(written from a Production point of view)
Attending a conference on Romulus, Dr. Bashir becomes embroiled in an elaborate scheme devised by Section 31 as a way to ensure the Romulans remain on the side of the Federation in the Dominion War.
In Deep Space 9's wardroom, Colonel Kira is presiding over the weekly meeting between Romulan Senator Cretak, Lieutenant Commander Worf, Chief O'Brien, and Constable Odo. Some slight arguing arises between Cretak and Worf over who has priority of using the station's repair facilities – the Klingons or the Romulans. Kira calms the quarreling and ascertains from O'Brien that the earliest he can get the warbirds into docking bays for repair would be tomorrow but that he would have to put off work on the Hornet and the Rotarran to do it that quickly, and General Martok won't be happy that his flagship was bumped from being top priority. Kira assigns Worf the duty of informing him. Then Odo, who has been quiet up until this point, raises concerns about shore leave, advising it would be a very bad idea for Klingons and Romulans to be mixing on the Promenade. Cretak politely says she will postpone shore leave for her crews, taking a further verbal snipe at the Klingons. Though noticeably annoyed, Worf refrains from comment. Kira draws the meeting to a close, reminding everyone of next week's meeting before realizing that the Senator will be attending a medical conference then, and so wishes her a safe trip to Romulus.
On the Promenade, Doctor Bashir and Garak exit a turbolift. They are discussing Garak's time on Romulus, where he once posed as a gardener while on a mission for the Obsidian Order. He says it was one of his most enjoyable covers, though the planet itself was predominantly gray. "The buildings, the clothes, the people," he says. He even tells Bashir that the Romulan heart itself is grey, "…and altogether appropriate for such an unimaginative race." As Bashir tries to trick him into revealing his mission on Romulus, Garak quickly changes the subject back to Bashir, asking what his role is going to be in the upcoming conference. He explains he will be giving a talk on Dominion biogenic weapons, chairing a seminar on ketracel-white and attending a meeting on a proposal to transfer twenty-five Federation hospital ships to Romulan control. Garak sees this as very dull with the Doctor explaining that Admiral Ross and his staff will be discussing the "exciting" military issues. The intelligence operative in Garak asks whether Starfleet Intelligence will be sending someone along as well, to gain valuable intelligence into Romulan intentions and military capabilities. Bashir reminds Garak that the Romulans are their allies and this could be the beginning of a new-found friendship between their two peoples. But Garak just calls him the "ever-eternal optimist" and says he hopes Bashir will come to see the universe for what it truly is, as opposed to what he would like it to be. The doctor jokes that he will endeavor to become more cynical with every passing day. "If only you meant it," replies Garak, with a grin on his face.
Later that evening, Bashir is in bed sleeping when he is awakened by a shady figure sitting by the window. He instructs the computer to turn on the lights, revealing the dark figure to be Luther Sloan. "Hello, Doctor. I hope you're well rested," he greets. "Section 31 has an assignment for you."
Bashir quickly jumps out of bed. He threatens to call a security team on Sloan, but the intelligence operative is confident the doctor won't be able to reach anyone outside of the room. Bashir maintains that he doesn't work for Section 31 and won't be doing any assignment of theirs. Sloan says that, whether or not Bashir likes it, he has been accepted into Section 31 and now it's time to go to work. He explains that the Romulan Tal Shiar will be handling security at the conference and so there will be no chance of using any technical assets to gather intelligence. That is where Bashir comes in; Sloan wants the doctor to be an "organic asset" and to gather information on the Romulan leadership – in essence, to "take the pulse" of their government. Bashir sees this as spying on an ally but Sloan explains it's only a temporary alliance. He predicts that as soon as the war is over, the Dominion will be forced back to the Gamma Quadrant, Cardassian territory will be occupied, and the Klingon Empire will spend the next ten years recovering, leaving the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire vying for control of the Alpha Quadrant. Bashir is noticeably disgusted. "This war isn't over and you're already planning for the next," he says. Sloan can only admire the doctor's way with words, and hopes that Bashir's report will be "equally succinct."
Bashir continues to object, stating he will not work for Sloan, but Sloan believes the doctor is a man who loves secrets, whether they are medical, personal or fictional, and that because of this, he will eventually change his mind. Before leaving, Sloan offers to tell Bashir his secrets but only if he accepts the assignment. The doctor follows him out of the room, phaser in hand, but it's too late and he just runs into Ezri in the corridor. Sloan is gone.
In Captain Sisko's office, Bashir explains how Odo was unable to find any trace of Sloan in the station's records, but Sisko isn't surprised that Sloan was able to cover up his tracks. The captain goes on to say that, after speaking with Admiral Ross, they both agree the Romulan conference is too important to cancel and Bashir will be attending, as agreed. Sisko also tells Bashir to make a few discreet observations on the Romulan leadership and wait for Sloan to contact him. The doctor doesn't believe that giving Sloan any information is a good idea. Sisko admits that was his initial thought too, but Admiral Ross convinced him this is the perfect opportunity to get a man on the inside of the organization and Bashir is that man. The doctor reluctantly agrees and says he'd better go and get ready to pack, as the USS Bellerophon leaves for Romulus in three hours. As he turns to leave, the captain reminds him that this isn't a game and that Section 31 is quite a dangerous threat. If they even suspect him of working for Sisko, it could mean bad news. Bashir understands and heads out. "Good hunting," Sisko remarks.
