(written from a Production point of view)
Jake and Nog get into trouble while trying to cheer up Sisko by acquiring a mint-condition 1951 Willie Mays rookie baseball card; the Dominion offers to sign a nonaggression pact with Bajor.
The mood aboard Deep Space 9 has grown dark as the Dominion threat has intensified. Three ships, including the USS Tian An Men, have disappeared along the Cardassian border in just the last three weeks, Odo has canceled a vacation to Bajor due to an 75% increase in thefts of food rations and medical supplies, and the crew is generally gloomy – Captain Sisko most of all. What's more, Kai Winn Adami announces she'll be visiting the station. Fortunately, Jake Sisko has a plan to lift his father's spirits – Quark has invited him to an auction at which a mint-condition Willie Mays rookie year baseball card will be available. He'll show up, purchase the card, and make a gift of it. "How hard can that be?" Jake asks.
Jake convinces Nog to let him use some of the gold-pressed latinum he's saved up over his lifetime so he can purchase this gift for the captain, by guilting him through a reminder that the captain made it possible for Nog to attend Starfleet Academy. Meanwhile, Kai Winn meets with Captain Sisko and reveals that the Dominion has requested a meeting with her. Kai Winn requests that Sisko take a walk with her on the Promenade. Both Sisko and the Kai are concerned about how Bajor will be able to cope with a pending Dominion invasion. The Kai tells Sisko that she is concerned that, with the conflict between the Dominion and the Federation quickly escalating, Bajor could get caught in the middle and would result in the destruction of her world. Sisko promises that he will do whatever it takes to safeguard Bajor.
Meanwhile, at the auction, the baseball card Jake desires comes up for auction. It is included in an Andorian chest along with a pre-Surak Vulcan bracelet, a 6th century Bajoran mandala, and a 23rd century ion-transtator. Bidding begins on the contents of the chest but Nog's entire life savings isn't enough to out-bid a mysterious man at the back of the room. He bids 10 bars of latinum (twice what Nog has saved) and then disappears out the back.
Nog tries to convince Jake they've lost the card, but Jake is determined to come through for his father. They intercept the man as he leaves the auction in Quark's but he mutters something about refusing to get involved with any "soulless minions of orthodoxy" and disappears into a turbolift.
Meanwhile, Weyoun arrives on the station to meet with Kai Winn and exchanges insults with Sisko.
Finally, the man who bought the baseball card – Dr. Elias Giger – requests a meeting with Jake and Nog after learning of their relationships to Captain Sisko and Quark. It seems he needs some supplies he believes they're in a position to obtain, and he's willing to trade the baseball card, minus the original packaging and chewing gum, for those supplies. Jake agrees, even after learning that Dr. Giger plans to use the supplies in the construction of his cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber – a device designed to keep the cells of the body from getting bored, thus prolonging life indefinitely. Jake and Nog agree that the man is crazy, but since he has the baseball card they have little choice but to acquiesce to his demands.
Giger provides a lengthy list, and Jake and Nog go straight to work. For a neodymium power cell from a Cardassian phase-coil inverter they visit Chief O'Brien, but he's too busy re-calibrating EPS regulators to help. Nog, always a Ferengi, strikes a deal: Jake and Nog will do the work while the Chief visits a holosuite for a chance to go kayaking for the first time in weeks. In exchange, O'Brien will find the power cell.
For five liters of anaerobic metabolites suspended in a hydrosaline solution, they call on Doctor Bashir, who's not only busy but is doing something he wants to do (so they can't strike a deal like they did with Chief O'Brien). However, through additional probing, Nog gets Bashir to admit that he'd be much happier if he had Kukalaka – his teddy bear. When he was still dating Leeta, Bashir let her borrow Kukalaka and she never gave it back. Nog manages to retrieve the bear from Leeta while she's sleeping.
While Jake and Nog are running errands, Kai Winn discusses Weyoun's proposal with Sisko. The Dominion wants to sign a nonaggression treaty with Bajor. She recognizes that Starfleet can't possibly protect Bajor from the full strength of the Dominion, but also knows that allying with the Dominion could make Bajor the next world conquered. Sisko advises that she stall for time and keep Bajor's options open. He tells her she needs to trust him this time. She puts her hand on his ear to read his pagh, then agrees.
Meanwhile, Jake delivers a batch of Dr. Giger's requested items to his quarters. Giger then removes a chip from one of the devices just delivered, and uses it to activate a console panel on his wall, which then begins making a humming sound. The view then pans up, to the quarters above, where Weyoun is being accommodated; the sound has alerted him and his two Jem'Hadar guards that something is going on below him.
