Production no.: 446
Written by: Ira Steven Behr
Directed by: Kim Friedman
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: June 11, 1994
Alan Oppenheimer ....
Aron Eisenberg .........
Cress Williams ..........
Molly Hagan .............
Michael Jace .............
Sandra Grando ..........
Majel Barrett ............
Jake is working on a science project as his father enters their quarters. The project is growing Bajoran katterpods in order to find out which hybrid yields the biggest root. Sisko can't help thinking that it's a little unambitious. He asks what kind of science project Jake would want to do if he could do anything he wanted. Jake first thinks of learning to pilot a runabout; his second choice is to visit the Gamma Quadrant and do a planetary survey. Sisko agrees. "It'll be like a vacation. A working vacation."
Later, Sisko discusses station business with Kira and Dax, including the scheduled arrival of a starship, the Odyssey, whose captain Dax doesn't get along with. Jake enters the office with some news: Nog is having trouble coming up with a project, so Jake invited him to the Gamma Quadrant with them. "Dad, if Nog doesn't get a good grade on this science project, he's going to drop out of school. And I can't let that happen." Sisko is disappointed -- he was looking forward to the chance to spend time alone with his son. But Jake really wants to help his friend, so Sisko reluctantly agrees.
A depressed Morn is staring into his drink, and Quark is offering to listen to his troubles, when the Ferengi suddenly rushes off to talk to Odo. Quark has proposed using the station's com monitors to sell merchandise, an idea Sisko has rejected. "Maybe it's because he doesn't like you," Odo guesses. "Don't be ridiculous," Quark says. "Major Kira is the one who doesn't like me. Sisko -- " "Doesn't like you either," Odo finishes. As Quark is trying to think of a way to change Sisko's mind, Nog comes up to tell his uncle he will be going to the Gamma Quadrant with Jake and Sisko. "How lucky for you," Quark says, sensing an opportunity. Morn is left staring after them, forgotten.
Entering the Rio Grande, Nog is eager to learn how to fire the phasers. "Look, Dad," Jake says, "I know this isn't exactly the trip you planned on. But you'll see, Nog's a great guy." He promises his father won't even know Nog's along. Then Quark shows up, complete with luggage. Nog, who is as surprised as anyone, asks what he's doing here. "What's it look like? I'm going with you."
Quark does some fast talking to Sisko. "No offense -- some of my best friends are hew-mons. But my brother Rom isn't as liberal as I am. Let's face it, he's never been comfortable about Nog's friendship with your son." Sisko says he can tell Rom not to worry; he'll take care of Nog. "And I promise I won't try to corrupt him with my human values." "I know that," Quark says in a what-can-you-do voice, "but Rom is convinced all humans look down upon Ferengi. And by allowing me to come on this trip, you can help prove him wrong. He is wrong, isn't he?" Sisko finally agrees, not because of Quark's persuasion, but because he sees how important this is to Jake. "All right. But let's get going before anyone else shows up."
In the Gamma Quadrant, the four of them find a lush green world, much like an earlier Earth. "This is as close to paradise as you're going to get," Sisko comments to Quark. "All you need to do is to allow yourself to see it." "I'll tell you what I see in two words," Quark replies. "Exploitable resources." He's not exactly happy with the place; all this nature gives him a rash on the lobes. Sisko suggests that he'll be more comfortable on the runabout. "And miss all the fun?" Quark exclaims. "Never! Besides, I'm really looking forward to our getting to know each other better."
A bit later, though, as he and Sisko sit beneath a tree while the boys collect samples, Quark complains constantly about the heat, the humidity, the bugs, and the "stench" of the flowers. But still, he's happy, he claims, that they're talking like this. "There's nothing like facing the wilderness to bring people closer." "The answer is still no, Quark," Sisko says, referring to the advertising idea. Quark vigorously tries to sell him on it anyway, but Sisko walks off toward the boys, who are doing fine and have accomplished quite a bit.
That night, they all enjoy a campfire and a meal of jambalaya -- that is, everyone enjoys it but Quark. Sisko and Jake lay back for a bit and bond over remembering a camping trip they once took with Jennifer. But they are interrupted by Quark, whose sleeve has caught fire as he was trying to pick a bug out of the cookpot. Sisko puts out the flames. "Look, do us all a favor -- sit down and try to stay out of trouble." "What did I do?" demands Quark; Nog, embarrassed by his uncle's behavior, hisses and rushes off, followed by Jake, who wants to make sure he's OK.
