Production no.: 428
Written by: Peter Allan Fields
Directed by: James L. Conway
First satellite airdate: November 13, 1993
Katherine Moffat ......
Max Grodénchik .......
Marc Alaimo ............
Robert Mackenzie .....
Quark visits a lovely Bajoran widow named Pallra, in her home on Bajor. "I didn't kill him, you know," she says, looking out at a storm. "A lot of people believed it was me. That shapeshifter thought so. But he was wrong." We will learn eventually that she is talking about the murder of her husband, Vaatrik, five years ago on the station, during the Occupation. Pallra and Quark are old acquaintances, and they reminisce a little before getting down to business.
Pallra wants to hire Quark to find a strongbox hidden behind the wall of her husband's old shop on the station, and bring it to her. He asks what's in it, and she says nothing anyone would value. She wants it for "sentimental reasons". Quark asks why she doesn't take a "sentimental journey" back to the station, but Pallra says she couldn't stand the idea of going back into the shop, where her husband was murdered. However, Quark guesses that she simply doesn't want to be seen there by Odo. "I'm sure he's forgotten all about that by now," Pallra says demurely. She gives him the exact location of the box, and they set a price: five bars of latinum, and her...personal gratitude. After Quark leaves, a man named Trazko appears from the other room, and Pallra nods to him slightly.
Odo has begun a security log at Sisko's request, though he doesn't see the point, as his own memory is perfectly adequate. He only has one thing to report: "Everything's under control. End log." It's late on the Promenade, and after he takes one last look around and goes inside to shut down his office and regenerate, Quark and Rom move stealthily down the thoroughfare toward their target. On their way, Rom reveals that he can release the type of lock on the shop's door in ten seconds, and Quark is not happy to learn that he got so good through opening Quark's storeroom without his knowledge. Rom also has a desealing rod that Nog made for him. He opens the lock, and while Quark is accusing Rom of thieving from him, he finds the correct panel that the box is behind. Rom has a way to get into that too: magnasite drops. Quark is incensed -- his brother has gotten entirely too good at this. The panel falls off, and Quark reaches in and takes the box.
Once he gets back to the bar, Quark opens the box. Inside is a piece of paper containing a handwritten list of eight Bajoran names. Deciding he wants a picture of the list, Quark sends Rom for an imager. Alone, he senses the approach of someone and turns to see Trazko. "She sent you, didn't she?" Quark says. Trazko replies that "she" knew Quark couldn't resist opening the box. He takes the list, and shoots Quark, who falls motionless to the floor. Rom returns a minute later, after Trazko has gone, finds Quark, and yells for help.
Sisko enters the bar to find Bashir working on Quark. Odo tells Sisko that Rom says it was a robbery attempt, but claims not to know if anything was taken. Kira comes in and reports that security is stopping everyone at the airlocks, but the assailant may already be on a ship. Sisko has her delay all outgoing vessels, and Quark is rushed off to the infirmary.
Turning his attention back to Rom, Odo implies heavily that he thinks Rom had something to do with this, in hopes of inheriting the bar. "I've had my eye on you for a long time, Rom. You're not as stupid as you look." "I am too!" Rom protests. Sisko plays good cop to Odo's bad cop, until finally Rom cracks and says that the man who shot Quark stole a list of Bajoran names that was in a box they "found".
Rom turns helpful and takes Odo to the shop where he and Quark "found" the box. All Rom knows is that the box was hidden there years ago, when the Cardassians were here and the ship's store was the chemist shop. Odo reacts to those words as if struck by a memory. He opens the store.
A quieter, warier, and less confident Odo enters the chemist's shop on Terok Nor during the Occupation, and is greeted by Gul Dukat. They've met once before, two years ago, at a reception at the Bajoran Center for Science, where Odo entertained the Cardassian High Command with his "Cardassian neck trick". Dukat has stayed informed about Odo ever since the shapeshifter left the laboratory. Now he has a task for him: he shows Odo the body of a murdered Bajoran man, and informs Odo that he is to investigate the crime. Odo is startled. "Me? Why me? I'm no investigator." "Ah, but I suspect you'd make a good one," the Cardassian says. "Shapeshifting your way into places the rest of us can't go."
