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Sisko leads a commando team into Klingon headquarters in an attempt to expose the Changeling impersonating Gowron. (Season premiere)



Captain Benjamin Sisko and Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax return to Deep Space 9 after narrowly fleeing the Klingons in the USS Rio Grande. Due to the declaration of the war between the Klingon Empire and the Federation, Starfleet had summoned Captain Benjamin Sisko and Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax to Earth to discuss Odo's dire belief that Gowron, the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council, has been replaced by a Changeling and is pressing forth the war.

Once back on board Deep Space 9, Sisko informs Major Kira Nerys that Starfleet has given them a mission to infiltrate Klingon military headquarters on Ty'Gokor and expose Gowron by any means necessary.

Act One[]

Sisko looks for Odo in Quark's. Quark tells the captain that Odo is one "depressed ex-Changeling" and tells Sisko that he will find him on the upper level. Sitting at his table, Odo is fascinated by the foaming bubbles in his Bajoran ale. When Odo was a Changeling, he had no interest in them. Now he finds eating and drinking to be comforting. Sisko asks him to join the mission and Odo recommends Deputy Yndar go instead of him. Sisko, however, does not want Yndar – he wants Odo. After some initial hesitance, Odo agrees and Sisko orders him to attend a briefing with the other senior officers at 1600 hours.

At the mission briefing in the wardroom, Chief O'Brien, Lt. Commander Worf, Captain Sisko, and Odo have been selected to go undercover and infiltrate Ty'Gokor. Worf informs Sisko that getting to Gowron will not be easy, as he is protected at all times by his personal security force, the Yan-Isleth – the Brotherhood of the Sword. Sisko has been equipped with prototype modified polaron emitters and a mission to infiltrate Klingon military headquarters on Ty'Gokor to expose Gowron to polaron radiation; if he is a Changeling, exposure to the radiation will make it impossible for him to retain his humanoid shape and the changeling will revert to its natural gelatinous state. All four emitters have to be activated at once, and too much exposure to the radiation will kill a person. They can only make the attempt once.

Kira points out that the real trouble will be getting the four to Ty'Gokor unnoticed, to which Sisko replies he has a solution to that. Kira lures Gul Dukat to the space station to use his Bird-of-Prey, which Dukat had acquired recently. Expressing surprise at Kira's pregnancy, Dukat tells Kira that First Minister Shakaar is a lucky man. Kira informs Dukat that Shakaar is not the father – Chief O'Brien is. Dukat stares in shock at Kira as they enter a turbolift to go to the Promenade. The two go into the station's infirmary and find that O'Brien, Odo, and Sisko have been surgically altered to look like Klingons.

Act Two[]

Sisko, Odo, O'Brien, and Worf set course for Ty'Gokor with Dukat in his Bird-of-Prey. En route, they confer with Dukat to make sure he prepares false identities for them, candidates for the Order of the Bat'leth who are expected. Damar expresses his pessimism about the mission, and prefers a decisive orbital assault, but Sisko and O'Brien of course remind him of the outcome they want of exposing Gowron. Dukat appreciates the audacity of the plan.

Kira Nerys and Julian Bashir, 2373

"This is still your fault."
"My fault?!"

Meanwhile, Bashir and Kira discuss some station matters in Sisko's office. Turning to her carrying the O'Briens' child, Bashir encourages her she is doing fine and will pull through nicely. Kira is also confident that the crew will return, reassuring Bashir.

Worf turns to the task of coaching the other three in behaving like Klingons, and, while Sisko proves reasonably convincing by backhanding Worf, he was unaware that was a request for a challenge to the death. Meanwhile O'Brien, and especially Odo, fail miserably by lacking in the Klingon's stance and demeanor. Sisko needs to help Odo clear his head with what's happened to him recently. Just then, a Klingon Bird-of-Prey confronts them and demands visual contact. However, Dukat's holographic filter malfunctions due to the optronic relay becoming fused. Worf suggests that he talk the other captain down, but Dukat does not put much trust in Worf's ablility to lie and abruptly fires his ship's disruptors at the ship, totally destroying it. He quickly orders Damar to leave the area.