The Intrepid-class starship Bellerophon is heading for Romulus at warp speed. A small reception is being held in the mess hall, where Senator Cretak, Admiral Ross, and Doctor Bashir toast to the new alliance over a glass of Romulan ale after the admiral mentions the trade embargo has been officially lifted. Taking his first sip, Ross starts to cough to which Bashir jokingly asks him if he needs a medical team. He falteringly admits that this is his first taste of the drink and that he is probably one of the few officers in Starfleet who hasn't "indulged" on occasion. Senator Cretak offers him something else but he declines, saying he'll manage. "That's the spirit, sir. Never say die!", Bashir retorts. Cretak suddenly looks confused, believing it to be an odd expression. Before he can explain, Sloan interrupts posing as a Wendell Greer, and explains the origin himself. The admiral then introduces him to everyone, including Bashir, who is surprised to see him. "Greer" says he was hoping to meet the good Doctor and uses the opportunity to take him to one side. Sloan informs Bashir there is a PADD waiting for him in his quarters and instructs him to read it. Sloan says he will meet him there at twenty-two hundred hours before rejoining the rest of the delegation.
In the ship's briefing room, Bashir and Ross are discussing Sloan. The admiral has done some checking and records show he has been a low-level bureaucrat in the Department of Cartography for the past fifteen years, but Bashir isn't surprised he has a solid cover story. He requests the admiral stop Sloan from being allowed to participate in the conference, but Ross believes this is a chance to find out what Section 31 is up to. He thinks if Sloan is on the Bellerophon, it suggests something bigger is going on than a simple intelligence gathering mission.
Later, Bashir is joined by Sloan in his quarters. They are going through some holographic representations of Romulan officials. As one image disappears, it is replaced by another, of whom Bashir recognizes as former Proconsul, now Praetor, Neral. He goes on to recite that Neral was elevated to the "top post" by the Continuing Committee a little over a year ago and that all his immediate family was killed in a Klingon raid approximately twenty-five years ago. Furthermore, his interests include sociology and archaeology, his favorite food is Delvan pudding and his pet set'leth's name is Pensho. Sloan is satisfied with Bashir's ability to recall facts, saying it is a useful attribute for an operative to have.
He then changes the hologram to one of Koval, chairman of the Tal Shiar. Bashir continues, saying that Section 31 believes him to be responsible for the death of Admiral Fujisaki last year but there is no proof. Sloan fervently believes Koval is responsible and the proof is buried deep within Koval's personal database. He gives him credit for the operation which he says was made to look like food poisoning and there wasn't any hint at Romulan involvement, calling it "very tidy".
Moving on, Bashir recounts that Koval wasn't elevated to the Continuing Committee as is standard with heads of the Tal Shiar, most likely due to his opposition to the Federation Alliance which is supported by the majority of the Committee. Sloan explains that Cretak has been lobbying for the open seat and, as an advocate of the Alliance, she may get it. He also reveals something which was not in the file he gave to Bashir; a rumor that Koval has Tuvan Syndrome, a neurological disease that affects mainly Vulcans, Romulans and Rigelians. Sloan confesses it was because of this that they want Bashir at the conference, so he can make a visual diagnosis of Koval's illness to confirm it is true. The doctor says even he wouldn't be able to make a diagnosis without any medical equipment but Sloan is confident and recounts how his genetically-engineered friends were able to ascertain Damar had killed a woman by watching him give a political speech. Bashir correctly deduces that Section 31 is planning to use Koval's illness to keep him off the Continuing Committee, and cites the Prime Directive on interfering with Romulan affairs. Without confirming or denying any such plan, Sloan admits that if Koval came to power it would be a complete disaster for the Federation as he would advocate peace with the Dominion and ensure Romulus withdraws from the war. Bashir tries to argue with him but eventually realizes there is no point.
As he leaves, Sloan reassures Bashir that he will only be called upon to gather intelligence, but he will need to have his wits about him when they do arrive at Romulus in the next few hours.
The conference is underway on Romulus. Dressed in a Starfleet dress uniform, Bashir is helping himself to a glass of Romulan ale when Koval approaches him and begins to ask about the Quickening. Pretending not to know who he is, Bashir introduces himself and says it's a pleasure to meet him, an expression Koval finds "completely devoid of meaning." He continues to question Bashir about the Quickening, wondering whether it can be replicated. Bashir begins to answer believing he is wanting to know how to synthesize a vaccine, but Koval wants to know about the virus itself and if it could be introduced into a population. The Doctor believes he can, at which point Koval remarks he is looking forward to attending his lecture and leaves, leaving Bashir with a somewhat bewildered look on his face.
