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Production no.: 531
Written by: Ronald D. Moore
Directed by: David Livingston
Stardate: 51247.5 
First satellite airdate: November 8, 1997
J.G. Hertzler ............
Marc Worden ..........
Shannon Cochran .....
Chase Masterson .....
Aron Eisenberg ........
Max Grodénchik .......
Sidney Liufau ...........

A week after the return of Starfleet to DS9, the mood on the station is still one of celebration. The war is still on, of course. Not only is DS9 now the headquarters for the 9th Fleet, but its strategic position makes it a tempting target. "But for now at least," Sisko tells his log, "the war seems very far away." The Captain is as happy to walk into Ops again as Kira is to see him instead of Dukat.

One person who is not happy, however, is Martok. Sisko finds the general in his office, glaring at him. Martok has been made supreme commander of the 9th Fleet, on Sisko's recommendation. "Do you have any idea how much paperwork a supreme commander has to do?" Martok growls, even as he accepts Sisko's congratulatory handshake. He plans to stay aboard the Rotarran, and would like Worf to continue as his principal intelligence officer, even though Worf has been driving him crazy talking first about his upcoming wedding, then about Alexander, who Martok tells Sisko is a fine boy but "not the best soldier I've ever seen."

Alexander is in Quark's with his father and Dax, telling how he once accidentally flooded a deck of the Rotarran with superheated hydraulic fluid. The young man has accepted the fact that he's a klutz, and he even seems somewhat proud of the fact that the Rotarran's crew has come to look on him as a "good luck charm". Now, though, he has received new orders to transfer over to the Ya'Vang at the end of the week. When Alexander goes to get some more blood wine, Quark asks Worf and Dax if they've reconsidered his offer; Worf declares that they're getting married on the Klingon homeworld after the war, not in the bar. But Dax suddenly tells him, "Worf, let's do it here. This week, before Alexander leaves...I would hate for Alexander to miss his father's wedding. It would mean so much to him, and besides, it may be a long time before you see him again." Alexander returns, and Worf tells him about the change of plans. He asks his son to be his "tawi'yan" (or swordbearer, something like a best man). "Me? Really? Oh, that's great!" In his enthusiasm, Alexander knocks over a tray that crashes onto another table. Quark tells Worf he'll put it on his tab.

Dax is talking to Kira later about the plans Worf has been making for the wedding for the last few months. It seems to Kira that the whole deal is rather one-sided, but Dax says that Worf has been looking forward to a traditional Klingon wedding since he was a boy. "When it comes to Klingon tradition, Worf is very sentimental." "Worf?" Kira echoes skeptically. "All men are sentimental," Dax tells her. "They just cover it up with scowls and clenched jaws. There are times when Worf literally gets misty-eyed talking about Klingon rituals." Anyway, she's gotten married the Trill way five times, and she's quite ready for something different.

As they're talking, they see Odo come down the hall, hesitate, and deliberately avoid them. Dax is puzzled. Kira reluctantly explains that she and Odo have been steering clear of each other since the Dominion left. "I think we're both afraid of talking about what happened during the occupation." She doesn't want to talk about it to Dax either.

Worf has called Sisko, O'Brien, Bashir, and Martok together to talk about the wedding. "There's nothing more romantic than a wedding on DS9 in the springtime," Bashir says. O'Brien adds mischievously, "When the neutrinos are in bloom." Ignoring them, Worf tells them about the Klingon tradition of Kal'Hyah ("the path of clarity"), in which the groom undergoes a mental and spiritual journey, accompanied by his closest male friends. "You cannot imagine the experience that awaits us," Martok exclaims zestfully. "Four long nights filled with song and fellowship! A time of unbridled pleasures!" It sounds like a bachelor party to the humans, who all agree to take part. Bashir and O'Brien leave, full of anticipation, while Sisko wonders what Dax will be doing during all this. "She will be taking a different journey, with my wife," Martok says.

