Deep Space Nine began its second season with a three-part story involving a missing war hero that the Bajorans seem to need.
I think it’s somewhat suspicious what’s going on.
Here’s the set-up: Quark gets a Bajoran earring from a customer, told only that any Bajoran would recognize it. Since he’s being uncharacteristically nice right now (there is a Rule of Acquisition about that since it’s for keeping enemies off-balance), he passes the earring on to Kira, and Kira does recognize it.
It’s the earring of a Bajoran war hero long believed dead but mostly missing. It seems he’s being held in a Cardassian prison camp that the Bajorans didn’t know about. All prisoners were supposed to be released after the war, but this Bajoran, Li Nalas, killed a high ranking Cardassian in hand-to-hand combat. Dude’s a legend. Kira would want to bring the guy back. Sisko, when told after Kira requests to borrow a runabout, would also like the guy back. The Bajoran Provisional Government mostly squabbles, and having a unifying figure at the head of it would help Bajor and Sisko out.
Besides, there’s these anti-alien Bajoran extremists, the Circle, and some of them are on the station right now. Quark was attacked as a warning from the looks of things.
I will say, I was amused when Sisko discovered both Dax and O’Brien knew about Kira’s request before he told either of them. Word travels fast. I also liked that Sisko called Dax over for advice since, well, she’s much older than she looks. Dax should be used more like that if you ask me. And I really liked that Sisko approved Kira’s request but also sent O’Brien along to help. O’Brien and Kira make for an odd pairing, but it does work. They find the camp, sneak in, find a lot more Bajorans there, and rescue most of them including Li Nalas. This sure does look like good news for all involved.
See, this activity could have started a war with the Cardassians. Kira and O’Brien did shoot multiple Cardassians during the rescue, and they had to leave a handful of prisoners behind. But then Gul Dukat calls Sisko and, with Kira in the room…apologizes.
All prisoners, he also said, would be released.
So, let’s review: a freighter captain gives Quark an earring from a Bajoran prisoner, telling Quark to give it to any Bajoran. Quark does. Kira rescues the owner, a legendary Bajoran war hero. And the Cardassians apologize rather than do anything else. That…raises some alarm bells with me.
Then again, it does seem as if Nalas isn’t what people assumed he was. He’s not comfortable with adulation, and when he tried to sneak off the station, Sisko caught him and explained Bajor really needs a figurehead.
Instead, it comes out that Nalas didn’t see himself as a hero. The Cardassian he took out happened when Nalas, lost and hungry, caught an unarmed Cardassian in his underwear after taking a bath in a river. The kill was reactive and not something Nalas was proud of. He only learned later the guy was a major war leader.
Still, Sisko thinks the guy could still be an effective symbol if he tries. Nalas seems inclined to agree.
But then the other shoe drops. A Bajoran minister (played by an uncredited Frank Langella!) has an announcement for the station. Nalas will be taking over for Kira on Deep Space Nine, and she’s being recalled to Bajor.
Was this the Cardassian plan? Assuming there is one? Because that’s probably not good for Sisko.