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Call to Arms

Production no.: 524
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by: Allan Kroeker
Stardate: 50975.2 
First satellite airdate: June 14, 1997
Andrew J. Robinson .....
Jeffrey Combs .............
Marc Alaimo ...............
Max Grodénchik ..........
Aron Eisenberg ............
J.G. Hertzler ................
Chase Masterson .........
Melanie Smith ..............
Casey Biggs ................

Garak and Ziyal watch patiently as Rom and Leeta look over yet another sketch of a wedding dress. Rom likes it; Leeta hates it. Each of the previous 152 choices has also been rejected by one, the other, or both. Ziyal suggests that they have Garak design an original dress. Quark comes up to remind Leeta that her break is over. In his opinion, "any marriage where the female is allowed to speak and wear clothing is doomed to failure." Leeta spots Sisko on the Promenade with O'Brien and decides that she and Rom will take the opportunity to talk to him.

All children have been ordered off the station, including O'Brien's, who have been sent with their mother to Earth. Sisko is approached by Rom and Leeta, who ask him to perform their wedding ceremony in two weeks; the captain agrees. He and O'Brien then join a crowd who watch the wormhole open and a convoy of Dominion ships emerge. "One thing I'll say for the Dominion, they're punctual," Sisko says grimly. It's the fifth convoy to Cardassia in the last five weeks. "I wish they'd just attack and get it over with," O'Brien says. Sisko looks out at the ships pouring through. "I have the feeling you're going to get your wish."

Just before dinner with Jake that night, Sisko shows his son a news PADD, containing a story about the Bajorans continuing negotiations with the Dominion, and Sisko opposing the non-aggression pact. The byline is Jake's. "You should've warned me," Sisko tells him. Learning that Jake is now an official correspondent for the Federation News Service, he's not thrilled with the prospect of everything he says ending up in print. But he resigns himself to the fact that he can't stop Jake from doing his job.

Odo, Kira, and Dax check out a load of cargo, including 10,000 wrappages of Cardassian yamok sauce, smuggled in by Quark in anticipation of the Cardassians retaking the station. Dax picks up on the tension between the other two. When Odo steps away to prepare to dump the contraband, Dax asks Kira what's going on; the two have been avoiding each other for weeks. "Odo has feelings for me," Kira finally admits. "...The kind that aren't easy to talk about." She only found out last month (in "Children of Time"). Dax's reaction is much like Kira's was: she doesn't know quite how to respond.

As Nog brings Sisko some coffee, he asks if it's true what "they're" saying about the Romulans. He overheard some Orions talking in Quark's about hearing from a Vulcan diplomat that the Romulans had signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion. Sisko reminds Nog of the 190th Rule of Acquisition: "Hear all; trust nothing." But as soon as Nog leaves, Sisko has Dax put him through to Starfleet Intelligence.

The rumor is confirmed; the Romulans have joined several other races in agreeing not to attack the Dominion. Bajor is still in talks. "My people will never sign that treaty," Kira says. "Or any other agreement with the Dominion." O'Brien notes, "Meanwhile, more Jem'Hadar ships come through the wormhole every week." "It must stop," adds Worf. "It's going to stop," Sisko announces. Starfleet Command has agreed that no more Dominion ships can be allowed into the Alpha Quadrant. To keep them out, they will mine the entrance to the wormhole. "If we try to stop those convoys, it may very well start a war," Odo says. "Maybe so," replies Sisko. "But one thing's certain. We're losing the peace. Which means a war could be our only hope."

O'Brien, Dax, and Rom discuss the problem of deploying mines that the Dominion won't be able to just pick off one by one. O'Brien suggests small, cloaked mines, but Dax thinks it would take dozens of them to disable a warship. For his part, Rom is careening back and forth between the matter at hand and his anxieties about his upcoming marriage. Between freakouts, however, he comes up with the idea of self-replicating mines. O'Brien and Dax take the ball and run with it: they can program them to swarm on any ship that approaches. "The only problem is you'll have to wait until the entire minefield is deployed before you activate it," says Rom, who is with them once more. "Otherwise the proximity sensors could cause premature detonation." Then he's off again. "Where's Leeta going to put all her clothes? I don't have enough closet space!" "I'd better go talk to Sisko," decides Dax. "I'll go draw up some specs," O'Brien adds. "I've got to go to waste extraction," Rom announces.