Senator Cretak notices his conversation with Koval and jokes he would make a fine operative. She comments on Koval's habit of rarely speaking to anyone in public, much less someone in a Starfleet uniform, and suggests Starfleet Intelligence recruit him immediately. On a more serious note, she tells Bashir that there are some people in the Romulan Senate that believe the alliance with the Federation is more than a momentary truce and reveals that Koval is not one of them; she and him haven't spoken a word to each other in the past six months. Bashir asks her why, to which she quips, "State secrets."
Later that day, Bashir is giving his lecture on the Quickening virus to a room of both Starfleet and Romulan officials, one of whom is Koval who is listening intently. The lecture is eventually over and it turns out that Sloan has been watching him all along.
When the room empties, Bashir tells Sloan of the earlier conversation with Koval about the Quickening but Sloan isn't interested. Instead, he asks about the Romulan's health. Bashir recounts that Koval's eyelids were slightly displaced, he had a noticeable weakness in the facial muscles, probably the result of a compromised neuromuscular function, and his respiration was somewhat irregular which may indicate the early stages of Tuvan Syndrome. Sloan asks how long he has to which the doctor theorizes he may live for another twenty to twenty-five years. Sloan then asks if there are circumstances in which the condition can accelerate and if anything can "trigger" it. It turns out there are but in less than five percent of cases, as Bashir explains, but he is dubious of telling Sloan anything more. Sloan remains content and shakes the doctor's hand before leaving.
Back on board the Bellerophon, Bashir is consulting with Admiral Ross who agrees with Sloan in that Koval would want nothing more than to see the Romulan banner waving over Earth. He tells Bashir that he is going to confine Sloan to quarters immediately but suspects he may not be acting alone. After thinking about it, the doctor agrees, further speculating that because of Sloan's in-depth inside knowledge, he might have an accomplice on Romulus. He further explains that to carry out Sloan's plan, Koval would need to be infected with a dose of nadion radiation in order to accelerate his condition. The doctor exclaims they must inform the Romulans immediately but Ross says no, that there would be chaos if the Romulans learn there is a rogue agency running about on the planet plotting assassinations, to the point it could collapse the alliance. He orders Bashir to "sit tight" and do nothing until further notice.
Bashir has returned to the mess hall where he starts reading over one of his data PADDs. Two crewmen enter and begin talking about an admiral who was found slumped over his desk and that the medical officer determined it to be an aneurism. Bashir suddenly jumps to his feet and asks them who they are talking about. They confirm it's Admiral Ross who was immediately taken to sickbay. As Bashir starts to head out, he comes eye to eye with Sloan, who is sitting at a nearby table. He raises a glass and smirks at Bashir as he quietly leaves the mess hall.
Back on Romulus, Bashir is talking with Senator Cretak in one of the lecture rooms. He explains that he cannot trust anyone on the Bellerophon and can't get a message out to Deep Space 9 due to the communications blackout. He wants her help to locate Sloan's Romulan accomplice and prevent Koval's assassination by getting a copy of Koval's personal database (which should contain a list of people Koval suspects to be the traitor) while he attempts to dissuade Sloan by informing him that Koval doesn't have Tuvan Syndrome. She initially objects, but Bashir pleads with her to put centuries of mistrust aside and help him.
Sloan meets with Bashir on the Bellerophon, who tells him that he isn't sure Koval has Tuvan Syndrome as all his studies have been on Vulcans who have some important genetic differences to Romulans. Bashir thinks he has gotten away with it but Sloan tells him they will treat his palm with a microcellular adhesive so they can gain a sample of Koval's skin cells and find out for sure.
In the main conference hall, Koval is with one of his aides when Bashir walks up begins talking to him. The two shake hands as Bashir tells him how he would like to continue their discussion on the Quickening, though Koval says he has already answered all his questions. As the doctor turns to walk away, Koval asks him to accompany him to another room, where there is another matter he would like to discuss. Sloan looks on as the two of them head off.
Bashir is led to a small room with a chair in the middle and two guards on either side. Koval insists the doctor sit down as he himself takes his place behind a desk. He wants to know what Bashir is really doing on Romulus, who he is working for and what his mission is but he doesn't expect him to answer with words. One of the guards holds Bashir while the other takes out two devices and affixes them to his temples. "This can be painful or not. That's up to you, doctor," Koval says. "Either way, I will know what you know."
Koval enters and examines the data from his mind probes. To his dissatisfaction, Bashir has been able to put up more of a resistance to them than he had anticipated, he believes a result of the genetic engineering to his parietal cortex. He asks Bashir again why he is on Romulus and what his mission is but Bashir doesn't say anything. Koval instructs the guard to bring Bashir with him.
The Doctor is taken before the Continuing Committee where he also sees Cretak who is being charged with attempting to access a Tal Shiar database without proper authorization. Praetor Neral informs Bashir that Cretak has told him everything and he wants to hear his version of events. He tells Neral about Sloan, Section 31, and the plot to assassinate Koval and that he had enlisted Cretak's help to stop it as he couldn't contact Deep Space 9 for help nor could he trust anyone on the Bellerophon. Neral seems surprised that he would trust a Romulan senator over his own people but Bashir simply replies, "that for all our differences, I do respect her." Neral nods in acknowledgment and Bashir continues to explain how he believed there was a traitor in the Romulan government and Cretak was to gain information on who this may be so they could expose him.
