Production no.: 566
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by: Mike Vejar
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: February 20, 1999
Penny Johnson .........
Marc Lawrence .......
Mike Starr ................
Robert Miano ...........
Aron Eisenberg ........
Bobby Reilly .............
Chip Mayer ..............
James Wellington ......
James Darren ...........
Andrea Robinson ......
Jacqueline Case ........
Kelly Cooper ............
Michelle Johnston .....
Michelle Rudy ..........
Kelly Sheerin ............
In the Vegas holosuite, O'Brien and Bashir invite Vic to their Alamo program, offering to transfer his matrix there. Vic demurs. "I don't look good in buckskin." As compensation, he gets up on stage and starts to sing a song about the Alamo. But in the middle of the song, suddenly the lounge flickers and transforms itself into a dark, smoky, sleazy dive full of tough-looking guys and cheap-looking dames. The music turns brassy and lascivious. Vic, confused, tries to continue his Alamo song, but is crowded off the stage by a chorus line of slinky showgirls. He comes back over to Bashir and O'Brien. "What the hell?" They're as puzzled as he is.
O'Brien is wondering if there's a fault in the holosuite parameter files, when a voice says, "Well, look who's here. The pretty-boy singer himself." Vic knows the man, who's called Frankie Eyes. "Let's just say I'm here to stay," announces Frankie. "While you, Vicky-boy, are about to take a powder." He informs Vic that he's just bought the hotel, and Vic is history. "As of this moment, you couldn't get a job as a singing busboy. Now are you gonna walk out of here, or do you have to be carried out? Makes no difference to me."
O'Brien tells the computer to delete Frankie and his beefy lieutenant, Tony Cicci, but the two characters remain where they are. He tres to freeze the program; nothing happens, causing O'Brien to speculate that there might be a "little problem" with the character deletion algorithm. Cicci grabs Vic by the lapels. "Make that a big problem," says Vic.
Without any other choice, Vic says he'll start packing, and Frankie and Cicci go to check out Frankie's new casino. "Nothing we can do," Vic tells Bashir and O'Brien. "Frankie's a made man. Capice?" O'Brien says they could shut down the program and reset it, but that would wipe Vic's memory. Bashir says he'll talk to his friend Felix, who designed the program. In the meantime, Vic will stay clear of Frankie.
On hearing about Vic's predicament, Nog vows, "If this Frankie Eyes hurts Vic in any way, he's going to have to answer to me." Worf doesn't understand this attitude, since Vic doesn't really exist. But he does to the others. Bashir comes to Ops, having spoken to Felix. It seems that his friend hid a "jack-in-the-box" buried deep in the program: a surprise plot development, meant to keep things interesting. In order to reset Vic's to the way it was, they have to figure out and execute a way to get rid of Frankie. Since the program is period-specific, they can't use modern technology to do it. They can't simply kill Frankie either, because the mob will retaliate against Vic, and if Vic is killed, his matrix will be eliminated from the program, permanently.
Sisko comes out of his office to see half his officers clustered around, and isn't pleased to learn they're talking about a holosuite program. "When do you plan on going back to work?" After he's gone, Nog tells O'Brien to count him in. "I owe Vic. I thought losing my leg was the end of my Starfleet career. He taught me otherwise." "He changed my life, too. And Odo's," chimes in Kira. "Now, all we need is a plan," says Bashir.
That night, Sisko has dinner with Kasidy, who seems preoccupied. She too is worried about Vic. But Sisko just looks at her. "I guess this sounds pretty silly to you," Kasidy says; he replies, "A little." Vic isn't just a holosuite character to Kasidy, either, but Sisko would rather talk about something else. She asks why he's never been to Vic's. "Does it matter?" he says. "You like going there, and I don't. Let's leave it at that." Kasidy can't figure him out. Sisko smiles. "Well, maybe that's part of the attraction." "Believe that if you want to," she replies coolly.
O'Brien and Bashir knock on the door to Vic's suite, and it finally opens to reveal a battered Vic. The suite has been trashed. As Bashir treats the hologram's injuries, Vic groans, "A jack-in-the-box. I can't believe Felix would do that to me." He claims at first that he slipped in the bathtub, but then admits that Frankie sent Cicci to remind him not to take too long packing. Vic says that he and Frankie have been rivals since they were kids. "That Felix," says O'Brien. "When he designs a holosuite program, he doesn't fool around." "Tell me about it," Vic winces.
Bashir suggests that the singer take a vacation, but Vic says, "Did you guys take a vacation when the Dominion took over DS9?...This is my life, remember? I don't run at the first sign of trouble." Bashir assures him they're only asking him to stay out of sight for a few days while they come up with a plan, to get rid of Frankie Eyes. In fact, Odo and Kira are in the lounge right now, checking up on Frankie in hopes of finding a weak spot. "I hope you know what you're getting me into," Vic says. "If you guys screw up, I'm the one who winds up buried in the desert."