With the filter off-line, Dukat feels he has no choice but to leave the DS9 officers on Ty'Gokor and leave Klingon space. When Sisko protests, Dukat assures him that if he is successful, the war will be over and they won't need his ship to return – and if he fails, he won't need transport, since he'll very likely be executed as a spy and a saboteur. Beaming into Ty'Gokor, the group get underway.

Act Three[]

Hall of Warriors in 2373

The Hall of Warriors on Ty'Gokor

The Order of the Bat'leth ceremony is underway in the Hall of Warriors, with hundreds of drunken Klingons intending to celebrate all night in anticipation of Gowron's arrival.

Back on the station, Julian Bashir finds Jake Sisko in his usual spot on the upper level looking over the Promenade. Jake explains that the mood on the station is down because of the threat of the Klingons. Ops calls Bashir to the infirmary to tend to passengers from the starships USS Armstrong and USS Drake. They were ambushed by Klingons and took heavy casualties. Bashir reassures Jake that his dad will be okay before he leaves to tend the passengers. Bashir reminds Jake that his father undertaking dangerous missions are a part of wearing the Starfleet uniform and it probably will not change any time soon.

At the ceremony, Worf informs the crew that the celebrations are an endurance test, and that only those who can drink and celebrate for the whole night and remain conscious the following morning will be inducted into the Order. Waiting until morning to set up their emitters, the DS9 officers begrudgingly partake in the festivities in order to blend in. During the course of the night, Sisko demonstrates his combat skills on several of the Klingons and takes the opportunity to assault a Klingon who had killed one of Sisko's former Starfleet Academy classmates, a Benzenite captain named Laporin (though Sisko uses the excuse that the Klingon was in the way of the barrels of bloodwine). By the following morning, Sisko and his crew are still coherent, thanks to an alcohol inhibitor provided by Bashir.

When Martok arrives, he starts to size up the candidates there, and Sisko fears he may recognize them. He gives him a Qapla', and Martok moves on. Since Gowron should certainly be arriving soon, the four begin setting up their emitters. Although Martok feels he recognizes O'Brien, the Chief gets away with it by claiming to have fought at Mempa along with Martok during the Klingon Civil War, which appears to temporarily satisfy his curiosity. O'Brien is relieved and places his emitter. Odo has trouble, however, when another Klingon jovially interrupts him and he drops the emitter. Another Klingon picks it up, asking what it is.

Act Four[]

Odo knocks down the drunken Klingon and asks for the emitter back without saying what it is. Fortunately, Worf interjects and saves him, explaining it is actually a Vulcan toy called a tinghamut, acquired during the Klingon's raid at the Archanis sector and snatches it back. Just then, Gowron enters.

He addresses the crowd and starts with the first Klingon, H'ta, while Odo looks to place his emitter. He finds a drunken Klingon standing in the spot where the emitter needs to be placed. This time though, Odo finds his courage and tosses the Klingon aside before placing the emitter. Sisko prepares to activate them, but is summoned by Gowron to join the Order of the Bat'leth. Sisko accepts the commendation. As he turns, he begins to activate the emitters, when he is attacked from behind with a bat'leth by Martok, who now recognizes him.

Act Five[]

Thrown into a holding cell, Martok confronts the four. Sisko presses Martok in return, as he believes that Martok thinks that Gowron is a Changeling, as well. Martok doesn't hide his feelings and admits he has suspected Gowron. Then, he agrees to help the DS9 officers kill Gowron to prove the point, though strangely refuses the notion of challenging Gowron to a duel himself. As they fight their way back into the Hall of Warriors, Worf challenges Gowron to a fight to the death, while Martok holds Odo back from the others at gunpoint, strangely unwilling to trust him. Gowron allows the challenge, and they fight. When Martok wonders aloud why Sisko doesn't simply shoot Gowron, Odo asks Martok another question: Why didn't Gowron let his bodyguards kill Worf? Because a true Klingon wouldn't just shoot someone – they put honor above all else. However, Changelings don't care about honor. Odo then concludes that Gowron isn't the Changeling – Martok is.