At this point, Neral asks why she didn't come to him with the information, to which she says she didn't want to risk the alliance between Romulus and the Federation, though she now regrets that decision and Neral tells her she should. Koval then interrupts, saying he has another witness who has more to add to Bashir's story. He summons his guards who bring in a tortured Sloan. Koval explains that he was more susceptible to their interrogation techniques and that Sloan in fact works for Starfleet Intelligence, not the "fictional" Section 31. He goes onto say that they also discovered Sloan is the protegé to the late Admiral Fujisake whom he believed was murdered by the Tal Shiar, coming to Romulus to exact his revenge. Furthermore, he says Sloan recruited Bashir to make his death look like a sudden acceleration of Tuvan Syndrome. But Sloan made one vital mistake in coming to Romulus himself, for his face was already known to the Tal Shiar, who immediately knew an intelligence operation was underway. Koval concludes his explanation by asking Sloan why he did it, confirming his belief that it was personal. "You broke the cardinal rule of our profession. You allowed business to become personal", he says, before going onto accuse Cretak of being involved in a plot which would see her elevated to the Continuing Committee.
There is a pause as the Committee absorbs the information presented before them, then Neral speaks. He determines that Cretak has conspired to commit treason against the state, and her sentence is to be determined at a later date. Doctor Bashir is allowed to return to the Bellerophon but Sloan will be held in the custody of the Tal Shiar for further interrogation. At that moment, Sloan cries out, grabbing one of the guard's disruptors. But before he has a chance to open fire, Koval disintegrates him with his own disruptor, much to the shock and surprise of the Committee.
Bashir is taken back to the Bellerophon which has now set a course back to Federation space. He goes to meet with Admiral Ross, who is now in the briefing room going over some reports. Bashir sarcastically asks if he is feeling better though the admiral, unaware, says he is feeling much better and that the doctor has told him to take it easy for a few days but remarks that paperwork waits for no man. Bashir goes on to ask him where Sloan is, as he doesn't believe he actually died on Romulus. Ross takes his combadge off, stating their discussion has to be "off the record." Bashir complies, removing his combadge and tossing it onto the table.
Before Ross answers Bashir's question, he asks him how he knew that he was involved. Bashir says that anyone as clever as Sloan wouldn't have allowed himself to be captured by the Romulans and that there must be another explanation. He says that the admiral was the one who suggested there was another operative, he was the one who told Bashir not to inform the Romulans and he was the one who initiated the communications blackout, preventing him from contacting Deep Space 9. And furthermore, he "conveniently" suffered an aneurism when the time came to arrest Sloan, leaving Bashir alone and forcing him to consort with Senator Cretak. Ross then tells Bashir of the plan to beam Sloan away from the room a split-second before the disruptor blast hit him, though he doesn't know if it worked or not. He further reveals that Koval was the mole all along and has been forwarding military intelligence to Starfleet for the past year.
Bashir is outraged that they set Cretak up to take the fall and now she will be imprisoned for life if not executed. He says that she was on their side, but Ross contradicts this, saying that she was a patriot, which meant she was on the Romulans' side first and foremost; she would advocate for a separate peace with the Dominion if she believed it was in their interest. The admiral agrees that her fate is "unfortunate," but with Koval in place, the Romulans are sure to stay in the war against the Dominion and prevent the deaths of countless Starfleet officers, many of whom he has ordered to their deaths over the past year and a half. Bashir doesn't buy that as an answer to justify what he has done, telling him he is making a mockery of what those same officers are dying to protect. The admiral simply replies, "Inter arma enim silent leges." Bashir recognizes the quote: "In times of war, the law falls silent", a quote from Cicero. "Is that what we've become?!" he cries, "a twenty-fourth century Rome, driven by nothing other than the certainty that Caesar can do no wrong?!" Admiral Ross doesn't answer; instead he replaces his combadge and reminds the doctor that their conversation never happened. Disgusted, but with no recourse, Bashir leaves.
Back on Deep Space 9, Bashir is sleeping in his quarters when he is again awakened by Sloan. Bashir asks sarcastically if Sloan has come to take a bow. Sloan explains he has come to thank the doctor, as he performed exactly as expected by being willing to go so far while eventually doing the right thing when it came down to it. "The Federation needs men like you, Doctor. Men of conscience, men of principle, men who can sleep at night." He says that Section 31 exists to protect men like him from the universe that doesn't share his ethics. But Bashir has no sympathy for him after what he did. Sloan then smiles, saying it is an honor to know him and wishes him a good night before leaving. As he exits, the doctor leans over to his comm panel and signals to security. "Odo here", comes the response. There is a short pause, as Bashir realizes there's no point. "Never mind. My mistake" he eventually mutters, before lying back down in thought.
"Did you know that the Romulan heart itself is gray? It's true."
