Jake and Nog are traveling to Ferenginar when a Jem'Hadar ship attacks. They are beamed out from the shuttle and find themselves on a Defiant-class vessel, the USS Valiant. The ship's regular staff has been killed, leaving a group of Red Squad cadets in charge, led by the provisional "Captain" Watters. While Nog is excited to work together with Red Squad, Jake has doubts about the irrational unconditional team spirit on the Valiant. When Watters orders an assault on a vastly superior Dominion battleship prototype, Jake is put into the brig. The Dominion vessel suffers only superficial damage, whereas the Valiant is crippled and destroyed. Only Jake, Nog and "Chief" Collins survive the debacle in an escape pod, and are picked up by the Defiant. Nog, shaken by the experience, resigns from Red Squad.
Errors and Explanations
Internet Movie Database
- When Nog is promoted to chief engineer on board the Valiant, he is given the rank of Lieutenant Commander. However, throughout the rest of the episode, he is seen with only two pips (one full pip and one "hollow" pip) signifying the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. Either the other pip is hidden, or there weren't enough spare pips available.
- Watters claims a battlefield commission, but his story later is that he took over when the actual commissioned officers were all killed. The death of a superior officer would only place him in command until a commissioned officer would arrive. As such, Nog, being commissioned already, should automatically become the ship's captain upon his arrival. As an already existing member of Red Squad, Watters may believe himself to be the legitimate CO. CdnTim 1714 EST 17Feb2021 - There are two related questions here: why doesn't Nog assume command, and why doesn't Watters yield it? For the latter, Watters has bought into his own hype, and believes he IS the captain, it likelyt didn't even occur to him to pass command to an ensign. As for the former, Nog spent his Academy days in awe of Red Squad. Despite being technically promoted, he thinks of Red Squad as "above" him (and many of them were probably his seniors at the Academy). Lastly, even if both of those weren't true, it doesn't look like the Red Squad crew would have accepted Nog attempting to relieve Watters anyway.
- Corey Hines on Monday, December 14, 1998 - 12:07 pm: Just a quick point. With a ship full of cadets, technically, Nog is the senior officer and shouldn't have to take orders from anyone. Charles Cabe (Ccabe) on Tuesday, December 15, 1998 - 12:58 am: I beg to differ, The Captain gave a promotion to the leader of Red Squad making him a captain as well. Ensign Nog would still have to take orders from the Captain despite the fact he is a cadet. ScottN on Tuesday, December 15, 1998 - 9:34 am: Besides, the commander of any ship has absolute authority. Even if Nog were an Admiral, the Red Squad captain would be in command. Bruce Ismay on Wednesday, December 16, 1998 - 12:33 pm: I quite agree that a ship's Captain has complete authority over his vessel. Now, Captain Smith, would you please increase Titanic's speed to 21 knots so we can arrive in New York City on Tuesday night. Spockania on Wednesday, December 16, 1998 - 5:28 pm: Actually, if Nog were an Admiral or an Ambassador he would have authority to take over the ship. We've seen this done in the past. Still, the point applies since Nog is only an ensign. Charles Cabe (Ccabe) on Wednesday, December 16, 1998 - 8:32 pm: Nog would have to be a captain or better to order the captain of the Valiant around. Can some of the military people at nitcentral help out with this argument? Chris Thomas on Tuesday, February 23, 1999 - 11:36 pm: They are no longer cadets because they earned field commissions - like O'Brien and, as such, their ranks stand in this instance so Nog has to obey the Captain.Mike Konczewski on Wednesday, February 24, 1999 - 6:47 am: Bruce--Captain Smith was well within his rights to ignore "your" order to increase the Titanic's speed that night. Smith knew he had the maritime authority and, since this would have probably been his last trip before retiring, knew that "you" couldn't do anything to harm his career. Smith's decision to do so was done by his own free will.
- Aaron Dotter on Wednesday, February 24, 1999 - 1:19 pm: Why didn't they convert over to the normal uniforms and stop wearing that fancy Red Squad pin? Lea Frost on Wednesday, February 24, 1999 - 1:23 pm: No reason, other than that they look younger in the cadet uniforms -- it emphasizes the fact that this is basically a bunch of kids (relatively speaking..."kids" who are my age! :-) ) on a starship. CdnTim 1718 EST 17Feb2021 - Perhaps its psychological? They don't want to presume to be full officers, knowing on some levels that they're not ready. They adopt field promotions because the ship needs a hierarchy to function, but assuming regular uniforms would be a step too far.
