Production no.: 485
Written by: René Echevarria
Directed by: Les Landau
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: January 27, 1996
Duncan Regehr ......
Bruce Wright .........
Charles Tentindo ....
Odo is busy in his office, getting everything just so. Satisfied, he sits down with a PADD in time for Kira to appear for their weekly meeting to review the criminal activity reports. Odo enjoys these meetings as an excuse to spend time with Kira, for he happens to be secretly in love with her.
They are discussing the various incidents that have occurred over the past week when Quark enters the office to file a noise complaint against Odo, whose quarters are right above his, and who often practices shapeshifting at night. Quark's sensitive Ferengi ears never fail to catch every sound of it when he's trying to sleep, and it drives him up a wall. When he leaves, Kira comments, "It's just Quark's luck that you would be assigned quarters right above his." "Luck had nothing to do with it," Odo tells her with a rather wicked smile.
Later, Kira stands with Sisko and the rest of the senior staff in dress uniforms to greet First Minister Shakaar Edon as he steps through the airlock for his first official visit to DS9, along with his aide, Sarish Rez. Shakaar, of course, is Kira's old friend, the leader of her former resistance cell. Dax holds Kira back a moment to comment on Shakaar's good looks. As Shakaar enters the Promenade, about to make a speech to the crowd waiting for him there, Odo calls Sisko. He has just received a communication indicating that there may be a plot to assassinate Shakaar.
Odo tries to convince Sarish to curtail Shakaar's public appearances. The "True Way", the Cardassian extremist group responsible for the threat, has already assassinated two Bajoran officials, and Odo's sources say that they already have an operative on board the station. But Sarish maintains that Shakaar has no intention of cancelling his upcoming meetings on the station, which are crucial to Bajor's effort to join the Federation. Kira supports this view; having been a terrorist himself, Shakaar knows not to capitulate to them. Sisko tells Odo to step up security. Odo wants help from Starfleet security as well, and with Eddington away on leave, Worf is appointed to coordinate with him.
As Odo and Worf are going over the arrangements a little later, the conversation veers toward their mutual preference for order, and Odo gives Worf a few tips on how to be inhospitable to guests so they'll stop dropping by his quarters. Odo then goes down to Shakaar's quarters to escort him to the reception, after having prepared the way. However, Shakaar comes out early, wanting to make a stop on the Promenade to visit the temple. This was not in the plan, but Odo handles it, letting Worf know of the change. Shakaar chats a bit to Odo as they walk. He mentions that Kira once told him she trusted Odo with her life, so he will as well. Once Worf reports that the temple is secure, Odo brings Shakaar there, scanning the gathering crowd for trouble. Nothing happens, to Odo's relief.
The reception is held in the wardroom, and Odo is there to keep an eye on things. Kira joins him, and casually asks why he doesn't wear his belt anymore (referring to the belt Odo wore with his uniform during the early third season). Odo is caught off guard by the question. "I don't know -- it didn't really serve a purpose. It's not as if I needed it to hold my pants up." "I thought it looked good on you, that's all," Kira says. Odo finds himself absurdly gratified by her seemingly offhand remark, and morphs a belt around his waist. "Better?" he asks, and Kira smiles. "Much."
Since Shakaar is surrounded by people, Kira decides to turn in. However, Shakaar breaks off to stop her, just as Quark is offering Odo something off a tray. Kira accepts Shakaar's invitation to a walk with him, and something about the way Odo watches them talking catches Quark's attention. Odo intercepts the pair; Shakaar agrees to let Odo escort them, but tells him not to stay too close. Quark looks thoughtful as he observes this. After they leave, Odo trails behind Kira and Shakaar, and can't help noticing the easy, intimate way in which they converse, oblivious to his presence.
The next day, after the first round of talks end, Odo walks Shakaar back to the First Minister's quarters. It hasn't been going too well; Shakaar has been trying to get the Federation to cut the timetable for Bajor's admittance, but keeps getting told that every new member must go through the same process all the others have. Odo can sympathize. "I've been working with the Federation for a number of years. They claim to be open and understanding, but somehow, they're always convinced that they're right. It can be exasperating at times." When they get to his door, Shakaar invites Odo in. He says he realizes he hasn't made Odo's job easy, and he appreciates his thoroughness. But he has something more on his mind, something personal. "Odo, I know that you and Nerys are friends. And I was wondering, does she ever talk to you about me?...What I mean is, has she ever said anything to you that might indicate that she thought of me as more than a friend?"
