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Production no.: 419
Teleplay by: Peter Allan Fields
Story by: Lisa Rich & Jeanne Carrigan-Fauci
Directed by: James L. Conway
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: June 12, 1993
Marc Alaimo ..........
Robin Christopher ...
Norman Large ........
Tony Rizzoli ............
Ted Sorel ................
Harris Yulin ............

At work in Ops, Dax and Kira are trading tales of childhood mischief when the station is hailed by an incoming freighter, the Kobheerian vessel Rak-Miunis, requesting permission to dock. The captain informs them that there is a passenger on board who requires medical assistance -- it's a condition called Kalla-Nohra syndrome, which is chronic, but the passenger doesn't have his medication. Sisko tells the captain to beam the patient directly to DS9's infirmary, and informs Bashir.

Since hearing the name Kalla-Nohra, Kira has been listening intently, and now she asks Sisko to let her go to the infirmary and meet this patient. The only cases of this disease she has heard of were the result of a mining accident at a forced labor camp on Bajor that she helped liberate. "The survivors of Gallitep have always been a symbol to us of strength and courage," she tells Sisko, who grants her permission.

Kira goes down to the infirmary, only to find that the patient Bashir is treating is not a Bajoran, but a middle-aged Cardassian. Her face taut with hatred, she calls for security, and informs a puzzled Bashir that his patient is a criminal. The Cardassian tries weakly to bolt, but runs straight into a deputy arriving with Odo. Kira tells Odo to lock him up. Bashir can give the Cardassian medical care in his cell. The Cardassian protests that he hasn't done anything; Odo asks him why he ran, and the Cardassian replies that he was only trying to get away from Kira. "Look at the hate in her eyes. She'd like to kill me." The reason is obvious, he says: because he's a Cardassian. Kira asserts coldly that he's a war criminal.

In the security office a little later, Sisko confers with Odo and Kira. Aamin Marritza -- the Cardassian -- is not on any of the Bajorans' lists of Cardassians wanted for war crimes, but Kira doesn't care. "Commander, I know what I've done isn't exactly policy. It may not even be legal. But it's right." She's charging Marritza with having contracted Kalla-Nohra, she says, and explains that the only way he could have gotten that condition was to have served at Gallitep at the time of the accident. Sisko asks if just being there makes him a war criminal. Kira's voice becomes choked with passion as she replies, "If you had been there twelve years ago when we liberated that camp -- if you had seen the things I saw -- all those Bajoran bodies, starved, brutalized...do you know what Cardassian policy was? I'm not even talking about the murder; murder was just the end of the fun for them. First came the humiliation -- mothers raped in front of their children, husbands beaten till their wives couldn't recognize them, old people buried alive because they couldn't work anymore -- "

Sisko listens quietly, and then goes in alone to speak to Marritza in his cell. Marritza says he doesn't have Kalla-Nohra; he has Pottrik syndrome, a similar condition with the same medication. As for serving at Gallitep, he claims he has never even been to Bajor; he served as a military file clerk. He now resides on Kora II. As Marritza is speaking, a Bajoran man in a nearby cell (whose name is Kainon) wakes up from a drunken stupor and yells to Odo to let him out; he's not staying in here with a Cardassian. "I put myself in your hands, Commander," Marritza says.

But Bashir confirms to Sisko that Marritza does have Kalla-Nohra syndrome; the lower pulmonary bioprobe has come back positive. Which means Marritza had to have been serving at Gallitep during the accident, because according to all Bajoran and Federation medical records, there's no other way he could have contracted the disease. Just then, Sisko gets a call from the Bajoran Minister of State, Kaval, who congratulates him for performing a special service for Bajor. Sisko tells him they are holding the Cardassian temporarily, and he's not certain they have the grounds to hold him even long enough to verify his identity. Kaval says that Major Kira has accepted responsibility, and, "if this Marritza was at Gallitep, we want him, and we will have him."

Sisko joins Kira in the replimat, and tells her that he wants Odo to handle the investigation. Kira says that the Federation has no right to dictate to Bajor about how to treat their criminals, but Sisko reminds her that until it's proven Marritza is a criminal, for now he's just "a traveller under suspicion". He admits frankly that he thinks she's too close to the matter to be objective. "You're right," Kira says. "I'm not objective." But she promises to conduct herself as his first officer. "You once said we were friends. I'm asking you now as a friend. Please let me conduct this investigation. I owe it to them... The ones who moved too slowly and never moved again. I'm asking for all the Bajorans who can't ask. Let a Bajoran do this." Seeing how important this is to her, Sisko considers for a moment, then calls Odo and tells him Kira will be in charge of the investigation. Kira gives him a heartfelt thanks.

As Kira enters Security, Odo is releasing the drunk, Kainon, who tells the constable, "Let me know when you hang the Cardassian," and exits. Odo informs Kira he has begun a background check on Marritza. His story checks out so far: he has been an instructor at a military academy for five years on Kora II, where he boarded the freighter.

