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Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night

Production no.: 541
Written by: Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by: Jonathan West
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: March 28, 1998
Leslie Hope ..............
Marc Alaimo ............
David Bowe .............
Wayne Grace ...........
Tim deZarn ..............
Thomas Kopache .....
John Marzilli .............
Marc Marosi ............
Judi Durand ..............
Station Computer Voice

After Dax tries and fails to get Worf to agree to her throwing a party in their quarters, she sees Kira pick up a bouquet of Bajoran lilacs from Quark. Kira ordered them for herself, even though she doesn't like flowers. However, these were her mother's favorite kind, and it's her birthday; she would have been 60. Kira doesn't really remember her mother, who died in the refugee center at Singha when Nerys was three, but she would like to think she'd be proud of her. "My father always said she was the bravest woman he ever met."

The computer awakens Kira that night to an incoming transmission from an unidentifiable source. It turns out to be Gul Dukat, who tells her she won't be able to trace the signal. "I want to help you, Major, the way Captain Sisko helped me...Captain Sisko gave me the clarity to see beyond the lies, the self-deceptions that were controlling my life. He helped me to see the truth about myself. And now, I'm going to do the same for you. And what better day to do it than on your mother's birthday?"

Kira thinks at first that he's just trying to get to her. But Dukat goes on. He mentions the scar on her mother's face, which she tried to cover up with a strand of hair. Then he tells her that her mother did not die in the Singha refugee center. "That was something your father told you because he couldn't bear to face the truth...That your mother left him to be with me." "You're lying," Kira tells him. Dukat, however, seems very sure of himself. He says he and her mother were lovers. Also, he knows about the lilacs. "There, I told you the truth was liberating, Major. Now, don't you feel better? I do."

Kira brings up her mother's file. Later, in Ops, O'Brien and Bashir are talking about the possibility of an Alamo holosuite program, when Kira irritably reminds them that these are working hours. When Kira enters the security office to discuss the recent increase of criminal activity on the Promenade. Odo senses her mood, and asks if there's something else on her mind. He's spoken to Bashir. Kira tells him she appreciates the offer. "But I don't think talking about it is going to help." Odo knows her well enough to know that that means it's pretty serious. "Well, if you won't talk about it, perhaps you should consider doing something about it."

So Kira confides in Sisko about the transmission from Dukat, and what he said about her mother. She needs to know if it's true or not. There's only one way she can think of to find out for certain: to consult the Orb of Time. She asks for Sisko's help in getting her access to the Orb. If the Prophets agree to send her back in time, she's sure nothing will happen without their blessing.

At the temple of Iponu, Kira opens the Orb, and finds herself back at the Singha refugee center, wearing clothing and hair similar to that of the Bajorans there. As she walks through the encampment, she hears her father's voice calling to her mother. "Meru! I found Nerys." Kira sees her father, Taban, and her own 3-year-old self, with her younger brother Reon. And she sees her mother holding her other brother, Pohl. She listens as Meru tells Taban the Cardassians have cut their rations.

The family is about to eat its meager allotment of soup when two scavengers come up and claim that the soup is theirs. They threaten Kira's parents until Kira steps forward to stand up to them. After she gets hold of their knife, they run off. Taban and Meru are grateful, and Meru introduces the family, including little Nerys, who whispers to her mother. "She wants to know what your name is." "Me?" says Kira. "I'm Luma Rahl."

Then a voice calls out for attention. It's Basso Tromac, a Bajoran collaborator flanked by two Cardassian guards. "The new Cardassian ore processing center orbiting Bajor is nearing completion. The Cardassian troops stationed there will require 'comfort women' to make their tour of duty less stressful." Basso begins choosing women, without regard to whether they are married or not, and tells their husbands that they'll receive extra rations of food and medicine courtesy of Gul Dukat. Then he picks both Meru and Kira, who before they know it are rounded up with the other women. "I love you," Meru calls back desperately to Taban. "Don't let them forget me."

