(written from a Production point of view)
Sisko's crew crash land their Jem'Hadar ship into the waters of an alien ocean on a world where a group of Jem'Hadar have also crash landed with only one vial of ketracel-white remaining. Meanwhile, on Terok Nor, Kira finds she cannot live with herself working side by side with the Dominion.
- "Captain's log, supplemental. O'Brien needed three days to restore main power to our commandeered Dominion ship, but he's not going to get them. Sensors have detected two Jem'Hadar fighters heading our way, and without main power our chances of survival are slim to none."
Benjamin Sisko and crew are stranded deep in Dominion-held space on a captured Jem'Hadar ship with a disabled warp drive. Chief Miles O'Brien and Nog are busy making repairs. Two Jem'Hadar ships approach Sisko's ship and attack. Their only option is to make a run for an uncharted dark-matter nebula. Before they can get inside it, Jadzia Dax is injured when a Jem'Hadar volley rocks the ship. Doctor Julian Bashir thinks the symbiont has been injured too. All ship functions disabled, they begin to descend towards an unknown class M planet.
The ship crash lands into a sea just off a coast but everyone escapes with their lives. A Vorta named Keevan and a group of Jem'Hadar had crashed onto the planet two days earlier. The Jem'Hadar First and Second are dead, Keevan is badly wounded, they are running out of ketracel-white, and they cannot establish communications with any Dominion forces off-planet.
Crawling onto shore with what few items from the ship they could take with them, Sisko and the others have a much-needed laugh when O'Brien frets, absurdly, over his torn pant leg.
Back on Dominion-controlled Deep Space 9, once again referred to as Terok Nor, Major Kira Nerys wakes up at 0500 for another day of duty working with the Dominion and their Cardassian allies. She boards the turbolift, already filled with Jem'Hadar and Cardassians. Arriving at her station in ops, she thanks Mavek, a Cardassian, for her raktajino and begins her duties.
In a cave on the planet, Keevan discusses their dire situation with Third Remata'Klan. It will be ten days before they can even attempt to establish communications. Keevan distributes a very limited dose of white to the Jem'Hadar soldiers. Meanwhile Sisko and the crew set up camp in another cave where Bashir can stabilize Dax's condition.
Nog and Elim Garak go on a survey mission to find water and food. Nog is apprehensive around Garak ever since he tied him up and threatened to kill him. Garak recalls that there were extenuating circumstances but Nog declares that he won't ever turn his back on him again. Garak tells Nog "there may be hope for you yet." Then, several Jem'Hadar soldiers appear around them and they are taken prisoner.
Nog and Garak are being interrogated in the Jem'Hadar camp. Nog refuses to give more than his name and Starfleet serial number, and the Jem'Hadar turn their weapons on he and Garak. Garak tells Nog to shut up and Keevan turns to the Cardassian. Garak claims to be one Kamar, one of the Dominion's Cardassian allies who has been captured by the USS Centaur (the ship encountered by Sisko and his crew while infiltrating Cardassian territory). Keevan sees through this lie, holding up the Starfleet combadge Garak was wearing. Keevan says he has only one question: is there a doctor in Garak's unit. Garak, weighing his options carefully, decides for once to tell the truth, and says yes. Nog is furious with him, but Keevan says he just saved both their lives. Keevan sends Third Remata'Klan to assess the Federation group's strength, but firmly orders him not to engage.
On Terok Nor, Jake Sisko is interviewing Odo and Kira in the security office about the Dominion's plans to send four hundred Vorta "facilitators" to Bajor despite Weyoun still blocking his transmissions to the Federation News Service. Jake also informs them that Vedek Yassim is planning a demonstration on the Promenade the next day. Jake's pointed questions quickly get under Kira's skin and she along with Odo end the interview.
Back on the planet, Sisko and a few others are searching for Nog and Garak. Despite the order from Keevan not to engage, the Jem'Hadar open fire.
After determining who fired the first shot, the Jem'Hadar leader orders a withdrawal from the engagement with the Starfleet party. Running out of ketracel-white, the Jem'Hadar are becoming anxious and none of them can shroud themselves any longer. In the distance, Sisko and O'Brien ponder why the Jem'Hadar cannot camouflage themselves. Sisko notes that it is a good question and hopes the answer lies in their favor.
Kira tries to convince Vedek Yassim not to hold her protests. Yassim asks Kira what Kira's doing to fight the Dominion. Kira says that this is different from the Cardassian occupation – fighting isn't the answer here. Yassim accuses Kira of becoming an apologist for the Dominion, "a defender of evil". Kira tells the Vedek that she simply does not understand. Before leaving, Yassim tells Kira that tomorrow, perhaps they will both understand.
