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Favor the Bold

Production no.: 529
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by: Winrich Kolbe
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: October 25, 1997
Andrew J. Robinson .....
Jeffrey Combs ..............
Marc Alaimo ................
Max Grodénchik ...........
Aron Eisenberg ............
J.G. Hertzler ................
Melanie Smith ..............
Casey Biggs .................
Chase Masterson .........
Barry Jenner ................
Salome Jens .................
William Wellman Jr. ......
Bart McCarthy .............
Ericka Klein .................
Andrew Palmer ............
Admiral Ross
Female Changeling
Bajoran Officer
Admiral Coburn
Admiral Sitak
Jem'Hadar Soldier

The Defiant is in trouble, drifting in space with plasma leaking from its engines, and emitting distress signals on all frequencies: a tempting target for any passing Dominion ships. Sure enough, two enemy fighters appear and begin attacking -- until the Rotarran decloaks and blows one ship to smithereens. Miraculously, the Defiant comes to life and destroys the other. "How about next time we switch roles?" Dax suggests over the viewscreen to Worf. "That way, I can rescue you."

Just then, new orders come from Starfleet Command: they're to fall back to Starbase 375. "Engage, retreat, engage, retreat," O'Brien mutters. "I'm telling you, that's becoming our favorite tune." "Well, we'd better think of a new tune fast," comments Bashir. "Or the only song we're going to be singing is 'Hail the Conquering Dominion'." However, orders are orders, and they set course for the starbase.

There, Dax confronts Sisko in his office. "I don't know what all you brass hats in Starfleet Command are thinking, but take it from a simple field officer, we're not going to win this war by running away from the enemy...Benjamin, troop morale is at an all-time low. Even the Klingons are starting to wonder if we can defeat the Dominion. We need a victory. A big victory. And we need it soon." Sisko lets her vent, then tells her he couldn't agree more. As a matter of fact, he is presenting a plan to Starfleet Command tomorrow. "We're going to retake Deep Space Nine," he announces.

Garak, meanwhile, is convinced that Starfleet has implanted something in his brain, which is what he would have done in their place. The Defiant officers tolerate his paranoia, and discuss whether Starfleet will approve Sisko's plan. "Here's to retaking the castle," O'Brien declares, lifting his glass, along with Bashir, who responds, "And planting our flag on its battlements once again."

Sisko is outlining his plan to Ross and a couple of other admirals, Coburn and Sitak. He believes they can retake DS9 with a task force comprised of the 2nd, 5th, and 9th Fleets. The Dominion will no doubt send a bigger fleet to stop them, which will divert their forces, slow their advance into Federation territory, and leave their flank vulnerable. Coburn is concerned that the Dominion may attack Earth in the meantime, but Sisko firmly says that that won't happen. "Because Earth isn't the key to the Alpha Quadrant. The wormhole is. And whoever controls Deep Space Nine controls the wormhole."

Quark is talking with Morn, who is unhappy at the prospect of having to leave to attend his mother's birthday party, when the Ferengi spies Kira walking by and catches up to her (giving Morn an empty glass "on the house"). They have an errand to do together, though she doesn't think it'll do any good. Quark finds it impossible to believe that Odo has become a collaborator. But Kira points out that Rom is in a holding cell. They reach Odo's quarters, where a Jem'Hadar soldier and a Bajoran deputy are standing outside the door. Odo is inside with the Female Changeling, and has left orders not to be disturbed. Quark is so distraught that he actually rushes the Jem'Hadar. Kira has to drag him away.

In the bedroom, Odo and the Female Changeling have just finished "experiencing intimacy" in solid form, which she notes has given her a new insight into solids: "that what they consider intimacy is only a shadow of what we experience in the Great Link." Odo is quiet, and would rather not discuss it, especially when she probes him about his feelings for Kira. She goes on to marvel at how he's been able to survive so long without the Great Link, which he admits hasn't always been easy. "Odo, you never have to be alone again," she tells him.

When Odo says he should be going to a Ruling Council meeting, however, he is disturbed to learn that the meeting was held three days ago. He had no idea he had lost track of that much time. The Founder tells him not to let it bother him. "You've been living with the solids' concept of time for too long. Let them worry about their meetings, their schedules, their obligations. None of that has anything to do with you. You are a Changeling. You are timeless. As am I." She takes Odo's hands and links with him once more; he is powerless to resist, even if he wanted to.

Kira enters the wardroom to find Weyoun in a contemplative mood, staring at one of Ziyal's paintings and wondering sincerely if it's any good. His people lack a sense of aesthetics, he admits, though he refuses to consider the notion that the Founders could have been mistaken in leaving it out of their genetic makeup. Kira gets to the matter at hand, which is Rom. She's hoping that he'll consider releasing him. Weyoun tells her that's impossible, as he is to be executed for his "act of terrorism" against the Dominion. "He must be made an example so that others think twice before they act against us." The fact that Rom is married to a Bajoran citizen makes no difference. "Would this be more aesthetically pleasing if it were blue?" Weyoun asks, pointing to the painting again.

