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Production no.: 471
Written by: René Echevarria
Directed by: Cliff Bole
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: June 10, 1995
Jefrey Alan Chandler .....
Max Grodénchik ............
Aron Eisenberg ..............
Chase Masterson ...........
Majel Barrett .................
Computer Voice

Nog is in a runabout, taking evasive maneuvers from a ship that's firing on him. Finally he escapes and goes to warp. Then Jake appears and knocks on the front window. "Get out of here, Jake, I'm in the middle of a simulation!" Nog calls, but Jake can't hear him. Nog ends the program, and promptly falls on his butt. "You should know not to end a program sitting down," Jake tells him. He's here because Nog was supposed to meet him a half hour ago, but he's understanding about it. Nog tells him he's gotten his reaction time down, but needs to bring it down some more to get into the preparatory program for the Academy. As they leave the suite, Jake assures him he'll be a great cadet.

"In the meantime, you'll make a lousy stockboy," grumbles Quark. "Why can't you take after your friend here? He knows enough to stay out of Starfleet. Even a hew-mon can see there are a lot more profitable opportunities out there for a young man with ambition." "Uncle, he wants to be a writer," Nog points out. "There's no profit in that." Quark suggests that they come up with a proposal for a holosuite program, but Nog doesn't think so. "All right, fine," his uncle says in annoyance. "Join Starfleet. I don't know why I bother trying to help you, anyway." He tells the boys Dax has asked him to join the senior staff for a meeting in the wardroom.

The officers (plus Quark and Leeta) congregate in the wardroom, where Dax thanks them all for coming. "You are the seven people on this station that I feel closest to. And I want you all to be a part of my zhian'tara." It's the Trill rite of closure, in which joined Trills get the chance to meet their previous hosts. Kira asks how. "That's where you come in," Dax says. "If you don't mind, I'd like to borrow your bodies for a few hours."

She goes on to explain how this is to be accomplished. The memories of a past host will be temporarily transferred to each of them, via a Guardian. Quark isn't too sure he wants to have anything to do with this. "What happens to me in the meantime?" Dax tells him they'll remain conscious and able to regain control of their bodies at any time. "But it's best to relax and let the host's memories emerge," Sisko adds. "The point is to give Jadzia a chance to interact with her previous hosts. Curzon spoke very fondly of his zhian'tara. He said it was one of the most powerful experiences of his life."

There is one potential problem, however -- Joran, the murderer. Sisko, though, has already volunteered to embody Joran, and precautions will be taken. Everyone else agrees to participate except Quark. Dax leans in persuasively, touching his ear suggestively. "I really want you to be a part of this, Quark. I was hoping that you would embody Audrid for me." Melting, Quark finally consents.

The zhian'tara will begin tomorrow, with Kira as the first host, Lela. "It means a lot to me that all of you are willing to do this," Dax tells them with feeling. "Thank you." As everyone files out, Sisko looks at her. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but did Quark just agree to embody one of your female hosts?" Dax smiles wickedly. "Yes, he did."

In a holosuite, O'Brien gives Nog his first test: stress reaction. The program depicts a crisis in Ops. Nog is startled; he'd thought it would be a runabout simulation, which was what he practiced on. "If we tested you where you practiced, it wouldn't exactly be stressful, now would it?" O'Brien points out. Nervously, Nog mans his post.

The Guardian arrives on the station and is met by Sisko and Dax. He notes that Dax has put off the zhian'tara for quite some time, and the Symbiosis Commission finally decided to force the issue by sending him. Dax makes the excuse that she never had the time to get away.

Later, in a set of guest quarters, the ritual begins. The Guardian chants, and the telepathic energy is transferred from Dax to Kira. Kira lifts her head, a different soul now behind her eyes. She is Lela Dax. The Guardian asks a few test questions of both her and Jadzia, and leaves, satisfied. The two get acquainted; Lela is a feisty but good-natured older woman who comments, "It looks like you've ended up a long way from home, Jadzia." Jadzia notices that Lela is holding her hands behind her back the way Jadzia herself does, and Lela tells her it's a habit she picked up as a legislator. Jadzia hadn't realized why she did it. "That's the point of the zhian'tara," Lela tells her. "To discover these things about yourself." Dax can't get over it. "It's so strange. It's like you really are Lela." Lela smiles. "Well, in a sense I am. After all, what is a person but the sum of their memories? I have a feeling these next few days are going to be extraordinary for you."