Sisko emerges from his office after a meeting with Starfleet Command. They're not getting any reinforcements, which is not happy news for Kira or Worf. "What's Starfleet thinking?" demands Kira. "They must have given you a reason for denying your request." Sisko says they did, but he's not at liberty to discuss it. "Let's just say Starfleet's resources will be needed elsewhere." Their orders are to deploy the minefield and prepare for attack. Unfortunately, the Defiant will be unable to cloak or raise shields while deploying, so the station will have to defend the ship. "If the Dominion wants to stop the Defiant, they'll have to come through us," Sisko says.

Odo calls Kira to his office to discuss terminating all outgoing subspace traffic, in order to prevent security leaks. After she agrees, he turns the conversation to more personal matters. He's been thinking of asking her to dinner, but since things are still uneasy between them at the moment, he assures her he's not going to do that. "No dinner invitations. No flowers. No attempts at changing the nature of our relationship. Until the current crisis has passed, we both need our minds to be clear, to be free of any unnecessary distractions." "That's probably a good idea," Kira replies, and relaxes. "So, for now, all we need to concern ourselves with is deploying the minefield, maintaining station security, and preparing ourselves for a possible invasion." "Well, I don't know about you," Odo tells her, "but I feel more comfortable already."

With five days to go until the next convoy, the Defiant continues deploying the mines. Then Weyoun comes to pay Sisko a visit. The Dominion knows about the minefield. "Either you remove the mines, or we will take this station from you, and remove them ourselves." "I appreciate your directness," Sisko says. "Now let me be direct with you. The mines stay. I will not allow any more Dominion reinforcements through the wormhole." Weyoun softens, offering to come to some kind of compromise, and claiming that all the Dominion wants is peaceful coexistence with their neighbors. The convoys? They're for the Cardassians, who are somewhat "jittery" after the war with the Klingons, and concerned with the sovereignty of their borders.

"What if we agreed to limit our convoys to cargo ships, construction units, civilian aid? Things that would help them get their economy back on its feet. Did you know when we arrived, children were starving on Cardassia Prime? It was heartbreaking." "I had no idea things were so bad," Sisko says, deadpan. He tells Weyoun he'll discuss the compromise with Starfleet; Weyoun will speak with the Founders. "This is a momentous day," the Vorta declares. "You and I have just taken the first step towards insuring peace between our peoples."

"They're going to attack," Sisko grimly announces to his officers along with Martok. He knew it the moment he told Weyoun he wouldn't remove the mines. Sisko believes the attack will come as early as tomorrow, so they will have to finish the minefield today. Dax, on the Defiant, says they need more time; Sisko tells her they don't have it. He also tells Martok to patrol the border, and get back to the station at the first sign of Dominion ships. Bashir will get the infirmary ready, and Worf will prepare the weapons array and issue combat assignments.

Kira says she'll contact the Bajoran militia to see if they can spare some ships, but Sisko tells her to contact the Council of Ministers instead. He will meet with them immediately -- as both a Starfleet captain and the Emissary of the Prophets. To Kira's surprise, Sisko tells her he plans to recommend that Bajor sign the non-aggression pact with the Dominion. "When I came here, my orders were to protect Bajor and help your people rebuild from the Occupation...And I refuse to see everything we've accomplished torn down again. The sad truth is, Major, if there is a war now, the Federation can't guarantee the safety of Bajor. Which means Bajor must be kept out of the fighting. I don't like this any more than you do, Major, but it's Bajor's only chance for survival."

After Bajor signs the pact, all Bajoran personnel are ordered to evacuate the station. "As someone once said, 'These are the times that try men's souls,'" Sisko notes in his log. Ziyal will be going to Bajor, to stay with some of Kira's friends, but she's worried about Garak. He tells her a story of a "dashing, handsome young man" who found himself exiled, and sought shelter among his people's enemies. "There, surrounded by hostile strangers, he built a life. And there, against all odds, against the merciless logic of the universe itself, he thrived." "By becoming the greatest tailor in the galaxy," Ziyal smiles. "And the moral of the story, my dear," Garak tells her tenderly, "is to never underestimate my gift for survival." She kisses him, and they part.