Worf gains the upper hand on Gowron and shatters his bat'leth, and just as he goes on to make the killing blow, Odo and the Martok Changeling loudly brawl their way into the hall. Knocked to the ground, Odo exclaims "Martok is the Changeling!" Exposed, the Martok Changeling begins to choke Odo with a tendril of his shapeshifting body, but he is blasted back by Sisko's disruptor. As the other Klingons see Martok for what he really is, they begin firing as well, resulting in the Changeling's death.

Later, Gowron realizes that the Founders had manipulated Odo to believe that he was a Changeling, hoping that Starfleet would try to eliminate him. With Gowron dead at the hands of Federation operatives, the Martok Changeling would be able to rule the Klingon Empire, escalating the wars with the Federation and the Cardassian Union, destroying both powers, destabilizing the Alpha Quadrant and leaving it wide open for a Dominion invasion. Sisko informs him that the best way to strike a blow against the Founders' plan would be to call for an immediate end to the war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, but Gowron informs Sisko he can't if the Federation refuses to allow the Empire to annex what the Klingons have already captured, including Archanis. Sisko believes that the Federation won't agree, but believes there's room for negotiation.

Satisfied, Gowron decides to declare a cease fire, to convene the High Council, and to arrange for transportation so the DS9 officers can return home. Before they leave, Gowron compliments Odo, thanks Sisko for doing a great service to the Klingon Empire, then finally turns to Worf and promises him that he will regret not killing him when he had the chance, and he will not get another.

Back on the station, Bashir is restoring Sisko, Odo, and O'Brien to their original appearance. Returned to his Human face, Sisko says, "I can do without the ridges, but I kind of miss the fangs." Bashir offers to give Odo any face he likes, Human, Bajoran, Trill. Odo says his old face will do fine.

Memorable quotes[]

"Captain, you're just in time for happy hour."
"Do I look happy, Quark?"

- Quark and Sisko

"He's upstairs at his usual table. Just follow the black cloud."

- Quark, telling Sisko where the newly-Human Odo is

"So let me get this straight, all we have to do is get past an enemy fleet, avoid a tachyon detection grid, beam into the middle of Klingon headquarters, and avoid The Brotherhood of The Sword, long enough to set these things up and activate them in front of Gowron?"

- O'Brien, repeating the near-impossible task ahead of them

"What's wrong, Dukat? Haven't you ever seen a Klingon before?"

- Sisko, replying to Dukat's shocked face on how they have changed

"I am not interested in excuses. Are you a Klingon warrior or an Alverian dung beetle?"
"I really don't see the point…"
"Do not look away from me! I called you a dung beetle."
"I heard you."
"And what is your response?"
"You should have your eyes examined."

- Worf and Odo

(Sisko backhands Worf across the face)
"Are you questioning the validity of my plan?!"
"Very convincing, Captain. But was it your intention to challenge me to a battle to the death?"
"No, not at all."
"Then next time, do not strike me with the back of your hand. Use your fist."

- Sisko and Worf

(Dukat fires disruptors, destroying a patrolling Klingon Bird-of-Prey)
"Was that really necessary?!"
"It was either that or trust in Mr. Worf's ability to lie. And frankly, I have more faith in my weapons."

- Sisko and Dukat

"It's not easy being funny wearing these teeth."

- O'Brien, masquerading as a Klingon

"Brag all you want! But don't get between me and the bloodwine!"

- Sisko, masquerading as a Klingon

"It's a pity it doesn't have any bubbles."

- Odo, regarding Klingon bloodwine

"Captain, you don't know how much I've looked forward to killing you in battle. And now your foolishness has cheated me of that pleasure."
"Sorry to disappoint you."

