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Tears of the Prophets

Production no.: 550
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by: Allan Kroeker
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: June 13, 1998
Andrew J. Robinson .....
Jeffrey Combs .............
Marc Alaimo ...............
David Birney ...............
J.G. Hertzler ................
Aron Eisenberg ............
Casey Biggs ................
Barry Jenner ...............
James Darren ..............
Michelle Horn ..............
Bob Kirsh ....................
Admiral Ross
Vic Fontaine

Another Gratitude Festival has just ended on DS9, where the Orb of Contemplation sits in the Bajoran shrine. Sisko had insisted on the festival being held despite the circumstances. "War or no war, we have a lot to be grateful for." After he leaves the Promenade to take part in a ceremony, Odo approaches Kira to try to explain his side of things: Kira is angry with him for having arrested a vedek who was fundraising on the Promenade without a license. She's not in a mood to discuss it, and a defeated Odo finally leaves her alone.

In the wardroom, Admiral Ross stands before Sisko and announces that he is being awarded the Christopher Pike Medal of Honor, in recognition of his "remarkable leadership and meritorious conduct against the enemy, and in particular for personal acts of bravery displayed during the battle to retake Deep Space Nine." Everyone else looks on proudly as Sisko accepts the accolade. After congratulations are given, Ross has some words alone with Sisko: Starfleet has finally decided to go on the offensive against the Dominion. And they have chosen Sisko to plan the invasion of Cardassia.

Later, Dax and Worf finally come down from the holosuite, having stayed in there past their allotted time. They were talking. "It is a private matter," says Worf. Dax smiles. "We're thinking about having a baby!" Worf looks pained. "It was a private matter." After Worf is called away, Bashir reminds Dax that he had told her when she and Worf married that it would not be easy for them to have a child together. Quark pipes up that he's afraid the kid would look like his father. "Well, I hope she does," declares Dax, flouncing off. Quark and Bashir both look crestfallen. "A baby -- do you have any idea what this means?" says Bashir. Quark nods forlornly. "That their marriage is going to last a lot longer than we thought."

Sisko has made his choice. The Chin'toka system, he tells Ross and Martok, has only five squadrons of Jem'Hadar attack ships defending it. "It appears you've found the weak spot we've been looking for," observes Martok, who isn't happy at the prospect of having to convince the Romulans to join them. But Ross points out that there's little chance of success without their help. "We will succeed," Martok says. "Mark my words. By this time next year, the three of us will drink bloodwine in the halls of Cardassia's Central Command."

On Cardassia, Weyoun warns Damar that he's spreading their forces too thinly. Damar has sent more ships to the Romulan front, which Weyoun believes has left Chin'toka vulnerable. "Not as vulnerable as you think," replies Damar, who shows Weyoun the unmanned orbital weapon platforms, protected by regenerative forcefields, that are being deployed at that system. This mollifies Weyoun. Then a glinn enters with news that they have a problem.

It's Dukat, who enters the room, much to the surprise of Weyoun and Damar. "Isn't anyone going to welcome me home?" He assures Damar that he doesn't hold him responsible for Ziyal's death. "You may have fired the phaser, but it was Benjamin Sisko who forced your hand. And that's why I'm here. The time has come for me to take my revenge against the good captain." Weyoun is dismissive. "We're in the middle of a life-and-death struggle for the control of the entire Alpha Quadrant, and all you care about is quenching your petty thirst for revenge. You haven't changed a bit, have you?" "On the contrary," announces Dukat, "I'm a new man. I no longer have a need for conquest or power. I'm far beyond all that. I exist in a state of complete clarity. A clarity I intend to share with the universe."

Getting impatient, Weyoun orders him removed, but Damar intercedes, asking Dukat what he wants. "To give you what you desire above all else," Dukat replies. "The Alpha Quadrant." He's looking for a certain Bajoran artifact that was "appropriated" during the Occupation. "Let's just say, it will make it possible for Dominion reinforcements to come through that wormhole and destroy Captain Benjamin Sisko and the Federation once and for all."