Sisko marries Rom and Leeta in a hurried ceremony in the wardroom. Sisko has to leave immediately afterward. Quark does too, after predicting divorce in two months. There's no time for Rom and Leeta to be together; Nog has packed Leeta's bags and put them on the shuttle. Rom tells her she has to go with the evacuation, while he will be staying here to help O'Brien. Leeta refuses. "We've barely finished saying our vows, and we're already having our first fight," Rom marvels. "We're really married! You've got to go, Leeta. The problems of two newlyweds are but a small thread in the tapestry of galactic events. You might not understand that today, or even tomorrow. But someday you will. So get on that shuttle. And don't look back." Nog takes his new Moogie toward the door. "Nice speech, Dad." "I thought so," Rom says sadly to himself as they disappear.

After Sisko checks on the status of a program he has modified, which is ready to go on his command, a message comes through from Martok. A large force of Dominion ships is on the way. Martok's signal is jammed mid-transmission, and replaced by one from Dukat, who is on the bridge of a Dominion cruiser with Weyoun and Damar. "I don't suppose you would like to surrender and avoid unnecessary bloodshed." "Absolutely not," Sisko says. Dukat smiles. "I was hoping you'd say that." The fight is imminent. Sisko orders his crew to battle stations.

With the enemy fleet due in 20 minutes, Sisko calls Dax on the Defiant. They need another hour to finish work, but they don't have it. "Then I hope you can buy us some more time," Dax tells him. Jake is in the infirmary, helping Bashir hand out medkits. He mentions that he promised the news service a firsthand account of the battle. "Just remember, Bashir is spelled with an 'I'," Bashir tells him. Meanwhile, with his entire staff evacuated, Odo has nothing to do but survey the Promenade and converse with Garak, who Odo notes will most likely make himself useful in some fashion. Garak remembers when the Klingons attacked, and he fought side by side with Dukat; there was a moment when he was tempted to just shoot Dukat in the back. But he didn't, because he couldn't fight the Klingons off by himself. "And now you regret it," Odo guesses. "Ah, my dear Constable," Garak tells him, "before this day is over, everyone on this station is going to regret it."

Rom is working at a panel, preparing perimeter defenses, when Quark approaches. "Rom, I've always said you were an idiot, but I never believed it more than I do at this moment." He tries to persuade him to go down to Bajor to be with his new wife. Rom says he doesn't see Quark leaving; Quark replies that he has to look out for his bar. "And I have to look out for you," Rom tells him. "...You're my brother. Whatever happens, we belong together." "Well, like I said, you're an idiot," Quark says, and in a rare moment of affection, kisses the back of his brother's head.

Everything and everyone on the station is as ready as it's going to be. Sisko has Martok take a defensive position near the Defiant. The station's weapons array is activated. Kira makes an official protest of Starfleet's refusal to turn the station over to the Bajoran government. With that out of the way, she reports for duty.

On the lead Dominion ship, five minutes from weapons range, Dukat exults, "I've been waiting for this moment for five years." "First, we reclaim Terok Nor, then on to Bajor," his second-in-command, Damar, chimes in. Weyoun reminds them that the Dominion intends to honor its non-aggression pact with Bajor. Though Dukat points out that he didn't sign any non-aggression pact, he reluctantly acquiesces. He then sends five attack wings after the Defiant, the rest to target the station.

The firing begins. Weyoun is surprised that the station's shields are holding, but Dukat tells him, "I've found it wise to never underestimate the Federation's technical skill, or Captain Sisko's resourcefulness." As the station destroys some Dominion ships, others are pounding the Defiant, which is almost done laying the minefield. Finally the Rotarran decloaks and destroys one attacker, scattering the others. "Who says there's never a Klingon around when you need one?" Dax tells Martok during a brief communication.

The station's shields are getting low; Dukat has his ships concentrate on one spot on the docking ring until finally the shields are penetrated. But at that moment, the Defiant finishes setting its mines, and activates the field. Dukat assures Weyoun it's only a minor setback. "Once we take the station, we'll be able to dismantle the minefield without interference." "Let's both hope your confidence is justified," Weyoun says.

The Dominion ships regroup, and another wave is entering Bajoran space. "We've done all we can here," Sisko announces. "Notify all remaining Starfleet personnel. We're evacuating the station."

Worf and Dax have an emotional meeting outside the airlock where the Defiant is docked. He has been assigned to serve on the Rotarran, which means they might very well never see each other again. "Before you leave," Dax says, "I want you to know that the answer is yes." "Yes? Yes to what?" "Yes, I will marry you. That's what you've wanted from the beginning, isn't it?" Worf, startled, agrees. "Then when all of this is over, we'll get married," she tells him. "And if that doesn't give you a reason to survive, I don't know what will."

