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Production no.: 443
Teleplay by: Peter Allan Fields and Michael Piller
Story by: Peter Allan Fields
Directed by: David Livingston
Stardate: not given (note: in the script, Bashir tells his medical log it's stardate 47879.2, yet in the finished episode, he only says "supplemental") 
First satellite airdate: May 14, 1994
Andrew Robinson ....
John Cothran, Jr. ......
Stephen Gevedon .....
Jack R. Orend .........
Dennis Madalone .....
Klingon #1

Bashir and Kira are headed back home from the installation of a hospital facility on New Bajor, the first Bajoran colony in the Gamma Quadrant. Kira tries to meditate, but Bashir, as usual, won't shut up -- about his own meditation techniques, about Bajoran music, about anything. He's happy they're finally getting to know each other, and ventures to put the relationship on a first-name basis. The doctor even dares to flirt with her a little, but Kira is not interested.

As they approach the wormhole and go to impulse, Bashir detects that the warp field isn't fully collapsed, due to a plasma injector leak. They enter the wormhole, and it's a very bumpy ride at first, until it smoothes out. When they emerge, however, they are astonished to find that DS9 isn't there, though Kira detects the station on long-range sensors, orbiting Bajor. And there is a vessel approaching them, a Klingon bird-of-prey.

Two Klingons materialize, weapons ready, but then freeze in astonishment when they see Kira. "I'm sorry, Ma'am. We were not informed you had left the station," one of them says. They were on standard patrol when the runabout appeared out of nowhere. Kira, confused, agrees to be escorted back to the station. There, as she and Bashir disembark, they find the Klingons arguing with Garak, the chief of security. And a woman who looks exactly like Kira walks up to her and asks who she is.

This, it turns out, is Terok Nor, center of authority of the Alliance for the Bajoran sector. The second Kira, studying her counterpart with interest, notes that she seems to have no idea what they're talking about. "Something is very wrong here," says Major Kira. "I think we took a wrong turn in the wormhole." It seems though, that the people here have never heard of the wormhole. The Major stops herself from explaining, and says maybe it would be best if they just left. But the other Kira says no. "If you are who I suspect you are, I'm afraid I can't run the risk of letting you go." She orders the Klingons to take Bashir below and put him to work. Bashir is dragged off.

Kira's counterpart -- Intendant Kira Nerys -- leads her onto a much-changed Promenade, where Bajorans, Klingons, and Cardassians dominate the scene, and humans (referred to as Terrans) appear to be an oppressed slave class. Garak hauls a human man before the Intendant, one who was caught trying to stow away on a freighter. The Intendant seems to regret having to punish the man. She tells Garak to send him to the mines, but Garak protests that the man should die as an example. "You have made a career out of setting examples, Garak," the Intendant observes coolly. "I think you enjoy it too much." But she tells Garak he can interrogate him.

Bashir is brought into an ore processing facility, where a weary slave, O'Brien, is trying to convince the overseer, Odo, to upgrade the thorium containment cells or else there'll be an accident. Odo turns away to assess his new charge, who says his "designation" is Julian Bashir. This isn't an acceptable answer to Odo, and he strikes him. "No jokes. That's my Rule of Obedience, number fourteen." Odo obviously doesn't believe Bashir when he says he's a doctor, and has never processed ore or worked in the mines. "Don't forget to scrub before you operate," he says sarcastically. As Bashir reluctantly gets to work, he exchanges glances with O'Brien, who looks away.

The Intendant brings Kira to her office. "Where you come from, things are very much like this, aren't they? There's a station, a Bajor, Cardassians, Terrans, Klingons." Kira nods. "The players are all the same, but everyone seems to be playing different parts." Her double asks if she recognizes the name Kirk, but Kira doesn't. "Interesting," says the Intendant. "On my side, Kirk is one of the most famous names in our history." She goes on to tell the story of how the Kirk of this universe changed places with his counterpart due to a transporter accident, about a century ago when the quadrant was ruled by a Terran Empire. The other Kirk met and influenced a Vulcan named Spock, who went on to become commander-in-chief of the Empire, and to reform it. But after these reforms took place, the Empire was conquered by the Alliance of the Klingons and Cardassians. Bajor, which had been occupied by the Empire, became an influential Alliance member.

