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Old 10-14-2023, 06:49 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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October 4th, 1993, "The Circle"

My biggest problem is that this episode basically consists of setting up stuff for the third part, without any consideration to being a satisfying episode by itself, because it's not. The sheer amount of exposition on display here is a disgrace.
Fiver by Derek

The Episode

JARO: But I expected you to be celebrating. I was under the impression that Major Kira has been nothing but trouble to you since
SISKO: Who gave you that impression?
JARO: Common knowledge.

While I have no doubt that there'd be gossip about this on Bajor, I would hope that it would stay current. Kira's character arc has developed past contacting admirals behind Sisko's back.

SISKO: Major Kira has my complete respect. She's been invaluable in establishing this command post. And now she's been dismissed without anyone consulting me and I don't appreciate it.
JARO: Commander, Starfleet doesn't consult us when they wish to promote one of their officers.

Because there aren't any Starfleet officers who serve under Bajoran officers. At least in the way they're talking about.

ODO: Have you asked Sisko for help?
KIRA: I'm sure he'll do whatever he thinks is best for the station.
ODO: You haven't even gone to him?
KIRA: Well what do you want me to do, Odo?
ODO: Fight for what you want. It's what you do best.

I find myself questioning Odo's exact position with the Bajoran Militia. He should know better than most about how military hierarchies work.

Furthermore, how exactly is Kira supposed to "fight for what she wants"? She has enough enemies in the Provincional Government as it is, trying to rally her supporters for an official objection would cause nothing but bad blood.

For that matter, the balance between the pro- and anti-Federation factions in the Council of Ministers is precarious enough as it is, the scandal caused by Kira's objection would tip the balance enough to cause the very civil war that Kira is fighting to prevent. She's too smart to want that, she knows that her career isn't worth the fallout.

ODO: Now I suppose they'll expect me to break in a new man.
KIRA: A great man. Li Nalas can handle the job, believe me.

How is Odo supposed to train Nalas?

DAX: Do you have any idea where you'll be stationed?
KIRA: Come in. Not yet. They say that after I've taken some leave time, I've earned a desk at the foreign affairs building somewhere.

Well, that sounds absolutely awful. Why aren't they giving her command of a patrol ship in the DMZ? In fact, she'd be happier retiring as a farmer, wouldn't she?

DAX: This is Kira's decision to make. Unless of course you want me to talk to Sisko.
KIRA: I knew what I was doing. I knew the risk.
ODO: That's not what she asked.

A good point.

BAREIL: I hope I'm not interrupting.
KIRA: No. Please come in. These are my (pause) These are my friends.

That pause of realization is very important.

(Then she sees it.)
KIRA: Oh, Bareil. All my life I've dreamed of this.
(Bareil opens the orb case.)

This is her first Orb experience? She hasn't had the opportunity in all this time? This demands further explanation.

ODO: Where would the Circle be getting so many weapons?
QUARK: The Kressari.
ODO: The Kressari? That doesn't make sense. The Kressari don't even have a military.

The Kressari make a number of background appearances in DS9, but they were never that important. My biggest problem is Odo's disconnect between weapons and military. Why can't a race without a military still make and sell weapons? The Orions seem to be doing just fine with this business strategy.

ODO: Quark. I hate to do this, but I guess I'll have to.
QUARK: That's not fair.
ODO: I haven't done anything yet.
QUARK: Whatever you're going to do, it's not fair.
ODO: You're a deputy.
QUARK: It's not. What?
ODO: You're a deputy.

Great scene. I'm reminded of when Garak made the offer to be deputized in "The Way of the Warrior."

LI: No problem. What about the station while you're gone?
SISKO: Dax and Mister O'Brien can handle things in Ops. If you need any other help

"Handing things in Ops" is not quite the same as "acting station commander." Kira has been trained to do this, Nalas hasn't. Frankly, this goes back to the "everyone should be training a replacement for themselves" thing that I've mentioned before. Kira in particular should have a second-in-command that Nalas could use as a backup.

WINN: We've met before, haven't we? Major? Major?
KIRA: Kira Nerys.
WINN: That's right. Major Kira. From the space station.

Ugh. This whole "I'm too important for little people" thing is used way too much to indicate "this person is a jerk".

WINN: A worthy endeavour for someone who has led such a life of violence, child. And I'm sure the Assembly would have had no objection to your encounter with an orb had Vedek Bareil consulted us.
BAREIL: No one has ever been held to that formality.
WINN: You're right, of course. But I've always consulted with the Assembly in advance.

Having to ask the Vedek Assembly for permission for every Orb encounter seems like something that's just asking for trouble. Especially if DS9 is supposed to have an Orb at their Temple. For that matter, why isn't there a Vedek stationed on DS9? It would seem like an obvious addition, a religious leader to compliment the military leader.

SISKO: There is concern in some quarters that the military is unwilling to confront the forces of the Circle.
KRIM: I don't know with whom you've been speaking, Commander.
SISKO: I've been observing troop movements. Every time there is a potential confrontation, the military withdraws to a safer position.
KRIM: You can't possibly appreciate that this is Bajoran against Bajoran.

And? Kira's been warning Sisko of a Bajoran Civil War for a year! Furthermore, if the idea of Bajorans not fighting themselves is supposed to be that important, it raises important questions regarding the Maquis and the DMZ colonists.

KRIM: Commander Sisko, you told me about the Kressari before you asked the favour regarding Kira. You could've tried to trade that information for the favour.
SISKO: I wouldn't do that.
KRIM: I'll remember that about you.

It's a shame this won't lead anywhere.

LI: I am First Officer Li Nalas. Can I help you?

Does Kira ever introduce herself like this? You'd think Li Nalas would be given the honorary rank of Major to use in situations like this.

(The Kressari appear to be spiky cousins of the Narn from Babylon 5)

I don't see it. Both races have vaguely reptilian appearances, but Kressari are closer to lizards and Narn are closer to turtles.
mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 10-14-2023, 06:50 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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SISKO: The Circle is for real, Major. They've been armed for a coup and I'm not at all convinced that the military's going to back the provisional government.

The biggest problem with the Circle trilogy is that in three episodes we never really MEET them, we just hear people TALK about them. That's a big difference. Elsewhere in Trek we can have exposition about what the Klingons or the Dominion is doing offscreen because we understand what the Klingons are about. Furthermore we have characters who represent these groups. The Circle has no spokesman like Worf or Weyoun or Garak.

Frankly the Bajoran Civil War should've been a subplot across half a season, not just a three parter. Furthermore, Kira's subplot here of spiritual discovery and starting to date Bariel should've been in a different episode.

JARO: Major, I don't have to tell you. I've heard your opinion of this government. Government. They can't even agree it is a government, so they call it provisional. It's just another word for powerless. I won't allow the Bajoran people to be powerless any more.

I've said before that the Provisional Government shouldn't have lasted this long. I despise it when "temporary" governments (in fiction or real life) let themselves become permanent without a solid bedrock to build themselves upon.