Martok and Sisko go to the airlock to greet Martok's wife, Lady Sirella, a haughty and sharp-tongued woman, who trades barbs with her husband the moment she boards the station. She finally goes off to find Dax. "Magnificent, isn't she?" Martok says proudly, obviously besotted.

Meanwhile, Dax is setting up a traditional welcoming display and telling Worf to relax. "She's not going to reject a prospective daughter because the var'Hama candles in her welcoming display were replicated." However, when Sirella arrives and has curtly dismissed Worf, the expression on her face as she looks at Dax is anything but friendly. She is here to judge Dax's worthiness to join her house, and she makes it clear right away that she doubts Dax will measure up. "A Klingon woman would find it difficult to gain my favor. For an alien, it will most likely be impossible." Nothing Dax says seems to improve her first impression. Sirella leaves with a parting shot about the candles.

Worf expresses his surprise to Martok that Sirella is opposed to the wedding. Martok tells him that his wife believes that letting aliens marry into Klingon families endangers their cultural identity. "We are Klingons, Worf. We don't embrace other cultures, we conquer them. If someone wishes to join us, they must honor our traditions and prove themselves worthy of wearing the crest of a Great House." Dax has proved herself to Martok, but Martok won't "interfere" by recommending her to Sirella. He also doesn't want Worf to try talking to Sirella either, because Sirella doesn't like him. "Don't let that bother you. I had every right to bring you into the family, and she's accepted the fact that there's nothing she can do about that." "How comforting," says Worf, causing Martok to laugh. "And they say that you have no sense of humor!"

Later, they join Sisko, O'Brien, Bashir and Alexander in a holosuite representation of a cavern on Qo'Nos, complete with roaring fire. Worf gives them Ma'Stakas, clubs which they will carry throughout Kal'Hyah and use to symbolically attack the bride and groom after the ceremony (a tradition dating back to Kahless and Lukara). The humans are still hopeful of a party, but their expectations are quickly dashed when they learn that they're about to begin the first of six "trials": deprivation, blood, pain, sacrifice, anguish, and death. They'll be fasting for the four days until the wedding. Needless to say, this is not what they had had in mind.

Jake enters the bar, which is being readied for the wedding, and tells Quark he has just "sold" his first book, one about life on the station under Dominion rule, which the Federation News Service will publish. He will not, however, be paid, for which Quark reproaches him. The Ferengi tells him Sisko is still in the holosuite. Jake asks what they're doing. "It's a Klingon bachelor party," says Quark suggestively. "You're a writer. Use your imagination."

At the "party", Alexander has passed out from the heat. To the disappointment of Bashir and O'Brien, who were hoping that the heat could be turned down (for Alexander's sake, of course), the young 3/4ths Klingon is caught up in proving himself, and tells his father to stoke the fire again. Martok kindly offers the humans the chance to bow out without dishonor, but they claim not to be bothered by the heat. "That's the spirit!" Martok enthuses, as he and Worf start singing.

Dax is not having an easier time of it. She has been toiling through a ceremony for Sirella, chanting in Klingon while holding a pair of heavy braziers. It's the third time she's done it in a row, and Sirella finds fault with her performance yet again. "End this now, Jadzia," the Klingon woman taunts. "Go back to your own people. They will tolerate your weaknesses and your failings in a way that a Klingon family never will. In our House, you would always be an alien, an outsider. At best, you'd be an object of pity. But you'll never be accepted, never an equal. Because you can never truly be one of us." Dax glares at her, and defiantly picks up the braziers again.

One of the other tasks Dax must complete is to recite the chronicle of the women of Sirella's family, which Dax uses as an opportunity for a little revenge. A bit of research has revealed the fact that one of Sirella's ancestresses was not the daughter of Emperor Reclaw of the Second Dynasty, but a concubine living by the stables. Sirella is coldly outraged. "But who cares about facts?" Dax says sweetly. "The chronicle says that you have imperial blood in your veins, and that's exactly what we'll keep telling everyone."

