(written from a Production point of view)
Sisko obsessively pursues Maquis leader Michael Eddington.
Sisko is dressed in civilian clothes on a Maquis colony on Marva IV to meet with an informant named Cing'ta that claims to have information about the former Starfleet officer Michael Eddington, now the leader of the Maquis. Behind a curtain, the captain is met by none other than Eddington himself, who had already discovered the informant and marooned him on a planet in the Badlands. Eddington attempts to make his point with the refugees outside, reiterating the Maquis point of view that these people were abandoned. Sisko responds with the Starfleet position, and that he's not there to debate policy. Furthermore, he doesn't see victims of the Federation, but rather, of the Maquis' false hopes. Eddington finally says not to come after him, that Sisko will regret it, and transports away. Sisko taps his combadge hidden under his vest and quickly orders the USS Defiant to beam him up and pursue.
Headed for the Badlands, Eddington has too great a lead. Sisko therefore enlists the help of Captain Sanders and his ship, the USS Malinche, in delaying Eddington until the Defiant can arrive. Inexplicably, Eddington's Maquis raider turns and heads straight for the Defiant. When it seems that Sisko has got his man, Eddington triggers a cascade virus, disabling all of the Defiant's computer systems, leaving it effectively dead in space. Furthermore, Eddington also uses their new holo-communicator to inform them of what happened. This virus was planted by Eddington before he left Starfleet, further highlighting the depth of his betrayal. Eddington warns that Sisko is taking this personally, though he himself does not, having no animosity for him or any of the Defiant's crew. He furthers his insistence that the Maquis aren't killers, stopping his attack on the Defiant and saying if they leave him alone, he will leave them alone.
He leaves Sisko with the statement that he knows when to walk away. When communications are cut, Sisko is sitting in his command chair, trying to contain his anger.
After being towed back to the station by the Malinche, Chief O'Brien reports that repairing the Defiant's computer will take two weeks minimum. Odo then tells Captain Sisko that he found a further two viruses in Deep Space 9's computer and can't be certain there aren't more since Eddington had complete access during his eighteen months as Chief of Starfleet Security. Worf reports that two Bolian freighters carrying selenium and rhodium nitrite, two seemingly innocuous materials, have disappeared near the Badlands and the Maquis are believed to be responsible, to what end is not certain. Sisko's bad mood is made even worse when Captain Sanders informs Sisko that Starfleet has ordered Sanders to take over the hunt for Eddington since he's been after him eight months without success and are concerned about Sisko's personal feelings, feeling that someone without a personal stake in Eddington's capture may have more success. Sisko is angry, but wishes Captain Sanders luck.
Later in the holosuite, Sisko vents his fury over the situation with the aid of a punching bag, boxing style, while Dax talks over the situation with him. As well as this being the first time in his 25 year Starfleet career that he's been taken off an assignment, he admits that as a Starfleet captain he's supposed to be a good judge of character and yet was completely taken in by Eddington. Dax tells Sisko that he needs to understand and accept the fact that Eddington isn't his problem anymore.
Just then Kira calls Sisko to Ops and reports some shocking news… Eddington has attacked a Cardassian colony with a biogenic weapon. The chemical used was cobalt diselenide, created from the selenium and rhodium nitrite, which is hazardous to Cardassians but harmless to most humanoids. The Maquis have already announced an intention to reclaim the planet. Also, with the amount of biogenic weapons the Maquis have they can poison every Cardassian world in the Demilitarized Zone.
Worf explains that the Malinche is too far away to get there in time to stop the Maquis. Sisko points out that there is another ship in the area – alluding to the Defiant. No other words are said, as everyone seems to understand. Sisko calmly walks to the turbolift, unwrapping his hands of the boxing hand-wraps he has on, his crew follows him in silence, then Sisko says "Defiant" in an absolute tone – ordering the turbolift to depart.
