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Treachery, Faith and the Great River

Production no.: 556
Teleplay by: David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
Story by: Philip Kim
Directed by: Steve Posey
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: October 31, 1998
Jeffrey Combs ........
Casey Biggs ...........
J.G. Hertzler ...........
Aron Eisenberg .......
Max Grodénchik .....
Salome Jens ...........
Weyouns 6 and 7
Female Changeling

Odo gives Kira a soothing gelatinous massage after defeating her at springball. Kira is thinking of sleeping for two or three days, and Odo tells her he should be back by the time she wakes up. He received a coded message from Gul Russol this morning. Both of them had thought Russol to have been executed when Cardassia joined the Dominion; however, it seems they were wrong. They know it may be a trap, but Odo says that Russol was his most reliable Cardassian informant, and he has to be sure. "I owe him that much." The message had said to come alone. Kira tries to put her worries aside. "This just gives me more time to work on my backhand."

The Promenade is closed for repairs; Quark is getting antsy, and threatens O'Brien with an official protest. Then Sisko arrives, wanting to know when O'Brien can repair the gravity net on the Defiant. O'Brien, overburdened as usual, says it'll be about three weeks before he can replace the graviton stabilizer. "You have three days," Sisko tells him, though O'Brien says the sector quartermaster told him it'll take him three weeks to get them a new stabilizer. "That is your problem, Chief," the captain says. He's leaving for a conference on Bajor, and wants the stabilizer replaced by the time he gets back.

After Sisko is gone, Nog comments, "I don't mean to sound negative, but I don't see how you're going to get the Defiant ready in three days." Neither does O'Brien. Out of the blue, Nog asks the name of the quartermaster; O'Brien tells him it's Chief Willoughby, but Nog means his first name. He also wonders if Willoughby is married. "What does that have to do with getting us a graviton stabilizer?" O'Brien asks. "Everything," Nog tells him. "This Chief Willoughby must get hundreds of supply requisitions every day. He can't possibly fill them all. So he puts everyone on a waiting list...The secret is getting him to put you at the top of that list. And the best way to do that is to form a relationship with him." O'Brien says he doesn't have time for that. "I do," declares Nog. "I can get you that stabilizer, Chief...Leave everything to me." Without much choice, O'Brien agrees. "All right, but don't do anything I wouldn't do."

Odo makes his way through a cavern underneath the surface of a moon. A figure steps out of the shadows, but it's not Russol -- it's Weyoun. "Founder," Weyoun says reverentially. "It is an honor to stand in your presence once again." He explains that Cardassian Central Command had Russol put to death almost a year ago. "I regret having to deceive you, but it was the only way I could think of to get you here." Odo asks what he wants. "To serve you," Weyoun replies. "I no longer consider myself a member of the Dominion...Do with me as you wish. I place my fate entirely in your hands."

Understandably skeptical, Odo asks him why he's apparently defecting from the Dominion. Weyoun says he'll tell him everything, but first they have to get aboard the runabout, since the Jem'Hadar are hunting for him. "I realized my place is with you...Let's just say I left Cardassia because my life was in danger." From everyone, he says unhelpfully. "Aren't you being a little paranoid?" Odo asks, to which Weyoun replies logically, "Of course I'm paranoid -- everyone's trying to kill me." The war was supposed to have been won months ago, he adds. "And when things go wrong, someone has to take the blame. And this time, it's me." He has information that can help the Federation win, and Odo can have it just for the asking; for example, the exact coordinates of a new Ketracel-white storage facility.

Though he's still suspicious, Odo decides it's an offer he can't refuse, and has the Rio Grande beam both of them aboard. He puts Weyoun in the co-pilot's seat, where he can keep an eye on him, and gets something straight with him: "I'm not a god, I'm a security officer. As far as I'm concerned, you're just another prisoner." "You have no idea how much it hurts me to hear you say that," Weyoun replies sadly.