The second host is Tobin, embodied by O'Brien. Tobin is painfully shy and very nervous, with a habit of biting his nails, and constantly apologizing. Jadzia tells him she gets nervous too at times. "Now you know who you have to thank for it," he says ruefully. "Sorry." But he's pleased to hear that Jadzia has been working on his proof of Fermat's last theorem, which she tells him is the most original approach in three hundred years. "I guess I tend to look for original approaches myself. I guess I have you to thank for that, as well."

Next up is Emony, who is very happy to find herself in the agile body of Leeta. Emony is a gymnast, and admits that she had been worried that joining might affect her concentration in some way, but actually it improved it. Jadzia tells her she's found that too, and that she's an expert in Klingon martial arts. Emony slyly asks her if she took it up before or after she was joined. "After," Jadzia says. Emony smiles. "Why am I not surprised?"

Audrid, the fourth host, is a warm, motherly soul who tenderly brushes Jadzia's hair as she speaks fondly about giving birth and nursing babies. Quark, whose body she's using, can't take it anymore and emerges. "How much longer am I going to have to do this?" he demands. Jadzia assures him it'll only be another hour, and the sooner they get back to it, the sooner he'll be free. "Just remember, not a word about this to anyone," Quark grumbles.

Bashir embodies Torias, a live-for-today sort who believes that "life's too short to deprive yourself of the simple pleasures." He should know, since he himself died young. "Still, I'm lucky," he philosophizes. "I continue to exist as part of you. Just like Jadzia will go on existing when the symbiont is passed on to a new host. We're part of something bigger than any one of us. I just feel lucky to have been chosen."

It's time for Joran. Sisko reassures Odo that he won't be able to hurt anyone from inside the holding cell. "There's just one problem," Odo says. "You're going to be in there with him." But the transfer is conducted, and Joran/Sisko looks up at Jadzia, smiling sinisterly.

He asks if she has been practicing her music, and if she thinks of him when she plays. She admits it, watching him warily. "You're a very pretty girl, Jadzia," Joran tells her softly. "Very pretty. But unfortunately, that's all you are. You're nothing compared to Lela, Torias or myself. You're a pretender. You must realize that by now." "You don't know anything about me," Jadzia retorts. "Only what I can see," he taunts. "A little girl, not worthy of the noble creature nestled inside her. You're overwhelmed by it. You're in over your head." Jadzia says nothing, though his words cut deeply. "And they said it was a mistake choosing me for joining. But there is one hope for you, Jadzia, and that's me. My strength is within you. You don't have to be afraid of it."

Joran urges her to lower the forcefield; she refuses, whereupon he starts pressing Sisko's hands and bashing his head against it. "Benjamin, take control!" Jadzia shouts. Sisko seems to re-emerge; she lowers the forcefield to check on him. Suddenly he starts to choke her. Jadzia fights him off, and he collapses to the floor. This time Sisko really is in control again. He thanks her. "For not breaking any bones."

Nog is upstairs in a holosuite, taking his test, and Rom is pacing anxiously. He gets out a cadet's uniform that he had Garak make for Nog. "You wasted your money," says Quark. "He's not going to need it." "Why not?" asks Rom. Quark pauses a moment. "Because he'll be issued a uniform if and when he gets to the Academy," he says at last. "Well, now he'll have two," Rom declares.

Sisko and Dax talk about the Joran experience. She can't get it out of her head. "Jadzia," Sisko asks with sudden insight, "did you put off having your zhian'tara because you were afraid you wouldn't measure up to the other hosts?" "I don't know," she says. "Maybe I did." And she's not sure she was wrong about that. Sisko tells her, "You were chosen for joining because you deserved it, just as much as any of the others." "If that's true, then why did Curzon wash me out of the initiate program?" Dax asks. "I've always believed it was because he wanted to challenge me, so that I would reapply and try harder. Now I'm not so sure." "Why not?" asks Sisko. "That's exactly what you did." Jadzia is troubled. "Maybe Curzon just didn't think I was good enough." Sisko suggests that she ask him. "I will," she says, "but what if he tells me something I don't want to hear?"

