(written from a Production point of view)
Sisko and Odo work to reveal the real force behind the Circle's coup. (Part 2 of 3)
In his office, Commander Benjamin Sisko discusses Kira Nerys's transfer with Minister Jaro Essa, who assures Sisko that this is a promotion, and that Li Nalas will be safer on Deep Space 9 than in the capital with everything going on with the Circle. Sisko doesn't like it and makes it known, saying he expected to be consulted. Jaro politely assuages him, but points out Starfleet would not consult them on their personnel changes. Jaro leaves with the comment that Li must be a better liaison officer.
Just then, Jake Sisko calls his father to their quarters on the habitat ring to show him that the Circle has painted their emblem on the door, obviously able to get clearance for his level.
Kira is packing in her quarters, when Odo shows up to protest at her departure. She admits she doesn't want to leave, but says she'll go where she's ordered. Odo refuses to accept this, telling her to do "what she does best," and fight for what she wants. She reassures him that Li Nalas is a great man and will do an even better job than her as Sisko's liaison. Their conversation is interrupted by Dax, Bashir, O'Brien, and even Quark showing up at her quarters in quick succession on various pretexts, each reacting in his or her own way to her departure. "Is this a joke? Did you plan this?" she finally exclaims, to which Bashir says, "Nobody could have planned this!" When the door chimes yet again, she sarcastically tells whoever it is to "come on in... join the crowd!" but is taken aback to see Vedek Bareil. He apologizes for interrupting, but she tells him not to worry, the people in the room (she realizes even as she says it) are her friends. Bareil invites Kira to come to his monastery on Bajor to have some time to herself and reflect on her next step. She accepts gratefully.
Reminiscing in Ops, she finds Li who admits he did not want the job. She relates how she hated her assignment to Deep Space 9 when she was first given it; now, a year later, there is nothing she wants more. Li is not sure how a Navarch will work with the Starfleet crew, but promises to work with Sisko, though no one can replace Kira. Finally she is ready to leave, and Sisko promises her that he will get her back soon. Kira departs Ops in a turbolift.
On Bajor, Kira has let her hair down and changed her uniform for a simple dress, but is still unable to relax at the monastery. Bareil finds her as she is adjusting, for the umpteenth time, a stepping stone over a stream on the monastery grounds. He asks her why she is so concerned with having something to do, and she replies that, from her earliest girlhood, she has always tried to be useful wherever she is or whoever she is with. Bareil invites her to try being "useless" for a little while – to stop expecting so much of herself and start to reflect on who she really is and what she really wants. For help, he allows Kira to "encounter" one of the Bajoran Orbs, the Orb of Prophecy and Change, for guidance. She has a series of visions in which she is denounced in front of the assembly of vedeks by Winn Adami as a blasphemer, and then she and Bareil embrace as lovers.
Meanwhile, on Deep Space 9, Odo is conferring with an old friend of his in the Bajoran security forces, who says that the violence in the capital city is escalating, and that the Circle's gangs seem to melt away as soon as the security forces start looking for them. This suggests that they have powerful friends in the government. Odo's friend tells him the Bajoran Provisional Government is bringing military troops into the capital to impose martial law and put a final end to the Circle. He advises Odo to keep his eyes open. Odo reassures him, "I always do," and ends the transmission.
Quark has entered his office. At first, Odo thinks he is checking on the progress of the investigation into the assault on him, but Quark is in a panic. He says the Provisional Government is on the verge of toppling, and the Federation on the verge of being expelled from Bajor, and they have to evacuate the station as quickly as possible. Odo scoffs at the idea that the Circle, "a bunch of hooligans" could cause any real trouble, but Quark has learned from his contacts that the Circle has enough weapons and supplies to mount an army. Odo, stunned, asks where the weapons are coming from, and Quark replies, from Kressari traders. Odo is baffled, since the Kressari don't even have a standing military, as they are botanic DNA traders, but Quark is confident that his information is solid. Odo asks him to find out where the weapons are going on Bajor. Quark refuses, telling Odo that he plans to leave Bajor at the first opportunity, so Odo blackmails him, offering him a choice between acting as Odo's deputy or being thrown into a cell on some trumped-up charge.