Down in the lounge, where Odo will be looking around while Kira checks out the casino, Kira smiles as she sees Odo staring at the dancers. Tearing his eyes away, Odo goes to the bar, where Cicci is telling a story to a couple of his buddies. When they laugh at the punchline, Odo joins in. Meanwhile, Kira is at the blackjack table, where Frankie steps up and helps her out by rejecting the cards she's dealt until she gets a 21. He introduces himself, and flirts with her; she flirts back, and they go on to roulette. Odo has made progress as well, ingratiating himself with Cicci and his crowd by doing a little shapeshifting trick involving picking up a glass without moving his arm. Cicci is impressed. "So where you from again?" "Bajor," replies Odo. "That's in Jersey, right?" "Right."
Odo and Kira brief everyone (Vic, Bashir, O'Brien, Ezri, Nog, and Kasidy) on what they've learned. Frankie was sent to Vegas by a Carl Zeemo, a name Vic knows. "Been around forever. Likes to pretend he's a sweet old man, but he's meaner than a junkyard dog." Zeemo gave Frankie the cash to buy the hotel, in return for being sent a percentage of the casino's earnings (the "skim"). In six days, Zeemo is coming to pick up the first payment and look over his newest acquisition.
"What would happen to Frankie if he didn't give Zeemo his skim?" O'Brien wonders. And a plan is born. Bashir sums it up. "All we have to do is see to it that Mr. Zeemo doesn't see a penny of that money." To do that, they're going to rob the casino. Vic is dubious: the money is kept in a safe in the countroom, which is guarded 24 hours a day. Even if they get past the guard, there are still the two countmen inside. But his friends are determined. Kira says she'll get a look at the safe; the others will figure out ways to deal with the guard, the countmen, and anything else that comes up. They all declare themselves agreed. "Let me get this straight," says Vic, incredulous. "You're going to knock over the casino and swipe a cool million from the mob?" "Vic, you want your lounge back or not?" O'Brien asks. Put that way, all Vic can do is shrug. "Deal me in."
Frankie is so taken with Kira that he lets her watch the casino's profits being counted in the countroom. Meanwhile, Kasidy butters up the guard while she plays a slot machine; and Odo gets Ezri a job as a waitress. As Cicci is talking to them, he sees Vic, and goes over to threaten him, but Vic says he wants to talk to Frankie and try to work things out. Vic pleads with Frankie to bury the hatchet. He can bring high rollers into the casino. Kira subtly aids Vic, and Frankie tells him to bring in a couple of players, then they'll talk.
Sisko has an argument with Kasidy. "You're telling me that virtually my entire senior staff is a part of this nonsense?" "You're supposed to help your friends when they're in trouble," Kasidy retorts. "And Vic, hologram or not, is in trouble. Not that I expect you to care." Sisko says it's not about Vic. When pressed, he finally tells her what his problem is: the fact that in the real 1962, black people weren't welcome in places like Vic's. "It wasn't an easy time for our people, and I'm not going to pretend that it was."
"Baby," Kasidy tells him, "I know that Vic's isn't a totally accurate representation of how things were. But it isn't meant to be. It shows us the way things could have been. The way they should have been." "We cannot ignore the truth about the past," Sisko insists. But Kasidy doesn't see it that way. "Going to Vic's isn't going to make us forget who we are or where we came from. What it does is remind us that we are no longer bound by any limitations, except the ones we impose on ourselves."
The would-be casino robbers convene in Vic's suite again to discuss a problem. They need one more person, and neither Quark nor Worf is likely to help. Without a high roller that Vic can bring in to draw a crowd and keep everyone's attention off the countroom, the whole plan will fall apart. "And we certainly can't let that happen," Sisko announces, walking into the room. "Now exactly what do you need me to do?"
Now that they have all the participants they need, the group goes over the plan once more. Kira will vamp Frankie, keeping him away from the casino and the countroom. Sisko and Vic will draw a crowd at the craps table. One of the countmen, Al, takes a six-minute break at precisely 11:45 each night to phone home, during which the other countman, Howard, has a martini brought in. Ezri will bring him that martini, making a stop at the poker table, where Bashir will slip a few drops of ipecac into the drink. After Ezri leaves the countroom, Kasidy will keep the guard busy by accusing O'Brien of stealing her chips. When Howard rushes out of the countroom to be sick, Nog, posing as a maintenance man, will enter the countroom and crack the safe. And Odo, who was the tray Ezri took into the countroom, will be there to help Nog scoop out the cash and take it away. Everyone is confident that it will go smoothly. Since Zeemo is due in two days, the caper will take place tomorrow night.
Over the next day, the crew prepare themselves, practicing their roles. Finally, they're ready. They make an impressive sight, trooping through the Promenade, into Quark's and up to the holosuites, dressed in full 1960's regalia. Quark and Morn watch. "I'm telling you, Morn," Quark remarks, "something's going on in Vic's that we don't know about."
The DS9 people go to work: Kira flirting with Frankie at the bar, Kasidy and O'Brien playing blackjack, Bashir playing poker and ordering a martini from Ezri, and Sisko and Vic at the craps table, building up an audience. They see Al, the countman, going to make his phone call, right on schedule. "We have lift-off," observes Vic.