On the Promenade, Sisko addresses those who are staying: Kira, Odo, Quark, Rom, Morn, and several others. "When I first took command of this post, all I wanted was to be somewhere else. Anywhere but here. But now, five years later, this has become my home, and you have become my family. And leaving this station, leaving you, is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do." He announces that while the station was keeping the Dominion occupied, a Starfleet/Klingon task force destroyed the Dominion shipyards on Torros III. "Your sacrifices -- our sacrifices -- made that victory possible. But no victory can make this moment any easier for me. And I promise, I will not rest until I stand with you again. Here, in this place where I belong." Then Sisko has himself beamed aboard the Defiant.

There, he unexpectedly is met by Garak. "I'd like to come along, if you don't mind," the Cardassian says. "You never know when you might need a good tailor. And the simple fact is, I have nowhere else to go." In that case, Sisko welcomes him aboard. As the Dominion fleet comes around for another attack, the Defiant and the Rotarran fire back and cloak.

Kira has Odo signal the Dominion fleet. "Tell them the Bajoran government welcomes them to Deep Space Nine." Once the message has been acknowledged, Kira initiates the program Sisko checked on earlier. She and Odo watch as arcs of energy flare throughout Ops, blowing out every panel. "Dukat wanted the station back," Kira says. "He can have it."

Quark dumps his entire stock of root beer and has his staff break out the kanar and yamok sauce. Then Rom, no longer dressed in his Bajoran maintenance uniform, reports in for work. "What, did you think you could just walk back in here and get your old job back?" Quark demands. Rom whispers, "Actually, I'm a spy working for Starfleet. But don't tell anyone." "The Federation's more desperate than I thought," Quark mutters. Then he hands Rom a tray. "I knew one day you'd come crawling back to me," he says loudly. "Now get to work."

Rom then comes upon Jake -- who was supposed to be on the Defiant. "There's a war going on. I'm a reporter," the young man declares. "This is where I belong." "But you're not safe here," Rom tells him. However, Jake has it figured out. "The Dominion knows I'm the Emissary's son. If they hurt me, they risk alienating their new friends, the Bajorans." "I hope you're right," Rom tells him. "So do I," Jake admits.

At about the same time, Sisko has learned that his son is not with him. He makes a difficult decision. "I can't risk the entire crew for one man, even though he is my son. And whether I like it or not, he is a man, capable of making his own choices. Maintain current course." They are on their way to rendezvous with the Federation task force. "And then we make the Dominion sorry they ever set foot in the Alpha Quadrant," Nog vows. "Cadet, you took the words right out of my mouth," Sisko says.

Dukat makes his triumphant return to the station, flanked by Weyoun, who is stung by the loss of the Torros III spacedocks. But Dukat says they'll discuss that later. "Right now, I'm going to enjoy this moment." As he speaks, Kira, Odo, and Quark approach. "Gentlemen," announces Kira, grimly. "On behalf of the Bajoran government -- " "And the Promenade Merchants' Association," adds Quark. Kira finishes, "I officially welcome you to Deep Space Nine." "You mean, Terok Nor, don't you?" Dukat tells her smugly.

Weyoun gives Odo a reverential look. He's honored by the "Founder"'s decision to remain, though Odo maintains he's here strictly as security chief. "Whatever you say," simpers Weyoun. "Nevertheless, having a god walk amongst us is most gratifying." "I agree," Dukat puts in. "You, me, the Major, together again. It should be most interesting. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be in my office."

Dukat and Weyoun arrive in Ops and note the destruction there, which Dukat says can be repaired. Weyoun tells him the priority is to dismantle the minefield. "Until we can bring in reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant, our position here is vulnerable." They enter the captain's office. "I assume Captain Sisko removed or destroyed everything of value," Weyoun notes, but Dukat sees something on the desk. "Not everything." He picks it up: it's Sisko's baseball. "A message, from Sisko...He's letting me know -- he'll be back."

As they speak, the Defiant and the Rotarran both meet and join up with a huge combined fleet of Federation and Klingon ships. The war is on.

  • This was the last episode for Robert Hewitt Wolfe as a producer and staff writer for the series (though he came back to write the 7th-season episode "Field of Fire"). Wolfe appears in a cameo as an injured Defiant crewman.
  • The episode received the International Television Society's International Monitor Award for best electronic visual effects in film and television media.
  • The self-replicating mines were actually composters ordered from a gardening catalogue.