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Afterimage


Production no.: 553
Written by: René Echevarria
Directed by: Les Landau
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: October 10, 1998

Andrew J. Robinson (Garak)


The day after her arrival on DS9, Ezri Dax stands overlooking the Promenade, commenting to Morn on how familiar it seems despite the fact that she has never been here before. Morn, though, has no idea who she is. Ezri wanders away, and finds herself in the Bajoran shrine, at the spot where Jadzia was killed. "It's a strange sensation, dying," she tells Kira, who shows up just then. "No matter how many times it happens to you, you never get used to it." She knows that Kira is uncomfortable with her; Kira admits that an old friend with a new body and personality is a lot to get used to.

Ezri then goes to Quark's, where the Ferengi buys her a drink: bloodwine. But she no longer has a taste for it. She is going back to the Destiny and her post as assistant counselor. "I don't want to force things. People need time to get over losing Jadzia." But Ezri notes that Quark is the only one of Jadzia's friends, other than Sisko, who seems comfortable with her. Then she recalls that he owes her ten slips of latinum from their last game of Tongo. Quark changes the subject in a hurry, indicating Worf, who has just entered. Ezri smiles tentatively at the Klingon, but when he sees her, he leaves.

The next day, she enters Sisko's office through the side door, not wanting to go through Ops in case Worf is there. Hearing that Worf wouldn't talk to her, Sisko suggests that maybe he's trying to respect the Trill taboo against reassociation. "That doesn't mean that we can't talk to each other," Ezri exclaims. She sees Worf at his post, and knows he's in pain. To avoid putting him through any more, she is planning to go back to the Destiny, she tells Sisko. "I can't stay here. I couldn't do that to him. Besides, I think it might be easier for me on the Destiny. There are too many memories here." Reluctantly accepting this, Sisko tells her he'll miss her.

Bashir, O'Brien and Odo are in Quark's, discussing an upcoming holosuite excursion to the Alamo as Garak sits with them, working on decoding a Cardassian military transmission. This is something he has been doing for Starfleet Intelligence for a while now. The bar is crowded, and Garak is getting visibly agitated for some reason. "Must you stand so close?" he snaps at a couple of people behind him, surprising his companions.

In his shop, Garak tries to work some more, but his distress grows. When Odo comes in to give him another newly-intercepted transmission, he can't hear the constable speaking. He falls down, hyperventilating, and Odo calls for medical assistance.

It was an attack of claustrophobia, something Garak has had as long as he can remember, but lately it's gotten worse. Bashir can't find an explanation. Garak asks Sisko to express his regrets to Starfleet Intelligence, as he won't be up to decoding transmissions for a while. He doesn't know when he can go back to it. This is not good news to Sisko, who asks Bashir (after Garak leaves) if there's anything he can do. "To be blunt," the doctor replies, "our friend Garak needs his head examined."

Ezri is standing on her head when Sisko speaks to her. It's something Emony used to do for relaxation, though it just gives Ezri a headache. She points out that she's still in training, but Sisko asks what she can learn in the next few months that she hasn't already learned in 300 years. There's no one else on the station who can counsel Garak. "Come on, old man. You can do this." Ezri reluctantly agrees to try.

At the bar, Quark asks Bashir, "So what do you think?" Once Bashir knows what he's talking about -- Ezri -- all he'll say is that "she seems...nice." But she's not Jadzia. Quark is unfazed. "She's the next best thing. So, are you interested?...It's not every day you get a second chance with a woman." As far as he's concerned, Dax is still Dax, and "that's good enough for me." He proposes a "competition", but Bashir informs him he's insane. "And you are going to lose," says Quark.

When Ezri visits Garak in his shop, the tailor is polite but evasive as ever, doing his best to get rid of her. But Ezri unexpectedly turns the conversation to her own psychological quirks: for instance, her sensitivity to motion, which she thinks is because of the way her former host Torias died. She blames herself for the shuttle accident, and even though she knows it was an accident, she can't help punishing herself for it. "Don't take this the wrong way," says Garak, "but it sounds to me as if you're the one who needs to see a counselor."

Ezri gets to the business at hand, asking Garak if anything traumatic happened to him when he was young, involving a closed space. She is shocked when Garak offhandedly speaks of how his father, Enabran Tain, would lock him in a closet when he misbehaved. He apparently doesn't see anything wrong with this. (But as he speaks, he starts to sweat.) "Maybe you get claustrophobic for the same reason that I get spacesick," Ezri observes. "We're both punishing ourselves for things that weren't our fault." Garak seems to take this under advisement. Ezri then exits, feeling woozy.

In a habitat ring corridor, Ezri runs into Worf. They stare at each other for a moment, then she says, "Hello, Worf." Worf only gives her a curt "Ensign", and starts off. Ezri can't believe that's all he has to say to her. "I was your wife." "You are not Jadzia," Worf replies harshly. "Jadzia died and went to StoVoKor. I do not know you, nor do I wish to know you." He leaves Ezri devastated.

