125. A Time to StandSeveral months into their war against the Dominion/Cardassian alliance, the Federation is fighting a losing battle. Having long ago abandoned Deep Space Nine, Sisko and his crew have been taking on the enemy from the U.S.S. Defiant. But they grow more and more demoralized as fleets of promised reinforcements are demolished. Reacting to the heavy losses, Federation Admiral Ross informs Sisko that he is no longer in command of the U.S.S. Defiant.
Ross soon reveals that the crew's new mission is to destroy the main Alpha Quadrant storage facility of ketracel-white, the drug to which the Jem'Hadar are genetically addicted. Without it, they will die. Ross reveals that he has a secret weapon to help them infiltrate Cardassian territory- a Jem'Hadar attack ship Sisko captured the year before.
The crew soon embarks in the alien vessel. Unfortunately, the headsets used for piloting are painful for humans, and Sisko struggles with intense headaches. Suggesting Cardassian physiology may be more compatible, Garak volunteers to wear the headset, further proving his loyalty to Sisko. Meanwhile, Nog delivers some bad news- a Federation ship, the Centaur, is firing on them.
Unable to identify themselves, Sisko suggests heading into Cardassian space in hopes that the Centaur will not follow. When the Federation captain doesn't give up, Sisko orders O'Brien to fire at his weapons array. The Centaur turns back toward Federation space, and the crew soon realizes why- three Jem'Hadar warships are approaching. Luckily, the enemy passes them without incident. Sisko discovers from where the ships came- the asteroid where the ketracel-white is stored. O'Brien sends down empty canisters to be "filled," with a bomb hidden inside one of them. Just as they prepare to leave, the facility raises its safety net, trapping the ship.
Sisko realizes that the explosion will disable net before it hits them, meaning they have a chance to outrun the blast. They prepare to leave when the explosion hits early! The crew is able to ride the "wave" to safety, and the facility is successfully destroyed. However, the ship has been left without warp drive- and more than seventeen years from the nearest Federation Starbase.
126. Rocks and ShoalsTraveling in a crippled Jem'Hadar warship, Sisko and his crew enter an uncharted nebula. They crash in the ocean of a desolate planet, and Dax is seriously wounded. Bashir stabilizes Dax's condition, after which the group takes shelter in a cave. Later, while Garak and Nog are searching for food and water, they are captured by Jem'Hadar soldiers who also crashed on the barren world.
Garak and Nog are taken to Keevan, the badly wounded Vorta leader of the stranded Jem'Hadar. When Garak reveals there is a doctor in their group, Keevan orders his soldiers, led by Remata'Klan, to locate the Starfleet unit without engaging them in battle. Meanwhile, Sisko and the crew try to locate their missing comrades. They are spotted by the Jem'Hadar who, ignoring Keevan's instructions, open fire.
Remata'Klan frantically orders his soldiers to lower their weapons. The Jem'hadar retreat, and Keevan gives Remata'Klan a new mission. Soon afterward, he arrives at the Starfleet camp and reveals to Sisko that Garak and Nog are being held as prisoners. Keevan wants to trade them for Sisko and Bashir, and after Remata'Klan gives his word that no one will be harmed, Sisko agrees.
Sisko and Bashir soon learn that they were summoned to save Keevan's life. Once the Vorta's condition improves, he reveals that his Jem'Hadar group has been marooned. Unfortunately, he has only one vial of ketracel-white, the drug used to control the Jem'Hadar, left to give them. The soldiers are already suffering from withdrawal, and once the drug is completely gone, they will go insane and kill everyone. To stop this, he will order his troops to attack the Starfleet base camp- but will provide Sisko with their plans. This will enable the Jem'Hadar to be ambushed and killed, Keevan to surrender and O'Brien to repair Keevan's communication system. Sisko is disgusted that Keevan will turn against his men to save himself, but sees no other choice.
At dawn, Remata'Klan and his men are trapped by the Starfleet crew, but Sisko offers to help the group escape. Remata'Klan refuses to surrender, explaining that as a Jem'Hadar he has no choice but to follow Keevan's command. Sadly, Sisko orders his crew to proceed, and the Jem'Hadar troops are massacred. The communication equipment is repaired, and Worf answers their call for help.
127. Sons and DaughtersWhile the war between the Federation and the Dominion continues, Klingon General Martok docks his ship to take on reinforcements. Worf is shocked to see that one of the new recruits is his estranged son, Alexander. Worf reveals that he sent Alexander to live with his foster parents on Earth years before, after the boy showed no interest in becoming a warrior. Martok encourages Worf to mend fences with his son, but the attempt soon deteriorates.
In the mess hall, Alexander engages in a fight with Ch'Targh, a grizzled Klingon veteran. Worf, seeing that the boy is losing badly, stops them. Angry and humiliated, Alexander tells his father that he had no right in interfere. Ch'Targh echoes the young Klingon's feelings, reminding Worf that he won't be able to come to his sons aid when he is fighting the Jem'Hadar.
Later, the bridge crew responds to an appaarent Jem'Hadar attack. When the expected torpedoes never hit, Worf realizes Alexander simply forgot to erase a battle simulation program from the sensor display. The others laugh about the incident, actually welcoming Alexander into their ranks. Worf, however, is angry and embarrassed that his son is the ship's fool.
Determined to make a warrior out of Alexander, Worf spars with him using a variety of Klingon weapons. The boy's skills are lacking, and the practice session turns into an angry confrontation. Later, Martok informs Alexander that he is being transferred off the ship at Worf's request. Devastated, Alexander confronts his father and accuses him of trying to get rid of him, just like when he was a boy. Worf is stung by the truth of these words, but has no time to mull over them -- the ship has come under Jem'Hadar attack.
When Alexander's sensor panel is destroyed during the battle, he and Ch'Targh volunteer for the deadly task of sealing a plasma leak. Realizing he may never see his son again, Worf is filled with emotion. Luckily, the Jem'Hadar ships are destroyed, and Alexander and Ch'Targh successfully complete their task. Worf apologies for the past and promises to teach Alexander to be a warrior if he will teach him to be a father. To make their reunion complete, he and Martok formally welcome Alexander into the House of Martok.
128. Behind the Lines 51145.3Admiral Ross at Starbase 375 uncovers a major reason for the Dominion's dominance -- a sensor array monitoring all activity across five sectors. Sisko soon formulates a risky plan to disable it. Back on Terok Nor -- the Cardassian name for Deep Space Nine -- Kira and her "resistance cell" of Jake, Rom and Odo work to foster ill will between the Cardassians and the Dominion. When Odo speaks out against her latest scheme, Kira begins to question his loyalty.
