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A Man Alone

Production no.: 403
Teleplay by: Michael Piller
Story by: Gerald Sanford and Michael Piller
Directed by: Paul Lynch
Stardate: 46421.5
First satellite airdate: January 16, 1993
 
Rosalind Chao .................. 
Edward Laurence Albert ... 
Max Grodénchik ............... 
Peter Vogt ....................... 
Aron Eisenberg ................ 
Stephen James Carver ...... 
Tom Klunis ...................... 
Scott Trost ....................... 
Patrick Cupo .................... 
Kathryn Graf .................... 
Hana Hatae ..................... 
Diana Cignoni ................... 
Judi Durand ......................
Keiko 
Zayra 
Rom 
Bajoran Man #1 
Nog 
Ibudan 
Old Man 
Bajoran Officer 
Bajoran Man 
Bajoran Woman 
Molly 
Dabo Girl 
Computer Voice

Dax is sitting in a holosuite, concentrating on a multicolored sphere that floats before her, when Bashir enters with an invitation to dinner. She deflects his clumsy flirtations, and tells him about the sphere, an Altonian brain teaser which she has been trying to solve for 140 years. The idea is to use one's neural theta waves to turn the sphere into one color. When Bashir gives it a try, the sphere quickly dissolves, proving that his mind is a bit "busy". Then Sisko arrives and asks if Dax is ready. She goes off with him; Bashir sighs and resets the puzzle.

Quark's bar is doing brisk business thanks to the wormhole, as the Ferengi remarks to Odo. Seeing Miles and Keiko O'Brien arguing on an upper level, Odo says he'll never understand the humanoid need to "couple". He himself claims that he chooses not to do so, because of the compromises it entails. Sisko and Dax sit down for their dinner; Odo thinks Sisko is interested in Dax, but Quark thinks otherwise, due to their old friendship. It's clear the Ferengi has ideas of his own concerning Dax, which Odo scoffs at. Then Odo breaks off the conversation when he sees a particular Bajoran man gambling at one of the Dabo tables.

Sisko and Dax reminisce about Curzon. Sometimes a Trill's friendships with other species don't survive the changing of hosts, but Sisko says that won't happen to them. It's just a little uncomfortable right now. Dax advises him to accept that feeling. Below, at the Dabo table, Odo approaches the Bajoran and tells him in no uncertain terms that he doesn't want him on his Promenade. This leads to a scuffle which is broken up by Sisko. Odo gives the Bajoran 26 hours to leave the station.

The O'Briens are talking; their argument is about the fact that Keiko feels useless on the station. She doesn't want Miles to resign because of her, but there's no call for a botanist here. Miles tries to help with the suggestion that she could create an arboretum, but they are interrupted by an upper pylon problem. This drives home the point to Keiko that he has a purpose here, while she does not. Meanwhile, on the Promenade, Jake introduces himself to Nog, who acts indifferent at first, but as Jake points out, there aren't a lot of other potential friends their age here.

Odo explains himself to Sisko. The Bajoran is named Ibudan; during the Occupation, he used to run black market goods through the station. Some Bajorans thought he was a hero, but Odo once saw him refuse to give medicine to a dying girl because the parents couldn't pay. Odo had sent Ibudan to prison for murdering a Cardassian who refused a bribe. But the provisional government has now let him go; killing a Cardassian isn't considered much of a crime these days. Odo wants to kick Ibudan off the station regardless, though Sisko tells him he can't force the man to leave when no crime has been committed. Odo retorts that "justice is justice", but Sisko sternly warns him that if Odo can't work within the rules, he'll find someone who can.

In a holosuite, Ibudan is receiving a sensuous massage from a web-fingered beauty when she is suddenly pushed aside, and a gloved hand plunges a knife downward into Ibudan's back.

Nog shows Jake something he has obtained: a box of Garanian bolites. The two boys go off down the Promenade, laughing in mischievous anticipation, and pass Bashir, who catches up with Dax and says that now he knows the competition, referring to her dinner with Sisko. Dax replies with a spiel about Trills considering romance and desire "a weakness of the young", and striving to live on a higher plane. Bashir is undauntedly looking for loopholes in that statement when he is called to the holosuite.

Nog opens the box under the table where a Bajoran couple is having lunch, and sneaks away to a vantage point. He and Jake giggle like maniacs as they watch the couple begin to frantically scratch themselves and change color, calling for help until the effect fades and they are left feeling very silly. A security deputy catches the boys and leads them off, as Keiko watches thoughtfully.

