1180. No Time Like the Present / The Nagus's New Clothes / Small Victory
PUBLICATION: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Ultimate Annual #1, Malibu Comics, December 1995
CREATORS: Laurie Sutton / John Vornholt / Mariano Nicieza (writers), Leonard Kirk, Scott Reed and Saleem Crawford / Patrick Woodrow and Larry Welch / Anne Timmons and Scott Reed (artists)
STARDATE: Various (follows issue #32) / Small Victory occurs between The Way of the Warrior and Hippocratic Oath
PLOT: In No Time Like the Present, the Cardassians find an artifact in the Bajoran mantle at the end of the Occupation, but must leave it behind. Now they're back to collect it, but it immediately starts to generate chroniton radiation that creates flashes of other realities and poisons everyone in the system. The artifact belongs to the Karg who also come to collect their long-long artifact, hoping to restart their empire. The crew stop the Cardassians and Karg, and Sisko puts the machine in a time loop, much as ancient Bajorans and Cardassians had sent it millions of years in the past when they originally defeated the Karg. In The Nagus's New Clothes, Zek's rivals have destroyed his robes for a huge forthcoming event on DS9. Garak is called in to help, but his entire stock is similarly sabotaged. He and Quark instead give Zek an ever-changing suit of clothes using a portable hologram generator. When it fails, no one wants to admit the Nagus is naked. In Small Victory, Worf retrives a young girl's lost pet.
CONTINUITY: There is a flashback to the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor. Morn appears. Among the realities glimpsed, one has Commander O'Brien aboard Captain Maxwell's Rutledge (The Wounded), one has Curzon die with the symbiont (Emissary), one has Sisko leave Starfleet after Wolf 359 (Emissary), and yet another has Rom be the boss and Quark the abused employee. There's a reality where Keiko is married to Hikaru Sulu(!) and another where Khan ruled the world in 1995 (Space Seed). Dukat appears as the Supreme Commander who defeated the Klingons. Zek appears as Rom's father-in-law (this eventually came to pass). Zek also appears in The Nagus's New Clothes, as do Rom, Maihar'du and Garak.
DIVERGENCES: The idea that Bajorans and Cardassians were space-faring allies against the Karg Empire 3000 years ago is difficult to accept (see Explorers where the idea that a Bajoran lightship might have made it to Cardassia in the 16th century is debatable).
PANEL OF THE DAY - By the time Star Trek Online is perfected, we won't even be human anymore. "A rival Nagus"?
REVIEW: No Time Like the Present is a great comic book story. I love alternate histories and this is full of them. It could have used a little more interaction between the timelines, but just seeing the various what ifs is fun, and the art is quite good, with the Karg appearing particularly alien. Laurie Sutton approaches the narration with flair and poetry and doesn't skimp on character moments, especially with the O'Briens. It's THE reason to get this Annual, because there's not much to the other stories. A bit of humor in each, and the Zek take is definitely the better of the two (especially the Garak-Quark stuff), but Small Victory is pointless. A few very nice pin-ups round out the book.