I also recall the failed years of the Articles of Confederation. The government didn't work, but nobody was calling it "temporary."

JARO: We have been doormats to the Cardassians and now the Federation. Any great power that happens by. We will not be that again. We are a people who brought art and architecture to countless planets. We don't deserve to be victims.

Would the Bajorans PLEASE stop acting like the Federation is no different from the Cardassians? The Bajorans have had a year to explain how the Federation is oppressing them, and the closest they ever got is "a single schoolteacher is refusing to teach about Bajoran beliefs even though there should be a Vedek onboard to do the job better than she could." (Seriously, the issues from "In the Hands of the Prophets" may have been exploited by Winn, but she wasn't creating something from nothing, so what happened to the real resolution there?)

JARO:Major, I've heard you have no love for the Federation. I'm not an unreasonable man. I'm willing to send you back to the station if that's what you want. I'll give you that station after we get rid of Starfleet.

I'm still a little confused about how Bajor thinks it could even run the station without Federation assistance. Even IF the threat of Dukat showing up tomorrow with a fleet to take back Bajor didn't exist (and trust me, it DOES exist!), Bajor doesn't have the resources necessary to encourage trade! They can barely feed themselves, much less export anything! What are they going to do, start charging a toll for wormhole access? Good luck enforcing that with the ships you have! Good luck upgrading the station's defenses!

ODO: Courtesy of a Cardassian weapon. The Circle's being supplied by the Cardassians.
KIRA: What?
ODO: I borrowed the proof. (the manifest PADD) It's got a Gul's thumbscan on it.

"A Gul"? While I have no doubt that Dukat himself wouldn't want to be a part of this plan, you could at least create a new name. "Gul X? He was Dukat's rival for years! If the Occupation hadn't have ended he'd probably command his own squadron by now! Could it be that he wants to prove that he can conquer Bajor more efficiently than Dukat?"

CHEKOTE [on monitor]: Then you're saying it's a genuine political revolution internal to Bajor.
SISKO: Supported by the Cardassians.
CHEKOTE [on monitor]: But internal to Bajor. The Cardassians might involve themselves in other people's civil wars, but we don't. The Prime Directive applies, Ben.

Grumble grumble. I thought we were past the era of "Prime Directive=all Federation law regarding contact with other governments".

SISKO: I mean a complete evacuation. I intend to take all Starfleet instruments, materiel. In fact, all Federation property of every kind. How quickly can we do that?
O'BRIEN: Sir, that'll take days. A week, for all I know.

I jolly well hope it would take longer than that. Some Federation equipment is probably pretty well integrated with the ship's systems by now. Plus some rather large equipment like auxilliary generators and sensor arrays to study the wormhole.

The Fiver

Bareil: Well then, you should come to Rivendell, the last homely monastery. But you should be careful, things might heat up with the Circle.
Kira: Don't worry, I'll be packing heat.

I'm not seeing a parallel between a Bajoran monastary and Rivendell. Besides, everyone knows that the Vulcans are the Space Elves, Bajorans are closer to Space Hobbits in terms of culture.

Bareil: Hey, Kira. Would you like to see something with an hourglass figure?
Kira: Uh, this isn't a monastery of ill repute, is it?
Bareil: Only when Vedek Winn's here.


Dax: Now listen very carefully. Your life may depend on what I'm about to tell you. You need to --
Winn: -- comprendre que l'étendue du Cercle est le carré du rayon multiplié par pi.
Kira: What? Go where? I don't understand.
Jaro: Je pense que je vais adopter "Appuyons Jaro, notre prochain roi!" comme slogan.
Kira: I don't see why people like these orb experiences so much.

"--understand that the area of the circle is the square of the radius multiplied by pi." "I think I'm going to adopt 'Support Jaro, our next King!' as my slogan." These two French jokes seem rather disjointed.

Winn: Sorry to interrupt this conversation but I'd like to say a couple of things that are vaguely disquieting.
Bareil: Um, sure. Go ahead.
Winn: Old oily Ollie oils old oily autos.
Kira: I don't get it.

Apparently this is a known tongue twister, but I'd never heard of it before.

Winn: What are you doing tonight, Jaro?
Jaro: Same thing I do every night; try to take over the world.
Winn: So what's in it for me?
Jaro: Same thing that's always in it for you; try to take over the religious world.
Winn: Excellent. Let us now commence our evil cackling. Mwahahahaha!

I didn't watch that much Pinky and the Brain as a kid, in fact the whole Animaniacs/Freakazoid corner of KidsWB wasn't really my thing.

Memory Alpha

* The creators knew that they'd dropped the ball on Nalas' story arc.
* First episode to feature Sisko's baseball on his desk.
* In the previous episode it's stated that a runabout can only beam two people at a time, and the rule has already been broken in this one. I think the whole idea is stupid. Runabouts have a proper transporter pad, and they can't do as well as a shuttle did back in "Best of Both Worlds"?

Nitpicker's Guide

* In the last episode the Circle graffitied a low security area and Sisko said to beef up security. In this episode they graffiti Sisko's door! Why isn't Odo doing his job?
* Odo will be on the Kressari ship for a time longer than his regeneration period. This isn't really a nit, I have no doubt that Odo can find a place to sleep.
* Sisko told everyone to slap a commbadge on Kira as soon as they find her, but Bashir tries to untie her first, giving the Circle the chance to shoot him. This doesn't even require genetic modification, just some common sense!
* Phil also wonders why Kira didn't use the orb back in "Emissary."
mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 10-15-2023, 10:50 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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October 10th, 1993, "The Siege"

Fiver by Kira

The Episode

SISKO: Governments can break off relations with an edict. It's not so easy when it comes down to our level. Lieutenant Bilecki here is engaged to a young man from Bajor. Ensign Kelly. Ensign Kelly's daughter and a Bajoran girl worked together on a prize-winning science fair project. All of us who have served on the station for the past year have made Bajoran friends. We've come to care about what happens to these people. I know I do. So I've decided to stay.

Yeah, it doesn't work like that. Sisko is disobeying orders. Furthermore, does anyone really think that if the Federation leaves now it'll never be back? Even assuming that Gul Dukat isn't here with a fleet tomorrow to reconquer the planet, any new government will be just as unstable as the provisional one that they just overthrew.

SISKO: Non-Bajorans won't be safe here. Our families, children have to be evacuated.

Evacuated where? It occurs to me that the location of the closest proper Starfleet Starbase should've been established by now, along with a standard time interval of when the closest starship could arrive.

QUARK: Hundreds of people to evacuate and only three tiny runabouts available.

Seriously? Even putting aside the distinct possibility of hiring nonaligned ships to carry people back to the Federation (surely Morn has room in his cargo ship), there should've been a proper passenger ship here by now to evacuate the Starfleet crew.

And to be frank, the idea that Quark wouldn't maintain his own Ferengi shuttle for a quick getaway is patently ridiculous.