On Bajor, Kira and Bareil are walking together on the grounds of the monastery. Bareil confides that, the last time he encountered the Orb, Kira was part of his vision. He asks, hesitantly, whether he appeared in her vision, and she – lying through her teeth – says no. They are interrupted by the sound of distant artillery in the city, warning that the violence is getting worse. Vedek Winn appears, claiming to be delighted at having Kira as a guest, and encourages her to stay for as long as she needs – "even a week" she finishes, making it clear, without outright saying it, that Kira is not welcome at the monastery.
On Bajor, Sisko visits the commander of the Bajoran Militia, General Krim, and, after an exchange concerning their previous encounter at the Executive Committee, Sisko informs him of their intelligence on the Kressari. He notes that the military does not seem to be engaging the Circle as much as expected. Krim responds they are hesitant to fight other Bajorans, but Sisko also notes that the Provisional Government needs the military. He becomes convinced that the military will not support the Provisional Government if the Circle indeed attempts a coup. At the end of the conversation, he asks for help in getting Kira re-assigned. Krim says that's not in his control, but notes that Sisko did not try to use his earlier intelligence to trade favors.
On DS9, the crew interdicts a Kressari freighter and closely inspects its cargo, but without finding any weapons on board. Li, getting over his nervousness, makes his first real communications as first officer to the angry freighter's captain, Zef'No. Appearing to give in to the captain's angry protests, the Ops crew allows the vessel to depart, with Odo stowing away as a rat.
While on Bajor, Sisko also visits Kira. She says she heard the gunfire in the distance, and he warns her to keep her ears open down there. Very shortly after he leaves, however, several masked members of the Circle kidnap her.
Kira regains consciousness in the Circle's underground headquarters. Jaro appears, revealing himself as the true force behind the Circle, preparing to mount a coup d'etat and take control of the Bajoran government. Li Nalas, a popular hero, might have objected to his plan, hence his assignment to DS9. Jaro says he shouldn't have to explain his reasons to Kira, since she shares his contempt for the Provisional Government – "provisional" being just another word for "powerless." He refuses to let the Bajoran people be powerless, and wants all alien influences, be they Cardassian or Federation, expelled from Bajor. What he wants to know from her, he explains, is what Sisko, and the Federation, will do when the coup is revealed. Kira refuses to talk, and he replies that, for all the hatred he has of the Cardassians, they have taught him a few useful interrogation techniques. She is led away.
Aboard the Kressari freighter, Odo watches from the shadows as a shipment of weapons is beamed on board, along with a Cardassian gul, who signs off the shipment with a thumbscan on the captain's manifest pad. He decides to steal the pad for evidence.
Aboard DS9, Kira's disappearance is being discussed by the crew. Quark appears, protesting at Odo's blackmail, but revealing that his underground contacts have located the Circle's headquarters for him: the caverns beneath the Perikian Peninsula. Sisko orders a security team to meet him at a runabout pad, and Li insists on coming along, since he owes Kira for rescuing him from the Cardassians' labor camp.
Slipping into the caverns, Sisko, Li, Bashir, and a team of Bajoran security guards are drawn by the sound of Kira's screams of pain. In a brief firefight with the heavily-armed terrorists, the rest of the party manages to hold them off, while Bashir pins a Starfleet combadge on Kira, allowing them all to be transported to safety by O'Brien.
In the infirmary aboard DS9, Bashir is treating Kira's wounds, as she insists to Sisko that Li is the only person who can convince the Chamber of Ministers to take action against Jaro. At that moment, Odo returns, having "borrowed" the Kressari captain's manifest pad, and informing them that the Cardassians are secretly arming the Circle (though the Circle is unaware of who they are really getting their weapons from). Once the Circle takes power, and the Federation is expelled from Bajor, the Cardassians will return and re-occupy the planet. Li says he has to do something, but Sisko contacts Dax in Ops, who says that all communications to Bajor have been cut off, and a squadron of Bajoran assault vessels are coming up from the surface, carrying an occupation force. "Then it has started..." Kira remarks somberly.