- - Elim Garak
"I must tell you I'm disappointed at hearing you mouth the usual platitudes of peace and friendship regarding an implacable foe like the Romulans. But I live in hope that you may one day see the universe for what it truly is, rather than what you'd wish it to be."
"'Well, I shall endeavor to become more cynical with each passing day, look gift horses squarely in the mouth, and find clouds in every silver lining."
"If only you meant it."
- - Elim Garak and Julian Bashir
"This war isn't over and you're already planning for the next."
"Well put. I hope your report is equally succinct."
- - Julian Bashir and Luther Sloan
"You are a man who loves secrets. Medical. Personal. Fictional. I am a man of secrets. You want to know what I know and the only way to do that is to accept the assignment."
- - Luther Sloan, to Julian Bashir
"Need a medical team, sir?"
(weakly) "No, thank you..."
"Don't tell me this is your first glass of Romulan ale..."
"Well, it was... (coughing) illegal..."
"That never stopped most of your colleagues!"
- - Julian Bashir, William Ross, and Kimara Cretak, as the admiral discovers the potency of the drink
"That's the spirit, sir. Never say die!"
"What an odd expression. What does it mean?"
"It's a line from an old Earth poem. Forgive me for interrupting. I couldn't help overhearing and etymology is one of my hobbies. The phrase 'never say die' is originally from a 19th century poem based on Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. It's since passed into the venacular as an exhortation, never to give up no matter the cost."
"Wendell Greer. Assistant Director, UFP Department of Cartography."
- - Julian Bashir, Kimara Cretak and Sloan, posing as Wendell Greer
"Let's make a deal, Doctor. I'll spare you the 'ends justify the means' speech and you spare me the 'we must do what's right' speech. You and I are not going to see eye to eye on this subject, so I suggest we stop discussing it."
- - Luther Sloan, to Julian Bashir
"I don't believe we've been introduced."
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you."
"Eh, you've got me there."
- - Julian Bashir and Koval
"Very enlightening. You almost made it comprehensible."
"The next time I'll do the lecture with hand puppets, just for you."
- - Luther Sloan and Julian Bashir, about Bashir's medical lecture
"Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges."
"'In time of war, the law falls silent.' Cicero. So is that what we have become; a 24th century Rome, driven by nothing other than the certainty that Caesar can do no wrong?!"
"This conversation never happened." (Ross reaffixes his Starfleet insignia) "You're dismissed."
- - William Ross and Julian Bashir
"The Federation needs men like you, Doctor. Men of conscience, men of principle... men who can sleep at night. You're also the reason Section 31 exists. Someone has to protect men like you from a universe that doesn't share your sense of right and wrong."
- - Luther Sloan, to Julian Bashir
- The working title of this episode was simply "Untitled Bashir." 
- This is one of fifteen Star Trek episodes with titles derived from Latin, in this case the proverb literally meaning "in the presence of arms, the laws grow silent" even though in the episode Bashir translates the phrase as "in times of war, the law falls silent". It is a variant of the phrase "silent enim leges inter arma," originally from the Roman orator Cicero's speech "Pro Milone" ("For Milo"). (AOL chat, 1998) The other episodes with Latin titles are "Dramatis Personae", "Sub Rosa", "Ex Post Facto", "Non Sequitur", "Alter Ego", "Terra Nova", "Vox Sola", "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum", "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1", "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2", "Veritas", "Terra Firma, Part 1", "Terra Firma, Part 2", and "Memento Mori".
- Ira Steven Behr joked; "I think Ron [D. Moore] was trying to get even with Hans [Beimler] and me for "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night". Or maybe he was looking to top everyone else so he thought, 'Latin!'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 660))
- In actuality, writer Ronald D. Moore arrived at the title of the episode when browsing at a book store, at a point when he was already working on the episode but hadn't yet titled it. He found a copy of a book by William Rehnquist dealing with the prerogative writ of habeas corpus, and its suspension during the American Civil War. On the book jacket, Moore discovered a blurb in which Abraham Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is described as "a classic case of the old Roman dictum Inter arma silent leges." He felt the phrase would be perfect as this episode's title, as it synchronized well with the installment's theme. He sent the phrase to the show's research consultant, Joan Pearce, and talked with her about it, ensuring that he had the Latin correct. Pearce provided a longer version and told Moore he could arrange the words as he saw fit, since word order did not matter in Latin. ((AOL chat, 1998); Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 76) Moore noted, "We monkeyed around a little bit with the word order, so it looked good and sounded right [....] I was kind of proud of it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 76)
- Despite Ronald D. Moore being satisfied with the title, it was found questionable by others. "People kept bugging me about, what the hell does this mean? What is this title of yours? I took perverse glee in the fact," Moore reminisced. "The Voyager guys looked at me like I was crazy, and nobody knew how to pronounce the title, but we were going to stick with it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 76)
Story and script
- This episode was spawned by "Inquisition", particularly Sisko's instruction to Bashir at the end of that episode that if he meets Sloan again, he is to pretend to join Sloan's cause. Ira Behr commented, "We'd had the idea since the end of 'Inquisition'. We wanted to bring them back. We just needed to find a spot for it when Bill Sadler would be available." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 661))