In the holosuite, Bashir examines the body of Ibudan. Kira and Sisko listen as Odo says that the door was secured; no one entered while the program was running. The door opened only once, thirteen minutes into the program, which presumably was when the killer left. Yet there is no evidence of a beam-in. Possibly the killer came in at the same time as Ibudan, Sisko says. Bashir opines that the killer had a decent knowledge of Bajoran anatomy, and says that he will do a sweep for DNA particles.

Keiko talks to Miles at dinner about what she saw earlier. She remarks that there are simply too many ways for kids to get into trouble on a space station. What this place needs, she decides, is a school.

Kira enters Sisko's office, where the manager of the station's Transit Aid Center, a Bajoran named Zayra, is talking to Sisko. Zayra tells Kira what he told the commander: he had spoken with Ibudan an hour before the murder, just after the fight with Odo in Quark's. According to Zayra, Ibudan had confided that he was afraid Odo would kill him. Kira says there isn't a more honorable person on DS9 than the constable, but Zayra says all he knows is, an hour later, Ibudan was dead.

On the ship on which Ibudan arrived, an officer lets Odo see Ibudan's quarters, where, oddly, there are two beds, something Ibudan had requested. Perhaps he had simply wanted larger quarters. While the officer goes to get Odo a copy of the ship's manifest, Odo takes a look at Ibudan's calendar files. Among the activities Ibudan had scheduled, at the time of his death, there is an entry with just one word: "Odo".

Keiko has brought her idea for a station school to Sisko, who is not happy that Jake has started hanging around with a Ferengi boy. There are twelve children on board, yet there is no structured activity for them, and Jake admits that he gets bored studying alone on the computer. Keiko tells Sisko that she's always thought about teaching. Sisko is all for the idea, though he cautions her that it might not be easy with all the different cultures on board. But Keiko can't imagine any parent not welcoming the news of a school opening.

Bashir has finished the DNA sweep of the holosuite, and shows his findings to Kira, Dax, and Odo. Unfortunately, it appears that no one entered the holosuite with Ibudan; apart from the people who were in there afterwards with the body, the only DNA found in the room belonged to Ibudan himself. Kira asks how that's possible, with the door locked and no one beaming in. Odo says it's not, unless the murderer was someone capable of oozing through the cracks in the door -- such as, for instance, a shapeshifter.

"It's a pretty neat package," Odo tells Kira later in Ops: the calendar entry, the fact that no one but a shapeshifter could have gotten in, not to mention that Odo was called in initially to investigate, which insured that his DNA would be at the crime scene. Unfortunately, as he admits to Kira, he has no alibi -- he has to spend time regenerating in his natural liquid form for a period of time each day, and was in a pail at the back of his office at the time of the murder. The killer might have known this and planned the murder accordingly, Kira notes. Odo can think of about 500 people offhand who might want to do this to him, but he hasn't seen any of them on the station recently. He asks Kira to have Bashir do a sweep of Ibudan's quarters.

In Quark's, Keiko speaks with Nog's father, Rom, who is also Quark's brother. Rom is disdainful of the idea of Nog going to her school; the Ferengi have a "work-study" approach to education which consists mainly of throwing everyone into the cutthroat competition of Ferengi commerce, where graduation depends on survival. Knowing about other cultures will give Nog an advantage, Keiko argues, but Rom says Nog can't learn anything from a female. Keiko leaves with only a distracted promise from Rom that he'll "think about it".

Zayra is talking at the bar with a couple of other Bajorans about Odo. They are suspicious about the fact that Odo was also the last chief of security on the station under the Cardassians, yet he's still here. Quark, surprisingly, defends Odo, saying that Odo wasn't a collaborator, and he's not a killer. Zayra is nonplused to hear such words from Quark, who is Odo's worst enemy; Quark replies, "Guess that's the closest thing he has in this world to a friend." Nearby, an old man wearing a hood sits unnoticed, listening to the conversation.

In Ibudan's quarters on the transport, Bashir is conducting his sweep, and finds some particles in the waste reclamation unit, which he collects and puts into a beaker. Meanwhile, Zayra and several other Bajorans have brought their concerns about Odo to the station officers in Ops. Kira vigorously defends her friend, but Sisko says that the complaints are legitimate. The fact that the man in charge of the investigation also happens to be the prime suspect presents a conflict of interest, even if Odo is innocent. Sisko has no choice but to relieve him of duty.

Odo is in the infirmary with Bashir, who tells him about the fragments he found. They are from a biological sample container; apparently Ibudan was conducting an experiment of some kind, which is puzzling, since he was neither a doctor nor a scientist. Bashir's analysis breaks down the proteins into DNA fragments, and he decides to set up a bioregenerative field to see what they develop into.

