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Production no.: 456
Teleplay by: Philip LaZebnik
Story by: Ira Steven Behr & James Crocker
Directed by: Avery Brooks
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: November 26, 1994
Majel Barrett .....
Philip Anglim .....
Rosalind Chao ...
Hana Hatae ......

Sisko enters his quarters and is surprised to see Jake moping on the couch. He had expected his son to be off on the Promenade, putting up decorations with Mardah for the Bajoran Gratitude Festival. "That was the plan," says Jake, "but it turns out I don't have much to be grateful for." Mardah has been accepted to a science academy, and has left the station. Sisko (perhaps secretly a bit relieved) tells his son he'll survive and find someone else. "Who knows, maybe you'll find someone tonight at the Gratitude Festival." He points out that the purpose of the Gratitude Festival is to leave troubles behind and make a new start. Finally, Jake agrees to go. "But I'm not going to have any fun," he declares.

In the replimat, Bashir is amused by O'Brien's constant coffee consumption. The Chief is anxiously looking forward to an imminent visit from his wife and child. Bashir observes that they've played 70 games of racquetball since Keiko's been gone. "Thing is," O'Brien says, "they're only going to be here for two days. That's barely enough time to say hello. And then they're back to Bajor again for another four months." "Four months," Bashir says with mock dread. "That's another hundred and fifty games of racquetball. I don't think my elbow can take that kind of abuse." O'Brien vows that he will make the best of what little time he's going to have with Keiko before she leaves again.

The Promenade is largely empty except for a few people hanging brightly colored banners and streamers all over the place. Kira is taking a break when Odo approaches her and rather awkwardly initiates a conversation. He mentions that he's thinking of attending the Festival this year, instead of working. "If I'm going to live here with you humanoids, I may as well immerse myself in your rituals." Kira is happy to hear that, and says she will make time to see him around later. "Just look for me. I'll be with Bareil." She doesn't notice the trace of disappointment on Odo's features as she goes on to say that she had thought Bareil would be celebrating on Bajor, but he's arriving on the next shuttle. She goes off to meet it, leaving Odo standing there looking wistful.

Kira and O'Brien are both waiting at the airlock when the shuttle arrives. When Bareil disembarks, he and Kira kiss and walk off happily. But O'Brien's reunion with Keiko isn't nearly so pleasant. Keiko is exhausted and in a bad mood, and Molly vomits into her father's lap. "You poor dear," says Lwaxana Troi, stepping out of the airlock behind them. "I should never have given you all that candy."

Odo is briefing the Starfleet security officer who will be relieving him during the festival when Lwaxana arrives at his office, much to Odo's surprise, and embraces him. The security officer leaves them alone at her request. Lwaxana tells Odo she's officially here to represent Betazed. "But the truth is, I came to see you. You poor, sweet, tortured man!" "Excuse me?" asks Odo. Lwaxana has heard about his finding out that his people are the Founders, and wants to help him get over it. She offers "a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry on, a lap to melt in." Odo politely declines, saying he's accepted the situation. When he tells her he was planning to attend the opening of the festival this afternoon, Lwaxana is quite happily prepared to accompany him. "I promise you, Odo, you'll never be alone again." This is not how Odo had envisioned spending the festival. Lwaxana leaves to go freshen up; in the turbolift, she experiences a sudden, brief but sharp headache.

Kira and Bareil relax in her quarters. He is now one of Kai Winn's principal advisors, and says the office has changed her. Kira breaks off their kiss to go set up renewal scrolls along the Promenade, with Jadzia's help. "Jadzia, of course," Bareil says sourly. He's a little jealous that Dax gets to spend more time with Kira than he does. But he reluctantly lets her go.

Keiko has put Molly to bed, and flops down on the couch. The trip was a disaster, and now she just wants to sleep. Trying to hide his disappointment, O'Brien says he'll understand. She knows he won't, but leaves the decision to him. So he decides they'll go to the festival, but says she can relax first and then change into something nice, "like your red dress." Keiko is less than enthused; she finds that dress a bit tight. "That's why I like it," her husband leers. In a put-upon sort of way, she goes to change for the festival. "I can hardly wait," mutters O'Brien, who, like Odo, is faced with a festival that looks like it'll be far less than he hoped for.