Later, Admiral Ross promotes Sisko, removing him from the Defiant. Dax, now in command of the ship, will run the mission without him. Meanwhile, Odo is surprised to encounter on the station the Female shapeshifter who once took away his changeling abilities. She tells Odo that he has been forgiven for killing one of his people, and, playing on the pain of his unrequited love for Kira, persuades him to link physically merge with her.
When Kira learns of this, she asks Odo not to link with the Female Shapeshifter again, which he promises. Later, Quark barges in on Kira's secret meeting with Jake, Rom and Odo. He learned that Damar, Gul Dukat's second-in-command, has figured out how to use the station's deflector array to deactivate Rom's self replicating minefield -- the one thing that stands between the station and hordes of Jem'Hadar troops waiting on the other side of the wormhole.
Based on information Quark provided, Kira devises a plan to disable the deflector array. Odo will run a security diagnostic, giving Kira and Rom a five-minute window to sabotage the equipment before being detected. But the next morning, while Kira and Rom prepare for their mission. Odo again links with the Female Shapeshifter, ignoring his promise to Kira. When Kira goes to the Security Office, she finds it empty, and Odo doesn't respond to her calls.
Kira hurries to call Rom, but she's too late, and Rom is arrested. Furious, Kira barges into Odo's quarters and is shocked when he serenely admits that he did indeed rejoin the link. Suddenly, for the first time ever, Kira and Odo are on opposite sides, and she regards her longtime friend as an enemy. But all is not lost. Light years away, the Defiant returns to Starbase 375 intact, and Sisko wistfully witnesses the celebration of Dax's first successful mission.
129. Favor the BoldThe Federation continues to lose the war with the Dominion/Cardassian Alliance - and morale is sinking fast. Realizing that the Federation needs a major victory, Sisko launches a plan to retake Deep Space Nine, using a task force comprised of ships throughout the Starfleet. Meanwhile, Odo continues to struggle with reconciling his thoughts for the Female Shapeshifter and remaining loyal to his friends, especially Kira. Despite his mixed feelings, he cannot resist linking - joining physically - with the fellow Changeling.
Rom is sentenced to execution for interfering in Dominion efforts to destroy the minefield barricading Jem'Hadar reinforcements on the other side of the wormhole. When Quark promises his brother he will find a way to free him, Rom tells him it is more important that he destroy the beam being used to take down the minefield. Kira asks Ziyal to convince her father, Gul Dukat, to release Rom, but Dukat turns his daughter down. Meanwhile, Quark learns that the minefield will be destroyed within a week, allowing thousands of Dominion troops to come through the wormhole and flood the Alpha Quadrant.
Quark and Kira realize they must warn Starfleet, so Jake smuggles out an encrypted message to his father. Sisko receives it and realizes he must begin his mission immediately, although needed reinforcements are days away from arrival.
Tracking the movements of the Federation fleet, Dukat and Weyoun realize something big is being planned. However, Dukat is more concerned about reconciling with Ziyal. He sends Damar, his second-in-command, to convince her to speak with him, but Damar, who dislikes Ziyal, is rough with the girl. Kira witnesses this and angrily attacks Damar, nearly killing him. Meanwhile, Sisko returns to the Defiant to personally lead the task force for his pivotal mission.
Dukat realizes the Federation troops are headed for the space station but is confident they won't have a chance once the minefield comes down. A bruised Damar asks Dukat for permission to arrest Kira, but Dukat only cares about what transpired between Damar and Ziyal. Odo has a disturbing conversation with the Female Shapeshifter, but when he later tries to talk to Kira, she refuses to accept his apology. Meanwhile, Sisko and his troops - headed for a wall of over one thousand Dominion ships - face what appears to be a suicide mission.
130. The Sacrifice of AngelsWith Sisko in command of the Defiant, the Federation fleet reaches the Dominion line of ships standing between it and Deep Space Nine. Sisko orders his troops to target only the Cardassian vessels, hoping to provoke them into breaking formation. On the space station, Damar - Gul Dukat's aide - is concerned that Kira, Jake, and Leeta might try to sabotage their plans again, so Dukat orders them held for questioning. The minefield that barricades the wormhole will be destroyed in hours, allowing thousands of waiting Dominion ships to invade the Alpha Quadrant and defeat the Federation.
Although Dukat catches on to Sisko's plan, he lets his enemy through with hopes of toying with him later. Knowing it's a trap, Sisko insists on staying his course. Meanwhile, Odo is upset when he learns that Kira has been arrested.
The battle rages on, and the defiant is the only ship to get through the Dominion line, with the help of Worf's Klingon reinforcements. On the station, Quark and Ziyal break out Rom, Kira, Jake and Leeta from prison. As Odo joins forces with his former comrades, Rom and Kira hurry to cut off power to the weapons array which will detonate the minefield, but are too late. Grimly, Sisko exercises his only remaining option and takes the Defiant into the wormhole.
Inside the wormhole, the entire Dominion fleet - and certain destruction - awaits the single ship. Suddenly, the wormhole aliens communicate with Sisko -they do not want him to die. Sisko pleads with them to save the Bajorans, who created an entire religion around them. He is then abruptly returned to the Defiant, but the enormous Dominion fleet still approaches.
Sisko gives the order to fire, but the ships are hit with a series of energy jolts and mysteriously disappear. Dukat is shocked when the Defiant emerges from the wormhole - alone. As Sisko opens fire in the station, Damar learns two hundred more Federation ships are headed their way. The Dominion troops are all ordered to retreat to Cardassia, and Dukat asks his daughter to accompany him, but Ziyal refuses. She reveals that she helped Kira and the others escape from the holding cell, but she tells Dukat that she loves him just before Damar kills her. Devastated, Dukat remains - a shell of his former self - while the others evacuate and Sisko and the crew joyfully return home, achieving a major victory in the ongoing war.
131. You Are Cordially Invited 51247.5With war still raging throughout the galaxy, and life returning to normal on Deep Space Nine, Worf and Dax resume planning their long-awaited wedding. Since Dax will be joining Worf's surrogate family, the House of Martok, she agrees to endure the traditional evaluation by the mistress of the house, Martok's wife, Sirella. Confident that she will be liked and accepted, Dax is surprised when she learns that as a non-Klingon she will almost certainly fail to gain Sirella's favor.
Learning that Sirella disapproves of Dax, Worf asks Martok to intervene. Martok refuses to get involved, but agrees to participate in Kal'Hyah, the traditional Klingon "bachelor party." Sisko, O'Brien, Bashir, and Alexander -- Worf's son -- eagerly join them, but are disappointed when they learn that the "party" is light on fun and heavy on fasting, bloodletting, and other uniquely Klingon forms of torture.
Meanwhile, Dax endures her own form of Klingon torture as she struggles to please Sirella. When she is asked to recite the history of the House of Martok, Dax gleefully reveals her discovery that Sirella has no imperial blood, and is in fact descended from a concubine. Naturally, Sirella is infuriated.