ROM: You can't make me. I won't sell my seat.
ROM: No, I won't stay and be killed just to fill your pockets.

I repeat-what would be achieved by the Circle killing the civilians indiscriminately? As I've said many times, even if an anti-Ferengi government is established on Bajor, they'd evict Quark, not execute him.

O'BRIEN: I don't have any choice.
KEIKO: Don't you?
O'BRIEN: He needs me.
KEIKO: We don't?
O'BRIEN: We can't just let the Cardies have the wormhole.

O'Brien has his priorities a bit skewed. The Cardassians' priority is Bajor itself, not the wormhole. And frankly they have a lot of work to do to reestablish their control on Bajoran space before they even think of sending anyone to conquer the Gamma Quadrant.

Dukat would be busy for the next year at least sending the Bajorans to labor camps and executing members of the Resistance, O'Brien should be worries about that!

DAX: I've scanned every subspace communication window to find a frequency to Bajor. They've got them completely jammed.

I would hope that the Cardassians would set up the station to maintain contact with Bajor no matter what sabotage the Resistance attempted.

LI: The Lunar Five base?
KIRA: You think there's still a ship there?
LI: We managed to get a few sub-impulse raiders underground before the Cardassians hit us, but that was ten years ago.

Our heroes haven't scanned the entire Bajoran system by now? I shudder to think how slow a "sub-impulse raider" goes, and the idea of crossing half a star system on thrusters alone gives me the willies.

ODO: He's been brokering seats on the evacuation vessels.
SISKO: Where did you get more seats?
QUARK: Everybody always asks the brokers where they get their extra seats, and all I can say is, it's my business to find preferred seating for a select list of clients
SISKO: I have got more than two hundred people who want to get off this station. Where did you get more seats?
QUARK: A few trades. A person here or there who changed his mind about leaving at the sight of a reasonable stipend.

I'm still confused about how this is supposed to work. Quark spends an exorbitant amount of money to buy tickets from civilians hoping to get an obscene amount of money selling them? To be frank, how many people on DS9 can afford to spend an obscene amount of money? Furthermore, the Ferengi code must have a standard risk/reward formula that this situation would not meet. Quark should've concentrated on getting enough seats to get his most prized possessions off the station ASAP. Don't forget the 125th Rule of Acquisition: You can't make a deal if you're dead!

BASHIR: We're having a bit of a panic at the airlocks, sir. Far more passengers than we can handle have shown up and they all claim to have made arrangements to leave.
QUARK: I might have overbooked slightly.
SISKO: On my way.
QUARK: It's an accepted Ferengi transit practice.

Yeah, that's stupid. It makes you wonder if there's any sort of fraud protection in the Ferengi Alliance, because if there isn't the money would become too concentrated and cause mass poverty very quickly. You can't base a society on profit alone, is what I'm saying.

(Morn and Kira board.)

I guess the idea that Morn runs a cargo ship and only uses DS9 as a home base hasn't been invented yet.

ARO: Leaders like us.
WINN: If I am so favoured by the Vedek Assembly.
JARO: You don't have to worry about that. Twenty six hours after I'm sworn into office, I'll direct the Vedek Assembly to elect you Kai. Together, we will rebuild Bajor.

The very idea that the Vedek Assembly is susceptible to political pressure is absurd. I could've sworn that church and state are kept fairly separate on Bajor (aside from that time Winn tried to become First Minister, of course).

DAX: How did you ever win a war in these things?
KIRA: We were the insects, Lieutenant. The Cardassians were just as allergic as Trills. Is the proximity system working?

Technically it wasn't a war, and technically the Resistance were just insects, the Federation "won" the war. And technically nobody "won" the war, they just declared a ceasefire while they licked their wounds.

O'BRIEN: Eat hearty. The replicators crash in sixteen minutes. This'll have to last awhile.
SISKO: Combat rations, Chief? Couldn't you replicate something a little more palatable?

Under these circumstances there has to be a step up from combat rations.

O'BRIEN: Miracle of science, these little combat rations. Timed release formula of all the nutrients the body needs for three days. I love 'em. Only thing I miss about the Cardassian front.

Yeah, that's absurd. Military rations were never meant to taste good. My dad was military-adjacent for decades, I've had my share of rations. And truth be told, while I might enjoy certain parts of them as a once-in-awhile novelty, I would never want to have to live on these things.

O'BRIEN: Well, I would have expected you of all people to appreciate the nutritional value of combat rations.
BASHIR: Actually, when I was in Med school, I designed an incredible candy bar which was far superior in food value.

The thing about chocolate is that it actually is healthy in certain ways (from a military standpoint, at least). I seem to recall that after its discovery there were militaries that used it. As hot chocolate, of course, solid chocolate bars weren't perfected for hundreds of years after European discovery.
mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 10-15-2023, 10:54 PM
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Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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DAX: Navigational sensors aren't functioning.
KIRA: No problem.
DAX: No problem? Big problem. Without navigational sensors
KIRA: we'll have to fly by the seat of our pants.
DAX: Great. Seat of the pants technology.
KIRA: You Starfleet types are too dependant on gadgets and gizmos. You lose your natural instincts for survival.

Ugh. Without navigational sensors you don't have a clue where Bajor is, where it's going, or where your ship is going to crash into Bajor!

Look, I'm all for the analogies with guerilla warfare and having to navigate by the stars, but this ship is being held together with spit, mud, and prayers as it is. Even an accidental impact with another ship will leave you dying in the vacuum or burning up on reentry.

DAX: Not so good. The phaser locks are dead. There's no way to aim.
KIRA: Sure there is.
DAX: I know, I know. Seat of the pants.
KIRA: With your eyes, Lieutenant, not your pants. Just point at them and fire.

And here we go again. Even IF you can keep your ship under control so it doesn't smash into anything, there's no way you can keep track of another ship that's shooting at you. Even a glancing blow and you're in vacuum like I already said.

KIRA: No, the evidence speaks for itself. You have to leave me. That's an order, Lieutenant.
DAX: The Federation officially left Bajor yesterday. You're no longer my commanding officer.

I'm pretty sure it doesn't work like that, but I'm not in the mood to speculate about how much authority Bajoran Militia officers have over Starfleet ones.

LI: I've done everything I can to help. I'd die for my people but
SISKO: Sure you would. Dying gets you off the hook. Question is, are you willing to live for your people? Live the role they want you to play. That's what they need from you right now.

The problem here is that Li has been in the background for the entire trilogy. What will all the time wasted on the other subplots we haven't been given a reason to care about Li Nalas. This whole civil war thing should've been a six parter at the very least.

DAX: It's the only way we can get to the Chamber of Ministers.
BAREIL: Members of religious orders are the only ones who can travel safely in the streets. I'm going to escort you.

This is ridiculous, but like I already said, the writers are trying to cram WAY TOO MUCH into this trilogy.

QUARK: Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother! Rule of Acquisition number thirty-one.

