It has been three months since Starfleet was forced to evacuate DS9, and the war isn’t going well. Although the minefield still protects the entrance of the wormhole, in the Alpha Quadrant, the Dominion troops are more than holding their own against the Federation. Whilst Kira and Odo must put up with life under Gul Dukat, Sisko and his crew are sent on a mission deep inside Cardassian territory.
Season six is here, and it begins with an arc spanning several episodes, the like of which Star Trek hadn’t seen before – and would not again until Enterprise season three (sorry to remind you of that). For this portion of the series, we’ll be following two main threads – Starfleet and the Defiant on the front lines of the war, and Kira et al left behind on DS9.
The Starfleet thread starts with the kind of space battle drama that we’ve come to expect from DS9. Sisko and the others get to make a daring raid into Cardassian space in a captured Jem’Hadar ship, with all the peril and tension that entails. Meanwhile, DS9 is relatively peaceful, but it’s not a happy peace. Gul Dukat is being a creepy megalomaniac, Weyoun is asserting himself as the power behind the throne, and Kira and Odo are trying to figure out how to outwit their not-so-benevolent overlords. The two stories balance each other nicely, such that there’s always something interesting going on, and never too much of one thing. Fed up with space battles? Well, there’ll be a character scene along in a minute.
- Now that Dukat has shed his nuance and become an outright villain, he is also free to perv on Kira like never before. In a creepy but also powerful scene, he attempts to assert his dominance over Kira; whilst she feels powerless, she also more influence than she knows. As we know, as long as Kira defies him, Dukat will never truly feel like he has won.
- Jake’s plans to stay on DS9 and write news reports for the Federation have been somewhat stymied – since his slant is obviously anti-Dominion, Weyoun simply isn’t releasing the reports.
- Dax remains a Klingon fangirl as she plans her traditional Klingon wedding. I guess she’s had several traditional Trill weddings already, and wants to mix things up a bit.
- Now that his genetic enhancements are common knowledge, Bashir has been placed firmly into the Spock/Data role of being able to perform superhuman feats of mental arithmetic. I still wish they hadn’t taken the character in this direction. Let Dax be the smart one – as she was in Trials and Tribble-ations – she is the science officer, after all.
- Given that Starfleet has had the captured Jem’Hadar vessel since the events of The Ship almost a year earlier, couldn’t some enterprising engineer have at least installed a food replicator and bolted some chairs to the floor? Maybe those requests are still working their way through the Starfleet procurement process.
- Where do the self-replicating mines get the materials with which to replicate? A conventional replicator uses a giant bank of generic ‘matter’ with which to form specific objects – is each mine similarly equipped with a mini matter-bank? When it replicates a new mine, is the new mine given some of that matter reserve as well, so it too can replicate? Surely this matter will run out at some point, which means that the Dominion should just keep destroying mines until all the matter reserves run out – surely something that would be achievable in three months. Or does each mine have some kind of mini-reactor that uses e=mc2 to make matter on the fly? This would be much harder to exhaust.
- This episode introduces Admiral Ross, who will be a recurring character from now on.
- Why are the Jem’Hadar even hanging out in Quark’s when they don’t eat, drink, rest or enjoy any form of entertainment? Is there simply nowhere else to go?
- Why don’t any other Jem’Hadar ships ask Sisko’s stolen ship for its ID? This is a thing that’s happened on pretty much every other “raid deep into enemy space” storyline up until now – necessitating such tricks as holofilters or on-the-fly translation into an alien language.
Summary – A Time to Stand: Dukat likes to dip his wick into Bajoran honey, if you know what I mean.