In which three cultural icons have the rug pulled out from under them.
Something is expected on the bridge, and Julian and Ezri are a little awkward since he woke up and his first words were puppy-love at her. Odo seems to be cured. Worf has Feelings about this, but more importantly, Sisko has another Defiant-class ship to play with. This is the Sao Paulo, and Starfleet sent Admiral Ross to hand her over. Given the degree to which these things are automated, I have to wonder whether Sisko has floating command codes and passwords which are now just registered to the Sao Paulo, or whether he’s going to have to go into his ready room and enter in all his passwords manually. Sisko also has permission to rename the ship Defiant. The new Defiant has countermeasures against the Breen energy weapons, and all the officers leave the bridge so that Sisko can have some alone time in the new chair.
Garak is happy to see Cardassia again. Kira’s probably been operating under radio silence and might not be aware that Odo is healed up, and likely has some rage to take out. Damar has a new Lt, Seskal, who’s handling the Jem’Hadar ship while he goes in with Kira and Garak to run some good old insurgency. There’s been a resistance breach, though, and it looks like they’ve been ambushed and their escape route destroyed. Guess we shouldn’t have bothered to learn Seskal’s name. With every contact they have burned, their only chance is an old acquantance of Garak’s, and she’s willing to hide them in the basement. It’s Tain’s housekeeper, where Garak grew up. Mila is jaded and ascerbic, but willing to help if they clean her basement.
Odo was, in fact, able to tell Kira that he’s better. It’s only now that Odo is better, however, that Bashir has the chance to explain where he got the disease. He is, understandably, pissed. Moreso when it turns out the Federation Council has decided against sharing the cure with the Founders. They have decided not to undo the genocide Section 31, which they claim to hate, perpetrated.
Rom has encouraged Leeta and her friend to negotiate down the amount of their tips that Quark takes. Quark gets called away to a call with the Nagus, though, and therefore doesn’t fire them on the spot. The connection is pretty terrible, but the Nagus has called to tell Quark he’s retiring and naming his successor, which will apparently be Quark. Nagus is apparently a position which gets an appointed successor, when everything goes well.
Julian and Ezri are still being awkward about it, but thankfully they are adults enough to be able to get over it and oh god they’re talking themselves out of it as I type this just bone already. While they discuss moderation and restraint, Quark is celebrating how amazing it’s going to be to have free reign and a cultural expectation of avarice beyond avarice. Who should walk in to ruin the mood but Liquidator Brunt, FCA. He’s heard the word too, and is eager to start sucking up to the boss to make amends.
The ubiquitous Propaganda Screens on Cardassia are busy crowing about having crushed 18 rebel bases (all of them) and having killed Damar (not true, but close enough) and crushed the rebellion. They’re pretty well broken, but only Kira seems to have any fight left in her.
Quark has been out of the loop for a while, and hasn’t heard that Zek instituted progressive tax brackets. Lest you be concerned, bribes are tax-deductable, probably itemized as a business expense. He’s also implemented a social safety net. Neither Quark not Brunt like these measures, but Zek has also implemented separation of powers preventing his decrees from being instantly undone.
Mira may be bitter and ascerbic, but she’s a true believer, there to bring the news of the People’s Belief in Damar’s Glorious Resistance. Since the Dominion keeps lying to them, nobody believes the Dominion now, and they want to believe that Damar is still around. Kira now gets to plan a whole new kind of resistance – a mass populist uprising.
Weyoun has found a new head of the Cardassian Union to be his puppet. The Dominion is already aware that the Federation has a countermeasure to the Breen weapon, and they’re falling back to Cardassian space, retracting to the point that they can hold a line in strength. They don’t believe the Federation will press the advantage, and they’ll have some time to build ships.
Zek has gone all-in on Federation-y and implemented a few hundred years of regulation overnight. Quark’s so busy ranting about it that Rom is able to get Quark to sell him the bar. Quark is an idealist – he’s ready to refuse to do the job if it means being GreedPope of a society that no longer worships greed.
Garak has gotten delayed in planting a bomb, and is being held up inside the blast radius by a pair of Jem’Hadar. You’d expect everyone involved in this operation to be ready to accept that every operation has a risk, but also he’s a third of the entire resistance, so there’s a necessity to rescue him. Damar makes a pretty great distraction, particularly when he can be all heroic in front of witnesses and save a random bystander. The way things work out, Garak is even able to shill for him and get the crowd started chanting.
Ezri and Julian have accidentally bumped in to each other, and are oh-so-smug about having cleared the air so that it’s not awkward between them. Praise the Great Bird of the Galaxy that they’re snogging by the end of the turbolift ride.
The Nagus has finally arrived, and Quark makes his stand. Of course, given all these reforms, there has been an obvious mistake. Zek and Ishka wanted Rom to be Nagus. Rom, who believes in reputational effects and Public Goods and holistic economic effects. Quark takes it a bit hard, and sets his bar up as the last outpost of Real Ferenginar. Rom will be left to sort out the culture-jam that is fitting the Ferengi people into a root-beer-shaped glass. The metaphor kind of got away from me but you know what I’m talking about.
Starfleet’s finally gotten the reports that the Dominion is backing off. Ross, Martok, and the Romulan general discuss what happens next. The Romulan vies for containment, but Sisko isn’t having any of it. He’s there to stop Ross from falling into typical Starfleet patterns, and with Martok’s reliable vote for attack, the Founder’s plan will find no purchase here. Something’s amiss at home, though. Well… Kassidy’s pregnant and probably kind of worried about how Sisko would take it. One of the two of them didn’t take their monthly birth control injection, which after twenty three seasons of Star Trek finally explains the infrastructure mechanics behind a society with total parity between all relevant biological sexes. Sisko let his injection slip his mind, and they’re excited, except for the thing where the Prophets warned him about nothing but sorrow.