Jaro pays a visit to Vedek Winn, asking for her public support for his movement. Winn insists that he provide her with favor in return. Jaro promises that he will make her the next kai, suggesting that their shared orthodox views make them a "match made by the Prophets." Winn agrees to Jaro's suggestion, but demands a greater role in the forthcoming government, suggesting shared leadership with Jaro.
In his office, Sisko confers with Starfleet Admiral Chekote over subspace communication, informing him of the situation and warning him that if the Circle is allowed to take power, they will effectively be handing the Cardassians control of the wormhole. Chekote is troubled, but is forced to conclude that the Prime Directive applies: the Bajorans' power struggle is entirely internal to Bajor, even if the Cardassians are fanning the flames. He orders Sisko to keep out of the conflict, and evacuate the station.
Outside, in Ops, Sisko walks out of his office and asks how long it will take to evacuate the station. O'Brien says maybe a few hours; when Sisko clarifies that he means a complete evacuation – a total removal of the Federation's entire presence – O'Brien says that that could take as long as a week, but the assault vessels will be docking with the station in only seven hours. Sisko notes gravely, "Then I guess some of us won't be gone by the time they get here..."
"If she doesn't care, why should we?"
"Have they given you any reason yet?"
"Did they give you any alternative?"
"I do care, no they haven't, no they didn't. I– I really oughta finish packing!"
- - Odo, Bashir, Dax, and Kira
"A bottle of my favorite synthale, I think. That's very thoughtful, Quark."
"It's also very small."
- - Odo and Kira
"If I stay here much longer, I'm sure I could destroy your entire arboretum."
- - Kira, to Vedek Bareil
"We gotta leave! Well, I do, anyway! You can just turn into a couch!"
- - Quark
"Where would the Circle be getting so many weapons?"
"The Kressari? That doesn't make any sense, the Kressari don't even have a military. They're botanic DNA traders."
"Well, they're not delivering flowers these days!"
- - Odo and Quark
"Quark, I hate to do this, but–"
"That's not fair!"
"I haven't done anything yet."
"Whatever you're about to do, it's not fair."
"You're a deputy."
"IT'S NOT–! What?"
- - Odo and Quark
"It's your choice – you're a deputy or you're a prisoner."
"I'm a deputy."
- - Odo and Quark
"How long will you be with us major?"
"I'm not sure."
"Feel free to stay as many days as you'd like... even a week if necessary."
- - Vedek Winn and Kira
"Commander Sisko... you told me about the Kressari before you asked the favor regarding Kira. You could have tried to trade that information... for the favor."
"I wouldn't do that."
"I'll remember that about you."
- - General Krim and Sisko
"If we withdraw, we'll be giving Bajor and the wormhole back to them!"
- - Benjamin Sisko, referring to the Cardassians
"Admiral, are you up to date on my communiqués? "
"I think so, Commander. How's it look? "
"Not good. Jaro has the military, communications have been cut off and assault vessels are on the way here."
"Are you preparing to withdraw? "
"Admiral, we've just obtained evidence that the Circle's been receiving weapons from the Cardassians. If we withdraw, we'll be giving Bajor and the wormhole back to them. "
"Damn. That's a hell of a turn. How can these Bajorans get in bed with the Cardassians? "
"They don't even know the Cardassians are involved. "
"Then you're saying it's a genuine political revolution internal to Bajor. "
"Supported by the Cardassians. "
"But internal to Bajor. The Cardassians might involve themselves in other people's civil wars, but we don't. The Prime Directive applies, Ben."
"Would you say our people on the station are in danger? "
"There's no other choice but to evacuate. We'll have to worry about the long term political implications down the road. That's an order, Commander."
- - Sisko and Admiral Chekote
"Chief, how long will it take us to evacuate Deep Space 9?"
"I'd say we could have all our people out and away in... three hours."
"I mean a complete evacuation... I intend to take all Starfleet instruments; matériel... in fact, all Federation property of every kind. How quickly can we do that?"
"Sir, that'll take days... a full week, for all I know. But those assault ships will be here in seven hours."
"Then, I guess some of us won't quite be done by the time they get here."
- - Benjamin Sisko and Miles O'Brien
"They've got more firearms than a Galaxy-class starship."
