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The Die is Cast

Production no.: 467
Written by: Ronald D. Moore
Directed by: David Livingston
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: April 29, 1995
Andrew Robinson .....
Leland Orser ............
Kenneth Marshall .....
Leon Russom ...........
Paul Dooley .............
Wendy Schenker ......
Admiral Toddman
Enabran Tain
Romulan Pilot

Continuing from "Improbable Cause"...

With Garak gone, Bashir has turned to O'Brien as a lunch partner, but the Chief isn't much of a mealtime conversationalist. He's there to eat. "I suppose Garak taught me to think of lunch as a sort of arena for philosophical debate," Bashir admits, feeling concerned about Garak and Odo, who are still missing. O'Brien points out that at least no debris has been found of the runabout. Then he is called to Ops.

Sensors have detected a high concentration of tetryon particles moving towards the station, and growing. No one can figure it out. Then a Romulan warbird decloaks, and so does a Cardassian ship. The officers are shocked, almost as much as when the rest of the approaching fleet appears. The fleet heads for the wormhole, ignoring the station's hails, and Sisko orders a priority channel opened to Starfleet Command.

On the lead Romulan ship, Tain and Garak are sharing drinks and reminiscing about times gone by. "I've missed you, Elim," Tain confesses. "Things just haven't been the same since you've left." "I've missed you too, Enabran," Garak replies sincerely. They both drink to that. "We're both getting sentimental in our old age. Next thing you know we'll be crying over our lost youth." Garak thinks aloud for a bit about people he intends to "look up" when he gets back to Cardassia, including Dukat. He's considering making a list of people to eliminate and giving it to Mila. Tain, however, says Mila might not be around much longer, as she knows too much about him for her own good; Garak argues against this, in a carefully casual manner, but Tain isn't fooled. "Mila always believed you were innocent of betraying Cardassia, and me." "I was," says Garak.

A Tal Shiar officer, Colonel Lovok, enters to inform Tain that the fleet has recloaked and is about to set course for the Founders' homeworld. They will go no faster than warp six, to avoid being detected by the Jem'Hadar through the cloaking devices. As for Odo, he is being held in quarters, with forcefields in place. Tain gives Garak his first assignment: "I want you to explain to Odo that it would be in everyone's best interests, especially his, if he were to provide us with all the information he has on his people." Garak says that may prove difficult, and Tain replies that he will have to find a way to convince him.

Garak pays Odo a visit; the constable is in a distinctly unhappy mood. He's a prisoner, and he knows it. "Why, Constable, you seem positively disappointed in me," Garak says. "Well, I suppose it's understandable. After all, I did pledge my undying devotion and eternal allegiance to both you and the Federation. And you and I have been through so much together, shared many experiences. And I know you considered me a close friend. No wonder you feel betrayed." Odo isn't deceived. "Living on Deep Space Nine has made you a little rusty," he taunts. "Your lies are becoming more transparent. You should be careful. You don't want Tain to know that you're feeling guilty about what you've done." Garak replies, "You are imaginative, Constable, I'll grant you that. But I would suggest that you put those creative powers to better use. We would like you to share your unique insights on the Founders." He insists he's not here to threaten, but to talk. "Surely you can see that we share a common enemy: the Founders. By cooperating, you'll be helping us provide security for the entire Alpha Quadrant." "The only common enemy you and I share is Enabran Tain," Odo tells him bluntly. "The difference between you and I is that you don't know it."

The other DS9 officers, including Eddington, view a recorded subspace message from Tain that was sent to the Cardassian Central Command. In it, Tain reveals his plan, and announces that the Obsidian Order and Tal'Shiar expect the Jem'Hadar to weaken and die without the drug that only the Founders can provide. But they will no doubt stage a counterattack, so he suggests that the fleet be put on alert. "I take this action not in defiance of the Cardassian state, but in defense of it. You in the Central Command have neglected the security of our people and allowed peace with Bajor and the Federation to blind you to the real threat: the Dominion. I intend to remove that threat. Let history be my judge."

A Starfleet admiral named Toddman speaks to them via subspace, telling them a similar message was sent to the Romulan senate, and both governments are denying any prior knowledge of the plan. Toddman thinks the attack has a fair chance of success, but in order to prepare for the worst, he orders Sisko to evacuate DS9 and put the Defiant on standby alert. Sisko tells the admiral that they believe Odo is on board one of the ships. He wants permission to take the Defiant into the Gamma Quadrant to rescue him. Toddman says no. "I'm sorry about your officer, but there's nothing we can do. I want the Defiant guarding Bajor. That's your top priority. Toddman out."