Considering women's rights on Ferenginar, you have to wonder why that one was invented. I just don't see Gint as being a Momma's boy.

KIRA: This is a manifest PADD from a Kressari vessel. It bears the thumbscan of a Cardassian Gul who transferred weapons to that ship. Those weapons were taken by the Kressari to the Circle. This coup will deliver Bajor back into the hands of its greatest enemies. Are you willing to live under Cardassian rule again?

Seriously, not inventing a name for this Gul is just stupid.

The Fiver

Quark: There aren't enough runabouts for everyone to get off the station, Rom. Do you know what this means?
Rom: One of us is going to have a whirlwind romance before dying tragically?
Quark: No, idiot! We're going to be rich!
Rom: By finding a priceless blue diamond?
Quark: Shut up. Just shut up.

So Titanic was still a cultural force in 2005. I'm amazed that it stayed that popular that long.

Jake: Nog, I'd just like to say... you're the best bad influence a guy could ever have.
Nog: And you're the best patsy a troublemaker could ask for.
Music: Near... far... wherever you are....

I've never actually watched Titanic, were Jake and Nog's dialog close to an exchange from the movie?

Odo: Actually, Quark, I'd like you to explain these.
Sisko: A wig, high heels, and a woman's dress?
Quark: Hey, if you don't approve of that sort of thing then you should update your "women and children first" policy.

Another Titanic joke. It wasn't worth it.

Dax: You expect us to fly this hunk of junk? What if it breaks down in mid-flight?
Kira: Well, you have to compare it to other modes of travel, such as hurling yourself naked through the vacuum. Or flying in a shuttle with Chakotay.
Dax: True.

How many shuttles did Chakotay crash? The only one I can recall is the one in Nemesis.

O'Brien: What are we going to do now, Commander?
Sisko: We're going to do what we do every night, Chief: try and take over the station.

I'm surprised O'Brien didn't say "Narf!" after that one.

Bajoran Soldier: What the...? Who the hell are you?
Bashir: Bashir. Julian Bashir. You have the right to remained suckered, suckers.
Sisko: (over the comm) Good work, Doctor.
Bashir: Thank you, sir. I was going to go with "I'm Julian Bashir! Don't you read history?" but then I thought --

Generations, too? Was I supposed to get a Bingo card before reading this fiver?

Sisko: Not until I've delivered this message. "Honorable ministers, distinguished Vedeks, I come to you under the gravest of circumstances. The..."

Apparently this is a Phantom Menace quote. I guess Kira was on a late-'90s kick with this one.

Kira: I'm not leaving until I deliver this message. "Colonel Day, years ago you served your people in the Cardassian Wars. Now they beg you to help them in their struggle against..." Wait, this isn't the right message....

Or a general Star Wars kick. Whatever.

Sisko: Well, all's well that ends well.
O'Brien: What are you talking about? Li Nalas is dead, and we still haven't rid Bajor of factionalism, political unrest, religious extremism, and economic chaos.

Exactly. What has this trilogy really solved?

Memory Alpha

* There were plans to reuse Li Nalas, but my immediate rebuttal is that they didn't do a good job characterizing him here and thus there wasn't anywhere for his character arc to go. Seriously, from the start he was broadcasting the message "I'm going to die!", the only question was how well he was going to die.
* The director wanted to do a two-parter. I don't see how. Even if they threw out the Kira/Bariel thing, and Vedek Winn, and Kira and Dax in a rickety ship, there was more than they could resolve in THREE hours, much less two.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Back in "Progess" they made the fifth moon of Bajor uninhabitable, so where is the "Lunar V Base"?
* Why wasn't Quark punished? Because there wasn't enough time in the episode, that's why. I hope Odo punished him offscreen.
* Phil questions Kira's use of the expression "flying by the seat of our pants." I don't, the Universal Translator has to have a telepathic link with the user to work in the first place, idiom translation has never been past it's abilities (except for that stupid Darmok episode, of course).
* How can Dax give directions in terms of "o'clock" when Bajoran and Federation clocks are different. (For that matter, who says that Bajorans use rotary clocks?)
* Phil also has a problem with Quark keeping all of his money in latinum. I don't, we've seen many times that Ferengi prefer to use hard currency wherever possible. Call it the Scrooge McDuck effect.
* Where did Dax get surgically altered into a Bajoran?
* Jake speaks of Nog returning to school, but Phil points out that Rom banned him from school back in "The Nagus."
* Sisko implies that they fit two hundred people in three runabouts. Phil finds that unlikely, I say that Sisko made it clear that not everyone could fit, hence the tickets that Quark bought and sold.
mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
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Old 10-15-2023, 11:08 PM
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Plot lines not resolved by the Circle Trilogy:
* Kira and Bariel. I get that she was in denial about her Orb vision, but this ambiguity doesn't go anywhere. They start to date in his next appearance in "Shadowplay." Hence wasted time. They should've had her first Orb vision and started dating in a prior episode.
* Winn exposed as a clear villain to our heroes. All that plotting with Jaro and our heroes never knew anything about it. What's the point?
* Why the Circle is so anti-alien that they'd brand Quark. Sure, hate the Federation for being "opressors", but everyone else should be fine. And the Promenade merchants can just be evicted from the sector.
* All that work humanizing Kira last season and we're back to her being a stubborn spitfire. Especially when she just said to Kai Opaka that he wants to be seen as more than a soldier!
* Did the Federation really just return to the station under the same terms that they were before? If I was Starfleet Command I'd have taken the opportunity to demand better terms, such as not being evicted on such short notice again.
* What did Dukat think of this whole scheme? The writers went to a lot of effort to establish his interest in returning, and yet he isn't even namedropped here! All it would've taken is one talk with Sisko over subspace where Dukat reveals that he wouldn't attempt to use a puppet government.
mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 10-28-2023, 11:12 PM
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October 17, 1993, "Invasive Procedures"

No fiver

The Episode

ODO: What are you doing here? You're under strict orders from Sisko to stay in the bar.
QUARK: I'm not a prisoner, Odo. I volunteered to stay and help you protect the station.
ODO: The only reason you volunteered is because there wasn't any room on the evacuation shuttles for six hundred bars of gold-pressed latinum.

This is weird, because back in "The Siege" they implied that all of Quark's money could fit in one bag.

Furthermore, at one point Quark states that his daily profit is about five bars. I don't see why he would keep half a year's worth of petty cash in hard currency instead of investing it. Ferengi would know the importance of a diversified investment portfolio.

And frankly, I would expect Quark to have a safe capable of keeping this stuff secure. For that matter, he's been known to spend days on Ferenginar without taking all of his money with him. And the bar was open and operating at those times, his safe would be much less secure.

(And to be really pedantic, in "Who Mourns for Morn" Quark estimates a few tablespoons' worth of latinum to be worth a hundred bars, and it doesn't seem to weigh all that much. Surely he could temporarily extract the latinum from his six hundred bars and evacuate with a Thermos of latinum, leaving the worthless gold behind until he returns and can restore the latinum.)

