Production no.: 424
Teleplay by: John Whelpley and Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Story by: John Whelpley
Directed by: Les Landau
First satellite airdate: October 16, 1993
John Glover ............
Megan Gallagher ....
Tim Russ ...............
Steve Rankin ..........
There is a violent plasma disruption raging in the Denorios Belt, and DS9 has been evacuated again, with only a skeleton crew remaining, consisting of the senior officers. O'Brien and Odo make the rounds of the airlocks, sealing them off and checking the outer bulkheads. After O'Brien checks in to the other officers in Ops, Odo hears something in a nearby airlock, and they find Quark there. The Ferengi, who had "volunteered" to stay but was ordered to remain in the bar, claims that he came here to say goodbye to his brother, although Odo points out that Rom left three hours ago. Quark spins a sob story about missing him already, and heads off down the corridor. O'Brien and Odo follow, not seeing a device Quark has planted inside the airlock.
In Ops, Dax detects a vessel headed for the station. It hails them, and a voice says the ship is a cargo vessel that has been severely damaged by the storm and needs emergency assistance. There's too much interference to transport the crew over, and they are barely able to lock on with a tractor beam, but the ship is brought into a docking bay. Sisko tells O'Brien to meet the refugees with Odo.
At the docking bay, O'Brien opens a hatch on the ship, and a woman (Mareel) comes through, distracting O'Brien by coughing until a Klingon (T'Kar) emerges after her and points a phaser at O'Brien while the woman covers Odo. They herd them out into the corridor, followed by another Klingon (Yeto) and a very nervous-looking Trill (Verad). O'Brien protests that they just saved their lives, and T'Kar sneers something about the "ever-helpful Federation". The intruders take the combadges off O'Brien and Odo, and force Odo to morph into a container by threatening O'Brien's life. Then, with O'Brien in tow, they take the sealed container to the infirmary. While Yeto leaves to get Quark, T'Kar tells Bashir to put the container in a stasis chamber, or he will destroy it. Learning that Odo is in there, Bashir does as he is ordered.
The intruders then take both Bashir and O'Brien as human shields to Ops, where Sisko weighs the situation and surrenders. Mareel, after squeezing Verad's hand and telling him it'll be all right, helps him disable the primary and backup systems, while O'Brien quietly tells his colleagues what happened. He has his suspicions about how the intruders got past the security systems in the docking ring, and mentions finding Quark there. "When this is over, Quark and I are going to have a little talk," Kira promises. Sisko sees that Dax is watching Verad, and asks if she knows him; she shakes her head.
When Yeto enters the bar, Quark remarks that he sees everything went off according to plan. He's got the liquid data chains he was going to sell, but Yeto does not give him the latinum. Instead, he levels a disruptor at Quark, who realizes he's been had.
Sisko finally approaches their captors to ask what they want. It appears that Verad, surprisingly enough, is the instigator. He stutters that he's sorry about this, and it will be over soon if everyone cooperates. Just then Quark is shoved into Ops by Yeto, and pretends not to know what's going on; Mareel stops Kira from killing him. Sisko asks Verad what he wants, and Verad says, "I want Dax." Sisko says she's not going anywhere with Verad. "No, no," Verad replies. "I -- I don't want the girl. I only want what is rightfully mine, what should have been mine years ago. I want Dax." Dax speaks up. "The symbiont, Benjamin. He's come to steal my symbiont."
Bashir exclaims angrily that if Jadzia's symbiont is removed, she'll die. "He knows that, Doctor," says Sisko calmly. Verad says he doesn't have any choice. He spent his whole life trying to qualify to be joined, sacrificing everything, only to be rejected by the Symbiosis Evaluation Board as "unsuitable". Dax tells him that it's nothing to be ashamed of; only one Trill in ten is chosen. "That's easy for you to say," Verad retorts. "They chose you."
Kira asks why Dax in particular, and Verad says his research showed that the Dax symbiont was the best match for him. But Sisko guesses there's another reason: Dax's proximity to the wormhole, through which Verad undoubtedly plans to escape. Dax tries to tell Verad that there could be many reasons why he wasn't selected, but Verad is determined. "All they've done is condemn me to a life of mediocrity. Well, I refuse to accept that. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life dreaming about what I could have been, what I should have been. I deserve more. And I'm going to get it."
The captors try to force Bashir and Dax to the infirmary, but Bashir says he won't have any part of this. Verad says he understands, then turns around and phasers O'Brien in the shoulder. "There. You see? I've taken the first step. Even if I don't get what I want, my life is over. So either you help me, or you and your friends will die." Dax makes her choice. She tells Verad, "He'll help. I don't want anyone else hurt because of me." Verad promises her that no one else will be hurt. Dax then pleads with Bashir to do as they say. After Bashir is allowed to treat O'Brien's wound first, he very reluctantly agrees to go to the infirmary to perform the operation.
