The Search, Part II
Production no.: 448
Teleplay by: Ira Steven Behr
Story by: Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by: Jonathan Frakes
Stardate: not given
First satellite airdate: October 1, 1994
Salome Jens ...............
Andrew Robinson .......
Natalija Nogulich ........
Martha Hackett ..........
Kenneth Marshall .......
William Frankfather ....
Dennis Christopher .....
Christopher Doyle .......
Tom Morga ................
Majel Barrett ..............
Continued from "The Search, Part I":
Odo gazes in shocked wonder at what he has been searching for all his life: his people, who gaze back with benign regard. "You really are just like me, aren't you?" he finally says. The female shapeshifter, who seems to be acting as spokesperson, answers yes. And yes, this is his homeworld. She understands why he can't remember it; he was still newly-formed when he left. Odo asks if he has family, and if he can meet them; the female indicates the lake. "You already have. We are all part of the Great Link." Happy for her friend, but sensing he's a bit overwhelmed, Kira urges him to simply enjoy the moment.
Odo asks what this Great Link is, and the female tells him, "The Link is the very foundation of our society. It provides a meaning to our existence. It is the merging of thought and form, the sharing of idea and sensation." Odo seems a bit disturbed by this. "I've lived a very solitary life," he admits. The female shapeshifter says that's unfortunate, but necessary. "But now, that part of your life is over. You're home." Despite the objections of a male shapeshifter, who says Odo's not ready, she extends a hand toward Odo. "He needs to remember, if only for a moment." Slowly, Odo takes her hand, and both hands morph into liquid, merging. When the female withdraws a moment later, Odo appears to be almost entranced. "I allowed him to experience the Link," the female explains to Kira, who finally manages to get Odo's attention, and asks him what happened. "I'm not sure," he says softly. "But I know one thing. She's right. I am...home." And he smiles.
Sisko and Bashir are in a shuttle, having abandoned the Defiant during the Jem'Hadar attack. Now, they are in a situation nearly as precarious as the one they left, with engines, sensors, and life support all failed or failing. Suddenly the little vessel jolts, and stops. After an anxious moment, the hatch opens to reveal O'Brien and Dax, who they thought had been captured by the Jem'Hadar. "We've been searching for you for days," says O'Brien, and Dax adds that ships are still looking for the others. Meanwhile, they will be taken back to DS9. "There are big things happening there, Benjamin," Dax says. "I think you're in for a surprise."
Odo and Kira have been waiting for a few hours in what looks to be a garden. Odo is restless: "I finally return home and they still treat me like an outsider." But Kira points out that she's the outsider here. "I'm the one they don't trust, not you." "How perceptive, Major," says the female shapeshifter, approaching them. "If our history has taught us anything, it is to avoid contact with solids whenever possible." "Solids", she explains, is their name for "monoforms like yourself, who will never know the joys of the Great Link." Knowing when she's not wanted, Kira tells Odo she will try contacting Sisko and the others from the shuttle; but the female shapeshifter says they can't allow any communications to be sent from here. "We value our isolation."
Odo is nonplused to learn that he apparently was meant to "make use of" this garden by assuming the shapes therein. "To become a thing is to know a thing," the female tells him. "To assume its form is to begin to understand its existence." When he still doesn't get it, she looks at him with sympathy. "Living among the solids has damaged you far worse than I realized. It has left you ignorant of the gifts you possess." She promises she will help him learn. "But in the end, this is another journey you'll have to make on your own. And when it is over, you'll be ready to take your place in the Great Link." She hands Odo a rock, and walks off. Kira approaches again, and says she will try to contact Sisko, camouflaging her signal as radiation, a technique she taught the commander. "Good luck," Odo says, contemplating his rock.
