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Production no.: 455
Written by: Ronald D. Moore
Directed by: Cliff Bole
Stardate: 48467.3 
First satellite airdate: November 19, 1994
Marc Alaimo ..........
Tricia O'Neil ...........
Shannon Cochran ....
Robert Kerbeck ......
Michael Canavan ....
Jonathan Frakes ......
Majel Barrett ..........
Cardassian Soldier
Tom Riker
Computer Voice

Kira is having a very long and exhausting day. Problems are piling up on top of problems. Finally, she loses it, telling Bashir he can't have a runabout to get some medical supplies. She starts to storm off, but Bashir stops her, asking when her last day off was. She can't remember, and he takes her off duty as of this moment. Bashir's diagnosis is that she's overworked and suffering from extreme stress. His prescription is to take her to Quark's and literally order her to relax there. And if she doesn't, they'll do this every night until she does. As Kira is sitting there wondering what to do with herself, someone makes an amused remark about her busy calendar. It's Commander Will Riker of the Enterprise.

Riker is passing through on his way to Risa, he tells Sisko. As they talk in the commander's office, Dax and Kira talk about Riker a bit. When Riker emerges, Dax jokes to him about a loan she made to him when he was last here. Riker looks blank for a moment, then recovers.

Later, he "accidentally" runs into Kira on the Promenade, as she is coming off duty. She offers to take him on a tour of the station, and he accepts. He casually wonders if he might be able to take a look at the Defiant; she says they can arrange that. When they come to the Defiant, they both pass a computer identity check, and board. O'Brien is working on the bridge, and starts to greet Riker, but Riker looks at him coldly. "I have nothing to say to you, O'Brien. I think you know why." O'Brien is too shocked to respond, and slinks off. Riker tells Kira it's a long story.

She shows him the ship's systems. Riker says he wants to see how things are routed through the tactical displays. When Kira releases the bridge lockout, Riker pulls out a phaser and stuns her. He then beams two confederates, Kalita and Tamal, aboard.

Alarms go off in Ops; there's an imminent warp core breach on the Defiant. Riker calls and says there's been an accident; a plasma conduit has exploded. If they'll release the docking clamps, he'll get the ship away from the station. Sisko says they'll beam them back as soon as they're clear, and the clamps are released. The ship pulls away, but O'Brien can't get a lock. The Defiant has raised shields, and now it goes into warp. Once out of DS9's sensor range, Riker has his allies set course for the Badlands. He pulls off his sideburns. "You did it, Tom," says Kalita. "It's not over yet," he replies.

It doesn't take Sisko and Odo long to figure out who really hijacked the Defiant. Gul Dukat has been called to the station, and they brief him about Tom Riker, a duplicate of William Riker who was created by a transporter accident. Dukat asks why they're telling him this. Sisko and Odo say they have reason to believe that Tom Riker is a member of the Maquis. While serving aboard the USS Gandhi, he expressed some political opinions that supported the Maquis. "Are you telling me that one of the most heavily armed warships in this quadrant is now in the hands of Maquis terrorists?" Dukat says incredulously. "Do you have any idea what kind of response this will provoke from the Central Command?" Actually, Sisko has a pretty good idea. "They'll probably want to send ships into the Demilitarized Zone to conduct a search. We understand that. But any entry into the zone must be a joint operation between Cardassia and the Federation."

Dukat says the Central Command won't believe this story of transporter duplicates and security failures. They will assume that Starfleet gave the Defiant to the Maquis, and they will use this as an excuse to send a fleet into the Demilitarized Zone. Both Dukat and Sisko know that Starfleet will then send their own fleet in to protect the Federation colonies, and soon there will be a war, a prospect Dukat says he doesn't relish. In order to prove his good faith to Central Command, Sisko says he will come to Cardassia and help stop the Defiant. He helped design the ship, and knows its weaknesses.

"You'll help us destroy one of your own ships?" asks Dukat. "I want to try and disable it first," says Sisko. "I'm sure you do," Dukat responds, "but you are in no position to bargain here, Commander. You want to prevent a war? You come back to Cardassia with me and you help me destroy the Defiant."

Kira, who has been put in quarters on the Defiant, is furious with Riker, who reminds her that she was a resistance fighter and knows about having to do what's necessary for the mission. Kira asks how far he thinks he's going to get with this ship. "A lot farther than people anticipate," he says. The ship reaches its rendezvous point with other Maquis vessels, and a Maquis crew beams over. Riker orders a course laid in for the Cardassian border. "This ship was built to fight. I think it's time she got her chance."

