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The Way of the Warrior

Production no.: 718
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by: James L. Conway
Stardate: 49011.4 
First satellite airdate: September 30, 1995
Penny Johnson ..............
Marc Alaimo ................
Robert O'Reilly .............
J.G. Hertzler .................
Obi Ndefo ....................
Christopher Darga ........
William Dennis Hunt .....
Andrew Robinson .........
Patricia Tallman ............
Judi Durand ..................
Kasidy Yates
Weapons Officer
Computer Voice

Sisko and Kira are teamed up in a hunt for a Changeling loose on the station. They sweep a set of quarters with their phaser rifles, and move on to another. There, before they can react, a chair covering quickly morphs and escapes, turning into a bird and flying toward the Promenade, where Bashir is leading the teams. When he hunkers down beside the shop directory, an arm grabs him. It's Odo, morphing from the surface of the directory as O'Brien comes up and aims a rifle at him, and Sisko and Kira arrive. The drill is over.

Sisko has dinner that night with Kasidy, who is back on the station, and approves his newly shaved head. She also comments on the unusual number of maintenance crews in the docking ring. "Let's just say we're preparing a few surprises just in case the Dominion comes through the wormhole," he tells her. Kasidy has heard that the Cardassians have sealed their border. Just as the two of them start to get down to more personal matters, Sisko is called to Ops.

The Klingon flagship, the Negh'Var, has decloaked, and a General Martok wants to speak to Sisko. He requests shore leave for his men, which Sisko grants, whereupon a whole task force of Klingon ships appears.

Quark's is soon full of Klingons, but they're unusually quiet, which makes Quark nervous. "Have you ever met a quiet Klingon before? And look at the way they're watching the room. It's like they're picking out targets." Bashir tries to reassure him that the Klingons are allies.

Martok has beamed over to the station for a meeting with Sisko and Kira. First, Martok insists that they all cut their hands to prove they're not Changelings. Satisfied, he says the task force has been sent to fight alongside the Federation against the Dominion, but Sisko tells him there's been very little sign of Dominion activity around the wormhole. "They will come," says Martok with certainty. "And when they do, we will be ready for them."

Kira later reluctantly visits a holosuite spa with Dax, who is trying to encourage her to exercise her imagination. At the same time, Odo and Garak are having breakfast; or actually, Garak is having breakfast while Odo shams drinking coffee (using his own substance to fashion the cup and liquid). Garak is troubled by rumors of uprisings and civil disturbances within the Cardassian empire. As they are talking, Odo sees Morn being hassled by a group of Klingons, led by one named Drex. The Constable intervenes and suggests that the Klingons move along. "As long as you wear that Bajoran uniform, we're allies," Drex tells him. "Make sure you never take it off."

A little later, Garak enters his shop and finds Drex there with four other Klingons. "Let me guess, you're either lost or desperately searching for a good tailor," Garak says. "Guess again," Drex announces, and punches him. The others close in.

Bashir patches Garak up in the infirmary, surprised that the Cardassian isn't pressing charges. Garak says there was no harm done; Bashir points out that they broke his clavicle and seven ribs. "But I got off several cutting remarks which no doubt did serious damage to their egos," Garak tells him. "...I'm serious, Doctor. Thanks to your ministrations, I'm almost completely healed. But the damage I did to them will last a lifetime." But he is puzzled as to why the Klingons beat him up.

The station receives a distress call from the Xhosa, Kasidy's ship, which only left an hour ago. Kasidy says they're under attack, then her signal is jammed. Sisko leaves on the Defiant to the rescue, and find the Xhosa caught by a Klingon bird-of-prey in a tractor beam. The Klingon commander, Kaybok, claims he has orders to search all vessels attempting to leave Bajoran space, for shapeshifters. His orders are on the authority of Gowron and the Klingon High Council. Kira objects that the Klingon High Council has no jurisdiction here, and Bajoran law prohibits unwarranted search and seizure in Bajoran territory. But Kaybok insists he has his orders. He cuts transmission and prepares to board the Xhosa. The Defiant fires a warning shot, causing Kaybok to hail them. "We are your allies." But when Sisko orders phasers locked, Kaybok finally releases the tractor. "Gowron will hear of this," he threatens.