The Defiant is barely functional due to the damage caused by the cascade virus. Sisko is informed that the ship can only reach warp 6, the cloak and transporters are unavailable, weapons are online, but the targeting scanners must be calibrated manually, and the internal communications system is completely down (even combadges are useless due to the damaged EPS conduits). However Chief O'Brien has a solution… Cadet Nog, since his superior hearing will allow him to relay orders from the bridge to engineering easily regardless of how hectic things may be.
The Defiant finally gets underway, after a difficult departure which includes nearly colliding with one of DS9's lower pylons. With several tests and readiness drills, the ship heads to the Badlands. Kira detects a Maquis raider signature inside plasma fields. When they approach it, they receive a transmission from Eddington. After a bit of banter, Eddington offers Sisko a copy of Les Misérables, calling it one of his favorite books. Finally, the crew realizes that the Maquis raider signature is a fake – there isn't really a ship there. They know they've been misdirected.
Once they get out of the Badlands, they detect a distress call from the Malinche. The Maquis ambushed them and disabled their engines.
The Malinche was fooled by a trick similar to the Defiant: their sensors detected a Cardassian freighter in distress, and when they lowered their shields to transport the crew aboard, they found that the sensor readings had been faked. In their moment of vulnerability, the Maquis attacked. With their warp core matrix compositor fused, Sisko provides them some micro-power relays and engineering help. Sanders gives him an encoded message they intercepted from the raiders.
Sisko confers with Odo on DS9 about the message. He reveals it is a Breen nursery rhyme of no particular importance. However, based on how well he knows Eddington, he supposes that Eddington probably uses a Breen settlement as a base to keep his unstable weapon components. Fortunately, Starfleet has intelligence drones in the system, so they can see who's been visiting. Dax and Worf investigate possible targets in the Dorvan sector. Based on that intelligence and Sisko's knowledge of Eddington, Sisko deduces the next target: Quatal Prime.
However, they arrive too late, only to see two fleeing raiders and transport ships evacuating the planet. The Defiant manages to destroy one of the raiders, but the other, with Eddington on board, disables a Cardassian transport. Unable to use the transporter to save the plunging vessel, Sisko is forced to let Eddington escape in order to save the Cardassians with the Defiant's tractor beam.
While they tow the transport, Sisko is deep in thought in the mess hall. When Eddington sent Sisko Les Misérables, he compared Sisko to a character in the novel, Javert, "a policeman who relentlessly pursues a man named Valjean, guilty of a trivial offense." Sisko realizes that Eddington sees himself as Valjean, the hero of Les Misérables, and that Eddington's self-perceived heroism could be used against him. In Sisko's words: "I think it's time for me to become the villain."
Sisko then proceeds with the same strategy the Maquis had been using, he prepares to launch biogenic weapons comprised of trilithium resin at a Maquis settlement. A reversal of Eddington's weapon, the resin bomb would poison the atmosphere with a toxin that is deadly to Humans, but harmless to Cardassians. Sisko broadcasts a message revealing his intentions, but Eddington dismisses it as a Federation bluff. Sisko then orders the weapons fired, and Worf initially hesitates as he and the rest of the bridge crew are shocked that Sisko is following through with his threat. Sisko repeats his order, and Worf launches the weapons which do their job and poison the atmosphere, with Maquis transports scrambling to evacuate the settlement. Sisko announces that he plans to continue his campaign against all of the Maquis colonies in the DMZ, telling Eddington that when he attacked the Malinche the Maquis proved themselves to be an unacceptable and intolerable threat to the Federation. Eddington offers to turn over the Maquis' stocks of biogenic weapons, but Sisko tells him that isn't enough. This leads Eddington to turn himself in to prevent further attacks, thus fulfilling the self-sacrificial part of his hero fantasy.
In the aftermath, Cardassian and Human colonists are resettled on the poisoned colonies, exchanging their former homes. Back on DS9, Eddington is turned over to Odo, and Dax has Sisko confess that he didn't clear his plot to poison the Maquis colonies with Starfleet. Dax remarks that undertaking that action was a big gamble and Sisko responds that that is what it takes to be a good villain. "You know, sometimes I like it when the bad guy wins," Dax tells Sisko as they walk away from the airlock.