Sisko thinks for a moment. Eddington tells him a task force of nine starships is being sent to reinforce this sector, and Sisko makes his decision. The Defiant will leave in two hours. If they detect a Dominion fleet headed for the wormhole, they'll warn DS9 and try to stop them, but they're going. Sisko makes it clear that this is a volunteer mission; there's a good chance they won't make it back, and if they do, they may be court-martialed.

As they make ready to leave, a priority message comes in from Toddman at Starfleet Headquarters, repeating his order not to enter the Gamma Quadrant. "That's what you think it says," Sisko says. "How can you be sure when a transmission is as badly garbled as that one?" "You're right," says Kira. "There's an awful lot of subspace interference on this channel. Must be an ion storm or something." "Must be," agrees Sisko. Eddington looks a little concerned, but stays silent. The ship leaves the station, goes through the wormhole, and cloaks; they head for the Founders' homeworld.

Tain and Lovok have a meeting with Garak on the bridge of the Romulan ship. Since there are no Jem'Hadar bases near the Founders' homeworld, it will take seven hours for Dominion reinforcements to arrive. The fleet will enter orbit, decloak, and begin a massive bombardment of the planet. Which should take care of the Founders, Garak notes. "Unless they have some planetary defenses we don't know about," cautions Tain. "There is one person here who might answer that question: Mr. Odo." Garak points out that anything Odo knows about the Founders was surely included in his report to Starfleet.

"There was a time when you were eager to begin an interrogation, Elim," Tain remarks, sensing Garak's hesitation. "In fact, I remember having to restrain your enthusiasm on several occasions." Garak reminds him of the pride he took in his work. "I don't think that interrogating someone who can alter their form at will is likely to provide either amusement or information." Tain then tells him about a prototype device developed by the Obsidian Order that will neutralize Odo's shapeshifting ability. "Perhaps the Tal Shiar should take over the interrogation of the Changeling...It's all right, Garak. It's my fault. I should have known you'd develop feelings for these people you've been living with for the past few years. But I just never expected that you would become friends with someone who worked for the Bajorans." Garak denies that his feelings have anything to do with it. However, he insists on conducting the interrogation instead of Lovok. Odo is his prisoner and his responsibility. "And I think we both know that you won't trust me until I do."

On the Defiant, Dax reads a power fluctuation in the cloaking device, which abruptly stops working. Fortunately, there are no other ships in sensor range. O'Brien runs diagnostics, and everything looks fine; he can't figure out what's wrong. Suddenly Eddington steps up and tells them that the cloaking device's tetryon compositor has been sabotaged. He knows, because he sabotaged it. Eddington was under orders, he says, from Admiral Toddman to stop the Defiant from pursuing the Romulan/Cardassian fleet.

O'Brien looks ready to tear Eddington apart. "You've turned us into sitting ducks for the Jem'Hadar!" Eddington says the ship can still defend itself. "I'm sorry, Commander, I didn't want to do this. Odo's my friend too. But I report directly to Admiral Toddman, and he gave me an explicit order. I couldn't disobey it." "I don't suppose you could," says Sisko. Instead of turning around, as Toddman and Eddington had expected, he gives O'Brien two hours to fix the problem. Sisko considers confining Eddington to quarters, but Eddington says they'll still need a chief security officer. "What makes you think we'll trust you again?" asks Kira. "Because I give you my word," replies Eddington. Sisko looks at him. "I make it a policy to never question the word of anyone who wears that uniform. Don't make me change that policy. Man your station, Commander. But I'd stay out of the Chief's way if I were you."

Garak enters Odo's quarters, carrying a bowl, and accompanied by two Romulans who begin setting up a device. "I realize it must be nearly time for you to return to your liquid state," he tells Odo. "So I thought I'd bring you something to relax in...But before you go for a swim, I have a few questions I'd like to ask you." Odo maintains he has nothing to say, and Garak notes that he can see he'll have to take some steps he had hoped to avoid. "Oh, no, you're going to torture me, aren't you?" Odo says in mock despair. "How I've been dreading this. Please have mercy, Garak." Garak smiles. "You do have a certain flair for sarcasm. It's one of the things I like about you." He activates the device, and dismisses the Romulans.

"I'd bring those guards back, if I were you," says Odo. "I'm not in a very good mood." Garak agrees that under normal circumstances, Odo would be quite dangerous to him -- but not now, because the device is emitting a quantum stasis field, designed to prevent any Changeling from altering his biomolecular structure. Odo tries to shapeshift, and fails. For the first time, he looks worried. "Yes," says Garak smoothly, "it must be very disconcerting for you to be locked into a humanoid form. Especially now. I'm sure you were looking forward to returning to your liquid state. Tell me, what will happen if you can't revert to a liquid?" "I don't know," admits Odo. "An honest answer," Garak notes. "But it's probably safe to say that it won't be pleasant."