When the Guardian performs the transference of Curzon's memories from Dax to Odo, something unusual happens. Odo's features spontaneously morph into something more defined, complete with Trill spots.

Curzon/Odo is unable to resist paying Sisko a visit; he'll meet Jadzia in Quark's later. Sisko is surprised to realize that while his old friend's exuberant soul is all here, so is Odo -- the two seem to have actually blended together. "The Guardian thinks it has something to do with my shapeshifting nature. It's as if Odo and Curzon have been joined. It's proven to be an interesting experience for both of us. In any case, the Guardian says it's nothing to worry about." He compliments Sisko on the beard, and teases him a bit about Kasidy Yates.

They go to the bar, where Quark is startled to see the difference in Odo's face. "Never mind my face," Curzon/Odo growls, grabbing Quark's ears and planting a big noisy kiss on his forehead. "Did I ever mention you're a magnificent scoundrel?" Sisko is amused by Quark's dazed reaction. "It's going to take Quark a little while to get over that." Jadzia then enters and joins them. Curzon/Odo morphs from the security uniform to more casual clothing. "I love being a changeling," he grins.

Sisko decides he needs to go finish evaluating Nog's test results, and leaves the other two alone together. Jadzia tries to bring up the subject of when she was an initiate, but Curzon/Odo interrupts, seeing a Ferengi he recognizes as a Tongo hustler. He goes off to get a game going so he can clean him out.

The game is still going on after hours as a dejected Nog sits with his father. He failed the spatial orientation test, something he's always been good at. "Now I won't qualify to take the Academy entrance exam. My Starfleet career is over before it even started." Quark, surprisingly, expresses sympathy. "It's not fair. Starfleet has no idea who it's passing up. Nog, you would've made a good officer. I want you to know something -- there will always be a place for you here at Quark's." Rom looks at his brother with dawning suspicion.

Quark finally manages to chase Curzon/Odo away from the Tongo table so he can shut down, and Jadzia goes with him to the security office, where she finally has a chance to ask her question. "Why didn't you object when you heard I was been reinstated into the program?" "I don't know, Jadzia," he says. "Maybe I decided I'd been too hard on you." Jadzia isn't satisfied. "It was your job to be hard on initiates." "Yes," he says, "but the truth is, I felt sorry for you. You wanted to be joined so badly -- you were so young, so lovely..."

His answer troubles her. "I guess I've always had this nagging feeling I didn't have your complete confidence. I tried to push it aside, but now it turns out I was right. You never thought I was good enough to be a host." Curzon/Odo shrugs it off. "Whatever I may have thought doesn't matter. You are a host. Isn't that enough?" "No," she insists. "I feel like I don't have your respect. And I'm afraid when your memories are restored to me, I'm going to feel like I don't respect myself." "In that case," Curzon/Odo announces, "you'll be happy to know that I've come to a decision that's going to benefit both of us...I've decided to stay where I am, in this body. And I'm not just speaking as Curzon -- this is Odo's decision, as well. We like what we've become, and neither of us wants to go back to the way things were." Jadzia is stunned.

She discusses this development with Sisko and the Guardian, who says there's no way to remove Curzon's memories from Odo without his cooperation. However, there's no real danger to Jadzia; she can easily adjust to the new balance. Sisko offers to talk to Curzon, but Jadzia is uncertain. She's not sure she wants to do anything about it. "I'm fine, and obviously Odo and Curzon are well suited to each other. Maybe it's better this way."

