Production no.: 484
Teleplay by: Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Story by: Ronald D. Moore
Directed by: Reza Badiyi
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: January 6, 1996
Robert Foxworth .............
Herschel Sparber ............
Susan Gibney ..................
Aron Eisenberg ...............
David Drew Gallagher .....
Mina Badie .....................
Rudolph Willrich ..............
Brock Peters ..................
Bobby C. King ................
Continuing from "Homefront"...
It's four days after the power outage, and Joseph Sisko is preparing to re-open his restaurant, even though there's no one out on the streets except Starfleet troops. In San Francisco, Sisko and Odo are conferring. Sisko is starting to question the whole incident: how did the Changelings infiltrate the Division of Planetary Operations, get the codes for its computer control network, and overload every power relay on Earth simultaneously? For his part, Odo wonders about Red Squad -- a log shows that they were beamed back to the Academy after the state of emergency was declared.
Sisko's interest is piqued. Why would Starfleet demobilize Red Squad when they had mobilized hundreds of other units? Not to mention that the entire corps of cadets was assigned to field duty three hours later. When Sisko speaks with the commandant of the Academy about it, the man acts a little strange, making sure the communication is secure before telling Sisko he wants that transporter record erased. "That report could cause us a lot of trouble. I'm glad you spotted it." "So am I," says Sisko, playing along. "I'd hate to see the members of Red Squad get into any trouble." "They're fine young men and women," says the commandant. "When Leyton talked to me about using them, I thought it was a mistake, but I must admit, they performed their mission admirably." After the communication ends, Odo (who was listening unseen by the other party) comments, "Well, that certainly raised more questions than it answered."
To Sisko's surprise, his father has begun cooperating with the blood screenings; the sabotage of the power grid seems to have changed his mind. The screenings have now been widened to include the general public. Nog arrives, having been asked to the restaurant by Sisko, who wants to ask him about Red Squad; the Ferengi has managed to make some friends in the group, though he's not a member yet. Sisko wants a name, but Nog demurs until Sisko makes it an order.
Somewhat later, Sisko speaks to a Red Squad cadet named Riley Shepard, pretending to be in on the sabotage plan and berating him for "sloppy" work. Shepard doesn't know the name of the officer who briefed them. But he says the mission went perfectly, even easier than in the simulations, and proceeds to tell Sisko all about how Red Squad carried out their covert mission to sabotage the power relays.
Sisko talks it over with Odo, who thinks that this doesn't rule out Dominion involvement; the people giving the orders could have been replaced by Changelings. "If it were Changelings," Sisko says, "what have they accomplished? There's been no invasion, and power's been restored." "And Starfleet has fortified Earth," finishes Odo. "I see your point, Captain." He asks what Sisko will do about it. "That is the bottom line, isn't it?" Sisko muses. "What am I going to do? These aren't evil people, Odo. These are people I've worked with. They're my friends, people I respect. How can I turn against them?" "It seems to me," Odo replies, "if they have committed treason against the Federation, the Federation that you swore to protect, you won't be turning against them. They will have turned against you."
They bring their suspicions to Jaresh-Inyo. The President is incredulous and skeptical, but hears them out. After Odo reported to Starfleet what the dying Changeling said to him on the Defiant (see "The Adversary"), Leyton and a group of officers met with the President to recommend sweeping security measures. Jaresh-Inyo rejected them until after the bombing of the conference, and even then he only agreed to some of the measures. Not satisfied, Leyton and his supporters were convinced that extraordinary measures were necessary, and determined to prove how vulnerable Earth was to the Dominion. So they had Red Squad sabotage the global power grid. Jaresh-Inyo finds it hard to believe that Leyton would commit treason. "I'm sure the Admiral doesn't see it as treason," Sisko says. "He would probably defend it as a desperate act of patriotism. He and his supporters think that their actions are both necessary and justified." And now, Odo points out, they have part of what they wanted: Starfleet security officers on every street, blood-testing citizens at random.
Jaresh-Inyo is reluctant to believe all this without proof. Sisko suggests that he order Leyton to withdraw the troops and see what he does. "If he orders his troops to stand down, then I'm wrong and I'll offer my resignation. But I don't think that's going to happen. With those troops in place, Admiral Leyton controls Earth. And he's not going to give up that control until he's convinced that he has ended the Dominion threat." Jaresh-Inyo points out, though, that the public supports the security measures, and there may even be a riot if he tries to have the troops withdrawn. But if Sisko and Odo can bring him the proof, he will use it.