O'Brien is finishing up his work on the Promenade when Nog approaches. "Edgar" (Chief Willoughby) appreciates the wine O'Brien (or, actually, Nog) sent him. But he's out of stabilizers, and won't be getting a new shipment for another week. "That's it, I'm doomed," sighs O'Brien. However, Nog says that according to "Eddie", the USS Sentinel has an extra stabilizer, which they might be willing to trade. O'Brien decides it wouldn't hurt to try, as long as Nog uses some discretion. There's one other thing Nog needs, though: O'Brien's authorization code, for the shipping orders. Reluctantly, O'Brien gives it to him. "Stop looking so worried, Chief," Nog assures him. "I've got it all under control."

Ten hours into their journey, Odo has had enough of Weyoun's soulful gaze. "I'm sorry. It's just such an honor to be sitting here with a -- security officer," the Vorta amends quickly as Odo glares at him. They are hailed from Cardassia; Odo tries to scramble the com frequencies, unsuccessfully. He then finds himself looking at Damar -- and another Weyoun. "Founder," says the Weyoun on the monitor. "It's an honor to speak with you again."

Neither of the two Weyouns is the one that Odo has known, it turns out: Weyoun 5 was killed a month ago, in a transporter accident which is still under investigation (from the looks exchanged, it's clear that Damar is under suspicion). He was replaced by Weyoun 6, the one who is now with Odo in the runabout. However, this Weyoun was deemed defective, and ordered to terminate himself while Weyoun 7, the one on the monitor, was activated. Instead, Weyoun 6 has now defected; he refuses to trigger the termination implant in his brain stem, even to prove his loyalty to the Founders. "The only Founder I'm loyal to is Odo, and he wants me alive," Weyoun 6 states defiantly.

"You're a dead man whether you activate the implant or not," Damar says. "That ship will never make it back to Deep Space Nine." For his part, Odo has no intention of handing over a prisoner, though Weyoun 7 says he can't be responsible for the consequences. "That's an empty threat," says 6. "He wouldn't dare harm a Founder." "Maybe he won't, but I will," declares Damar. "Think it over, shapeshifter. One of our attack ships is on the way." On that ominous note, the transmission ends.

Weyoun 6 has some explaining to do. "From the moment I was activated," he confesses to Odo, "I felt this war was wrong. Please don't misunderstand me, I still worship the Founders, but I believe their obsession with conquering the Alpha Quadrant is misguided. It's time they learned to live in peace with the solids. I know it's not my place to question the Founders. Maybe Weyoun Seven is right. I am defective." "On the contrary," Odo remarks. "What you're saying about the war, about the Founders, makes perfect sense." Weyoun sincerely thanks Odo for protecting him, but Odo insists he would do the same for any prisoner. "Of course you would," says Weyoun with certainty. "You're a god."

Meanwhile, his successor is both troubled and furious at the situation. He also hasn't forgotten the "little matter" of Weyoun 5's death, though Damar claims innocence. What has Weyoun 7 especially concerned is the possibility that if the Jem'Hadar attack the runabout, Odo will be killed along with Weyoun 6. "We can't kill a Founder. I forbid it." Damar points out, however, that if Weyoun 6 isn't stopped, he will reveal Dominion secrets to the Federation, and they could lose the war. "I will not stand by and let all of our plans, all of our dreams for the future, end in defeat just to spare the life of one shapeshifter."

"I don't believe the Jem'Hadar are going to fire on Odo, even if they're ordered to," remarks Weyoun 7. But Damar suggests slyly that the Jem'Hadar don't need to know Odo is on the runabout. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Weyoun 7 supposes this might work. "But if the Founders ever found out that we were responsible for Odo's death -- " "Who's going to tell them?" Damar asks. Finally, reluctantly, 7 agrees. After all, "Odo doesn't even consider himself a Founder." Damar smiles victoriously and takes another drink of kanar.

O'Brien enters Ops to find himself in the doghouse. The captain's desk is missing from his office, and Kira is steamed. O'Brien has no idea where the desk went, but unfortunately his authorization code is on the order. He realizes that Nog must have traded the desk for the graviton stabilizer.