As the Presider, Kira opens the festival, chanting a Bajoran blessing and pouring a flask of oil into a large brazier, igniting the fire that will burn there for the duration. She then places the first renewal scroll into the fire. "As the scrolls burn, may our troubles turn to ashes with them." The crowd cheers. Lwaxana, who is with Odo, has another quick headache; and at the same time, Bareil and Jake seem to experience headaches too. Sisko asks his son if he's okay. Jake looks up, and smiles as if he has seen something wonderful. "Never felt better," he says.

Kira and Bareil walk down the Promenade; she notices that he seems to be scanning the crowd for something, but she doesn't get a chance to question him before Jake comes up with two jumja sticks and gives one to her. He wants to talk to her for a second. Bareil wanders off as soon as Kira goes with Jake to see what he wants. "I need some advice," Jake tells her. "You see, there's this older woman, and I think we're perfect for each other." Kira thinks at first he's talking about Mardah, but Jake says they broke up. "You broke up?" asks Kira, puzzled. "Well, then who?" "You," he tells her. "I love you, Nerys. Want to go out with me?" Kira is thunderstruck.

Bareil finds what he was looking for: Dax, who is advising Morn to burn his scroll when the vedek approaches. "You have such a wise, generous spirit," he says. "I only wish I had a friend like you." Dax smiles; she does think of him as a friend. Bareil says he wants to get to know her better. "A lot better," he adds meaningfully, and actually puts a hand on Dax's knee. She takes one look at his besotted expression, and excuses herself, uneasy.

Odo is enraptured by the music of a Bajoran trio, and has even begun to sway a bit. Then Lwaxana finds him and tries to get him to dance. He remains in place, looking desperate as she swings his arms about, until finally he says he's needed in Security. He can't escape that easily, though; Lwaxana has every intention of coming with him. On the way, they meet Dax. Odo asks her if she's having a good time, and she says, "No." Odo, who can relate to that, moves on, not seeing Lwaxana react to yet another headache. And now Dax experiences one too.

As Quark is hawking pens to write on the scrolls with, and jugglers and acrobats are entertaining the crowd, Keiko and O'Brien are sitting at a table on the second level of the bar, trying to have fun. He asks how the survey is going; she tells him some of the difficulties they've encountered, but she's having a wonderful time. However, there's one problem she needs to talk to him about. The expedition looks like it's going to take longer than anticipated. She's not sure just how long, but it's something like two or three extra months. This is just what O'Brien did not want to hear. The argument escalates when she remarks with exasperation, "Sebarr was right. I never should've mentioned it." Sebarr is a zoologist she's been working with, and a friend. O'Brien does not react well. He's jealous, and he finally blurts out that he wants her to stay here with him. "Miles, right now, I don't even want to sit at the same table with you," Keiko says. "Fine. Go on. Leave. Go back to Bajor, and your plants, and Sebarr. See if I care!" he shouts at her retreating back.

Sisko intercepts Jake as he's searching for Kira on the Promenade. He wants his son's help getting ready for the dinner they're hosting in the wardroom tonight. When Jake says he has to find someone, Sisko knows he's talking about Kira; he's just seen her. "You know," Jake says, "you were right about me meeting someone at the Festival." "I did not mean Major Kira," Sisko tells him. He tries to explain that Jake is just experiencing a crush right now, having a reaction to the breakup with Mardah. Besides, Kira is in love with Vedek Bareil. Even that doesn't deter Jake, who thinks Kira needs someone who can be with her all the time, like him. He reassures his father that everything will be fine, and goes off to look for Kira some more. Sisko lets him go, sighing.

Lwaxana continues to cling to Odo, while O'Brien sits at the bar nursing a headache of his own. Quark hands him a pen to write a renewal scroll with. "There isn't a scroll long enough for all my problems," says O'Brien morosely. "Really?" says Quark. "I thought you could sum them up with one word -- Keiko." He thinks it's O'Brien's own fault for letting her go down to Bajor. "You hew-mons, you never learn. You let your women go out in public, hold jobs, wear clothing, and you wonder why your marriages fall apart." On his homeworld, Quark says, "husbands and wives never argue. There's no divorce, no broken homes, nothing but peaceful conjugal bliss." O'Brien asks why Quark is still single, and Quark replies that he hasn't met the right woman yet. "Well, I have," says O'Brien. "And she just walked out that door." "And out of your life," Quark says pointedly. O'Brien stands up, determined. "Not if I can help it."

