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Blood Oath

Production no.: 439
Television story and teleplay by: Peter Allan Fields
Directed by: Winrich Kolbe
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: March 26, 1994
John Colicos .............
Michael Ansara ........
William Campbell ......
Bill Bolender .............
Christopher Collins ....
The Albino

Quark calls Odo to his holosuites to get rid of a customer who only paid for one hour but has been in there for three, repeatedly running a simulation of a famous Klingon battle. Odo has him shut off the power, and the angry customer emerges. He is an old Klingon named Kor, and right now he is very, very drunk. Odo soothes him: "The battle is over. The people are waiting to celebrate your victory." Kor smiles, suddenly calm. "They are? Lead the way, then!"

A bit later, he is snoring away in a holding cell, when another aged Klingon, Koloth, appears in Odo's office. He asks what the charges are against Kor, and Odo says, "He's today's guest of honor." "You must be a very brave man to attempt humor at the expense of a Klingon Dahar Master," Koloth tells him coldly, and Odo's manner changes. "I apologize. No offense intended." He takes Koloth into the holding area to release Kor into his custody. Kor looks up blearily, and Koloth stares back in disgust. "You disgrace yourself and our purpose. I do not go into battle with one whose honor is washed away in Breshtanti ale. Keep him!" he barks to Odo, and leaves.

Odo tells Kira in Ops about his "Klingon afternoon". "There's a drunken Klingon in my holding cell who must be a hundred years old, singing battle songs. Even his best friend, who's probably a hundred and fifty years old, won't have anything to do with him, so I get the pleasure of listening to his repertoire. Kor, Dahar Master of the Klingons." Hearing this, Dax looks up in startled recognition, and learns from Odo that Kor's friend's name was Koloth. Urgently, she rises and has Odo come with her.

They go down to the holding area, where Dax tells Odo to release Kor. She'll take responsibility. Entering the cell, Dax asks a still-tipsy Kor if he remembers Curzon Dax. "Curzon?" he gurgles. "My dear friend Curzon? I lift my ghoptu to Curzon Dax!" "And I, who was Curzon Dax, lift my ghoptu to you," Dax says. Kor beams with joy, surprised to find her a woman, and bear-hugs her. "Come on, Kor, let's go find Koloth," she says, and Kor lights up again. "Koloth's here?"

Dax and Kor join Koloth in the replimat. Of course, he doesn't recognize Dax either at first, but she reminds him of their old meetings across the negotiation table. "This is a mistake," Koloth says. "Kang must not have known." "But what a beautiful mistake," grins Kor. Then Kang enters. He has brought them all together once more because he has an announcement to make. He has found the Albino.

They go to Dax's quarters for a more private conference, though Kang still needs convincing that Dax is the same Dax he used to know, and who took a blood oath with them to seek vengeance. "Don't mistake a new face for a new soul, Kang," Dax says. "I still feel at one with your family. Just as I felt eight decades ago. I hope one day you'll embrace me as a brother again."

Kang tells his story. Seven years ago, he met one of the Albino's ex-wives. She told him nothing at the time, out of fear, but when she died three months ago, he received an amulet that had been around her neck. Inside was the location of the Albino's sanctuary. Kang has confirmed with traders that the Albino is still there, on the fourth planet of the Secarus system. He's heard that the compound is lightly protected; Dax cautions that the traders could have given him disinformation. "This time, we will reach the Albino," Kang swears. "And when we do, I will cut his heart out and eat it while he watches me with his dying breath."

Kang speaks with Dax later on the Promenade. He hadn't known about the new host, and was unwilling to risk contacting her by subspace. Told about Curzon's death in bed, Kang says it's a pity. "He was a good man. He deserved to die in battle. It pains me that I will never see him again in this life." Dax tells him that despite all the decorations Curzon received, no honor touched him as deeply as being named godfather to Kang's son. "Would you eat from the heart of the Albino, Jadzia Dax?" Kang asks. He knows that each new Trill host has no obligation to past commitments. But Dax knows that a Klingon blood oath can never be broken. Kang counters that things are not the same now, and tells her she is released from the oath. "You owe nothing to any of us."

