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The Circle

Production no.: 422
Written by: Peter Allan Fields
Directed by: Corey Allen
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: October 2, 1993
Frank Langella ...... 
Richard Beymer .... 
Stephen Macht ...... 
Bruce Gray ........... 
Philip Anglim ........ 
Louise Fletcher ..... 
Mike Genovese ..... 
Eric Server ........... 
Anthony Guidera ...
Minister Jaro [uncredited] 
Li Nalas 
Admiral Chekote 
Vedek Bareil 
Vedek Winn 
Peace Officer 

Continuing from "The Homecoming":

Sisko has a talk with Minister Jaro in his office. The commander is not happy that Major Kira has been recalled to Bajor without anyone consulting him. Jaro is surprised -- he had heard that Sisko didn't get along with Kira. But Sisko says she has been invaluable to him. Jaro tries to tell him this is a promotion for Kira, a reward for her rescue of Li Nalas. Sisko smiles. "Well, then that's a different matter." He mentions a saying about a famous ambassador who was a bag of hot air -- "not at all like you or me." Sisko also says that he had thought Jaro would want Li in the capital to help strengthen the provisional government, but Jaro says it's not safe for Li there. A Bajoran minister has been attacked and beaten. "Look at it this way, Commander -- we're entrusting Bajor's greatest hero to you. Could you have a better liaison officer than Li Nalas? I think not."

After Jaro leaves, a call comes in from Jake, who thinks Sisko should come down to their quarters right away. Hearing the concern in his son's voice, Sisko goes, and finds Jake standing in front of the door, which has been painted with the symbol of the Circle.

An upset Odo enters Kira's quarters, and is disturbed to find her packing to leave, seemingly resigned to her fate. "You break the rules, you pay," she tells him, but Odo points out that she has made a career out of breaking the rules. "Cardassian rules, Bajoran rules, Federation rules -- they're all meaningless to you, because you have a personal code that's always mattered more. And I'm sorry to say you're in slim company!" Kira smiles slightly. "I'll miss you too, Odo." Odo isn't through yet; he exhorts her to fight for what she wants. "It's what you do best!" He claims he doesn't want to have to break in a new man, even if Kira says Li Nalas can handle the job. "You did fairly well at it, once I smoothed your rough edges," Odo says, and Kira chuckles, telling him she'd thought the same thing about him.

The moment is interrupted by Dax, who comes in to return some cream she had borrowed. Then Bashir visits to wish Kira luck. O'Brien drops by to say it's been a pleasure serving with Kira. Quark enters with a bottle of synthale to commemorate their parting. The room gets noisier and noisier with each newcomer, until Kira's living room is practically crowded with people, and she is starting to feel a little overwhelmed by their concern. Finally the door chimes once again. This time, to Kira's surprise, it's Vedek Bareil, who says he didn't mean to intrude. "No, please, come in. These are my..." Kira looks around at everyone, realizing how much they all have come to mean to her. "These are my friends."

Bareil hadn't announced his coming to the station, thinking it wise since the violence on Bajor has escalated. He invites Kira to stay at his monastery for a while. "It can help when the spirit gets a little bruised." Kira accepts.

Later, she goes to Ops to look around one last time, and is joined by Li Nalas, her replacement. "I'm sorry. I didn't want this job," he tells her sincerely. Kira smiles. "Neither did I. I mean, back when I was sent here in the first place. But it turned out better than I expected." Li says he doesn't even know what a Navarch is supposed to do. Sisko enters, and Kira asks for permission to disembark. "I'm going to get you back, Major," Sisko says. "I promise that to both of us." And the turbolift takes her out of sight.

Sometime later, in Bareil's monastery garden, Kira talks with Bareil as she adjusts some rocks. "This isn't working, Bareil," she says. "...The stones are straight. I'm the one who's crooked." Bareil suggests, not seriously, that she try her hand at woodcrafts, and Kira confesses that she's terrible at art. She feels useless here. "It might be interesting to explore useless for awhile," Bareil says. Then he takes her inside, to a part of the monastery she hasn't seen before. There sits the ark of an orb, and Bareil is opening it.

"All my life I've dreamed of this," Kira gasps, bowing her head reverently. "What do I do?" "Be useless, Nerys," Bareil tells her. "Allow the Prophets to guide you." The light swallows her, and she is standing in the Chamber of Ministers, with legislators shouting, but she can't hear them. Then Dax, in a Vedek's robe, hugs her, but turns into Vedek Winn as she pulls away. Kira backs into Jaro, who says the voices are calling to him. But Bareil appears and says they're calling to her. With a gasp, she realizes she is now naked, and pleads with Bareil to help her hear them. Naked as well, he embraces and kisses her. The vision ends.

On DS9, Odo is talking with a friend of his on Bajor, a peace officer who tells him there were dozens of beatings last night alone. It sounds to Odo as if the Circle has powerful friends to warn them where the authorities are looking. The peace officer thinks that the troops the provisional government is bringing into the capital will stop it. Odo signs off to find Quark standing in the office. "It's over," the Ferengi says. "Everything -- Bajor, the provisional government, the Federation being here, all of it. We've gotta leave. Well, I do anyway. You can just turn into a couch." Odo dismisses the Circle as a bunch of hooligans, until Quark says he happens to know they've got enough weapons, explosives, and supplies to support an army.

This gets Odo's attention. He asks where the Circle are getting these weapons, and Quark says the Kressari, which doesn't make sense to Odo; the Kressari don't even have a military. But he asks the computer when the next Kressari vessel is due, then he orders Quark to find out where the weapons are going on Bajor. Over Quark's protests, Odo announces that the Ferengi is now a deputy. Either that or Odo will arrest him for impeding an investigation.

