In which Kira goes to Cardassia, Julian goes to Starfleet Medical, and Martok goes to school.
The Defant has been destroyed and Damar’s open call to resistance is now the Alpha Quadrant Alliance’s best hope for victory. The good news is that out of the Chin’toka disaster, the Federation stumbled on a countermeasure to the Breen weapon. One single Klingon bird-of-prey survived on a fluke of engine tuning. All of the Klingon ships have taken the patch, but the Romulan and Federation ships don’t have an analog. Thus, the Klingons will be the tip of the spear, and will be deploying 1500 ships, leaving them outnumbered 20-1 by the Breen, Cardassian, and Dominion forces. Because of this, the Klingons will have to adopt harry-and-harass tactics, as external support for Damar’s rebellion. And since Damar has no experience running a guerilla campaign, Sisko will be sending him Colonel Kira Nerys. She’s not pleased, and not just because of the traditional Cardassian animosity. Recall that Damar killed Ziyal. To find him she’ll have to get help from Garak’s contacts.
Other concerns are ongoing. Julian is lecturing Odo about the difficulties of keeping stocked with synthetic organs for battlefield medicine. This is as a lead-in to asking Odo for a cup of goo in order to try to reproduce shapeshifting for medical applications. Also, down on Bajor, Kai Winn is telling everyone Solbor is ‘missing.’ She’s also cooled towards Dukat, now that she knows who he is. She can’t forgive him for the Bajoran occupation, but in the same breath finds nothing wrong with the Pah-wraiths purging Bajor of everyone they find ‘unworthy.’ She’s also not willing to let Dukat read the Book, and is probably planning to get rid of him.
Gowron is traveling to DS9 to induct Martok into the Order of Kahless, and Garak’s contacts have made success. However, there’s a snag. Damar’s people would be humiliated to receive help from a Bajoran army regular, and it would undermine his authority. Thus, Kira gets a Starfleet commission, though she draws a hard line at adjusting her nose ridges. It’ll have to do.
Next time we see Damar, he’s dealing with that exact problem. You almost have to admire the pride of a resistance movement that’s willing to turn down the help of a resistance movement that was better than their whole imperial army. That said, you have to admire Damar more for actually putting on his big-boy pants and recognizing game when it comes to town.
When Gowron shows up, there’s a tense moment when Worf confirms that he’s part of the House of Martok, but apparently the end of the House of Mogh is politically sufficient for Gowron, particularly if he needs to honor Martok. Worf is no longer persona non grata in Gowron’s presence. They all go off to get shouty-drunk, and Julian complains to Miles about Ezri avoiding him. Bashir also starts analyzing the sample Odo left him, but gets distracted when Ezri shows up and Miles gives them the room. They get stuck on a misunderstanding when Julain a) doesn’t want to hear about her and Worf having a pants-off-dance-off and b) gets distracted by the results of Odo’s goo-analysis. It turns out that Odo has the Changeling disease.
What’s odd is that Odo doesn’t have any symptoms. What’s pretty terrible is that if Odo got it when he linked with the Founder, he also passed it on to Laas. Who will in turn pass it on to any other changelings he finds. Odo refuses to return to the station, as they have a mission to do, but Julian is hopeful that by the time Odo returns, he’ll have a cure. Odo, pragmatic as ever, goes back to the mission immediately, leaving Kira to deal with her feelings. ‘Cause Garak’s sure not going to be helpful.
Dukat has snuck into Winn’s chambers to steal a look at the Text of Kosst Amojan. When he attempts to read it, though, the words turn into fire and blind him. Those Pah-Wraiths seem to be just as arbitrary with their rules as the Prophets were in Dukat’s arguments – inevitable, really, when you contextualize them as nontemporal creatures trying to create the most favorable timeline for themselves. Linear-time natives would see the blinding of a reliable (if not faithful) instrument as somewhat capricious.