As far as Quark is concerned, of course, it's Sisko's fault. "I guess Rom was right after all. You don't like Ferengi, do you?...You Federation types are all alike. You talk about tolerance and understanding, but you only practice it towards people who remind you of yourselves. Because you disapprove of Ferengi values, you scorn us, distrust us, insult us every chance you get." As they're arguing, suddenly a young alien woman comes racing out of the darkness and stares at the two of them.
When Sisko tries to talk to her, she knocks him off his feet with a kind of telekinetic sphere that she conjures up, and demands to know how many Jem'Hadar there are. "We don't know who you're talking about," Sisko says, getting up. "We are not your enemies." "Then you'd better run," says the woman. But then four scary-looking reptilian humanoids materialize and aim weapons at them. "It's too late," says their leader, whose name is Talak'talan. "You're done running." "This has not been a good day," Quark summarizes.
Jake and Nog come back to find the campsite deserted; Jake notices unfamiliar bootprints in the dirt. Nog is all for beaming up to the runabout, but Jake decides to track his dad and Quark with the tricorder. Meanwhile, Sisko and Quark are sitting in a containment cell inside a cavern with their fellow captive, who now sports a hi-tech collar around her neck. Quark blames her. "This is your fault! They were after you, not us! Why don't you say something to them? Tell them you've never seen us before!" She is silent, and Sisko tries to calm Quark. "You don't scare me," the Ferengi says defiantly. "And you know why you don't scare me? Because I'm already more scared than I've ever been in my life!"
Sensing that the woman is the key to escape, Sisko speaks for her benefit. "Right now, I'd say she's even more scared than you are...She's obviously been running from these people for a while. She's probably been through a lot. She doesn't know who we are, what we're about." There is no response, and the thought of Jake looking for them motivates Sisko to examine the security field surrounding them. "Don't," says the woman. "The security barrier will kill you." Sisko asks how she knows it's lethal, and she says, "Because everything about the Jem'Hadar is lethal." When Sisko introduces himself, she gives him her name, which is Eris. The Jem'Hadar, according to Eris, are the most feared soldiers in the Dominion. "The Ferengi have been trying to open up trade negotiations with the Dominion for almost a year now," Quark says. "We've never heard of the Jem'Hadar." "Then you've been fortunate," says Eris.
Sisko asks why anyone deals with the Dominion, if they're so dangerous. "The Dominion decides that you have something that they want," Eris tells him, "and then they come and take it, by negotiation or by force." She relates that her world, Kurill Prime, was offered entry into the Dominion because of her people's telekinetic abilities. When they refused, the Dominion sent the Jem'Hadar, who seized control of the planet. She was on a ship coming home, and fled, but they followed, in order to make an example of her family, since her mother had opposed them. The collar, Eris says, suppresses her abilities; without it, she might be able to break through the security field. Sisko starts to examine it. "Even if we do get past the barrier," Eris tells him, "no one ever escapes from the Jem'Hadar." "Luckily for us, they seem as sure about that as you do," Sisko replies, pointing out that they've been placed together and are lightly guarded. He begins trying to pry off the casing on the collar's locking mechanism.
At dawn, Jake and Nog come to the perimeter of the Jem'Hadar camp. Nog comments that they don't look very friendly. "I wish we could get closer," says Jake; Nog replies, "I don't think they'll look any friendlier close up." They try to figure out what to do.
Quark is yelling to their unseen captors, wheedling, bribing, and apparently not accomplishing anything, until Talak'talan comes in. "Quark is hard to ignore," Sisko tells Eris with satisfaction. He introduces himself and asks why they're being held. "That's not my concern," says Talak'talan. "Then why won't you let us go?" Sisko asks. "Because the Founders don't want you released," is the answer. Sisko asks who the Founders are. "That's not your concern," Talak'talan says. Quark tries a bribe, but the Jem'Hadar nearly crushes his ribcage, then tosses him away.