In Ops later, Kira is startled when Dax asks her, out of the blue, how many people she killed in the underground. "Too many," Kira says. "Why are we talking about this?" Dax drops it, but then Kira asks, "Why? Are you thinking about killing somebody?" Dax attempts a smile. "Me?" she says shakily. Knowing something's up, Kira draws her aside to a more isolated spot, where Dax tells her the story. Eighty years ago, three Klingon warships were sent to stop a band of depredators, led by the Albino. They succeeded in capturing most of them, but the Albino escaped, promising revenge on the firstborn of each of the three captains. A few years later, he fulfilled his promise, using a genetic virus to murder the children, one of whom was Curzon's godson and namesake. Now, the Albino has been found.

Kira exclaims that the Klingons can't possibly expect Dax to keep the oath. "No, they don't," Dax says. "That's just it. They say I have no obligation to them. But I do. I know it. I feel it. If not to them, I owe it to Curzon." "Jadzia," Kira says at last, "your questions, about my experience with killing, if you're wondering what it's like -- when you take someone's life, you lose a part of your own as well."

Kor is drinking merrily in Quark's with a Dabo girl on each arm when Dax arrives and tells him that Kang and Koloth don't want her to come with them. "Kang thinks too much," Kor says. "Koloth doesn't feel enough." As for himself, of course, he'd be delighted if Dax came. Dax asks him to talk to the others, but Kor is reluctant. "You are Kor, Dahar Master," Dax urges. "They cheered you at Klach D'kel Brakt. Your voice weighed heavily on the course of Klingon events." "You shame me," Kor says sadly, looking down at his once-powerful figure. "The only weight I carry now, dear comrade, is my own bulbous body. I was once, if you remember, far less than you see, and far more than I have become." But Dax tells him gently, "My memories are still of Kor, a great warrior." She leaves Kor to drown his sorrow.

In the holosuite, she finds Koloth practicing with his bat'leth, and doesn't flinch as he brings it down inches from her head. "Nice of you to stop," she says. "I'm coming with you." Koloth says that for Curzon, the blood oath was a diplomatic ploy, and Dax evenly says, "That's a lie." She insists on coming along, and to prove her determination, replicates a bat'leth of her own and challenges him. They fight, until Kang and Kor enter to watch, and Koloth finally makes a move which knocks Dax flat. He tells her to stand. "Your presence against the Albino will do honor to our cause." But Kang is adamant. "I tell you now, you will not be a part of the quest."

Dax sits with Kang outside in Quark's. "You can't deny my right for vengeance," she tells him. She reminds him of the negotiations at the Korvat colony, when Curzon walked out on him, purposely making him angry in order to begin to create a bond between them. Curzon understood Klingons, and knew what he was doing when he took the oath. Kang says he can't dishonor himself by allowing her to die in Curzon's place. "Who's talking about dying?" Dax says. "I have no intention of dying. You dishonor yourself already, Kang, by placing your honor above mine. No Klingon warrior would leave a comrade behind while he goes off to battle. Perhaps you're right. Klingon honor isn't what it used to be." "You think the same trick would work twice?!" Kang explodes. "...Come and fight with us. Come and be damned!"

Dax is packing in her quarters when Sisko comes in. He's denying her leave of absence. "Jadzia Dax took an oath too, when she joined Starfleet. You're subject to orders, Lieutenant." Dax asks him not to make her disobey a direct order. Sisko doesn't get this. "Whatever else Curzon was, he did have a fundamental morality. He wouldn't condone murder any more than I would. And yet he swore to kill this Albino. And now you plan to go out and kill in his name. What about the laws of the Federation?" Dax counters that the Klingons have their own laws. "This is justice to them." And she's chosen to respect their codes of honor.

"You really think you're capable of doing this?" Sisko asks. Dax doesn't know. "There's only one way to find out, isn't there?" Sisko tries another tack. "Let's say you are. Let's say you even survive this insanity. You expect to come back here and resume your duties as though nothing's happened?" She looks at him. "I guess that'll be up to you."

