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Recap: Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 06 E 22 Valiant
While heading toward Ferenginar aboard a runabout, Nog and Jake are attacked by the Jem'Hadar, and rescued by the starship Valiant, a Defiant-class escort crewed by the cadets of Red Squad which had been stranded behind enemy lines.

Nog and Jake are heading to Ferenginar with what Jake suspects is a proposal for an alliance against the Dominion (because, obviously, the only Ferengi in Starfleet is the most qualified person to handle a proposal of an alliance). The two are flying a runabout without any sort of escorts, so naturally they're easy picking for a squad of Jem'Hadar attack fighters. Luckily, they are rescued by the USS Valiant. There, they find that the crew is entirely composed of Red Squad, an elite training unit from Starfleet Academy that Nog idolized and wanted to join. The captain, Tim Watters, takes an immediate liking to Nog as he's the one person who is a Starfleet officer, while CPO Dorian Collins is befriended by Jake.

The two reveal to Jake and Nog (separately) the backstory of the Valiant: it was a training ship built solely for Red Squad and while on a mission to circumnavigate the entire Federation, the Dominion War broke out and they became trapped Behind Enemy Lines. While engaging a Cardassian cruiser, all the commissioned officers were killed, leaving the cadets in command. Watters reveals to Nog what are, ostensibly, their orders: to gather intel on a new Dominion battleship. However, their technobabble says they cannot catch up with the enemy ship. Being a commissioned gold shirt, Nog is immediately put in charge of engineering, even though as the only commissioned officer, he should really be taking command of the ship itself.

Jake gets Collins to open up, revealing her backstory and how she misses her family. This is brought before Watters and XO Karen Farris, who lash at Jake for "emotionally compromising" a member of the crew and orders him to stay away from her. Jake is taken aback at this, seeing that while the cadets are highly trained, they are still New Meat and unfamiliar with how to truly handle themselves in war. Meanwhile, Nog is promoted to lieutenant commander and manages to solve the technobabble problem, allowing them to track the battleship.

Watters and Farris assemble the crew and reveal that their scans depict a weakness in the ship: an exhaust shaft that leads directly to the main reactor...sorry, wrong film...a flawed antimatter storage system that can be easily ruptured with the right technobabble (forgetting that their supposed orders are to gather intel and bring it back, not to engage in a risky battle). Jake tries to talk them out of it by saying that his own father, The Sisko, would not take on a mission this suicidal on his own. Of course, Red Squad can do anything, and he is ignored. Jake tries to talk sense into Nog, who has let his new rank go to his head and for this, Jake is thrown in the brig.

After a good ol' Lock and Load Montage, the Valiant finds and engages the battleship. They flawlessly launch their technobabble torpedoes, which appears to destroy the ship...but their celebration is too soon as the Dominion ship emerges unscathed. With a massive collective Oh Crap, the cadets try to regroup, but Watters, Farris, and everyone else of importance is killed in rapid succession. Nog realizes the ship is lost, and escapes the ship with Jake and Collins. They are soon rescued by the Defiant.

This episode provides examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: At the climax.
  • Artistic License - Military: Invoked. In modern military protocol, being a commissioned officer, Nog would have immediately outranked everyone on board the Valiant. However, Ron Moore based his writing on 19th century naval tradition, where an acting captain could only be removed from command by a flag officer. Obviously, Starfleet has nostalgia for the Age of Sail.
  • Awesome McCoolname: The USS Valiant. Jake certainly thinks so.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: Watters and Farris, especially in the ready room scene with Jake.
  • Continuity Nod: Cadet Shepard is still with Red Squad.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Even before the torpedo failure, the Jem'Hadar ship thrashes the Valiant. And after it fails, they really let them have it.
  • David Versus Goliath: This time, Goliath wins.
  • Deconstruction: Of the entire concept of the "plucky young band that overcomes a great evil" found in so much of adventure fiction (and most particularly Star Wars).
    • Also of technobabble and hair brained schemes saving the day.
  • Development Gag: The USS Defiant's original name was USS Valiant.
  • Ensign Newbie: Captain Watters. It's dubious that the orders to gather intel on the battleship are genuine, given how close they were to Federation-held territory at the start and could have easily returned home. He obviously doesn't want to go back to being a cadet, even though they are in a war and advancement could be quick.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Nog telling Collins that their attack has failed and everyone else is dead.
  • Field Promotion: The entire crew of the Valiant, due to the senior officers being killed in the line of duty. Captain Ramirez, while dying, gave command of the ship to Cadet Watters, who in turn promoted the rest of the cadets. "Captain" Watters even gives Nog a field promotion to lieutenant commander, due to his experience with the Defiant.
  • Gunship Rescue: The Valiant rescuing Jake and Nog.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Before the battle.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Watters is taking stimulants to stay awake, judging by his initial reactions to Jake and Nog he's a sycophant, judging by his later reactions he's a fragile egotist. Several times throughout the episode, when interacting with Jake (and to a lesser extent Nog), all the named cadets demonstrate that they're not the seasoned officers they're pretending to be (you can't imagine even TOS-era officers treating a nosy civilian how Jake is treated here) at Watters' urging, and some of them can't even see how poorly Watters led them, even when recovering from serious injuries after being pulled from an escape pod. Watters even seems to believe his own bullshit, right up until they catch their prey, when he's among the first to realise that they now have no choice but to go through with the plan, and if it goes wrong they'll all die.
  • Oh Crap: When the explosion clears and the Jem'Hadar ship is without a scratch, you can plainly see the fear on the cadets faces.
  • Only Sane Man: Jake.
  • Point Defenseless: Red Squad tries to pull this off. It turned out that the Dominion ship's antimatter storage system was better-protected than they thought.
    • Which makes sense, because, you know... antimatter.
  • Sink the Lifeboats: The Jem'Hadar don't even spare the escape pods after the Valiant goes down for the count.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: A combination of inexperience, stress and misplaced bravado lead to a stupid plan that fails miserably.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The plan that Red Squad discusses fails spectacularly.
Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 06 E 21 The ReckoningRecap/Star Trek: Deep Space NineStar Trek Deep Space Nine S 06 E 23 Profit And Lace

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