At that moment, Sisko calls Odo to his office. He gives Odo the bad news, and says Kira and Dax will be taking over the investigation. Sisko adds that he doesn't personally believe Odo is guilty. "Really?" Odo responds coldly. He says bluntly that there has to be some doubt in Sisko's mind. When Sisko tries to tell him it's in everyone's best interests, including Odo's, Odo retorts that he'll look after his own best interests, and leaves.

Odo ignores the hostile murmurs that follow him as he walks back to his office. When he arrives, he is shocked to find that it has been viciously vandalized: computers damaged, chairs thrown down, and the word "shifter" scrawled hatefully across a wall. Quark appears in the door, offering to find out who did it. "Tell it to Starfleet," Odo says bitterly. He asks Quark if there's room for a shapeshifter in his operations; after Quark figures out that he's joking. he informs Odo that he's asked around about any enemies Ibudan might have made in prison, but couldn't find any.

The DNA fragments have grown into an organic blob, but one with humanoid patterns, although there's a genetic drift Bashir can't quite figure out. Sisko asks Dax if she cares for lunch; Bashir answers, "Sure", thinking the invitation was meant for him. Dax has to give a report to Kira, so the two men have lunch together. They discuss Dax and the lives she's led; Sisko reminisces a little about the good times he had with Curzon. He also assures Bashir that he and Dax are just friends. Then Sisko and Bashir both notice Odo being pointedly ostracized by the patrons at the bar, who leave when he sits down there.

Keiko is supervising the desks being placed in the new schoolroom when her husband enters carrying their daughter, and a present. Keiko isn't sure if the school will fly, since there haven't been firm commitments from any of the parents except Sisko. But her mood is brightened when she opens her present, which is a bell. The warm family moment is interrupted by a commotion out on the Promenade, which O'Brien leaves to investigate.

A crowd, led by Zayra, is stalking Odo, calling him a murderer and a "shapeshifting freak". Odo reaches his office and locks himself inside; the crowd stays, yelling epithets through the door. O'Brien, watching, summons security, and tells Sisko what's going on. By the time Sisko and Kira arrive, the mob has grown, and someone throws an object that cracks the glass of the security office door. It is surely one of the ugliest displays of pure bigotry since the Occupation. The old man is there, silently watching.

In the infirmary, Dax and Bashir notice that the blob's chromosome patterns are changing. Bashir abruptly realizes that he knows what it is. He tells Dax to run a chromosome analysis.

Weapons are passed out to security, as Sisko pushes his way to the door of the security office to address the mob. He asks what the hell they think they're going to accomplish here, and tells them to disperse. Someone throws something, starting a brief skirmish, which Sisko ends by firing a phaser upwards to get their attention. Do they really want justice, he asks, or just a way to express their anger and fear? "Do not condemn this man because he is different than you are," Sisko says. Then Bashir interrupts, with new evidence: the man who was murdered was not Ibudan.

It was a clone, Bashir tells Odo, Sisko, and the other officers as they gather in the infirmary around the blob, which is now distinctly humanoid. Ibudan created a clone of himself in order to murder it and frame Odo for the deed. The gene sequence of the murder victim matches that of the blob; they are definitely both clones, indicated by the slight degradation of the patterns. As for the real Ibudan, Odo has an idea where to find him.

The old man enters his quarters aboard the ship, not seeing a chair that morphs into Odo, who confronts him with a question about how the name Lamonay S. appeared on the ship's passenger list yesterday. The name has not been on any arrival records. Odo states that he believes "Lamonay S." has spent the last few years in prison among Bajoran dissidents, one of whom was a scientist arrested for illegal research into triphasic cloning. The old man attempts to bolt, but Odo easily catches him and pulls off his mask to reveal the face of Ibudan. "Killing your own clone is still murder," Odo announces.

Sisko tells his log that Ibudan has been turned over to Bajoran authorities. The new clone has gained consciousness and been released into society, while the mob has gone back to their own business, but as far as Sisko is aware, no one has apologized to Odo.

On the first morning of scheduled classes at the new school, Keiko waits in her classroom, alone; no students have shown up. Then Sisko arrives with Jake; and unexpectedly, so does Rom, dragging his son, whom he forces to sit away from Jake. Then other children begin to trickle in. Sisko listens with a smile as Keiko begins the first lesson.


  • This episode was filmed before "Past Prologue", but aired after it.
  • Rom is named for the first time (though several changes were later made in the character).
  • Ibudan's calendar files, viewed by Odo, contain a number of in-jokes. Ibudan left from Alderaan spaceport (Star Wars); he had lunch with Della Santina (the series' unit production manager, Robert della Santina); and he had a teleconference with Gocke (the series' sound mixer, Bill Gocke).
  • The character Zayra was named for Zayra Cabot, an assistant to Jeri Taylor (a producer of TNG and VOY).