Season 2, Ep13: Armageddon Game

Synopsis: We open with a Bashir voiceover. Oh, boyHe and Irishy are on a T’lani (teh-LAN-ee) cruiser because two warring alien races we’ve never heard of want to get rid of their nukes, blah-blah-blah. The T’Lani and the Kelleruns have been fighting each other for centuries with something called “Harvesters,” which are deadly gene-disrupting weapons, but now they’re not fighting anymore and they want Irishy and Bashir to throw them into the sun like they’re Superman in The Quest for Peace.

On board the T’Lani ship, the T’Lani’s primary alien feature seems to be crazy mohawks, like they all saw a sorority girl in a corvette with the top down and went, “our hair should do THAT, like, all the time! Best idea ever!” We’re doing something sciencey with tubes of liquid, and Bashir is impatient that the Outer Space Nukes aren’t being deactivated more quickly, even though he’s only been working on deactivating them for a week. Bashir is waxing rhapsodic about what a difficult problem this is.

Look, two people who are clearly from two completely different races. It’s like looking at a cat standing next to a horse, I tell ya.

So, anyway, the Outer Space Nuke Tube has changed color now, so it worked and they’re deactivated. Irishy is pumped, because he knows when to accept victory and go home, Bashir looks like he needs a nap. Then the Head Kellerun Dude, distinguishable because he has different stupid hair, comes in and gives a speech about a bright new future free of war, and thanks Bashir and Irishy for their help. He’s very specific about them also destroying all the institutional knowledge about how the Harvesters are made and how they work, which seems like a solid plan that couldn’t possibly backfire at all. Irishy concurs that they’ve deleted all of the blueprints or whatever, and the Head Kellerun Dude gives this really melodramatic speech about not resting until all the Space Nukes are destroyed. Call me crazy, but I am about 120% sure he’s up to something, a suspicion that is bolstered by the extremely suspicious music we got goin’ on going into the opening credits.

Sisko is sitting in his office when Bashir and Irishy skype him to let him know about the Space Nuke deactivation. Unfortunately, the T’lani already called and spoiled the surprise, but at least that lets Bashir and Irishy get more quickly to the part where they fall all over themselves praising each other on their nuke-deactivation accomplishments. We haven’t really seen them hang out since they had that Space Raquetball showdown, and it’s nice to see they’re getting along.

Sisko mentions that there’s going to be some sort of PhantomMenace-style-celebratory festival on the T’Lani planet that night, but with less bad CGI and heavy-handed omnious foreshadowing. He encourages them to attend, even though Irishy is super-anxious to get back to the station and his shrew of a wife, and Bashir obviously still needs a nap. They reluctantly agree to make an appearance.

In the T’lani lab, they’re about to destroy the last Space Nuke, and let Bashir have the honor. One of the main T’lani dudes says that it’s “ironic” that they’re doing this in orbit over a planet that was completely desomated by Space Nukes, and I think he means that it’s “poetic,” because “ironic” is the wrong word, but whatever. Anyway, as Bashir is about to destroy the universe’s last nuke or whatever, a bunch of guys come in with guns and shoot at everyone in a development that was entirely unpredictable and in no way exactly what you’d expect to happen if you were destroying all of the universe’s Space Nukes. 

Bashir and Irishy duck behind some convenient chest-high walls, but it looks like others are not so lucky. Irishy, who you will remember is a trained soldier who has seen combat, leaps out at one of the two bad guys, knocks him out, and takes his gun. Bashir, who you will remember is not a trained soldier by any stretch of the imagination, jumps at the second bad guy and only manages to make him accidentally shoot the Nuke Tube. Which seems, you know, bad. Some Nuke Juice drips on Irishy’s arm, which seems, you know, worse.