Odo's composure cracks a little as he says there's nothing he can tell Garak about the Founders that he doesn't already know. Garak says he wishes he could believe that. Odo asks why doesn't he? "Because you and I are so alike," Garak tells him. "We both value our privacy, our secrets. That's why I know there's something about the Founders you haven't told anyone. Something you didn't share with Starfleet and Commander Sisko. But you are going to tell me, Odo." "There's nothing to tell," Odo insists. Garak settles in. "Well, perhaps something will come to you. I can wait. The question is, can you?"

After some time, his need to revert to liquid denied by the stasis field, Odo is a barely recognizable, parched travesty of his usual humanoid form. Garak watches him and tries not to allow his emotions to show as Odo taunts him bitterly about how much pride Garak must be feeling right now. "Odo, just tell me what I need to know, and this will end," Garak says, almost pleading. "But you don't want it to end, do you, Garak?" Odo grates. "Isn't this what you've been dreaming of? Back at work, serving Cardassia." "That's right," replies Garak. "And you have information that I need, information that it's my duty to extract from you. It's not personal." Odo lets out an agonized groan as he collapses to the floor. It's too much for Garak, who leaps out of his chair and kneels beside him. "Odo! Talk to me! Tell me something, anything! Lie if you have to! But just say it, now -- please!"

Finally, Odo chokes out something that in fact he has never told anybody. "Home -- I want to go home..." And he doesn't mean the station, but home with his people. "The Founders?" asks Garak. "You want to return to the Founders? I thought you'd turned your back on them." "I did," Odo gasps. "But they're still my people. I tried to deny it, I tried to forget, but I can't. They're my people, and I want to be with them, in the Great Link." "I knew there was something secret you were holding back," observes Garak. "And now you've found it," Odo says, and adds with deep irony, "I hope it's useful." Garak turns off the device, and Odo immediately collapses into liquid, streaming into the bowl as Garak turns away, putting his head in his hands, feeling horrible.

O'Brien finally finishes repairs to the Defiant's cloaking device -- tossing Eddington some burnt-out circuitry as a "souvenir" -- and they resume course for the Founders' homeworld at maximum warp.

Garak tells Tain and Lovok that he could get nothing out of Odo. "Well, that's unfortunate," says Tain. "I see no further use for Mr. Odo. Terminate him." Quickly, trying to sound casual, Garak says, "On the other hand, he is a member of the Bajoran militia, and an officer on Deep Space Nine. We may not want to provoke the Federation by killing him." Surprisingly, Lovok supports him. He says they could use more information on the capabilities of the Changelings, in case not all the Founders are on the planet when they attack, and therefore he wants to take Odo back to Romulus for further study. Tain agrees to this. Then Lovok is alerted by an officer to the fact that the fleet has reached the Omarion Nebula and will be in orbit of the Founders' homeworld in 15 minutes.

As they leave the room, Lovok stops Garak. "Why were you trying to protect the Changeling?" he asks. "...My interest in the Changeling is based on what I believe to be the strategic interests of the Romulan Empire. But you -- you seem to have a personal interest in him." Garak plays innocent. "Tell me, what else am I feeling? I've never been psychoanalyzed by a Romulan before. This is a fascinating experience." Lovok warns Garak that he will be observing him very closely.

The fleet reaches the Founders' homeworld, drops cloak, and commences firing. But Tain is puzzled when despite the fact that 30% of the planet's crust is destroyed on the opening volley, the amount of lifesign readings don't change. Garak realizes that they're using an automated transponder to give false sensor readings; the planet is deserted. And 150 Jem'Hadar fighters suddenly emerge from the nebula. "It's a trap," exclaims Garak. "They've been waiting for us all along."

The battle is vicious and very well-planned on the part of the Dominion. One by one, Cardassian and Romulan ships are being destroyed. Garak urges that they return to the Alpha Quadrant, but Lovok says there's no way out; they are cut off. Tain watches in desperation, his schemes crumbling around him. "How could this be? What could have happened?" "I'm afraid the fault, dear Tain," replies Garak, "is not in our stars, but in ourselves." "What?" asks Tain. "Something I learned from Dr. Bashir," Garak says grimly.

As the situation grows worse, Garak slips away from the chaos on the bridge and goes below decks. He knocks out the guard at Odo's quarters, and opens the door to find Odo, who seems none the worse for his ordeal. "I take it the attack on the Founders is not proceeding according to plan," Odo remarks.