Kira finally meets up with Bareil again, but he seems distracted and uncomfortable with her attempts to get in some makeout time. He's too busy looking for Dax. "I'll explain everything later," he says, and thanks her, "for being such a good friend." "Friend?" she repeats in astonishment as he leaves.

The object of Bareil's quest is in the wardroom, setting up things for the dinner, in hopes of keeping out of Bareil's way. "He can't keep his hands off me," she explains to Sisko, who is puzzled. "That doesn't sound like Vedek Bareil." Dax agrees. She doesn't know how to tell Kira; it'll break her heart. Sisko offers to do it, if she thinks that's the best way to handle it. "I'd really appreciate it, Benjamin," Dax says warmly. "I mean, this whole thing is ridiculous. How could I be interested in Bareil? We both know, it's always been you."

And she happily snuggles up to a very startled Sisko. "Have I ever told you that you smell wonderful?" Sisko decides she must be joking, and laughs. She laughs too. "Benjamin, stop acting so coy. There's no one around." Sisko calls Bashir.

Bashir finds absolutely nothing wrong with Dax, who smiles wickedly at Sisko. "Julian, you should've seen his face. Admit it, you were this far away from total panic." "I think we've both been victims of a practical joke," Bashir says good-humoredly to Sisko, who doesn't seem entirely convinced. As he and Dax leave the infirmary, he tells her it's her own fault for taking it so far. "If I didn't love you so much, I'd be angry with you," she says, and kisses his ear before sauntering off.

Kira is sitting in the replimat, depressed and hurt by Bareil's behavior, when Jake joins her, offering to cheer her up. "Jake, do me a favor," she says. "Leave me alone." Jake dreamily watches her go.

O'Brien comes home, where Molly tells him Mommy is in her room, sad. Sending the little girl off to play, he stands and talks to Keiko through the closed door. "You're right. I'm an idiot, sometimes. If I don't get my way, I can be selfish and childish and pigheaded. I said some things to you that were pretty stupid. I wish I could take them back. But even if it's too late for that, there's one thing I want you to know, Keiko. I love you. I always have, and I always will." He tells her he's left a letter of resignation on Sisko's desk, and he'll move to Bajor with her if she wants. "I'll do whatever it takes. I just don't want to lose you." Keiko says she needs time to think. They can talk when he gets back from the party. "If that's what you want," he says forlornly.

Odo, Lwaxana, and Bashir run into Kira, who doesn't want to go to the party because Bareil will be there. She's stung by the fact that Bareil would rather be with Dax than her. "And to make matters worse, I have Jake Sisko chasing me around the station, professing his undying love." Bashir remembers the business with Sisko and Dax earlier. "Apparently it was only a joke." "Are you sure?" asks Kira. "People are acting very strangely today." Bashir decides to look again at Dax's test results. At that moment, Lwaxana has her little headache again, and so do both Bashir and Kira, as Lwaxana and Odo move on.

Kira decides to go with Bashir to the infirmary, suggesting that he examine Bareil and Jake while he's at it. Once they're inside the infirmary, however, suddenly the two of them throw themselves at each other and start kissing madly.

At the party, no one seems to be having a good time. Lwaxana tries to get Odo to tell her what's bothering him, but he claims to be fine. "Why do I find stubborn men so attractive?" she laments. Over at the buffet table, Bareil is making puppy-dog eyes at Dax, who irritably shrugs him off. Jake is pestering his dad about Kira. Then Dax mischievously gooses Sisko, who tries calling Bashir. But the doctor doesn't answer, though the computer says he's in the infirmary. Sisko sends Odo to go get him, and Lwaxana, of course, is on his heels.

Kira and Bashir are still all over each other. "This is very embarrassing." "We have to stop." "Definitely." They keep right on smooching with feverish abandon, and are still at it when Odo and Lwaxana arrive. Odo is nearly speechless as he takes in the spectacle. He barks at Bashir to go to the wardroom, now. Bashir and Kira finally walk out hand in hand, and Lwaxana sees Odo's dismayed expression.