Ready for a little fun, Dax throws herself a pre-wedding party. In the midst of the drinking and debauchery, Sirella demands that Dax join her for a ritual. When Dax tells her to leave, Sirella threatens to cancel the wedding. The confrontation ends with Sirella declaring Dax an enemy. The next morning, Worf informs Dax that Sirella has forbidden her to join the House of Martok. He asks her to beg Sirella's forgiveness, but Dax refuses to endure that humiliation just so Worf can have a Klingon ceremony. Angrily, both Worf and Dax call off the wedding.
Martok convinces Worf to apologize to Dax, but she refuses to change her mind. Determined to see the lovers wed, Sisko goes to see Dax himself. She describes the indignities to which she has been subjected, reminding Sisko that, as Curzon Dax, she was Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire! Sisko gently points out that Sirella only sees her as a young woman who wants to marry into her family. He states that Dax knew what she was getting into when she agreed to marry Worf, and that she must honor the traditions of his people. Warmed by her deep love for Worf, Dax follows Sisko's advice, and she and Worf are married -- with Sirella's blessing.
132. ResurrectionWhen a stranger beams aboard the station and takes Kira hostage, she is shocked to see that he looks exactly like her dead love, Vedek Bareil. He reveals that he is Bareil -- the alternate universe version -- and is running from the evil Alliance of his universe. Even though he attacks her, Kira refuses to press charges after he is captured. Sisko is concerned that she is letting his resemblance to her late lover influence her actions, but agrees to allow Bareil to remain on the station.
When Kira informs him that her Bareil was a religious leader, Bareil laughs at the idea, telling Kira that his life as a thief is far from spiritual. But later, he joins Kira at services and attempts to learn more about the Bajoran faith in his "new" universe. Impressed, Kira invites him to join her for dinner with Worf and Dax. The evening is a huge success, and Bareil ends up spending the night with Kira.
The next morning, Bareil is exposed to the Bajoran Orb of Prophecy and Change, an experience which is both powerful and exhausting. Kira understands and sends him off for some rest. No sooner does he enter his quarters than the Intendant -- the alternate universe double of Kira -- appears and kisses him.
The Intendant presses Bareil about his feelings for Major Kira. He tells her that he thinks Kira is wonderful, but she reminds him that, as a thief, he is not worthy of her. She also reminds him of his purpose -- to steal the orb and gain the power to unite the Bajoran people in a war against the Alliance. Later, Quark remarks to Kira that her friend has a tendency to spend hours at the Bajoran temple. While she reminds him that Bareil is in the midst of a religious experience, Quark points out that he could also be planning to rob the place.
That night, Bareil attempts to steal the orb, but finds Kira waiting for him. The Intendant arrives, announcing that they are wired for transport home. Kira warns Bareil against giving the Intendant the sacred object and reminds him of the power of his orb experience. Amazingly, her words reach him. He stuns the Intendant with a phaser blast and reveals to Kira that when he looked into the orb, he saw the two of them together with a family on Bajor. Unfortunately, he still feels unworthy of Kira. Leaving the orb behind, he departs the station with the Intendant, sure he can convince her to forgive him.
133. Statistical ProbabilitiesWith the secret of his genetically-engineered past out in the open, Bashir is asked to work with a group of others like him. Aggressive Jack, sensual Lauren, giddy Patrick, and shy Sarina are highly intelligent -- but equally dysfunctional -- and have spent their lives in an institution. It is hoped that Bashir can help them assimilate into "normal" society, and while he is initially put off by their antisocial behavior, Bashir is excited by the prospect of helping them succeed.
When Gul Damar, the new head of the Cardassian government, announces that Cardassia and the Dominion want to open peace talks with the Federation, Jack, Patrick, and Lauren put together the story of how Damar came to power -- just by watching his speech. Bashir asks Sisko for a transcript of the upcoming talks so that his charges can analyze the proceedings.
Damar and the Dominion's Weyoun appear ready to concede territories, but Bashir's group spots a problem. They determine that the enemy alliance is not mentioning a star system which contains the raw materials for ketracel-white, the drug used to control the Jem'Hadar, because they want it for themselves. Bashir presents this information, along with a dizzying array of further predictions, to Sisko. When he sees that the projected outcomes are all backed up with equations, Sisko informs Starfleet Command of the group's talents. Starfleet responds by giving them access to classified information on its battle readiness.
The savants determine that the Federation will lose the war, with casualties in the hundreds of billions. Bashir takes this grim news to Sisko, advising that the Federation surrender. Naturally, Sisko refuses, and without his endorsement, Starfleet rejects Bashir's recommendation. Hearing this news, the group decides to give the Dominion leaders information that will help them take control of the Alpha Quadrant. While the plan will save lives, Bashir refuses to participate, forcing Jack to incapacitate him.
The group arranges a meeting with Weyoun and Damar, and Sarina is left behind to guard Bashir. After convincing her to free him, Bashir alerts Odo to the impending meeting, and the plan is foiled. The savants are sent back to the institution, and Bashir takes comfort in the fact that if they couldn't foretell Sarina's defection, perhaps their predictions of doom for the Federation may also be wrong.
134. The Magnificent FerengiThe Grand Nagus calls with news that Quark's mother, Ishka, has been captured by the Dominion. He enlists Quark to rescue her, offering a substantial reward if he succeeds. Quark persuades Rom to join the mission to save their mother, telling him that they will lie about the reward in order to keep most for themselves. The two then recruit Nog for his Starfleet expertise, while fellow Ferengis Leck, Gaila, and Brunt form the rest of the team.
While running battle simulations in the Holosuites, Quark realizes they have no hope of taking back Ishka by force. Rom suggests doing what Ferengis do best -- making a deal. With Sisko's blessing, Quark obtains the release of a Vorta, Keevan, from prison, and makes a deal with the Dominion to exchange him for Ishka. The team heads to Empok Nor, a deserted Cardassian space station, to make the exchange, but Keevan warns them that the Dominion intends to kill him, and will no doubt kill the Ferengi team as well.
At the station, Gaila falls asleep while he is supposed to be guarding their prisoner, and Keevan escapes. Luckily, Quark had Rom disable the ship's engines in anticipation of such a problem, so the group is able to apprehend Keevan. When they return to their base camp, dozens of Jem'Hadar soldiers are waiting for them.
Quark meets with Yelgrun, the Vorta who is holding Ishka prisoner. Yelgrun asks for Keevan, but instead of making the exchange, Quark responds with a list of demands designed to ensure his group's -- and his mother's -- safety. After some initial reservations, Yelgrun gives in, and he and Quark agree to exchange prisoners in a half hour. Quark goes back to complete the final preparations, but Rom accidentally reveals to the rest of the group that he and Quark are withholding some of the reward money. A fight ensues, and Keevan -- their bargaining chip -- is mistakenly killed.