Odo hides his rising dread at the question. "Let me think...No," he says at last. Shakaar is disappointed. He's known Kira for years, and he's always considered her a good friend, but now -- "I think I'm falling in love with her," he confesses, not noticing Odo's stricken look. "Sometimes I get the sense that maybe, just maybe, she feels the same way. But I could be wrong. I'm afraid to say anything because it might ruin our friendship. But if I don't, I could be letting something very precious slip through my fingers." Odo can only sit there as Shakaar unknowingly voices the very thing that has been tearing Odo apart inside for over a year.
For lack of anything else to say, he offers that Kira may still be grieving for Bareil. Shakaar agrees; maybe he should just be patient. "On the other hand, maybe I should let her know how I feel. It might help her get over her loss if she knew that there was somebody who really cared about her." He asks Odo what he thinks. "I'm afraid I know even less about relationships than I do about politics," Odo says. Shakaar is understanding. "I don't mean to burden you with my problems. Talking about humanoid relationships can't be that interesting to you." Odo's face is absolutely expressionless as he replies, "For the most part, no."
When Odo checks out Quark's buffet table in the wardroom, prior to the next meeting between Shakaar and the Federation delegation, he finds a Ferengi eavesdropping device in the fruit bowl. Quark makes an absurd excuse about its presence, and Odo "accidentally" drops the device into the punch, whereupon Quark notes Odo's bad mood. Odo claims he doesn't have moods. "Of course not," Quark agrees. "You're an unfeeling Changeling. All you care about is order." "That's right." "Oh, please," Quark says. "I know what's going on. You don't have to pretend with me...You're in love with her." Odo tries to deny this "ridiculous" idea, but Quark isn't fooled. "It's the truth. Why can't you just admit it? It's nothing to be ashamed of. Look, Odo," he adds with genuine understanding, "I know this can't be easy for you." Odo lashes out. "I don't want your sympathy, Quark. And I don't need your advice. Just stay out of my business!"
The time for the next security review meeting with Kira rolls around, and Odo has everything perfect as usual, but she's late. Finally she comes in, apologizing, and sits down without touching the raktajino he has set out for her. She already had one with Shakaar this morning, she says -- in his quarters, while going over a proposal of his to the Federation delegates. Kira only gives the reports a cursory glance, as she's pressed for time. She says she's promised Shakaar a tour of the station. Hiding his disappointment, Odo tells her he'll have security in place.
He goes with them up one of the upper pylons, and stands nearby listening to their conversation, which has to do with a rumor about wishing on the wormhole. They nearly kiss, but remember Odo's presence just in time. As they head for the turbolift, Odo calls Worf, who says the route has been secured. On the lift, Kira and Shakaar chat about possibly going out to dinner. Worf's voice tells Odo that the lift needs to be rerouted, and, distracted by the conversation, Odo releases the controls before Worf's code is verified. Suddenly, the turbolift goes into free-fall. The controls aren't responding, and someone has cut their com-links. The turbolift hurtles to almost certain doom, until Odo morphs his hands and arms into steel rods, pressing the metal walls outward so that the friction causes their descent to slow and finally stop.
Odo makes his report to Sisko. It seems someone faked Worf's voice and took over the lift controls. Odo is forced to admit that he neglected to verify the code. Sisko is surprised that Odo of all people would slip up like that. "They say to err is human. But you're not human, Odo. You're not even humanoid. And this is not the sort of mistake that I'd expect from you." "I was distracted," Odo confesses. "...A personal matter, sir. I prefer not to discuss it." Sisko doesn't press him, and Odo promises that it won't interfere with his job again. He will find the person responsible.
Working with Worf later in his office, Odo is lost in thought, and Worf can't help but notice. "With all due respect, I do not see how sitting in a chair staring at a wall is going to help apprehend Shakaar's would-be assassin." "You're right, it won't," says Odo. He decides to go talk to Kira, even though Worf reminds him she already gave her statement. Arriving at Kira's quarters, Odo is surprised to see guards there; one tells him Shakaar is in there, and has been for three hours. Odo relieves the guard, and takes up his post, standing there all night.
When the door opens in the morning, Shakaar comes out; it's fairly obvious what's been going on between him and Kira. Odo sends two guards off with the First Minister, telling Kira he has some more questions for her. Inside, seeing the remains of a romantic dinner, he tries not to let his emotions show at this confirmation of his fears. Kira is glowing, almost giddy at the unexpected turn that her longtime relationship with Shakaar has taken; she tells Odo all about it. "I'm happy for you," Odo manages to say, and Kira looks at him fondly. "This must seem so silly to you." She crosses to give him an affectionate hug; since she's behind him, she doesn't see the pure anguish on his face. "You're such a good friend to me," she whispers. "I'm so glad you're the first person to know." Suddenly Odo has to get out of there. He tells her his questions can wait, and practically flees the room.
