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Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

For the DIS episode with a similar title, please see "Coming Home".

Kira rescues a Bajoran Resistance hero from a Cardassian labor camp; an extremist group calls for all non-Bajorans to leave Bajor. (Part 1 of 3) (Season premiere)



On Deep Space 9, Odo visits Quark in his bar, but the Ferengi is much too busy to speak with him. Odo persists and asks Quark if he remembers a tip the barkeep gave him that a Subytt freighter was carrying smuggled goods, such as defective isolinear rods. Much to Odo's surprise, when he investigated the ship, he found Quark was telling the truth and had some of the crew arrested. Odo thinks he has a hidden agenda but Quark insists he has changed and wants to call a truce. As Quark and his brother watch the Constable leave, Rom can't understand Quark's objective either so Quark quotes the seventy-sixth Rule of Acquisition, "Every once in a while, declare peace – it confuses the hell out of your enemies."

Quark is visited by an old friend, Rionoj, a female Boslic freighter captain. She asks him when the next transport to Bajor is to leave, as she has a delivery to make: a Bajoran earring. It was given to her by a Cardassian maintenance worker on Cardassia IV. Quark agrees to deliver the earring himself. The captain gives it to him, and Quark leaves her with a kiss.

In her quarters, Kira Nerys is meditating. She is interrupted by the chime of the door; it is Quark. She almost refuses him entry but finally relents and gives him five seconds to explain himself before she kicks him out. He tries to flirt as she counts down the time till she's ready to throw him out. He finally comes to the point of his visit and presents her with the earring. She recognizes it immediately, snatches it from his hand, and leaves, with him still standing there. "Consider it a gift", he tells her.

Act One[]

On the Promenade, Jake Sisko races to catch up to his father. He tells his father that he has a date with Laira, a young Bajoran girl. Benjamin thinks his son is looking for some relationship counseling but Jake says he's looking for some ideas where he can take her. Jake suggests the holosuites but Ben nixes that idea. As another option the boy wants to take her to their quarters to talk. No, no, no, his father asserts. Take her to the Promenade balcony if you want to talk. Jake complains, "But that's boring!"

Just then Kira approaches Benjamin Sisko and asks him if she can borrow a runabout. Bajor is in trouble; since the loss of Opaka in the Gamma Quadrant, there have been an increasing number of riots and civil unrest on the planet. She wants to go to Cardassia IV to rescue a Bajoran prisoner of war. She shows him the earring Quark gave her, telling him it shows the insignia of Li Nalas, one of the leaders of the Bajoran Resistance who is thought of by many Bajorans to be the greatest hero of the Occupation. Li has been missing and presumed dead, but the earring indicates that he's alive, and Kira believes it was smuggled out as a cry for help. Although the DNA on the earring matches Li's records, the Bajoran Provisional Government have refused to allow a rescue mission as they don't want to risk war with the Cardassians. She tells Sisko that Li is exactly the sort of man the increasingly factionalized Bajoran people need to lead them out the aftermath of the Occupation. It will be a dangerous mission and Sisko can only promise that he'll think about it.

Odo doubling security

"As of now Constable, there are no low-security areas on this station."

Over the intercom, Miles O'Brien calls Sisko to one of the habitat rings. Sisko approaches Odo and O'Brien who point out another problem. Someone has sprayed the station walls with graffiti bearing the insignia of the Alliance for Global Unity, better known as 'The Circle'. The extremist group wants to rid Bajor of all non-Bajorans. A troubled Sisko is worried that matters on Bajor will soon get out of hand so he orders Odo to step up security on the station.

Act Two[]

With Kira's request in mind, Sisko seeks advice from Dax in his office. He tells her that all their efforts to bring Bajor into the Federation are starting to come undone, and what Bajor needs right now is someone who can unite the factions and bring much needed stability to the planet. Dax advises him to let Kira have the runabout. Surprised that Dax knows the story he then wonders what they will say to the Cardassians if Kira succeeds. Dax counters with a better question, what will the Cardassians say if prisoners of war are still being held there after they promised all were freed? Sisko then decides to give Kira a runabout and hears ways to hide it from Cardassian sensors with O'Brien.

