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The Collaborator

Production no.: 444
Teleplay by: Gary Holland and Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Story by: Gary Holland
Directed by: Cliff Bole
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: May 21, 1994
Philip Anglim .......
Bert Remsen .......
Camille Saviola ....
Louise Fletcher ....
Charles Parks ......
Tom Villard .........
Vedek Bareil
Kai Opaka
Vedek Winn
Prylar Bek

Vedek Bareil walks slowly down an eerily different Promenade. He is startled to bump into the corpse of a hanged man dangling from a crossover bridge. Then he sees Kira nonchalantly playing springball nearby, and asks her to help him. She casually slices through the rope with a knife; the corpse drops, and Bareil recognizes it as Prylar Bek. "No it's not," Kira says. Bareil looks down again, and finds that he's looking at his own dead body. "It's you." With that, Bareil closes the doors of the ark holding the Orb of Prophecy and Change, ending the very disturbing vision.

On the station, visiting Kira, Bareil looks out into space as she wakes up and comes to him, embracing him. She wishes he could stay longer, and he says, "All right, I will." Kira reminds him that he can't do that, because in two days he's going to be elected Kai. "Oh, that," Bareil jokes. They banter a bit about whether or not she'll vote for him, then Kira grows serious. "I may not always agree with your interpretations of the prophecies, but I think you will make a wonderful Kai. Besides, everyone knows you were Kai Opaka's personal choice to succeed her." Bareil says he could never replace Opaka. His duties will make it hard for them to maintain their relationship, but they promise each other that they will make it work.

Vedek Winn is on the station as well, preaching to a group of children as Bareil and Kira walk up to her. Winn and Bareil take note of their radically different viewpoints on the sacred texts, and Bareil mentions his knowledge that Winn has been keeping a close eye on his activities lately. Winn says so has everyone else. "After all, the common wisdom is that you are destined to be the next Kai." But she adds that the Prophets may surprise them all. Kira makes no secret of her animosity for Winn as she remarks that now that she knows Winn's here, she'll have Odo increase security; not for Winn's safety, but to avoid the violence that occurred the last time she was here.

A little ways down the Promenade, an old Bajoran man, arriving off a transport, bumps into another Bajoran, Eblan, who excuses himself and walks on, then turns back in recognition. "Kubus Oak. You worked for the Cardassians." A crowd begins to gather as Kubus tries to escape. Then Odo arrives and asks what's going on. Eblan tells him to see for himself, and Odo too recognizes Kubus. "Secretary Kubus. Last I heard, you were living on Cardassia." "I decided it was time to come home," says Kubus simply, and Odo tells him, "Welcome back. You're under arrest." Kubus doesn't protest as he is led off, as if he had feared it wouldn't be so easy. He glances at Winn, who is watching.

Back on Bajor, Bareil experiences another Orb vision. This time, he is at the Vedek Assembly, and he has just been elected Kai. Kai Opaka steps up and says, "Be at peace, my child. You must be strong, now more than ever." Winn warns him to be careful. "The path she walks is a narrow one. See that you don't stumble." Bareil protests that he doesn't deserve to walk in Opaka's path. "You must," she says. "It is your destiny." Prylar Bek steps up, holding a box. "Accept this gift from the Prophets." When Bareil opens it, a snake is coiled inside. "Take it, my child," Opaka urges. "Its venom will make you stronger." Bareil grasps it, and it turns into a hangman's noose.

Odo enters the holding area where Kubus is sitting in a cell. Kubus, once the special liaison between the Cardassian Occupation Forces and their pawns in the Bajoran government, tries to excuse his actions by saying he served the only recognized government on Bajor during the Occupation. "If it wasn't for us, the situation on Bajor would have been ten times worse than it was." But Odo remembers Dukat telling him that Kubus was his favorite Bajoran. "Really?" Kubus says. "I never could stand that arrogant tyrant." "You hid your feelings well," says Odo. Kubus replies that it kept him alive.