"Tell me captain, what is it that bothers you more, the fact that I left Starfleet to fight for a higher cause or the fact that it happened on your watch?"
"You didn't leave Starfleet. If you had, I wouldn't be here. You betrayed Starfleet."
- - Eddington and Sisko meet face to face on Marva IV
"He worked under me for a year and a half. I saw him almost every day. Read his reports. Had him to dinner. I even took him to a baseball game in the holosuite once. And I never saw it! It's my job to be a good judge of character, and what did I do? Not only did I not see it, I put him up for a promotion."
"He played his hand well."
"He played me all right. And what is my excuse? Is he a Changeling? No. Is he a being with seven lifetimes of experience? No. Is he a wormhole alien? No. He's just a man, like me. And he beat me!"
- - Sisko and Dax, discussing Eddington while Sisko punches the bag
"Sir, have you ever reminded Starfleet Command that they stationed Eddington here because they didn't trust me?"
- - Odo and Sisko
"Actually, what I was thinking is: you're becoming more like Curzon all the time."
"I don't know how to take that."
"Consider it a complement. And next time I go off half-cocked on some wild-eyed adventure, think back to this moment and be a little more understanding."
- - Dax and Sisko
"Can't you see what's happening to you? You're going against everything you claim to believe in. And for what? To satisfy a personal vendetta?"
"YOU BETRAYED YOUR UNIFORM!"
"And you're betraying yours, right now! The sad part is that you don't even realize it. I feel sorry for you, captain. This obsession with me, look what it's cost you!"
"MAJOR, SHUT THAT THING OFF! COMMANDER WORF, PREPARE TO LAUNCH TORPEDOES!"
- - Eddington and Sisko, on Sisko's decision to use biological weapons on a Maquis colony file info
"All right, Javert. I'll give you what you want: me!"
- - Eddington agrees to surrender to Sisko
"Benjamin, I'm curious. Your plan to poison the Maquis planets… you didn't clear it with Starfleet first, did you?"
"I knew I'd forgotten to do something."
- - Dax and Sisko
"Sometimes I like it when the bad guy wins."
- - Dax, to Sisko (last lines)
Story and script
- This episode is a sequel to the fourth season episode "For the Cause", and the Michael Eddington/Maquis story arc would later be resolved in the episode "Blaze of Glory".
- This episode was written by Peter Allan Fields, who was a co-producer during season 1 and a producer during season 2 of Deep Space Nine. Fields also wrote a number of episodes over the course of the first two seasons, but he was retired from the television business when he wrote this particular episode.
- In a deleted or unfilmed scene, O'Brien and Bashir discuss Eddington and their opinion of him. The scene also mentions that Starfleet Accounting gets bills from Quark. O'Brien also tells Bashir a story Eddington told him about a Orion slave girl and a Talorian, a quadrupedal species. At the end of the scene, the pair realize they actually liked Eddington. As the scene was deleted, Alexander Siddig and Armin Shimerman do not appear in this episode. Cirroc Lofton also does not appear. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- This episode marks the first use (and mention) of the holo-communicator. The idea to use this device was Ronald D. Moore's. According to Moore, "That's something I had been pushing for because I just think it's so absurd that in the twenty-fourth century they have holodeck technology that allows them to recreate Ancient Rome, but everybody talks to each other on television monitors. It's just so lame. The viewscreens have been around for over thirty years. Can't we move to something a little more interesting? But it's like pulling teeth." Ira Steven Behr was completely behind Moore's idea; "Viewscreen scenes are always difficult to pull off. The longer they are, the more boring they are, and having a character talk to someone on a viewscreen is very distancing. And it did work in this episode. We never could have had Eddington on the viewscreen for all of his scenes. It would have been dramatic death." Despite this however, the holo-communicator was not seen as successful in this episode, something alluded to by Gary Hutzel, "It was a terrible idea from the get-go. The idea was to create this amazing 3-D image, but TV's a 2-D medium, so it's hard to show that it's 3-D. So you have to move the camera around so that audience can see that it's 3-D, but then it could look to them like the guy beamed in. So you have to find a way to deal with that. It created all these problems that the writers hadn't thought about, and it missed the whole point of why Gene Roddenberry wanted a viewscreen: so you could avoid unnecessary expense." The holo-communicator would be seen only once more, in Sisko's office on Deep Space 9 in the episode "Doctor Bashir, I Presume". