*** (3 stars out of 5)
It might not be as bad as it looks. Cardassian maturation MIGHT be faster than human. This MIGHT be a totally platonic creepy lying-down date in a hot rocks sauna. Or, (my favourite) Dukat may have a second secret half-Bajoran daughter, an adult, also named Ziyal, also living with Kira while the younger Ziyal is off-station, and they just never told us any of that. This would account for the sudden complete alteration in her age and face.
Anyway, law enforcement officers Odo and Eddington are too busy protecting a shipment of Industrial Replicators to arrest Garak (if it was indeed necessary). A gift to the beleaguered Cardassians from their Federation chums, there is a concern that the Maquis will probably take them. Just slip them in their pockets and sidle out of the station, whistling. Probably.
Under the Klingon thumb, the Cardies have had no time to weed the Maquis, so the malcontents are growing and expanding their bases throughout the Badlands. The cops reluctantly come to Sisko with their suspicion that the Captain's girlfriend Captain Kasidy Yates is illegally supplying the Maquis. Long story short- she is. Oh, I mean, spoilers.
But Yates was just the small fry with her medical supplies, while the big fish gets away.
Eddington gets to bad-mouth the Federation and I can't think of a speech that would sound more insulting to Sisko: in Michael's view the Federation are more insidious assimilators than the Borg. The rebel believes the reason the Federation cracks down so hard on the Maquis is not their violent crimes but their baffling refusal to come live in paradise with the rest of the flock. The blind, blind flock of sheepish sheep.
IS he right? Or is he a traitorous, selfish jerk who's just stolen six planet's worth of industrial infrastructure from desperate, suffering Cardassian civilians? Discuss. If you can follow any of this, that is. It isn't easy: the writers didn't feel like Yates and Eddington needed, oh, I don't know... motives, maybe. Families? Grudges? Money? Morals? I'd accept whatever they'd tell me but the only people I really understand here are the two horny Cardassians.
"For The Cause" (apart from not explaining the cause) continues the tradition of not telling me why replicators; machines that make anything out of energy, are hard enough to come by that they're worth stealing. Seriously: can't you use an industrial replicator to make millions upon millions of slightly smaller replicators? With need and want supposedly eliminated within the Federation, what prevents universal proliferation of this technology? More significantly, where's mine? I want my millions upon millions of buffalo now!