QUARK: That doesn't mean I don't love him. Chief, do you have any brothers?
O'BRIEN: As a matter of fact, I have two.

Only mention of O'Brien's brothers. Which is weird, because this seems like the kind of thing they could build good characterization with. Have one of them stay home and the other be a full-blown Starfleet officer. Miles was the youngest and felt like he had to live up to them both, creating conflict.

O'BRIEN: Listen, friend, in case you haven't heard the Federation and the Klingon Empire are allies now.
T'KAR: The Empire is governed by doddering fools and frightened old women who aren't worthy of the name Klingon.

You know, with what we know about Klingon politics, I have to wonder why a pro-war faction hasn't threatened Gowron yet. If Martok is to believed, there are very specific rules about when and how the sitting Chancellor can be challenged. Even so, this would seem to be the reason for keeping an opposing faction like Duras' around to provide a counterpoint.

The mention of "frightened old women" surprises me. Has Gowron voluntarily allowed women into the High Council by now, after seeing that women can be as capable as men?

T'KAR: Mareel, the box. Put it in your stasis chamber. Now. Or I will destroy it.
BASHIR: Is that supposed to be some kind of threat?
O'BRIEN: They've got Odo in there.
BASHIR: I see. Well, in that case.

This seems odd. Are they implying that Odo would eventually be able to get out if he wasn't put in stasis? Not to put too fine a point on it, but Dr. Mora would've tested how small of a hole Odo can go through. This would be public knowledge. And Odo should be able to sit in a locked box for awhile without being hurt.

KIRA: Why Dax? There are thousands of symbionts on Trill. Why her?
VERAD: I did research. I worked it all out. The Dax symbiont is the best match for me. We have mutual interests. Science, diplomacy...

This is an interesting question. Does the intellectual compatibility of the symbiont and the host affect the quality of the bond? That's a doctoral thesis at Starfleet Medical School that's waiting to happen.

Another question is how much you can define a symbiont's personality outside of the blended version with each host. For that matter, how come we never had a scene where Jadzia spoke to Dax directly? It would make for an interesting philosophical discussion, something very appropriate for Trek.

SISKO: Verad. There's another reason, isn't there? The wormhole. After you've stolen the symbiont, you plan on escaping to the Gamma Quadrant, don't you.
MAREEL: Can you think of a better place to start a new life?

Okay, they don't know about the Dominion yet. Even so, the Gamma Quadrant still has too many unknowns associated with it. Like I've said before, they should know about all governments within a certain radius of the wormhole by now, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

DAX: I understand your frustration, But there could be dozens of reasons why the Board didn't select you for symbiosis. They have to be very careful. An improper joining can cause permanent psychological damage to both the symbiont and the host. They were only looking after your best interests.

I'm reminded of that time on Legends of Tomorrow when they needed to find a new Firestorm partner for Professor Stein, but that's another story...

I am glad that the symbiont is in danger as well, it makes this whole thing seem more like genuine symbiosis rather than the parasitism of TNG's Trill (and no, I haven't gotten over that discontinuity yet).

VERAD: What's that?
BASHIR: It's a delta wave inducer, to keep you asleep during the operation. It also increases your body's natural endorphin production to help accelerate the healing process.

That's not what endorphins do. They can suppress (or as Crusher would say, "cloak") pain, but they don't actually have anything to do with healing.

KIRA: How long can Dax survive without the symbiont?
SISKO: Once the symbiont is removed, the host usually dies within hours.

I thought that the exact number of hours was revealed elsewhere in Trek, but I guess not. All we know is that it takes 93 hours for a host and symbiont to integrate enough that the host will die if the symbiont is removed.

KIRA: Really? Then maybe you'd like to tell me how four armed terrorists got by our docking ring security grid.
QUARK: Security grid? I don't know anything
KIRA: Save it, Quark. You crossed the line this time.

Yeah, after stuff like this you really have to wonder how Kira ever got fond enough of him to endorse releasing a prisoner of war to him. Quark is now an accessory to terrorism and attempted murder. I'd call that a bit too much to recover from.

SISKO: Even if it means losing him?
MAREEL: Losing him?
SISKO: After the surgery, Verad won't be just Verad anymore. He'll be a blending of Verad, Dax, and all the previous hosts. Their memories, their knowledge, even their personalities.
MAREEL: Verad told me that you'd say things like that. I know he'll change. He'll be smarter, more confident, but in all the important ways, he'll be the same.
SISKO: I'm sorry, but if he told you that, he's lying. Once a Trill is joined, it's like a rebirth. He'll be an entirely different person.

This is a loaded issue that I'll skip the screed for, but I think a problem with this approach is that Sisko doesn't really know about this topic. He didn't know Curzon or Jadzia before they were joined with Dax. But he DOES know about the reassociation taboo, which definitely says that the host influences the symbiont.

BASHIR: Take this. Come on, we haven't got much time. Just move it back and forth over the wound in slow even strokes.
YETO: Why bother? She'll be dead in a few hours anyway.

Well, that's...dark. And rather unnecessary in this case.

SISKO: Of course you do. Remember when we first met?
VERAD: Pelios Station.

So Pelios Station wasn't invented for "Children of Time". I'd also forgotten that this event also came up in "Facets." It was also going to be mentioned in "The Maquis." A story in the novel "The Lives of Dax" will say what happened here.

SISKO: All the months we served aboard the Livingston?

I'm confused at this one. Curzon was a Federation Ambassador, he wasn't a Starfleet officer. Why would he be on the same ship for months? We know that Starfleet occasionally sends ships far outside the Federation for a couple years at a time, but I'm not sure they'd send an ambassador of Curzon's reputation on such a mission.

SISKO: You have to discuss it, Dax. You know as well as I do we can't let her die.
VERAD: But she's not going to die. She'll live on, in me.
SISKO: Jadzia's memories will live on, but Jadzia herself will die and you will have killed her.

Frankly I'm not fond of the idea that the personalities of prior hosts live on in "suspended animation" within the symbiont. The whole Zhian'tara thing just doesn't make sense to me, even if that episode had nice character moments.

The rest of the episode is pretty predictable, not much to talk about. That's the problem, we knew Dax wouldn't die or lose her symbiont going in, so the journey has to be good enough to distract us from the obvious. And this one wasn't.

Memory Alpha

* They point out that Quark wasn't punished. Even Shimmerman was bugged by it, it makes Odo not look competant.
* Terry Farrell liked this episode for the chance it gave to portray Jadzia without the symbiont as a different character. I say that if that was the intent there wasn't enough screentime devoted it to make it stand out.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Dax says only one in ten Trill is joined, and Kira says there are "thousands" of symbionts. That implies a rather small Trill population.
* Phil has a problem with a trained combat officer like Kira being beaten in a fight by a prostitute.
* Many contradictions with the joining process compared to "The Host." I still maintain that the "Trill" in that episode are a different race than the ones depicted elsewhere in Trek.
* Where did these "evacuation shuttles" come from? A couple episodes back they made it clear that they only had the three runabouts to work with?
mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 11-22-2023, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Nate the Great View Post
JAKE: I've got some great news.
SISKO: You passed your algebra test.
JAKE: Better than that.
SISKO: You learned out how to hit Bob Gibson's fast ball.
JAKE: No, even better.