When O'Brien has a word with Nog, the ensign assures him that he only loaned the desk to someone: Al Lorenzo, chief of operations on Decos Prime. It seems that Lorenzo likes to collect photos of himself sitting behind the desks of famous Starfleet captains; but since he couldn't come to DS9, Nog sent Sisko's desk to him. In return, Lorenzo is sending an induction modulator, which is needed by the USS Musashi; the Musashi will trade a phaser emitter for it; and in turn, they can trade the phaser emitter to the Sentinel, for the graviton stabilizer. O'Brien is alarmed to learn that Nog has made all these deals based on a mere rumor.

"You have to have faith, Chief," Nog tells him, unruffled. He proceeds to introduce O'Brien to the Ferengi concept of the "Great Material Continuum". "You see, there are millions upon millions of worlds in the universe. Each one filled with too much of one thing and not enough of another. And the Great Continuum flows through them all like a mighty river, from have to want, and back again. And if we navigate the Continuum with skill and grace, our ship will be filled with everything our hearts desire." "Right now, I'll settle for a stabilizer and the captain's desk," says O'Brien. Nog smiles with supreme confidence. "The river will provide." "If it doesn't sink us first," O'Brien can't help muttering.

On the runabout, Weyoun 6 wakes from a nightmare that reflects his anxiety about what he's doing. Odo finds it very understandable on a personal level. "It isn't easy to turn your back on your own people. Believe me, I know." Weyoun asks if Starfleet might allow Odo to conduct his debriefing, which would make it easier for him; Odo says possibly. Suddenly an alarm sounds. They are under attack from a Jem'Hadar ship. Weyoun is incredulous: "But the Jem'Hadar would never obey an order to harm a Founder." He realizes that they don't know who they're firing at; and all the frequencies are jammed, meaning they've been ordered not to communicate. Making a difficult decision, Weyoun directs Odo to get above the Jem'Hadar ship, and fire on their dorsal field junction, where their shields are weakest. The Jem'Hadar ship explodes.

"Congratulations," says Odo. "You just saved our lives." "And murdered loyal servants of the Dominion," Weyoun says sadly. "May the Founders forgive me." This gives Odo an opportunity to ask something he's wondered for a long time. "Has it ever occurred to you that the reason you believe the Founders are gods is because that's what they want you to believe? That they built it into your genetic code?" But Weyoun simply gazes at him worshipfully. "Of course they did. That's what gods do. After all, why be a god if there's no one to worship you?" Obviously, there's no swaying him from his belief.

An aggravated O'Brien asks Rom where Nog is; Rom doesn't know, but Nog has left the station in a runabout, using O'Brien's authorization code, which the Chief now heartily regrets having given him. "How could he do this to me? How could he leave me adrift, mid-river without a paddle?" Rom agrees that the Continuum can be very treacherous. "Tell me about it," O'Brien says glumly. "I suppose the good news is, with Nog gone, nothing else can go missing." Meanwhile, in the cargo bay: "Where are my cases of bloodwine?!" roars Martok, tossing an empty crate to the floor. Worf promises to find out.

Damar wonders how a runabout could destroy a Jem'Hadar fighter, but Weyoun 7 realizes that his predecessor must have helped Odo. They will send more ships after them. "Remember to tell them to fire on sight," orders Weyoun. "Fire at whom?" It's the Female Changeling, her face looking strangely desiccated. Damar tells her they've spotted a Federation runabout spying in one of their systems. "Are you feeling all right?" he asks her. The Female Changeling shifts her features to appear smooth once more, claiming she's fine, then orders the temperature lowered by 15 degrees. Weyoun 7 assures her that it's only a matter of time before 6 is captured. After she leaves, Damar comments on her parched face, but Weyoun doesn't want to discuss it. "She's not the Founder you should be worried about."

