Ties of Blood and Water
Production no.: 517
Teleplay by Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Story by Edmund Newton & Robbin L. Slocum
Directed by Avery Brooks
First satellite airdate: April 12, 1997
Lawrence Pressman .....
Marc Alaimo ................
Thomas Kopache ..........
William Lucking ............
Jeffrey Combs ..............
Rick Schatz ..................
Kira seems a bit hyper as she issues instructions to Worf and Dax about the person who is just now arriving at the station. It's Tekeny Ghemor, once a leader of the Cardassian dissident movement against the Central Command, and she has high hopes that he will lead the opposition to the Dukat/Dominion regime. Not to mention that Kira thinks of him as almost a father. Dax explains to Worf about how the Obsidian Order once kidnapped Kira and altered her to look like Ghemor's missing daughter, as a plot to expose his activities in the dissident movement. "Ghemor may be the only hope left for Cardassia," Kira declares. "He deserves our help."
"That's a lot of faith to put in one man," Ghemor observes as he emerges from the airlock. "I hope I won't prove too great a disappointment." He and Kira greet each other warmly. After other pleasantries are exchanged, Kira leads him off to the quarters she has assigned him.
There, she breaks the news that Bajoran Security hasn't been able to find any leads on Iliana, his daughter. "It's time I faced the facts," Ghemor says sadly. "I'm alone. You're the closest thing to family that I have left." The conversation turns to the proposal that she sent him. "It was very ambitious," he tells her. "But I'm afraid you'll have to find another person to lead the effort." Kira doesn't understand. He's still respected on Cardassia; he can set up a government in exile here, make transmissions, and so on. Ghemor insists that he can't help her. "I have Yarim Fel syndrome," he says at last. "It's terminal, Nerys. I'm dying."
Bashir confirms the grim prognosis. The disease has attacked virtually every system in Ghemor's body. The doctor says he can try hexadrin therapy or immunoregeneration treatments; Ghemor tells him he'll appreciate anything he can do.
Sisko gets a message from Gul Dukat on Cardassia. They spar verbally for a minute or so before Dukat gets down to business. It's about Ghemor. "We want him back. To put it mildly, he has a lot to answer for." Sisko replies coolly that he'll take the request under advisement. "But considering the Federation doesn't recognize your government, and that Cardassia has never agreed to an extradition treaty with Bajor or the Federation, you shouldn't get your hopes up."
Kira shows Kirayoshi off to Ghemor, who is suitably enchanted by his "grandson". They chat about how they've kept up on the news about each other during the last couple of years. Finally Kira tells him about the call from Dukat. "I'm not surprised," says Ghemor, hearing about Dukat's demand to extradite him. "He knows that as long as I'm alive, I'm still a threat to him." Kira vows that they won't let Dukat get his hands on him. Ghemor gets an idea. "Nerys, I know more about the Cardassian government than anyone alive. Names, alliances, plots. Things that could do a lot of good, in the right hands." He tells her about the tradition of shri-tal, in which the dying pass on their secrets to their family, to use against their enemies. Ghemor, however, has no one to carry his secrets -- except Kira. "Be my daughter one last time, Nerys. Hear what I know, and use it as you see fit."
Kira talks it over with Sisko, who sees the opportunity here. Kira is a little awed by the responsibility. "I can't help wondering if he's chosen the right person. What if I get too involved, or I don't ask the right questions?" She wonders if perhaps she should convince him to talk to a counselor, or Odo. "Ghemor just doesn't want to be debriefed," says Sisko. "He wants someone to talk to, someone to be with until the end."
It's night on Bajor. The planet is still in the grip of the Cardassian Occupation, and the Shakaar resistance cell has just carried out a rescue mission of a village that was destroyed by Cardassians. The cavern base is filled with wounded. Furel (who still has both arms) helps bring in an older man suffering from a terrible phaser burn. Kira (her hair long) recognizes the injured man as her father, Kira Taban.