Unwilling to leave without Ishka, Nog engineers a desperate solution -- wiring Keevan with neural stimulators so it will look as if he's still alive. When the sides exchange their prisoners, sending each to walk toward the other group, Yelgrun immediately senses something is wrong. However, by the time he calls for his guards to attack, the rest of the Ferengi team arrives and kills them. The group heads back to Deep Space Nine with Yelgrun as their prisoner, Ishka free, and Quark a hero.
135. Waltz 51408.6En route to Gul Dukat's war crimes investigation, Sisko meets with the former Cardassian leader, now a prisoner. Dukat, who suffered a nervous breakdown over the death of his daughter, assures Sisko that he has recovered. Suddenly, the starship transporting them is destroyed by Cardassian troops. Sisko is seriously injured, but Dukat escapes with him to a nearby planet and tends to his wounds. When Sisko regains consciousness, Dukat informs him that they are stranded and he is sending out a distress signal.
Unbeknownst to Sisko, Dukat hallucinates encounters with Weyoun and Damar, who advise him to kill the Starfleet Captain. Dukat reveals that he intends to -- after Sisko shows him the respect he deserves. While Dukat 'talks' with his colleagues, Sisko notices that the communications system is, in fact, not sending out a signal. When Dukat returns, Sisko tests him by asking him to check the system. He does, telling Sisko the unit is working fine.
Meanwhile, Worf searches for Sisko in the Defiant, but has limited time before he must leave to escort a convoy of Federation ships. Sisko adjusts the com system while Dukat is out, but must stop when he returns and 'play along' while Dukat defends his treatment of the Bajorans. When Dukat starts 'arguing' with Kira, Sisko realizes something is very wrong. He pretends to agree with Dukat, and the ruse almost works until Dukat notices that the distress signal is now on-line. He destroys the com system and attacks the defenseless Sisko.
On the Defiant, Worf runs out of time and must leave to escort the convoy, but continues searching a bit longer. Meanwhile, Dukat continues to push Sisko for his approval. Bruised and battered after Dukat's attack, Sisko invites him to talk about his experience with the Bajorans. While Dukat screams about wanting to kill them all, Sisko knocks him out with a metal bar and, despite his weakened condition, escapes to the shuttle.
Dukat recovers and follows Sisko outside, tackling him to prevent his escape. But when Sisko challenges his enemy to kill him, Dukat instead leaves Sisko behind and takes off in the shuttle, vowing to destroy Bajor. The Defiant crew then picks up Dukat's signal and finds Sisko. Dukat, however, escapes, leaving Sisko grimly aware of the battle over Bajor that is sure to come.
136. Who Mourns for Morn?The crew is shocked to learn that Morn has been killed in an ion storm. True to form, Quark sees an opportunity for profit and throws a memorial party at his bar. Sisko interrupts with surprising news -- Morn has left Quark his entire estate. Although Morn's financial records indicate that he was broke, Quark searches Morn's quarters for hidden assets. Instead, he finds Morn's ex-wife, Larell, who tells Quark about Morn's hidden retirement fund of a thousand bars of latinum.
Quark offers Larell ten percent to keep her out of his hair, but he is unable to find the loot. He returns to his quarters to find two alien brothers, Krit and Nahsk. Claiming to be Morn's business associates, they tell Quark that Morn owes them all of the latinum. Quark tries to bargain when Nahsk smashes one of Morn's paintings over Quark's head. The two parties finally agree to a figure of fifty percent, and the brothers leave. Moments later, Quark discovers a storage locker claim slip woven into what's left of the painting.
Quark opens the locker, but finds only one bar of latinum inscribed with a message that the rest is in a bank. He hurries home to send for the rest of his inheritance, but another stranger, Hain, emerges from the shadows.
Claiming to be a security officer from Morn's home planet, Hain explains that Morn is a prince, and that his latinum is the property of the royal family! When he learns Larell is on the station, he offers Quark a reward for her capture. Later, Quark finds Larell waiting for him in his quarters. Krit and Nahsk soon show up, followed by Hain. Quark learns that their stories are all lies -- the four of them robbed a bank with Morn, who ran off with all of the money. With the statute of limitations now expired, they came to collect, and now that Quark has sent for the latinum, they no longer need him.
Quark reminds the group that he must be there to take the delivery, so they agree to split the money five ways. However, the "partners" try to double cross each other, and Quark runs for cover until Odo arrives to arrest the four thieves. He excitedly examines the latinum, only to discover that the bars are worthless gold. Resigned to his fate, Quark returns to the bar to find Morn, alive and well. He faked his own death, leaving Quark to get the others out of the way. Morn then reveals where he really hid the latinum -- he regurgitates 100 bars worth as a reward for Quark, making the whole experience a worthwhile one after all.
137. One Little ShipIn order to investigate a rare subspace phenomenon, Dax, O'Brien, and Bashir board the Runabout, U.S.S. Rubicon, that is shrunken to four inches long. They are assured this effect will be reversed once they leave the anomaly. Suddenly, the Defiant, tethered to the tiny Runabout, is attacked and Sisko and the others are overtaken by the Jem'Hadar. The miniature Runabout and its crew survives, but they exit the anomaly through a different route -- without returning to normal size.
The Runabout cannot enter the anomaly again without help, so Dax, O'Brien, and Bashir pilot their vessel inside the U.S.S. Defiant. Meanwhile, the Jem'Hadar, unable to restore warp drive to the captured ship, force Sisko and his crew to guide them through the mechanical repairs. When the Jem'Hadar leader, First Kudak'Etan, sends away his Vorta's attack ship with assurance that the warp drive will soon be operational, Sisko seizes the opportunity to hatch a plan to retake the Defiant.
The Runabout crew members find themselves in the Engine Room, where they realize the Jem'Hadar have overtaken the ship. Sisko, Worf, Kira, and Nog work at the controls, trying to appear as if they are repairing the warp drive while they secretly retrace each other's steps. Dax sees that Sisko is trying to retake control of the ship from the operations console, but his plan cannot work unless Dax and her crew can pilot the Runabout to the Bridge and help them from there.
They reach the Bridge, but are unable to release the command codes to transfer control to Sisko. O'Brien and Bashir leave the ship to do the job manually, with Dax beaming down oxygen molecules for them to breathe. Unaware of their crewmates' presence onboard, and feeling the time pressure bearing down, Kira continues to stall while Sisko infects the warp drive with a virus.
O'Brien and Bashir release the codes and are beamed back to the Runabout. Just as Nog realizes that command functions have been transferred to Engineering, Kudak'Etan catches on to the crew's act. He prepares to put the ship in warp drive, not knowing about the computer virus. Just then, the Runabout arrives, surprising the unsuspecting Jem'Hadar, and the "full-sized" crewmembers gain the upper hand. After disabling the virus, Sisko floods the ship with poison gas, subduing the remaining Jem'Hadar. The Defiant is liberated thanks to their tiny crewmates, who are soon returned to the anomaly and their normal size.