Martok comes into Sisko's office as the captain and Dax are talking, slams a Klingon dagger down onto the desk, and leaves. Dax identifies it as Kaybok's, and says it means Kaybok is dead. Sisko guesses that the next confrontation won't be resolved so easily. "Curzon told me once that in the long run, the only people who can really handle Klingons are Klingons. Get me Starfleet Command." Some days later, Lt. Commander Worf arrives on the station and is greeted by O'Brien. Quark sees them, and watches them go. "Just what the station needs, another Klingon."

Worf reports to Sisko. Since the destruction of the Enterprise, he has been on extended leave at a Klingon monastery on Boreth. Sisko asks where he'll be stationed next. "I am considering resigning my commission," Worf tells him. But until he makes his decision, he will do his duty, which is to find out what the Klingon task force is up to.

Worf then goes into Quark's and surprises the Ferengi by ordering, not bloodwine, but prune juice. O'Brien and Bashir are playing darts, and O'Brien introduces his two friends to each other. Kira and Dax come down from the holosuite, dressed in medieval clothes; they are introduced to Worf as well. They are talking when Drex and a couple of other Klingons enter the bar, and Worf goes over to them. He proceeds to punch Drex out and take his dagger.

Later, Worf is unpacking when Martok comes to his quarters for his son's dagger, and Worf gives it to him. "Now that you are here, I have no further need of it." "You robbed my son of his honor just to get my attention?" Martok asks. He wonders what he has done to earn Worf's disrespect, and Worf gives him a list. Martok says he is here carrying out Gowron's orders. Starfleet will get an explanation soon enough. "My mission will determine the fate of the Klingon Empire. Interfere, and you risk destroying us all."

Dax finds Worf fighting in her Klingon exercise holosuite program, and calls for a bat'leth of her own. They spar, until Dax finally goes down. "Feel better? I take it your conversation with General Martok didn't go all that well." Worf says he has tried contacting Gowron, the emperor, and his brother on the High Council, but no one will speak to him. Dax suggests that perhaps there's a Klingon around here who owes his family a favor. So, later, Worf has a drinking session with an old Klingon named Huraga who was a friend of his father's, and asks him the real reason for the task force's presence. "I suppose you have a right to know," says Huraga. "You are a Klingon warrior, and it would be wrong to keep you away from battle. And it's going to be a glorious battle."

Afterwards, as Worf broods at the railing of the Promenade, Odo approaches. He knows Worf's learned something, and he's aware of Worf's attempts to reach his contacts. He also understands all too well what it's like to be caught between two worlds. "Frankly, Mr. Worf, I don't care which choice you make. But you owe it to Captain Sisko to let him know which side you're on, before it's too late."

Worf finally makes his report to Sisko: the Klingons are planning to invade Cardassia. There has been an uprising there, overthrowing the Central Command and turning power over to civilian authorities. Gowron and the Klingon High Council are convinced that the coup was engineered by the Dominion. They have no proof, except the suspicion that civilians could not have overthrown the Central Command without help. The Klingons believe they are acting to protect the Alpha Quadrant. Sisko has Dax contact Martok. Worf chooses to be present during the meeting, even though it will let Martok know who told Sisko their plan.

At the meeting with Martok, Sisko tells him he wants the attack called off. There is no proof of Dominion involvement, and the Federation Council will not support the plan. Going ahead with it will jeopardize the treaty. Martok finally says he will consult with Gowron. When he beams back to his ship, though, the station intercepts a message from him to the fleet, saying "Begin" in Klingon. The Klingon ships go to warp, headed for Cardassia.