"Are you up to it?" asks Sisko. Kira snaps out of her memory. "I have no choice," she says. "I'm all he's got."
The now-bedridden Ghemor is surrounded by medical equipment that has been installed in his quarters. Bashir gives Kira some instructions on how to administer the drug to ease his pain. "Looking after someone with a terminal condition isn't easy, especially in this case, where you'll be acting as Ghemor's only source of emotional support." "I know what I'm getting myself into," says Kira. Left alone with Ghemor, she wakes him, gives him some water, and they get started, with Kira using a recording device. Ghemor begins by telling her about Dukat's most powerful enemy, Gul Trepar. Caring for him as he speaks, Kira's mind goes back to that time during the Occupation.
Kira starts to go for a medic, but her father clutches at her. He doesn't want her to leave him. "I was such a fool," he gasps. "When the Cardassians started setting fire to the village, I tried to talk to them. To reason with them. Look what they've done to me." "I'm going to make them pay for this, I promise you," Kira tells him fiercely. In pain, Taban speaks brokenly of the garden that the Cardassians burned, the garden he planted and tended for years; she says they'll plant a new one. "I wish I had your strength, Nerys, your confidence," Taban exclaims weakly. "I'm so afraid." Kira can't stand to see him like this, and almost goes running for the medic again. Her father holds her back. "Don't go. Stay with me. The medic can wait. I don't want to be alone."
Kira tells the recording device that Ghemor is asleep. She looks down at him for a moment. The strain of caring for him is starting to get to her.
She makes a report and shows it to Sisko, who remarks that Starfleet Intelligence will be pleased. He notes her exhaustion. Kira agrees to get some rest, but as they are talking, Bashir calls her back to Ghemor's quarters. Once she gets there, Bashir tells her Ghemor isn't responding to the hexadrin therapy any more. Ghemor calls out to her. "Ask me questions, Nerys. We don't have much time." So Kira takes his hand and starts the interview again.
A Jem'Hadar battleship approaches the station and hails them. Dukat is on the bridge. "You said you'd take my request for Ghemor's extradition under advisement." O'Brien reports that they've locked weapons. "I eagerly await your decision," Dukat adds menacingly.
Sisko has Dukat shown to his office. With the Cardassian leader is a very familiar-looking Vorta, whom he introduces as one of his Dominion advisors -- Weyoun. Sisko is surprised to see him, as the first time they met, he saw Weyoun die. However, this Weyoun, as he explains, is a clone, the fifth incarnation, whereas the one Sisko met before was the fourth. "Immortality," notes Sisko. "Of a sort," Weyoun smiles. "Interested?"
Sisko turns the conversation toward business. Dukat states it simply. "Tekeny Ghemor is not a well man. He would be better off under the care of his own people. We want him to know he can come home." "To attend his own execution?" asks Sisko. Dukat claims that Ghemor's case has been reviewed, and he has been cleared of wrongdoing. "Dominion courts are renowned for their honesty and equanimity," Weyoun chimes in. "So, as you can see, there's no reason why Ghemor can't return to Cardassia," says Dukat. Sisko doubts that Ghemor would agree.
"Do you really expect me to trade my silence for a few short days under the Cardassian sun?" Ghemor asks when Dukat and Weyoun pay him a visit. He is very clear on his position, that Dukat betrayed their people to the Dominion. "He doesn't seem to like you very much," Weyoun observes. "We're going to have to do something about your public image." Dukat, however, pulls out his trump card. He claims that Ghemor's daughter, Iliana, is alive, and that he knows where to find her. Ghemor struggles for a moment. "I want to believe you, Dukat. But even if I did -- let's just say I don't like the company you're keeping. You and I might have come to an agreement, one Cardassian to another. But now, dealing with you means dealing with them. And that makes the price too high."
"You have your answer," says Kira pointedly. Dukat isn't giving up, and announces that his ship will be docked here for a few days, just in case Ghemor should change his mind.