Chakoteya was nice enough to link to Gibson's entry at Gibson was a pitcher for the Cardinals in the sixties and seventies. Someone on the staff must've been a fan, because I'm shocked they didn't invoke Buck Bokai again.
Jake would be doing well if he just learned how to dodge Gibson's fastball after doing something - anything - at the plate that ticked Gibson off. Not the guy I'd choose to pitch to my young son.
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Old 12-21-2023, 10:03 PM
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October 24th, 1993, "Cardassians"

Can I just say that this is the laziest episode title in all of Trek? It's not even an object in the episode, it's a collective title for only one of the races involved in the plot!

Fiver by Derek

The Episode

GARAK: I had a very demanding customer today. A Bajoran engineer who comes to the shop constantly just to plague me.
BASHIR: You know, I've always wondered about that. About who your steady customers really are. I can't imagine Bajorans frequenting a shop run by a Cardassian.
GARAK: I like to think that my expertise and willingness to serve overcome any general resentments any of my clientele may have.

It is WAY too late to have this conversation. It doesn't even mesh that well with the episode's plot.

BASHIR: Ah. And perhaps your expertise and willingness to serve go so far as to establish a certain trust between you and your customers?
GARAK: Trust is very important
BASHIR: And once they trust you, they're much more open with you, and they tell you things.
GARAK: Really, Doctor, must we always play this game? I'm no more a spy than you are a
BASHIR: A doctor.

Again, far too late for this conversation. Frankly, this entire episode should've been in the first season.

GARAK: I hope I'm not intruding, but I couldn't help noticing what a handsome young man you have here.
(Garak rests his hand on the boy's shoulder, so the lad bites it)

Assault aside, I don't think Cardassians would be raised to be so cavalier with the personal space of others. This whole situation makes Garak look like an idiot.

BASHIR: I'm sorry I'm late. The damnedest thing just happened. Garak the tailor was attacked.

As opposed to Garak the barber? (Obscure Spoony reference for the win!)

BASHIR: He was bitten on the hand.
DAX: Another unsatisfied customer?
O'BRIEN: He always cuts the pants too long.

This doesn't seem like the place for joking around like this. A man has been assaulted and a child possibly traumatized!

BASHIR: He's just arrived on a Bajoran transport with an adult Bajoran who says he's his father.
KIRA: The boy was probably one of the orphans left behind after the Cardassians pulled out. We had no choice but to take care of them.

Again, first season plot.

DUKAT [on monitor]: Commander, it's been brought to my attention that the sole Cardassian living on your station has been assaulted.
SISKO: I'm surprised how quickly the news reached you, Dukat. I only heard about it myself a minute ago.

This is a real question: how did Dukat find out so soon? Assuming that he doesn't have a surveillance device on the station, all I can conclude is that he's monitoring communications between the station and Bajor. But that raises further questions, like why an official report would be sent to Bajor without Sisko's authorization.

Furthermore, we once again have a first season question. Garak's precise status with the Cardassian and Bajoran governments should've been an episode subplot by itself. Dukat seems to be implying that Garak is merely a private citizen who chooses to live outside the Cardassian Empire. If so, this really isn't Dukat's problem, if Garak chooses to press charges it would go to the Cardassian ambassador on Earth (and it occurs to me that the station should've had a Cardassian ambassador ever since the withdrawal, but that's another screed).

Furthermore, why would Bajor want Garak on the station? At least Quark serves a function, bolstering general trade in the sector. But Garak serves none, he can't be THAT good of a tailor.

DUKAT [on monitor]: The Cardassian war orphans, Commander. Abandoned when we left Bajor. It's a disgrace. Obviously these children are being raised to hate their own kind. This incident is proof.
SISKO: You're assuming a lot from one incident.
DUKAT [on monitor]: Am I? Then why would this boy attack poor Garak? An amiable fellow, if there ever was one.

This is hilarious given later revelations. One presumes that if Dukat had the power to execute Garak, he would've done it by now. Remember that Dukat isn't a Prefect anymore, he's just a ship's captain at the moment. One presumes that Enabran Tain's order to the Obsidian Order to keep Garak on the station where he can suffer is still in effect, and this has been communicated to the military leadership. Any attempt by Dukat to eliminate him now would be seen as disobeying orders, a severe crime amongst the Cardassians.

SISKO: If you like, I'll try to find out.
DUKAT [on monitor]: That would be most appreciated, Commander. I need to find out everything I can about this boy, so that I can use his story in my fight to bring these orphans back to their homeland. This is a tragedy that all of Cardassia is going to have to address.

So Dukat is looking for good PR. Again, this would've been better in the first season.

PROKA: Has this Garak filed a complaint?
SISKO: No, but the Cardassian officials asked that look into the incident.
PROKA: I wish they'd shown as much concern when they left my boy and dozens like him to fend for themselves.

Garak will address this later, but I'm going to ask a question that I've asked before: why were there Cardassian families on Bajor in the first place? Even if we presume that the families of the higher-ups (who would be posted here longer) would be kept nearby, I'd still want them on Terok Nor, not the planet itself. Remember that Terok Nor was in orbit of Bajor back then and beaming back and forth was a simple matter.

mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 12-21-2023, 10:04 PM
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SISKO: How did you come to adopt him?
PROKA: My wife and I felt that Rugal shouldn't suffer for crimes committed by others.

The plot falls apart here. Raising Cardassians to hate other Cardassians sounds like spending a lot of time and resources (neither of which Bajor has in abundance) on something that would be at best a nuisance to the Central Command and at worst an excuse for the Cardassians to come back and reoccupy the planet.

SISKO: But why would he attack another Cardassian?
PROKA: That Cardassian should have minded his own business.

You didn't answer the question, Proka! At least come up with a nonsense explanation that Garak seemed threatening!

SISKO: The Cardassians are suggesting that the Bajorans are raising these orphans to hate their own people.
PROKA: To hate Cardassians? It shouldn't be too hard, should it? We told him the truth, Commander. The truth about what Cardassia did to Bajor.

A key issue here is that racism is NEVER justified. Ever. Furthermore, Cardassia didn't occupy Bajor, the current government did. And as I've mentioned before, Garak himself never actually oppressed the Bajorans, he wasn't even in the sector until he bungled the mission that led to his exile. Even if you can justify "only hate Cardassians in the military" (which you can't), Garak doesn't qualify.

SISKO: There'll be ample opportunity to go over the matter in detail, but during the investigation, we'd like for Rugal to stay with our schoolteacher, Mrs O'Brien. She's expecting him now.
PROKA: What if I refuse?
SISKO: Then I'll have to call Security and have them remove him from your quarters. I don't think either of us wants that.