While Sisko is planning an assault on the Jem'Hadar position, Third Remata'Klan visits the cave to make a deal: exchanging Sisko and Bashir for Nog and Garak. Sisko surprises him by quoting a Jem'Hadar proverb ("Obedience brings victory"). He tries to sow suspicion and resentment in Remata'Klan for his Vorta handler by referring to the joint Dominion-Starfleet operation after which a Vorta was killed by the Jem'Hadar First, and points out that even though Remata'Klan is the senior surviving Jem'Hadar, Keevan has not seen fit to promote him beyond the rank of Third. But Remata'Klan will not have it, and states that he was only instructed to deliver the message. Sisko claims not to trust Vorta, and asks for Remata'Klan's word that the conditions of the exchange will be honored. Remata'Klan vows to carry out his orders, and Sisko accepts the deal.
The prisoner exchange is carried out. Meanwhile, on Terok Nor, Kira waits on the Promenade in front of the Bajoran temple ready to deal with and even arrest Vedek Yassim if she causes any trouble, but everything is quiet. Jake turns up, telling Kira that Yassim asked him to be there at exactly 1400. Just as Kira starts to tell Jake he won't find a story today, they hear someone say "What's she doing?" They look up to see Yassim standing over the railing atop the upper level of the Promenade with a noose around her neck. She yells "Evil must be opposed!" and steps off from the upper level. Kira tries to go stop her, but it was too late as the rope snaps taut just before her feet touch the ground.
Arriving at the Jem'Hadar cave, Bashir is asked to perform surgery on Keevan to save his life. The many Jem'Hadar crowd around not to protect Keevan, but because they're curious as to what the inside of a Vorta looks like.
The next morning, Kira is already awake when the alarm clock chimes for another day of duty on the Dominion-occupied station. When she boards the turbolift, she starts to feel uneasy around the Dominion troops. Upon reaching Ops, she thanks Mavek for her coffee when she suddenly becomes very much aware that she is now working for and alongside Cardassians and Jem'Hadar, who not very long ago were her sworn enemies. In a daze, Kira hastily leaves.
The operation is a success and Keevan is healed. After asking his soldiers to leave, Keevan offers Sisko another deal. With only one vial of white left, Keevan fears that his soldiers will soon go on an uncontrollable rampage, killing everyone, including themselves. Keevan plainly tells Sisko that he plans to send the Jem'Hadar on a suicide attack, so that Sisko and his crew can kill them all, immediately after which Keevan would then surrender himself to Starfleet, providing the crew with a damaged but salvageable com unit with which they can repair and thus signal for a rescue. Keevan makes it clear to Sisko he will be sending the Jem'Hadar to attack regardless of if Sisko agrees or not.
Returning to the cave and informing the crew, the Starfleet officers debate the right course of action. While some of the officers don't like the idea of killing the Jem'Hadar in such an underhanded way, Garak argues that they're in the middle of war, and Lieutenant Neeley states that the Jem'Hadar would not hesitate to kill them were the situation reversed. Just as the argument begins to get heated, Sisko stops the debate, reminding them that it's his decision alone, then declares that Garak is right … they're in the middle of a war, and if it's a choice between his crew and the Jem'Hadar soldiers, then there is no choice. Everyone heads out to face the Jem'Hadar, while Sisko confides to Dax that he's hoping there's a third choice.
Back on the station, Odo finds Kira at the spot where Yassim killed herself. Kira, filled with self-loathing, tells Odo that during the Occupation, as far as she was concerned, you're either fighting the enemy, or helping them. While half the Alpha Quadrant are risking their lives fighting the Dominion for her freedom, she was ready to arrest Vedek Yassim for protesting the station occupation. Since she is not fighting the Dominion, it follows that she is helping them and defending them … which makes her a collaborator. However, Kira vows she will defend the Dominion no longer and its time start fighting back. Odo tries to persuade her not to, reminding her that Sisko wanted Bajor and its people kept out of the war, but Kira makes it clear she won't let anything or anyone stop her. Seeing her determination, Odo instead decides to help her put together a resistance cell to fight the Dominion and their Cardassian allies.