"I'm going to die," Rom says flatly, standing in his holding cell and speaking to his visitors, Leeta and Quark. Leeta, who is very upset, tells him that Kira is asking the Bajoran Council of Ministers to lodge a protest; Quark adds that he's talked to Grand Nagus Zek about buying his freedom. Rom doesn't think either one will do any good, though he appreciates the efforts on his behalf. Quark vows that he'll think of something to get his brother free. However, Rom tells him, "But I don't want you to try to save me." He insists that there are more important things to worry about, such as preventing the Dominion from taking down the minefield. "You've got to finish what I started. The fate of the entire Alpha Quadrant rests in your hands. Billions and billions of people are counting on you." "Boy, are they going to be disappointed," mutters Quark.

"Brother, you can do this. You have to do this. You will do this." And if he's caught, "then we'll die together. Side by side, heads held high, knowing we did our best." Rom tells a reluctant Quark to get going. Then he turns to his wife. "So, tell me, Leeta, what else is new? Have they fixed the sonic shower in our quarters yet?"

Kira has one more card to play. She approaches Ziyal in the replimat, asking her to talk to her father about Rom. So Ziyal visits her father in his office. "I want you to free Rom." "You're joking," he says. She argues that it's his chance to show the Bajoran people what a forgiving, compassionate man he really is. This leads Dukat to ask her if she was involved with the plan to sabotage the station; she truthfully says no, but he presses her, causing her to wonder if he's telling her the truth about his regrets concerning his actions during the Occupation. "Rom is an enemy of the state," he tells her. "And enemies of the state do not deserve mercy." Ziyal breaks away from him. "Spoken like a true Cardassian." "I am a Cardassian," Dukat says. "And so are you." His daughter angrily heads for the door. "No, I'm not. I could never be like you."

Getting desperate, Kira and Quark discuss hiring Nausicaan mercenaries to break Rom out of his cell, which Kira concludes won't work. Damar swaggers up to the bar, sending Kira to prepare a cargo bay for a grain shipment. It becomes clear to Quark that the Cardassian is very pleased about something, and Damar, after a swig of kanar, is only too happy to share. The field tests on his method of deactivating the mines were successful. Quark casually asks how long it will take to get the whole minefield down. Damar tells him one week. "One week, and the Alpha Quadrant is ours."

Sisko is talking to Worf and Martok about gaining the support of the Klingon Defense Forces. Gowron, Martok says, is reluctant to commit such a large fleet, for fear it will leave the Klingon Empire vulnerable. Worf suggests that Martok go to Qo'Nos to persuade the Chancellor; Martok agrees, and adds that Worf will come too. "What could be better? An ally and an enemy, both telling him the same thing?" He promises that Sisko will have those ships.

Quark has told Kira what he heard from Damar. Quark is still holding out hope for Odo, but Kira has written him off. They have to warn Starfleet somehow. As they talk, Jake approaches, with a confident air -- he has come up with a way to smuggle a message to his father. He indicates Morn, who is wrapping a ribbon around a present. The message is encrypted in the ribbon.

Four days later, the ribbon is in Admiral Ross' hands as he shows it to Sisko. The minefield is coming down in three days, and the 9th Fleet won't be able to make it in that amount of time. Sisko says they'll have to go without them, or the Klingons. "We've run out of time, Admiral...We take the ships we have, fight our way to Deep Space Nine, and destroy the anti-graviton emitter. It's our only hope." "Do it," Ross orders.

Dukat shows Weyoun the tiny flashes of light out in space, indicating the antigraviton emitter hitting a mine and disabling its replication unit. But for all his insistence on the minefield coming down, now that it's happening, the Vorta can't see it. "Weak eyes," he explains. Dukat assures him that soon they'll be able to detonate the entire minefield. "And I guarantee you, weak eyes or not, that explosion you will see." They'll be able to bring in reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant in three days. Weyoun couldn't be more pleased. "Excellent. I knew you could do it, Dukat." "Did you?" "I never doubted you for a moment."

Damar enters with new information on Starfleet ship movements, noting that two fleets have been pulled away from their positions to converge at Starbase 375, where Sisko is stationed. Weyoun orders Damar to find out why. After the Vorta leaves, Dukat gives Damar a task of a personal nature, about Ziyal. "We've had a misunderstanding. I want you to go and convince her to speak with me." Damar protests that he would be more valuable tracking the enemy fleet, but Dukat is adamant.