Up on Terok Nor, Basso assigns the women to their quarters, and puts Kira and Meru together. Once they're alone, Kira urges her mother not to give up, that they can contact a resistance cell and get off the station. Then Meru catches sight of a lavish spread of food and drink. She can't help but be elated at the sight of all this plenty after the deprivation she's endured. But then she breaks down in tears, wishing her family could be here. Kira does her best to comfort her, saying they'll find a way off the station, free the family, and hide, perhaps join the resistance. Meru is hesitant. Brushing her hair back, Kira sees the scar Dukat mentioned, much to Meru's embarrassment; she admits that she got it because she failed to show a Cardassian soldier the proper respect. "It's not so bad," Kira tells her. This causes Meru to wonder why she keeps helping her. "I don't have many friends," Kira says. Meru smiles. "Well, you have one now."

The next day, all the Bajoran women, cleaned, dressed, and made up, listen as Basso threatens them and their families with labor camps if they don't do their "job" well, that job being to provide "comfort and care" to the Cardassians. Dukat, arriving, cuts him off, and proceeds to reassure the women that what they've heard about the Cardassians is not true, and their overlords are capable of great kindness. Meru impulsively speaks up to ask if their families will be all right. Basso is ready to have her tossed out, but Dukat stops the guards, promising her that their families will be taken care of. Obviously taken with Meru, he pushes her hair aside and sees the scar. But instead of discarding her because of her imperfection, Dukat has Basso get him a dermal regenerator, and erases the "unfortunate reminder of the gulf that exists between our two peoples." Meru feels her face, looking after him with wonder and gratitude. Kira sees this.

The women serve that night at a party for high-ranking Cardassians. Meru can't help but smile, at the Prophets' sense of humor. "When I was a child, I dreamed of having enough food to eat, and pretty clothes to wear. And now, look at me. I have everything I ever wanted, and I feel horrible." But, "I suppose if I can survive starvation, I can survive this. After all, we Bajorans can survive anything." She is then dragged off by a drunken gul. Kira starts to go after them, but is blocked by a legate who genially pulls her onto his lap. The legate knows very well what she's likely to be thinking of him and his fellow Cardassians, and they trade banter as Kira watches her mother being pawed by the gul. Then Dukat enters and orders the gul to let Meru go. He then has Basso escort her back to her quarters, but not before he steps up to Meru.

"'I only hope you won't condemn us all for the boorish behavior of one man'," the legate says softly to Kira, who then hears Dukat say the exact same words to her mother. "Let's just say this is not the first performance I've seen of this little melodrama," the legate tells Kira. "That woman should consider herself fortunate. She's caught the Prefect's eye. As of now, she's off limits to the rest of us." Kira resignedly pours him some more kanar, and watches Dukat quietly leave.

Later, in the habitat ring, Kira manages to get the drunken legate to go off to his quarters alone. Then she enters her and Meru's quarters. But instead of Meru, she finds Basso there with two Cardassian guards, and armfuls of clothing. Meru is no longer staying here, Basso informs her. "She's moving up in the world. Your friend must have hidden talents I wasn't aware of. Our beloved Prefect has invited her to share his quarters." Kira insists that she wants to see Meru, and knocks one of the Cardassians unconscious. The other rifle-butts her to the floor. In short order, she finds herself flung into the Bajoran ghetto on the Promenade.

After weeks of working in the ore processing center, Kira sits down with a man named Halb, who has news about her friend. Meru has been off the station with Dukat, having a little "vacation". Halb wonders why a collaborator is so important to Kira, who retorts that Meru isn't a collaborator. She knows what Halb wants, to recruit her into his resistance cell. Halb asks her to draw a map of the Cardassian side of the station. Before Kira can give him an answer, Basso calls to her, ordering her to follow him. Kira has little choice.

She is taken to Dukat's quarters, past a door that scans her for weapons, and there she finds Meru, who greets her joyfully. "Has he hurt you?" Kira asks. Meru doesn't know who she means at first, but finally replies in the negative. She wishes she could explain everything, make her understand... "That I'm not the monster you think I am," says Dukat, entering with a vase of Bajoran lilacs.