Sisko wants to meet these Founders, but Talak'talan says those aren't his orders. "He can't take us to the Founders because they don't exist," says Eris. "They're a myth." "The Founders exist," Talak'talan retorts. "They created the Dominion." He eyes Sisko and Quark. "A Ferengi and a human. I was hoping the first race I'd meet from the other side of the anomaly would be the Klingons." Sisko says he's sorry to disappoint him. "It's too late for apologies," Talak'talan tells him implacably. "The Dominion will no longer stand by and allow ships from your side to violate our territory." He asks questions that deliberately let Sisko know that the Dominion is already fairly well informed about the Alpha Quadrant. "We gain more knowledge every day. And now we have you to help us learn more." "I don't plan on telling you anything," Sisko says, but Talak'talan tells him he won't be asking the questions. When Sisko asks who will, Talak'talan smiles. "I was really hoping to meet a Klingon." He leaves, and Quark grumbles, "Well, now that we're all friends, I feel so much better."
Jake and Nog beam back up to the Rio Grande, where Jake has the computer scan for human and Ferengi lifesigns. The computer locates them, but can't beam them up because they are inside a spatial distortion field. "I knew it couldn't be that easy," Nog groans. They decide to try going back to the station for help; however, in order to disengage autopilot and lay in a course for the wormhole, the computer asks for an authorization code that Jake doesn't know. When a vessel approaches from the planet's surface, Nog panics. "Computer, evasive maneuvers! Fire phasers! Launch torpedoes! And escape pods!" But the ship enters warp and leaves without taking notice of them. Jake decides they have to shut down the autopilot. "I guess we'll find out how much I learned working for Chief O'Brien."
Back at the station, with the Odyssey due in eight hours, a ship comes through the wormhole. It doesn't answer hails. Talak'talan beams into Ops, and O'Brien immediately activates a containment field. Calmly, Talak'talan informs them that their commander has been detained for questioning by the Dominion, indefinitely. "Commander Sisko will serve as an example of what happens to anyone who interferes with the Dominion...Coming through the anomaly is interference enough. Unless you wish to continue to offend the Dominion, I suggest you stay on your side of the galaxy."
Dax says, "You're making a mistake if you think that detaining Commander Sisko will stop us from exploring the Gamma Quadrant." In answer, Talak'talan walks through the security field, giving Kira a Bajoran PADD which he says contains a list of vessels they have destroyed for violating their territory. Kira asks where he got the PADD, and Talak'talan says from the Bajoran colony in the Gamma Quadrant. "You should be proud. I hear they fought well, for a spiritual people. I hope we won't have to repeat this lesson." As Kira stares at him in shock, the Jem'Hadar beams away. O'Brien can't establish a tractor beam on his ship, which seems to have deflectors of an unknown technology. The ship goes back through the wormhole.
Sisko finally manages to get the casing open on Eris' collar, and probes inside with her brooch pin, finding that it contains a multiple locking system. He tells her that after they escape, they can use Jake's communicator to signal the runabout and beam off. After that, Eris is welcome to accompany them back to the Alpha Quadrant, where Starfleet will be interested in hearing whatever she can tell them about the Dominion. "I'd be glad to tell them all I know," Eris says.
Not getting anywhere with the lock, Sisko asks Quark to take a look. "Sure," the Ferengi says angrily, complaining about being ordered around. "You know, Commander, I think I've figured out why humans don't like Ferengi." "Not now, Quark," says Sisko, but Quark has a full head of steam. "The way I see it, humans used to be a lot like Ferengis. Greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We're a constant reminder of a part of your past you'd like to forget...But you're overlooking something. Humans used to be a lot worse than the Ferengi. Slavery. Concentration camps. Interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We're nothing like you. We're better." Having got that out of his system, he takes the pin. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a lock to pick."
Jake has dug out myriad components from a panel in the runabout cockpit, and tries taking out another one. This triggers a red alert, and the computer warns of an imminent warp core collapse before Jake hurriedly puts it back, stabilizing things once more. He removes another component, and now the autopilot is finally disengaged. The boys smile in triumph, but when Jake orders the computer to lay in a course for the wormhole, it can't comply, because the automatic pilot system is not functional. They'll have to try and fly it manually.
The Odyssey has arrived at DS9, where Captain Keogh briefs the officers that Starfleet is suspending traffic through the wormhole until the Odyssey can investigate the threat of the Jem'Hadar. Sisko's return is, of course, a top priority. "If you're going to try to rescue them," says Dax, "then we're coming with you." Keogh doesn't think that's wise, since only Kira and O'Brien have much combat flying experience. But he is finally convinced. O'Brien has already started equipping the two remaining runabouts with extra photon torpedoes; Dax mentions offloading nonessential personnel from the Odyssey. "Lieutenant, have you ever thought of serving on a starship?" asks Keogh. "I'm happy where I am," replies Dax. "Good," says the captain. He tells Kira to be ready at 1300.