Sisko arrives on Cardassia Prime with Dukat, who brings him to a war room from where the search will be conducted. There is a Cardassian woman present whom Dukat introduces as Korinas, an observer from the Obsidian Order. She asks about the Defiant's weaponry, but Sisko tells her there's something more urgent to worry about -- the Defiant's cloaking device. Korinas says the Obsidian Order knew about that, but Dukat is surprised and outraged that they did not share the information with Central Command. Sisko says that the Romulans loaned the cloak to them to be used only in the Gamma Quadrant, in exchange for intelligence on the Dominion. "Well," says Dukat, "your Lieutenant Riker isn't likely to respect that agreement with the Romulans. And there's no way to locate a ship under cloak." But Sisko remembers that the Dominion penetrated the cloak by using an antiproton beam. He can provide what was learned about the beam from the sensor logs.

The Defiant reaches the Cardassian security perimeter, and cloaks, as Kira, in her quarters, notes the red alert. She begins opening a panel in the replicator. In the Cardassian war room, there is a perimeter alert, and a monitor screen shows a ship that a nearby outpost identifies as the Defiant. Dukat orders warships to converge there, but Sisko wonders why they're not cloaked. He looks at the sensor information, as the Defiant begins to attack the outpost. Sisko urges Dukat not to pull ships off the border to pursue the Defiant into the Demilitarized Zone. The ship is a decoy, sending out a fake warp signature identical to that of the Defiant in order to draw the Cardassian patrol ships out of position.

Now, another outpost detects the Defiant with an antiproton beam. This is the real Defiant; it decloaks and attacks the outpost, as Dukat orders the gul pursuing the decoy to break off and head there. But they're too late, and contact is lost with the outpost. The Defiant recloaks, with its last known heading putting it on course for the heart of Cardassian space. "Commander Sisko," says Korinas, "you should be commended. I only wish we had someone with such keen tactical instincts, who could have prevented this invasion of our territory." Dukat doesn't react to the subtle slam.

Riker tells Kalita to adjust the cloak's resonance frequency so that the Cardassians can't detect them again. He orders a course set for a shipyard, but then the ship rocks. The cloak is offline; two plasma conduits have blown out in the crew quarters section. "Looks like Major Kira's been busy," says Riker.

As Kira is having her burned arm and shoulder treated by Tamal, Riker tells her they'll be able to recloak in 30 minutes. He has moved the ship into a nebula, where they will be undetectable. Riker reminds Kira that she's spent most of her life fighting the Cardassians. Kira replies that she fought them because they invaded her home. "You don't live in the Demilitarized Zone. You don't have family there. Why are you in this fight?" Riker says, "Because people are dying in the Demilitarized Zone, and Starfleet isn't doing anything about it." Kira tells him that his hijacking the Defiant will only raise the stakes. The Cardassians will set a fleet after him, and kill more people hunting him down than they did in the border raids. "You're assuming the Defiant is going to stay in the Demilitarized Zone," says Riker, and takes her to the bridge, where he can keep an eye on her.

Things are quiet in the war room; there has been no sign of the Defiant. Sisko is thinking out loud about the problem, but notices Dukat isn't listening. Dukat admits he was thinking about his son's eleventh birthday, which is today. He had promised to take him to an amusement center, and had wanted to make the time to spend with the boy. Sisko can relate to that. "You just hope that one day later they'll look back and say, 'Now I understand. Now I know why he did that.'" "When my son looks back on this day," replies Dukat, "the only thing he'll remember is that a Federation officer on a Federation ship invaded his home, and kept his father away from him on his eleventh birthday. And he won't look back with understanding. He'll look back with hatred. And that's sad."

Tamal tells Riker that the cloak is operating normally, but due to the plasma conduit damage, there is a slight neutrino leak in the port nacelle, which the Cardassians might be able to detect. Riker says it's a chance they'll have to take. He orders a course for the Omekla III shipyard, trying to keep the Cardassians guessing as to what he's doing. Kira asks why, and Riker levels with her. He tells her that the Maquis have heard rumors that hardline Cardassian elements are trying to scrap the Federation treaty. "We got our hands on an intelligence report outlining a suspected military buildup in the Orias System. A secret buildup that even the Central Command isn't aware of." He's convinced that they're building an invasion fleet, and he does not intend to let them finish it.

Kira observes that he's not very good at being a terrorist. He seems more worried about politics than actually hurting Cardassians. Why isn't he out destroying every Cardassian outpost along the border? Riker says the stakes are higher than that. "Not for the Maquis, they're not," insists Kira. "Because the Maquis are terrorists, and the only thing terrorists care about is attacking the enemy. I know, I was a terrorist. And if I'd had this ship then, I would've destroyed Deep Space Nine. I would've hit the Cardassians so hard they would have screamed for peace, but I certainly wouldn't have gone flying off into the middle of Cardassia on some wild goose chase." "I guess we're different kinds of terrorists," says Riker. Kira looks at him. "No, you're trying to be a hero. Terrorists don't get to be heroes." "We'll see," he says.