Boldly, Odo tells him he has no intention of being a Cardassian agent. "We can't have these Bajorans running around murdering each other, now can we?" says Dukat. "I'm talking about order here. Justice." Odo counters that there's very little justice in the Occupation, but Dukat will brook no argument. He tells Odo in no uncertain terms that the only other alternative is for him to follow his superiors' orders and "solve" the murder by executing ten Bajorans at random. Dukat notes that the Bajorans seem to trust Odo, who has often sorted out disputes among the workers. "I suppose I'm considered a neutral observer," Odo admits. Dukat tells him that this is another dispute, only now Dukat is the one bringing it to him. "Find the murderer," he says. And a career is born, as Odo reluctantly agrees to do Dukat's bidding.
Dukat takes him to his new office, and introduces him to Pallra, the widow, who is waiting there. After Dukat leaves them alone, Odo tentatively begins to question her. It turns out Pallra has a very good idea who might have committed the murder. Her husband, she says, was having an affair with a girl who came on the station recently. Already skilled at noticing small details, Odo observes that Pallra hasn't cried yet over her husband's death; she passes it off as shock. She says her husband confessed the affair to her and broke it off, and the girl killed him in a jealous rage. Pallra doesn't know the girl's name, but says she can point her out.
They emerge from the office into the dreary ghetto that will someday be the Promenade, now full of ragged, hungry Bajorans. Pallra says her husband had gone back to the shop after dinner last night to do inventory. They were lucky enough to have private quarters, she adds, and then stops, pointing to a young Bajoran woman who is sitting down at a soup kitchen with a meager meal. "There. That's her." Odo looks, and sees Kira Nerys for the first time.
Kira approaches Odo on the Promenade to tell him she can't hold up outbound traffic any longer; Odo says the assailant probably disposed of the weapon before he left anyway. Kira has heard about the list, and says she couldn't help wondering if it had something to do with Vaatrik. Odo says he's been wondering the same thing. Kira looks at him for a long moment, as if she wants to say something, then walks on.
Odo questions Rom again; the Ferengi says he barely saw the list, and doesn't remember any of the names. He really should get back to his bar. "He's not dead yet, Rom," Odo reminds him with heavy patience; Quark is still clinging to life in the infirmary. Trying a gentler, almost hypnotic approach, Odo has Rom close his eyes and visualize the first name on the list. Finally, Rom bursts out with the name "Ches'so". He's sure -- maybe. Odo lets him go, and shows a PADD with the name to Kira, who doesn't recognize it. They've never talked about that time five years ago, when she would have been executed. Odo reminds her that she was innocent. "That wouldn't have mattered to the Cardassians," Kira says, and Odo tells her simply, "It mattered to me."
Odo approaches Kira, and begins the conversation on a very awkward note: "A pretty girl like you shouldn't be eating alone." She tells him bluntly she doesn't do whatever it is he wants. As he tries to start over, Kira wonders if he's some kind of security officer. Odo admits it, "unofficially". He tells her he's investigating Vaatrik's murder, and he understands she knew him. He asks Kira point blank if she killed him; she says no. And no, she and Vaatrik were not having an affair. Odo is confused: why would Vaatrik tell his wife that they were? "You'll have to ask him," Kira says. She goes on to tell Odo that she met Vaatrik just after she arrived here, two weeks ago, and that they shared some hard-to-get ginger tea that Vaatrik had. They became friends.
Kira asks Odo a question of her own: why did Dukat want him to investigate, rather than one of his own security people? Odo says no Bajoran would talk to them, and Kira says that never stopped the Cardassians before. Odo asks where she was last night; she says she was at the bar looking for work. "Better than the mines," she shrugs. Odo calls her out: he can tell by looking at her hands that she's never worked in the mines. "You're not bad at this," Kira says, almost admiringly. She says her last job was at a replicator plant, until she hit a supervisor for making unwanted advances. She asks Odo if he would have the Cardassians stop her if she tried to leave the station, and he says yes.