Ziyal is with Kira in a cargo bay. The girl is disillusioned about her father. "Everything he's ever said to me has been a lie." "Not everything," Kira says. "He really does care about you." She knows that Ziyal is angry right now, but when it passes, she'll have to decide for herself what to do. Damar enters at that moment to tell Ziyal her father wants to see her. Ziyal refuses. "Ziyal, listen," he urges. "Your father is a great man. A man of destiny. But he also carries great burdens. He knows our alliance with the Dominion is a dangerous one. If we show any sign of weakness, our allies will turn on us. That's why we must all help him remain strong. So I ask you to be a true daughter of Cardassia and stand beside him." "It should be obvious even to you, Damar, that I am not a true daughter of Cardassia," Ziyal retorts. Damar grabs her by the arm as he tells her it's her duty to repay her father for taking pity on her.

"Let her go," Kira orders Damar, who sneers at her. For his pains, he finds himself on the receiving end of months of frustration. Kira beats the snot out of him and leaves him unconscious on the floor, taking a wide-eyed Ziyal with her.

Admiral Ross comes to wish Sisko luck, and finds him studying some ancient Bajoran texts, looking for "guidance, insights, loopholes -- I'll take anything I can get." "And what do the Prophets tell you?" Ross asks. "That I have a long way to go before I can make any sense of their prophecies," Sisko admits. The conversation moves on to Bajor, where Ross has never been though he hears it's quite nice. Sisko describes the loveliness of some parts of the planet, and declares that he intends to build a house there one day. After his assignment on DS9 is over, he will go wherever Starfleet sends him. "But when I go home, it will be to Bajor."

Nog meets up with O'Brien in the corridor, showing off his new ensign's uniform. "I didn't realize that were going so bad," O'Brien says drily. "Scary, isn't it?" Nog agrees. He thanks O'Brien for teaching him about engineering and how to be a soldier. "Congratulations, Ensign," O'Brien tells him sincerely. "Wear it with pride." They join the rest of the crew on the bridge of the Defiant, where Sisko takes the captain's seat back from Dax. And the Defiant takes its place leading a massive force of Starfleet ships to DS9.

Weyoun and Dukat soon know of the fleet headed to the station, and realize that someone got a message out. "No matter," says Weyoun confidently. "We'll crush them." He tells Dukat to pull ships off the front lines to meet them. Then a furious Damar enters, his face bruised. Dukat takes him aside to find out what happened with Ziyal. "I want your permission to arrest Major Kira," says Damar. Dukat figures that Damar must have threatened Ziyal in some way, otherwise Kira wouldn't have attacked him. Weyoun breaks in to remind Dukat that his family squabble can wait. "Weak eyes, good ears." Dukat assures him that they will call back enough ships to destroy the Federation fleet. Once Weyoun leaves, Dukat asks Damar for the full story of what happened between him and Ziyal.

As Odo looks down on the Promenade, with the Female Changeling at his side, he remarks how different everything looks to him now. She encourages this new perspective of his, of the solids as insignificant and limited. Odo feels sorry for them. "They cherish their freedom." "We'll have to break them of that," comments the Founder, who blames the "imprecise" solid language they're speaking for the cold way her words came out. "The solids are no longer your concern, Odo. What must be done, will be done. It's as simple as that."

Weyoun approaches, telling the Founder he has news about the war, and she sends Odo back to his quarters, promising that everything will be fine. He looks dubious, but goes, causing Weyoun to remark that she's done a wonderful job with him. "Meaning that he's always posed a potential threat to our plans. But you seem to have neutralized him quite nicely." The Founder looks coldly at him. "Neutralize Odo? Is that why you think I'm here? Odo is a Changeling. Bringing him home, returning him to the Great Link, means more to us than the Alpha Quadrant itself. Is that clear?" Weyoun is suitably chastened, and she asks for his news.

Odo, troubled, sees Kira on the Promenade, and races after her, finally catching up to her in the habitat ring. As she faces him, she makes it very clear that she's still extremely angry. Somehow now it's very important to Odo that he explain things to her, but it's difficult. "If you're going to talk to me about the Link, don't bother," she snarls. "I'm a solid, remember? I won't understand." "Nerys," Odo says, "I'm sorry." She looks at him incredulously. "Sorry? That's what you wanted to tell me? You're sorry?...Well, let me tell you something, Odo. We are way, way past 'sorry'."

The Federation fleet is moving in battle formation towards DS9 when O'Brien picks up a large Dominion fleet of 1254 ships, outnumbering them two to one. Sisko sends a message to all ships, to prepare for attack. "There's an old saying, 'Fortune favors the bold'. Well, I guess we're about to find out."

To be continued...

  • At one point, this episode would have included the retaking of DS9, but it was decided that there were too many issues for one episode to resolve.