Sisko stops by Ezri's quarters later to let her know that Garak has started working on the transmissions again. It seems his claustrophobia is under control. Sisko can't resist a "told you so". When Ezri tells him about her encounter with Worf, Sisko offers to talk with him, but she says, "Absolutely not. You intimidate him." Sisko is surprised, but she can tell he's pleased too. "Look," Sisko says, "we're not talking about me and Worf, we're talking about you and Worf. Now, I sympathize with what he's going through, but as far as I'm concerned, you have as much right to be here as he does...The war has certainly not been very good for morale around here. I've been thinking the station could use a good counselor. I can't think of anyone better suited for the job." What's more, he has already contacted Starfleet Medical, and they're willing to waive the rest of her training, giving her a commission as a full counselor with the rank of lieutenant. Ezri replies, "It means a lot to me that you want me to stay. But I can't." She admits that it's mostly because of Worf. "You just say the word, and I will intimidate him for you," Sisko promises.

Later, Ezri is having a hard time deciding what to order at the replimat when Bashir joins her. "This might be the last thing you want to hear," he says awkwardly, "but you have Jadzia's eyes." Uncomfortable, Ezri tells him not to flirt with her like he did with Jadzia. "I'm not like her. She knew how to handle it. Actually, she quite enjoyed it." Bashir is surprised to hear this, though he says he suspected. "You can be very charming," Ezri says. "You want to know something? If Worf hadn't come along, it would've been you." Bashir admits that he misses Jadzia, but talking to Ezri seems to help. Unknown to either of them, Worf has been watching.

Then a deputy calls Bashir to a medical emergency in one of the airlocks. It's Garak. Bashir and Ezri race over, to find Garak inside the airlock. In the grip of an especially bad claustrophobic attack, the Cardassian is pounding on the outside door, desperate to be let out, even though there's nothing on the other side but airless space.

Garak seems to calm down when Ezri brings him into an outdoor holosuite program and gives him some breathing exercises. But he is rattled, and feels humiliated by his behavior. "I have to get this situation under control. If I can't, I'll be forced to leave the station, and then where will I go? I can't go back to Cardassia. I doubt if I'd be welcome on Bajor." Ezri tells him she'll talk to Quark about making this holosuite available to him round the clock. She adds that they will get this under control. Garak asks to be alone for a while.

Bashir has just finished plucking a feather out of Quark's ear (a result of oo-mox gone wrong) when Worf accosts him. "We need to talk." He pushes the doctor against a wall, and lets him know that he knows how he felt about Jadzia, and he has seen him with Ezri. "Stay away from her," he warns. Bashir is indignant. "You have no right to tell me who I can be friends with." "If you dishonor Jadzia's memory, you will regret it," Worf rumbles. "And that goes for you too, Ferengi." "What did I do?" Quark wonders, as Worf stalks out.

Ezri finds Garak in his shop, ripping up a dress and then sewing it back up. He is angry with himself, insisting that work, not a fake landscape, is the answer. "My father always used to say that people should throw themselves into their work. 'Do your chores, Elim. I told you to do your chores.'" Ezri asks what his father would do to him if he didn't. Garak rolls his eyes.

"Oh, no, no, no. Please don't start. Spare me your insipid psychobabble. I'm not some quivering neurotic who feels sorry for himself because his daddy wasn't nice. You couldn't begin to understand me." "I'd like to try," Ezri says, staying calm. "Oh, I'm sure you would," Garak sneers. "You'd like nothing more than to pry into my personal affairs. Well, I'm not interested in dissecting my childhood. I only want to save my people from the Dominion. I don't need someone to walk in here and hold my hand. I want someone to help me get back to work. And you, my dear, are not up to this task. Look at you. You're pathetic. A confused child trying to live up to a legacy left by her predecessors. You're not worthy of the name Dax. I knew Jadzia. She was vital, alive. She owned herself. And you -- you don't even know who you are. How dare you presume to help me? You can't even help yourself. Now, get out of here, before I say something unkind."

His words strike directly at Ezri's fears of inadequacy. Quickly, she leaves, struggling to keep from crying in front of the crowds on the Promenade. Finally she ducks inside the empty temple; seeing the place where Jadzia was killed, she begins to sob.

Shortly thereafter, Ezri hands Sisko her resignation from Starfleet. "Garak was right. How can I help other people when I can't even help myself?" "I know this has been a hard time for you, old man -- " Sisko begins, but she cuts him off. "Don't call me that! I'm not the old man. I'm not Curzon. Or Jadzia." "No, you're Ezri," he says. "Ezri Dax. And you've been given eight lifetimes worth of experience. Now I know this is confusing right now, but in time you'll see it's a wonderful gift." "It's a gift I don't deserve," says Ezri, her mind made up.