Sisko and the others arrive back at DS9 and are greeted by Admiral Necheyev, with the news that a delegation from the Founders is already meeting with representatives from the Federation Council and a dozen other Alpha Quadrant alliances. "We're hoping to have a treaty signed within a matter of days. And we have you to thank for it." Sisko passes the credit to Dax and O'Brien, who, it seems, were turned over by the Jem'Hadar to the Founders; and the Founders were easily convinced of the Federation's goodwill. The admiral acknowledges the risk. "But both the Federation Council and Starfleet Command believe it's one worth taking." She tells Sisko that a Founder has asked to see him.
Sisko enters a room and is surprised to find a male of the same species as Eris (see "The Jem'Hadar"). His name is Borath, and he admits that Eris too was a Founder, "though she couldn't very well admit it while you were pointing a phaser at her." Sisko can't help but be a little skeptical of Borath's good intentions. Borath says he doesn't blame him. "But you must understand that we were only trying to defend ourselves...We felt threatened by your incursions into the Gamma Quadrant." "And now?" Sisko asks. Borath smiles. "Commander, you risked your life to bring us a message of peace and friendship. We chose to accept your offer. Would you rather we refused?" Sisko has to admit that he wouldn't. "Good. Because believe me, Commander, an alliance between the Dominion and the Federation will be beneficial to both our people." Somehow, however, Sisko has a hard time buying it.
On the Promenade, Garak catches up to Bashir and welcomes him back, saying lunch hasn't been the same without him. "Hopefully things'll start getting back to normal around here," says Bashir, but Garak is not optimistic. "There's an old saying on Cardassia: 'Enemies make dangerous friends.' And I fear the Dominion will make a very dangerous friend indeed." When Bashir asks if this is Garak's own opinion or that of Central Command, Garak says the Central Command is in favor of the treaty. "Which, as far as I'm concerned, only justifies my fears." They then run into T'Rul, who says she tried to speak with the Federation negotiating team but was refused entry. She wanted to protest the exclusion of the Romulan Empire from the treaty negotiations; every other great Alpha Quadrant power was invited except them. "There must be some mistake," says Bashir. T'Rul says darkly, "The mistake is thinking the Romulan Empire will stand by and allow such a betrayal to go unchallenged. Believe me Doctor, if a treaty is signed without our approval, it will mean war." As she leaves, Garak looks at Bashir. "Still feel that I'm worrying about nothing, Doctor?"
Kira begins trying to send her message, but the computer tells her it can't transmit the signal due to external interference on all frequencies, interference which is a result of thermal radiation from a subterranean power source, located under the planet's surface. The computer can't identify this source, because of an unknown substance in the surrounding rock. Odo stops by to see how she's doing, and she asks him if he has any idea what the power source can be; he doesn't. Kira notices how depressed he seems. "I have spent the last two hours shapeshifting," he tells her. "Rocks, flowers, trees. I have been everything in that garden...And nothing. Oh, I can become a rock, all right, but I have no more of an idea what it is to be a rock than I did before." "I'm not really sure what that means," says Kira. Odo looks even more miserable. "I'm not sure either. And that's...unfortunate. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to return to my bucket."
Sisko speaks to Necheyev about the exclusion of the Romulans from the peace talks. The admiral says it was at the request of the Founders, who felt the Romulans would be a disruptive influence. Sisko is concerned, but the admiral tells him if the treaty is signed, they'll never have to worry about the Romulans again. "After all, what chance would they have against the combined power of our new alliance?" "They wouldn't have much of a chance at all," says Sisko. The admiral assures him that the Federation carefully weighed all the options before entering into these peace talks.
"Why do you dislike humanoids so much?" Odo asks the female shapeshifter as they sit together in the garden. "I know they have their flaws, but I've found many of them to be kind, decent people." "Like Major Kira?" she asks, and he says yes. "Then you've been more fortunate than most Changelings." The name Changelings is one their people adopted in defiance after it was used against them by solids as an insult. The female goes on to tell Odo that long ago, their people roamed the stars, peacefully seeking knowledge, but were too often met with suspicion, hatred, and violence. Finally, they escaped their persecution by making a home here.