Back in his office, Odo finds to his astonishment that Worf has caught the True Way operative responsible for the attempts on Shakaar's life. Odo is profoundly disturbed. Catching criminals is his job. He asks why Worf didn't call him; Worf says it wasn't necessary, as Odo's deputies are very well trained. It's the final blow.
Odo goes to his quarters. His world is crashing down around him. Kira is involved with Shakaar, and the other thing that means the most to him, his ability to do his job, is slipping from his grasp. Alone, he gives vent to his despair, smashing objects and throwing things against walls, turning the order he treasures into chaos.
When there's nothing left to destroy, Odo just sits on the floor, numb. A furious Quark, who was awakened by the noise and has stormed up here in his pajamas to complain again, breaks into the room. He looks around at the wreckage, thinking at first that Odo was imitating some particularly violent animal. But finally he notices Odo's silence. "Are you okay?" he asks. "You were right," Odo admits, quietly. Quark looks at him in a new light. "You really are in love," he marvels. "I must say, I really didn't think you had it in you. It takes passion to do something like this, and I always thought you were colder than a Breen winter." Odo almost doesn't seem to hear him. "What was I thinking? How could I have fooled myself into believing she could ever love someone like me?"
Quark finds himself in the odd position of counseling his nemesis. He tells Odo this isn't doing either of them any good; he's losing his shirt in the manhunt pool. The manhunt pool, he explains, is something he runs every time there's an unusual crime committed on the station, to bet on how long it will take Odo to catch the perpetrator. "Frankly, I don't care whether you and Major Kira end up living happily ever after or not, I just want the situation resolved. And the way I see it, you've either got to tell her how you feel, or forget about her and get on with your life. Concentrate on the essentials. Because you can't keep going like this. It's interfering with your job -- and my profits." Unless Odo does something about it, he elaborates, he'll have to stop running the pool.
"I'm devastated," Odo says, with a ghost of his usual sarcasm. "You should be," Quark tells him. "The fact that the pool exists says something about you. About who you are. People see you as the guy who always gets his man. Now you're becoming the guy who tears up his quarters and sits alone in the rubble. And no one is going to want to place bets on how long someone is going to sit around in the dark." He gets up. "Well, I've said my piece. Sorry for butting in. But I'm just looking out for my business." "Funny," Odo says softly. "For a minute there, I thought you were talking to me as a friend." He looks up at Quark, who holds his gaze for a moment before saying, "Nah."
Kira is in her quarters later when the door chimes, and Odo comes in. He says he wanted to talk to her about something. "I don't quite know how to say this -- but I've given it a lot of thought, and..." "Go on," says Kira encouragingly. "Just say it." Odo pauses a moment longer. "I'm afraid I won't be able to make our Tuesday morning meetings anymore," he tells her at last, to Kira's surprise and disappointment. He's scheduling training exercises with his deputies at that time, and besides, there's no real reason they have to go over the criminal activity reports together anyway. "Maybe not," says Kira. "But I kind of enjoyed doing it. I thought you did too." "Of course," Odo says. She seems to realize there's more to it than that, and asks him, "Odo, is something wrong?" "It's just a matter of using my time more efficiently," he tells her, and she doesn't push. As he heads for the door, suddenly she notices he's not wearing his belt anymore. When she asks him about it, Odo simply says, "I'm just trying to keep to the essentials, Major."
Some time after that, Odo enters the bar, where Quark tells him Kira and Shakaar are in a holosuite, working on a speech of his; the Federation has finally agreed to cut Bajor's timetable for admittance. Just a rumor he heard, of course. The Ferengi also casually mentions that he dropped by Odo's quarters this morning; he went to complain about some noise, only to find a work crew there, installing soundproofing in the floor. "I have to say, Odo, I'm touched that you would do something like that for me." Odo denies that he's doing it as any kind of favor to Quark, but they both know that it's really Odo's way of thanking him.
Kira comes down the staircase at that moment with Shakaar, and they sit together at a table, laughing and talking, with eyes only for each other. Odo watches, then calmly walks out to the Promenade. Though he may never put his love for Kira behind him, he is still Odo, the cop.
The original idea came from Robert Hewitt Wolfe, although René Echevarria has sole writing credit. During Odo's destruction of his quarters, and the aftermath, two subtle bits of business that reinforce the character's state of mind came not from the script, but from Rene Auberjonois. One is Odo tossing his old bucket, with the plant Kira gave him (in "The Abandoned"), against the wall; the other is his disarrayed hair afterwards.