Later, Nog agreed to filter out subharmonic distortions from Worf's Klingon opera recordings while Jake helps Kira with an upcoming speech to the Bajoran Agricultural Ministry. When they've collected the last of the supplies, however, they find that Giger and his equipment are no longer in his quarters.
Jake and Nog visit Odo, who insists there never was such a person in those quarters. When he hears about the "Cellular Regeneration and Entertainment Chamber," he reads them a list of charges including making a false report and wasting police time and scares them out of his office.
On their way out, Jake witnesses Kai Winn talking to a vedek on the upper level of the Promenade who had also bid on the lot containing the baseball card during the auction. Thinking that she was after the Bajoran mandala that was auctioned in the same lot as the baseball card, he deduces that she kidnapped Giger as a result of losing the bid.
Weyoun meets again with Kai Winn, and she tells him he'll have to wait until she's given a report to the First Minister. He says he understands, and that he and she are very much alike. She puts a hand on his ear as she did with Sisko, then says, "No, we are nothing alike," and leaves. Shortly afterward, she is accosted in a nearby corridor by Jake and Nog.
Sisko is furious when he finds out that they have essentially accused the religious leader of Bajor of burglary and kidnapping, but Jake, still wanting to surprise his father, lies and insists that he and Nog got drunk at Quark's before approaching the Kai. Naturally, this makes Captain Sisko even angrier, and he tells them that he was wrong to place so much trust in them. He confines both of them to quarters and angrily dismisses them.
As the two argue on a turbolift after they leave Sisko's office, they're suddenly beamed onto Weyoun's ship.
Weyoun inquires about their connection to Dr. Giger. Jake explains that they were only trying to acquire a baseball card, but Weyoun doesn't believe him. He tells them that he knows about the polarized particles coming from Giger's room, that Jake and Nog have been holding secret meetings with the senior staff of the station (to acquire the requested items for Giger), and the fact that they met with Kai Winn immediately after she left him.
The Jem'Hadar bring Giger into the room, carrying the auctioned box, and revealing that it was Weyoun who had kidnapped him. Giger, seeing Jake and Nog, accuse them of betraying him to the soulless minions of orthodoxy, before he is relieved of the box. Weyoun then begins to examine its contents, telling Jake he would like them to be friends, but they must be truthful with each other.
Seeing no other option, Jake says he and Nog were working for Starfleet Intelligence, and concocts an absurd story about hunting for a mysterious man from the future named Willie Mays. Weyoun realizes their original story was truthful.
Weyoun turns to Giger and asks for an explanation of his machinery. Nog dismisses Giger, quipping that he is working on a way to become immortal. Weyoun, who himself is a recipient of "immortality," immediately becomes interested in Giger's work. Giger says it will take some time to explain his theories. As Giger starts to explain the chamber, Weyoun allows Jake and Nog to leave… with the baseball card.
- "Captain's log: Stardate 50929.4. Two days ago, this station felt like a tomb. I'd never seen so many of my crew depressed at the same time. But for some reason, it now seems as though a new spirit has swept through the station … as if someone had opened a door and let a gust of fresh air blow through a musty old house.
- "Why this is happening is frankly a mystery to me. After all, nothing has really changed. The Dominion is still a threat, the Cardassians are still threatening to retake the station, and I can still see the clouds of war gathering on the horizon.
- "So why do I sense a newfound sense of optimism in the air? But maybe I'm over thinking this. Maybe the real explanation is as simple as something my father taught me a long time ago. Even in the darkest moments, you can always find something that'll make you smile."
Due to unintentional benefits of Jake's and Nog's trades, Chief O'Brien had time to go kayaking in the holosuite, Dr. Bashir has Kukalaka back (though Leeta is confused about losing him), Major Kira's speech was well received, and Worf is able to listen to his opera collection on the USS Defiant's bridge again. Weyoun even takes an interest in Giger's work on immortality. But most importantly, Captain Sisko has a mint-condition Willie Mays rookie baseball card from Earth, 1951. The whole station feels happier.
"Mr. Worf, you've been paroled. The party's over."
- - Sisko
"It's my money, Jake! If you want to bid at the auction, use your own money."
"I'm Human, I don't have any money."
"It's not my fault that your species decided to abandon currency-based economics in favor of some philosophy of self-enhancement."
"Hey, watch it. There's nothing wrong with our philosophy. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity."
"What does that mean exactly?"
"It means… it means we don't need money!"
"Well, if you don't need money, then you certainly don't need mine!"
- - Nog and Jake
"Sold… to the blue man… in the good shoes."
- - Quark
"Do you want to die?"