- Martok and Sisko

"What're they doing? Why doesn't Sisko just shoot him?!"
"I have a better question: Why isn't Gowron letting his bodyguards kill Worf? I'll tell you why: Klingon honor, a concept you should be very familiar with. My people, on the other hand, don't care about honor. How did you put it: 'There will be no honorable combat, no formal challenges?' Hardly the words of a Klingon. Tell me, 'General' – did Gowron destroy the polaron emitters… or did you?"

- "Martok" and Odo, finally aware of who the real Changeling is

(Referring to her pregnancy) "But don't forget, this… is still your fault."
"My fault?"
"You performed the transfer from Keiko to me."
"After you volunteered."
"After you put the idea in my head."
"After you flew the runabout into the asteroid field."
"After you insisted we check on those anomalous bio-scans."
"That was Keiko."
"That's right. It was, but I'd rather blame you."

- Kira Nerys and Julian Bashir

"You know, I think I'm actually beginning to like bloodwine."
"It's really not too bad… except for the taste."

- O'Brien and Odo

"What is this?"
"It is your death!"

- Gowron and Worf

"You want to kill me, Worf? You're welcome to try!"

- Gowron

"You should have killed me when you had the chance. I promise you will not get another."

- Gowron, to Worf

Background information[]

Story and script[]

  • The writers' primary goal during Season 5 in general, and "Apocalypse Rising" in particular, was to get the show back on the track they'd been on in Season 3, i.e. moving towards war with the Dominion. Since the Paramount-mandated Klingon War arc (featuring the introduction of Worf) had taken up most of Season 4, now that the writers were moving into the next season, they wanted to end the Klingon conflict and get back to the inevitable conflict with the Dominion. As Executive Producer and writer Ira Steven Behr stated, "The seminal thing about our fifth season opener was that we wanted to get back on the track we'd anticipated being on a year earlier. We were moving back toward making the shape-shifters and the Dominion our enemies. Not the Klingons. I didn't want to have the Klingons as our enemies." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 359)
  • However, it was important to the writers not to give the impression that Season 4 had simply been a pointless interlude, and they didn't wish to simply leap back into the Dominion arc without somehow connecting it to the Klingon arc. According to Ira Steven Behr, "We wanted to let people know that we didn't switch horse in midstream. So 'Apocalypse Rising' was an important episode. By having that shape-shifter in there, we were saying, 'Season 4 wasn't a mistake. It wasn't the Klingons turning against us. There was a shape-shifter behind it all along.' And that's why we had to do that episode." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 359)
  • In relation to this installment, Ronald D. Moore stated, "Now that we had Worf aboard, and we'd made a commitment that the Klingons were part of Deep Space Nine, we had to find out what their role was and try to use them effectively. 'Apocalypse Rising' was our first major attempt to do that." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 363)
  • This episode was originally conceived as a two-parter, with the first part set primarily on Dukat's Bird-of-Prey and the second focusing on Ty'Gokor. (Cinefantastique volume 29) Said Robert Hewitt Wolfe: "In fact, most of part one would have been about their adventures on Dukat's ship while he takes them to Ty'Gokor. Then, at the end, we would have made a much bigger deal about them getting into their Klingon look". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 364).
  • It was writer Ronald D. Moore who suggested making Martok, rather than Gowron, turn out to be the Changeling, so as not to upset Star Trek: The Next Generation fans. It was felt at this time that revealing Martok to be a Changeling would give the episode a nice, unexpected twist. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 363)
  • In a humorous in-joke, Kira blames Julian Bashir for her pregnancy. In real life, Nana Visitor was pregnant with Alexander Siddig's child at the time. Of the scene where she blames him, Ira Steven Behr stated, "We did do that on purpose. That was strictly for the audience. We thought it would be nice to acknowledge the relationship." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 367)
  • Tora Ziyal was to appear in this episode, with a single line welcoming Dukat aboard Deep Space 9. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)

Cast and characters[]