Martok’s induction ceremony proceeds, in which he accepts a dagger stained with the blood of the Chancellor and mingles his blood with the blood of the Chancellor and (probably) through him, a symbolic line all the way up to Kahless. I also seriously think that the shape of the dagger is probably optimized for bleeding ritually into a vessel you can aim at. Admiral Ross is a bit of a wimp when it comes to his turn. Once the bloodwine starts flowing, Gowron’s true intentions become apparent – he’s retiring Martok from leadership (giving him the Order of Kahless to make it a non-insult) and taking a more active role in the war so that when they win, it will be his victory. Remember – Gowron is a politician among warriors, and he might as well be a dingo among babies.
Bashir’s been having a hard time getting Odo’s old medical records from Starfleet. Odo’s medical records are classified, so he has to go up the chain of command and jump through hoops in order to get the door slammed in his face. Starfleet Medical is not prepared to assist Bashir, for fear that the cure could find its way into Dominion hands. This is becoming a matter for Starfleet Security. On a scale, I place this pretty close to Sisko approving of a politically tactical assassination and the admission that Starfleet runs covert interventions in foreign governments. In denying Bashir the files, Commander Hillier has confirmed that Starfleet finds the extinction of an entire species more expedient than it is tragic. Julian must resolve to get Sisko to make the request, and hope that Ben has the clearance level that neither he nor Miles has even heard of.
Kira and Odo make it to the Cardassian bolthole, and things are… tense. Not even (or should I say, especially) Garak’s charm can help defuse it, but Kira quickly launches into Theory of Resistance 101. Even in resistance, the Cardassians gravitated towards a centralized structure. While Damar knows wisdom when he hears it, his LT Ressat argues at every turn. He objects when Kira and Odo specify a target with Cardassian defenders, and the Cardassian Liberation Front members object. However, these things follow a predictable pattern – as soon as they make that pattern known, the Dominion will just stock all their facilities with Cardassian collaborators. Thus, the lesson continues.
Sisko does, in fact, have Sigma 9 clearance, and there’s a lot of data. Miles tries to correct Bashir’s mistaken impression of Ezri’s relationship status, because he has nothing better to do, when he is distracted by Odo-goo again. This time, it’s because someone used Dr. Mora’s old scans to fake the Starfleet Medical scans. Starfleet Medical sent a fake. Or perhaps Section 31 sent the fakes.
Worf, as Gowron’s regular target, has figured out what Gowron is up to, but ultimately Martok is a loyal soldier and will help Gowron win the war as best as possible. In the CLF camp, the soldiers seem absolutely determined to provoke an argument, despite everyone’s urging. Kira has to go take a breather to knock over all the supplies, and when she goes to leave to cool down, Odo notices he’s started on some symptoms. It’s early days, so it takes relatively little effort to hide them, short enough time that Kira comes right back with the handheld AC Damar was thoughtful enough to have ready
Dukat’s still blind, and Winn seems to rather enjoy having him in her power. Since there’s nothing medically wrong with his eyes that the Bajoran doctor can find, we must assume a) Winn is lying about those findings, b) Bajoran medicine is primitive even after all that grooming by the Federation and also their ten thousand years of cultural enlightenment, or c) the Pah-Wraiths are just preventing Dukat’s brain from parsing sight. Seems like a lot of effort to go through. Her solution is for Dukat to learn some humility, so to that end she’s going to help him by putting him out on the street to beg.
Gowron has Thoughts about strategic initiatives. He sees that the Dominion is picking off Klingon ships one-by-one, so his plan is to use the ships they have in decisive sorties. He’s kind of acting like he did back when he was a changeling. And to wrap up the souring mood, Bashir and O’Brien spin their wheels against the Section 31-Odo problem. Quark wants to help, with coffee for the two of them, so long as Odo doesn’t find out. Julian’s analysis shows that Odo was infected more than two years ago, well before his last encounter with the Founder. Three years ago, in fact. Back when he was at Starfleet Medical. Starfleet infected Odo, in order to use him to spread the virus and commit genocide. Although we still don’t know why Odo hasn’t been symptomatic, we now have a way forward – get the cure that Starfleet surely has. Of course the have one – why would you doubt that?