As Odo gets up to leave, Kira has some parting words for him. "'Unofficially' or not, you're working for the Cardassians. Sooner or later, you're going to have to choose whose side you're on." Odo frowns. "I don't choose sides." "Everyone has to choose sides, Constable," she tells him.
Odo has gone to Bajor to speak to Pallra, who plays dumb. She knows nothing about a list, she says, and has no idea why her husband would have hidden a list of Bajoran names. Perhaps the Cardassians had hidden it there. But Odo dismisses that idea; someone on Bajor told Quark where it was. "I wish I could help. I sort of liked that little Ferengi," says Pallra, who reacts with surprise when Odo tells her Quark is still alive. Odo asks if the name Ches'so means anything to her: she says no, and asks who it is. "Just someone I'd like to talk to," Odo says.
There's one more thing he's curious about. Pallra's power was recently terminated for lack of payment, but she was able to transfer funds to the power company this morning. She claims that a friend helped her out. But she won't say who this friend is. Having no legal way of forcing her to tell him, Odo retreats.
Back in DS9's infirmary, Kira enters to give Odo both good and bad news. Thanks to some connections from her past, she's found "Ches'so", whose actual name is Ches'sarro -- a Bajoran mining engineer who has been active in charity work for the war orphans, and whose work brought him to the station often. The bad news, Kira adds, is that Ches'sarro is dead -- he drowned in a pond on his property last night.
Odo realizes that he's made a mistake: he mentioned "Ches'so" to Pallra, who possibly recognized the real name and thought Ches'sarro might lead Odo to her. He calls for security, and tells Kira to have the medical examiner do an autopsy on Ches'sarro. He will also need Pallra's communications records for the last two days, as well as some bank records. When his deputy arrives, he tells him he wants round-the-clock armed security on Quark, who is to have no visitors.
Entering Quark's for the first time, Odo is looking for the proprietor, who identifies himself after ascertaining that Odo is not there to collect on a debt or arrest him. When Odo tries to begin the questioning, Quark interrupts, realizing that this is the shapeshifter who's working for Dukat. Odo denies this, and says he's just trying to solve a murder. Quark's head fills with visions of Odo entertaining his patrons, but Odo firmly steers the conversation to the subject at hand.
In answer to his questions, Quark confirms that Kira was here last night, looking for a job. He also insinuates that they had sex. Odo hauls him halfway over the bar and tells him he's lying. When he threatens to have Dukat get the truth out of him, Quark finally admits that Kira actually paid him for the alibi.
At that moment, Dukat joins them at the bar, having overheard the last part of the conversation, and asks if Odo has the name of someone to arrest. "You'll get your name when I'm certain it's the right name," Odo tells him sharply. Dukat is impressed by his nerve. "You're not afraid of anyone, are you, shapeshifter? Not even me. I was right about you. You are the man for this job." Hearing this, Quark starts trying to make amends with Odo for their bad start, offering to get him whatever he wants. "Maybe companionship?" he suggests, and Odo looks up, only to be met with laughter.
In Quark's, Odo gives Sisko a PADD which contains a reconstruction of the list; he assembled it from Pallra's communications records. She has been talking to each of these people a lot lately, but she had never talked to any of them until two days ago, when the list was stolen. And each of them has transferred 100,000 Bajoran litas into her account over the last day. There's only one explanation -- blackmail. The fact that these people had that kind of money in the first place leads Odo to the conclusion that they were collaborators. "It explains a lot of things," he adds grimly. He doesn't have enough to charge Pallra yet, but he would like to bring her in for questioning. Sisko grants permission, and Odo leaves. As he does, Trazko, who has been sitting at the bar drinking, gets up and goes out as well.
There is something else now weighing heavily on Odo's mind, as he hints to his log. "There's no room in justice for loyalty, or friendship, or love. Justice, as the humans like to say, is blind. I used to believe that. I'm not sure I can anymore."
Taken into Odo's office for questioning, Kira admits that she did lie about her alibi, but maintains that that doesn't make her a killer. Odo keeps the pressure on: where was she when Vaatrik was murdered? She says she was asleep, alone; but no one saw her in the community quarters, he tells her. Kira says she found a small corner. "You're lying," Odo says. "I should have seen it before. You don't lie well."