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The scenes on the USS Defiant bridge showing the crew operating the ship manually and relaying communications through Nog were written as a homage to a similar scene in the 1958 Robert Wise movie Run Silent, Run Deep. Ira Steven Behr commented: "Great idea. I loved it. We wanted it to feel like a submarine movie, and we kept talking about Run Silent, Run Deep, for those scenes". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- This episode contains a subtle reference to the 1938 Michael Curtiz film The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. The scene where Eddington forces Sisko to look at the Maquis refugees is very reminiscent of the scene in the film where Flynn's Robin Hood takes de Havilland's Maid Marian to feed the starving peasants. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- This episode also contains a brief nod to the 1947 movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty which is based on the 1939 short story of the same name. Dax remarks, "The secret life of Michael Eddington." As is the case with Walter Mitty in the movie, Eddington sees himself as a dashing protagonist, the "hero of his own story" in the words of Sisko.
- Alexander Siddig found out that Bashir had been replaced by a Changeling during the filming of the episode. Siddig commented "I was told during "For the Uniform" where I had one scene which was played as a Changeling. They must have decided not to tip their hand at that point and give anything away so they cut the scene". ("Time for a Changeling", Dreamwatch magazine, issue 36)
- Ira Steven Behr specifically sought out Eric Pierpoint for the role of Captain Sanders with the intention of having him become a recurring character throughout the sixth season, possibly killing him off later in that season. However, Behr never got around to putting his idea into action, and Sanders was never seen again. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Pierpoint, nevertheless, would return in other roles, including the recurring Section 31 operative Harris in four episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Voyager had originally used CGI to create the Badlands, but "no one really liked them." To create the Badlands in "For the Uniform," the visual effects team poured liquid nitrogen, "which boils furiously at room temperature," onto a piece of black velvet. (Gary Hutzel, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Sisko's actions in "For the Uniform" generated a lot of discussion. Ronald D. Moore commented: "Now we've stirred it up and let people really argue about this. Sisko took an action, and took a step that probably Picard wouldn't have. That's what made it an interesting episode. I could see Kirk taking this action. It seemed to me like what Sisko did was basically level the playing field again. Eddington goes and poisons some worlds, puts some stuff in the atmosphere that makes the Cardassians have to leave. He didn't destroy the ecosystem or the biosphere, because he wanted the worlds for the Maquis. Sisko just did the same thing, but did it to the Maquis, rendered some worlds uninhabitable to Human life. It was pretty drastic action. He's out on the frontier, he has some difficult decisions to make, and it solved the problem. He pulled Eddington in off his ship and he got results. I respected him for doing it. It was a bold decision and it worked. I think sometimes the characters have to do the right thing, even if its difficult, and make a tough decision and not worry so much about keeping their hands clean, and not be so obsessed about what the rules are sometimes. I think that Kirk was more than willing to bend a rule every once in a while to serve the greater good. I think that's what Sisko did". (Taking the Fifth – With Style: "The Maquis", Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7)
- In 2016, Empire ranked "For the Uniform" as #27 in a list of their top 50 Star Trek episodes. 
- This episode takes place eight months after "For the Cause".
- This episode also establishes that eighteen months passed between "The Search, Part I" and "For the Cause".