Sisko calls a senior staff meeting. They have been ordered not to get involved until the Federation Council can speak with Gowron. Yet they feel a need to do something to warn Cardassia. There is some possibility that the Klingons are right, and Cardassia has been taken over by the Founders. But Worf points out that that's not the real issue. The invasion of Cardassia is simply an excuse to fight, and there's no way to know if the Klingons will stop there. They may even attack Bajor in order to control the wormhole. O'Brien sums it up. "The way I see it, we only have two choices, both of them bad. If we stand by and do nothing, we run the risk of being the Klingons' next target. But if we disobey Starfleet orders and warn the Cardassians, we may end up starting a war with the Klingons."

Garak is surprised to get a call from Sisko asking to see him in the wardroom. He's to bring his tailor's kit. When Garak arrives, Sisko tells him he'd like to be measured for a new suit, and as Garak complies, goes on talking to his officers. In this way, they "let slip" to Garak about the invasion. Garak then speaks to Dukat over subspace. Dukat is incredulous. "Garak, you have got to talk to Sisko. Tell him he has to find some way to stop the Klingons. Cardassia has enough problems right now." They trade insults for a bit, but Garak finally reminds him that the Klingon fleet will arrive at Cardassia in less than an hour.

The station monitors transmissions indicating that the Cardassian fleet has mobilized and is resisting the Klingon fleet. Sisko speaks to the Federation Council, and announces grimly to his staff that the council has condemned the invasion. In response, Gowron has cut off diplomatic relations with the Federation and withdrawn from the Khitomer Accords, meaning that the peace treaty has ended. Just then, a Klingon ship decloaks. Gowron is on board and wants to speak with Worf.

Gowron tells Worf he understands what he did. He has a proposal for him: he wants Worf to accompany him. "What better way to redeem yourself in the eyes of your people? Come with me, Worf. Glory awaits you on Cardassia."

But Worf refuses. He can't abandon his post or his oath to Starfleet. Gowron is surprised, and furious. Is this how Worf repays him for restoring his honor? "It is true I owe you a great debt," Worf says. "I would give up my life for you. But invading Cardassia is wrong, and I cannot support it." Gowron warns him that he will no longer be welcome in the Klingon Empire; his family will be removed from the High Council, stripped of its titles and lands. "You will have nothing." "Except my honor," declares Worf. Gowron glares at him. "So be it."

In Quark's, Worf reminisces a bit with O'Brien about the old days on the Enterprise. He has decided to resign from Starfleet, he tells the Chief, who is surprised. He's not sure what he'll do afterwards, since he's made an enemy of Gowron and every other Klingon. "This uniform will only serve to remind me of how I have disgraced myself in the eyes of my people." And the sooner he leaves DS9, the better, so as not to be a liability to Sisko.

But Sisko says he can't accept his resignation at this time. As long as the fighting continues between the Klingons and Cardassians, he needs Worf here. Kira comes in then with word that the Klingons have broken through the Cardassian fleet and will reach Cardassia Prime in 52 hours. Sisko decides to have a talk with the Cardassians.

He is surprised to find himself speaking with Dukat, who has abandoned Central Command and become chief military advisor to the Detepa Council. "It seemed like a good idea at the time," he says. Sisko urges him to get the council members to safety, and offers to help escort them out of the war zone. Now it's Dukat's turn to be surprised, but he agrees to meet Sisko at a rendezvous point. After the communication ends, Sisko acknowledges Worf's concern that if the Cardassian government really has been taken over by the Founders, they'll be helping them escape. "That's the chance we'll have to take." He orders Worf to report to the Defiant.

As Sisko is about to leave himself, Kasidy catches up to him. She just got back, and has to leave tomorrow; their timing has not been too good lately. Kasidy finally kisses him. "Don't get killed," she says. A few minutes later, the Defiant heads out, cloaked. Bashir brings up the point that the treaty with the Romulans forbids them to use the cloak in the Alpha Quadrant, but when Sisko indicates it's the only way they'll reach the rendezvous in one piece, the doctor says, "Well, I won't tell the Romulans if you don't." Meanwhile, back at the station, Kira and O'Brien are working on finishing some upgrades that were motivated by the threat of the Dominion.