Weyoun 6 finishes a meal in the runabout, noting that he enjoyed the textures. The Vorta sense of taste is limited, he explains; they only really enjoy kava nuts and rippleberries from their homeworld. "It's the Founders' way of making sure we remember our past." He proceeds to tell Odo the story of how the Vorta were created by the Founders. The Vorta began as timid, forest-dwelling, apelike creatures; one day, a family of them aided a wounded Changeling who was being hunted by solids. "And in exchange for saving his life, the Changeling promised the Vorta that one day, we would be transformed into powerful beings. That we would become an important part of a great new empire that would stretch across the Galaxy." Odo observes that if the story is true, "it would at least prove that my people are capable of generosity and kindness."

"You care about your people very much, don't you, Odo? In spite of all that's happened between you." "Maybe I do," Odo replies quietly. "But that doesn't change the fact that they're responsible for a war that's killed millions." Weyoun looks at him gravely. "Odo, there's something you need to know. A sickness has spread throughout the Great Link. The Founders are dying."

Odo is stunned, and devastated, as Weyoun tells of how he has seen the Female Changeling starting to shrivel, and that she told him the entire Link is suffering from the disease. "If they're unable to find a cure, you'll be the last of your kind." He didn't break the news before, because he knew how much it would hurt Odo. "But at least you're not infected. The Dominion will survive...Think about it, Odo. You have an opportunity to rectify the mistakes your people have made. To build a new Dominion based on cooperation, not conquest; on peace, not war -- a new order under your leadership." Odo looks at him, hardly able to believe what he's hearing. "And what's your role going to be in this new order?" "Whatever you want it to be," Weyoun declares. "I wish only to serve you."

An alarm goes off. "All right," says Odo. "Then you can start by telling me how one runabout is going to survive an assault by four Jem'Hadar ships." He quickly decides to buy time by ducking into a Kuiper belt and hiding among the comet fragments. As they dive and weave among the chunks of ice, Weyoun observes that the Jem'Hadar will have no trouble finding them. "Not if we become the ice," says Odo. He pilots the runabout into a crevasse in one of the comets, where it nestles, its power turned off in hopes that they won't generate enough of an energy signature for the enemy's sensors to read. "We become the ice," marvels Weyoun. "Only a god could think of such a thing." "Let's just hope the Jem'Hadar give up their search before we freeze to death," says Odo grimly, but Weyoun is not afraid. "My faith will keep me warm." Odo thinks that in about an hour, he'll want to trade his faith in for a thermal blanket.

O'Brien has replaced Sisko's desk with a new one -- a smaller, white one. "I'm going to paint it," he tells Bashir, who eyes it critically. "It's the wrong shape. It's the wrong height, the wrong width. Other than that, it's perfect." O'Brien wants help, not sarcasm, but Bashir observes that the only person who can help him now is Nog. "That isn't the captain's desk," Kira says, walking in. "He's going to paint it," Bashir tells her helpfully.

Just when O'Brien thought it couldn't get any worse, Martok and Worf storm in. They take him to the cargo bay to show him the empty containers that are supposed to be holding sixteen cases of bloodwine, sent to Martok by his wife. And O'Brien's authorization code is on the order for their removal. Martok thunders that he wants the bloodwine back by tomorrow.

It has gotten very, very cold in the runabout, and Weyoun 6 is having trouble breathing. There is air enough for three more hours. "Of course, by then we'll have probably frozen to death," remarks Odo. "But you can't die," Weyoun says fervently. "You have to survive to rebuild the Dominion." An explosion rocks the little ship: the Jem'Hadar have begun destroying the comets one by one. Odo has no choice but to fire the engines back up and try to outrun them, an impossible proposition.

A phaser hit sets part of the ship on fire, and Odo tells Weyoun there's an extinguisher behind him. Weyoun hesitates; when Odo asks what he's waiting for, he replies, "I live only to serve you." After putting out the fire, he unexpectedly works the com system. In answer to his transmission, Weyoun 7 and Damar appear on the monitor. "All right, call off those ships," 6 orders. 7 asks why should he. "Because you don't need them anymore." With that, 6 applies pressure to two spots, behind his ear and under his chin.