- Sisko's disregard for his own ethical belief system and his violation of Starfleet policy in this episode seems to predict his actions in the sixth season episode "In the Pale Moonlight", where he will lie to the Romulans and undertake other morally-questionable actions in concert with Garak in order to ensure they enter the Dominion War on the side of the Federation. Interestingly, Peter Allan Fields wrote the story for that episode also.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.7, 2 June 1997
- As part of the DS9 Season 5 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Dax
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
19th century; 2348; airlock; ambush; ante; auxiliary controls; Badlands; bag; barrel roll; baseball game; battle drills (readiness drills); battle stations; bearing; biogenic weapons; biosphere; bluff; book; bread; Breen; Breen system; brig; Cardassia; Cardassians; cargo pod; cascade virus; champagne; Changeling; chemical compound; Chief of Starfleet Security; Cing'ta; Cing'ta's marooning planet; Cing'ta's shuttle; class-5 intelligence drone; cloaking device (aka cloak); cobalt diselenide (cobalt); coded message; cold storage unit; combadge; comb; combat situation; comm system; communications; communication codes; computer control; computer failure; computer system; consolation prize; court martial; crime report; criminal charges; cup; damage control team; darts; Dax, Curzon; Deep Space 9; deflector field; defense system; Demilitarized Zone (DMZ); deuterium deuterium injector; distress call/distress signal; Docking Bay 3; docking clamp; Dorvan sector; dozen; driver coil; earpiece; engine room; EPS conduit; EPS taps; farm; Federation; field stabilizer; France; French; fried; Gamma 7 outpost; gesture; gravitational pull; gyro-shielding; hatch; health inspection; helm; helm control; heterophonic; holo-communicator; holosuite; home; homeless; hour; Hugo, Victor; Human; humanoid; Hunchback of Notre Dame, The; hunting; impulse speed; induction field; inertial dampers; informer; inspector; intercept course; intermix; ion storm; Javert; kilogram; kilometer; Klingon disruptor; lateral scanner; Les Misérables; loaf; Lyxian scale; main computer; Maquis; mark; Marva IV; Marva IV's system; matrix compositor; maximum warp; megahertz; melodrama; memory circuit; memory core; meter; metrical analysis; micro-power relay; mining; Mister Academy; moon; moorings; music; navigation; navigational gyros; navigation system; nerve agent; neutrino; neutrino signature; nursery rhyme; "Old Man"; Panora; parabolic sensor array; particle beam; patrol; pentameter; phaser banks; phaser matrix; pitch; plasma; plasma fields; plasma warhead; poison; policeman; port; Portas V; prisoner; probe; promotion; propulsion; pursuit course; pylon; quantum torpedo; Quatal Prime; Quatal Prime's fourth moon; refugee; refugee camp; replicators; rhodium nitrite; Robin Hood; Salva II; scanners; sector; security chief; security detachment; security officer; selenium; sensor logs; sensor relay; shipyard; shop; Sisko, Joseph; Solosos III; spacedock; stabilizing gyros; starboard; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Intelligence; Starfleet uniform; station keeping; "steady as she goes"; stratospheric torpedo (stratosphere); string; string telephone; suicide; suicide run; targeting scanners; tetrameter; thousand; thrusters; ton; Tracken II; tractor beam; traitor; transporter; transporter range; transporter room; transporter signal; treason; trilithium; trilithium resin; Trill; two dimensional; unmanned probe; umbilicals; "up the ante"; Valjean; Veloz Prime; villain; warp chamber; warp core; warp drive; warp signature; weapons; wormhole alien;
alien freighter; Bolian freighter; Cardassian freighter; Cardassian transport ship (transport ship); Cing'ta's shuttle; Defiant-class; Defiant, USS; Excelsior-class; Malinche, USS; Maquis freighter; Maquis raider; Maquis transport ship; cargo management unit (unnamed)
- "For the Uniform" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "For the Uniform" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "For the Uniform" at Wikipedia
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"In Purgatory's Shadow"