- - Benjamin Sisko, on the Circle
Story and script
- The second draft of this episode's script was submitted on 2 July 1993.
- Writer Peter Allan Fields feels that the character of Li Nalas became somewhat lost and superfluous in this episode and "The Siege", and that there was no real character arc for him; "Originally, he was supposed to be this regular guy, not a coward, but a regular guy who had fought some battles. And then, by the time we got to the third episode, this guy would stand up and be counted. But for various reasons, he never really changed his tune. He was an okay guy in part 1, part 2 and part 3. There was no arc in the character whatsoever." Ira Steven Behr concurs, "He did get a little lost in parts 2 and 3." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Writer Peter Allan Fields based the scene in Kira's quarters, where everyone comes to say goodbye to her, on a scene in the 1935 film A Night at the Opera, starring the Marx Brothers. Director Corey Allen shot this scene in one continuous uninterrupted take. When the episode was edited together, the scene was intercut with various close-ups and reverse angles, but the master shot of the scene was one long take, something of which Allen was extremely proud. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- "The Circle", along with "The Homecoming" and "The Siege", comprises the first Star Trek three-parter.
- Sisko's baseball is seen on his desk for the first time.
- Odo's thin monitor screen on his desk in the security office is never seen again in the series after this episode.
- Vedek Bareil's name is misspelled as "Bariel" in the opening credits.
- In the scene where the away team is beamed up, all members are beamed up at once. In the previous episode, "The Homecoming" it is stated that a runabout can only beam up two people at one time.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 11, 7 March 1994
- As part of the DS9 Season 2 DVD collection
Links and references
- Avery Brooks as Commander Benjamin Sisko
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax / Prophet
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
- Richard Beymer as Li Nalas
- Stephen Macht as Krim
- Bruce Gray as Chekote
- Philip Anglim as "Vedek Bareil" / Prophet
Special guest star
- Majel Barrett as Narrator
- Ivor Bartels as a Human security officer
- Chuck Borden as a Bajoran security deputy
- Mitchell Danton as a Bajoran "Circle" member
- Judi Durand as Deep Space 9 computer voice
- Randy James as Jones
- Frank Langella as Jaro Essa / Prophet
- Chad McCord as operations ensign
- Joe Murphy as a Bajoran "Circle" member
- Spiro Razatos as a Bajoran "Circle" member
- Mark Riccardi as a Bajoran security deputy
- Michael Zurich as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
14th Column; 2355; Alliance for Global Unity; ambassador; arboretum; architecture; art; Bajor; Bajoran; Bajoran assault vessel (Krim's assault vessels); Bajoran capital; Bajoran Executive Committee; Bajoran Foreign Affairs Building; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran Regional Comm Network; Bajoran wormhole; bicycle; blasphemy; bodyguard; botanic DNA trader; bridge; bruise; bureaucracy; Calondon; candle; Cardassia; Cardassia IV; Cardassian; caterer; catering; Chamber of Ministers; Circle, The; civil war; combadge; command structure; computer inventory system; couch; coup; curfew; dagger; daydream; deputy (deputize); docking bay; Earth; epidellic lotion; extremist; Federation; fingerpainting; flower; force field; Galaxy-class; graffiti; graviton generator; gul; hammer; handkerchief; hooligan; kai; kilometer; Kira Meru; Kira Taban; Kressari; Kressari freighter; Kressarian Government; labyrinth; liaison officer; manifest interface; meditation; Minicoy; Minicoy ambassador; monastery; monk; nail; navarch; northeast quadrant; Occupation of Bajor; Ops; orb; Orb of Prophecy and Change; order; pagh; party; patriot; Perikian Peninsula; Prime Directive; prisoner; Prophets; rat; recreation; rescue mission; runabout; runabout pad C; saying; Sector D; skin lotion; space station; Starfleet; Starfleet Command; storm; surrender; synthale; thumbprint; thumbscan; thunder; trench; turbolift; vacation; Vedek Assembly; Voodai; war hero; woodcrafts
- "The Circle" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Circle" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Circle" at Wikipedia
- "The Circle" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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