Synopsis: We open with a Sisko voice-over explaining that he’s handling a mediation for the Bajoran government between two rival factions, the “Paqu” (pah-COO) and the “Navot” (Naah-VAHT), who are having a land dispute that could, because it’s Bajor, easily spark a civil war. Bajor would have a civil war about what time they should all have breakfast if so many of their people weren’t starving, at least they’re asking Sisko for input this time, I guess.
In Ops, Sisko multi-tasks: preparing to welcome the Paqu, asking when the Navot are due to arrive, pacing purposefully about, etc. When Irishy slides into his orbit to ask him about something, he brusquely demands to know why Irishy isn’t on Bajor yet. Um, because you just said all the Bajorans were coming here? Maybe this is all a clever diplomatic ruse: after the disputants are on the station, it’s Irishy’s job to run down to the planet and move the property lines around, and Sisko can just be all, “Hmm, you must have misread this. Oh, well, no civil war today!”
Actually, it seems like the mission in question just “chauffeur duty”, and Irishy asks if some Ensign could take his place, since it’s such mind-numbing work. Sisko is all, “I’m sorry, is there some reason you can’t do this thing I have asked you to do?” and Irishy carefully says no, but that something could come up any minute, you never know.
Just then, Bashir comes into Ops with a ridiculous little backpack that I think is supposed to hold his medical tricorder, but which I’m going to assume actually contains trailmix and a stuffed bunny – because he, of course, is what Irishy is supposed to be chauffeuring.
He’s super excited, as always, and is all, “ARE YOU READY TO GO, CHIEF? ARE YOU READY TO GO? MEDICAL EMERGENCY ADVENTURE FUNTIMES!” Irishy seems considerably less excited. Bashir puts the final nail in his coffin by saying that he sees this little roadtrip as a “wonderful opportunity to get to know each other,” which in Bashir language means “become best buddies and eat lunch together and have a secret handshake and pass notes in class and pretend to be superheros at my house after school lets out.” Irishy looks around for someone to whom he can say, “goddammit, I am a grown man,” and, seeing no one, follows Bashir to the runabout.
In the turbolift, Sisko and Kira are discussing important diplomatic issues. Sisko just wants to get the two sides talking informally, and Kira says it’ll be impressive to just get them sitting at the same table. Kira tells Sisko that there’s an old saying on Bajor: “Shoot Cardassians on sight.” Oh, no wait, sorry, wrong old saying. She says that “the land and the people are one,” and that these particular people live on Bajor’s harshest land (the other Bajorans all said they were daft to build castles in the swamp). She says that the Paku avoid contact with outsiders, so she won’t be much help.
As she and Sisko step into the airlock to meet the Paqu representative, it’s hard for them to hide their surprise: the representative is a fifteen-year-old girl. You know, they’re acting like it’s a problem, but I know a certain young man on this station who has a thing for the Bajoran laydees, and probably would not say no to some questionably ethical romancin’ as a negotiation technique. Wasn’t it just an episode ago that Sisko said a real leader would do anything for peace? Doesn’t that include whoring out one’s son? Continue reading