138. Far Beyond the StarsAfter a friend's ship is destroyed and Sisko considers leaving Starfleet, he begins having visions of his crew as 1950s Americans. Bashir's examination reveals unusual synaptic patterns, but before Sisko can discuss treatment, he finds himself in 1953 New York City as Benny Russell, a writer for a science-fiction magazine. Fellow staffers resemble O'Brien, Kira, Bashir, Dax, and Quark in human form, and their editor, Pabst, looks like a human Odo. Writing assignments are given as illustrations, and each writer creates a story to fit their drawing. Benny's illustration is a crude version of Deep Space Nine.
Benny writes of Captain Benjamin Sisko and his space station, Deep Space Nine. He shows the story to his girlfriend, Cassie (Kasidy Yates) and to the others at work. While everyone is impressed, Pabst refuses to publish it, telling Sisko that his readers will not accept a Negro man as the head of a space station.
That night, Benny encounters a preacher (Joseph Sisko) who urges him to "write the words." He pens another story starring Ben Sisko, forgetting all about his date with Cassie. Later, she arrives at Benny's apartment and coaxes him to dance with her. Suddenly, he is Sisko again, dancing with Kasidy on the station. Back as Benny, he tells Cassie he fears he is becoming Captain Sisko.
Benny returns to work determined to see his stories published. Albert (O'Brien) suggests making the first story a dream, and Pabst agrees that a young Negro man's vision of a better future is acceptable. That night, Benny's celebration with Cassie turns ugly. First, the preacher warns him of trouble ahead. Then, after two malicious police officers (Dukat and Weyoun) kill a Negro teenager (Jake Sisko), they turn on Benny and beat him mercilessly.
Weeks later, the day Benny's story is to be published, Pabst breaks the news that the magazine's owner refused to distribute the issue -- and that Benny has been fired. Devastated and at the breaking point, Benny tearfully declares that Ben Sisko and his future are real and cannot be destroyed. He is taken away in an ambulance, where he finds the preacher comforting him, then he wakes up on Deep Space Nine as Sisko again. Told he was unconscious only a few minutes, his brain readings have now returned to normal. Encouraged by his dream and its message, Sisko decides to stay with Starfleet and Deep Space Nine.
139. Honor Among ThievesStarfleet Intelligence recruits Chief O'Brien to infiltrate the Orion Syndicate, the Alpha Quadrant's leading organized crime ring, to find a Starfleet informant. Posing as a handyman, he makes contact with a trio from the Syndicate by repairing a piece of their equipment. After researching O'Brien's fake background, Bilby, the leader of the trio, decides to bring him into his circle of associates.
O'Brien fixes some faulty rifles Bilby procured for Raimus, his superior in the Syndicate. Bilby is so impressed by O'Brien's skills and honesty that he bonds with his new acquaintance, telling him about his beloved family. After Bilby reveals the identity of the informant, he takes O'Brien to meet Raimus. At the meeting, O'Brien is surprised to see that Bilby's boss is accompanied by a Vorta. Later, when he tells his Starfleet contact, Chadwick, O'Brien's assignment is extended so that he may learn why the Dominion is involved with the Syndicate.
Proving himself as a valued member of the team, O'Brien helps his new associates rob a bank. The more time he spends with Bilby, the more he worries about the man and what will happen to him when his assignment ends. O'Brien expresses his concerns to Chadwick, who assures him that Bilby will be safest in a Federation prison -- provided Starfleet gets him before the Syndicate. But O'Brien is still troubled by the idea of betraying his friend.
Raimus and the Vorta want Bilby and his team to execute the Klingon ambassador to Farius -- using Klingon rifles to make it look as if the dignitary was killed by fellow countrymen. The Dominion hopes this will lead to the end of the Klingon alliance with the Federation. As Chadwick prepares to warn the ambassador, O'Brien realizes that the Klingons will kill Bilby and his men, so he hurries to Bilby's apartment to stop him.
O'Brien tells Bilby that he is working for Starfleet, and reveals the pending Klingon ambush. At first, Bilby refuses to believe O'Brien, but once he does, he insists on continuing with the mission, feeling it is the only way to protect his wife and children from Syndicate retribution for his mistake in trusting O'Brien. Knowing he will be killed, Bilby asks O'Brien to care for his cat, and the two men part for the last time. O'Brien returns to Deep Space Nine saddened that he has sent a friend to his death.
140. Change of HeartWhen Dax and Worf are sent to the Badlands to meet with a Cardassian double-agent, they receive an encrypted subspace transmission from Lasaran, the operative. He has information about where the Founders are located in the Alpha Quadrant, but before he will reveal anything, he wants Dax and Worf to help him defect. In three days, he plans to walk into the jungle on the planet Soukara. Since Dax and Worf will be unable to beam him off the planet, they are to rendezvous with him in the jungle. Seeing no alternative, they agree to the plan.
Dax and Worf head immediately for the Soukara system, successfully landing the Runabout in the middle of the jungle. They have just under two days to reach the rendezvous point, and although this is about twenty kilometers away, they will have to penetrate the Dominion's sensors and get past their patrols.
Reconfiguring their tricorders to mask their lifesigns, Dax and Worf are able to begin their trek through the jungle. They hike the entire day, finally stopping to make camp after night falls. Despite the difficulty of the journey, it is almost like a honeymoon for the newlyweds, who enjoy talking and joking together. However, they soon realize they are in the path of a Jem'Hadar patrol.
With no way to escape, they quickly formulate a plan of attack. They manage to kill all three Jem'Hadar, but Dax is shot with a disruptor that leaves an anti-coagulant in her wound -- meaning the bleeding cannot be stopped. With the help of painkillers and regular plasma transfusions, they continue their trek, but Dax's injuries impede their progress, and eventually she loses the ability to walk.
Worf realizes that Dax's only hope for survival is surgery. Since they cannot abandon their mission, Dax and Worf both decide Worf must keep going, leaving Dax behind to die. The newlyweds share a kiss goodbye, and Worf heads off into the jungle. But as he gets farther and farther away, Worf realizes he cannot complete the mission. Instead, he rushes back to the now-unconscious Dax, reaching her just in time to save her life. Back on Deep Space Nine, he learns she will recover, but their mission is a complete loss -- Lasaran has been killed. Sisko informs Worf that, as captain, he must tell Worf he made the wrong choice, but as a man and a husband, he probably would have done the same thing.
141. Wrongs Darker Than Death or NightOn her late mother Meru's birthday, Kira receives a transmission from Gul Dukat in which he tells her that Meru, who supposedly died when Kira was three, was actually his lover for many years and left her family to be with him. When Kira's investigation fails to prove Dukat false, she asks Sisko, as the Emissary, to permit her to consult the Bajoran Orb of Time. He agrees, and Kira finds herself in the past, at a refugee center where she comes face to face with her long-lost family, who does not realize her true identity.