The Defiant comes across the wreckage of some Cardassian vessels, and though Bashir wants to scan for survivors, they can't without decloaking. Sisko decides to go on. They finally approach the rendezvous point, to find Dukat's ship under heavy fire from three birds-of-prey. "Two decades of peace with the Klingons," Bashir notes, "and it all comes down to this." Sisko has no choice but to attack, especially since an attempt to warn off the Klingons only makes the Defiant a target as well. Sisko speaks to Dukat and tells him to power up his engines and prepare to follow them to DS9; but Dukat has no engines left, not to mention shields or weapons. Sisko tells him in that case to prepare to evacuate, even though the Defiant will have to drop its shields to beam them over.

The weapons officer is injured, and Worf takes over her station. Since shooting at the Klingons' engines has not been effective, Sisko tells him to target at his discretion, and Worf does, destroying one of the Klingon ships. Another decloaks to take its place. Sisko has the transporter room stand by, and tells Bashir to prepare to receive casualties, who will be subjected to blood screenings, just in case Martok was right. It will take at least two minutes to evacuate Dukat's ship, Dax warns, and the Defiant may not last that long without shields, but Worf suggests a modulated tractor beam to deflect some of the Klingons' disruptor fire, which works. They are finally able to start transporting, even though the Defiant is taking a pounding. Once the council members and Dukat are aboard, Sisko orders shields up and cloak activated, but the cloak is no longer working. "That should make the trip home a little more interesting," comments Sisko. As the Cardassian ship explodes, the Defiant takes off for DS9, with two Klingon ships in pursuit.

Dukat is not happy to be obliged to undergo a blood screening by Bashir, but he complies, and goes to the bridge, with a security escort. Sisko loses his bet with Dax that Dukat will thank them for the rescue before he starts complaining.

Back at the station, Garak enters the bar and finds a depressed Quark, who bemoans the fact that he didn't follow his cousin Gaila's advice and become a weapons dealer. "So now, Gaila owns his own moon, and I'm staring into the abyss. And the worst part is, my only hope for salvation is the Federation." He has Garak try some root beer; Garak reluctantly does so, and proclaims it to be vile. "I know," says Quark morosely. "It's so bubbly and cloying and happy." "Just like the Federation," Garak says, seeing Quark's point. "But you know what's really frightening?" Quark goes on. "If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it." "It's insidious," says Garak. "Just like the Federation," Quark concludes. But when Garak asks, "Do you think they'll be able to save us?", Quark says gloomily, "I hope so."

The Defiant makes it back to DS9, with the Klingon ships still on their tail. There is no time like the present to test the new systems, Sisko tells O'Brien. As the Defiant prepares to dock, a Klingon fleet approaches. Starfleet has sent a relief force, but they won't be able to get here soon enough; the Klingons are raising shields and charging weapons. "Battle stations," orders Sisko.

As the station prepares for battle, Odo and Bashir converse a little, knowing that each of them may well get involved in personal combat. Odo then goes to the Promenade to direct people to shelters, but Quark wants to defend his bar. He has a box containing a disruptor pistol. But when he opens it, he finds a note from Rom, saying he used parts from the disruptor to fix the replicator. "I'll kill him," says Quark. "With what?" asks Odo.

Meanwhile, Garak joins Dukat to protect the council members; Dukat doesn't want his help, but Garak draws a Cardassian phaser and stands beside him. "Who would've thought that the two of us would be fighting side by side?" "Just remember, when you fire that thing, you're aiming it at a Klingon," Dukat growls.

Martok contacts Sisko to demand that he surrender the Cardassian council members. "They're not Founders, Martok," Sisko says. "We tested them. You were wrong." Gowron steps up beside Martok. "It is of no consequence. All that matters is, the Alpha Quadrant will be safer with the Klingon Empire in control of Cardassia." Martok warns Sisko that the lives of everyone on the station are at risk. "I'm aware of that," replies Sisko. "But maybe you're not aware of what you're risking. We've had a year to prepare this station for a Dominion attack. And we're more than ready." He has 5000 photon torpedoes aimed at them right now. Gowron shouts something in Klingon which Worf translates as, "Today is a good day to die."

