In the Romulan prison camp, Worf teaches the Klingon children about their culture.
When Worf is captured, he is told he will have to stay here. He learns the story of the Klingons who were captured from L'Kor. They were knocked unconscious, and when they awoke in the prison camp, they failed to starve themselves. After being interrogated, the Romulans tried to trade them for territory. The Klingon Empire refused to believe in their existence. When Tokath, the Romulan officer who captured them, offered to let them go, they did not wish to return and dishonor their families. He took pity on them, and built this prison camp. Their own honor gone, they had nothing to lose by staying prisoners.
Worf uses his time to observe their children whom they have raised here. Many of them are unaware of their heritage, for example, using a gin'tak spear for tilling soil (literally making their swords into plowshares, and not very effectively). When he asks them, they tell him the war is far away, and they are safe here. That is why their parents came here; to escape the fighting. They seem to have no interest in the outside world. When Worf hears this from Ba'el, he suggests she tell her father she wants to visit the homeworld, and see what he says. He tries to reassure her that the war is over, but before he gets very far, her mother, Gi'ral, calls her home. It is clear that she does not want her daughter to speak with Worf.
Worf's homing device goes off shortly thereafter and he manages to escape over the wall. However, one of the Romulans sees him and pursues him. When Worf thinks he has outwitted them, and arrives at the ship, Toq tackles him. When Worf is about to injure him, he is surprised to see it is Toq and, during this pause, the Romulans catch up with him.
- "Captain's Log,stardate 46579.2. The Yridian vessel Worf boarded at Deep Space 9 has failed to arrive for our scheduled rendezvous. It is now twelve hours overdue."
As Captain Picard begins to investigate the Yridian to find Worf's whereabouts, Worf has a tracking device implanted. Toq is instructed to guard him and make sure he does not cause trouble.
The first thing Worf does, since he feels restless, is mok'bara practice. When Ba'el asks, he explains it to her. She soon wishes to try and he begins to teach her. When Toq objects and places his hands on Worf's shoulder, Worf carefully but forcefully flips him to the ground. "These forms are the basis for Klingon combat", he explains. Toq leaves to tell L'Kor about this.
Meanwhile, when her mother is out, Ba'el sneaks inside her home and shows Worf several Klingon objects, which have been in disuse and have tarnished. She tells him she is not supposed to look at these things. He identifies them all, including a jinaq, a necklace given to a daughter who is old enough to take a mate.
Just then, her mother enters. She tells Ba'el these things are not needed here and commands Worf to leave. He does, satisfied that her daughter's doubt is well-planted.
Later that night, Worf tells all of the children the ancient stories. Toq claims that these stories were impossible, that Worf was making it up. Worf explains these are Klingon legends, and they tell us who we are; it is not made up. L'Kor tells them it is time to sleep and the group disbands.
Ba'el asks Worf, later, if the stories are true. He says he finds new truths in them every day. She then asks if Kahless ever took a mate, obviously asking a different question. When Worf moves to kiss her, he brushes back her hair to find a point on her ears. He reacts instantly, backing off in surprise, shocked that Ba'el is a Romulan. Worf is indignant; the Romulans are without honor, he growls. She defends her father, saying he is kind, generous, and settled here to escape the wars like her mother did. Worf should not begrudge the fact they love each other. He tries to ask her mother about it but she angrily walks away.
Worf, in the morning, tries to make amends with Ba'el. He apologizes, saying he was surprised, but it is clear he still holds her father in contempt. She demands that he accept her for who she is and leave the hate behind. He isn't sure if he can do that.
When he leaves, he sees the other children, including Toq, playing a game. A line of short spears are set up, a row of spears, Qa'vaks, resting on top of several pairs and a large hoop is rolled between them. The object appears to be to knock off all the spears resting on the others. Worf, however, when the hoop is rolled, throws one of the spears through the middle of the hoop as it is rolling.