  • Michael Dorn looked forward to seeing his co-stars being subjected to the same heavy Klingon make-up that he had had to endure for several years. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 364) "When Avery, Rene and Colm had to be in makeup," Dorn recalled, "I was so happy!" (What We Left Behind)
  • Colm Meaney was extremely uncomfortable in the Klingon make-up and complained a lot about it to Michael Dorn. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 364) Dorn found Meaney's "whining" to be very funny, and his favorite moment of the complaining was when Meaney pointed out, in shock, what the makeup staffers had done to his teeth. He was also shocked by what they had done to his nails and by the fact he couldn't blink due to glue having been added to his eyelids. (What We Left Behind) In fact, Meaney complained so much that Dorn asked the producers never to put him in makeup again. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 364) Meaney himself commented, "All I remember from that show was the makeup. The makeup drove me insane. I think I bitched so much about it that they won't ever put me in alien makeup again. It gave me new respect for Michael. I don't know how he or any of the other people who play Klingons on our show do it. I had to do it for six days, and I almost went insane. It's very, very difficult to go in hours early, sit in a chair for hours, and then go in and try to act. Then, when you're finally done working, you've got to go and get it all removed. Not fun." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 24, pp. 44-45) Conversely, Rene Auberjonois said he found the Klingon make-up much easier than his typical Odo makeup, since it covered less of his face. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 364)


Chang statue

Statue of General Chang in the Hall of Warriors

  • "Apocalypse Rising" was the last Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode to be directed by James L. Conway. Conway reminisced, "I was honored to be able to do it. I'd just been hired as Executive Vice President of Spelling Productions, and Ira and Rick Berman begged me to hold off going over there long enough to do the episode […] I talked to the people at Spelling and they agreed to let me report later." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 367)
  • Although they are never seen very clearly on screen, the various statues in the Klingon Hall of Warriors were designed to give an overview of Klingon history, with the statues representing prominent Klingons of different eras; for example, both Kahless and Chang are included. John Eaves, who designed the statues, also created several new characters, and in his design, he tried to concentrate on the garments worn so as to give a sense of evolution leading into the modern Klingon warrior uniform seen throughout TNG and DS9. (Deep Space Nine Sketchbook: John Eaves, DS9 Season 5 DVD, Special Features)
  • The scene depicting the damaged USS Rio Grande was previously used to depict the damaged USS Volga in "Body Parts".
  • This is the first episode in which Ira Steven Behr's Executive Producer credit is displayed alongside Rick Berman's at the end of the episode.


  • This episode basically serves to link up the Klingon War arc of Season 4 with the Dominion War arc of Seasons 5, 6 and 7.
  • After they were impressed by J.G. Hertzler's performance in this episode, the producers made it a point to have the real Martok return in "In Purgatory's Shadow" and subsequently become a much more prominent character in the series. The fact that the character killed in "Apocalypse Rising" is a Changeling duplicate of Martok also inspired this development. René Echevarria recollected, "[It] started us thinking, 'If he's been replaced, where's the real guy. Maybe he's not dead. Maybe we can find him.'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 364)
  • Worf states that backhanding another warrior is to challenge them to a battle to the death. In TNG: "Sins of The Father", this is also done as part of declaring the warrior as the son of a traitor. It is possible that the two situations are interconnected, in that a traitor's son being backhanded is like saying that they are not worthy enough to be challenged to the death, as they practically have no honor.
  • In this episode it is explained that Kira is in command of the station in Sisko's absence, while Worf commands the USS Defiant. This decision was made by Ronald D. Moore, in conjunction with Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe. According to Moore, "It came about when we were in the process of defining Worf's duties. In real command situation, the captain would not always go on dangerous missions, so Worf commands the Defiant, in deference to Sisko." Similarly, Wolfe explained, "Essentially, he's the first officer of the ship, while Kira's the first officer of the station. That gave Worf something specific that he did as tactical officer." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 363) This is consistent with Worf commanding the Defiant, instead of Kira, in "Paradise Lost", but later contradicted by Kira assuming command in "Tears of the Prophets", although that was during a battle where Worf was needed at tactical.
  • Gowron tells Worf that he should have killed him when he had the chance, as he will not get another. Gowron is dead wrong about that because Worf gets another chance in "Tacking Into the Wind".
  • Similarly, while Gowron's elimination would've paved the way to Martok's imposter succeeding him as Chancellor, the real Martok eventually does just that in "Tacking Into the Wind".
  • Vilix'pran is mentioned for the second time in this episode. He was previously referred to in the third season episode "Heart of Stone" and has apparently been promoted to lieutenant in the interim.
  • Although this was the second time Rene Auberjonois wore Klingon makeup without playing an actual Klingon, the two characters' motives were precisely the opposite: Colonel West was part of a conspiracy to sabotage peace with the Klingons in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, whereas Odo's mission was intended to end war with the Klingons.