The battle begins, with the station fighting back against the Klingon ships with photons and phasers blazing. Two shield generators are disabled, and Klingon boarding parties begin beaming on. There is a major fight in Ops, as well as on the Promenade. Dukat and Garak are busy, with Garak commenting that he finds interrogations much more civilized than this. In Ops, the defenders manage to overwhelm the Klingons, though Kira is wounded. Odo reports that the Klingon troops elsewhere are contained for the moment. Another wave of Klingon ships is coming in, but Dax detects the Starfleet force, which will arrive in 15 minutes.

Sisko hails Gowron, who says, "Captain, your shields have been weakened, your station boarded, and more Klingon ships are on their way. Surrender while you can." "I don't think so," counters Sisko. "My shields are holding, your boarding parties are contained, and my reinforcements are closer than yours. You're facing a war on two fronts. Is that what you really want?" Worf urges Gowron to end this now, as the Klingon empire can't fight both the Federation and Cardassia. Martok insists they will not surrender.

"This is exactly what the Founders want," Sisko replies. "Klingon against Cardassian, Federation against Klingon. The more we fight each other, the weaker we'll get, and the less chance we have against the Dominion." Worf chimes in. "Kahless himself said, 'Destroying an empire to win a war is no victory.'" Finally, Gowron, seeing the wisdom of this, finishes the quote. "'And ending a battle to save an empire is no defeat.'" He decides to stand down, over Martok's objections, and to halt the advance of Klingon ships into Cardassian territory. "But let your people know," he warns Sisko, "the Klingon Empire will remember what has happened here. You have sided against us in battle. And this we do not forgive, or forget."

The battle is over, and things start to get back to normal. Worf is in his quarters packing to head off for the Nyberrite Alliance when Sisko comes in, bringing his discharge papers. The captain remembers how he too once came close to resigning from Starfleet. Worf asks why he changed his mind. "I finally realized that it wasn't Starfleet I wanted to get away from," Sisko tells him. "I was trying to escape the pain I felt after my wife's death. I thought I could take the uniform, wrap it around that pain and toss them both away. But it doesn't work like that. Running may help for a little while, but sooner or later the pain catches up with you, and the only way to get rid of it is to stand your ground and face it."

"But wearing that uniform must remind you of what you have lost," Worf comments. "Sometimes," Sisko concedes. "But it also reminds me of what I've gained. And who I am. Oh, I can throw away the uniform, resign my commission, run all the way to the Nyberrite Alliance. But it really wouldn't matter. A Starfleet officer. That's what I am, and that's what I'll always be." Worf finally decides that perhaps Starfleet can still be his home. Sisko offers to talk to the captain of the Venture. "Perhaps that will not be necessary," Worf says. Somewhat later, now wearing red, he reports for duty as DS9's new Strategic Operations Officer.

Sisko announces that he has spoken to Dukat, who has returned to Cardassia Prime with the Detepa Council. "Who'd have thought I'd help save the Cardassian government?" remarks Kira. Odo notes that Dukat will probably take credit. As they're talking, Dax receives a priority one message from Starfleet Intelligence. The Klingons are refusing to give up several of the Cardassian colonies they seized, and are fortifying their positions. "Looks like the Klingons are here to stay," says Kira. "Maybe they are," Sisko replies. "But so are we."

  • Besides the addition of Worf as a regular character, there were also changes in the opening theme music and titles (a bass throb, combined with more activity around and on the station). Since actor Siddig el Fadil had adopted the stage name Alexander Siddig, he was credited as such from this episode onward. Bashir and Dax also received promotions (to full lieutenant and lieutenant commander, respectively).
  • Another change: Sisko is seen for the first time with shaven head and goatee. Until DS9's fourth season, the studio had insisted that Sisko have hair, so as not to be too similar to TNG's Picard. Finally, though, they allowed Avery Brooks to go to his preferred look.
  • The episode is prefaced with a plaque at the beginning: "In memory of Gregg Duffy Long [and] Ronald W. Smith". Long was a writers' assistant; Smith had been a hairstylist on the series for the first three seasons. Both had died recently.