Kira promises Dax this isn't over. Dax looks at Sisko, anticipating his words. "I know, Benjamin. You'll do everything you can. And just in case it isn't enough, I want you to know, it's been fun." She is led off by Yeto while Mareel kisses Verad on the forehead and wishes him luck. Mareel stays with T'Kar to cover Sisko and the rest as Verad goes to the fulfillment of his dream.
Jadzia and Verad are prepped for surgery, but Verad refuses to let Bashir put him under with a delta wave inducer. He wants to stay awake, and to watch the procedure through a monitor. Bashir can use a neuro-electrical suppressor. Verad calls Mareel and threatens to have her kill the hostages, and Bashir finally agrees, taking the delta wave inducer to Jadzia. He tells her softly that he's sorry. "Don't blame yourself, Julian," she tells him. "You did everything you could." As she falls asleep, he says quietly, "Forgive me."
The hostages whisper among themselves about Jadzia's chances for survival, until T'Kar kicks O'Brien and snarls at them to stop talking. There is a struggle, which Mareel ends by sticking a phaser barrel in Sisko's back, subduing him. Meanwhile, in the infirmary, Bashir slowly cuts the cord connecting the symbiont to Jadzia, and places it on Verad's abdomen. Verad's face lights up with the memories and wisdom flooding into him.
In Ops, Quark asks Kira in a low voice what everyone is waiting around for; Kira coldly asks him if he has any suggestions. Quark protests that he's not a military mastermind. "I'm just a victim of circumstance." Kira wonders just how the terrorists got past the security grid, and tells him he's crossed the line this time. "You sold us out, and now Dax may die because of it."
Mareel tells Kira she doesn't want to have to hurt anyone; Kira retorts, "Tell that to Jadzia." "That's different," says Mareel, who maintains that Verad doesn't have any other choice. As for her reasons, she says she owes Verad. She is from the streets of Khefka IV, where she worked in an "accommodation house" while Verad was a communications clerk at the Federation consulate. He brought her to Trill when he was recalled, and she's been with him ever since. "If there's anything I can do for him, I'll do it." "Even if it means losing him?" asks Sisko, seeing how much Mareel obviously loves Verad. He tells her that Verad won't be the person she knows any more after the surgery. Mareel dismisses this; she knows he'll be smarter and more confident, but he'll be the same in all the ways that matter. Sisko insists that Verad will be an entirely different person; but Mareel is firm. She won't betray Verad. "I love him, and I'm going to stand by him, no matter what."
"I never doubted it," says Verad, re-entering Ops. He is far more sure of himself now, more serene, without a hint of his former timidity as he announces that he is now Verad Dax.
In the infirmary, Bashir is working to save Jadzia's life, and tells Yeto to run a dermal regenerator over her wound. The Klingon looks at him as if he's nuts, and asks why bother. "She let herself be slaughtered like a mindless t'gla. If she wanted to live, she should have fought back." Bashir says that Jadzia did what she did to save her friends, and Yeto counters that she is a fool and deserves her fate. Angrily, Bashir informs him that he doesn't care about Klingon philosophy, Jadzia is dying and Yeto will help save her. The Klingon actually smiles, impressed by Bashir's nerve, and complies.
Jadzia wakes up, and Bashir tells her tenderly that the operation was a success. "I feel so alone," she whispers, scared and vulnerable. Devastated by what he's been forced to do, Bashir promises fiercely that they will get the symbiont back, and he won't let her die.
The intruders have what they wanted, but now they're waiting for the plasma storm to subside before they can be on their way. Sisko approaches Verad and deliberately begins talking to him as if he's the Dax he knows, reminiscing about the things they've done together. Verad responds in kind, smiling and calling him Benjamin. Then Sisko brings up the time they discovered the wormhole. "One of Jadzia's proudest moments," Verad says, his smile fading. He doesn't want to discuss it, and says that Jadzia will live on in him. Sisko counters that Jadzia's memories may live on, but as for Jadzia herself, she will die, and Verad will have killed her. "You think I don't know that?" Verad says. But he promises to make up for it, with the knowledge and help he will bring to the worlds of the Gamma Quadrant. Sisko says he has a better idea. "Help Jadzia." Verad says it's too late, the integration has begun.
Mareel interrupts, telling Verad that Sisko is just trying to confuse him. Verad says it's all right, and points out to Sisko that the symbiont is still weak from the operation and may not survive another one so soon. Sisko is willing to risk it. Mareel asks why Verad is wasting his time with Sisko, and Verad snaps, "Because he's my friend. Now go watch the others." Taken aback, she obeys; Verad turns back to Sisko. "We are still friends, aren't we, Benjamin?" Sisko says Verad can prove it by coming down to the infirmary with him, but Verad, with a hint of guilt, says he can't. "Then you're not the Dax that I know," Sisko tells him coldly. "Our friendship is over."