Odo asks why he was sent away. "Because," the female says, "even in our isolation, we desired to learn more about the galaxy. You were one of a hundred infants sent off to gain that knowledge for us." The desire Odo has always felt to find his origins was implanted in him, to ensure that he would find his way home. And Odo is the first one back, thanks to the wormhole. They weren't expecting any of the explorers to return for another three hundred years.
"It's different than I imagined it would be," Odo admits. The female gazes into his eyes. "Whatever you imagined, I promise, it will be better." Once more she takes his hand, and Odo's look is one of pure revelation as the two of them slowly melt together, completely, until they become a single column of shimmering liquid.
A bit later, Kira enters the garden, and addresses the scenery, in case Odo is practicing his shapeshifting there. She says that she is going to try to find the source of the interference; if she can't find and neutralize it, she will have to leave to search for Sisko and the others. "I'm really glad you made it home, Odo," she adds, softly. "I know everything's going to work out just fine...I don't believe it. I'm talking to a tree. You're probably not even here, are you?" Not hearing any answer, she walks away and goes under the world's surface, where she finds a large metal door embedded in the rockface, with a complicated-looking lock system. "Why would shapeshifters need a door?" she wonders to herself. The computer can't scan the area due to interference.
O'Brien and Bashir sit together at Quark's, where the Ferengi is in a very good mood, having overheard two Jem'Hadar saying that the peace agreement is about to be finalized. Quark now thinks the Jem'Hadar aren't so bad, especially since it turns out they like Dabo. "You see, I have a dream. A dream that one day all people -- human, Jem'Hadar, Ferengi Cardassians -- will stand together in peace, around my Dabo tables." "You're a real visionary, Quark," says Bashir. Just then O'Brien is jolted from behind by a Jem'Hadar officer, who claims O'Brien is in his way, and doesn't like his sarcastic apology. A fight breaks out. "Gentlemen, please, remember my vision?" pleads Quark, but the combatants ignore him.
Bashir goes to O'Brien's aid, and is nearly choked to death for his trouble. Then Eddington enters to break it up, and lets the Jem'Hadar walk out, much to Bashir's outraged consternation. "Our orders are to give the Jem'Hadar a wide berth," Eddington explains. He's aware of station regulations, but says the Jem'Hadar are not, and they have to allow them time to get used to them. "So in the meantime, they're free to do whatever they want?" Bashir demands. "Remember that before you get into another brawl with them," Eddington says.
Having dinner with his son, Sisko is preoccupied, barely touching his food. The negotiations are taking place behind closed doors, and he feels left out of the loop. Dax then storms in, holding a PADD with orders saying she's been transferred to the Lexington as science officer. And Bashir calls, saying he needs to talk to him about the Jem'Hadar.
A little later, Sisko bursts into the room where Admiral Necheyev is in a meeting with Borath. "I want to know why my science officer's been transferred without my consent. I want to know why my Chief of Operations is lying in the infirmary while the Jem'Hadar who beat him is free to walk the station. And I want to know why the Federation is willing to risk a war with the Romulans to form an alliance with a group of people that we hardly know and barely trust!" Borath tells the admiral she should tell Sisko what he wants to know. "The Federation," the admiral says, "is pulling out of this sector. All Starfleet personnel currently stationed on DS9 will be reassigned to other posts. Yourself included." Bajor will be the responsibility of the Dominion, which will be running this station. "And you're telling me that the Bajorans have agreed to this?" Sisko asks incredulously; Borath says they're confident Bajor will not object.
"And if they do object, what then?" Sisko asks. "You send in the Jem'Hadar?" "The Jem'Hadar are used only against our enemies," Borath tells him soothingly. The Dominion will protect Bajor, and the wormhole as well. "It's the price of peace, Benjamin," Necheyev tells him. Sisko smolders. "Well, if you ask me, the price is too damned high! What is the Federation supposed to get out of all this?" "Our friendship," says Borath. "Isn't that enough?" Necheyev adds that Sisko will be promoted to Captain, but Sisko isn't interested. He wants to speak to the Federation negotiating team before the treaty is signed. However, Necheyev tells him it's too late: the treaty was signed late this afternoon. "It's the beginning of a new era, Commander," Borath announces. "And you helped make it possible. Congratulations."