Jake is talking to Kira about the party Dax is planning for tomorrow night, when Kira has another almost-encounter with Odo, who avoids her again. Kira changes the subject on seeing Sisko and the other Kal'Hyah participants entering Quark's in their Klingon getup, looking very serious. "They don't want the rest of us to know what kind of debauchery they're up to," Jake says with authority. "Like what?" she asks. Jake smiles. "It's a Klingon bachelor party. Use your imagination."

The Kal'Hyah participants are lined up for the trial of blood. When Worf asks who will be the first to shed his, by silent mutual consent, Sisko, O'Brien, and Alexander step back, leaving Bashir, who is almost asleep on his feet. "I did not expect it to be you, Doctor," Worf exclaims. "Neither did I," says Bashir drily as Worf comes toward him, assuring him that the pain will only last a moment.

Dax's party is a wild one, complete with libations, music, and a Samoan fire dance performed by Lt. Manuele Atoa of the USS Sutherland. Among other things, Jake has a conversation with Quark, who opines that Dax is too good for Worf; Jake guesses that the Ferengi is jealous, and Quark doesn't deny it, but warns Jake not to quote him.

A good time is not being had by all: in the holosuite, Bashir and O'Brien are hanging chained to the ceiling. Bashir declares that it's working. "I've had a vision, about the future. I can see it so clearly...I'm going to kill Worf." The two of them both repeat the words like a mantra. "Kill Worf... Kill Worf... Kill Worf..."

When Odo arrives at the party, in response to complaints about the noise, he and Kira find themselves face to face. After a few awkward moments, Kira finally decides they have to put a stop to this. "Odo, I think we have a lot to talk about." He agrees, though he's a little startled to find that she means now. Kira pulls him off to find somewhere a little quieter.

As Dax is talking (and flirting somewhat) with Atoa, Sirella appears, uninvited, to tell Dax it's time for the Bre'Nan ritual. Dax has had it with her. "I'm busy." "Busy acting like a Risian slut!" Sirella accuses viciously. When Dax lets loose with a particularly vile Klingon curse, Sirella pulls a knife, which Dax knocks to the floor while punching Sirella in the jaw. Sirella shouts something nasty in Klingon, spits, and marches out. Dax turns to the shocked guests. "Why is everyone standing around? The party's just getting started!"

The next morning, a hungover Dax shows Atoa and Morn the way out, as Worf enters, concerned. He tells her that Sirella has cancelled the wedding, and that Dax has been forbidden to join the House of Martok. "So I won't be invited to the family picnics," Dax says. "I'll live." Just then she hears voices, and opens her closet door to find Odo and Kira in there, still talking things out. Startled to realize the party is over and it's morning, the two of them rush off to their duties.

Not fazed by the interruption, Worf urges Dax to go to Sirella and beg her forgiveness. "I don't beg," Dax replies evenly. "You are allowing your pride to blind you," he accuses. "...You and I have embarked on a spiritual journey, one that will bind us together through this life and into the next. You cannot turn back now."

"Maybe you're on a spiritual journey, Worf," Dax tells him. "But I just want to get married. So why don't you go back to sweating and bleeding with your friends in the holosuite, and when you're done, meet me in Benjamin's office and he'll perform the ceremony." Worf looks at her in disapproval. "If that is your attitude, perhaps Sirella was right about you. There should be no wedding!" "That's fine with me!" she retorts.

Bashir and O'Brien enter Quark's to find the wedding decorations being taken down. Quark tells them about the wedding having been called off. "She says it's because he's a pigheaded, stubborn man who puts tradition before everything else. He says it's because she's a frivolous, emotional woman who refuses to take him or his culture seriously. You can see the problem." "They're both right," says O'Brien. "Exactly," nods Quark. Bashir and O'Brien immediately decide to order dinner.