- Initially, the plan was for Bashir to fool Sloan and to expose him, but early in the writing process, Ron Moore took the script in an entirely other direction; rather than Bashir duping Sloan, Bashir thinks he's duping Sloan, but in reality, Sloan is duping him. As Moore explained; "The trick we came up with here was to really lead him along and make it look to the audience like he's ahead of the game. Make the audience believe he's figuring it all out, and then telling them, 'No – they've figured him out.'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 661))
- The episode is closely similar in story and theme to John le Carre's classic Cold War spy novel, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, in which a British intelligence agent participates in an elaborate plot to frame the head of East German intelligence for treason, only to discover that the man really is a British mole, and the outcome of the plot is to discredit a well-meaning, sympathetic member of East German intelligence who was getting close to exposing the mole. Likewise, in this episode, the unsympathetic Koval is saved by a Section 31 deception, while the well-meaning Senator Cretak is sacrificed in order to allow Koval to continue to serve the Federation. Ron Moore commented: "It was more of a challenge as a writer to pull it off and make it a really intriguing puzzle, to keep the audience off balance, to keep them wondering what the next twist was going to be, and yet to play fair with them. If you look back at the episode after it was over with, everything was there. All the clues were there: all the red herrings were there. I didn't just pull things in randomly. I was trying to be true to the concept, to be true to what Sloan would do, to make sure all the motivations worked out. It was a complicated show. But I really enjoyed it. I like spy thrillers, and espionage pieces. It was cool to get a chance to really do one like that, and to take it off the station, set up these other characters and do it on Romulus. It just had a real kind of classic, Cold War feeling to the whole thing. Rick Berman said. ‘You could do this as a stage play set in East Berlin.’That’s right, you really could." (Cinefantastique, Volume 29 Number 6/7)
- When confronting Admiral Ross at the end of the episode, Bashir asks, "Is that what we have become? A 24th-century Rome?" His question has several layers of meaning: on the surface, it questions Ross's use of the Cicero quotation to justify his actions, yet it also draws attention to the fact that the political institutions of the Romulan Empire all take their names (and, vaguely, structure) from those of the Roman Empire; Bashir could be, in effect, asking whether the Federation is willing to become the next Romulan Empire.
- The ship on which Bashir travels is called the Bellerophon. In Greek mythology, Bellerophon was the hero who slew the beast Chimera, which is also the title of the episode which was produced directly before "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges". As Ronald D. Moore explains, this was only a coincidence; "The Bellerophon was a ship on which Lord Nelson sailed. That's where I plucked the name from." After someone pointed out that the mythic character of Bellerophon rode the winged horse named Pegasus (also the name of the ship featured in the TNG episode of the same name), Moore commented, "Yeah, someone pointed that out to me after the fact, but I wasn't trying to draw a connection between the two." On the connection between the titles of this and the previous episodes, Moore simply admitted, "I didn't even know that." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 660))
- The nineteenth-century poem Sloan refers to (but does not identify, completely) as the source of the phrase "never say die" is "The Merchant of Venice: A Legend of Italy" by Richard Harris Barham, writing under the pseudonym Thomas Ingoldsby.
- This is the last episode of the series to be directed by David Livingston.
- This episode was filmed between 2 December 1998 and 10 December 1998. 
- This episode was shot prior to "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang", but aired following. It was thus the last stand-alone episode of the series to be shown before the nine-part finale.
- Stock footage from Star Trek: Voyager is used at certain points; for example, a flyby of the USS Bellerophon is a recycled effect of the USS Voyager (to the point that you can see the registry "NCC-74656" on the hull).
- All the scenes aboard the Bellerophon were filmed on Star Trek: Voyager sets, specifically, Voyager's mess hall, lower-ranking crewmen's quarters, and conference room (with the bridge seen past the doors). Ronald D. Moore was the one who put forward the idea to use Voyager's sets rather than simply using the Defiant; "When we started structuring the show, I called Rick Berman and [Voyager Executive Producer] Brannon Braga and [Voyager Supervising Producer] Merri Howard and said, 'I'd really like to use the Voyager sets on this.' We could have reused the Defiant sets once again, saying the Bellerophon was a Defiant-class ship, but I didn't want to. I thought that using a bigger starship with a different look would make the mission seem bigger and more important. And we could save a lot of money if we went over and used their existing stuff, rather than building a new ship." The DS9 scenes were scheduled on a day when the Voyager crew was working on a different soundstage. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (pp. 661-662))
- The Mess Hall of Intrepid class ships were originally shown to have a wall of replicators. This wall, along with the Captain's dining room, were converted into a galley by Neelix ("Caretaker", "Phage"). The galley is present on the USS Bellerophon. This is due to the fact, as stated above, that the sets from Star Trek: Voyager were used for the interior of the USS Bellerophon.
- Sloan refers to the events of "Statistical Probabilities" when he says the group of genetically-engineered Humans were able to determine that Damar had killed a woman just from watching him give a speech.