In an arid canyon on the planet, before the Jem'Hadar assault, Sisko tells Remata'Klan that the Jem'Hadar were betrayed by the Vorta, but it turns out that Remata'Klan already understood the massive tactical error of approaching the group from this canyon. Despite how it may appear, the Jem'Hadar are often one step ahead of the Vorta. Sisko offers to allow the Jem'Hadar to surrender, but Remata'Klan can't/won't even consider that option. Sisko tells Remata'Klan that Keevan doesn't deserve their loyalty but the Jem'Hadar replies that Keevan doesn't "need" to deserve it. From the day they're created, Jem'Hadar know that they are pledged to follow the Founders' orders without question, and the Vorta are the conduits of those orders – "it is the order of things." Sisko asks him if "the order of things" is worth giving up his life, but Remata'Klan counters that his life has never been his to give up. Seeing that Remata'Klan won't be swayed from his orders, Sisko grimly rejoins the other officers.
Telling his men, "our death is glory to the Founders," Remata'Klan leads his men on a futile charge towards the ridge, opening fire. Returning fire, the Starfleet contingent guns them all down, at the cost of one of their own. A few seconds later, Keevan arrives, glancing at the soldiers who he gladly sacrificed to save his own life, and offers himself as a prisoner of war, remarking that Sisko and the other officers would all be dead if he'd had two more vials of white. Sisko is driven by the urge to shoot the smug and treacherous Vorta with his phaser rifle there and then, but manages to push past his own disgust to order that Keevan be taken into custody, and tells O'Brien to start repairing the communications system. Sisko then orders a burial detail for Gordon and the dead Jem'Hadar.
"Try it now. Reroute the damn gyrodyne through the damn thruster array."
"Nog, did you reroute that damn gyrodyne?"
"I'm trying, but the damn thruster array won't take the input."
"Try the lateral impulse thrusters and watch your mouth!"
- - Miles O'Brien and Nog, trying to deal with the quirks of the Dominion ship
- - Elim Garak, just before the crash
"Until we re-establish communications, we will hold this world for the Dominion."
"And if we can not restore communications?"
"Then we will hold this world for the Dominion… until we die."
- - Remata'Klan and Limara'Son
"I don't believe it!"
"I tore my pants!"
"You… You tore your pants?"
"Yeah, I tore my pants. I guess… I guess I'm really in trouble now!"
- - Miles O'Brien and Benjamin Sisko, laughing uproariously
"Lucky for you it ripped on the seam."
"Can you fix it?"
"Unlucky for you my sewing kit went down with the ship."
- - Garak, examining O'Brien's trousers
"Madame, your pants are ready. Your boots and vest will take a little longer. While you wait, I might suggest that you browse through the hotel's gift shop."
"No, thank you. But I would like to lodge a complaint."
"This bed is as hard as a rock."
- - Sisko trying to make an injured Dax comfortable in a cave
"Does this have anything to do with that unfortunate business between you and me last year?"
"You tied me up and threatened to kill me."
- - Garak, asking why Nog is trying to stand behind him all the time
"You can either stand in front of me or walk beside me, but I won't turn my back on you again."
"Cadet, there may be hope for you yet."
- - Nog and Garak, after recalling the events of "Empok Nor"
"They're not here to protect me. They've just never seen what the inside of a Vorta looks like."
- - Keevan, as the Jem'Hadar crowd around before Bashir operates on him
"I am alive…"
"No self-diagnoses, please. I'm the doctor here."
- - Keevan and Bashir
"Why are you doing this?"
"That… that's a communications system. It needs repair but I'm willing to bet that you've brought one of those famed Starfleet engineers who can turn rocks into replicators. He should have more success repairing it, than a Jem'Hadar suffering from withdrawal."
- - Sisko and Keevan
"I'm going to order the Jem'Hadar to attack your position tomorrow… regardless of whether you agree to my terms or not. So you can either kill them… or they'll kill you. Either way, they're coming."
- - Keevan, to Sisko
"In case you've forgotten, we're in a war."
"There are rules, Garak, even in a war!"
"Correction. Humans have rules in war. Rules that make victory a little harder to achieve, in my opinion."
- - Garak and Miles O'Brien, about ambushing the Jem'Hadar
"Despite what Keevan may think, the Jem'Hadar are often one step ahead of the Vorta."
"You can still stay one step ahead. Surrender."
"I have my orders."
"Keevan doesn't deserve the unwavering loyalty you're giving him."
"He does not have to earn my loyalty, Captain. He has had it from the moment I was conceived. I am a Jem'Hadar. He is a Vorta. It is the order of things."
"Do you really want to give up your life for the 'order of things'?"
"It is not my life to give up, Captain – and it never was."
- - Remata'Klan and Sisko
"What did he say?"
"All the wrong things."