Ezri serves Bashir his drink -- and that's when complication number one happens. A passer-by bumps into her, spilling both Bashir's drink and the one intended for Howard. Bashir salvages the situation by getting Ezri two more martinis off a nearby tray. He puts the ipecac in one, and Ezri continues on her way with the doctored martini.
Complication number two: the second countman is not Howard, but another man, who says he's not thirsty. Thinking quickly, Ezri uses reverse psychology, asking if she can have the drink instead. To spite her, the countman picks up the glass and drinks it all.
Seeing Ezri leave the countroom, Kasidy goes into action, grabbing the guard and hysterically accusing O'Brien of stealing her chips. O'Brien vigorously protests his innocence. Meanwhile, the second countman rushes out, and Nog darts inside the countroom. As Odo morphs from his tray form, complication number three occurs: Nog discovers that the safe has an auto-relock tumbler. He'll never be able to get through it in four minutes, which is all they have left before Al returns.
Frankie notices that Kira keeps looking at her watch, and hasn't touched her drink. He starts to suspect that something is going on, but before Kira has to answer any awkward questions, Frankie's attention is diverted, by complication number four: Mr. Zeemo arrives a day early, flanked by two bodyguards and a blonde bimbo. Zeemo wants to see the countroom right away. Frankie is about to show him there when Kira breaks in. "Mr. Zeemo, it's a great honor to meet you." "I know," says Zeemo. Her attempt to stall proving unsuccessful, Kira can only watch as Zeemo, Frankie, and their entourages make their way toward the countroom.
Nog has been frantically working the combination for eight minutes, way over the time limit, and is getting nowhere. Meanwhile, Kasidy and O'Brien are still playing out their little drama with the guard. Sisko is wondering what's keeping Nog and Odo, when Vic spots Al hanging up the phone and starting to return to the countroom. Bashir, holding a full house, quickly folds, and intercepts Al, telling him Frankie is waiting for him in the lobby. Al heads there instead, sweating bullets.
"You've gotta be kidding me," groans Vic, seeing Zeemo and company on their way to the countroom. Sisko keeps playing while Vic approaches Zeemo's blonde. "Nina? Is that you?" She is naturally confused as Vic chatters on, pretending to know her, while Zeemo grows ever more impatient. "Who's this, your grandpa?" Vic asks her. It's the last straw. Vic feels Cicci's heavy hand on his shoulder. "Now you've done it."
Frankie orders Cicci to bury Vic, while he, Zeemo, and company start again for the countroom. This time, it's Sisko who saves the day. "Everyone's a winner!" he shouts, tossing handfuls of cash into the air. Chaos reigns as almost everyone scrambles and dives after the bills, grabbing as much as they can. Bashir adds his contribution as well. Zeemo's path is blocked.
At last, Nog opens the safe. "Piece of cake," he grins. Odo starts filling his "suitcase" with money. Outside, the guard finally gets tired of Kasidy's story, and calls another guard over to take O'Brien to security, since he can't leave his post. O'Brien is dragged away to be strip-searched. At that moment, Kasidy sees Odo and Nog emerge from the countroom, and promptly collapses into the guard's arms, crying about how she needed that money to buy a gift for her mother. Odo and Nog, finding their path blocked, choose another route and make their getaway.
"Funny way to run a casino," comments Zeemo. Kira speaks up. "What are you waiting for, Frankie? Why don't you show Mr. Zeemo the countroom?" Frankie does, telling his boss on the way that they've been making money hand over fist. "I just hope you brought a big enough briefcase," he brags. Then he opens the safe, only to find that it has been cleaned out. "Where's my money?" Zeemo demands. And DS9's officers watch triumphantly as the mob boss and his entourage walk out through the casino, marching Frankie to his doom.
Vic's lounge returns to its original ambiance. "Say goodbye to Frankie Eyes," Odo remarks with deep satisfaction; Kira tells Bashir to tell Felix that they've shut the lid on his jack-in-the-box. Champagne is passed around, as O'Brien returns, putting his coat back on. He doesn't want to talk about where he's been. Vic tells him and Bashir to count him in, next time they fight the battle of the Alamo. He holds up a glass. "To the best friends a hologram ever had. I owe you, big time."
To cap off the evening, Vic gets up to sing, and to everyone's surprise, calls Sisko to join him on the stage. The crew listens happily to their captain's mellow voice as the two men sing a swinging duet rendition of "The Best is Yet to Come".
The original title of this episode was "Buduh-Bing Buduh-Bang". The episode received an Emmy nomination for hairstyling. The song about the Alamo, which Vic sings in the teaser, was the only one of Vic's songs that was created for the series. It was composed by Jay Chattaway. To cap off the episode, "The Best is Yet to Come" was suggested by James Darren. The episode had been intended (and produced) as the last stand-alone episode of the series, but the studio switched the airdates with the episode immediately preceding it ("Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"), because they had decided to use "Badda-Bing" as part of their sweeps month (February 1999) lineup.