Bashir finally subdues the bad guy, and confirms that all the T’lani people who were there are dead now, so I guess all their talk about a lasting peace and their policy of not locking their doors when deactivating their Space Nukes look pretty silly now. Irishy locks them in the room and tries to beam them out, but the bad guys are jamming their communications, so they have to beam down to the surface of the planet. Irishy rigs the computer to overload thirty seconds after they’re out of there so no one can follow them.

Back on the station, Sisko is ordering an elaborate breakfast featuring crepes when Kira pages him to say that some T’lani ambassadors have shown up, sans Bashir and Irishy, and are refusing to talk to anyone but the Commander. Sisko says “show them to my office and tell them I’ll be right there,” and I half expected him to cackle “AFTER I FINISH MY CREPES!” He just cancels his order though, because he’s a classy dude.

In his office, the T’lani ambassadors have told him that Irishy and Bashir are dead, and, furthermore, it was Irishy’s fault. They accuse Irishy of accidentally tripping a security device, which killed everyone with radiation. Sisko thinks this sounds sketchy as hell, and asks how the they know that’s what happened if everyone died. They claim to have security logs that prove it, and hand Sisko the evidence, reiterating that they don’t blame Irishy and Bashir, they still think they’re heroes. Sisko looks pensively out his window as they leave.

Meanwhile, on Planet T’lani, Bashir and Irishy are sweeping sand huts with the guns the stole from the bad guys. They find some supplies, which Irishy insists could be booby-trapped. He insists on scanning them first, and it’s a reasonable precaution, but he still seems way more paranoid than usual. As Bashir raids their newly discovered food supply, Irishy and Bashir wonder aloud why the Kelleruns – I guess that’s who the bad guys were – would have waited until the nukes were all but destroyed to make their move. They hypothesize that they either didn’t destroy all their nukes like they said they did, or they want to continue the war with normal weapons.

Bashir wants to keep moving, but Irishy, still seeming paranoid, warns him that the Kellerun sensors will pick them up if they do that. He says that their strategy is to stay alive long enough for Sisko to find them (which is a good strategy), and their best chance of doing that is to stay put (which doesn’t really make sense). I’ve never heard of something being harder to find when it was sitting still, unless Superman is looking for them and they’re in a building made out of lead. In which case that’s probably the first place Superman would look, actually, because that’s the most suspicious thing Superman’s seen all day. So, no, it never makes sense to sit still if you’re worried about people tracking you. Irishy actually acknowledges that this is not a strong plan, but thinks they have few options.

“Run along and play, daddy’s got to void a warranty.”

Luckily, just then – imagine! – they find an old comm system. Irishy tells Bashir to run along while he tinkers with it, but Bashir wants to help, saying he took engineering “extension courses” at the University of Phoenix online. Irishy practically spits as he says, “EXTENSION COURSES?” and tells Bashir to GTFO and inventory some supplies or something.

Later, on the station, Sisko and the senior offices who are not presumed dead watch the footage from the T’lani vessel, which we know is forged because we’re the audience and we never saw any of this shit happen. Anyway, in the footage, Irishy is all like, “oh, no, we’ve tripped some sort of security…” and then everyone vanishes in a flash of light with I guess is less suspicious if you’re in SPACE. Everybody seems to think that this jibes with the T’lani account and that Irishy and Bashir are totes dead. Kira and Odo want to investigate further, but only because they want to prove that it was the T’lani’s fault, not because they think there’s anything fishy going on. Sisko kiboshes that, and sadly begins to make arrangements to get a new doctor and a new chief of operations. Everyone looks like they’re about to cry, especially Sisko, who says that he’s off to inform Keiko, and asks Jadzia to get in touch with Bashir’s family and tell the crew there’ll be a memorial service tomorrow.

On the planet, Bashir is bored and antsy and Irishy is frustrated that Bashir keeps asking him how it’s going. Bashir muses that he really wanted to go to T’laniFest, because he was going to do so well with T’ladies, and Irishy is all “OMFG, all you ever think about is sex,” and Bashir’s like, “yeah, pretty much.” He muses that marriage in Starfleet is inherently unfair, because you’re just setting your wife and kids up for heartbreak, so what with one thing an another his Rikering about is akin to community service, really, and then he hurredly apologizes because that was obviously an idiot thing to say to the guy with a wife and kid back on the station. Irishy says that Bashir doesn’t know what he’s missing, which is kind of sweet and adorable considering the door-busting fights he and Keiko have sometimes.