- Anonymous on Tuesday, April 20, 1999 - 8:43 am: I have seen this episode twice - once when it came out last season as a new episode, and once a couple of weeks ago. When I first saw it I didn't like it all. I then decided to watch it again a couple of weeks ago to give it a second chance. I ended up hating it even more the second time. Don't get me wrong, I usually love DS9. It was just that this episode rubbed me the wrong way. Here's why:
1) The Premise - I feel that it is totally implausable that the captain of a Starfleet vessel would allow a cadet to take command of his ship. I don't care how good Red Squad is supposed to be, a Starfleet captain needs to have experience. As the original captain was dying he should have ordered the cadet captain to take the ship back into Federation space to receive a proper crew. And even if he didn't have the opportunity, the cadet captain should have been smart enough to realize that for him to continue the mission would be wrong. Jennifer Fischer on Wednesday, April 21, 1999 - 3:20 am: I agree the kid captain should've returned to HQ on his captain's death. Of course, if he did, there would be no show but that's beside the point. CdnTim 1719 EST 17Feb2021 - Not a huge fan of the episode either, but that was arguably part of the point...the cadets SHOULD have tried harder to return home, they weren't ready for this, but were too inexperienced to realize it.
2) The Acting - I have found that in most Star Trek episodes involving young actors, the young young actors are invariably bad (Molly for example). Even though the actors in this episode are teenagers, I found their performances to be forced and hardly natural - esspecially the performances of the first officer and captain. The medical officer that managed to escape with Jake and Nog wasn't. Jennifer Fischer on Wednesday, April 21, 1999 - 3:20 am: I don't like kid actors either. Of course, I wasn't impressed with Jake at first... I thought Wesley Junior, know what I mean? Some definitely needed some more acting lessons before taking on these roles. CdnTim 1720 EST 17Feb2021 - If one choses to be charitable, we could say that the cadets were themselves playacting at being "real" officers, explaining at least some of the awkwardness.
3) The Writing/Story - There were several instances throughout this episode where I found myself cringing and thinking to myself "This is not right!!" I can't think of all of them right now but I do remember that most of them had to do with Jake's role in the episode. Jake seemed to be the only one who was making any sense all throughout the episode. However, whenever he tried to say something he was repremanded and thrown in the brig. Since when was talking a crime. What about free speech!! That first time, all he was doing was talking to that girl about home - there was no incitement for mutiny or anything like that - it was just a civilian having a conversation with a officer about home. There were no ill intentions to Jake's actions, however the captain choose to repremand him and forbid him from talking to the girl again. If anyone should have been repremanded it should have been that girl for allowing her emotions to get out of control - but even then, I don't think a captain can tell someone how they should feel. This was just one example of many that this crew was not prepared for the task. Yet no one seemed to notice. That brings me to my final reason for disliking this episode. Jennifer Fischer on Wednesday, April 21, 1999 - 3:20 am:You're right, there was no reason to treat Jake the way he was. Although it didn't have me cringing, I was too caught up in the impending showdown. CdnTIm 1721 EST 17Feb2021 - Again, that the captain and rest of the crew weren't in the right was part of the point of the episode. Also worth noting that Jake wasn't entirely right either; attack the enemy to shoot the technobabble thing with a technobabble pulse is exactly what main characters would have done. Jake was knee-jerk opposed to the Valiant crew, he should have been making points like "Good plan, but doesn't letting Starfleet know this a lot more important than a risky attack?"
4) The Bad Ending - After the three surviving crewmembers of the Valiant have been rescued by the Defiant, Nog says something like "the captain was bad but it was a good crew." To me, this suggests that throughout the entire episode they haven't learned anything. The crew of the Valiant was horrible!! They were all way too inexperienced to start with. And despite their distinguished Red Squad status, they were all too dumb to realize that what they were doing was wrong. That was something only Jake could see, and he's not even a Starfleet officer. I would really hate to see what the next generation of starfleet officers will be like if their elite are this dumb. Jennifer Fischer on Wednesday, April 21, 1999 - 3:20 am: I don't see anything totally wrong with the ending. Since Red Squad is so elite. I believe the freshmen cadets have been so conditioned on pep talks like "you're great, we're great, we're going to be a great team, we're the best, we're #1, we're unstoppable ad naseum..." When impressionable young minds are fed things like that constantly you begin to swallow it. What really suprised me is that no one was sympathetic to Jake. I'm glad that was the case. If Jake and a sympathizer covertly took over the ship or ousted the captain, that's when I would've screamed PREDICTABLE! That would've been a bad ending. As it was, I was glued to my set wondering how far the death toll would go. I was almost crying with the CPO. To her, she had to watch all her comrades die for nothing. She may still believe in her captain, but she'll have that lesson haunting her for the rest of her life. CdnTIm 1724 EST 17Feb2021 - I think Nog's last words were "He may even have been a great man, but, in the end, he was a bad captain." Although I still allow room for the character to be wrong, and the acting let the point down a bit, I think that's more or less a valid point. Watters could have been a great officer, growing to become a good captain, but he certainly wasn't at this point. Parenthetically, this is exactly why you don't EVER make a cadet straight into a captain (cough cough Star Trek 2009 cough cough)