Nog comes to the restaurant that night. He was supposed to bring Shepard to speak with Sisko and Odo, but says he couldn't find him anywhere. It seems everyone in Red Squad has been sent off on a training exercise. "I'm afraid Cadet Shepard won't be returning to Earth anytime soon," says Leyton, entering. He orders Nog back to his quarters, and asks to see Sisko in private.
"I wish I could have told you the truth from the beginning," Leyton remarks. "But somehow I suspected we wouldn't see eye-to-eye on this thing." He brought Sisko here because he needed someone who knew how to fight shapeshifters, and he also hoped he would come around eventually. "What you're trying to do is to seize control of Earth and place it under military rule," Sisko says. "If that's what it takes to stop the Dominion," Leyton replies. Sisko can't understand why his former captain doesn't see the irony in what he's doing. "So you're willing to destroy paradise in order to save it?" But Leyton uses a story of when they were on the Okinawa to bring up the importance of accepting the chain of command. Finally, though, he realizes he's not going to win Sisko over. "As of now," he says, "I'm relieving you of your post as temporary head of Earth Security and sending you back to Deep Space Nine. Go home, Ben. You don't belong here."
Sisko is thinking things over on a bench at Starfleet Headquarters at night when, much to his surprise, he is joined by O'Brien. Or rather, a Changeling imitating O'Brien. The Changeling makes no particular attempt to hide it, and in fact is rather cocky. "How many Changelings do you think are here on Earth right at this moment?...What if I were to tell you that there are only four on this entire planet? Not counting Constable Odo, of course. Think of it. Just four of us, and look at the havoc we've wrought." Sisko asks how he knows the Changeling is telling the truth. "Four is more than enough," the Changeling brags. "We're smarter than solids. We're better than you. And most importantly, we do not fear you the way you fear us. In the end, it's your fear that will destroy you." "Are you finished?" Sisko asks, smoldering. The Changeling laughs. "Finished? We've barely begun." With that, he walks off.
Joseph Sisko later catches his son brooding in the restaurant after hours. Sisko doesn't want to talk about it, and Joseph remembers another time when he was like this, over a girl he had a crush on. He reminds him of the advice he gave him then: "There comes a time in every man's life when he must stop thinking and start doing." Sisko asked the girl out and was turned down, but he stopped brooding, and moved on to date another girl for three years. "I guess what you're telling me is that I must stop brooding and make a decision," Sisko says, and his father says, "Exactly." So Sisko contacts DS9, using a Bajoran frequency. Kira reports that there's been no sign of Dominion activity, and the wormhole seems back to normal. Sisko tells her there's something he needs her to do.
In his former temporary office, with Odo's help, Sisko gets into classified Starfleet files, and finds that Leyton has personally reassigned over 400 officers in the past three weeks. He recognizes some of the names as being officers he served with on the Okinawa under Leyton; and as far as he can tell, every officer on the list also was once under Leyton's command. Now they're all in key positions on Earth, or commanding ships in this sector. Leyton has also authorized another set of transfers, to take effect on the 14th, which is the day before Jaresh-Inyo is to give a speech. This may mean Leyton is planning an outright takeover.
The door chimes, and Benteen enters. After Odo leaves, Sisko offers his congratulations to the new captain of the Lakota, though she says the ship won't be done with its refit until the 14th. "I guess that'll make the 14th a special day," comments Sisko. He says he's decided to take some leave. "After all, I don't get much time to spend on Earth. And it is so pleasant here. With a Starfleet officer on every corner. Paradise has never seemed so well-armed." "You're a very interesting man, Captain," says Benteen. "I'm sorry we didn't get to work together longer."
The next day, Sisko goes to see the President with the evidence he's gathered. But Leyton is there before him, along with Benteen and four armed security officers. Benteen asks for Sisko's arm, and draws some of his blood with a hypo. The blood morphs into Changeling protoplasm. "Just as I said, Mr. President," Leyton announces triumphantly. "He's a shapeshifter."
Leyton visits Sisko in his holding cell later. "Are you going to tell me how you faked the blood test?" Sisko asks; Leyton counters, "Does it matter?...You know, Ben, I stand here looking at you, the best officer who ever served under me, trapped in this holding cell, and I think, life can be damned cruel." He tells Sisko he'll be free to go in a few days. But it's Leyton, not Jaresh-Inyo, who will be making a speech, explaining why it's necessary for Starfleet to seize control of Earth -- temporarily, of course, until the Changeling threat is over. "And how long will that be?" Sisko asks. "Months? Years? Decades?" "However long it takes," Leyton replies. "The people deserve strong leadership. Someone who can protect them." "In other words, you." Sisko says.