Kira and Meru are taken from the camp to become "comfort women" for Cardassian troops. The sight of her mother being torn from her children is painful for Kira, and she vows to help her return to her family. The women are taken to the Terok Nor space station, where, despite her sadness, Meru is overwhelmed by the bounty of food and other comforts. Later, she is singled out for special attention by Gul Dukat, the Prefect of the station.
Meru confesses to Kira that she has what she always dreamed of -- enough to eat, beautiful clothes -- but at the cost of her family. Later, Kira learns that her mother has become Dukat's mistress. When Kira confronts a guard and demands to see Meru, she is thrown out into the station's Bajoran ghetto.
Kira befriends a Bajoran named Halb, who asks her to help attack the Cardassians, but she is suddenly summoned to meet with Meru. When her mother begins singing Dukat's praises, it is too much for Kira to bear. She angrily reminds Meru that Dukat is not only responsible for killing innocent Bajorans, but also for separating her from her family. Meru explains that Dukat has promised to provide her husband and children with food and medical supplies. Kira accuses Meru of becoming a collaborator and storms out, hatching a plan with Halb to smuggle a bomb into Dukat's quarters. The blast will kill her mother, but Kira no longer cares.
Pretending to have had a change of heart, Kira returns to Dukat's quarters to apologize to Meru, then secretly hides the bomb. She is preparing to leave when Dukat gives Meru a recorded message from Kira's father. He thanks his wife for what she has done, telling her that she has saved their lives. Kira realizes that if her father could forgive her mother, she must forgive her also. She warns Dukat and Meru about the bomb, and they escape just before it detonates. Kira returns to the station with the painful knowledge that Dukat's story is true.
142. InquisitionInternal Affairs Officer Sloan arrives on the station, announcing that there has been a possible security breach. He believes an officer may be passing information to the Dominion and promptly confines the senior staff to quarters. Later, Sloan summons Bashir for a brief interview, which appears to go well. Back in his room, however, the doctor learns that O'Brien was interrogated for two hours -- about him. Just then, Bashir is taken to a second meeting with Sloan.
Sloan questions Bashir about his time as a Dominion prisoner and picks apart the story of his incarceration and escape. He tells the doctor that because of his superior, genetically engineered mind, the Dominion may be using him as a spy without his conscious knowledge. Bashir doesn't buy the story, and Sloan angrily drags him to a holding cell.
When Sisko sits in on the next interrogation, Sloan reminds him that Bashir recently advised on surrendering to the Dominion, and that he lied about being genetically engineered. In a private meeting, Sisko asks Bashir if Sloan's theory is medically possible, and Bashir realizes that Sisko doubts his innocence. Later that night, Sloan arrives in Bashir's cell to take him to a starbase for further questioning, but the doctor is suddenly transported onto a Cardassian ship.
He is welcomed by Weyoun, who asserts that Bashir was indeed "broken" by the Dominion. Since he has no memory of being a spy, Bashir decides that Weyoun and Sloan must be working together to concoct the story. Just then, the Defiant attacks, and Kira and Worf take him back to their ship. As his fellow officers unite against him, Bashir notices something is wrong -- O'Brien suffered a recent shoulder injury but shows no symptoms. Suddenly, everything fades away. He was in a Federation holographic simulation. Now, he faces the real Sloan.
Sloan explains that he works for a secret division of Starfleet Intelligence -- Section Thirty-One -- that eliminates dangers to the Federation without answering to anyone. They secretly took Bashir from the station and put him through a series of tests, which he passed. Bashir is horrified when Sloan invites him to join their group, then turns him down. Later, when he tells his story to Sisko, who thought the doctor was at a medical conference, Bashir gets an unwelcome assignment. Sisko surmises that Sloan will not give up hope of recruiting Bashir, and that when he returns, Bashir must join the secret unit -- as a spy for the captain.
143. In the Pale MoonlightGoing over casualty lists, Sisko realizes there is only one hope of winning the war -- the Romulans, who signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, must be convinced to join the Federation/Klingon Alliance. Sure that the Dominion will eventually invade Romulus anyway, Sisko recruits Garak to discreetly obtain evidence from Cardassia that will bring the Romulans into the war.
Sisko soon learns that several Cardassians expressed a willingness to help Garak, but all were killed within one day of speaking with him. Undaunted, Garak suggests that he and Sisko manufacture false evidence of an impending Dominion attack on Romulus, then call a secret meeting with a Romulan senator scheduled to be in the sector and present it to him. Frustration with the war convinces Sisko to agree, and when Garak recruits a condemned prisoner named Tolar to create the crucial evidence, the scheme begins.
Garak locates the Cardassian data rod necessary for the forgery, but Sisko must reluctantly trade a rare and dangerous compound for it. Then he, Garak, and Tolar get to work, creating a recording of a holographic meeting in which Weyoun, the Dominion leader, and Cardassia's Damar discuss plans to invade Romulus. Soon afterward, Senator Vreenak arrives.
Vreenak is condescending, sure that the Federation is about to fall to the Dominion. But when Sisko tells him the Dominion is planning to invade Romulus, Vreenak's mood changes. Sisko takes him to a secured holosuite and shows him the recording of the "meeting," after which Vreenak asks to examine the data rod. He later faces Sisko and announces that the rod is a fake.
A furious Vreenak leaves the station, vowing to expose Sisko to the entire Alpha Quadrant. Instead, the Romulan's shuttle explodes, killing him and damaging the forged data rod. An investigation points to the Dominion, but while the rest of his crew is ecstatic, Sisko is infuriated. He confronts Garak, who admits he suspected the rod might not pass inspection and placed a bomb on Vreenak's shuttle to guarantee the plan worked. Sure enough, it does -- the Romulan Empire formally declares war against the Dominion. Sisko is upset to have lied and cheated, but with a possible victory finally in sight, he decides it's a feeling with which he can live.
144. His WayBashir shows off his new Holosuite program, a 1960s Vegas singer named Vic Fontaine who performs in a lounge full of martini-swilling customers. While Vic is only a hologram, he is extremely perceptive and immediately senses Odo's unrequited love for Kira. Soon afterward, Kira leaves for Bajor to visit her ex-lover Shakaar -- a move which clearly upsets Odo. He "borrows" Bashir's program and asks Vic for a little romantic advice.
After turning Odo into a tuxedo-clad piano player, Vic invites a pair of beautiful holo-showgirls into the picture. They cozy up to Odo, but he has trouble mustering up feelings for anyone but Kira. Vic reminds him that the best way to feel comfortable with Kira is to practice with these other women. After a week of Odo visiting the Holosuite, Vic introduces his pupil to Lola, a sexy holographic chanteuse who looks exactly like Kira.