It seems that even though Dukat is aware that Kira doesn't buy his act, he is quite prepared to indulge Meru by letting her have the female companion of her choice. "The fact is, I've treated Meru with nothing but kindness and consideration. If you don't believe me, ask her." He kisses Meru, and leaves for a meeting. "It's true," Meru says. "He's very different from what I expected." Kira reminds her that Dukat is the enemy, and that he's carrying out the extermination of their people. To her dismay, Meru parrots Dukat's line about how hard he's trying to get Central Command to be more lenient. Kira's anger rises. Has Meru forgotten how she was taken from her husband and children? The fact that they were given food and medicine in return doesn't make it right. "Taban loves you. How can you forget him so quickly?"

"I have not forgotten him," Meru retorts. "What do you expect me to do, kick and bite Dukat every time he comes near me? How is that going to help Taban or the children?" "Is that what you tell yourself?" Kira asks. "That you're doing it for the children? The clothes, the food, the easy living? That you're doing it all for them? Are you that deluded? It's not for them, it's for you. You like it here. You enjoy playing house with that murderer. Don't you see what you are, what you've allowed yourself to become? You're a collaborator." She accuses her mother of having fallen in love with Dukat. With that, she leaves, going back to where she says she belongs.

Later, Halb gives Kira a very special earring. It contains an explosive made of ultritium resin, which the Cardassian sensors aren't likely to pick up. The bomb is set to go off three minutes after activation, and can't be disarmed. The blast radius is twenty meters. Kira will plant it in Dukat's quarters. "What about that Bajoran mistress of his?" Halb asks. "...You cannot risk telling her what you're doing, not even to save her life." "Why would I do that?" Kira says grimly. "Like you said, she's a collaborator. She deserves whatever she gets."

Kira persuades a scornful Basso to take her to Meru so she can apologize to her friend. She is scanned, and allowed to enter Dukat's quarters, where Meru is finishing dinner with Dukat. Kira tells her mother that what she said was unfair, and she wants to be friends again. Meru agrees, hugging her warmly; Dukat doesn't object, at least not openly. Basso hands Dukat a rod with a copy of a requested transmission, which, after sending Basso off to find Kira some quarters, he hands to Meru, saying it's for her. He goes to an adjoining room.

As Meru puts the rod into the console, Kira furtively activates her earring-bomb and slips it into a plant. She's about to leave when she hears her father's voice, telling Meru how well the children are doing since they've been back home with him. "I think about you all the time. You've saved all our lives. I hope you realize that. Never forget it, not even for an instant." Meru sobs as she listens to the recording; Kira sees tears streaming down her face. Taban continues. "Every day I pray to the Prophets that you'll find some peace in this new life of yours. I believe that even in the worst of times, we can still find moments of joy and kindness. If you can find that kindness, hold on to it. And remember, no matter what happens, I love you, Meru. I'll always love you."

Kira is stunned by her father's unconditional love for her mother, and somehow it causes the anger within her to drain away. Suddenly, remembering the bomb, she pulls her mother out of her chair, urging her to get out of here. She also calls to Dukat to get out. They all scramble out the door just before the bomb detonates. When Dukat and Meru look up, Kira is nowhere to be seen.

Kira comes back to herself at the temple, and closes the Orb. Back on DS9, she tells her story to Sisko. "I've always hated collaborators. I mean, what could be worse than betraying your own people? During the Occupation, if I ever had any doubt about what their fate should be, I would think of my mother, how she gave her life for Bajor. She was a hero. They were traitors. It was that simple. Or so I thought." Even though Sisko tells her that her mother did what she had to do to save her family, Kira still feels that doesn't make it right. She's done some checking: her mother died seven years later in a Cardassian hospital. "Do you know how many Bajorans died in the labor camps during that time? Died while my mother sat sipping kanar with Dukat?"

"Tell me something, Nerys," Sisko says. "If you hate her that much, why did you save her life?" Kira is quiet for a long moment. "Believe me, there's a part of me that wishes that I hadn't. But the fact is, no matter what she did, she was still my mother."