Kira goes in to see the prisoner, and tells him calmly that she wants to ask a few questions. It's her job, she says. "Persecuting Cardassians goes far beyond your job, Major," Marritza says. "It's your passion." He claims again that he was not at Gallitep, and his disease is not Kalla-Nohra, but Kira calls him out on both these lies. Marritza doesn't seem surprised. She asks what he did at Gallitep, and he replies that he was a filing clerk. "My secret's out; my crimes laid bare. I await execution." Kira says she hopes he's not kept waiting long.

Asked about the atrocities he must have witnessed, Marritza scoffs. "Oh, I vaguely recall hearing a scream from time to time, but atrocities?" He did see bodies, but that was hardly surprising for a labor camp. Kira tells him she saw the bodies herself and knows how they died; Marritza retorts that she saw what the Cardassians wanted her to see. Gul Darhe'el himself -- the commander of the camp -- started the rumors of brutality, in order to rule by fear. Marritza says it's time he was let out, and when Kira says she can't do that, he tells her, "No, of course not. You see, you're the one who's lying now, Major. It's not the truth you're interested in. All you want is vengeance."

As was inevitable, Sisko hears from the Cardassians: Gul Dukat wants an explanation of why a Cardassian citizen is being detained on the station, and Sisko says they are simply trying to verify his identity, which Dukat can help with; but Dukat doesn't see why such verification is needed. However, he says he can appreciate Sisko's position. "This Bajoran obsession with alleged Cardassian improprieties during the Occupation is really quite distasteful." "I suppose if you're Bajoran, so was the Occupation," Sisko deadpans. Dukat asserts that if the Bajoran "hatemongers" get hold of Marritza, he will hold Sisko responsible.

Dax finds Kira standing on the upper level of the Promenade, gazing out into space, doing some soul-searching. Marritza's words have troubled her: is he right, that she only wants vengeance? She admits to Dax that she does want to see him punished, and she wishes he was something worse than a file clerk. "As far as I'm concerned," she tells Dax, "if he was at Gallitep, he is guilty. They're all guilty. His punishment will let Bajor feel some...satisfaction." Dax tells her gently, "You already know if you punish him without reason, it won't mean anything. And you already know vengeance isn't enough."

In Ops, O'Brien and his new Bajoran apprentice, Neela, are working on enhancing a signal coming in from Bajor, as Odo tells Sisko and Kira that the Bajoran archives have confirmed that Marritza is on record as having worked at Gallitep as a file clerk. The archives have also sent the only image they have from Gallitep with Marritza in it. But of the Cardassians in the image, the one named as Marritza looks to be a totally different man. Sisko has Dax isolate another of the Cardassians and enhance the profile -- revealing a man who looks identical to the prisoner they have in Security. But according to the caption, this man is not Marritza, but none other than Gul Darhe'el. Kira stares at the image in utter consternation.

Kira returns to the holding area, and asks the prisoner if he killed the real Marritza to take his place. He'll pay for that death along with all the others he's responsible for. "I don't think I could pay for all of them, Major," he replies. "There were so many, and you can only execute me once." "That's my only regret," Kira says. But she'll settle for the war crimes tribunal at which the Butcher of Gallitep will finally meet his punishment. The Butcher widens his eyes. "War crimes? How could there be war crimes when there hasn't been a war? Oh, I can understand your wish that there had been a war -- your need to indulge some pathetic fantasy about brave Bajoran soldiers marching to honorable defeat. But in fact, Major, you and I know there was no war; no glory. Bajor didn't resist. It surrendered."

He goes into a rant, bragging about how magnificent he, Gul Darhe'el, was as a leader, and that Gallitep was the model of order and efficiency. And he not only admits to the atrocities -- he glories in them. "Why not? I was the best at what I did. My accomplishments speak for themselves. Can you say the same? You and that little Shakaar resistance cell that you belonged to. All you did was annoy Cardassians, while I was out exterminating Bajorans!" Let them sentence him to death, he raves. "Kill me, torture me, it doesn't matter! You've already lost, Major. You can never undo what I've accomplished. The dead will still be dead!"

Kira retreats, shaken and emotionally drained, to the outer security office, and Odo, in a rare show of solicitude, brings her a glass of ale from Quark's private stock. "I hate him, Odo," Kira says. "I hate his smirking, superior Cardassian face...Now I have to stand there and listen to him belittle the Shakaar and everything it stood for." Odo suggests that she avoid discussing her personal history with such a creature, and Kira says she didn't. "Then how did he know you were with the Shakaar?" Odo asks, suddenly alert. The fact that Darhe'el was a military leader doesn't explain it; he wasn't in charge of crushing the resistance, he was a labor camp commander. "Something's not right here." Kira decides to go back and face the prisoner again, while Odo, playing a hunch, asks the computer to review any off-station requests for information on Kira within the last eight months.