The invasion force starts to assemble at DS9, and a meeting is held in which Romulan Senator Letant expresses his skepticism, and Martok accuses him of cowardice. The others work to convince the Romulans of the soundness and timing of the plan. Sisko argues that the Alpha Quadrant defenders have to force the enemy to retreat. "I know it won't be easy. I know that we will pay a heavy price for every system we take from them. But, in the end, that's the only way to drive the Dominion out of the Alpha Quadrant. And that is the goal we all share. Klingons, humans and Romulans."

Bashir and Quark have both been gripped by melancholy ever since hearing of Dax's plan to have a baby with Worf. Together they drown their sorrows and listen to Vic Fontaine singing "Here's to the Losers". Vic sympathetically guesses the cause of their mood. "It's simple. You take one beautiful, happily married filly, add the possibility of her giving birth to a foal, and what's it leave you? A couple of lovesick stallions that never got out of the starting gate." He encourages them to move on to "greener pastures". "Lucky for you, space is big. There are a lot of other nice girls out there, with or without spots. Capice?" Bashir and Quark leave feeling marginally better. "Nice guys, but absolutely clueless," Vic remarks to himself.

At dinner with his father, Jake deduces that the Romulans have agreed to the invasion. "So when do we leave?" he asks. He is a journalist, after all. Sisko, of course, is against letting him come along, but Jake then says he'll go with Martok and get a Klingon perspective. Finally Sisko gives in: Jake can come on the Defiant. "Don't worry, Dad," his son says after they embrace. "We'll watch out for each other."

Suddenly Sisko is in Ops, facing Worf -- only it's not Worf. "The Sisko is of Bajor." "It is where he belongs," intones another Prophet in the form of Martok. An Admiral Ross Prophet is there as well as a Letant one. Through all the typical scenery changes and enigmatic pronouncements, the Prophets tell him it's dangerous to walk a different path. "The Sisko must not leave the chosen path." "The Sisko is of Bajor." "It is where he belongs." "Why is it dangerous to leave?" asks Sisko. "And how will it affect Bajor? You have to tell me!" He gets no answer to that before the vision ends.

Ross briefs Sisko, Martok, and Letant on what Starfleet Intelligence has discovered about the orbital weapon platforms being deployed at Chin'toka. They are not yet operational, but they will be in two or three days. It's clear that the Alpha Quadrant alliance must launch the invasion before that time; they will leave first thing tomorrow.

After the meeting, Ross asks Sisko what's troubling him. Sisko confesses that he had a vision from the Prophets last night, and that they told him not to go to Cardassia. There was no concrete reason given, just that it was dangerous. Ross cuts to the chase, asking if Sisko is asking permission to stay behind; Sisko replies that it's not about what he wants, but what the Prophets want. "That's not a good enough answer," Ross says. "Not from a Starfleet captain." "The Prophets don't see me as a Starfleet captain," Sisko explains. "They see me as their Emissary." "That's the problem, isn't it?" Ross replies. "For the past six years, you've tried to be both. And up to now, I've been patient, I've indulged you, I've gone out on a limb for you many times. But this is it. You've got to make a decision. You're either the Emissary or a Starfleet captain. You can't be both." After a moment, Sisko tells him he'll be on the Defiant at 0500.

The enemy has learned of the combined fleet massing at DS9, but Damar insists they have nothing to worry about; the weapons platforms will be online in time. Dukat comes in at that moment with an ancient box containing the artifact. "Behold -- the key to victory." As the others watch skeptically, Dukat takes out the little figurine and sets out candles, explaining that he has been studying the ancient Bajoran texts. "The sad truth is, we wasted our time fighting the Bajorans, when we should have been fighting their gods...You see, we have an ally we never knew we had." Chanting, he snaps the figurine in two. An energy vortex swirls out and enters Dukat's body, slamming him against the wall. When he opens his eyes, they have turned blood-red. Dukat is now possessed by a pah-wraith.