- This is the only appearance, outside Star Trek: Voyager, of an Intrepid-class starship. However, an image of an Intrepid-class starship appears in "Future Tense".
- Koval asks Bashir about the Teplan blight (which he calls "the Quickening"). This is a reference to the episode "The Quickening". Neral and Bashir both state that the Quickening occurred on Boranis III, though this contradicts the earlier episode, in which Boranis III is mentioned as a planet where Bashir had previously cured a plague before he tackled, or had even heard of, the Teplan blight.
- This is the only episode where we see the new-style white dress uniforms, created for Star Trek: Insurrection, as worn by Bashir and Ross, while meeting with delegates on Romulus. As they had done with the gray uniforms first seen in Star Trek: First Contact, the producers decided to hold back the appearance until after Insurrection was in movie theaters. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 662))
- The Romulan ale, mentioned to be illegal and unattainable since Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, is finally legal in this episode, in the context of the Federation Alliance. However in Star Trek Nemesis, it is again mentioned to be illegal.
- Elim Garak's life as a gardener on Romulus was first mentioned in "Broken Link".
- This is the first of only four times that Romulus is seen from orbit. The planet is not seen again until Star Trek Nemesis and later again in Star Trek: Enterprise's fourth season.
- This is the first time in Star Trek that a Federation starship (the Bellerophon) is shown to visit Romulus.
Cast and characters
- Sub-Commander Velal (mentioned by Cretak) later appears (played by Stephen Yoakam) in the episodes "When It Rains..." and "The Dogs of War".
- The role of Senator Cretak was originally played by Megan Cole in "Image in the Sand" and "Shadows and Symbols". She was unavailable to reprise the role for this episode so the producers chose Adrienne Barbeau instead. As Director David Livingston noted, it was a good choice; "She'd been in before to read for Star Trek, and this time she nailed the part. She brought a lot of humanity to it, which made Cretak a very rich character. She had the strength of a Romulan but a great deal of emotional depth." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 661))
- Ronald D. Moore agreed with Livingston; "Adrienne was great. She brought something different to the role, a certain sympathy and vulnerability that worked for the character in this episode. You wanted to like Cretak more in this than you had in the other two [episodes]. And that made you feel bad she was going down at the end." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 661))
- Praetor Neral was previously seen as a proconsul in TNG: "Unification I" and "Unification II", where he was played by Norman Large. When asked why Large was not sought to reprise his role, Ronald D. Moore remarked, "We did consider it, but decided to go in another direction." (AOL chat, 1999)
- John Fleck makes his fourth Star Trek appearance here – his third and last on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His first appearance was in TNG: "The Mind's Eye", where he played another Romulan, Taibak. His two previous DS9 appearances came in DS9: "The Homecoming" as a Cardassian officer and DS9: "The Search, Part I" as the Karemma First Minister Ornithar. He later guest-starred in VOY: "Alice", before taking on the recurring role of Silik in Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) do not appear in this episode. Nicole de Boer (Ezri Dax) appears for a total of six seconds.
- Ira Steven Behr was a little disappointed with how this episode ultimately turned out; "It's an excellent show, but it doesn't have all the levels it should have. We thought we'd do a show about the compromising of Bashir. Unfortunately, it doesn't do that. At the end, Bashir winds up making this angry, pointed speech to Ross, which is a lot less interesting than the situation at the end of "In the Pale Moonlight". There, a man is trying to deal with his own culpability. And this is a show that demanded, I felt, Bashir's culpability. And he gets to walk away clean, with him being the one pointing the finger. It takes the show down a notch, and keeps it from reaching the level we wanted." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 661))
- David Livingston commented: "That was not a Star Trek show. I read it and I said, ‘God, this is all just talk.’ Ron Moore writes wonderful talk, but it was all talk. I was surprised that it came off as compelling as it did. But it's the writing: it's Ron. It’s the characterizations.”
- Ronald D. Moore said of the change in Cretak's personality; "Cretak was much harder in the two-parter because she was there to serve a different purpose. She hadn't been designed with this episode in mind." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 661))
- Of playing a different side to Admiral William Ross, actor Barry Jenner commented; "He'd do anything to save the Federation. And here he puts so much value on the success of the war efforts that he's willing to do things that might not be thought of as honest and aboveboard. He was willing to bend some rules behind the scenes and go through some soul searching to defend the integrity of the Federation." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 661))
- Behr likened Ross's character change to Sisko's; "Ross is a compromised guy, just like Sisko. But it's not like he's a double agent. If he were, we'd have never allowed him to marry Sisko and Kasidy. It's so spooky talking about this stuff. It almost sounds heretical. Compromised heroes! Compromised supporting characters! It's wonderful, isn't it? I'm very proud of what we've been allowed to do." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 661))
- Authors Mark Jones and Lance Parkin wrote of this episode, "Some clever writing lets you think Bashir is in control when Section 31 is already one step ahead of the game. Sadly, there's no exploration of Bashir's guilt, which is eloquently swept under the carpet in a fierce retort with Ross towards the end. Inter Arma... has all the makings of a great show, with Bashir subsumed with guilt, but doesn't have the courage of its convictions." (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 265)
- Cinefantastique scored this episode 3 out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, No. 4/5, p. 60)
- Star Trek Monthly issue 55, p. 58 rated the episode 4 out of 5 stars and gave it an enthusiastic review, raving, "'Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges' is by far one of the best episodes the series has produced in its seven years, turning every concept on its head and providing the most intriguing and controversial story to date. As the mysterious and self-righteous Sloan, William Sadler is the perfect foil for Dr. Bashir's idealism, his parting words an example of Ronald D. Moore at his finest. This is the dirty world of covert operations at its thrilling best."