Sisko realizes he knows where the Defiant is going. Its attacks have been designed to draw Cardassian ships away from one particular sector, leaving it defenseless. Dukat doesn't know of anything valuable there; no Class M planets except Orias III, which is uninhabited. Yet Sisko insists that everything points there. He suggests that Dukat send at least one ship to that system. But as Dukat is doing so, Korinas suddenly says no. "That sector is under direct control of the Obsidian Order, and you will not enter it." She won't say why, except that the matter is classified, and any warship sent into the Orias system will be destroyed. "Are you saying that you will fire on another Cardassian ship?" Dukat asks, incredulous. "What I am saying," Korinas tells him, "is that the Obsidian Order will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the Orias system. And so will I."

Out of Korinas' earshot, Dukat tells Sisko he's spoken to some friends in Central Command, and the Obsidian Order isn't giving them answers either. The Order theoretically answers to the Detepa Council, as does the military, but in practice, both are autonomous. A message comes in that a warship, the Kraxon, has detected an unusual neutrino signature in their sector, which looks like radiation from a damaged warp plasma relay. They're scanning with antiproton beams. From the location, Sisko guesses that the Defiant is in a position to make a run for the Orias system. Dukat says that until they know for sure that Orias is their target, he can't risk pulling ships away from other potential targets to chase a neutrino signature.

Kira warns Riker that if he tries to run for the Orias system, the ships that are scanning for them will see their neutrino signature, and he'll have a small fleet chasing him. "They can chase me all they want," says Riker, "as long as they don't catch me." The Defiant sets off for Orias; Dukat orders ships to pursue the neutrino signature. When the Defiant draws within sensor range of Orias, Riker orders a full scan of the system.

Korinas tells Dukat the Defiant will never make it to Orias, and suddenly three Cardassian warships appear in the system, headed for the Defiant, which is trapped between them and the other ships that are pursuing it. Dukat realizes that if the three ships were military, he would know about them, which leaves the Obsidian Order. The Order is forbidden to have ships or military equipment of any kind. Korinas merely smiles and walks out.

Riker is prepared to fight his way to Orias. Kira argues that that will slow them down, and the ships pursuing them will catch up. "Not even the Defiant can win against those odds." "We have come too far to quit now," says Riker. Kira reminds him he's an experienced Starfleet officer. The smart move is to run while they still can.

"Maybe that's what an experienced Starfleet officer would do," retorts Riker. "Maybe that's what Will Riker would do, but it's not what I'm going to do. I'm going to continue the mission." Kira realizes what this is really about for him. "It's not the mission you're thinking about, is it? Or even the colonists in the Zone. This is about you, isn't it? You and that other Will Riker out there, the man with your face, your name, your career. You are looking for a way to set yourself apart, some way to be different." Riker smiles, though she senses she's right. "You shouldn't go fishing today," he says. "You won't catch anything." He tells Kalita, "Take us in."

Sisko proposes to Dukat that if he wants to know what's going on in the Orias system, there's a way to find out, by giving Riker a chance to surrender. The Defiant's sensor logs can give Dukat the information he wants. Riker will surely turn over the logs in exchange for the ship, and his crew over to the Federation. Dukat says he can't let a group of terrorists invade Cardassian territory and walk away. "Then you must decide which is important to you," says Sisko. "Your sense of Cardassian justice, or the information contained in the Defiant's sensor logs." Dukat does want the information, but someone has to pay, "and I don't want that someone to be me." He's willing to hand over the Maquis and the ship. Riker, however, will have to be brought to Cardassian justice. That and the information might be enough for Central Command. Sisko says he might be able to get Riker to agree to that, on the condition that Dukat arranges a sentence other than death. Dukat says he'll have to clear that with the Ministry of Justice, but it appears the deal is made.

The Defiant enters battle against the Obsidian Order's ships, and does some damage, but three more ships appear. Then a message comes in from Dukat and Sisko, who tell Riker the terms they've worked out. Riker will be tried and convicted in a Cardassian court, and sentenced to the Lazon II labor camp for life. Riker recognizes that a non-death sentence must have taken some doing. He thinks it over. "Tom," Kira urges, "there's no reason for you to continue. They're offering you a way out. The only reason not to take it is because you want to die." She points out that there may be a lot more ships waiting ahead to take them on. "Be a Starfleet officer one last time. Think of your crew. You may want Tom Riker to go out in a blaze of glory that they talk about for the next ten years. Don't drag them along with you."

Riker makes his decision, and accepts the terms. Sisko tells him to surrender the Defiant to one of the pursuing ships, as the ones ahead are not under Dukat's control. Dukat has ordered the Kraxon to put her shields around the Defiant. Riker gives the order to go to that ship, and there is a tense moment until finally the Obsidian Order ships go back to the Orias system. Riker has the logs transmitted to the Kraxon. He will beam over there, turning command of the Defiant to Kira. "I'm holding you personally responsible to see that these people get a fair trial," he tells her. She gives her word. "We'll get you out of there, Tom. I promise you that." Riker kisses her, and then calls the Kraxon to be beamed over. And Kira tells his crew to set course for the Federation.