- - Giger, to both Jake Sisko and Weyoun, introducing his cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber
"Let's come up with something else to cheer up your dad, like a new pair of shoes."
"What's wrong with shoes?"
"Nothing, except it's stupid."
- - Nog and Jake
"I'm not crazy… I'm just a little obsessed."
- - Jake and Nog
"I have some experience in that area as well."
- - Kai Winn, referring to political intrigues
"Maybe the soulless minions of orthodoxy finally caught up with him."
- - Nog and Odo, on Giger's disappearance
"You accused the Kai of burglary and kidnapping?!"
"We didn't really accuse her of anything."
"Oh, I see, you just implied it."
- - Sisko, Jake, and Nog
"I see that my faith in the two of you has been sadly misplaced. You both are confined to quarters until further notice! DISMISSED!!!"
- - Sisko, to Jake and Nog
"Lions and Gigers and bears."
- - Nog and Jake
"The entire future of the galaxy may depend on us tracking down Willie Mays… and stopping him."
- - Jake, to Weyoun
"He's harmless, he's just working on a way to become immortal."
"Really? I have a background in, shall we say, creative genetics. I'd be most interested in hearing your theories."
- - Nog and Weyoun
Story and script
- This episode was conceived as a bottle show. As Ronald D. Moore explains, "We had a very simple premise for a show. Jake and Nog chase a card around the station, trying to give it to Sisko. That's really just where we started. We figured we could do the show right before the season finale and it would be fun and funny and contained and cheap and after that we'd send them out on this big war story." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- In the original version of the teleplay, Elias Giger was trying to resurrect his dead wife, using just her ear to genetically recreate her. This particular idea was Ira Steven Behr's, but Ronald D. Moore was having trouble getting it to work. Eventually, René Echevarria pointed out that the reason it wasn't working was because Giger is not supposed to be a character to be taken seriously, but if he's trying to get back his wife, the audience is going to want him to succeed, which undermines the reason the character exists in the first place. Echevarria suggested that he be searching for immortality, but Moore wasn't keen on the idea. Behr then proposed that Giger should be trying to achieve something that initially sounds very interesting and plausible, but quickly begins to sound crazy. After Behr's suggestion, Moore came up with idea of "cellular ennui" and the theory that you could literally be bored to death. Behr and Echevarria both loved it, and so Moore began to write a new draft of the teleplay. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Ronald D. Moore commented: "Basically we reverse the normal structure in this show, so that the A-story is the comedy and the B-story is serious. It's a fun show". This episode is unique in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine insofar as it is the only show with a light-hearted, humorous A-story and a serious and important B-story. Usually, the positions are reversed, a serious A-story is often offset with a lighter B-story (the third season episode "Life Support" is a good example: the A-story is about the death of Vedek Bareil and the signing of the Bajoran-Cardassian Treaty, while the B-story is about Jake and Nog going on a double date). In the case of this episode, the A-story is about Jake and Nog obtaining a baseball card, while the B-story is about Bajor's involvement in the inevitable Dominion War. ("In Pursuit of Happiness", Star Trek Monthly issue 29)
- Jake quotes Captain Picard from Star Trek: First Contact when he says "we work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity." Moore commented, "I take great glee at mocking my own work." (AOL chat, 1999)
- Nog's line "Lions and Gigers and bears" is an obvious reference to the 1939 Victor Fleming film The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy says "Lions and tigers and bears." Indeed, the character of Elias Giger was named specifically so the Oz allusion would make sense. "Lions" refers to Jake's line "We're going to beard the lion in its den." "Bears" refers to Kukalaka. So Ronald D. Moore needed something rhyming with "tiger". After he came up with Giger, he then completed the reference by having Jake add "Oh, my!", as Dorothy adds in the film. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Ron Moore handed in his script for this episode on 21 March 1997 (AOL chat, 1997) and it began filming 3 April 1997. (AOL chat, 1997)
- This episode proved to be a big hit with the fans, and was also popular with the producers. According to Ira Steven Behr, "All the plot machinations, all the humor, all the tech talk, everything, it ultimately comes down to simple Human emotion of trying to make someone you care about feel better. It's very simple and very nice." Similarly, Ronald D. Moore states, "The father and son are really tight, and they really do love each other. It's a family that works, and that's important to us. In this particular episode, Jake's feelings ground everything, and it makes you actually care about all the ridiculous stuff. There's heart to it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The computer system Doctor Giger uses in this episode appears to be the same system we see on the USS Excelsior and USS Enterprise-A in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
- Morn can be seen leaving the bar with the painting Quark offered for auction just after the baseball card. According to Quark, it is acrylic on black velvet. This is the same painting Quark would inherit in "Who Mourns for Morn?", and which would ultimately end up being smashed over his head.