Sisko gets the news, and decides to go to Bajor, telling Li to use his military contacts to get a feeling for how much support the provisional government has. Meanwhile, he's asked Odo to assign Li a bodyguard. Li demurs, but Sisko is adamant.

Kira approaches Bareil in the garden. "Woodcrafts. Definitely the way to go." Bareil guesses that she doesn't want to talk about her experience. But he tells her about the last one he had. It included her; that was why he invited her here. They hear noise in the distance, which Kira identifies as gunfire. Then Winn speaks to them from a bridge just overhead. As deceptively sweet and subtle as ever, she chides Bareil for letting Kira experience the orb without consulting the Vedek Assembly.

Sisko visits General Krim, a military leader whom he met last year, and who is in command of the forces defending the capital. Sisko mentions the concern some people have that the military is unwilling to confront the Circle. Every time there's a potential confrontation, the military withdraws. But the provisional government needs the military to back it up, Sisko says. "We are all patriots, Commander," Krim replies. He seems surprised by the news that the Circle is being armed by the Kressari. Sisko promises to let him know when they find out where the weapons are stored. He also mentions the possibility of getting Kira reassigned back to DS9, which Krim says is out of his purview. But he will remember that Sisko did not attempt to trade the information for the favor.

In Ops, Li and Dax are stalling the captain of the Kressari ship while O'Brien and Odo make an "inspection". The captain calls, ticked off at the delay, but Li bluffs him. Dax calls O'Brien to tell him they don't want to hold up the Kressari ship any longer; O'Brien sets down a container on the deck of the ship and leaves. As the captain prepares to disembark, part of the container slides off unnoticed and turns into a rat.

While Sisko is on Bajor, he goes to the monastery to see Kira, who has been daydreaming in the garden. He tells her he hasn't given up on getting her back yet, and that the Circle has been armed for a coup. Sisko isn't sure the provisional government can count on the military's support. After he leaves, Kira turns around and is accosted by three figures wearing masks and robes who squirt something in her face, causing her to go limp, and then carry her away.

In a cargo bay on board the Kressari ship, Odo the rat watches as a Cardassian gul beams aboard with several crates. The captain inspects the weapons inside, and has the gul sign off on the shipment by pressing his thumbprint onto a PADD. The Cardassian beams away.

Kira is brought into the Circle's underground bunker, where she is surprised to see none other than Minister Jaro presiding. "So you're involved with the Circle," she says. "I am the Circle, Major," Jaro replies. Kira, who now understands why Jaro shunted Li off to DS9 -- to avoid having Li's popularity interfere with the Circle's plans -- asks how he could betray his government, and Jaro calls the government powerless. "I won't allow the Bajoran people to be powerless anymore...we are a people who brought art and architecture to countless planets. We don't deserve to be victims." But they'll discuss politics later. Jaro asks her what the Federation will do once the Circle's objective becomes clear. He promises to give her the station after they get rid of Starfleet if she'll answer the question. Will they continue to support the provisional government? She knows Sisko; what will he do? When Kira is silent, Jaro informs her that the Circle has learned a few things from the Cardassians -- "like how to encourage people to talk."

Sisko and the DS9 officers are discussing Kira's abduction, and Li offers to use his name to get some cooperation. Quark enters to say that he's found out where the Circle's headquarters are, in the labyrinths beneath the Perikian peninsula. Sisko immediately heads for the turbolift, calling for security, and telling the others to come with him. Li wants to come too. After all, he can fight and take orders as well as anyone, and he owes Kira. Sisko finally agrees.

They materialize in the caverns, and Sisko hands out extra combadges; whoever gets to Kira first will pin theirs on her and call for beamout. With that, they charge in. During the ensuing firefight, Bashir is the one who finds Kira, battered and bloody after her torture by the Circle. He is knocked down, and Kira grabs the combadge. The rescuers then dematerialize.

Kira is treated in the infirmary, where she says Li is the one force who could stop Jaro, if they can get him to the Chamber of Ministers. But Sisko says that Li would be dead before he got to speak. "Courtesy of a Cardassian weapon," announces Odo, who has returned to the station with the manifest PADD that contains the proof of Cardassian involvement, the gul's thumbscan. The Circle doesn't know the true source of the weapons. As for the Cardassians' motives, it's simple: once the Circle is in power and forces the Federation out, they can move back in.

Sisko calls Dax and tells her to open a channel to Bajor so that Li Nalas can address the Chamber of Ministers on subspace. But Dax says all frequencies to Bajor are jammed. The coup has begun. Sisko has her call Admiral Chekote at Starfleet Command.

Meanwhile, at a temple shrine on Bajor, Jaro confers with Vedek Winn, asking for her public support. She says her voice is rarely heard in the assembly, but he tells her that can change with the prestige of having Bajor's new leader a member of her order. And there will be even more. "I can think of no one more worthy of being the next Kai than you, Winn," Jaro says. "I shall do everything in my power to see that you are." "The Prophets are smiling on you today, Minister," Winn says.

O'Brien reports that two assault vessels are headed this way from Bajor, giving all non-Bajorans seven hours to evacuate. Sisko speaks with the admiral, and brings him up to date on the grim situation. Unfortunately, it sounds to Chekote like a genuine political revolution, even despite the Cardassian involvement. He tells Sisko that the Prime Directive applies, and orders him to evacuate.

Going back out into Ops, his mind racing, Sisko asks O'Brien how long it will take to evacuate -- a complete evacuation, meaning all Federation property of every kind. O'Brien says that would take days, and the assault vessels will arrive in seven hours. "Then I guess some of us won't quite be done by the time they get here," Sisko says.

To be continued...

  • The Fern Dell section of Griffith Park again doubled as Vedek Bareil's monastery.