At first, Odo manages to flirt quite successfully with Lola, but as he is about to kiss her, he breaks away. Odo tells Vic that he is unable to forget that Lola is just a hologram because she doesn't act like Kira. A few days later, Kira returns to the station, and Odo can barely speak to her. Deciding to play matchmaker, Vic interrupts Kira's visit to a Holosuite and tells her he's aware about Odo's feelings. Then, he insists she return that night for a special dinner with Odo.
Vic tricks Odo into attending the dinner by telling him he has perfected a Kira hologram. The evening is beautiful -- Kira and Odo are dressed to the nines, and Vic serves them an elegant meal. They chat about the irony of spending their "first date" in a Holosuite and even dance while Vic croons a period standard. However, as Kira talks about leaving the Holosuite, Odo reveals that he thinks she is actually a hologram. When Vic sheepishly informs Odo that he has been dancing with the real Kira, Odo is embarrassed and abruptly leaves.
Believing he has blown his last chance with the woman he loves, Odo is surprised when Kira approaches him on the Promenade and insists that he meet her for dinner that night. The two argue heatedly, their passions exploding when Odo finally grabs Kira and kisses her in full view of everyone. A few days later, Odo visits Vic in the Holosuite to deliver thanks for bringing him and Kira, now a couple, together.
145. The ReckoningSisko is called to Bajor when an ancient tablet addressing the Emissary is discovered. Seeing it launches Sisko into a vision, during which the Prophets tell him "the Reckoning" must begin. Since no one knows exactly what this means, Sisko takes the tablet back to Deep Space Nine for Dax to translate. Kai Winn arrives on the station and pushes Sisko to return it, but he refuses, convinced he is doing the will of the Prophets.
Soon afterward, the wormhole begins opening and closing. When the Kai informs Sisko that Bajor is suffering floods and tornadoes and accuses him of angering the Prophets, Sisko agrees to return the tablet on the next morning's transport. Later that night, Sisko examines the tablet one final time. He instinctively smashes it on the ground, releasing a strange vortex of violent energy.
Sisko tells Winn he believes he has done what the Prophets wanted him to do. While privately moved, she refuses to acknowledge Sisko's faith in her gods and continues to blame him for the destruction affecting Bajor. In the midst of Winn's ranting, Sisko is called to the Promenade, where Kira is ablaze with bluish energy. He realizes that she is no longer Kira, but a Prophet announcing it is time for the Reckoning.
The Kira/Prophet reveals she is to fight an epic battle with an Evil One, a Pah-wraith banished from Bajor's celestial temple. Winn is thrilled -- according to prophecy, the defeat of the Evil One will usher in Bajor's Golden Age. Feeling he has no choice but to allow the battle, Sisko orders the station evacuated. Dax and Bashir rig a panel with radiation that will force the Prophet to leave Kira's body, but Sisko insists the showdown proceed without interference. He stands by his decision even when the Pah-wraith takes over the body of his son, Jake.
Sisko watches helplessly as both Jake and Kira are wracked by the conflict. Dax suggests using the radiation, but Sisko refuses, believing that the Prophets will protect his son. When the Kai sneaks away and triggers the radiation, she ends the battle before one of the combatants is defeated. Later, Kira escorts her off the station and is shocked to hear the religious leader praising herself for saving Deep Space Nine. Kira answers her with a conviction she has never known before, telling Winn she has defied the Prophets so completely that even they may not know what it means for Bajor.
146. ValiantEn route to Ferenginar, Jake and Nog are attacked by a Jem'Hadar vessel. When they are suddenly beamed aboard the U.S.S. Valiant, a Defiant-class warship, Nog recognizes the crew of young adults as Red Squad, an elite corps of Starfleet cadets. The 22-year-old captain, Tim Watters, explains that his crew, originally on a training mission, became trapped in Dominion space when the war broke out. All of the regular officers were killed, but before he died, the captain ordered Watters to assume command. With Starfleet unaware of the situation, Watters is trying to complete the Valiant's mission to gather data on a new Dominion battleship. Caught up in Watters's fervor, Nog agrees to join the crew as Chief Engineer.
While Nog and Watters hit it off, the captain is less enamored of Jake, the only civilian on the ship. When a member of his crew, Chief Collins, becomes homesick after speaking with Jake, Watters calls the young Sisko into his office and warns him to stay away from her.
Nog successfully completes his first assignment, which is to adjust the Valiant's warp capabilities, by making the same modifications he once saw O'Brien make to the Defiant. He proudly tells Jake of his accomplishment, but his friend is upset that Nog joined the Squad so quickly. Their conversation is suddenly interrupted when the ship goes to Red Alert -- the target is in sight.
The crew carries out their mission without being detected, but Watters rallies them to now attempt to destroy the enemy ship. Although Jake says that the plan is too risky, Watters only has to remind the group that they're Red Squad -- capable of doing anything -- and the room erupts in cheers. Even Nog gives the plan his support. Later, Jake confronts his friend over what he believes is a suicide mission and reveals that he has spoken with Collins against orders. Watters, secretly watching on a monitor, has Jake arrested and sent to the Brig.
The battle begins, and the Valiant sustains heavy damage. When the torpedo specially rigged to destroy the Dominion ship doesn't work, the enemy retaliates by unleashing an all-out attack. Soon, Nog and Collins are the only two left standing. After freeing Jake from the Brig, the three manage to flee in an escape pod moments before the Valiant explodes. The Defiant picks up the three survivors, and Nog, shaken by the experience, resigns from Red Squad.
147. Profit and LaceGrand Nagus Zek and Ishka, Quark and Rom's mother, arrive on the station to announce that, thanks to his relationship with the proudly feminist Ishka, Zek has added a new amendment to the Ferengi Bill of Opportunities giving females equal rights. Unfortunately, this has plunged the entire Ferengi society into chaos, Zek has been deposed as Grand Nagus, and Liquidator Brunt is now Acting Grand Nagus -- a position that will become permanent in three days. Sure that Ishka's amazing business sense will win them over, Zek invites the commissioners of the Ferengi Commerce Authority to the station, but cola magnate Nilva is the only one who agrees to a meeting.
Brunt arrives on the station and threatens to liquidate Quark and Zek. This prompts Quark to angrily confront his mother, who has a heart attack. While Bashir assures everyone she will survive, Ishka will be unable to meet with Nilva -- leaving Zek without a Ferengi female to prove gender equality is a good idea. With no other choice, Quark allows Bashir to temporarily turn him into a female.
The procedure transforms Quark into a lovely female they call Lumba, and thanks to the hormones, an emotional wreck. Between crying jags, he studies his mother's notes and practices walking and talking like a female. When Nilva arrives a day early, Zek enlists Nog to distract the commissioner.