"Is it similar at all on your side?" the Intendant asks. "No," says Kira. "My Bajor is not so fortunate." The Intendant is very interested in hearing more, but Kira says she can't stay here. "Well, you see, that's part of the problem," the Intendant tells her. "I don't know how to send you back. But more than that, there's a certain protocol I'm supposed to follow." It was decided after the first crossover, she says, that if anyone else appeared from the other universe, they would be promptly killed. However, the Intendant claims she has no taste for violence, and regrets using it even when necessary. Kira guesses that the Intendant is searching for a good reason not to kill her. "Got any ideas?" the Intendant smiles.

Kira suggests that maybe this time this universe could influence the other one. She can learn here what she needs to lead her Bajor, if she can get back. The notion appeals to the Intendant, but she says she will still have to kill Bashir. Kira thinks fast. "He's an arrogant Terran who has lived a privileged life on my side. Let him see how the other half lives." The Intendant says the Klingons and Cardassians would never allow it, and Kira asks, "Are you the leader of this sector or not?" The Intendant laughs, delighted. "You know how to manipulate me!" Kira counters that in the Intendant's place, she wouldn't give a damn what the Klingons or Cardassians wanted, and the Intendant agrees. She signals a flunky. "Find this attractive young woman some quarters."

Kira manages to get down to ore processing to see Bashir, on the pretext of inspecting the facilities. She asks Bashir if he's heard of a Starfleet captain named James Kirk. Bashir has, of course. He speculates that, since Kirk got here via transporter, maybe they can get back the same way. And no one knows transporters like O'Brien. "Our Chief O'Brien," Kira reminds him. "Who knows about theirs?" But she agrees it's worth a try. Bashir will talk to O'Brien, while she will try to find anyone else who might be willing to help.

The first person Kira can think of to turn to is Quark, who in this universe is also a bartender. "So, are we close friends on your side?" he asks. Kira says yes, they are. "On my side, Quark does me a lot of favors," she adds. "The Quark I know -- well, he just has the ability to get things done when no one else can. Know what I mean? Sometimes he can get things done behind the backs of the security people." Quark alertly asks what kind of favors, and she says all sorts of things, such as, for instance, a transporter. "Didn't I hear somewhere that a transporter was involved in the first crossover?" he asks. He might be willing to help, under the right circumstances. When Kira tells him up front that she doesn't have any gold-pressed latinum, Quark asks, "Gold-pressed what?" He's talking about the possibility of sending people across to the other side.

As Kira is protesting that she can't open a revolving door, Garak enters with several Klingons, and tells Quark to come with him. "You've been helping Terrans escape from the station," he accuses. Quark pretends innocence. "Me? I'm a simple barkeep and a coward. I assure you I don't stick my neck out for anyone." "That's not what the Terran we caught this morning told us during his interrogation," Garak says. Quark whips out a phaser rifle, but it is knocked out of his hands by Garak, and the fleeing Ferengi is easily caught by the Klingons and dragged away.

Kira watches as a group of humans swagger in, looking to be mercenaries of some kind, followed by none other than Benjamin Sisko. Told by Garak that Quark has just been arrested, Sisko jumps over the bar. "What a damned shame. Who wants a drink on the house?"

During a meal break, Bashir takes an opportunity to speak to O'Brien, and tells him they're best friends on the other side. O'Brien wonders if he's a doctor too over there, and Bashir says no, he's the chief of operations. Curious, O'Brien asks more about his counterpart. "He's one of the most decent men I know," Bashir replies. "We've fought our way out of a few scrapes together. I admire him a great deal." This O'Brien laughs sadly. "Sounds like he got the lucky draw between me and him." Bashir then broaches the idea of O'Brien -- who admits to having some knowledge of transporters -- helping him and Kira to leave. But O'Brien doesn't want to know. At that point, Odo comes up and tells O'Brien he's wanted in the bar by Mr. Sisko.