  • James L. Conway highly approved of this episode's teleplay, remarking, "It was a terrific script." He also remembered that the reason he agreed to direct the installment was because he "loved the script so much." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 367)
  • As it turned out, the DS9 producers were highly pleased with J.G. Hertzler's performance in this episode. "This is the show where we fell in love with J.G. Hertzler as an actor," remarked René Echevarria. "It was like, 'Hey, this guy is terrific. And here we are killing him.' But actually we were killing a Changeling." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 364)
  • This episode was nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Cinematography for a Series (Jonathan West) and Outstanding Makeup for a Series.
  • This is the third consecutive season premiere where Jadzia Dax sports a noticeably different hairstyle.

Remastered version[]

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]


47; 2351; 2372; Abdon's species; ability; Academy wrestling team; Alpha Quadrant; Alverian dung beetle; amusement; annexation; anti-grav sled; anti-intoxicant; Archanis IV; Armstrong, USS; asteroid field; A'trom; Bajoran; Bajoran ale; Barot; bat'leth; battle group; bell; Benzenite; "black cloud"; blood; bloodwine; boarding party; Bolian; breathing tube; bubble; captain; Cardassian; cease fire; central computer system; Chancellor; Changeling; comm system; constable; cubic meter; dabo; dabo girl; Deep Space 9; Defiant, USS; depression; distance; Dominion; Dominion cold war; Dopterian; dozen; Drake, USS; Dukat's Bird-of-Prey; endurance test; failure; fangs; Federation; Federation-Klingon War; Ferengi; Founder; gelatinous state; general; Hall of Warriors; happy hour; head; House of Konjah; holo-filter; Human; infiltration team; joke; Kahmar; kilometer; Klingon; Klingon Bird-of-Prey (unnamed 1 and 2); Klingon Empire; Klingon High Command; Klingon High Council; Klingon space (aka Klingon territory); Klingonese; Kobor; Kodrak's son; Laporin; Laporin's starship; leader; lie; lieutenant; litter; Lurian; Mempa, Battle of; Milky Way Galaxy; motto; O'Brien, Keiko; optronic relay; Order of the Bat'leth; photon torpedo; pig; polaron; polaron emitter; polaron radiation; Promenade; Quark's; radiation poisoning; raiding party; Rio Grande, USS; runabout; Rurik the Damned; Shakaar Edon; shape-shifting ability; shock; shore leave; smile; space station; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Intelligence; Starfleet Science; Starfleet uniform; suicidal mission; tachyon detection grid; targ; Tellarite; Tellarite helmsman; Terok Nor-type; tinghamut; toast; tooth; Tora Ziyal; traitor; triggering device; Trill; Ty'Gokor; Ty'Gokor orbital facility; Vor'cha-class (unnamed); Vrax; Vilix'pran; Vilix'pran's offspring; Vulcan; waiter; weapon; Xepolite; Yan-Isleth; Yndar; Zora Fel

Other references[]

Deep Space 9 schematic: cargo turbo subsystem; crew quarters; crossover bridge; defense sail; defense systems monitor; deflector emitter; docking clamp; docking control cabin; docking pylon; docking ring; docking ring airlock; environmental purge/fill station; exhaust cone; fusion reactor assembly; habitat ring; ops module; ore processing center; phaser strip; photon torpedo launcher; power transfer conduit; promenade; radiator; reaction control thruster; runabout pad; sensor array; structural assembly; subspace antenna farm; tractor emitter; tug tractor emitter assembly

External links[]

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