Bashir, reading my mind, is all, “oh, really, because it seems like you and your wife totally yell at each other frigging all the time,” and Irishy is all “WHAT?” and Bashir is all, “nevermind, forgetIsaidanything, howboutthemgiants?” Then he notices that Irishy seems very cold, which is strange because they’re in a desert, and also he is pale and sweaty and running a fever. Bashir makes him roll up his sleeve, and sees the now super-nasty spot where Irishy got the Nuke Juice dripped on his arm, and tells him, in his usual blunt bedside manner, that he’s been infected by the Harvesters.

Keiko is doing some botanist business when Sisko drops by, and at first she’s happy to see him, but then she sees his face, and goes into military wife mode. She immediately gleans that Irishy is dead, and demands to know exactly what happened. Sisko tells her that there’s a video, and she wants to see it, for some reason. I don’t think I’d want to see the footage if Tim got exploded to death in SPACE, but more power to her, I guess. Sisko offers some platitudes about Irishy and agrees to have the tape sent up, and then respectfully leaves her to be alone. Actually, why is she alone? Where the hell is her toddler? None of the moms I know have time for middle-of-the-day botany activities.

Back on the planet, Irishy is looking much worse and now his eyes aren’t focusing. Bashir forces him to sit down, and insists that Irishy can talk him through fixing the communicator. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to talk someone through using a website on the phone, but I have, and it’s not easy. I don’t see this ending well.

In Quark’s, Kira and Jadzia are reminiscing about Bashir, who is even more creepy than previously assumed because apparently he gave Jadzia all of his diaries from college because he thought they’d “help her understand him better.” How. Fucking. Weird. Is. That. Jadzia says that the diaries were about Bashir’s innermost thoughts, and his constant fear of failure and deep shit like that, which makes me wonder if he dummied them up for her, because my college diaries were mostly about how stupid everyone in my classes was and the amazing sandwiches I ate.

Jadzia says that the tragic thing is that she never got around to reading them (apparently the Deep Thoughts With Bashir angle was some sort of back-of-the-book-blurb Bashir himself gave her), and wonders if she should send them to his parents. Kira thinks she should keep them, because Bashir really cared for Jadzia. I think she should keep them, because I don’t think death is an acceptable reason for your parents to have access to your diary.

Quark brings by a new round of drinks, and he says they’re on the house because he wants to toast to the memories of Irishy and Bashir. Kira is all, “on the house?” and stares at him like she’s fallen into the Twilight Zone. Quark is all, “I can be thoughtful!” and she takes the drink. Quark gives what he says is “the highest tribute I can think of,” and says that Bashir and Irishy were good customers who always paid their bills on time. The he quotes Rule of Aquisition #57: “Good customers are as rare as latinum. Treasure them.” Kira and Jadzia seem underwhelmed, but clink and drink anyway.

Later, in Ops, Keiko barges in and says she needs to see Sisko on an important matter, so important that she seems like she doesn’t want to waste time on Kira’s condolences. Kira’s all, “we’re all so very sorry,” and Keiko is all, “yeah, yeah, thanks, whatever, get me to where Sisko is, chop chop.” In Sisko’s office, she reviews the video footage of the “accident,” pausing on a frame where Irishy is drinking coffee. “See!” she says triumphantly, “coffee!” Sisko and Kira don’t understand the import of this revelation, so she clarifies: Irishy never drinks coffee late in the afternoon, because it keeps him up all night, and the time index on the footage is around 1500 hours, which is in the late afternoon.