Kira arrives, with loathing in her eyes, to hear Kubus' request to be allowed to return home to Bajor. She denies it, and he questions her authority to make that decision. "The decision has already been made," Kira informs him. "In the Ilvian Proclamation, every Bajoran who was a member of the Cardassian Occupational Government was sentenced to exile. Your name was number four on that list. Personally, I think you all got off too easy." Kubus pleads that he's an old man, without many years left. "What's the harm of letting me live them out on Bajor?" But under Kira's questioning, he admits that he used to sign the work orders that sentenced countless Bajorans to death in the mines. Not once did he refuse to sign any of them. "And that's why you can never be allowed to set foot on Bajor again," says Kira. "Because if you do, it would dishonor the memory of every person you sentenced to death."

In the commander's office, Sisko receives a visit from Vedek Winn, who claims to be troubled by the perception, "however inaccurate", that relations between them are less than friendly. "I suppose the question we have to ask ourselves," says Sisko, "is whether or not that perception is inaccurate." Winn looks at him innocently. "Don't tell me that you, yourself, Emissary, believe that you and I are -- how shall I put it -- " "Enemies," Sisko supplies, speculating that perhaps her last visit to the station, when she publicly stated that he was here to destroy her people, might have something to do with it.

Winn claims that her words were misinterpreted on that occasion. "What I was really saying -- what I have always maintained -- is that you, Emissary, were sent here by the Prophets, to challenge our long-held beliefs." Just to make sure there are no further misunderstandings, Sisko asks if he's right to assume she no longer considers the Federation Bajor's enemy, and that she supports Federation membership for Bajor. Winn admits she had some concerns, but now she sees that the Federation's presence is necessary, and if Bajor's joining the Federation is the will of the Prophets, she won't oppose it. Which doesn't really answer Sisko's questions, but he's satisfied for now. He says, "I'm glad you said that, and I would be grateful if you would tell it to the Bajoran people."

This gives Winn the opening she was looking for. She suggests that they could address the Vedek Assembly together. Sisko says it's an excellent idea. Perhaps next week. Winn asks why wait? "Unfortunately," he tells her, "if we were to appear together in public before the choosing, it might be misconstrued as an endorsement of your bid to become the Kai." Winn says she doubts that. "It's common knowledge that you support Vedek Bareil. Although I have been pleasantly surprised that you haven't made any public statement to that effect." Sisko says that the election of the Kai is strictly an internal Bajoran affair, and as a Federation officer, he would never interfere. "What an enlightened philosophy," Winn smiles. She gave it her best shot, but at least she knows he won't be supporting her opposition.

Sometime later, Odo calls Kira with the news that Kubus is about to leave for Bajor; Vedek Winn has granted him sanctuary. Kira orders Dax, who was about to clear Winn's ship for departure, to belay that. Then Kira heads down to security, where Odo informs her that Kubus requested a private meeting with Winn, after which Winn used Odo's computer to access information from the library system, then called the provisional government to inform them she was granting sanctuary to Kubus. Odo gets the computer to show them what Winn looked up: a dossier on Prylar Bek.

"Why would Winn be interested in another Bajoran collaborator?" Kira wonders. Odo says Bek and Kubus knew each other; Bek was liaison between the Cardassians and the Vedek Assembly while Kubus was secretary to the Occupational government, and they spent quite a bit of time together. Winn also accessed information on the Kendra Valley massacre, in which 43 Bajoran freedom fighters, including Kai Opaka's son, were ambushed and killed after Bek gave the Cardassians the location of their camp. Bek made a full confession in his suicide note.

Winn interrupts, wishing to speak to Kira, who remarks that Winn is the last person she would expect to help Kubus, unless he had something Winn needed. Winn says her needs are no concern of Kira's. She wants her ship to be allowed to depart immediately. Kira tells her Winn is free to leave, but she can't allow any ship with Kubus aboard to leave without undergoing a thorough security check, one that could take days or even weeks. "Very well," says Winn after thinking for a moment. "It seems the Prophets have decided you will have a part in this after all. In exchange for sanctuary, Kubus has agreed to provide the name of the man responsible for the massacre at Kendra Valley." Bek, she says, was a pawn who killed himself to prevent the discovery of the real traitor -- Bek's superior, who ordered him to betray the location of the rebel camp: Vedek Bareil.

Kira, shocked, says no one will believe Kubus' accusation. Winn asks if she wants to risk the consequences of a collaborator becoming the next Kai. But she's not intending to condemn Bareil without proof; she was going to conduct a quiet investigation. "But I didn't know who to trust with such a delicate assignment. Until now." "You want me to do your dirty work for you," Kira realizes, incredulously; Winn claims all she cares about is the truth. Kira says she'll find it, but she wants Winn to keep Kubus' charges secret until she's had a chance to determine Bareil's innocence -- or guilt. She will share whatever she finds out with Winn. Winn agrees.

