Once More Unto the Breach
Production no.: 557
Written by: Ronald D. Moore
Directed by: Allan Kroeker
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: November 7, 1998
John Colicos ............
J.G. Hertzler ............
Neil Vipond .............
Nancy Youngblut .....
Blake Lindsley .........
Bashir and O'Brien are at the bar, having a drink and a friendly argument about whether or not Davy Crockett surrendered at the Alamo. Worf finally breaks in. "The only real question is whether you believe in the legend of Davy Crockett or not. If you do, then there should be no doubt in your mind that he died a hero's death. If you do not believe in the legend, then he was just a man, and it does not matter how he died." "Well. I guess that settles that," Bashir remarks after Worf leaves.
Back at his quarters, Worf is surprised to receive a visit from Kor, the aged Dahar Master. After sharing a drink to the memory of Jadzia, Kor confesses that he has not been able to find a command during this war, despite his reputation. He has made far too many enemies in the Empire. "That's why I have come here tonight. It is not easy for me to beg you for help, but I have nowhere else to turn. Help me fight again, Worf. Help me end my life as I lived it, as a warrior." Worf promises to speak to Martok.
However, the second Worf mentions Kor's name to Martok, the general explodes in fury. "That man is not welcome in my house, and I will certainly not have him commanding a ship in my fleet!" He won't say why; he simply orders Worf to get out.
Later, Martok outlines his latest plan to Sisko: he will conduct a "cavalry raid" into Cardassian space, starting with attacking the starbase at Trelka V. He will be taking five birds-of-prey. Sisko agrees that the Defiant will be waiting with several other starships for the Klingon raiders, as a surprise for any enemy ships who chase them back.
After Martok returns to his ship, Worf finally takes the opportunity to speak with him again about Kor. "I would not give that man the gnawed bones of my last meal, much less command of a ship," Martok declares. Worf protests that there is no blood feud between their houses, and Kor has told him that he has never met Martok. But Martok replies, "You can wound a man without ever seeing his face."
With that, he reluctantly tells Worf the story of how, as a hopeful young would-be officer from a not-very-well-to-do family in the Ketha lowlands, he passed the entrance exam to the academy, only to have his application rejected by one of the council members: Kor. Martok believes that Kor, a descendent of the imperial court, didn't want a commoner joining the elite officers' ranks. As a result, Martok ended up as a civilian laborer on a ship, until by chance he earned a battlefield commission when the Romulans boarded. His father did not live to see it. And now Martok bitterly resents Kor because of that fact.
Worf understands, but tells Martok that he has already appointed Kor an officer in the 9th Fleet. "That's the difference between his name and mine," Martok remarks. "His opens doors, mine closes them." Since what's done is done, he informs Worf that Kor is Worf's responsibility; he wants nothing to do with the old man.
Kor is reminiscing with Ezri over the good times he and Curzon had together, when Worf approaches, and Ezri excuses herself. Worf breaks the news to Kor, including why he's been turned down for command. Kor doesn't remember having rejected Martok so long ago, though it's possible. As for the reasons, though, Martok ought to appreciate that the Klingon Empire is not a democracy, and noble blood does count, like it or not. Worf tells Kor that he will serve as third officer on the Ch'Tang. "Oh well, no matter," says Kor. "I've overcome greater obstacles." He promises that Martok won't even know he's there. As Worf leaves, Kor asks him the name of the ship again.
Martok's raiding party gets underway, led by Martok on the Ch'Tang. When Kor reports for duty, the younger officers regard the Dahar Master with awe and admiration. So does Martok's aide, an aged Klingon named Darok. This does not improve Martok's temper.
Meanwhile, back on DS9, Ezri has drinks with Kira at Quark's. The subject turns to Kor, about whom Ezri has been having dreams. She admits that part of her wishes she was with him, in battle once more. Overhearing, Quark assumes she's talking about Worf, and he's devastated.
Martok is relating one of his victories to his crewmembers in the mess hall when Kor comes in and steals his thunder. He remembers a similar raid on Caleb IV, a hundred or so years ago; the younger officers eagerly lap up the tale. Worf is trying to do damage control with Martok later when the word comes that they have reached Trelka V. A red alert is called. On his way to the bridge, Kor forgets where he was going, but manages to find out from a young officer where he's supposed to be, while covering for his momentary lapse.
The attack on Trelka V is in full swing; one of the Klingon ships is destroyed, but the base's primary shield grid is down, giving the Ch'Tang a chance to come in blasting. The return fire knocks Worf out; Martok lies injured on the deck, barely conscious. Kor takes over, ordering another pass. No one hears Martok trying to belay the suicidal command, as the Ch'Tang and the other ships all take a beating. "Open a channel to Kang!" Kor orders, to the confusion of the crew. He thinks he's back at Caleb IV. Martok finally flings a knife at Kor. Worf, conscious again, catches it out of the air and knocks Kor out, ordering an escape course. The Ch'Tang and the other remaining Klingon ships streak away; Martok orders a rendezvous, after which they will proceed to the next target, the Manora shipyards. "Worf, get that man out of here," he growls. Kor slinks off, unsure of what he's done.
When Ezri next enters the bar, Quark steels himself and plunges into a speech. "You're making a mistake by pursuing another relationship with Worf," he says bluntly. He goes on to say that she shouldn't limit herself by going after a man who's only a memory to her. "I've had my problems with Worf, I'll admit it. But this is not about me or my feelings. This is about you. Worf has done nothing -- and I mean nothing -- to deserve you. Shouldn't you try and find someone who's willing to win your heart, not just inherit it? You deserve better. There. I've said my piece."
