Lions and Geigers and Bears, Oh My. Jake and Nog find themselves in a serious situation on the episode that originally aired on June 9,1997. This is In The Cards.
Station Log Stardate 50929.4 In The Cards
With the morale at an all time low on DS9, Jake and Nog decide to try to cheer Captain Sisko up by acquiring a vintage baseball-card. Meanwhile, the Dominion offers Bajor a chance to broker peace which could spell doom for the Bajoran/Federation alliance.
Story A: Willy Mays to the rescue.
The mood on DS9 is bleak. Several ships have disappeared on the Cardassian boarder and the stress of the Dominion threat is only getting worse. To add insult to injury, Captain Sisko soon learns that Kai Winn plans to visit the station. Recognizing the drop in morale, Nog and Jake decide to bid on a vintage baseball card to cheer up the commander of the station.
Trying to convince Nog to loan him the money, Jake finds it difficult to separate his Ferengi friend from his latinum. Soon Jake guilt’s the young Cadet into agreeing to bid on the baseball card by using Captain Sisko’s recommendation for Nog to join Star Fleet as leverage. Nog finally gives in and the two set out to bid on the rare piece of Earth’s history. At the auction, just as it looks as if they are going to win, someone steps in and and steals it from under them. Depressed, Jake convinces Nog that they need to find a way to get that card, no matter the cost.
Confronting the man who bought the lot, they soon find that the man is unwilling to discuss terms. There is something odd about him that they can’t put their finger on, constantly referring to ‘they’ and ‘them’ as adversaries. Soon,however, it seem the man is willing to discuss terms.
Visiting the winning bidder, they soon find his quarters to be decked out in scientific devices. The man agrees to open negotiations with them but, instead informs them that while the card is not for sale, he wants to make a trade. Providing them a list, the two must go on a search throughout the station for specific items. After the two insist on knowing why he wants the items, the man confides that he has found a way to ‘keep cells entertained’ via a Cellular Regeneration and Entertainment Chamber. It soon becomes clear that they are dealing with a mad man.
The two soon work their way through the station acquiring the goods they need from various crew members. Going through hoops, from doing O’Brien’s work to rescuing a teddy bear from Bashir’s ex, the two finally get most of the supplies and deliver them to Doctor Geiger. Soon he activates the device he is working on which alerts his upstairs neighbors who just happen to be Weyoun and a group of Jem’hadar soldiers.
After completing the remaining tasks, Jake and Nog return to Geiger only to find his quarters empty. Shocked and thinking they have been betrayed, the two go to Odo with their discovery. There, they learn that Dr. Geiger was not officially assigned the quarters and soon see Kai Winn talking with the Vedek who was bidding against them at the Auction. Jake immediately jumps to conclusions and is convinced that Kai Winn kidnapped Geiger in an attempt to gain a Bajoran Mandala that was also in the collection.
Story B: Dominion Negotiations
Captain Sisko finds his day worsened when Kai Winn pays him a visit with news that the Dominion has requested an audience with her aboard the station. Sisko is concerned with the request but it seems Kai Winn is determined to meet with the incoming representative no matter how much Sisko objects.
Soon Weyoun arrives to meet with Kai Winn and Sisko makes it a point to meet with the Vorta representative. There Weyoun indicates that they will be seeing a lot more of each other. Soon Kai Winn informs Sisko that the Dominion has offered a non-aggression pact with Bajor that Kai Winn is seriously considering. She is now unsure as to what to do, considering an alliance with the Dominion that will put Bajor’s relationship with the Federation. Winn asks Sisko for his advice as The Emissary, to which Ben recommends stalling for time. He does not know what for, but asks the Kai to make up an excuse to delay the signing of the pact.