On their bird of prey, Dax and the Klingons go over the information Kang was given. It seems as if either the Albino thinks they are already dead, or he has deliberately made his defenses look weak. Kang says it makes no difference. He proposes an attack right at the main threshold, and the others agree. "It is a good day to die," Kor intones.

Dax repeats the sentiment, but when she's alone with Kang, she asks him what's really going on. He's inviting death with a direct assault against a superior force. Kang is defensive; Dax realizes that this is why he didn't want her to come: because he knew they were going to their deaths. Finally, Kang confesses that he has been to the Secarus system, and was contacted by the Albino, who invited him to one last glorious battle: forty of his guards against the three Klingons and Dax in honorable combat. "If we cannot reach the Albino, we can at least die an honorable death, trying to reach him."

"I think you Klingons embrace death too easily," Dax tells him. "You treat death like a lover. I think living is a lot more attractive. I think an honorable victory is a lot better than an honorable defeat." Kang says there is no chance of victory, but Dax thinks of something to even the odds. She can modulate the ship's disruptor banks to bombard the compound with tetryon particles, neutralizing all energy weapons. Kang considers this. "Perhaps it is a good day to live," he says.

A short time later, they are on the surface of Secarus IV, near the Albino's compound. The Albino had promised honorable hand-to-hand combat at the main threshold, but Dax's tricorder detects a gravitic mine planted there. It will no doubt go off the moment they enter the compound. But Dax says this gives them an advantage: they are expected at the main door. Koloth gets up to go and ask someone if the Albino is actually inside. The others decide to shut down the sensor array while Dax creates a diversion at the armory. Koloth returns, saying he encountered a helpful lookout. Their prey is indeed inside. "His overconfidence will be the death of him," says Kor. Kang offers a prayer to Kahless for guidance, and Dax heads off on her mission. Both tasks succeed, and inside the compound, the guards find that their weapons don't work.

The Albino's head flunky reports the sabotage at the armory, and the Albino tells him to move all guards to the inner defense line, and scan for interference from a cloaked ship in orbit. The flunky can't contact the power station. The Albino decides to move the perimeter guards into the house. He is still barking orders when the doors are blown inward, and the Klingons and Dax stand there.

"Look upon your executioners, killer of children!" shouts Kang. The battle is joined. In the process, Koloth goes down, mortally injured. Kor tells him, "The story of your courage will never die. I will sing the story. The children of all Klingons will know of this day." Meanwhile, Kang has engaged the Albino, who finally bayonets him through the belly. "No vengeance today, Kang," he says. Then Dax strikes the weapon out of his hands.

The Albino faces her, asking who she is. She tells him she was Curzon Dax. "You're far too young and lovely to sport such a deadly weapon," he taunts. "All right, then, use it, if that's what you came to do. Kill me in cold blood. Run me through the belly and cut out my heart. Isn't that what your blood oath promised? Or have you lost your appetite, my dear?" Dax hesitates, conflicted, and the Albino laughs -- only to fall down dead with Kang's knife in his back.

"Thank you for saving the death blow for me," Kang says weakly, on the verge of death himself. "You have honored me one last time, godfather to my son." Kor, wounded but not as seriously, reports that Koloth is dead. "I was right, Dax," Kang tells her. "It is a good day to die." And he does. "It's never a good day to lose a friend," Dax whispers, as Kor begins singing a Klingon dirge.

When Dax goes back to her uniform and her duties, Sisko just looks at her in silent disapproval.

  • The original title of this episode was "The Beast".
  • This episode features three Klingons who appeared in TOS episodes: Kor from "Errand of Mercy" (the first Klingon ever seen), Koloth from "The Trouble With Tribbles", and Kang from "Day of the Dove". Of course, back in TOS, they were the human-looking, "swarthy" type of Klingon, but on DS9 they were the "ridgehead" Klingons of latter-day Trek. This change was not explained.
  • The exterior shots of the Albino's compound were shot at a Pasadena house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.