Ezri listens, and when she has a chance to get a word in edgewise, she tells him that she's not interested in another relationship with Worf. "I care about him, and I probably always will. But he's moved on with his life, and so have I." Quark is nonplused. "Oh. Well, good." "And I'd also like to say," Ezri continues, "that what you just did was one of the kindest, dearest, and for you, one of the most embarrassing things I have ever heard. You're a real sweetheart." She kisses him on the cheek. Quark is relieved and quietly ecstatic. "She loves me," he exults to Jake, who thinks he's certifiable.
Kor is eating alone in the mess hall when Martok enters with Darok. A couple of the younger officers egg Martok on as the general takes the long-awaited opportunity to taunt his rival. Kor sits quietly, doing his best to ignore Martok, who speculates aloud about what their next target should be -- perhaps Caleb IV. Only Darok is uneasy, but Martok forces him to stay, and continues baiting Kor, pretending to ask his advice. Kor remains silent. Finally, though, he stands up with as much dignity as he can muster, and starts out. Martok demands that he say something. "Savor the fruit of life, my young friends," Kor says at last, solemnly, looking each of his tormentors in the eye. "It has a sweet taste when it is fresh from the vine. But don't live too long. The taste turns bitter, after a time." That shuts them up.
A now-thoughtful Martok confers later with Worf, who has removed Kor from active duty. Worf regrets having put Kor in that position. "I've hated his name for almost thirty years," Martok muses ruefully. "I've dreamt of the moment when I'd finally see him stripped of his rank and title, when he would suddenly find himself without a friend in the world, without the power of his birthright. Well, I've had that moment now. And I took no joy from it." He wonders what will become of Kor, and Worf says he plans to speak with Gowron about finding him an assignment on the homeworld. Martok decides he will too.
They are then called to the bridge; sensors have detected a large body of Jem'Hadar fighters, pursuing them. The Jem'Hadar are using a long-range tachyon scanner to penetrate the Klingon cloaks. There are ten vessels, and they're gaining.
The Jem'Hadar will be within weapons range in two hours, and it will take the Klingons nearly four hours to reach the Defiant and the other Federation ships in the Calandra sector. Worf comes up with a plan to delay the Jem'Hadar so that they won't be able to catch up before the rendezvous. A single bird-of-prey could disrupt the enemy's warp fields, forcing them to drop to impulse, by generating a massive graviton burst. Worf volunteers for the job. He will take command of one of the other ships, the Ning'tao, whose crew will be beamed off and replaced by a few volunteers. Martok is stunned, knowing that Worf is proposing to sacrifice his life. But there's no other choice.
Darok, who has overheard, goes to Kor's quarters, ostensibly to reminisce with a fellow old soldier. "The warriors on this ship -- they don't know what they missed. But such is the way with children. They often let the promise of the future obscure the glories of the past...Even Martok, who for all his flaws is a great man, even Martok is but a child compared to you or me. They are quick to judge, but slow to forgive. They still have much to learn." Darok then tells Kor of the situation, and of Worf's plan. There's only one flaw, he says: the plan depends on Worf successfully engaging the entire enemy fleet. "It would take a man with three times his experience to accomplish such a feat," Darok says, looking Kor in the eyes. "And such a man would have to be certain of his abilities." "Such a man would not take the job unless he were certain," replies Kor, understanding exactly what Darok is getting at. Darok smiles slightly. "It has been an honor serving with you, Kor son of Rynar."
Kor intercepts Worf in the corridor as Worf is on his way to take command of the Ning'tao, and says he looks forward to seeing him at the gates to StoVoKor. He asks if Worf has a message for Jadzia. Then he suddenly injects Worf with a drug that renders him unconscious. "When I reach the halls of the hallowed dead," Kor tells Worf's limp form, "I will find your beloved and remind her that her husband is a noble warrior, and that he still loves no one but her. Goodbye, my friend. Live well." He then goes to the transporter room and beams away. "Long live the Empire!"
Darok brings a bottle of bloodwine to the bridge. "If they succeed, you can drink to their courage," he tells Martok. "And if they fail, you can still drink to their courage." An officer announces what the Ning'tao is doing. The plan works; the Jem'Hadar ships all drop to impulse, and the Ning'tao engages them. "Die well, Worf," Martok says quietly, but Worf enters the bridge just then. "Today was not my day to die," he says. It's then that Martok realizes who is commanding the Ning'tao. "I hope that old fool understands what he's doing," he growls.
Reaching the limit of their sensor range, the Ch'Tang continues to monitor the battle behind them. "One ship against ten -- it doesn't seem possible," marvels Martok; Worf replies, "He will succeed. He is Kor, the Dahar Master." And Martok doesn't contradict this. What's more, Worf's prediction proves accurate; now the Jem'Hadar can no longer overtake them before they reach the Defiant.
"How?" Martok asks. "How did that pompous old man hold off an entire Jem'Hadar fleet with only one ship?" "Does it matter?" Worf replies. Martok takes the bottle from Darok, smashing the top with his knife. "To Kor, the Dahar Master -- and noble warrior to the end." The crew pass the bottle around, singing an old war song in tribute.