I know that it has to be the O'Briens to make use of the cast, but it still doesn't make sense. Unless you're going to tell me that the O'Briens are the only non-Bajoran family on the station, which is extremely dubious. Frankly Sisko himself would make a better guardian right now.

BASHIR: Gul Dukat. He called Commander Sisko right after this happened. Apparently he was quite concerned with your well-being. You never mentioned you were friends.
GARAK: (laughs)

From Garak's perspective this would indeed be a funny joke, but the benefit is that we viewers can laugh harder and harder with each watch as we learn more about the series.

GARAK: Tell me, Doctor. Is there a single trait would you ascribe to me and to my fellow Cardassians? Would it not be our attention to detail? Do you think we simply forgot about those poor little orphans when we left Bajor? Do you think they simply slipped from our minds?

While I'm not a fan of single-adjective descriptions of alien races, Garak does have a point.

DUKAT [on viewscreen]: I did not choose to leave them behind, Doctor. I was ordered to leave them behind.
BASHIR: Ordered? By whom?
DUKAT [on viewscreen]: By the civilian leaders. They
BASHIR: Excuse me, but if I understand the Cardassian political system correctly, the civilian leaders have no direct authority over military officers.
DUKAT [on viewscreen]: Who's been tutoring you in Cardassian social studies, Doctor?
BASHIR: Your old friend, Garak.
DUKAT [on viewscreen]: Well then, perhaps you should remind my old friend Garak the withdrawal of Bajor was a decision made by the civilian leaders. One that I clearly opposed. And yes, they made the decision to leave the orphans behind. A decision I've regretted ever since.

The precise relationship between the Detapa Council and the Central Command is a screed by itself, but the short version is that the military lets the civilians think they're in charge, while pulling the strings to make sure things never get too bad for them. In the case of Bajor, it was decided that the planet didn't have enough resources left to make it worth fighting over. No doubt Dukat didn't agree with that assessment, but he's hardly the most objective member of the military.

As for leaving behind the children, Dukat didn't actually answer Bashir's question. Given later revelations about Bashir's genetic modification, this seems absurd. Don't tell me that Gillian Taylor has better memory recall than an average Academy graduate!

BASHIR: He's lying.
SISKO: Is that an opinion, or do you have evidence to support it?
BASHIR: I have Garak.
SISKO: Garak.
BASHIR: He seems to think there's more going on here than we realise.

You have to admit that while both men lie to their benefit, on the whole Garak actually lies to benefit Cardassia (or at least his idea of Cardassia) and Dukat lies to benefit himself. This is a big difference.

DAX: Why would Garak want to undermine Gul Dukat?
BASHIR: I'm not really sure. I don't think he likes Dukat very much.

Another interesting question. Garak wouldn't actually hold Dukat responsible for war crimes against the Bajorans, as that was the position of the government at the time. Garak hates Dukat for being self-obsessed to the point of being a danger to Cardassia.

KEIKO: She's asleep. She and Rugal played all afternoon. He wore her out.
O'BRIEN: You let them play together?
KEIKO: Why not?
O'BRIEN: The boy almost bit somebody's hand off.

I'm confused as to why O'Brien is being this stupid. He knows that Garak's "crime" was being a Cardassian. A racist reason, but still a reason that doesn't apply to Molly. If O'Brien was still that racist against Cardassians he wouldn't have let Rugal into his quarters to begin with.

The more I think about it, there are enough dramatic possibilities for two episodes here. Wouldn't there be one Bajoran faction willing to throw Rugal to the wolves (Cardassia) to maintain peace and another who would be determine to keep the orphans in order to breed an anti-Cardassia army to defend the planet against the next Cardassian invasion?

O'BRIEN: Gentle was bred out of these Cardassians a long time ago.

A huge misstep. I would've thought that during his self-revelation back in "The Wounded" he would've learned to stop painting all Cardassians with the same brush.

KEIKO: You know, that was a very ugly thing you just said.

Yes, it was.

RUGAL: I want to go home.
O'BRIEN: He'll understand that. You're a Cardassian. They should've taken you home when they left.
RUGAL: No, I mean home. To Bajor.
O'BRIEN: It must be tough for you, living on Bajor.
O'BRIEN: Being Cardassian.
RUGAL: That's not my fault. I was born that way.
O'BRIEN: That's not what I meant. There's nothing wrong with being a Cardassian.
RUGAL: Yes, there is.
O'BRIEN: Who taught you that?
RUGAL: It's the truth. Everybody knows it.
O'BRIEN: How do your parents feel about Cardassians?
RUGAL: They hate them.
O'BRIEN: Why would you want to live with someone who hates you?
RUGAL: They hate other Cardassians, not me. My parents have never done anything wrong to me.

This is a serious logical disjoint on Rugal's part. Blanket racism is okay, but localized "unracism" is okay. Furthermore, teaching to hate would qualify as "something wrong".

O'BRIEN: Well, you can't judge a whole race of people. You can't hate all Cardassians or all Klingons or all humans. I've met some Cardassians I didn't like, and I've met some I did. Like you.
RUGAL: Do you know how many Bajorans the Cardassians murdered during the occupation? Over ten million. We had a test on it in school. I wish I wasn't Cardassian.

Another disjoint on Rugal's part. And like I said "Cardassians" didn't murder Bajorans during the Occupation, the military did. At the order of the government, granted, but still, not "all Cardassians."

BASHIR: It's Garak, sir. He wants to go to Bajor.
SISKO: Bajor? For what?
BASHIR: He wouldn't tell me.
SISKO: Oh, well, by all means. Will one runabout be enough?

We needed some humor at this point.

mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 12-21-2023, 10:04 PM
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DUKAT [on monitor]: We've discovered the boy's actually the son of one of our most prominent politicians, Kotan Pa'Dar.
SISKO: When was Pa'Dar on Bajor?
DUKAT [on monitor]: Over eight years ago. He was Exarch for a Cardassian settlement there.

An "Exarch" in the Roman Empire was the governor of a territory. These days it's used as a religious rank in the Eastern Christian churches. I'm not sure it's an appropriate use here. Frankly I want Roman Empire terms to be limited to Romulans only, that was kinda their shtick.

DUKAT [on monitor]: He's already on his way to the station to reclaim him.
SISKO: It's not that simple.
DUKAT [on monitor]: I don't understand.
SISKO: The boy wants to go back to Bajor.

Oh boy, is this a minefield. The desires of two governments (multiple factions in each), a military, the parents, and Rugal himself. At this point this is far above the purview of Dukat or Sisko, but that wouldn't make a good episode, would it?

GARAK: I'm sorry you're upset about the orphans. Children without parents have no status in Cardassian society. The situation is most unfortunate, but I don't make the rules.

Given Gul Madred's pontificating in "Chain of Command", this seems odd to me. I would expect the Romulans or Klingons to be more callous regarding orphans than Cardassians. Surely it would be easier to indoctrinate an orphan than your own child.

