DS9: SS3E20: “Improbable Cause”

In which further comparative literature is discussed, Garak nearly dies, and a storm is brewing.

"Just so we're clear though... totally not being your friend just to get close enough to stick the knife in."

“Just so we’re clear though… totally not being your friend just to get close enough to stick the knife in.”

Garak has been pushing so much Cardassian literature on Bashir that it’s time for the shoe to go on the other foot. Bashir starts with the classics, a man whose works even Klingons enjoy, and with a name like Shake-spear why would they not claim him? Apparently themes of teenage rebellion or disloyalty to the head of state don’t resonate as strongly with Cardassian sensibilities, however. Also, Garak finds Ceasar an absolute rube for not expecting treachery from his best friend. On Cardassia, that’s how friendship works. The human concept of a Classical Tragedy is somewhat of a ‘strange alien trope,’ when you get right down to it.

Anyway, Bashir is rushing off to do sometthing, and Garak comments on the human habit of speedy eating as well, and for once the meal actually gets to end before it’s interrupted at the very moment of parting by something. Kira has some concerns with the atmosphere mix of a visiting Yelosian ambassador, and it is this that gets interrupted by an explosion in Garak’s shop. We know one thing immediately – the culprit wasn’t one of his old enemies in the Obsidian Order – Garak’s still alive.

Tech work identifies the explosion as appearing to come from an accidental breach of a power conduit. Odo immediately discounts accidental causes, and another twenty seconds of scanning suggests a microexplosive that triggered the breach. I stand by my statement, however, that anyone trying to take out the desciple of Inabrun Tain should focus on lethality first and worry about a coverup later, especially if they don’t actually live on the station.

Sisko puts a hold on outgoing ships while they interview Garak, ‘a simple tailor’ about anyone who might want him dead. In explaining why nobody trusts him, Bashir relates the story of the Boy who Cried Wolf, leading to another revelation that human childeren’s stories are kind of horrifying. Also, Garak has a much better interpretation of that story.

"Oh, don't mind me, I'll just be here in the back eavesdropping."

“Oh, don’t mind me, I’ll just be here in the back eavesdropping.”

While Garak looks through some shipping manifests to see who might have tried to kill him, O’Brien brings news of the triggering device, which was activated specifically by Cardassian presence. The devices are favored by assassins belong to a particular species, and there’s one on board the station. Time to start profiling! Odo pulls him in for questioning, and if we assume that things Odo says are true (a risky assumption during an interrogation) he doesn’t actually have a sense of smell. I wonder if that’s universal to Changelings (chemical receptors being probably fairly difficult to reproduce) or if Odo just needs more practice. Odo pulls some of the perfumes out of the sample case with the air of a trap about to spring. The perfumes he’s selected are, in fact, a trinary nerve gas.  Plausible denaibility, though.

O’Brien’s loaded up the Flaxian ship with a transponder good for half a light year, so Odo is going to follow in a runabout and Garak is not intending to miss out. Upon attempting to engage warp drive, the Flaxian ship explodes, though, so someone definitely wasn’t eager to leave loose ends. The explosive points to Romulans, which is puzzling even to Garak.

A Romulan representative admits that the Flaxian was legally executed (by sabotage) for crimes against the Romulan Empire, which adds yet another dead end to the investigation. Sisko is putting a lot of time and effort into tracking this down, and an uncharitable person might wonder why. He could just be territorial. Odo’s going to run down some contacts of his in the Cardassian government.

"I won the tontine!"

“I won the tontine!”

In a Deep Throat situation, Odo meets in a dark cave system with his contact who’s just changed his face, and hints at a much larger set of Romulan activities that indicate a Romulan buildup. Five Cardassian operatives were targeted aside from Garak, and all are now dead. Odo’s got a listand some new nasty surprises to throw at Garak. Although Garak is not exactly one for displays of sentimentality and grief.

Odo has figured out one piece of interesting trivia – Garak blew up his own shop to get Odo interested in the investigation. I guess technically I was wrong… someone with Obsidian Order training did, in fact, trigger the explosion. Now that Odo is involved, he’s not going to let Garak continue to lie. The six of them (Garak and the five dead operatives) were all disciples or associates of the legendary Tain, who may now be in trouble. As a general note – if the Romulans were planning to move against Cardassia, taking out the Obsidian Order would be a great first step, in that it would assure they get to take a second one. Plus, the Tal’Shiar probably suffer from some level of professional jealousy.

Odo and Garak set off once again, and off to a safehouse Tain has that Garak isn’t supposed to know about. Odo is half-deducing, half-fishing for the specifics of the relationship between Garak and Tain, and really seeming to get under Garak’s skin. Enough that he lashes back and the two of them establish some ground rules in the kind of amazing scene you expect from Garak.

"I've been debating between being condescending and feigning wounded pride that you thought I wasn't behind all this. Thoughts?"

“I’ve been debating between being condescending and feigning wounded pride that you thought I wasn’t behind all this. Thoughts?”

They are soon met by a cloaked Romulan warbird in Cardassian space, boarded, and captured, and I’d really like to be a lot less surprised that Tain is, in fact, running the show, and happy to see Garak. Because of Reasons. Tain is about as retired as Garak is a simple tailor, and the two of them do some great sparring. Now that he has the two of them at his mercy, Tain has no problem explaining his master plan – the joint Romulan-Cardassian fleet will be going through the wormhole to engage a first-strike against the Dominion. Correction – the joint Obsidian Order-Tal’Shiar fleet. You know, the one that Tom Riker found out about. The central governments don’t know anything about it, and their target is not any Dominion military bases, but the Founder homeworld itself.

Garak and the others were targeted because Tain is planning to go back into business and didn’t want the loose ends, but Garak’s good intentions earn him a release… or a ticket back onto Tain’s team. And who could refuse an offer like that?

To be continued…

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