Kira enters Odo's office to tell him that she'll be leaving with the task force in the morning. Odo blurts out an apology about the vedek, and is surprised to learn she's no longer angry about that. For her part, Kira is nonplused when she realizes that Odo had thought their argument signaled the end of their relationship. She still thinks he was wrong, but she tells him she wants to spend her last night on the station with him. They kiss. Relieved, Odo holds her hand. "You know, Nerys, observing humanoid relationships and being in one are very different things."

The time of departure arrives, and Dax, who is being left in command of the station, sees the others off. Kira tells Dax that she said a prayer for her and Worf at the shrine last night, about their having a baby. Dax is touched. She tells Worf they have a lot of "work" to do when he gets back. "I wish I was going with you." "You are, in here," he tells her, indicating his chest. Dax smiles. "I love it when you get romantic." They kiss passionately, then he leaves. And with Garak on board as well, to help liberate his homeworld, Sisko gives Nog the order to move out.

The Alpha Quadrant forces are nearing Chin'toka, but the weapons platforms are not yet online. The battle begins with the Klingons engaging a wing of Jem'Hadar, who slam their fighters into the Klingon ships, inflicting considerable damage and buying time to get the weapons platforms operational. The Federation and Romulan forces open fire on the platforms. Several are destroyed, but the others then come to life, letting loose a massive barrage of photon torpedoes which find their marks, blowing several Federation and Romulan ships to dust.

Weyoun is well pleased, though he's not sure of Dukat's claim that the pah-wraiths will make it possible for the Dominion to bring reinforcements through the wormhole. "All this talk of gods strikes me as nothing more than superstitious nonsense." "You believe that the Founders are gods, don't you?" Damar points out, but Weyoun declares that that's different. "The Founders are gods." Wisely, Damar shuts up.

The attackers are unable to penetrate the shields of the weapon platforms. But Garak has noticed that none of the platforms has a power generator. This means that they must be controlled from a central source. O'Brien goes to work on a way to find that source and destroy it.

Back on DS9, Bashir tells Dax that the enzymes he's given her are working, which means it's possible she and Worf can have a baby. Dax is overjoyed, and hugs him, telling him what a good friend he is. Before going to work, she will stop by the Bajoran shrine. As he watches her go, Bashir genuinely feels glad for her.

Dax enters the shrine, standing before the ark of the Orb of Contemplation. "I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly," she says to the air. "I don't come here a lot. To be perfectly honest, I feel more comfortable thinking of you as wormhole aliens. But Kira believes you're much more than that. Maybe she's right, I don't know. But if you are Prophets, and you're listening, I just want to say -- " Just then she hears something, and turns to see Dukat materializing there.

It happens very quickly. Before Dax can draw her phaser, Dukat reaches out his hand, and the pah-wraith within him shoots out a blast of energy. Dax is caught squarely in it. It raises her off the floor for several seconds as she convulses helplessly in its grip. Then, it slams her unmoving body down. Dukat steps past her and opens the orb ark. The same energy bursts out again to pierce the orb, which brightens, then goes dark. Dukat collapses, the wraith having left him. And outside the station, the wormhole opens -- then implodes.

Light years away, on the bridge of a ship engaged in heavy battle, Sisko is hit by a wave of inexplicable weakness, and staggers backward. "I think I felt the Prophets reaching out to me. Something's wrong." O'Brien tells him he's found the power generator controlling the platforms, but Sisko is in no shape to give orders. Kira takes over while Jake takes his father to his quarters. "Don't worry, Captain. We'll get the job done."

Dukat gets to his feet, looking down at Dax's broken body. "I know this is small comfort, but I never intended you any harm." He then taps a Dominion transporter device on his arm and dematerializes.

The battle still rages, the invasion task force losing more and more ships to the weapons platforms. The Defiant approaches its target, a small moon, and fires, but its phasers dissipate as they strike the moon's shields. O'Brien, however, comes up with a very creative solution. He can use their deflector array to imprint a Federation warp signature on the generator's energy matrix, fooling the platforms into firing on their own power source. Kira gives him the nod. After some more evasive maneuvers, O'Brien's trick is ready. Suddenly the platforms begin redirecting their fire at the moon, which explodes. All the remaining platforms stop firing.