She asks him once again whose side he is on. "When I tell you the truth, you'll have to choose." "No," Odo replies angrily. "That's why I was given this job. That's why all of you always come to me with problems. I'm the outsider. I'm on no one's side. All I'm interested in is justice. If you're innocent, you'll go free. If you're not, I'll turn you over to Cardassian authorities. That's the only choice here."
With no more lies to tell, Kira finally confesses that when Vaatrik was killed, she was on level 21, in ore processing. She is in the Bajoran underground, and came here to commit sabotage, and last night, she succeeded. Her story checks out: the ore processor was damaged at roughly the same time as Vaatrik's murder. Odo realizes that that's why she needed the alibi from Quark. Kira tells him that all this won't matter if he tells the Cardassians the truth. She'll be executed for the sabotage. "Who cares about Bajorans killing Bajorans when you can hang a rebel?"
Just then Dukat enters the office, sees Kira, and asks Odo if this is her. And just as Kira said, Odo has to choose. He tells Dukat, "No," and says that Kira can go. Dukat stops her. "If you're lying, shapeshifter..." Odo interrupts. "If you know as much about me as you say you do, Gul Dukat, you know I don't lie. I am convinced that she did not kill Vaatrik." And Dukat finally releases Kira, who walks off quickly and doesn't look back.
Trazko enters the infirmary with a bunch of flowers, pretending to be visiting Quark. He stabs the deputy on guard duty, then shuts off Quark's life support and starts to smother him with a pillow. But at that moment Rom enters, and Trazko hears his gasp. He lunges at Rom, and there is a wild struggle, punctuated by Rom's screams, until Odo arrives and grabs the fleeing assassin. Odo tells the still-screaming Rom that he's saved his brother's life. Rom pauses, realizes he's just lost the bar, and resumes screaming. On the bed, Quark begins to regain consciousness.
Brought by Odo and Kira into the holding area to see Trazko, Pallra claims she's never seen him before, but Odo points out that records show she has communicated with him several times, and Kira adds that she transferred a large sum of money into his account two days ago. Defeated but not humbled, Pallra steps into a cell. "I don't care what you think you know, shapeshifter. You will never be able to prove that I killed my husband. Because I didn't." "I know," says Odo, and leaves, avoiding Kira's eyes.
Kira follows him back out into his office. "When did you realize?" she asks quietly. Not looking at her, Odo says that it first occurred to him when she got the name Ches'sarro so quickly; her friends must have already suspected him of being a collaborator. He has also realized that Vaatrik must have been a collaborator too -- he had private quarters, and enough money to spend on ginger tea. It's unlikely that Pallra killed him, since she was living in relative luxury as his wife. "So, who would kill a Cardassian collaborator? Someone in the Bajoran underground, of course." And he finally looks at Kira.
Kira sighs; this is a moment she had hoped would never come. A colleague of hers sabotaged the ore processor; her job was to find the list of collaborators. Her cell had intelligence that Vaatrik was the direct link between those collaborators and Dukat. Odo realizes that this was why Dukat chose him to investigate, so that the gul could stay away from the incident and not risk his network of collaborators. Kira says that she was looking for the list in Vaatrik's shop when he walked in on her. "I didn't have a choice." "I misjudged you, Major," Odo says. "You were a better liar than I gave you credit for." She reminds him that he was working for the Cardassians, but he points out that she's had a year to tell him the truth.
"I tried to tell you the truth a hundred times," Kira says, painfully. "What you think of me...matters a lot. I was afraid -- " "That it might affect our friendship?" he finishes, his voice soft, and she nods. After a long, emotional moment, Odo offers, "Maybe it doesn't have to."
Kira has to ask. "Will you ever be able to trust me in the same way again?" Odo just looks at her. He very much wants to say yes, but he can't. And he bows his head in silence.
The photo of Ches'sarro that Odo looks at is actually a photo of visual effects producer Dan Curry, one that was first taken for "Babel" (in which he was Dekon Elig), and slightly retouched. The series' story thread of Odo's love for Kira is said by some of the producers to have been inspired by Rene Auberjonois' performance in the end scene.