Worf explains that these spears are used in The Hunt, a ritual which tells Klingons where they came from. He sighs, and says perhaps Toq is too young to master the skill. Toq cannot resist this challenge. His first throw is strong, but inaccurate. Worf suggests Toq aim along his arm, and that works. Worf suggests they go on the ritual hunt, and Toq agrees, but protests that Worf is not allowed to leave the compound.
Worf talks to Tokath who considers the idea ludicrous. Worf protests that he cannot just sit in the compound and offers his word that he will not try to escape. Tokath does not care, but L'Kor points out that Worf gave Tokath his word, and that he has never broken it. He should be set free. Tokath says that L'Kor will be the one who is taking the risk. L'Kor allows them to go, but tells Toq to take a weapon and kill Worf if he tries to escape.
Toq is amazed by the ritual hunt, able to smell the prey, and feels more alive than he has ever before. He was never taught this, he said. Worf tells him it is the first of many things he was never taught.
When Toq and Worf return, Toq has a dead creature in his arms, which he triumphantly drops at the head table before L'Kor. Tokath orders him to get that off his table. Toq boldly states that he will get rid of it, but not until it's been cooked. Toq then triumphantly explains that the Klingons here have forgotten themselves, and sings a song of victory. All of the Klingons, including L'Kor and Ba'el, slowly join in, as the feeling builds in the room. Tokath stares at Worf, and knows he has to deal with him.
He later takes Worf aside and tells him that he has given up his career to create something wonderful and unique – a place where Romulans and Klingons live together in peace – and Worf is about to destroy all that. Worf argues that they live in harmony, because they have never learned what it is to be powerful. Otherwise, they would leave. Tokath considers the argument futile and instead offers Worf an ultimatum: live here and don't cause any more trouble, or be put to death. Worf chooses death. That death, he says will show the young people the last thing he wants them to see: what it is to die as a Klingon.
Ba'el cannot stand the idea. She wants Worf to escape. She believes her father was wrong, that Worf doesn't deserve to die. Worf refuses. "They will kill me", he says, "but they will not defeat me." She wants to know if he loves her, despite everything. He says he does, and he didn't think it possible. If he could leave with her, he would, but he can't.
The next day, when Worf stands against the wall, staring at the firing squad, Tokath gives a short speech about how he has agonized over this decision but has concluded that this is absolutely necessary. He cannot allow Worf to destroy what everyone else has built. Worf, with his final words, explains the truth: he has brought something "dangerous" to the children, knowledge of their origins and the reasons they are here.
As the two Romulans are about to fire, Toq appears, in a full suit of warrior's armor with a gin'tak spear. If they kill Worf, he says, then they will have to kill him. He, too, would rather die than accept this way of life. There are many others, who Tokath will have to kill to keep the community here.
When Toq does not move, L'Kor stands by them. One by one, a dozen others also come beside and behind them, including Ba'el. Gi'ral has him call it off. The hope was to avoid dishonoring their children back on the homeworld, she says, but they have lost sight of the children they have raised on this planet. They should be set free if they wish to go.
Worf explains to them that their parents are making a great sacrifice. The children must honor them and promise them not to reveal their secret.
- "Captain's log supplemental. Our search for Lieutenant Worf was cut short when we received a cryptic message from him requesting a rendezvous with a Romulan vessel. He has informed us we will be taking on passengers."
When Picard asks Worf if he found what he was looking for, Worf answers no, there was no prison camp. The young people, he says, are survivors from a vessel that crashed several years ago. With a knowing look, the captain says he understands.
"Tonight, we eat well."
"Get that off my table."
"You do not kill an animal unless you intend to eat it."
"Get rid of it!"
"I intend to, Tokath...but not until it's cooked!"
- - Toq, bringing home a kill, and Tokath
"But the truth is I am being executed because I brought something dangerous to your young people. Knowledge. Knowledge of their origins, knowledge of the real reasons you are here in this camp. The truth is a threat to you."
- - Worf
"If you kill him you will have to kill me."
"Step aside, Toq."
"Worf would rather die than accept this way of life, and so would I. I want to leave, as do many others. You will have to kill us to keep us here."