Kubus tells them both his story. Bek, he says, was no collaborator, just a messenger between the Cardassians and the Vedek Assembly. Kubus relates that in the weeks before the massacre, Bek seemed tense, and was in constant communication with someone in the Vedek Assembly. He doesn't know who that was, but says that the day after the Kendra Valley "incident", Bareil came to visit Bek on the station. Kubus heard shouting through the bulkhead, and when he saw Bareil leaving, the vedek looked upset. Bek hung himself the next morning. It's obvious to Kubus that they were working together, and that Bareil forbade Bek to confess, so Bek took his only way out. Kira argues that that is pure conjecture. "There have to be a dozen explanations for why Bareil came to see Bek." "And it's up to you to find out which of these explanations is true," Winn says.

Kira has a rather awkward talk with Bareil via subspace. Bareil confirms that he did visit Bek that day, but that doesn't make him a collaborator. "I know that," Kira says. "It's Vedek Winn who needs convincing." Winn is determined to ruin him, she warns. Bareil tells her that there is no reason to worry. "I had nothing to do with the massacre. And Winn will never be able to prove otherwise." As for why he visited Bek, the prylar was seeking spiritual guidance due to his overwhelming guilt at his betrayal of the rebel base. Bareil can't reveal what Bek said, due to confidentiality. Kira promises that she will prove to Winn that he's innocent.

Kira visits Odo in his office, where the security chief finds that all records of communication between the station and Bajor were purged during the Cardassian withdrawal. But he will try to access the files of the Vedek Assembly through the Bajoran central archives. Kira sits wearily on Odo's desk, looking deeply troubled; she tells a concerned Odo that she's fine, but then confesses what's bothering her. "He says he's not guilty. I know he's not guilty." "But you're afraid he's guilty," Odo surmises.

"I love him, Odo," Kira says softly. Odo looks up, seeming slightly taken aback -- maybe even a little...disappointed? But he covers. "I was just wondering when you were going to figure that out. You humanoids -- when it comes to emotional attachments, you never see the obvious." He then announces that he's into the Vedek Assembly archives. Kira has him try to retrieve the communications records between the station and the Assembly for the week leading up to the Kendra massacre; Odo finds that those records have been sealed. There is no indication of who sealed them, but when Kira asks who could have that kind of authority, Odo says, "Only a Vedek."

Quark is reluctantly paying a Dabo girl her wages when Odo and Kira come into the bar. The Ferengi instantly becomes paranoid. "Between the two of you, I'm developing a persecution complex," he declares, figuring out that they want something from him. Kira says they just need him to bypass a security seal. "Isn't that illegal?" Quark asks; Odo hmphs, "Spare us." Quark demands written authorization. He's certain that when things go wrong, he'll take the fall for it. "'No good deed ever goes unpunished,'" he says, quoting Rule of Acquisition #285. But he finally complies, and shoos them off while he works.

As they wait, Odo points out to Kira the spot on the crosswalk bridge where Bek hanged himself before dozens of witnesses. He notes that he and Bek were passing acquaintances, and from what little he knew of him, Odo always thought of Bek as a good man. "A good man does not betray his own people," Kira replies, but Odo looks at her meaningfully. "The one thing I've learned about humanoids is that in extreme situations, even the best of you are capable of doing terrible things." Then Quark calls them back over. He's broken through the security seal, only to find that the file is empty.

In Ops, Kira has O'Brien try to reconstruct the transmission records. Unfortunately, the Chief doesn't think he can unscramble the fragments in time to do her any good. But he can possibly find out who erased it, from a fragment of the retinal scan noted by the authorization subroutine. He does so, and on the monitor, the image of an eye slowly appears. When O'Brien cross-references it with the main archive to see whose eye it is, he gets a match. And a picture of Vedek Bareil appears on the screen.