A bit later, Kira and Odo have a calm-before-the-storm moment as they both get ready to leave on the mission. Odo admits he wants to keep an eye on Quark, who he would rather see in jail than in the hands of the Dominion. Kira affectionately tells her friend to keep his head down, and he returns the sentiment. The runabouts leave, dwarfed by the Odyssey as they arrive in the Gamma Quadrant, where all seems to be quiet, and they begin searching.
The Rio Grande, meanwhile, is wobbling through space as Jake tries to pilot it and argue with Nog at the same time. But then the cavalry arrives -- they are found by the Odyssey and the other two runabouts. Jake tells them about his father and Quark being taken prisoner. O'Brien beams over, and immediately sees the mess they've made of the autopilot system. But he reassures Jake that they'll save his dad.
Quark works on Eris' collar, remarking that there might be a market for this device in the Alpha Quadrant, and finally gets it open. Eris rips it off and tells them to stand back. She blasts the containment field with her sphere, and they're out. Sisko takes out a guard as Quark pockets the collar, then Sisko passes him the guard's rifle, which Quark uses to shoot another guard. The three of them hurry out of the cavern.
Three Jem'Hadar ships arrive to intercept the Odyssey and the runabouts. O'Brien tells Keogh he'll have to break formation, and wants to try locating Sisko. Keogh gives him ten minutes. The space battle is joined; the Odyssey takes the brunt of the attack, with the remaining two runabouts trying to take the pressure off.
Quark lags behind Sisko and Eris, exhausted, as they run through the forest. Sisko doesn't want to leave him behind as Eris suggests. "We never would've gotten away from the Jem'Hadar without him." "Thank you, Commander," Quark says. "I'm glad someone around here appreciates me." Then they are beamed up to the Rio Grande, and reunited with the boys. "This has turned into some science project, huh, Jake?" Sisko says in relief, while Quark angrily tells his nephew, "Nog, you're never going on a field trip again!"
The other runabouts manage to take out a Jem'Hadar ship, but one of them is damaged too. The Odyssey's situation is getting worse, and Keogh is ordering the runabouts to fall back when their communications array is hit. As the Odyssey and the runabouts begin to retreat, one of the remaining Jem'Hadar ships plunges at the Odyssey, crashing right into it. The huge starship is destroyed along with its attacker. "We were retreating," O'Brien says, in shock. "There was no need for a suicide run." "They're showing us how far they're willing to go," Sisko says grimly.
As the Rio Grande docks back at the station and everyone else has disembarked, Quark holds Sisko back, showing him the collar. "We need to talk." Somewhat later, Eris is in Ops, remarking in wonder about being on the other side of the galaxy. "You'll get used to it," says Sisko, entering with Quark and ordering everyone away from her. Quark displays the collar. "I've been looking over this collar of yours. I thought if I replicated it, I might be able to turn a tidy profit. Imagine my surprise when I discovered there's nothing in here. It's just a complicated locking device." "Which means you could have used your telekinetic abilities at any time," Sisko adds. "So the question is, why didn't you?"
Eris drops her innocent facade. "You seem to already know the answer," she says coolly. Sisko does indeed. "The Jem'Hadar wanted us to escape, didn't they? That was the plan all along, for us to bring you back here, so you could spy on the Federation." "Well done, Commander," Eris says patronizingly.
Sisko guesses aloud that she's one of the Founders; Eris looks at him with amused contempt. "You think the Founders would waste their time with you?" When Odo tries to take her into custody, Eris tells Sisko, "You have no idea what's begun here." And with that, she hits a concealed device and dematerializes.
O'Brien can't find where she might have gone to -- no ships are nearby, and she's not on the station. "She'll be back," Kira says. "The question is who she'll bring with her." Sisko's voice is grim with foreboding. "If the Dominion comes through the wormhole, the first battle will be fought here. And I intend to be ready for them."
The original title of this episode was "The Dominion". The name Jem'Hadar is also a rank in the Indian national army, equivalent to lieutenant. The visual effects team received an Emmy nomination for the space battle. The bird sanctuary at Griffith Park was again used for location filming.