In which tensions run high in the resistance, Sick Bay, and the very halls of power.
Kira’s showing off another failure of Damar’s men – they blew up a Jem’Hadar ship incorrectly. They ignored instructions in order to plant a bomb where it could more easily be found, and just because they happened to succeed doesn’t mean that ignoring the advice of a veteran insurgent is good praxis. Damar is still trying to make peace between Kira and his lieutennants, but ultimately he’s a Cardassian and will side with Cardassians. Just because he’s slightly reasonable doesn’t make him suddenly not a patriot with nationalist leanings. Odo’s there to support her by leading successfu missions, though. She can really rely on him, says the slow camera zoom in. It’s too bad he’s got the changeling disease too, and Garak knows it.
He’s deteriorating faster because shapeshifting a lot accelerates the degeneration. Presumably, this means that shapeshifting into a form without the lesions too, so hiding it from Kira will continue the degeneration. Garak will help keep the secret.
Bashir is working night and day on a cure for the Shapeshifter disease, and has pulled at least four all-nighters. In a row, with no cure in sight. It’s probably primarily bothering him that someone was able to out-medicine him, although his friend dying is certainly a contender. Thus, Miles pushes the ‘we have to engage Section 31 in intrigue’ plan again, which Julian shoots down on the basis that they’re also better at that game and will just go into hiding. Friendships will suffer.
Additionally, Gowron’s blaming his latest strategic failure on Martok’s execution of the tactics in the face of 6:1 odds against. Sisko isn’t having it, especially since Martok himself is in critical condition. If we didn’t know better I might suspect Gowron and Martok have some sort of David and Uriah thing going on but really Gowron just wants to make sure Martok can’t challenge him politically.
In Dominion HQ, now that Damar is gone, Weyoun has taken the place of whipping boy to the Founder and the Breen commander. She orders his family located, and cardassian civilians used as humanoid shields to forestall his next operations, just as Kira predicted. The Founder’s policy of using people up and discarding them might even be making Weyoun 8 almost as disenchanted as Weyoun 6 was. When she no longer needs the Breen for their weapons technology, three guesses what happens to them.
Damar, Kira, and their resistance cell turn to the topic of these weapons. Kira and Garak want to steal one and deliver it to the Federation so that Starfleet can reverse-engineer one. Rusot is still pretty antithetical to anything but the most inwardly-focused of goals, but Damar’s on board. Garak either can’t stand by and let Kira accidentally send Odo down a destructive path or thinks that the mission would be jeapoardized by his condition to where Kira would need to know, but it turns out she did. Kira’s known for a while, but is letting Odo maintain his dignity. They’d be perfect for each other if it hadn’t taken them seven years to get to this point and one of them wasn’t dying.
Sisko calls Worf in from Martok’s bedside to discuss the Gowron situation. Worf, after being the butt of Klingon politics for so long, gets it. And has an idea. We don’t get to know what it is other than that it’ll be risky.
Rusot can’t look past his vendetta, and thinks Kira’s just here to kill more Cardassians, tries to rough her up, and gets his neck-ridges handed to him in about three seconds. The extent of their ability to let things lie is that they’re going to have a duel to the death when the Dominion is defeated… although Garak suspects Rusot lacks the cold calculating view of vengeance that would have made him Obsidian Order material.
Worf’s plan is that Martok challenge Gowron for leadership of the empire during the war. Martok won’t do it, because it’s treason and oathbreaking, and Martok is a firm believer in oaths, so strongly that Gowron can count on it being unthinkable. Martok also won’t look past his own lack of noble blood. However, the conversation did admit of an Out – if Gowron acts with cowardice, then a challenge could be issued.
The Dominion has located and killed Damar’s family. They’re dead, obviously, and Kira can’t quite stop herself from pointing out the comparison. It’s one of those regret-the-words-the-instant-they-come-out moments, but Garak has hopes that Damar might be the kind of person who can use the pain instead of being blinded by it. At least, if he’s the right kind of leader, he will be. I think that moment does a lot towards establishing, or really solidifying, how ordinary Cardassians thought of the Occupation. Even the soldiers were insulated from the brutality on the ground, to the point where Damar was able to demonize the Dominion without detecting the irony.
Worf is asking for Ezri’s advice on the matter, and it turns out that she’s still a member of the House of Martok. This may not necessarily be a matter of policy, but Martok likes her, so she’s still in. Now watch as Worf immediately regrets this once Ezri tells him how she feels about the Klingon Empire. She thinks the Empire is about to die, and Gowron is a prime symptom of the corruption that’s killing it, but Worf tolerating that corruption isn’t great for the prognosis either.
The plan to infiltrate the Dominion base starts with Kira in handcuffs. New Dominion orders don’t allow armed Cardassians on Dominion bases. What a fantastic way to radicalize loyal members of your client state. Once they’re past the checkpoint, Kira drops the handcuffs, which are Odo, to get the party started. The Vorta seems skeptical, but of course she’s all deference when the Founder shows up. There’s a dicey moment, but if course the Founder is Odo. They’re ready to go, but the installation of the Breen weapon isn’t finished, so they need to hang out for 45 minutes while installation continues and hope that the Vorta wasn’t in the middle of any critical conversations. She was, so Kira has the video feed turned off and gives her best impression.
Bashir snapping at Miles doesn’t seem to have had a lasting impact on their friendship, but O’Brien has a new tack. If Julian finds a cure, Section 31 will show up to destroy it. Therefore, Bashir should claim to have cured it so they can… well that step is all question marks but it leads to profit. The operative that shows up might at least know the next link in the chain.
Gowron’s gotten tired of Martok, and sends him and 15 battlecruisers to the most fortified position in the dominion. Martok accedes, but Worf will stand against him. Gowron escalates on the assumption that he can get away with it by invoking the Starfleet uniform, which Worf promptly refutes. Good thing the council chamber had plenty of open space. Gowron has some moves, but Worf has guile, and Gowron is no longer an issue.
Martok immediately gives Worf the Cloak of Office, and just as immediately Worf rejects it. Because Martok doesn’t want leadership, Worf deems him worth of it, in Kahless’ own words.
The installation of the weapon is proceeding, and taking some time. Odo’s pushed himself beyond his limits though, and can’t hold up his facade any more. Rusot takes this as his excuse to break, hold Kira at gunpoint, and instigate a whole Cardassian Standoff. Damar has to make a choice, and chooses wisely. Rusot was his friend, but he wanted the wrong Cardassia and was a liability to the resistance. War sucks, but the mission is a success. It’s a good thing that Dominion ships can be crewed by like two people so that they can gas everyone in the ship, and Kira can spend a few minutes with a dying Odo without pretense.