In the Changelings' garden, Kira watches an Arbazan vulture land nearby and morph. It's Odo, looking absolutely radiant with happiness. He just now actually felt what it was like to be the bird, and Kira smiles as she listens to him rhapsodize about the experience. "I'm so happy for you," she tells him sincerely. "So, I guess this means you'll be staying here a while." Odo finally comes down from the clouds long enough to look at her and realize that this could be the last time he sees her for a long time. "I've enjoyed working with you, Major," he says solemnly. "I've enjoyed working with you, too," Kira says with feeling. "But before we say good-bye, I need your help one last time." She tells him she has found the power source, behind a door. Odo is as puzzled as she is; his people have no need for doors. Both of them wonder who could be using it.
Garak joins a brooding Sisko at the replimat. "I just wanted to tell you how impressed I've been with you during these past two years. You've run this station with strength, dignity and compassion. Well done." Sisko thanks him. There are rumors that Bajor has formed a pact with the Romulans against the Dominion and their allies. "So much for my peace mission," says Sisko wryly. Garak tells him that he shares his feelings about this treaty. "I've thought about it a great deal, and the only explanation I can find is that our leaders have simply gone insane." But neither one of them can do anything about it, the tailor adds meaningfully. "After all, you have your orders and as for me, well, I wouldn't dream of opposing the wishes of the Central Command. Pity." Sisko agrees. "Mr. Garak, I never knew we thought so much alike." "Life is full of surprises, Commander," Garak says.
Suddenly, they look up at a commotion further down the Promenade. T'Rul rushes up and heads for Sisko and Garak, pursued by two Jem'Hadar soldiers, one of whom fires on her. The Romulan falls dead into Sisko's arms, and Sisko attacks the soldiers. However, he is soon knocked cold.
A bit later, Dax, Bashir, and Garak enter the security office, where Eddington is sitting at Odo's desk. As Dax and Bashir argue with him, Garak knocks Eddington out with a hypospray. "I'm sorry, but we are pressed for time," he explains. He and Bashir hide Eddington while Dax goes to get Sisko out from his holding cell. Garak admits that "after years of hemming women's dresses, a little action is a welcome change of pace." "I hope you'll still feel the same way an hour from now," Sisko notes, having just been sprung.
Dax tells him O'Brien is waiting for them at the Rio Grande with a full complement of photon torpedoes. She has anticipated that Sisko wants to make sure the Dominion stays on their side of the galaxy, and the only way to do that is to collapse the entrance to the wormhole. "Well, I guess this means the end of our Starfleet careers," says Bashir. But Garak points out practically that "it's a little foolish to worry about your careers at a time like this, when there's a good chance we're all about to be killed."
Odo examines the door Kira found, which looks to him as if it's meant to keep something in rather than keep people out. He morphs his hand into the locking mechanism.
Sisko and company are racing to the runabout pad when they are stopped by two Jem'Hadar, and Garak instantly turns his phaser on Sisko. "I'm glad to see the plan is going as scheduled," he says smoothly to a Jem'Hadar, who asks what plan. "You mean no one told you? You see, I pretend to be their friend, and then I shoot you." Whereupon he does just that. But then Garak himself is hit by a phaser blast from another team of Jem'Hadar. "Doctor, I'm afraid I won't be able to have lunch with you today," he says weakly, and dies. Sisko drags Bashir away as Dax covers them.
They make it to the runabout, and leave the station; as they prepare to launch torpedoes, Necheyev hails them and orders them to stand down and return to the station. Borath threatens to send the Jem'Hadar after them. "Go right ahead," says Sisko. "But you better warn them not to expect any reinforcements for about seventy years." The runabout dives at the wormhole, which opens, and the torpedoes are launched. The wormhole explodes into blinding white light.