Sometime later, with Verad in the commander's office, Mareel's mind seems to be elsewhere, and Sisko decides to take advantage of what he knows she's thinking. She's seen for herself how different Verad is, how differently he treats her now. Mareel insists nothing's changed between them, but for some reason she is reluctant to go up and talk to Verad. "He needs you," Sisko tells her, and she loses her temper, saying that's enough. Verad comes out to see if there's a problem, then goes back in after seeing that Mareel still has things in hand.
Suddenly, Quark, who has been playing with a coin, rolls it away across the deck, and when T'Kar watches it, the Ferengi jumps him, trying to strangle him. Mareel holds Sisko and Kira back as the absurd struggle between the huge Klingon and the seemingly crazed Ferengi continues. Quark is finally hurled against the Ops table and curls up, holding his ear in apparent agony. Verad, coming out again, tells Mareel to take him to the infirmary.
Bashir, examining him, says at first that the damage is superficial, but then Quark makes eye contact, and the doctor clues in. Since Ferengi ears are so sensitive, he says, he will have to run some tests.
The intensity of the storm has dropped, and Verad says it's almost over. He tells Mareel when she returns that he couldn't have done this without her, and goes over the plan. He will go through the wormhole; she and the Klingons will make sure no one stops him, then follow. Yet she clearly senses something wrong in his embrace, and when he tells her to wait for him at the rendezvous point. Her kiss is hesitant, and Sisko, watching, picks up on this.
In the infirmary, Quark continues to moan as if he's dying, and Bashir hands Yeto an instrument, telling him to hold it against Quark's ear. The Klingon, angry at being treated like a nurse, practically jabs it in. Quark moans for real. Behind the Klingon's back, Bashir prepares a hypo, and then injects Yeto, who goes down. "Thank you, Doctor," says Quark. "I feel better already." Bashir immediately removes Odo's container from the stasis chamber, and Quark sets to work picking the lock, which finally opens. "It's a gift," Quark shrugs modestly.
The storm has now decreased enough to allow safe passage to the wormhole. Verad calls Yeto, who doesn't respond. Realizing that Bashir must have overpowered him, and that Odo may be free, Verad decides to head for the ship with T'Kar. Mareel says to take a hostage; Sisko offers himself, but Verad chooses Kira instead. Kira goes willingly, saying that if Odo's free, there's no way they'll escape. Verad looks at Sisko with some regret. "Well, Benjamin, I guess this is goodbye. Not many friendships last over two lifetimes. I wish we could have made it three." Sisko tells him they'll see each other again.
Mareel is alone with Sisko and O'Brien. Sisko says he hopes Mareel likes it at the rendezvous point, because she'll be waiting there a long time. Mareel finally shows signs of cracking as she admits that the original plan was for Verad to get there first and wait for her. "He lied to me. He's never lied to me before. He's not coming. He doesn't need me anymore." "No, you're wrong," Sisko says. "He does need you, now more than ever." There's only one way to save both Jadzia and Verad, he tells her, and that is to remove the symbiont from Verad, while there's still time. Mareel wavers, then finally makes her decision. She gives Sisko her phaser. "If you hurt him, I'll kill you," she promises. "I don't doubt it," he says.
Verad and T'Kar arrive at the docking bay airlock with Kira. There is no ship there, however, and Odo, morphing out of the shape of a tool cart that was sitting in the airlock, says that's because he released the docking clamps. Kira goes into action, attacking T'Kar, while Verad fires at Odo, misses, and runs for it. T'Kar is about to shoot Kira; Odo chooses her over chasing Verad, and between the two of them, he and Kira bring the Klingon down.
Verad finds Sisko waiting for him, phaser in hand, blocking his way to a runabout. Verad says that Sisko won't shoot him and risk killing the symbiont. "What's one girl's life, compared to eight lifetimes of knowledge and experience?" Confidently, Verad lowers his own phaser. "Goodbye, Benjamin." He steps past Sisko, but then turns around to find Sisko is still aiming his weapon. "Don't call me Benjamin," Sisko says, and fires.
When Verad regains consciousness, Mareel is looking down at him, and he is on a surgical bed in the infirmary. The symbiont is back where it belongs, Sisko tells him. Across the room, Bashir is reviving Jadzia. "So close," Verad says brokenly. "I had it. I had it. And now, I'm alone." Mareel tells him he's not alone. She'll always be there. But he sinks into despair, an empty look in his eyes.
Meanwhile, Jadzia wakes up, and Sisko hugs her. "I remember it all, Benjamin," she says somberly. "Everything he thought, everything he did. And it's so sad. I guess he'll always be with me."
The name Khefka IV, for Mareel's home planet, is a deliberate pun (Khefka/Kafka). Other in-jokes include "the cliffs of Bole" (Cliff Bole, director) and the name of the ship Livingston (David Livingston, producer).