Sisko is squinting at the screen in confusion, obviously not wanting to point out to Keiko that she is delusional. “Maybe he made an exception?” he ventures, but Keiko confidently explains that she knows her husband, so, no. Kira gently suggests that Irishy might have been drinking something other than coffee, but Keiko has an answer for that too – apparently the T’lani computer takes all kinds of stats that don’t matter at all, because she was actually able to look up what was in his cup and it was coffee. Well, that’s an interesting use for Big Brother. Comes in handy if you ever want to confirm that your local news anchors are buzzed, I guess. Sisko, weirdly, decides that this is enough to go on, and he and Jadzia decide to travel to T’laniWorld to figure out if, how, and why the footage has been tampered with. I guess it’s good that Keiko reviewed that highly traumatic footage after all.

Back on the planet, Bashir is keeping Irishy talking, and they seem to be making progress fixing the communicator. Unfortunately, Irishy keeps almost slipping into a coma or something, and needs something to keep him awake, so, naturally, they decide to discuss Bashir’s love life. That’s just what we all need right now. Bashir used to be in love with a girl who I’m going to call Frenchy McFrenchFace, because her real name is so preposterously pretentious that my fingers have a seizure when I try to type it.

She was a ballerina, of course, and Bashir says that she had exquisite feet, which I’m telling you right now is a lie because I did ballet for like ten years and it literally makes your feet ugly. Whatever feet you have going in, they come out gnarled hooves. Anyway, Frenchy McFrenchFace Ballerinaston and Bashir used to be in love, and they finished each other’s sentences, and everywhere they went people spontaneously vomited (I assume). I’m just going to call it: she dies of tuburculosis and/or marries an older man in a top hat.

No, it turns out that her dad ran some sort of fancy hospital in Paris, and wanted Bashir to come and work there, but Bashir wanted to join Starfleet instead. So I guess she broke up with him because of that? Shallow bitch. Bashir says sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night kicking himself. He almost has the communicator fixed, and Irishy says that he’ll come take a look at it, but when he tries to stand up he can’t feel his legs.

In the Sisko Investigative Runabout, Sisko skypes in to the Main T’lani lady to say he wants to see the accident site. She seems just the tiniest bit taken aback, but says that of course he can see it.

On the planet, Bashir has finally fixed the communicator, although the signal is very faint. Irishy gives advice on how to boost the signal, and Bashir sends out a distress signal. He tells Irishy he’ll get him home, and Irishy is all, “in a box.” He tells Bashir a long string of sentimentalities, the main take-away of which is that marriage is but the next great adventure. Hook led me to believe that death was but the next great adventure, but close enough I guess (rim shot).

Meanwhile, Sisko is examining the accident site under the watchful eye of the Main T’lani lady, and he’s interrogating her in his usual badass manner, asking her if the footage could have been altered by the Kelleran, and she’s all “why would they do that,” *blink*blink*. Sisko is all, “I’m sure I don’t know,” and then she whines that they finally have peace and can’t he just leave well enough alone.

Sisko beams back to the runabout, where Jadzia has found that someone erased five minutes from the memory of the runabout Irishy and Bashir were using, and in those five minutes there was a request for transport – a full three minutes after the supposed accident happened.

On the planet, Bashir is still trying to keep Irishy alive, and Irishy is encouraging Bashir to give Frenchy McFrenchFace Ballerinaston a call, just to see what she’s up to. Suddenly, Bashir hears someone coming. The Main Lady T’lani comes into view, and Bashir is super glad to see her, telling her all about the Kelleran attack. Things get awkward when he sees that she has a bunch of Kelleran with her.

Bashir is confused about why they conspired to kill all the scientists, and it turns out they’re really following this “destroy the collective knowledge of the nuclear program” idea to its logical but insane conclusion – they needed to not only destroy the information but kill everyone who knew anything about it. Bashir’s all, “we weren’t planning on reverse engineering your crazy weapons,” and they’re like, “well, we’re going to shoot you anyway.” Irishy demands that they wait a minute, so Bashir can lift him up off the ground, because he wants to die on his feet. As Bashir helps him up, he apologizes for not getting them home. Irishy concedes that he did his best, and they share a sweet little bromance moment just before they’re beamed up onto Sisko’s runabout in the nick of time.