Odo gets the door open; inside, he and Kira find three Jem'Hadar soldiers with weapons at the ready. They are led to a room inside the cavern, and are astonished to see their missing crewmates -- Sisko, Dax, Bashir, O'Brien, and T'Rul -- all unconscious and hooked up to alien devices attached to their heads. Borath is there, and bids them come in. He explains that "we" are conducting an experiment, "to see how they'd respond to an attempt by the Dominion to gain a foothold into the Alpha Quadrant. We were curious to see how much they'd be willing to sacrifice in order to avoid a war." Kira asks what they've found out. "Unfortunately, they're proving to be just as stubborn as I feared," Borath says. "I'm glad to hear it," Odo says, and Borath looks at him. "You are? Well, that is a problem. But, thankfully, it's not one I have to solve."
"But I do," says the female shapeshifter, who has entered the room. She admits calmly to Odo that yes, she knew about this. "You belong to the Dominion, don't you?" says Kira. "Belong to it?" the female says. "Major, the Changelings are the Dominion." Odo stares at her in stunned realization. "You're the Founders."
"Ironic, isn't it?" the Founder says. "The hunted now control the destinies of hundreds of other races." They created the Dominion "because what you can control can't hurt you. So, many years ago we set ourselves the task of imposing order on a chaotic universe." Odo asks how they can justify so many deaths. "The solids have always been a threat to us," claims the Founder. "That's the only justification we need." "But these solids have never harmed you," says Odo. "They travel the galaxy in order to expand their knowledge. Just as you once did." "The solids are nothing like us," the Founder maintains.
And Odo looks at her with sadness as he realizes what he must do. "No, I suppose they're not. And neither am I. I've devoted my life to the pursuit of justice. But justice means nothing to you, does it?" The Founder tells him, "It is not justice you desire, Odo, but order, the same as we do. And we can help you satisfy that desire in ways the solids never could. This will all become clear to you once you've taken your place in the Great Link."
"No," says Odo. "I admit this Link of yours is appealing. But you see, I already have a Link, with these people." He orders Borath to remove the devices from Sisko and the others, and bring them their combadges. "They're leaving, and so am I." The Founder looks at him in genuine sorrow. "It has taken you many years to find your way back home. Are you really willing to leave it again so soon?" "Unless you intend to stop me," Odo says. She looks shocked. "No Changeling has ever harmed another." Odo tells her implacably, "Whatever you do to them, you're going to have to do to me."
The Founder actually backs down, and tells Borath that the prisoners are free to go, though she promises Odo that next time they will not be so generous. Sisko and the others wake up, groggy and confused to find themselves here instead of on the runabout, or dead in T'Rul's case. Borath tells them their ship is in orbit, and they may beam up whenever they're ready. Odo tells Sisko to return to the Defiant, and Kira adds that she'll make sure Odo gets back to the ship. Finally, Sisko acquiesces, and the five former prisoners beam up.
Odo walks with the female Founder back to the shores of the Great Link. She hopes one day he will return and take his rightful place in the Dominion. "Your Link to the solids won't last. You will always be an outsider." But, hard though it is, Odo has accepted his decision to reject his people. "Being an outsider isn't so bad," he tells her. "It gives one a unique perspective. It's a pity you've forgotten that."
The Founder thinks perhaps she'll visit him one day. "The Alpha Quadrant seems wracked with chaos. It could use some order." But she can wait until "the time is right." She looks at him with regret. "We will miss you, Odo. But you will miss us even more." With that, she becomes part of the Great Link once more.
Kira joins Odo as he gazes out at the home he has found and then lost again. She takes his hand, looking into his eyes, and hits his combadge. "Kira to Defiant. Two to beam up."
The producers had wanted to bring back Eris for this episode, but due to Molly Hagan's unavailability, the character of Borath was used instead.