"I'm glad to see you've come to your senses," 7 smiles. Putting the ship on autopilot, Odo kneels beside 6 as he sinks to the floor, asking what he's done. "I've saved your life, and the Dominion's as well," 6 tells him. 7 explains that 6 has just activated his termination implant. "I obey the Founders in all things," says 6. "Now call off those ships!" Damar objects that 6 may have revealed important secrets, but 7 says that's a risk they'll have to take. He orders the Jem'Hadar to break off their attack, and asks Odo if he requires assistance. "I think you've done enough," says Odo. 7 bows his head. "I sincerely regret any inconvenience we may have caused you, Odo. Please have a safe and pleasant journey back to Deep Space Nine."

Just like that, it's over. Weyoun 6 observes wryly that it's not true that voluntary termination is painless. Odo offers to get him a pain suppressor, but there's only one thing Weyoun wants. "Give me your blessing." "I can't," says Odo, torn. But Weyoun clutches at him, his gaze pleading. "Please, Odo. Tell me I haven't failed. That I've served you well." "You have," Odo tells him, moved by the sacrifice Weyoun has made, by the simple devotion in his dying gaze. "And for that, you have my gratitude -- and my blessing." Gently, he holds Weyoun in his arms as the Vorta dies, a beatific smile on his face.

Like a man walking to his own execution, O'Brien walks through Ops. Captain Sisko is back, and has called for him. Ready to meet his fate, he steps into the captain's office, to find Sisko there, seated behind his desk -- the old, familiar one. Nog is there as well. "I came in this morning and found Ensign Nog polishing it," Sisko says. He hands O'Brien a maintenance request from a ship due to dock later today. As for the stabilizer, "Ensign Nog tells me you were able to get hold of one this morning." "I was?" asks O'Brien, relieved but perplexed. "I mean, I was." He tells Sisko he can have it online in about eight hours. "I plan to take the Defiant out on patrol in two," says Sisko. O'Brien knows better than to contradict him. "Two it is, sir."

Leaving the office, O'Brien remarks to Nog that he doesn't know how he did it. "I never lost faith in the Great Material Continuum," declares Nog. O'Brien smiles, feeling too good to question anything despite all he's been through in the last few days. "The river will provide." Then Martok and Worf bear down on him. "The waters just got choppy again," O'Brien notes; perhaps he's still doomed after all. But Martok hands him a bottle of bloodwine. "Consider it an apology." Worf says that Nog came back with 16 cases of 2301, a very good year, and an even better vintage than the one Martok's wife had sent. Nog puts in a word for his cousin Gant, the man to see when one is shopping for wines or spirits. "Just another sailor on the Great River," Nog explains to O'Brien after the two happy Klingons depart. He mentions that Gant has ten cases of Saurian brandy -- the captain's favorite. "What does he want for them?" asks O'Brien.

Odo has returned to DS9 without incident, and told Kira the whole story, remembering how content Weyoun looked when he died. "The last thing he saw was one of his gods smiling at him," Kira says. "If you ask me, he was a lucky man...I know to Starfleet the Prophets are nothing more than wormhole aliens. But to me, they're gods. I can't prove it. Then again, I don't have to, because my faith in them is enough. Just as Weyoun's faith in you was enough for him."

But Odo has much more than that weighing on his mind. He's worried about his people. "The Changelings are dying, and I can't help them. They're the enemy." "A very dangerous enemy," Kira agrees, sympathetically. "Now more than ever, because they're also desperate. This isn't easy for you, but you have to remember, they started this war. You didn't." "That's true," Odo concedes. He looks out at the stars. "But I know now, whichever side wins, one thing is certain. I'm going to lose."

  • Philip Kim, a production associate for the series, had pitched the story as one about Weyoun and Sisko; Weyoun wants to stop the Dominion from creating a new, badder race meant to replace the Jem'Hadar. After Sisko helps destroy the breeding facility, it turns out that the new race was really meant to replace the Vorta.
  • The B-story was inspired by the novel and movie, Catch-22.