Nilva insists on seeing Zek immediately. On the way, he and Nog run into Brunt, who spills the beans about Ishka's condition. Nog leads Nilva to Rom's quarters, promising him a meeting with Zek's other female advisor, Lumba. Instantly smitten, Nilva decides to take Lumba to dinner. Quark is charming, easily convincing the commissioner that equal rights for females will expand the Ferengi economy. Unfortunately, he is so charming that Nilva invites him back to his quarters.
While Quark desperately fends off Nilva's romantic advances, Brunt suddenly bursts in to tell Nilva that Lumba is actually a male. Quark slips out of his dress, and his hormone-enhanced body convinces his suitor that he is all woman. Nilva promises to do everything he can to ensure Zek remains Grand Nagus, and Quark, having gained new insight into the female psyche, wins back his now-recovered mother's love.
148. Time's OrphanO'Brien is reunited with his wife, Keiko, and their two children. But during a celebratory picnic on a nearby planet, eight-year-old Molly falls into a vortex of swirling energy. When the rest of the crew arrives to help, they determine Molly slipped through a time portal that sent her back 300 years, to a time when the planet was uninhabited. They reactivate the portal and transport her out, but their calculations are off by a decade. When Molly materializes on the transporter pad, she is an eighteen-year-old woman.
Since she has been without human contact for ten years, Molly is like a wild animal, terrified of her parents and unable to speak. At Bashir's suggestion, a cargo bay is transformed with a tree, grass, and some boulders. There, the O'Briens begin the painful process of regaining their daughter's trust. When Keiko presents her with her favorite doll, Molly smiles for the first time.
Molly continues to make progress and learns to follow simple commands. She soon utters her first word - "Home" -- and Keiko and O'Brien excitedly take her back to their quarters. When she shows them a photo taken at the picnic site, they realize Molly regards that planet as her home. Desperate to make his daughter happy, O'Brien recreates the spot in a holosuite. The plan works until the O'Briens must relinquish the suite to other customers. Scared by the hubbub of Quark's bar, Molly panics and stabs a customer with a broken bottle.
Sisko and Odo sadly inform O'Brien that Federation officials want Molly committed to a special care center. Knowing that forcing her to stay inside a confined facility over a long period of time will kill her, O'Brien plans to steal a Runabout and take Molly to her planet. Once there, he will send her back through the time portal so no one will be able to find her. Although they will never see her again, O'Brien and Keiko know this is their only chance to save their daughter. However, they are caught before they can leave the station.
Odo comes to the scene and allows the O'Briens to proceed. They return to the planet, where they tearfully send Molly back through the vortex with her favorite doll. When Molly arrives, she recognizes her eight-year-old self hiding behind a boulder. Little Molly is frightened, but her older counterpart gives her the doll and sends her through the portal to be reunited with her family.
149. The Sound of Her VoiceOnboard the Defiant, Sisko and the crew pick up a distress signal and the voice of Captain Lisa Cusak, whose escape pod has crashed on a remote planet following the destruction of her ship. Although two-way communication has not been established, Lisa transmits her voice constantly as the crew begins the six-day trip to rescue her. O'Brien listens to the sometimes-amusing monologue and is surprised when she -- having overheard a conversation between him and Kasidy Yates -- suddenly speaks to him. Both realize contact has been established, and Lisa finally knows she will be rescued.
The stranded captain reveals she has been giving herself triox injections to compensate for the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but there is not enough to last until the Defiant arrives. Dr. Bashir advises lowering her dosage, hoping her body will be strengthened enough to help her survive. In the meantime, the crew members agree to take shifts talking to Lisa to keep her alert.
Proving to be as good a listener as she is a talker, Lisa has a great sense of humor and a refreshingly positive attitude. She advises Sisko on his romantic problems, helps O'Brien cope with his anger over the war, and even gets Bashir to forget about his work and loosen up. When Lisa runs out of triox, Bashir realizes she cannot survive more than two days -- and the Defiant is still three days away.
Determined to save his new friend, Sisko gives the risky order to deplete the phaser reserves and use the extra power to increase the ship's speed. They reach the planet's orbit just as Lisa loses consciousness, but there is more bad news -- the planet is surrounded by an energy barrier the Defiant cannot penetrate.
Sisko, O'Brien, and Bashir put their lives on the line to break through the barrier in a shuttle pod. They are able to reach the planet's surface and locate the crash site, but when they enter the cave where Lisa has taken shelter, they find a skeleton -- Lisa has been dead for over three years. O'Brien surmises that the energy barrier must have time-shifted the radio signals, enabling the captain to contact the Defiant crew three years in the future and their messages to travel back to the past. Although Lisa was dead all along, the crew members feel the loss and take her back to Deep Space Nine for an Irish wake among friends.
150. Tears of the ProfitsStarfleet Command decides to take the offensive in the war against the Dominion, and Sisko is chosen to lead the invasion of Cardassia. The first target is the Chin'toka System, picked for its diminished defenses. Unfortunately, the crew is unaware that the Cardassian/Dominion Alliance has secretly deployed hundreds of orbital weapon platforms to protect the system, and that Gul Dukat has returned claiming he has the key to destroying Sisko and the Federation.
Sisko and Klingon General Martok meet with Romulan Senator Letant and convince his people to join the invasion force. Later, the Bajoran Prophets -- the mysterious aliens who reside in the wormhole -- appear to Sisko in a vision and advise him not to go to Cardassia.
Sisko requests permission to heed the Prophets' warning, but Admiral Ross orders him to choose once and for all between his roles as the Bajoran Emissary and a Starfleet Captain. Sisko decides to proceed with leading the invasion, leaving Dax in charge of the station. Meanwhile, Dukat reveals his plan is to drive the godlike Prophets from the wormhole. Releasing an energy vortex from a Bajoran wooden figurine, his body is taken over by an evil Pah-wraith.
The invasion force reaches Cardassian space just before the defensive system becomes operational. Discovering all of the platforms are using the same power source, the crew tries to locate it. Back on the station, Dukat, possessed by the Pah-wraith, materializes in the Bajoran shrine and injures Dax critically, then destroys the sacred orb. The wormhole implodes and, at that instant, Sisko staggers back with the uneasy feeling that the Prophets are reaching out to him.
The power source is destroyed, disabling the weapon platforms and allowing Sisko's forces to invade Cardassian soil. However, their celebration is cut short by an urgent message from the station. They return, and although Dr. Bashir was able to save the Dax symbiont, Jadzia dies. Sisko, seeing that the wormhole has closed and all of the orbs have gone dark, fears that the Prophets have abandoned Bajor. Believing he has failed as both Emissary and Captain, Sisko decides he needs time to think about how to make things right. He takes a leave of absence from Deep Space Nine, returning with Jake to Earth.