- - Miles O'Brien and Sisko, regarding Sisko's talk with Remata'Klan before battle
"Our death is glory to the Founders."
- - Remata'Klan, to his men (his last words)
"Evil must be opposed!"
- - Vedek Yassim, seconds before committing suicide on the Promenade in protest against Dominion occupation of the station
The six-episode arc
- Although following directly on from "A Time to Stand", this episode was filmed after part three of the arc, "Sons and Daughters", to accommodate the location shooting. Obviously, this made an already complicated situation worse. As Ronald D. Moore explains, "The station storyline on "Sons and Daughters" changed while they were doing it, which meant that my station-based storyline had to reflect that change…We couldn't keep it straight in our heads and we kept stepping on each other. Had something already happened, or was it happening the following week? It became very difficult to get the whole thing under control." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
"Rocks and Shoals"
Story and script
- The original idea for this episode came from the 1965 Frank Sinatra film, None But the Brave, a film about the interactions of the crew of a downed American plane and the Japanese army patrol which finds them. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- "Rocks and Shoals" was the informal name of the Articles for the Government of the United States Navy. These articles were known for triggering swift and harsh punishment, and were replaced by the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 1951.
- Commenting on the episode's title, Ronald D. Moore said: "The title seemed thematically right to me, since the episode deals with some characters running up on the "rocks" and others entering "shoal water". I think that the phrase itself actually referred to the Royal Navy's judicial system, but I could be wrong. In any case, the title just came to me as I was working on the script and although later I remembered the judicial connection, it wasn't the initial reason for the title. There are also themes of justice and military order in the script, so I think it's still appropriate." (AOL chat, 1997)
- The writers had Dax injured in this episode because Terry Farrell has a skin condition that prevents her exposure to direct sunlight. (AOL chat, 1997) She later commented this was the reason she did not do much exterior filming, and was teased by crewmembers for walking with a parasol. 
- The stardate is given as "supplemental" in dialogue, but is preserved from the script in closed captioning. (AOL chat, 1997)
- This episode was filmed at a rock quarry in Sun Valley, north of Los Angeles. This was basically the same location (Soledad Canyon) which had been used for Cardassia IV in "The Homecoming", for Dozaria in "Indiscretion", and for Torga IV in "The Ship". Although the quarry contained water, all of the shots with the ocean and the shoreline were digitally created. (AOL chat, 1997)
- As with both "The Homecoming" and "The Ship", temperature during the shoot for this episode would reach unexpected highs and cause a great deal of discomfort for both cast and crew. During the filming of "The Ship", temperatures reached as high as 124 °F/51 °C. During the shoot for "Rocks and Shoals", they went even higher; 128 °F/53 °C. It was the hottest period in that part of the country in over ten years; so hot that the makeup was melting on-camera and the rubber soles on Steve Oster's hiking boots melted in the heat. The production team did a weather check on Friday as they were scheduled to start shooting on Monday, and it was 80 °F/28 °C, with a light breeze. They were told it would stay basically the same for a week. On Saturday, it went up to 95 °F/35 °C and on Sunday, it reached 105 °F/40 °C. It then peaked at 128 °F/53 °C on Monday. As Ira Steven Behr acknowledges, if you look at the episode closely, you can see the eyes of the Jem'Hadar are quite red, due to the makeup dripping into the actors' eyes as it ran off their foreheads. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Michael Dorn (Worf) and Armin Shimerman (Quark) do not appear in this episode, although a scene in the script has Worf rescuing the Starfleet crew aboard the IKS Rotarran. The scene saw the crew burying Gordon and the Jem'Hadar. Worf and two Klingons beam down and Garak tells Worf "for once, Mister Worf it's good to see you." Worf looks at the graves and tells Sisko that "you were outnumbered. It must have been glorious." According to Steve Oster, that scene was not filmed due to the searing temperatures at the time and the lack of light. The writers then realized it was much better to end on a closeup of Sisko. There were only three days of shooting scheduled in the rock quarry, but by the end of the third day, they hadn't got the final scene (Worf's arrival). The writers and producers were extremely unhappy, but director Michael Vejar and editor Steve Tucker looked at the footage and told them that they no longer needed that scene. Instead, they cut the show to end on the close-up of Sisko as Keevan gives himself up. After seeing this new ending, the producers loved it and agreed that it made a perfect ending to the somber episode. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Nana Visitor sees the "station-story" in this episode as extremely important in the development of Kira Nerys: "Kira's maturity had to kick in, because she couldn't just react the way the younger Kira would. There was too much at stake. There was too much to lose. So even though it wasn't as much fun to play, I found it was an important growth point." Ronald D. Moore also saw this episode as important, saying he wanted her "to face that she was becoming a collaborator without realizing it, and how easily that can happen to somebody in that position. She's got Jake asking her very pointed, very legitimate questions about what they're doing, and her getting furious about it, but at the same time allowing things to happen on the station. I knew it would take a fairly dramatic moment to kind of wake her up about what she was doing" – hence the suicide of Vedek Yassim. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- There are strong thematic links between the "Starfleet-story" and the "station-story", with Third Remata'Klan and Vedek Yassim taking parallel actions by pricking the consciences of Sisko and Kira. (AOL chat, 1997)
- Of his portrayal of Remata'Klan, Phil Morris says, "I likened him to a samurai warrior who is loyal only to his feudal lord, and that's how I played him. His willingness to die, despite Sisko's offer of an alternative is his most honorable moment." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Remata'Klan seems to follow in the footsteps of Goran'Agar ("Hippocratic Oath"), Omet'iklan ("To the Death"), and Ikat'ika ("In Purgatory's Shadow") in being something of an "honorable" Jem'Hadar.