- The layout of the A-story of this episode, Jake and Nog trying to buy a baseball card but continually being forced to get something in lieu of the card, is similar in design to the B-story of the first season episode "Progress", where they are trying to earn latinum, but keep on ending up with commodities rather than profit. Nog continues this tradition on his own in the seventh season episode "Treachery, Faith and the Great River", where he describes this process to Chief O'Brien as sailing the river of the Great Material Continuum.
- This episode introduces the possibility of a non-aggression pact between Bajor and the Dominion. In the following episode, "Call to Arms", that pact would be signed.
- Despite going missing in this episode, the USS Tian An Men would at some point be recovered by Starfleet, taking part in the First Battle of Chin'toka a year later.
- Following on from "Rapture", this episode continues to add ambiguity to the usually villainous character of Kai Winn, in much the same way as the writers had added ambiguity to the character of Gul Dukat throughout the third and fourth seasons. In particular, we see in this episode that her relationship with Sisko is improving, and that their respect for one another is growing. We also see Winn tell Weyoun to his face that she is nothing like him.
- This is the first episode of Star Trek to be directed by Michael Dorn.
- Some events from DS9: "Rapture" are referenced, specifically Sisko's insistence that Bajor should not join the Federation, as of yet. According to Kai Winn, this episode is set six months after the events of DS9: "Rapture".
- Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) does not appear in this episode.
- Quark had previously held an auction of items from the Gamma Quadrant in his bar with Vash in DS9: "Q-Less".
- Although the established conversion of Latinum is twenty strips are equal to one bar (DS9: "Body Parts"), during the auction Quark raises the price of the chest containing the baseball card to one bar, twenty-five strips before Dr. Giger bids 2 bars. Since there are only twenty strips in a bar, this bid is in fact less than the previous bid.
- The Willie Mays baseball card is from the 1951 Bowman Baseball set, with a value of $4,000 as of 2014.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.13, 20 October 1997
- As part of the DS9 Season 5 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun
- Brian Markinson as Elias Giger
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Chase Masterson as Leeta
Special guest star
- Bill Blair as Benzite bidder
- Uriah Carr as Human operations division officer
- Tory Christopher as Human medical officer
- Cathy DeBuono as Klingon bidder
- Randy James as Jones
- Charlie-Olisa Kaine as Kelly
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Mark Newsom as Bajoran Vedek bidder
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- James Lee Stanley as Bajoran security deputy
- Susie Stillwell as Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
1951; 6th century; 20th century; 22nd century; 23rd century; accusation; acrylic; anaerobic metabolite; Andor; Andorian chest; Andros III; artificial gravity grid; auction; Bajor; Bajoran; Bajoran mandala; Bajoran vessel (Bajoran transport); Bajoran War Orphans Fund; bar; baseball; baseball card; Bathkin; bed; Berengaria VII; bid; biogenic energy; Bolian; bracelet; bronze; burglary; bust; Cardassia; Cardassian; Cardassian border; Cellular boredom; cellular ennui; ceramic; chewing gum; chromoelectric wavelength; commission; confined to quarters; Cooperstown; Coridan system; currency-based economics; dagger; death; decibel; Decker; den; dinner; Dominion; Earth; economics; electro-plasma conduit; EPS regulator; Emi's species; Eminence; Emissary of the Prophets; expression; Federation; Ferengi; First Minister; flag; freighter ("old derelict freighter"); gold-pressed latinum (latinum); gust; Hall of Fame; holosuite; hydrosaline solution; immortality; intoxication; ion-transtator; Jem'Hadar; kai; kayaking; kidnapping; kismet; Klingon; Klingon opera; Kukalaka; light year; lion; liter; maintenance schedule; Martian colonies; Mays, Willie; medical supplies; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; mint condition; mitochondria; money; Mora Pol; neodymium; New York; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; Orb of Wisdom; orthodoxy; painting; parole; pedestal; phase coil inverter; plot; polaric particle; post-eventualistic; power cell; prion; Promenade; pre-Matoian; pre-Surak; Prophets; Quark's; quarters; river; Romulan; rookie; Shakaar Edon; shoes; Sisko, Joseph; soul; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Intelligence; strip; subatomic particle; tapestry; Tellarite; Tholian; Tian An Men, USS; time traveler; transtator; tricorder; triptin; turbolift; vedek; velvet; Vilk, Kandra; Vulcan; water basin; water reclamation; Wee Bairns
- "In the Cards" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "In the Cards" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "In the Cards" at Wikipedia
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"Call to Arms"