to week.
Sisko is awake late, like you do when two of your officers are missing, and he’s building a model home. You can tell a lot about a person and the society they live in by the house they design when they have literally no constraints on finance or building material other than self-imposed ones. He also drops the M-bomb on Kassidy and gets a Yes, meaning one of them is about to die.
Ezri is desperately fighting space-sickness, and following her plan of drifting in the face of all danger. After weathering the danger, she finds Worf’s pod, with Worf still alive. In treating him, they have a moment that neither of them entirely know how to deal with, but so far the runabout is not a-rockin.
The Founder is holding herself together more or less. There’s a heavy effort to come up with a cure for the plague, somewhat hindered by the fact that they’re trying for a vaccine instead of a post-exposure cure, and also by the fact that the Founder keeps ordering the research team to be executed. The plague is not just making the changelings flaky and gross, it’s also messing with their shapeshifting – she doesn’t ooze into the sample tube, she picks off a skin flake and puts that in. Weyoun obviously has to fight hard to suppress all his unworshipful feelings about the subject.
Jake’s happy his dad’s getting married, and also he gets to be best man. And gets to plan the bachelor party for his dad. Speaking of awkward, Worf and Jadzia are still on their way back from the badlands. It takes about two minutes before they have an argument about safe topics of conversation, which they are mercifully saved from by a Dominion patrol. They hare off into a planetary atmosphere, get shot down, and have to take an emergency beamout with some survival packs and watch their shuttle and all the comms gear blow up in atmosphere. Neither of them grabbed the rescue beacon.
Sisko and Kassidy are already planning the wedding. Turns out religion is still a thing, at least pro forma – ministers are still around to perform weddings, at least. Just as Sisko feels like he’s forgetting something in their simple ceremony, a little Bajoran girl shows up to remind him that as the Emissary, his wedding is probably going to be a huge religious deal to every Bajoran on the station, if not the entire planet.
Damar is in the middle of taking solace in the other thing planetary governers have than endless booze when Dukat shows up to cockblock him. He’s (presenting as?) a religious zealot for the Pah-Wraiths, but as with all his appearances it seems like he might even believe what he’s selling this time. One of the beautiful things about Dukat is that he always believes his own hype.
Worf, having grown tired of field rations, went out and spear-hunted a pig, which, as an action that was performed by one of the two of them while in close proximity, provokes an argument. It manages to defuse, a bit, when Ezri brings up Captain Boday, lighting up Worf’s jealousy again. She calls him a coward, he calls her a slut, and they… uh… cut to their campfire burned down to embers. When they wake up, they’re captured by Breen.
They wake up in a cell. This is confusing because the Breen aren’t at war with the Federation, nor should they even be on this planet. Complex geopolitical machinations are afoot, and Weyoon is trying to figure out Federation movements based on current intel. Weyoon knows about Damar’s picadillos, but thinks that he’s leaving the war room to go have a quickie, not to go meet… Dukat. Dukat has gone through some radical surgery and become a Bajoran.
Sisko hasn’t been able to send a rescue yet, and has been coping mainly by modeling his house, when the Prophets abduct him into another vision. In the guise of his mother, they tell him that he can’t walk his path with Kassidy. If he doesn’t leave her, all he will know is sorrow. He, for his part, doesn’t seem to understand the difference between seeing probability branches and creating the future. Just because the prophets can see his life ends badly if Kassidy is around doesn’t mean they can fix it. Also, it might be because this one was Sarah Sisko for a while or it might be that his Linear Time Lessons have/will/are sinking in, but this Prophet seems to have a better grasp on linear communication than the rest of them. With the warning that his greatest trial is about to begin, she dumps him back into his life.