Dax resorts to using Sisko as a human shield against Bareil, who says pleadingly, "I only want to give her this." It's a Bajoran betrothal bracelet. "Can I see that?" asks Dax, who takes the bracelet and walks off. Kira and Bashir drift into the room, still in a flurry of hands and arms and lips. "You've got to get me away from Kira," moans Bashir. "I can't keep my hands off -- " "What's worse, I can't keep my hands off him," gasps Kira. Sisko looks at Odo, who has just returned with Lwaxana. "I can't explain it either," the constable says, with a long-suffering expression as Lwaxana embraces him.

Jake, crushed at the sight of Kira and Bashir, slumps off to sit by O'Brien, who's got problems of his own. "You're better off," the Chief says glumly. "In the end, they only break your heart." Then a vision in red enters the wardroom. "Although sometimes it's worth it," he adds, his face lighting up as he walks over to join his wife, who smiles at him. She asks if he really handed in his resignation, and he confirms this. "Well," Keiko says, "you'd better get it back before Commander Sisko sees it." O'Brien kisses her; she tells him, "I love you so much," and they bask in the warm, fuzzy marital glow.

Quark enters with a tray of I'danian spice puddings, as Dax tries to give Bareil's betrothal bracelet to Sisko. It's too much for Bareil, who starts swinging at the commander. "I'll fight for her if I have to," the smitten Vedek declares. But Dax steps between the two of them and knocks Bareil flat on his keister. "I'm sorry, Benjamin," she says as she embraces Sisko again. "He was just starting to annoy me." "Commander," says Quark appreciatively, "you throw one hell of a party."

Quark offers some pudding to Lwaxana, who declines, and then gets another headache. This time Sisko and Odo see her rub her temples, and they see Quark rub his. Quark gives the whole tray to Dax, his interest alighting on Keiko, who has knelt by Bareil to ask if he's all right. "Forget about him. What about me? I need you, Keiko. My ears tingle at the sight of you. Marry me." "She's taken, Quark," O'Brien growls menacingly, hauling the Ferengi up by the ears, ready to punch his lights out.

Sisko restrains O'Brien. "Easy, Chief. He doesn't know what he's doing." He and Odo both look over toward Lwaxana, and so do O'Brien and Quark. She looks nonplused. "What are you looking at me for?"

Not long afterwards, Bashir has just finished examining Lwaxana, who is astonished to learn she has Zanthi fever, a virus which only affects older Betazoids. Bashir explains to Sisko that the condition causes "mature" Betazoids to project their own emotions to others. Sisko deduces that Lwaxana's amorous feelings for "someone on the station" were being passed on to the people around her. "Not everyone," says Bashir. "Only those within close proximity to her when she had an attack. And even then there would have to have been some pre-existing latent attraction." Sisko looks startled. "You're saying Dax...?" "Only on a subconscious level," Bashir assures him. "Best not think about it too much, if you ask me." Lwaxana apologizes for the trouble she's caused, but Sisko doubts there was any permanent harm done. Bashir confirms that an antiviral agent should cure her, and everyone else will return to normal in a day or two. The doctor then starts to head off for Kira's quarters. Sisko stops him. "I think you ought to postpone that visit. For a day or two."

After the festival is over, Odo walks with Lwaxana along the Promenade, before she leaves for the trip home. "I hope everything works out for you, Odo," she says. "With Major Kira." He professes not to know what she means. Lwaxana smiles. "Don't worry. Your secret's safe with me. After all, I know what it's like to be attracted to someone who doesn't necessarily feel the same way." Odo's silence is all the answer she needs. Accepting the facts, Lwaxana looks at him with sympathy. "If you get tired of waiting for her -- " She kisses him. "You know where to find me." "I'll keep that in mind," Odo says.

O'Brien, meanwhile, is saying his goodbyes to Keiko and Molly at the airlock. He never was affected by Lwaxana, he says. "I guess that means you don't have a latent attraction to me after all," Keiko says slyly. Her husband smiles. "Nothing latent about it." He kisses his wife and daughter, and they board the ship for another few months on Bajor. As O'Brien is leaving the airlock, he catches a racquetball racquet that was tossed to him by Bashir, who has another racquet and a ball. The two men walk off down the corridor, ready for another 150 games.

  • The name of the artist Ermat Zimm, who engraved the image of DS9 on the pens Quark was selling, is a play on the name of Herman Zimmerman (who designed the look of the station).