Kira continues to tend to Ghemor as his condition deteriorates further. After some time, she is in her own quarters trying to get some rest, when her door chimes, and Dukat enters -- the last person she wants to see. "Sorry to disturb you." "Sorry enough to leave?" she asks. He smiles. "Your defense of Ghemor is admirable. But did it ever occur to you that you may be fighting the wrong battle?" Dukat mentions the massacre at the Kiessa monastery, and slides over a PADD which he says contains Ghemor's official military record, which she can verify with Bajoran Intelligence.
"You are really enjoying this, aren't you?" Kira sneers. "All your sick little games." "I must admit, I do get a certain perverse pleasure out of it," Dukat says. "Read it or not. It's up to you." After a moment, Kira tosses a teacup at him. "I promise you, Dukat, I will make you pay for all of this one day." "Maybe," he replies. "But not today." He leaves, and Kira can't help looking at the PADD. Finally she picks it up.
When Kira resumes caring for Ghemor, her attitude is different. She's impatient, her face stony as she goes about replenishing his medication. He asks if something's wrong. "Yes, there's something wrong," she snarls. "You lied to me...About everything. But let's start with Kiessa monastery...You were there, weren't you?" Ghemor can't deny it.
Kiessa was the site of an infamous massacre in which 17 Bajoran monks were killed when the Cardassians burned the monastery to the ground. "They were hiding weapons for the resistance," Ghemor says, trying to make her understand. "Weapons that were being used to kill my friends. It was war. It was easy to despise you. But you weren't the monsters. We were." His remorse is genuine. "I wish I had never joined the military, never volunteered for duty on Bajor. But I did. And I can't change that, no matter how much I might want to." "So instead you hid the truth from me," Kira replies coldly, unwilling to forgive him despite his repentance. Weakly, Ghemor admits, "I didn't want you to hate me." "It's what you deserve," she says, and leaves him there.
At Quark's, Weyoun is playing Dabo, unaffected by Dukat's disapproving gaze, when Sisko approaches with a bottle of kanar and invites them to sit. "I thought we should talk. I realize I haven't been much of a host." He pours out some kanar into a glass and slides it to Dukat. Dukat says he's not thirsty. Sisko insists, but Dukat still won't take it. "I never touch kanar on an empty stomach, Captain. It's bad for the digestion." "In this case, that's something of an understatement," notes Sisko drily. The kanar in this bottle happens to contain enough voraxna poison to kill at least a dozen Cardassians. And it was intercepted as it was being delivered to Ghemor's quarters. "What's wrong, Dukat?" Sisko taunts. "Are you afraid Ghemor might say something that might undermine your cozy new position?" Dukat plays it cool. "Tread with care, Captain. You're coming dangerously close to accusing the head of the Cardassian government of attempted murder." "Is that what I'm doing?" Sisko counters.
Weyoun loves this. "How delightful. The mysterious plots, the subtle innuendo, the veiled threats. It's all so entertaining." To the horrified surprise of both Sisko and Dukat, the Vorta grabs the glass of poisoned kanar and cheerfully glugs it down. But nothing happens, except that Weyoun makes a face. "Oh my, that is quite toxic, isn't it?" He explains that Vorta are immune to most forms of poison. "It comes in handy when you're a diplomat." Sisko gets up. "Especially when you're working with the Cardassians. You can keep the kanar, Dukat. Ghemor won't be drinking it."
Emerging from the temple, where she has been doing some thinking, Kira finds Odo waiting for her. Her friend knows that she's stopped seeing Ghemor. "He lied to me," Kira says. "I thought he was different. But he's just like the rest of them." Odo, though, questions that. Ghemor was 19 at the time of the massacre, had only been in the military for less than a year, and with 400 soldiers present, there's no way of knowing if he even fired a shot. "He shouldn't have been there at all," Kira argues.
Odo isn't fooled. "This isn't about Ghemor's war record. If it really mattered, you wouldn't have waited for Dukat to hand it to you. You would have looked it up yourself." "What are you trying to say?" she exclaims. "That I should go back down there?" "I wasn't saying that at all," replies Odo, and gives her a searching look. "Are you?"