Somewhat later, a female security officer enters the holding area with a blood screening cart, to test the security officers who are on guard duty there. Sisko offers to take the test as well, and while they're distracted, Odo morphs from the cart and knocks out all the security people. He then frees Sisko, and tells him the Defiant is on its way to Earth; Kira and the others have found what Sisko was looking for. They even have the officer responsible, a Lt. Arriaga, and are bringing him. Sisko tells Odo to get to the President, tell him everything they know, and warn him that Leyton will make his move today.
Sisko enters Leyton's office with a phaser, to ask him for his resignation. "You'll forgive me if I don't leap at the opportunity," says Leyton calmly, and keeps his cool as Sisko tells him that his officers have Lt. Arriaga in custody. Arriaga will testify that on Leyton's orders, he attached a subspace modulator to the relay satellite on the far side of the wormhole, causing it to open and close at random, in order to make it look as if a cloaked Dominion fleet was coming through. But Leyton says Arriaga won't make it to Earth. He's sent the Lakota to intercept the Defiant, and they won't have any qualms about firing on another Starfleet ship, because the Lakota's crew have been told that everyone on the Defiant is a Changeling.
Worf is commanding the Defiant on its way to Earth when Dax reports the Lakota is hailing them, ordering them to prepare to be boarded. The Lakota has raised shields and powered its phasers. "Looks like they won't take no for an answer," remarks Kira.
Sisko tries to make Leyton see what he's doing: overthrowing a legitimately elected president and giving Starfleet direct control over the government, making it into a dictatorship. And Sisko's not the only one who will think so. Leyton, though, is confident that any dissenters will fall in line. "Are you willing to risk a civil war?" asks Sisko. "If the Lakota fires on the Defiant, you will be opening up a Pandora's box that may never be closed." But he refuses to take Leyton's suggestion to contact the Defiant and tell them to stand down. "Don't kid yourself, Ben," says Leyton. "This Pandora's box of yours -- we're opening it together."
The Lakota targets the Defiant's warp engines. O'Brien thinks they're bluffing; Worf orders Dax to continue on course. Then the Lakota opens fire, with weapons that have been upgraded. The Defiant would have to lower its shields to cloak. Worf has Dax hail them, but there's no response. Finally Worf has no choice but to fight, targeting the Lakota's weapons.
Leyton reflects on how he helped Sisko, promoted him, taught him everything he knew about leadership. "I only wish I'd taught you more about the importance of loyalty." "You want to talk to me about loyalty?" asks Sisko. "After you broke your oath with the Federation, lied to the people of Earth, and ordered one of our own starships to fire on another? You don't have the right." As they're talking, a call comes in from the Lakota; Sisko stands so that the phaser he has trained on Leyton is hidden.
Benteen says they haven't been able to stop the Defiant, and Leyton orders her to use quantum torpedoes. She objects -- her orders were to disable the Defiant, not destroy it. He tells her to keep the Defiant from reaching Earth by any means necessary. "Captain," says Sisko, "you know as well as I do that there aren't any shapeshifters on the Defiant. Use those quantum torpedoes and you will be killing fifty Starfleet officers." "Captain Benteen knows where her duty lies," Leyton retorts. But Benteen looks troubled as she ends the transmission.
The Defiant is in pretty bad shape, but the Lakota is worse off; one good hit will probably finish them. Then, incredibly, the Lakota powers down its weapons, and hails them. Not long afterwards, the Defiant calls Sisko in Leyton's office. Worf says the Lakota is allowing them to proceed to Earth. "Get here as soon as you can," Sisko says. "The President's expecting you."
Leyton tells Sisko he'll never make it out of this office, but Sisko says he doesn't have to. Odo is talking to Jaresh-Inyo by now, giving him the evidence. "It's not over!" insists Leyton. "I have enough loyal officers to make a fight of it." "Who will you fight?" Sisko asks. "Starfleet? The Federation? Don't you see, Admiral? You're fighting the wrong war...You've lost. Don't make anyone else pay for your mistakes." Finally, Leyton removes his admiral's insignia and places it on his desk. "I hope you're not the one making the mistake," he says, and walks out of his office without looking back.
The Starfleet security officers are recalled to headquarters, as Sisko, Odo and Jake are making their farewells to Joseph at the restaurant. "It didn't seem right, all those phasers everywhere," Joseph remarks. Odo wonders if he's the only one worried about the fact that there are still Changelings on Earth. "I'm scared to death," Joseph says. "But I'll be damned if I'm going to let them change the way I live my life." "If the Changelings want to destroy what we've built here," Sisko adds, "they're going to have to do it themselves. We will not do it for them." They exchange parting words, beam up, and finally Joseph welcomes his first customers of the day, the first real ones there have been in a long time.
Actress Mina Badie (who plays a Starfleet security guard) is the daughter of the episode's director, Reza Badiyi.