Sisko speaks to her alone, and Jadzia admits that maybe Curzon still intimidates her; it's hard for her to challenge his decisions. "Let me tell you something about Curzon," Sisko says. "He was my friend, he was my confidant. In a way, he was my teacher as well. But he was also manipulative, selfish and arrogant. Most people let him get away with it because he was so charming. Sometimes I let him get away with it too. But from time to time, he'd push me too far, and I'd have to stand up to him, tell him he'd crossed the line... Sometimes he'd just laugh and admit it. Sometimes he'd be furious. But either way, he'd back off, because he knew he was wrong. And he's wrong now. He's being selfish, and he's manipulated you to get you to go along with what he wants. Now, are you going to confront him, or let him get away with it? It's up to you."

Quark is walking to his quarters when he is unexpectedly waylaid by a furious Rom. "I know what you did!" He has found out that Quark reconfigured the holosuite so that Nog would fail the test. Quark defends his action. "I did it for his own good, Rom. I couldn't just stand by and watch my nephew throw his life away." But Rom says he has already told Sisko, and Nog will be allowed to retake the test. "If you ever do anything to hurt Nog again, I'll burn the bar to the ground." "You wouldn't dare," Quark says. Rom gets in his face. "Yes, I would! My son's happiness is more important to me than anything, even latinum! Remember that, brother!"

Jadzia goes to Odo's quarters and tells Curzon they need to talk. "I want my memories back." Curzon/Odo tells her it's better this way. "For you, maybe," she says. "You're both living out a life you never could have had otherwise. But it's my life you're living. Those should be my memories." "Not anymore," he counters. "Maybe they never should have been." He tells her that the only reason she got back into the initiate program was that he felt sorry for her. "Curzon was famous for rejecting initiates," Jadzia shoots back. "Why feel sorry for me?...You can't intimidate me, Curzon. And I'm not a little girl anymore."

Finally, Curzon seems to deflate. "No, I suppose you're not. And the truth is, you weren't a little girl back when you were an initiate. You were a brilliant and beautiful young woman." He touches her face. "Very beautiful." Jadzia's eyes go wide as she realizes the truth. "You were in love with me?"

Curzon hangs his head in remorse as he confesses to it. This was the reason he was so hard on her, because he couldn't let her know. Later, he felt so guilty about robbing her of her dream that he didn't object to her being reinstated in the program. "On the contrary, I was grateful when you reapplied. It let me off the hook. So now that you know, you can see that it's best for both of us that I stay here, in this body." Because, he admits in anguish, he still loves her.

"There's no shame in that, Curzon," Jadzia tells him gently. "Yes, there is," he counters, "and if we rejoin, you'll feel it, too." "No, I won't," she says. "Because I love you. You're a part of me, and I want you back. That way, Jadzia and Curzon can be together, the way they should be, through Dax." Finally, Curzon takes her hand, accepting the truth of her words.

Later, in Quark's, Rom rushes into the bar and makes an announcement to the room in general. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce Starfleet's future -- my son Nog." Nog walks in, wearing the cadet's uniform. "I know I haven't earned the right to wear it yet," he confides to Sisko and Jake. "But my father got it for me." Sisko understands. "Hopefully you'll get to put on a real one next year." "When you ace the Academy entrance exam," Jake grins. Nog goes over to the bar and orders a root beer from his uncle. "It's an Earth drink. Something they serve at the Academy." "Root beer," Quark mutters to himself as he complies. "This is the end of Ferengi civilization."

Odo, himself once more, approaches Dax, who is sitting at a side table, and asks to join her. He wants to apologize. But Dax smiles at him. "There's no need to apologize. In a way I'm glad it happened. It forced me to deal with some things about myself I'd never really faced. Besides, you've given me a special gift...You see, now I have Curzon's memories of what it felt like to be a changeling. I never realized how much joy it gives you." Odo relaxes. "And I never understood how much joy you humanoids experience in things like eating, drinking, staying up all night playing Tongo...frankly, I don't see how Curzon ever managed to get any work done." Dax says he always seemed to somehow.

"He must have been a remarkable man," Odo says. Dax smiles. "Yes," she tells him. "He is."

  • Plans were for Keiko to be the host for Emony, but since Rosalind Chao was unavailable, out of desperation, the producers used Chase Masterson instead, inserting a line about Leeta and Dax having become friends.