Kira's father is getting worse, and Kira isn't much better off as she helplessly watches him suffer. "I can hear the Prophets calling me, Nerys," Taban says, his voice shaking. "I can feel my pagh slipping away." Furel comes up to Kira then with a few other resistance fighters. They have found the Cardassian unit that injured her father, just outside of Tempasa. "I'll go with you," Kira decides, even though Furel reminds her that another soldier, Gantt, knows the area as well as she does. Kira tells Taban she's going, to make the Cardassians pay. "The others -- let them," Taban pleads. "You don't have to go." "Yes, I do," she insists, and determinedly joins Furel and the others.
Bashir pays Kira a visit in her quarters, to let her know that Ghemor will be dead within the hour. Kira thanks him for the information; Bashir is surprised by her muted reaction. "Major, please. It's almost over. There's no more questions to ask, no more work to be done. Just go to his quarters and sit with him." Kira is firm. "I said no. Don't ask me again." Bashir backs off. "Fine," he says quietly. "You must do what you want. But I think you're making a mistake. Regardless of what Ghemor's done in the past, he doesn't deserve to die alone. Nobody does."
Kira, Furel, and the others return to the base, their raid successful. They are met by Gantt. "Nerys -- your father." Kira moves over to Taban's bed, where her father lies dead. "He died calling your name," Gantt tells her. Kira looks at her father's body. "Get another raiding party together. I want to hit those Cardassians again as soon as we have a chance."
She begins digging a grave outside the cavern. Furel gently offers to get everyone together. "There's nothing left to say," replies Kira emotionlessly, and goes on digging.
Ghemor is sleeping, his breathing strained, when Kira quietly enters, sits down, and takes his hand. He opens his eyes, moved at the sight of her. "I didn't think you would come." "For a while there, neither did I," she says. And she just sits there, being with him until the end.
Later, Bashir records his report on Ghemor's death, with Kira nearby. She is emotionally drained as she holds the bracelet Ghemor gave her. The report seems so cut-and-dried to her. It doesn't mention how quiet Ghemor became, how he whispered the names of people he loved, how he fought for every last breath. "I don't think he even knew that I was there." "He knew," Bashir says gently. "You gave him what he needed. He didn't die alone." "Maybe he gave me something I needed," Kira says, almost to herself. "I missed my father's death by less than an hour. Did you know that? Less than an hour. I always told myself that it was bad luck, bad timing, the will of the Prophets. But the truth is, I didn't have to go when I did. I could have stayed a while longer. But I saw my chance to get out, and I took it. I saw so much death during the Occupation, I felt so much pain. But my father -- he was my strength. And I couldn't stand to see that strength slipping away. So I ran."
"Just like you tried to run from Ghemor," Bashir notes. Kira can now acknowledge how much Ghemor reminded her of her father, and what she went through when he died. "I just couldn't face it." "But in the end, you did," Bashir tells her. "You were there for Ghemor." "I owed it to him," she says softly. "I owed it to my father, to get it right this time."
Dukat and Weyoun visit Sisko in his office. They've heard that Ghemor has died. "All of Cardassia will mourn the passing of Tekeny Ghemor," intones Dukat. "He was a great man...It takes a great man to admit he's wrong. And that's what Ghemor did. I'm speaking of his last minute change of heart. His deathbed decision to embrace the new Dominion government." "That's very moving," Sisko replies. "Except for one small problem. It never happened." Weyoun agrees that it's only a small problem. Dukat requests that the body be transferred to his ship so that he can take Ghemor home and bury him with full state honors. "I'm afraid that's going to be impossible," Sisko tells him coolly. "Legate Ghemor's funeral arrangements have already been taken care of."
On Bajor, outside what was once the Shakaar resistance's cavern base, Kira stands before two graves. One has been there for years, and is blooming with growth. The other is freshly dug. Both her fathers are now lying side by side.