Sisko, meanwhile, has noticed Kira and marvels at the resemblance. "The Intendant honors me with a ship and a crew," he says proudly. "I honor her by collecting duties, of a sort, from vessels that pass in this direction." Kira asks why he deserves special treatment. "I suppose because I amuse her," he replies. "And she's not easily amused." O'Brien comes in and is greeted with patronizing affection by Sisko, who calls him Smiley. O'Brien plainly doesn't like him, and even admits as much to Sisko, who laughs and tells him to fix the impulse driver coil on his ship. O'Brien protests that there's a serious problem down in ore processing that he has to take care of, but Sisko doesn't care, and finally O'Brien acquiesces. Then the Intendant calls Sisko to her quarters. Sisko's cockiness shows a few cracks, but he grins devilishly at his men as he saunters out.

Kira is brought later to the Intendant's quarters, where the Intendant is enjoying a milk bath, being cosseted by servants while Sisko sits nearby. When the Intendant converses a little with Kira about his counterpart, he leaves abruptly to check on his ship. The Intendant rises from her bath and faces her counterpart, robed. "Now what is this I hear about you wanting a transporter? Quark mentioned something about it during his interrogation." Kira admits to having asked him about one, and the Intendant informs her that all transporters were redesigned after the first crossover to make sure the same thing couldn't happen again. She asks why Kira didn't come to her. Kira opts for honesty. "I'm a little afraid of you." "Then you fear yourself," the Intendant says. "I don't want your fear. I want your love. If you can't love me, who can?"

Just then, a Klingon announces Garak's arrival with the prisoner, and Garak comes in with a battered, shaken Quark, who has made a complete confession of his activities. Tenderly, the Intendant reproaches him. She knows Quark hates seeing the Terrans suffer as much as she does. "But where would we be without them? Who would perform the labor for the Alliance?" She turns to Garak. "A quick death. Don't make him suffer anymore." Quark's screams and pleas for mercy fade away as the door closes behind him and his inquisitors. The Intendant smiles at Kira. "I've planned a party for us tonight. What shall we wear?"

Kira returns to her quarters to find Garak there. "She'll never let you leave, you know," he says. "Can't you tell? She's in love...She's all atwitter about you, can't talk about anyone else. You're the perfect gift for the girl who has everything. She's taken you into her heart like a Drathan puppy lig left on her doorstep. Who else could she share her deepest secrets with, tell her troubles to, trust with her life?" Garak says he plans to kill the Intendant, and in exchange for his allowing her to leave this universe, he wants Kira to take the Intendant's place, just long enough to allay suspicions, and then resign to make room for him. As for Bashir, he will be removed from the station and treated with hospitality until Kira resigns. But Garak adds that he's arranged with Odo that if Kira declines the offer, Bashir will be the one killed.

Kira goes down to ore processing to warn Bashir that they have to get out of here tonight, and that his life is in danger. If they can manage to get to their runabout, they can go through the wormhole again. "I'm not sure whether it'll get us back or not. All I know is we can't stay here any longer." She will try to find them some help.

Sisko is in the replimat when Kira approaches him, offering valuable information in exchange for a favor. She needs to get the runabout back. Sisko laughs. "And you expect me to help you? She'll have my head -- or something else." Kira tells him that Garak is planning to kill the Intendant tonight. But Sisko dismisses this news. Garak has been trying to do just that since he arrived, though he admits that the notion of using Kira to replace her is "more creative than he usually gets." Kira looks at him in frustration. "What kind of man are you?...The Benjamin Sisko I know would never sell his soul and allow himself to become part of this tyranny against his own people." "Terrans don't have souls," he says. "We don't believe in them."

Kira talks about freedom and her own fight for it. "I care about freedom. What I don't understand is why you don't care. Why the only one on this station I have met who seemed to give a damn was a Ferengi toad named Quark." Sisko gives her a hard look. "You're looking in the wrong place for a hero, ma'am. I've made the best of a bad life for my crew. That's my contribution." "Sure," Kira says. "You've charmed your way out of the mines, but you and I both know you're no less a victim than anyone else here."

The party begins in what used to be Quark's, attended by Sisko and his crew. Kira enters, clad in a jazzy purple outfit which is an exact copy of the one worn by her counterpart, who sweeps in, very pleased with herself. Meanwhile, in ore processing, Odo indulges in a bit of bullying with Bashir, saying this will be the doctor's last night on the job, but is interrupted by an alarm. There's a thorium leak, in the spot where O'Brien tried to show Odo the problem earlier. Odo calls for the security locks to be released so everyone can be evacuated. It's Bashir's chance, and he grabs it, taking a phaser off a Bajoran guard. Odo sees him, and swings up his own phaser, but Bashir is quicker. The shapeshifter is blown apart, bits of goo flying everywhere, and Bashir hightails it out of there.

