The wormhole is opening and closing for no apparent reasons. The Bajorans think it’s a sign from the Prophets; Sisko is convinced there’s a scientific explanation.
Dax has been pranking Odo — breaking into his quarters while’s regenerating in his liquid state and slightly rearranging his furniture.
A security video reveals that a Founder was involved in the assassination of 27 interstellar diplomats on Earth.
Sisko makes a video call to his father, who runs a restaurant in New Orleans.
Bashir and O’Brien, dressed as WW2 RAF pilots, charge into Quark’s, still role-playing after reliving the defense of London. O’Brien is distracted by the threat to Earth. Quark commiserates with a monologue about being a ship’s cook on a long haul freighter during a financial crisis on Ferenginar.
Odo is a bit anxious about visiting Earth, as he expects he won’t be received warmly because of what his people have been doing.
Kira and Worf have a brief conversation about religion. Sort of. “Our gods are dead,” he huffs. “Ancient Klingon warriors slew them millennia ago. They were more trouble than they were worth.”
On Earth, Admiral Leyton introduces his assistant, Cmdr. Benteen (played by Susan Gibney, known to TNG fans as Leah Brahms). Based on a formula well-established on Trek and driven by the need to economize on the introduction of characters, we start wondering whether the admiral or his assistant will turn out to be the antagonist.
Leyton reveals that Sisko has is now acting head of Starfleet Security, and reassigned to Earth.
In his restaurant, Joe Sisko is entertaining the clientele. (Many Trek nerd websites have debated the economics of the Sisko restaurant… when people can just order up food from replicators, supporting a local restaurant must be a conscious choice by people who want to participate in a cultural activity, and the people who work there must be doing so because they want to. In a similar vein, who decided that the Picard family vineyards would stay intact apparently for centuries? There are no easy answers.)
Sisko asks a few health-related questions that are obviously a sore spot for his dad.
Nog, in his Cadet uniform, shows up for a visit, reporting that Chef Sisko is the only person on the planet who can get him live “tube grubs.”
We get some good character development and world-building, as the characters talk over recent developments.
At the Federation Headquarters in Paris, the non-human President Jaresh-Inyo is reluctant to ramp up security, even to the point where he says Sisko sounds paranoid. Odo makes a dramatic entrance, convincing the President that Changelings really do pose a threat, and it’s time to ramp up security in order to save the “paradise” that the Federation has helped to establish on Earth.
After helping establish what phaser setting will force Changelings to revert to a gelatinous state, Odo is a bit miffed that Benteen didn’t thank him. (At first glance this looks like character-based humor, but it’s also a subtle plot point.)
Nog is respectful, but seems to annoy Sisko by requesting his recommendation to join “Red Squad,” a new elite group of cadets.
Benteen and Leyton witness Odo shape-shifting as a seagull, but something about the encounter seems off, and Odo acts on his suspicions — which turn out to be justified. (I didn’t remember this plot twist, and I don’t like to spoil things unnecessarily.)
Leyton criticizes the President (not to his face), noting “This isn’t his world,” and suggesting the situation calls for stricter measures, which is of course the point Sisko just made to the President. Earlier Leyton told the President that the average citizen won’t even notice the security measures, but we soon learn that the elder Sisko has been arrested for resisting the blood test — which is now required for the families of all Starfleet officers.
After the immediate crisis is over, Sisko laments that for a while he actually suspected his own father. Odo reassures him that under the circumstances, the suspicion was understandable, and reminds Sisko that’s exactly why his people are infiltrating the Federation — to undermine the mutual trust between allies.
Tensions rise after an planet-wide blackout, which Leyton attributes to only one possible cause: sabotage, opening the Earth up to a Dominion attack.
Leyton and Sisko confront the President and request that he declare a planetary State of Emergency. While the President his horrified at the prospect of martial law, Leyton has everything planned out, including a stockpile of weapons on his ship. After Sisko speechifies about the Dominion threat, the President relents.
At the restaurant, Jake and Joseph watch armed security officers beaming down onto the streets.
(To Be Continued…)