- The authors of Beyond the Final Frontier wrote: "The episode is influenced by the Frank Sinatra movie None But the Brave (1965) in which Japanese and American soldiers, stranded on a Pacific island, are forced to co-operate to survive. Nice small-scale stuff from Ron Moore".
- The episode title refers to the Articles for the Government of the United States Navy, nicknamed "Rocks and Shoals": "The punishment of death, or such other punishment as a court martial may adjudge, may be inflicted on any person in the naval service…[who] intentionally or willfully suffers any vessel of the Navy to be stranded, or run upon rocks or shoals, or improperly hazarded or maliciously or willfully injures any vessel of the Navy, or any part of her tackle, armament, or equipment, whereby the safety the vessel is hazarded or the lives of the crew exposed to danger."
- Sisko's remarks to Remata'Klan about previous cooperation with the Jem'Hadar and their treacherous Vorta are a reference to the events of "To the Death".
- This is the only episode in the "Dominion Invasion" arc in which Marc Alaimo (Gul Dukat) and Casey Biggs (Damar) do not appear.
- This was Keevan's first of two appearances. The second one was in "The Magnificent Ferengi", where he was released from the Federation and used by the Ferengi to be traded with the Dominion for Ishka.
- Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, was a costume lot of Avery Brooks. Parts were also worn by stuntman John Lendale Bennett and background actor Randy James. 
- The captured Jem'Hadar attack ship ends its story just as it began in "The Ship", by crash-landing on a planet. The filming location (Soledad Canyon) is in fact the same. The episodes share some other parallels as well. Both involved the Starfleet crew stranded on a planet and a confrontation between them and the Jem'Hadar. Both episodes also end with the Jem'Hadar all dead, their Vorta surviving, and the casualties of the conflict weighing on Sisko.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 6.1, 2 February 1998
- As part of the DS9 Season 6 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- Andrew J. Robinson as Garak
- Phil Morris as Remata'Klan
- Christopher Shea as Keevan
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- Paul S. Eckstein as Limara'Son
- Lilyan Chauvin as Yassim
- Sarah MacDonnell as Lisa Neeley
- Joseph Fuqua as Paul Gordon
- John Lendale Bennett as the stunt double for Avery Brooks
- Leslie Hoffman as the stunt double for Lilyan Chauvin
abdominal cavity; accusation; active resistance; Alpha Quadrant; apologist; Bajor; Bajoran Resistance; beach; bearing; burial detail; Cardassian; Cardassian Intelligence Bureau; case; cell oxygenation; cellular microsutures; Centaur, USS; Centaur shuttle; collaborator; Damar; dark matter nebula; Dukat; dune; emergency power; Federation; free collagen level; Galor-class (Galor warships); growth factor; gyrodyne; internal hemorrhage; ion exchange matrix; Kamar; ketracel-white (aka white); lava tube; liaison officer; madame; medical stasis; medical tricorder; meter; murder; Obsidian Order; Occupation of Bajor; "Old Man"; plot; prisoner of war; Promenade; Prophet; protest; question; raft; room service; rules of war; Ruling Council; seam; self-diagnosis; serial number; Seventh; sewing kit; shoreline; Third; thruster array; tissue; tricorder; unit; unit leader; vest; Vorta; Vorta facilitators; Weyoun 4
- "Rocks and Shoals" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Rocks and Shoals" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Rocks and Shoals" at Wikipedia
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