Martok immediately makes plans to transport ground troops to the system's two planets. Just then O'Brien tells Kira, "Major, we're receiving a priority-one transmission from Deep Space Nine. It's from Julian." A look of dread comes over Kira's face. Somehow she knows the news isn't good.

Weyoun is livid. "This is a disaster!" he shouts at Dukat, who is on his stolen shuttle. "Federation soldiers have landed on Cardassian soil. And now you're telling me the wormhole is gone? And with it any chance of getting reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant." Dukat maintains that they've still achieved a great victory. "The Bajoran people have been cut off from their gods, perhaps forever." "How does that help us?" Damar demands. "Because Sisko has been cut off from the Prophets as well," Dukat tells him. "And without the Prophets, he's just another Starfleet captain." That doesn't make Weyoun feel any better, but Dukat asserts that it will.

The Defiant has rushed back to DS9, where the air is solemn as Worf and O'Brien make a beeline for the infirmary. A little Bajoran girl, Sahgi, stops Sisko. "Emissary! My mother says all the orbs are dark, that the Prophets have abandoned us. You have to find them, Emissary. You have to ask them to come back." "I will try," Sisko manages. Shaken, he heads to the infirmary with Jake and Kira. There, O'Brien, Odo, and Quark are waiting.

Finally Bashir emerges from surgery, his face grave. "I managed to save the Dax symbiont. We have to get it to Trill as soon as possible. There was nothing I could do for Jadzia." Everyone is shocked by the grim news of the loss of their friend. Sisko goes in, and finds Dax clinging to life while Worf holds her hand.

"I'm sorry," Dax whispers to her husband, who tells her to save her strength. "Our baby would have been so beautiful." With that, she dies. Worf lets loose a Klingon death howl, and begins chanting in Klingon.

The next day, just before the funeral, Sisko enters the cargo bay, where Jadzia's body rests in a casket adorned with the Federation banner. He has to talk to her one last time. "When I first met you, you told me that my relationship with Jadzia Dax wouldn't be any different than the one I had with Curzon Dax. Things didn't work out that way. I had a hell of a lot of fun with both of you. But Curzon was my mentor. You -- you were my friend. And I am going to miss you. I should have listened to the Prophets and not gone to Cardassia. Then maybe you'd still be alive." In anguish, he asks, "Why aren't you still here, Jadzia? I need you to help me sort things out. Something's happened to the Prophets, something that's made them turn their backs on Bajor, and I'm responsible. But I don't know what to do about it. How to make it right again. I've failed as the Emissary, and for the first time in my life, I've failed in my duty as a Starfleet officer. I need time to think, clear my head. But I can't do it here. Not on the station. Not now. I need to get away, and find a way to figure out how to make things right again. I have to make things right again, Jadzia. I have to."

Later, Sisko leaves his office, carrying a shoulder bag, telling Kira the station is all hers. He is taking a leave of absence, and he's not sure exactly how long he'll be gone. His officers assure him they'll be waiting. Then Sisko turns to his son. "Let's go home, Jake." The two of them descend in the turbolift.

Kira walks into the captain's office, and looks at the desk. "I was afraid of that," she tells Odo. "He's not sure he's coming back...His baseball. He took it with him."

On a warm Louisiana night, Sisko sits at the back of his father's restaurant, cleaning clams. He'll be in in a little while, he tells Jake. Then he reaches for another clam.

  • The original title of this episode was "Tears of the Gods".
  • This was Terry Farrell's last episode. Like all the original regular cast members, she had signed up for six years; when Paramount decided to make a seventh season, Farrell was the only one with whom the producers were not able to reach an agreement to return.
  • The original storyline had involved Dukat stealing an Orb, killing the Prophets with a chroniton bomb, and Jadzia sacrificing herself to stop him.
  • Worf's mourning chant for Jadzia translates as follows: "Only Qo'Nos endures/All we can hope for is a glorious death/Only Qo'Nos endures/In death there is victory and honor".