Martok visits Worf in his quarters on the Defiant, to tell him he has made a grave error. "Do you still love her?" "Of course," says Worf. "However, in this case, that may not be enough. Anyone can see that we are hopelessly mismatched. She is a Trill, I am a Klingon. She has had five marriages. This would be my first. When she is laughing, I am somber. When I am happy, she is crying. She plays Tongo with the Ferengi bartender. I can barely stand him. She mocks everything, while I take everything seriously. She is nothing like the woman I thought I would marry." Martok regards him compassionately. "We are not accorded the luxury of choosing the women we fall in love with. Do you think Sirella is anything like the woman I thought that I'd marry? She is a prideful, arrogant, mercurial woman who shares my bed far too infrequently for my taste. And yet, I love her deeply. We Klingons often tout our prowess in battle, our desire for glory and honor above all else. But how hollow is the sound of victory without someone to share it with. Honor gives little comfort to a man alone in his home, and in his heart."

Quark serves O'Brien and Bashir their large repast, and they are about to happily dig in, when Sisko and Martok (with Alexander) stop them, announcing that the wedding is back on; Worf is apologizing to Dax right now. "No food for those on the path to Kal'Hyah!" "No refunds for those on the path to Kal'Hyah, as well," Quark tells O'Brien and Bashir. "Sorry." But when Worf comes in, he says that Dax refused to change her mind, and that the wedding is still off. Sisko decides to go talk to her, leaving Worf and the others to keep the doctor and the Chief away from the food.

When Sisko enters Dax's quarters, she is still fuming that Worf wanted her to go crawling to Sirella. "I was once the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire! I negotiated the Khitomer Accords before Worf was even born!" But Sisko reminds her harshly that Curzon negotiated the accords, and she's not Curzon. "You can't expect Sirella to treat you like Curzon just because you carry his memories. To her, you're just a young woman who decided to marry into her family. If it means you have to bow down and kiss her boots, that's exactly what you have to do. And you knew that! The moment you decided to marry Worf, you knew that sooner or later, you'd have to bow down and show her the respect that she's due...If you can't abide by Klingon traditions, then you never should've let yourself fall in love with him in the first place." Finally his voice softens. "And you are in love with him."

Dax still looks angry, but his words have gotten through to her. "I wasn't looking to fall in love," she says at last. "I was perfectly happy by myself. I had friends, a career, adventure. Then one day, this Klingon with a bad attitude walked into my life. And the next thing I know, I'm getting married. After three hundred and fifty-six years and seven lifetimes, I still lead with my heart." "You know, that is what I've always loved about you," Sisko tells her. "And I think that's why Worf loves you, too."

Dax smiles ruefully at her oldest friend. "Whatever happened to that young, callow ensign I used to know? The one who used to turn to me for advice all the time? You know -- the one with hair?" "I grew up," Sisko says. She sighs. "I guess it's time I grew up, too."

And sometime later, Quark's has been turned again into a Klingon chapel. A crowd listens as Sirella (with Worf nearby in Klingon ceremonial dress) conducts the ritual by telling the story of how the gods forged the Klingon heart, and how it weakened because it was alone. So the gods made another heart. (At this point Dax enters, resplendent in Klingon finery, and faces Worf). Sirella continues the story, saying how the first heart grew jealous of the second. (Alexander gives bat'leths to the couple, who perform a brief mock combat.) But the second heart suggested that they join forces, and eventually together they destroyed the gods. "To this very day, no one can oppose the beating of two Klingon hearts -- not even me," Sirella adds quietly to Dax.

Worf and Dax then exchange their vows, as Bashir looks to Martok for the cue. ("Now?" "Patience.") Sirella pronounces them married; Dax bows her head in obeisance, and is embraced by Sirella. "Welcome to the House of Martok, my daughter."

"Now, doctor," says Martok. Bashir and O'Brien lead the charge.

  • The original title of this episode was "Once Upon a Wedding".
  • According to Ron Moore, the reason the reconciliation between Odo and Kira was handled offscreen was a lack of time. (Note: But they had time for "Resurrection"?!? -- TH)
  • At one point, the writers hoped to actually be able to bring the TNG cast to DS9 to attend the wedding of their former comrade, Worf.
  • The Sutherland was the ship commanded by Data in TNG's "Redemption, Part II".
  • Rather than use pre-recorded music for the party scenes, director David Livingston opted to actually use live drumming.