Bashir and Jadiza quickly brief each other on their various situations, and Sisko is all, “get us the hell out of here,” but it seems that the T’lani are blocking them. Sisko, however, notes that their short-range sensors aren’t working, which means that the T’lani’s aren’t working either. The Main T’lani lady fires on the runabout, and Sisko skypes in to let her know that she’s committing an extremely-not-OK act of aggression against the Federation. There follows a pretty boring ethical debate about whom it’s moral to murder when and why, and both the T’lani and the Kelleran show themselves to be pretty much worthless as, you know, people. Sometimes it’s hard to get on Star Trek’s Moral Relativity Train when the villains are this idiotic.

Sisko turns his runabout around, apparently to charge them, and they seem to explode him. They’re all, “that settles that,” but then they find that Sisko has pulled a clever swicheroo wherein they were all actually on the other runabout the whole time and are now off laughing together far away.

Back on the station, Keiko is showing Irishy a mug that their daughter Molly painted for him when she…thought he was dead? I don’t pretend to understand it. Bashir comes in to check on him, and tells him it was an honor serving with him. He begins to make a speech about how two people who face death together are basically inseparable forevermore, and Irishy and Keiko share a look, and for once Bashir takes the hint and ducks out. Keiko bemusedly chastises Irishy for being so hard on the man who saved his life, and Irishy says it was hell spending all that time alone with him. He holds up his mug and asks Keiko to get him some coffee, and Keiko, shocked, protests that he never drinks coffee in the afternoon. “Sure I do!” Irishy replies. “You DO?”

Whomp-whaaaaamp.

Meredith’s Analysis: This is a pretty solid episode. I wouldn’t call it a stand-out, but it’s definitely not bad. I approve of any episode that gets Irishy and Bashir in close quarters – that keeps happening, and it keeps getting better. The Keiko-as-amateur-detective angle is pretty cute, and one of the few times I don’t want to punch her just for her presence on my screen.

It seems that the episode was conceived of as a classic “chase” narrative, like North by Northwest or The Fugitive, but the script called for too many sets, so they paired it down to “hiding out in this one ruined hut.” That explains Irishy’s nonsensical “let’s just stay here” plan to my satisfaction.

I do think the villains are weak, managing neither to be particularly evil nor particularly understandable. Also, none of their plans really make any sense. Just bleh. I also would have happily accepted some further Tom-Sawyer-style reminiscence of the late officers on the station.

Tim’s Analysis: At first, I thought this episode was going to be about mutually assured destruction and how these two cultures exist only because these weapons exist, but then it got all murder mystery. That could have been done better, but I suppose that would have been a little bit too original series for some tastes. It’s just strange though that the bad guys take disarmament to such an extreme when MAD appeared to be working out just fine for them.

It’s a competent episode with a good laugh at the end and we advance the O’Brien/Bashir bromance some more.

Additional bonus content: Special thanks to nemryn for bringing this up, Irishy has the magical alien deathophage on the planet and the next time we see him it’s fine. Generally we could just assume that once they got back to civilization they gave him some kind of plague antivenom or whatever, but that actually gives us another question, doesn’t it? If a cure for this thing exists, then why is it so important to destroy them in the first place?

Real answer: lazy writers whoops

Better fan answer: a cure actually turns off mutually assured destruction and renders a horrific WMD a regular old weapon that it’s ok to use whenever.

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2 thoughts on “Season 2, Ep13: Armageddon Game

    • We’re on a bit of a hiatus to make time for work and school. I very much would like to get back onto a regular schedule for these. Thank you for reading and I’m very glad you enjoyed them. If you haven’t already, you should subscribe so you can get an email when we get going again.

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