"Am I really that fascinating?" Darhe'el asks when he sees Kira again. She asks how he knew the name of her cell, and he smiles. "My, my, you are a strutting little egotist. You forget the brilliance of Marritza's filing system." He says that he regularly had Marritza provide him with information on the terrorists; he particularly enjoyed the termination reports. Kira doesn't buy that he remembered her name from some report he read years ago. But Darhe'el turns the tables by challenging her to answer some questions of his own.

As survivors of Gallitep hold vigil outside the security office, Odo goes to ask Bashir to access Marritza's medical history on Kora II. Then he goes back to his office for a subspace chat with his old boss, Gul Dukat. Dukat says he can't let Odo have access to the files on Gul Darhe'el, but the files would only confirm what Dukat is about to tell him, and that is that Gul Darhe'el is dead. He attended the funeral himself. When Odo informs him that their prisoner has admitted to being Gul Darhe'el, Dukat is honestly confused. Half of Cardassia saw the body. Odo tells him about the image, and Dukat exclaims that it must be a plot to embarrass the Cardassian Empire. Shrewdly, Odo suggests that if Dukat gives him access to the files, he will find proof that Darhe'el is dead. And Dukat finally agrees.

Back in the holding area, Darhe'el asks Kira how many Cardassians she killed. She didn't keep count, she says, but he brings up the subject of the random violence inflicted by the Bajoran terrorists. Kira turns on him. "Look, I regret a lot of what I had to do...We had no choice! We were fighting for survival!" "So were we!" he counters. He did everything for the glory of Cardassia. "What you call genocide, I call a day's work!" Odo then comes in and asks to speak with Kira outside. "I don't know why yet," he tells her, "but the man in that cell wanted to be caught."

Odo shows Sisko the death certificate, which says that Gul Darhe'el died in his sleep six years ago of a coleibric hemorrhage. Kira maintains that the file must be forged, which neither Odo nor Sisko would put past Dukat. However, Odo points out that their prisoner has Kalla-Nohra syndrome -- but Darhe'el never contracted that condition. The gul's progress reports show that he was on Cardassia when the mining accident occurred, receiving the Proficient Service Medallion. Therefore, there is no way he could have contracted Kalla-Nohra. Odo also notes that shortly before leaving Kora II, their prisoner resigned his teaching position, put all his affairs in order, and specifically requested passage on a vessel scheduled to stop at DS9, a Bajoran station. Kira still isn't convinced -- until Bashir enters, having completed his check of Marritza's medical records. Among treatments for other things such as Kalla-Nohra, five years ago Marritza took massive doses of dermatiraelian plastiscine, a dermal regenerative agent used to maintain skin resilience following cosmetic alteration.

Kira enters the holding area to confront the prisoner one more time. She asks how he contracted Kalla-Nohra syndrome, and, not knowing that the truth has been discovered, he says naturally that he got it through being at Gallitep during the mining accident. When Kira tells him that his own progress reports show he was on Cardassia, he blusters that the reports are wrong, and as for the dermal regenerative, he doesn't know what she's talking about. Seeing through him this time, Kira hammers him with questions, and he starts to rant again. She is not put off. "You're Marritza, aren't you?...The Butcher of Gallitep died six years ago. You're Aamin Marritza, his filing clerk."

"That's not true!" he shouts. "I am alive. I will always be alive! It's Marritza who's dead! Marritza, who was good for nothing but cowering under his bunk and weeping like a woman! Who every night covered his ears because he couldn't bear to hear the screaming for mercy of the Bajorans..." And then the so-called Butcher begins to sob. "Covered my ears every night, but I couldn't bear to hear those horrible screams. You have no idea what it's like to be a coward. To see these horrors and do nothing. Marritza's dead. He deserves to be dead."

Kira turns off the forcefield. Marritza is free to go. "You didn't commit those crimes, and you couldn't stop them," she tells him softly. "You were only one man." But Marritza cowers in his cell and urges Kira to tell everyone he's Gul Darhe'el. "Why are you doing this?" she asks.

"For Cardassia," he replies. "Cardassia will only survive if it stands in front of Bajor and admits the truth. My trial will force Cardassia to acknowledge its guilt. And we're guilty, all of us! My death is necessary!" Kira regards the shattered man in front of her, a tortured soul who tried to sacrifice himself to expiate the sins of his entire world. "What you're asking for," she says, "is another murder. Enough good people have already died. I won't help kill another."

She and Odo escort Marritza out of Security, toward a ship which is waiting to take him back to Kora II. The officials there will help him put his life back together. "My trial might have helped bring about a new Cardassia," Marritza says sadly. But Kira tells him that if Cardassia is going to change, it will need people like him.

As they pass the outer bar at Quark's, where Kainon happens to be standing, no one notices as the Bajoran drunkard swiftly comes up behind Marritza and stabs him in the back. Marritza falls, dying in Kira's arms. Shocked, Kira kneels beside Marritza's body and looks up at Kainon, who is being held by Odo. "Why?!" she shouts. "He wasn't Darhe'el! Why?" "He's a Cardassian," Kainon says venomously. "That's reason enough."

"No," Kira says, more quietly, tears in her eyes. "It's not."

  • The original title of this episode was "The Higher Law".