- - Toq and Tokath
"You found what you were looking for, Mr. Worf?"
"No sir. There was no prison camp. Those young people are survivors of a vessel that crashed in the Carraya system four years ago. No one survived Khitomer."
- - Worf and Picard
Story and production
- Michael Piller saw this episode as a chance for the character of Worf to re-affirm his Klingon nature. "I had just seen Malcolm X, and I said Worf is the guy who's saying 'You're black and you should be proud to be black.' That's where I started from with the character standpoint, but when you get into it and you realize there is something good in this society and that he'll lose this woman he's in love with when he can't shake his own prejudice, it's a price he has to pay for his character and his code...I think it's wonderful when people act in heroic ways that turn back on them." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Although James Cromwell (Jaglom Shrek) appears in this episode, he has no lines. This was, in part, due to Cromwell breaking his leg in the period between filming the two parts of the episode, which entailed cutting most of his lines. A sympathetic scene in which Shrek confesses he was once a prison inmate himself was lost, as was a scene in which he would have been assassinated by one of the Klingon's grown sons who was determined not to hear the truth about his father. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Due to time, several other scenes were also cut, including one further developing the relationship between Worf and Ba'el, as well as a confrontation between Worf and Gi'ral in which the latter stands up to Worf regarding her marriage to a Romulan. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- This was the first episode directed by Dan Curry.
- Exterior shots of the Romulan fortress were created by inserting shots of a miniature into jungle photographs Curry had taken in Laos in the 1960s. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Over the December holiday break, all the live plants and trees in the jungle and garden sets were accidentally left on the dark sound stages, and had to be replaced. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Music for this episode was composed by Jay Chattaway. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- file info
- Writer René Echevarria commented that so much effort had gone into making the Klingons and Romulans sympathetic here that many fans complained that Worf came off as a fascist racist who ruined a peaceful place. "His motives are in fact racist, when he's dealing with Romulans. But his actions are different; all he said was these people should know the truth and be free to leave. He never advocated violence and bloodshed." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Michael Piller commented, "I thought there was a wonderful Bridge Over the River Kwai-type story where you had a fundamentally charged relationship between a Romulan camp leader and Worf and this very interesting love affair where Worf had to reexamine his whole attitude towards the Romulans again. It is always interesting to me whenever you can look at prejudice. I think the script turned out pretty well, the show just did not have quite the power I had hoped it would have. I don't really know why." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) does not appear in this episode.
- Among the costumes and props from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, was the costume of Jennifer Gatti. 
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 72, 18 October 1993
- In feature-length form, as part of the UK VHS release Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Full Length TV Movies: Volume 7, catalog number VHR 4107, 10 April 1995
- As part of the TNG Season 6 DVD collection
- In feature-length form, as part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete TV Movies collection
- Toq would further appear as second officer of the IKS Gorkon in the novel Diplomatic Implausibility, the first book of what would later become the non-canon series of novels about that ship by Keith R.A. DeCandido. In the IKS Gorkon novel Honor Bound, Toq was promoted to First Officer. By 2381, Toq was a Captain, and commanded the IKS Kreltek, a K'vort class Bird of Prey attached to the Fifth Battle Fleet.
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lieutenant Commander Data
- Cristine Rose as Gi'ral
- James Cromwell as Jaglom Shrek
- Sterling Macer, Jr. as Toq
- Alan Scarfe as Tokath
- Jennifer Gatti as Ba'el
- Majel Barrett as Narrator
- Elliot Durant III as an operations division ensign
- Inez Edwards as a female Klingon
- Christie Haydon as a command division ensign
- Kurt Paul as a Romulan guard
boridium; Carraya system; Template:ShipClass; Deep Space 9; Deep Space 9 traffic control database; D'k tahg; Echevarria system; gin'tak spear; jinaq; Kahless; Khitomer; Khitomer Massacre; Molor; Mogh; Mok'bara; Nequencia Alpha system; Qa'vak; Romulan High Command; Romulan supply ship; Yridian; spear
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