Kai Winn informs Weyoun that she needs more time to entertain his offer for a non-aggression pact. Soon after, she is confronted by Nog and Jake only to accuse her of burglary and kidnapping. Captain Sisko is understandably upset at his son and the young Cadet but gets more upset when Jake claims that they were drunk. Confining them to their quarters, Jake is still determined to get the card for his father. Just as they are heading to the promenade, they find themselves beamed aboard the Jem’Hadar warship.
Weyoun begins to interrogate the two boys about their relationship with Dr Geiger. They inform the Vorta that they were simply after a baseball card. Not believing them, Weyoun makes it clear that he believes they are involved in a clandestine meeting concerning the Dominion. Jake decides to tell ‘the truth’ indicating that they are working for Star Fleet intelligence. Jake and Nog indicate that Willy Mays did not exist until recently and they believe that Dr. Geiger may indeed be a time traveler and their mission is to track down Willy Mays in order to stop him.
Weyoun realizes that they were indeed telling the truth and is excited to learn that Geiger is working on a way to become ‘immortal’. Allowing the boys to take the card with them, Jake and Nog are released with Geiger left to entertain Weyoun with his new device.
It seems that morale has returned to the ship thanks to the work done by Jake and Nog in their attempt to gain a baseball card. Presented with the card, Captain Sisko finds himself at peace with everything for the first time in a while.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
This is a really cool ‘fun episode’ that manages to frame a very serious moment in Star Trek history. On the outside it appears to be a simple ‘Nog and Jake’ adventure. With a task not unlike their first adventure with self Sealing stembolts, the two old friends go about a task to retrieve a simple Baseball Card. It is a very basic very fun story giving Jake and Nog a relaxing and joyous story that honestly, much like Sisko mentions at the end of the episode, is a breath of fresh air. With much of the season being serious and dour, this is one that felt somewhat jovial at time, even making Weyoun a likable foil instead of the evil plotting villain that he really is.
Then you peal back the layers. Unlike many of the past story lines, this one gave us a great reversal of the classic A/B story pattern DS9 is known for. Instead of the lead story being the darker of the two, the writers chose to underplay the real story as nothing more than a simple side bar, allowing viewers to be lulled into a false sense of security. If you were paying attention, the B story is where all of the key moments exist.
For the past five seasons we have seen Bajor go through ups and downs as it is being considered for membership in the Federation. Earlier this season, just on the edge of gaining membership, Sisko himself prevented this very thing only to delay all they have worked for so far. It was inevitable for the Dominion to make a play and that is exactly what we see her, buried beneath the saccharine story of Nog and Jake.
We all know that Kai Winn is not to be trusted. The fact that she has remained in control of Bajor for so long speak volumes of the political issues the deeply religious world has, but we won’t dive down that rabbit hole this time around. Instead, we will look at Kai Winn and her nature as an opportunist. Kai Winn likes to speak out that she is for Bajor first and foremost, something that the public seems to lap up, but everyone who knows her can see right through. So, when she is given a chance to align with the Dominion, she makes it clear to her Emissary (Sisko) that she is torn in what she needs to do. Sisko, in all his dealings with her, may have become a little blind to her chaotic nature in that he genuinely believes she wants his opinion as the Emissary. While it seems that she has taken his advice and has delayed the Dominion and their offer, things may not be exactly as they seem. This is the penultimate episode of the season as it were and we all know how season finale’s can be.
Overall, this was a fun episode with some serious implications that will have ramifications for quite some time. Only one episode left in the season…
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We learn that a classic Painted Velvet Toreador was the inspiration for one of the early Martian Colony Flags. This is not the last we will see of this painting.
- Am I the only one that finds it creepy that Nog sneaks in to Leeta’s quarters via an air vent while she was asleep? And why are the air-vents on this station so big?!
- This episode marks Michael Dorn’s directorial debut on DS9. I’d say he was quite successful.
- We never do find out what happens with Giegers machine or if it even worked. I imagine he went back with the Dominion, after that, who knows…
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Late To The Game 1/09/2022 (Originally published12/2/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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