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In the Cards (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"In the Cards"
DS9, Episode 5x25
Production number: 40510-523
First aired: 9 June 1997
121st of 173 produced in DS9
121st of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 173 released in DS9 Remastered  
474th of 728 released in all
Willie Mays baseball card
Teleplay By
Ronald D. Moore

Story By
Truly Barr Clark & Scott Neal

Directed By
Michael Dorn
50929.4 (2373)
  Arc: Dominion invasion (1 of 8)
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  Arc: {{{wsArc3Desc}}} ({{{nArc3PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc3PartCount}}})  
  Arc: {{{wsArc4Desc}}} ({{{nArc4PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc4PartCount}}})  

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.

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

The mood aboard Deep Space 9 has grown dark as the Dominion threat has intensified. Three ships have disappeared along the Cardassian border in just the last three weeks, Odo has canceled a vacation due to increased 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?"

Act One Edit

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. Both Sisko and the Kai are concerned about how Bajor will be able to cope with a pending Dominion invasion. At the auction, even 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.

Act Two Edit

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 house but he mutters something about refusing to get involved with any "soulless minions of orthodoxy" and disappears into a turbolift. Weyoun arrives on the station to meet with Kai Winn and exchanges insults with Sisko.

Cellular entertainment

Dr. Elias Giger and his cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber

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 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.

Act Three Edit

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 recalibrating 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). Nog's cunning though, and he gets Bashir to admit that he'd be much happier if he had Kukalaka – his teddy bear. The pair manage 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 non-aggression 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. Weyoun, meanwhile, has gotten suspicious of the activity in the quarters below his, where Giger's machinery are humming along.

Nog has agreed to filter out subharmonic distortions from Worf's Klingon opera recordings while Jake helps Kira with an upcoming speech. When they've collected the last of the supplies, however, they find that Giger is no longer in his quarters.

Act Four Edit

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 and scares them out of his office.

Searching for an explanation, Jake blames Kai Winn, thinking she was after a Bajoran mandala that was auctioned in the same lot as the baseball card. He and Jake confront her in the corridor as Weyoun departs. Sisko is furious when he finds out, 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 more furious, 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 after they leave Sisko's office, they're suddenly beamed onto Weyoun's ship.

Act Five Edit

Weyoun inquires about their connection to Dr. Giger, who was abducted on Weyoun's orders. Jake explains that they were only trying to acquire a baseball card, but Weyoun doesn't believe him. When Jake concocts an absurd story about hunting for a mysterious man from the future named Willie Mays, Weyoun realizes their original story was truthful and releases them – 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 Jake and Nog's unintentional altruism, 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 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.

Memorable quotes Edit

"Sold... to the blue man... in the good shoes."

- Quark

"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

"Mr. Worf, you've been paroled. The party's over."

- Sisko

"I'm not crazy... I'm just a little obsessed."
"A little?"

- 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."
"The who?"

- Nog and Odo, on Giger's disappearance

"Lions and Gigers and bears."
"Oh, my."

- 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

Background informationEdit

Story and scriptEdit

  • 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)
  • 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)



  • 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)


  • This episode is somewhat unique in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine insofar as it is the only show with a light-hearted humorous A-story and a deadly 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 a light-weight farce about a baseball card, while the B-story is about Bajor's involvement in the inevitable Dominion War.

Dr. Elias Giger standing next to an old style computer console

  • 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. 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.
  • Just after Jake and Nog lose the baseball card at auction, Quark introduces Lot 49, a reference to Thomas Pynchon's novel The Crying of Lot 49.(citation needededit)
  • When Jake and Nog agree to complete Chief O'Brien's work for him, Nog says "You calibrate, I'll scan", however, he hands Jake the tricorder by mistake.
  • This is the first episode of Star Trek to be directed by Michael Dorn.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Special guest star Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

References Edit

1951; 6th century; 22nd century; 23rd century; anaerobic metabolite; Andor; Andorian chest; Andros III; artificial gravity grid; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran mandala; Bajoran War Orphans Fund; baseball; Bathkin; Berengaria VII; biogenic energy; Bolian; bracelet; bronze; Cardassia; Cardassian border; chromoelectric wavelength; Cooperstown; Coridan system; currency-based economics; dagger; Decker; Earth; economics; electroplasma conduit; EPS regulator; Eminence; Emissary of the Prophets; eventualistic movement; Federation; Ferengi; First Minister; Hall of Fame; holosuite; hydrosaline solution; ion transtator; Jem'Hadar; kayaking; Klingon opera; Kukalaka; latinum; Martian colonies; Matoian movement; Mays, Willie; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; mitochondria; money; Mora Pol; neodymium; New York; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; Orb of Wisdom; painting; phase coil inverter; polaric particle; power cell; prion; Promenade; Prophets; Quark's; Romulan; Shakaar Edon; shoes; Sisko, Joseph; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Intelligence; Surak; tapestry; Tellarite; Tholian; Tian An Men, USS; transtator; tricorder; triptin; turbolift; vedek; Vilk, Kandra; Vulcan; water basin

External linksEdit

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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