Bareil is having another orb vision. He is being hailed as the new Kai, but then finds himself facing Bek. "I trusted you. I needed you. And you let me die." Bareil is then embraced from behind by a woman, who turns out to be not Kira but Winn, who tells him, "You will be rewarded." Then Kira appears. "Accept this gift from the Prophets," she says, and plunges a dagger into his belly. Bareil collapses into the arms of Kai Opaka, who holds him tenderly. "May the Prophets comfort you, my child. May they comfort us all." And Bareil dies.

He closes the ark of the Orb, just as Kira enters the temple chamber. "Did you really believe I wouldn't learn the truth?" she asks. "Truth is not always easy to recognize," Bareil replies. Kira asks him why he erased the transmission reports. She knows the answer, but won't believe it until she hears it from him. "Don't make me do this," he pleads. "I don't have any choice," Kira says. "Winn is waiting to hear from me. Do you really want me to tell her that you ordered Bek to give the Cardassians the location of that resistance base? That you are responsible for the deaths of those forty-three people? That you killed Kai Opaka's son?"

Without any other alternative, Bareil confesses. "The Cardassians were determined to eliminate all resistance in the Kendra Valley. If someone hadn't told them the location of that base, they would have wiped out every village in the area. That would have meant the death of twelve hundred innocent Bajorans. I could not allow that." Kira looks at him in anguish and betrayal. "There had to have been another way. I believed in you. I defended you. And Winn was right all along. And now she's going to destroy you." "No," Bareil says sadly. "I've destroyed myself."

Kira returns to the station, and Ops, in time to receive a subspace call from Winn. Figuring she might as well get it over with, she opens a channel. Winn's face smiles at her from the monitor. "I must congratulate you on a job well done. I knew the Prophets were right in picking you to assist me." She goes on to say that Bareil has just made a surprise announcement to the Vedek Assembly. He has withdrawn from the elections. "I know this is painful for you, child. But you've done a great service for all of Bajor. Whoever is chosen tomorrow as the new Kai will owe you a debt of gratitude."

As Kira ends the transmission, something is bothering her. "It doesn't make sense," she tells Dax. "Vedek Bareil is an honorable man. He wouldn't hide from the consequences of his actions by covering them up. I'm missing something." She tells O'Brien she needs to get back into the Vedek Assembly archives.

It's sometime later, and the election for Kai has been held. A triumphant Winn emerges from the Vedek Assembly room, and Kira bows her head. Winn grasps her ear. "Your pagh is strong, my child. Be at peace. In time you will learn I am not your enemy." As an afterthought, she adds, "Oh, and tell Commander Sisko I must postpone appearing with him before the Assembly. At least, for now." She leaves, and Kira resumes waiting until Bareil finally comes out, reacting in surprise to seeing her.

"You forgot to erase the transit files," Kira tells him. "You did a wonderful job erasing the transmission records, but you forgot all about the transit files. The files that prove you weren't a collaborator." "Let it rest," Bareil says. "It's over now. The people have chosen Winn." Kira says he didn't have to withdraw. The transit records show that he was on a personal retreat at the Dakeen monastery during the week before the massacre. Moreover, he had no contact with anyone during that time. Therefore, he could not have ordered Bek to reveal the location of the Kendra Valley encampment. "You were covering up for someone else. Someone who meant more to you than me. More to you even than becoming Kai." Bareil pleads with her to stop, but she won't. "Who else meant that much to you? It had to be Kai Opaka. Opaka knew where the resistance cell was located, because her son was a member. She was the collaborator, wasn't she?"

Bareil has no choice but to confirm it. "She sacrificed her own son to save a thousand people. I had to protect her." "So instead of you, we have Winn to lead us," Kira says. "...The question is, where will she lead us?" "Down paths she cannot possibly imagine," Bareil tells her. "She's going to need our help along the way, even if she doesn't realize it yet." Kira wonders what will happen to the the two of them; Bareil asks what she wants to happen. For answer, she kisses him. Holding hands, they go off to pay her respects to the new Kai.

  • Actor Tom Villard was dying of AIDS and put out a plea in the show business trade papers for work in his final months. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was among the series that gave him a guest role, as Prylar Bek in this episode. Villard died not long afterwards. (Bek was named after Don Beck, a promo producer for DS9 and VOY.)
  • The story idea came from Gary Holland, the executive in charge of Paramount's advertising and publicity for DS9. It initially involved Kira investigating a Bajoran and learning that he was her father's murderer, only to find in the end that the man is covering for his daughter.