In a hard voice, Sisko suggests that she go back to Trill and have the symbiont removed, even though it would kill her. Or perhaps she can become a Guardian. "It's quiet in those caves. No one around, no one expecting great things of you. You could spend the rest of your life underground, in the dark, stirring mud. Eighty or ninety years of that just might be what you need. And as for Dax? That symbiont had eight amazing lives. So what if the ninth was a waste?" "Stop it, Benjamin," Ezri says. "I thought you of all people would understand." "I do understand," he interrupts. "And you were right. You don't deserve the Dax symbiont. Quite frankly, you don't deserve to wear that uniform. I'll pass this on to Starfleet Command. Dismissed." Ezri leaves, stunned by his harsh words.

O'Brien comes to Worf's quarters with some bloodwine, determined to talk. The bloodwine is courtesy of Bashir. "Julian swears there's nothing going on between him and Ezri. There's no reason for you to be jealous." Worf's anger rises. "This has nothing to do with jealousy. I know that Dr. Bashir cared for Jadzia. But this woman is not Jadzia. And treating her as if she were dishonors her memory." "Wrong," O'Brien tells him. "Treating Ezri like a stranger dishonors Jadzia's memory."

"It doesn't make any sense," Worf erupts. "She is not Jadzia, yet she is. How can I honor the memory of the woman I loved when she is not really dead?" O'Brien looks at him sympathetically. "I don't have an answer for you, Worf. But let me ask you this: how do you think Jadzia would want you to treat Ezri?" "There is no way to know," replies Worf. But O'Brien tells him pointedly, "Yes, there is. And the person who can tell you is the person you've been avoiding ever since she got here." He leaves Worf to chew on that for a while.

Ezri musters up the courage to face Garak again, telling him she's sorry she couldn't help him (he agrees), and she's leaving in the morning. The Destiny is arriving tomorrow, but she's not boarding it; she's going back to Trill. The ship, meanwhile, will be joining the offensive at Calandra -- an offensive that is coming about thanks to the transmissions Garak has decoded. Garak begins to get agitated again.

Seeing his state and realizing she's stumbled onto the key to his recent bouts of claustrophobia, Ezri mentions that the Cardassians will put up a strong fight. Garak agrees, but says they'll lose. "Because they won't be expecting an attack. Because they have no idea that I broke their code. All those Cardassians are going to die, because of me." His panic rises once more as Ezri points out that his work is saving Cardassian lives as well as humans, Klingons, and Romulans. "No, not Cardassians," Garak chokes out. "They're going to fight to the bitter end. The Dominion will see to that." He starts to buckle. "Don't you see? I wanted to believe that I was helping my people, liberating them, but all I've done is to pave the way for their annihilation. I'm a traitor! I've betrayed -- everything." As he collapses, Ezri calls for a medical team.

Garak recovers in the infirmary. "At least we found out what's been triggering these claustrophobic attacks you've been having," Ezri notes. Garak tries to make sense of it all. "When I first agreed to help Starfleet, I was convinced it was the right thing to do. I didn't allow myself to doubt it, even for an instant. I never realized how much it was gnawing at me. I suppose I was looking for a way out, and the claustrophobia gave me an excuse to stop fighting my people." Ezri asks gently what he's going to do. "Get back to work," he replies. "What else can I do? The Dominion must be stopped. Even if it does mean the destruction of Cardassia."

"The captain will be glad to hear that you're back on the job," Ezri says, and he looks at her. "Well, he has you to thank for it. And so do I." He asks if she's still planning to return to Trill. "No," Ezri decides. "I'm going to stay in Starfleet." Then she remembers her resignation.

When Ezri gives him her request to be reinstated, Sisko says he can't send it to Starfleet -- because he never sent in the resignation. Ezri smiles. "I had a feeling you didn't mean all those things you said to me. You were just trying to rattle my cage." "You've done it to me often enough," Sisko says. "I'm glad it worked." And Garak has asked for the latest Cardassian transmissions. Yet Sisko is a bit subdued; after all, Ezri is still going to be leaving to rejoin the Destiny's crew.

As she's packing, however, she unexpectedly receives a visit from Worf. "I am not certain that I have treated you the way that Jadzia would have wanted," he says. "...I loved her with all my heart." "And she loved you," Ezri tells him. Worf admits, "Part of me is glad to know that she is not gone forever. But in some ways it would be easier if she were." He tells her that he wouldn't want her to leave on his account. Ezri in turn admits that she does want to stay. "Then do," Worf says. "Jadzia would not have wanted you to leave because of me." She thanks him. Before he goes, Worf has one more thing to say. "It will be a long time before I can accept what has happened. Until then -- " "You need your breathing room. I understand," says Ezri.

Sometime later, there is a ceremony held in the wardroom, in which Sisko pins a new pip to Ezri's collar. She is now a lieutenant, and officially in charge of the mental health of the crew of DS9. "You have your work cut out for you," Sisko observes. The other officers gather to congratulate her, showing that they're willing to accept her as both a new and an old friend. Garak is there too; the crowd isn't bothering him. Finally Ezri catches sight of Worf, and Jadzia's husband raises a glass to her.


  • In the original storyline, Garak has a breakdown triggered by having to lock himself in a torpedo tube during a mission for Starfleet. In order to retrieve information from him that Starfleet needs, Ezri is brought in to counsel him.