- Star Trek author Keith R.A. DeCandido enjoyed the "courtroom" scene but criticized the fact that Sloan had managed to accomplish everything without being detected once: "The laziest writing tool in the book is the unstoppable foe, in which the foe always manages to avoid detection, always manages to plan three steps ahead, always manages to do something impossible to get away in the end. In this episode alone, Sloan manages to sneak onto and off a military base in the middle of a war twice, get himself assigned to a sensitive mission, corrupt a Starfleet admiral, fake his own death, and get away from the most secure location in the Romulan Empire. We’re given no explanation for how Sloan does any of this—the death-faking is the only thing that even gets a token attempt, and it’s pretty much the same trick the mercenaries pulled in "Gambit, Part I"." In contrast, DeCandido praised the performances of both Adrienne Barbeau (Cretak) and John Fleck (Koval) but expressed disappointment with Barry Jenner, describing his performance as "excessively wooden". Overall, he labelled the episode "very fun" and "...full of some crackling dialogue" awarding it a "warp factor rating" of 6/10. 
Video and DVD releases
- This volume uses the production order for this and "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang"; this episode was filmed first but broadcast second. It appears first on the video release.
- As part of the DS9 Season 7 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Nicole de Boer as Counselor Ezri Dax
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Colonel Kira Nerys
- Andrew J. Robinson as Garak
- Adrienne Barbeau as Cretak
- John Fleck as Koval
- Barry Jenner as Admiral Ross
- Hal Landon, Jr. as Neral
Special guest star
- Kenneth Blanck as Romulan senator
- Rico Bueno as operations officer
- Uriah Carr as civilian
- Brian Demonbreun as sciences officer
- Holiday Freeman as Romulan officer
- Ana Gionatis as Romulan senator
- Bill Hacket as Romulan senator
- Dennis Madalone as Romulan guard
- Dan Magee as operations lieutenant
- Lee Nickerson as Romulan senator
- Louis Ortiz as Human conference guest
- Bonnie Perkinson as Romulan senator
- Ray Petersen as Romulan senator
- Michael Phipps as Romulan senator
- Wanda Roth as Bellerophon lieutenant
- Chuck Shanks as operations officer
- Susie Stillwell as Klingon
- Terry Van Zandt as Romulan Tal Shiar guard
- Unknown performers as
accomplice; aneurysm; assassination; Bajor sector; biogenic weapon; Cardassian Empire; career; cloud; Continuing Committee; counsel; cover story; Damar; Delvan pudding; Department of Cartography; Dominion; Dominion War; dozen; Earth; embassy; espionage; etymology; expression; eyelid; Federation; Federation Charter; food poisoning; Frame; Fujisaki; Gamma Quadrant; gardener; Greer, Wendell; heart; horse; "inter arma enim silent leges"; internal affairs; Jepella; kali-fal; ketracel-white; Klingon Empire; leadership; lecture hall; lesion; leukocyte; Martok; mentor; Merchant of Venice, The; microcellular adhesive; mole; motor skill; murder; necrosis; Neral's family; operative; parietal cortex; patriotism; Pensho; platitude; "Play your cards a little closer to your vest"; plot; praetor; proconsul; Promenade; Quark's; Quickening; radio silence; Rigelian; Romulan ale; Romulan Conference; Romulan mind probe; Romulan Star Empire; Romulus; Section 31; security log; sense of humor; set'leth; shock; sub-commander; Shakespeare, William; shore leave; sociology; soldier; Starfleet Intelligence; suspect; Tal Shiar; terminal stage; textbook; toast; Tora Ziyal; total recall; trade embargo; traitor; Tuvan Syndrome; UFP; Velal; vernacular; vest; Vulcans; weep
- "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" at Wikipedia
- "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
|Section 31 related episodes|
|ENT:||"Affliction" • "Divergence" • "Demons" • "Terra Prime"|
|DIS:||"Point of Light" • "Saints of Imperfection" • "The Sound of Thunder" • "Light and Shadows"|
• "If Memory Serves" • "Project Daedalus" • "The Red Angel" • "Perpetual Infinity"
• "Through the Valley of Shadows" • "Such Sweet Sorrow" • "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"
|DS9:||"Inquisition" • "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" • "Extreme Measures"|
|Films:||Star Trek Into Darkness|
|Star Trek: Deep Space Nine