BASHIR: Rugal's father? You're saying Kotan Pa'Dar was involved in the decision to evacuate Bajor?
GARAK: Very good, Doctor. I'm glad to see our little get-togethers haven't gone for naught.
BASHIR: Which makes him a political enemy of Gul Dukat's. Who lost his job as Prefect when they withdrew.

Fair enough, but...

GARAK: And seemingly out of nowhere, Dukat takes an interest in this orphan boy who recently arrives on our station. And then soon afterwards, with Gul Dukat's assistance, we discover that the orphan boy isn't really an orphan boy, but Pa'Dar's long lost son.
BASHIR: Another coincidence?
GARAK: I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences.

Garak's line has stuck we me through the years. Is Garak really saying that Dukat manipulated Rugal's family onto the station to arrange a confrontation? And placed a spy on the station to obtain Garak's schedule to manipulate Rugal's family to board at the same time?

Yikes, talk about contrivances. This also requires that Dukat ward off all attempts to pin down Garak's precise legal status with the Bajorans for over a year, don't forget.

PA'DAR: Now that I'm back in his life.
O'BRIEN: He may not want you back in his life.
PA'DAR: I am his father.

Another place where having Cardassians in this role doesn't work. If any race can understand shades of grey, it's the Cardassians. Pa'dar is talking more like a Romulan here.

PA'DAR: On Cardassia, family is everything. We care for our parents and children with equal devotion. In some households, four generations eat at the same table. Family is everything. And I have failed in my responsibilities to my family.

And you abandoned your son...because? Like I said, first season plot. If this was a few months after the Cardassians left and Pa'dar worked through official channels, this would make much more sense.

And can't the transporters be programmed to look for someone with specific DNA and then beam them up? Even if Cardassian transporters aren't that good, they could ask Starfleet to do so. I don't think Picard would mind a sensor sweep of the planet back in "Emissary" to make sure that all Cardassians had left the planet.

PA'DAR: I have no intention of allowing a Bajoran court to rule on the custody of my son.

Yeah, this seems like the job of the nearest Starfleet court. Where is Louvois stationed right now, anyway?

PA'DAR: He is my natural born child. As Cardassian law clearly stipulates--
PROKA: There is no more Cardassian law on Bajor.

Proka has a point.

SISKO: Gentlemen, I think you may need an arbitrator to settle this.
PROKA: It must be someone who is neither a Cardassian nor a Bajoran.

I would certainly want a Vulcan as judge in this case.

DUKAT: Pa'Dar is an eminent member of the civilian assembly. This matter has generated a great deal of interest at the highest levels of our government.
SISKO: So, you're here representing your government?
DUKAT: Not exactly. I like to think that I'm here representing the children. All of the children abandoned on Bajor.

"Oh, well, in that case do you want me to bring some babies here for you to kiss in front of the cameras? Maybe some campaign posters that you want to put up?"

I sometimes wonder why Dukat is in the military at all when his talents clearly lie in politics. He should've matched wits with Kai Winn much earlier.

mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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Old 12-21-2023, 10:05 PM
Nate the Great's Avatar
Nate the Great Nate the Great is offline
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Station log, stardate 47178.3. After long and difficult deliberations, I have decided to allow Pa'Dar to take his son back to Cardassia. Although I am convinced his Bajoran foster parents treated him with love, Rugal has been the clear victim in this conspiracy. I believe it's time for his healing to begin.

I think this is a huge misstep. At least let Pa'Dar have visitation rights. This seems like yet another episode that was written for the sake of drama without worrying about creating a satisfying ending.

SISKO: Perhaps you'll use your influence to help other Cardassian orphans on Bajor.
PA'DAR: Well, yes, we'll see.

And the Cardassians wonder why other races don't like them. They make any answer vague if it could possibly come back to bite them.

BASHIR: But there's one more question I haven't figured out, Garak. Why did you want to expose Dukat? What's the truth about you and him?
GARAK: Truth, Doctor, is in the eye of the beholder. I never tell the truth because I don't believe there is such a thing.

A great line, but still obtuse and delusional on Garak's part. "The current stardate is 47177.2 according to the Federation" is the truth, and there's no way to spin it otherwise unless you are currently in a time warp.


Rugal: Stay away from me, you Cardassian scum.
Garak: Bite me.
Rugal: 'Kay. (bites)
Garak: AAAAH!

Huge misstep, Derek. The entire point of this attack is that it was unprovoked.

Bashir: Someone said you've mistreated the boy.
Proka: Nonsense. We've always fed him Turkish Delight and even gave him a talking horse!

Odd place for a Narnia reference, but okay...

Bashir: Why didn't you just take the orphans when you left?
Dukat: Because if I did, then I couldn't sabotage someone else's career.

The cost/benefit analysis just doesn't balance in this case, at least for me.

O'Brien: I'm still wounded by my experiences at the Setlik III massacre.
Rugal: I hate all Cardassians for the Occupation.
Keiko: Why don't you two resolve your differences over a bottle of kanar?
O'Brien and Rugal: Ick.
Keiko: See? You already have something in common!

Never forget that they used corn syrup for kanar. Ick.

O'Brien: It's not you I hate, Cardassian --
Rugal: You should.
O'Brien: Well, blow me down! I never thought I'd hear a Cardassian say that.

"'s what I became, because of you." A two-parter would also allow for more resolution of this plot point from "The Wounded."

Pa'Dar: Let me see my son.
O'Brien: Your son hates you.
Pa'Dar: I'd like to hear that straight from the horse's mouth, if you don't mind.
Rugal's Horse: I hate you.
Pa'Dar: Crap.

Shouldn't that be "he hates you"?

Station Log: Screw Picard and "Suddenly Human". I'm giving the boy back to the Cardassians.

Comparisons to "Suddenly Human" aren't quite a perfect fit here.

Memory Alpha

* Garak's second appearance. That surprised me.

Nitpicker's Guide

* Phil brings up Garak's shifting attitude toward Bajorans in this episode. I counter that in Rugal's case Garak felt like he was in control of the situation, with the orphans he clearly was not. And we all know how much Garak doesn't like not being the one in control of a conversation.
* Rugal's dialogue and the story points indicate that he's maybe 12 years old, but he carries himself like a teenager.
* Phil believes that Pa'Dar was too small-time for Dukat to bother setting up elaborate schemes that would only pay off many years later. I immediate rejoinder is that Dukat had know way of knowing if or when the government would order the departure from Bajor.
* Once again Molly's age is stated as four when she's really two.

mudshark: Nate's just being...Nate.
Zeke: It comes nateurally to him.

mudshark: I don't expect Nate to make sense, really -- it's just a bad idea.

Sa'ar Chasm on the forum: Sit back, relax, and revel in the insanity.

Adam Savage: I reject your reality and substitute my own!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Crow T. Robot: Oh, stop pretending there's a plot. Don't cheapen yourself further.
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