They are about to head for the runabout, when Lovok steps in front of them, disruptor in hand. But instead of shooting them, he gives them a PADD, saying they will need it to gain access to the runabout. Odo asks him why. Lovok looks him right in the eye. "Because no Changeling has ever harmed another." He is one of the Founders.

Odo guesses that the whole idea was theirs, to get the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order to attack them so that the Dominion could wipe them out. Lovok says that actually Tain originated the plan, but the Founders encouraged it. "After today, the only real threat to us from the Alpha Quadrant are the Klingons and the Federation. And I doubt that either of them will be a threat for much longer." Lovok steps closer to Odo. "It is not too late for you, Odo. Come with me. You can still become one with the Great Link, if you wish."

"Thank you," Odo says quietly. "But my answer is still no." Lovok dematerializes; Garak indicates the way to the runabout, and says he is going to the bridge to get Tain. "I know it's difficult for you to understand, Constable, but I still owe him a personal debt, and I have to try to repay it. Wait for us as long as you can."

Tain is the only one still alive on the ruined bridge. When Garak enters and says they have to go, Tain seems almost too calm, oblivious to the dire circumstances. "There must have been an informant. That's the only explanation." Garak tells him he's right; Lovok is a Changeling, but they can discuss it later. "It appears I have underestimated the Founders," Tain muses. "I should have seen it coming. There was a time when nothing got past me. You remember, don't you, Elim?" "Yes, I do," says Garak urgently. "But now, we have to go!" "Go where? Back to Mila and my quiet retirement? I don't think so. I must be getting old. I let my pride override my instincts. Wouldn't have played it that way in the old days. In the old days, I would have kept Lovok at arms' length. He was too cagey, too smart." "I can't just leave you here!" Garak pleads. "I always did have a soft spot for you, Garak," Tain rambles. "Another of my flaws." Suddenly Garak is punched out by Odo, who picks him up and heads off the bridge. "These Founders, Elim, they're very good," Tain says. "Next time we should be more careful."

Odo gets Garak to the runabout, and they leave the Romulan ship, but the battle is still raging around them, and they are fired on by the Jem'Hadar. They are battered until the shields are down to nothing. "Odo," says Garak, "I hope that you will accept my sincere apologies for all this." "A little late, isn't it?" growls Odo. "Nevertheless," Garak says. After a moment, Odo concedes. "I may not agree with what you did, but I can certainly understand your desire to return home." Garak thanks him.

Suddenly another ship decloaks in front of them, swooping in to engage the Jem'Hadar who have been shooting at them. The Defiant has arrived, and it is kicking butt. Once the closest Jem'Hadar ships have been dispatched, they beam Odo and Garak off the runabout. Bashir is there to meet them, and notes the bruise on Garak's head. "That looks painful." "It is," says Garak, looking at Odo. "But it did save my life."

The Defiant makes an attack run at some more Jem'Hadar ships, and destroys them. Finally Sisko has Dax set course for the wormhole, as the other Jem'Hadar ships are still busy with the Cardassian and Romulan ships. Kira goes up to Odo, who has entered the bridge with Garak. "It's good to see you again, Constable." "Likewise, Major." Odo tells her.

Back at the station, Sisko faces the music on subspace with Admiral Toddman. There is no indication that any Cardassian or Romulan vessels survived the attack. "Sounds like Wolf 359 all over again," comments Toddman. He has decided not to file charges against anyone on the Defiant. "But if you pull a stunt like that again, I'll court-martial you. Or I'll promote you. Either way, you'll be in a lot of trouble." "I'll keep that in mind, sir." Sisko replies solemnly.

Garak enters his shop again, which is now a burnt-out shell. Almost as if for lack of anything else to do, he cleans a mirror, and catches sight of Odo silhouetted in the doorway. Odo says he has read Garak's report, and wanted to thank him, "for not mentioning my desire to return to my people." "I consider the entire conversation as something best forgotten," says Garak; "As do I," Odo agrees. He mentions that Quark has expressed interest in renting this space if Garak isn't going to use it, for an Argelian massage facility. "Unfortunately, I don't think Commander Sisko would approve of such an interesting facility on the Promenade," remarks Garak. Odo doesn't think so either. "But I do think he would approve of a tailor's shop."

"Do you know what the sad part is, Odo?" asks Garak, contemplating the ruins of his shop. "I'm a very good tailor." There is a quiet moment, then Odo says, "Garak -- I was thinking that you and I should have breakfast together sometime." Garak is surprised. "Why, Constable, I thought you didn't eat."

"I don't," says Odo simply.

  • This was the first episode in which Michael Piller was credited as "creative consultant", having left to work on another creation, the short-lived series Legend. Ira Steven Behr became full executive producer, though his name didn't join Rick Berman's at the end of each episode until the fifth season.