He takes refuge in the conduits, where he finds O'Brien working on sealing the thorium leak, and tries to convince him to help by directing him to the runabout pads. "I know you, Miles O'Brien. Somewhere inside of you, there is a shred of decency. There has to be." "I am a decent man," O'Brien protests. "I just -- You don't understand, I can't help you. I can't. They'll kill me." Bashir just looks at him sadly. "You're already dead. I'm sorry you don't see that. The life inside every human being here, every Terran, died a long time ago." He starts off, but pauses at the sound of O'Brien's voice. "That's not the right way," the engineer says.

O'Brien wants to know just one thing: if there's room in the other universe for him. "Starfleet would probably have a big problem with that," Bashir muses for a moment. "The hell with them. Let's go." They crawl away together, but when they emerge from a corridor near a runabout pad airlock, they are surrounded by armed Klingons.

Bashir and O'Brien are taken to Quark's, where a Klingon announces to the Intendant what has happened. The Intendant angrily turns to Kira. "This is my fault for listening to you, for keeping him alive in the first place." She seems especially furious at the death of Odo. "This is my reward for treating you Terrans with the least bit of respect. Very well. I can learn from my mistakes. You want to set an example, Garak? Use him. Set an example for all Terrans. Let him die, slowly, in public view on the Promenade." Kira starts to protest, and the Intendant whirls on her. "Another word from you and you will die right beside him."

The Intendant then looks sadly at O'Brien. "What could have possibly gotten into you? What were you thinking?" With nothing to lose, knowing he's dead anyway, O'Brien speaks honestly. "This man -- this man is a doctor where he comes from. There's an O'Brien there, just like me, except he's some kind of high-up chief of operations. And they're Terrans. Can you believe that? Maybe it's a fairy tale he made up, but it started me thinking. How -- how each of us might have turned out if history had been just a little different. I wanted him to take me with him. Because, whatever it's like where he's from, it's got to be better than this. There's got to be something better than this." "Not for you, Mr. O'Brien," the Intendant says. "Oh, he's going to be taking you with him. Just not exactly where you thought he would be taking you." She signals Garak to do his job.

But at that moment, Sisko goes into action, putting a phaser to Garak's neck as his men also produce weapons, disarming everybody else. Kira, Bashir, and O'Brien quickly move to join them. The Intendant stares in shock. "Have you lost your mind?" "No. I didn't lose it," Sisko replies. "I just changed it." The group retreats carefully, and he shoots out the door control.

In the corridor leading to the runabout and freedom, Bashir and Kira suggest that Sisko follow them as well, but he doesn't think he'll fit in on their side. Perhaps he'll stir things up here. O'Brien also chooses to stay, joining Sisko's crew. Kira and Bashir board the runabout and take off. The leak is still present, and Kira matches speed and attitude with the last time they went through the wormhole, in hopes this will get them home. A Klingon cruiser attempts to stop them, but they escape into the wormhole.

In another Ops, Commander Sisko and his officers are worriedly discussing the effort to find Kira and Bashir when the wormhole opens up, and the runabout swoops through. "We've got ships from here to New Bajor out looking for you," Sisko exclaims. "Where have you been?"

"Through the looking glass, Commander," Kira says with a sigh of relief at seeing him. "It's good to be back."

  • The original title of this episode was "Detour".
  • This episode revisits the "mirror universe" first shown in the TOS episode "Mirror, Mirror".
  • For the milk-bath scene as the Intendant, Nana Visitor wore plastic cones glued to her body. Unfortunately, the orange oil used by crew members to perfume the bath (out of consideration for Visitor, of course) was the same substance used to dissolve the glue. (The tub was one that had been used on TNG, and would also be used in Star Trek: Insurrection).
  • In an early version of the script, the mirror Worf was included as one of the Intendant's servants, but Michael Dorn was unavailable. Later, after Worf became a regular on DS9, his counterpart was revealed as the Regent of the Alliance.