Sisko then goes to Kira's quarters, and O'Brien accompanies him. He tells Kira that he wishes her luck and that O'Brien will be accompanying her on her mission into Cardassian territory. At first, Kira objects, worried that the presence of a Federation officer will only put Sisko in a bad light if they're caught. Sisko states he is willing to risk that and also states he's taking a precautionary measure to get his runabout back in one piece, as O'Brien is a better pilot. O'Brien mentions that he knows how Cardassians treat prisoners and doesn't want anyone to suffer like that. Kira reluctantly agrees saying she can use the company. Sisko and O'Brien rig a runabout to appear Lissepian on long-range scanners. As the Major and the Chief embark Kira tells O'Brien she wants something understood; if they don't return with Li Nalas they're not coming back at all. O'Brien still agrees to go.

Act Three[]

As the pair nears Cardassia IV, they are hailed by a Cardassian navigational control post, the runabout's disguised power signature having appeared as engine trouble on the post's long range sensors. O'Brien tells Kira that they are out of visual range and suggests they bluff their way out. Kira opens a channel and talks to the outpost. Kira first states they are having engine problems and are attempting to repair them, but the outpost offers to send a repair ship to assist them. When her efforts to decline grow suspicious, she gives the name of a Cardassian, Gul Marayn, that is waiting for her shipment. The post finally relents and closes the channel. When O'Brien inquires about the Gul she mentioned, Kira confesses she'd just made up the name at random.

As they fly over the camp, O'Brien has the transporter scan for Bajoran life signs. They are both surprised when they pick up about a dozen. Since the runabout can only beam up two people at a time, once the first two dematerialize, the Cardassians will be alerted and all hell will break loose in the surface. In order to make sure they retrieve Li, they need to get inside the prison camp, where Bajorans are breaking rocks in the hot sun.

Kira firing phaser

Kira and O'Brien rescue Li Nalas

Kira and O’Brien approach the overseer at the entrance, who demands to know what they want. O’Brien demands to see the camp Prefect. The overseer is uneasy about giving them entrance, so O'Brien offers him Kira's services while she flirts with him. Finally, the overseer accepts and shuts down the force field, with O’Brien warning that "no sampling the merchandise until the sale is complete." As Kira walks past the gate, the overseer snaps the force field back on and leaves O'Brien outside. He then asks to see what Kira has to offer. She starts to unbutton her blouse, then suddenly hits the Cardassian under his chin while he's distracted, knocking him out with a few more quick blows. Pulling a phaser hidden behind her back and taking the force field controller from the unconscious Cardassian, Kira lets O'Brien in and they quickly make their way to the prisoners.

Li Nalas is unsure why these strangers are there. His friend Borum admits that he smuggled the earring out in order to get Li rescued. Kira and O'Brien hurriedly usher the group of Bajorans out as Cardassian guards come at them with phasers blazing. Li is hit, and they take cover. The group has the grim realization that they cannot escape with all of the prisoners. Borum orders Kira to take Li back to Bajor and insists that he and three other prisoners will hold off the Cardassian troops. Reluctantly, Kira allows Borum and the others to sacrifice themselves in order to save Li and the rest of the group.

Act Four[]

Back on the station, Dr. Julian Bashir is there with a medical team as they dock. Li is in need of immediate medical attention and Bashir has them beamed directly to the infirmary. Kira meanwhile seeks Sisko out in his office and inadvertently steps in on a message from Gul Dukat. She is shocked to hear Dukat apologize for the existence of the prison camp, and assure them he will chastise the Prefect accordingly. Sisko and Kira are skeptical when he announces that all of the remaining prisoners will be released. Sisko encourages Kira to be pleased with what has been achieved.

Li is amazed at the tremendous commotion he has caused on the station, as Bajorans openly stare at him in awe. Uncomfortable with the attention he admits he used to work there. An announcement is then heard of Minister Jaro's ship approaching. Kira greets the Minister as he complains that her adventure has made enemies. She has declared war on Cardassia, and they have thankfully declined it. He is adamant that the next time she disobeys orders will be the end of her military career. Then, the consummate politician soothes troubled waters by personally offering her his thanks.

The Bajorans on the station crave a few words from Li and Sisko talks him into responding. After he utters a few words about a Bajor that is now free, Jaro asks to speak. Li politely stands by while the Minister asks his fellow Bajorans to never forget this day because they can tell their children and their grandchildren that this is the day Li Nalas returned to Bajor. When Sisko finally escorts Li to his quarters he tells the commander that all he wants is a moment of privacy. This morning he was a slave and tonight he is a hero. He asks Sisko what Bajor is like with the Cardassians gone. Sisko tells him it is doing well for the most part. He tells Li that both he and Bajor could use his help in bringing stability to the planet. He then tells him to get some sleep and Li remarks that it sounds like he is going to need it.

Meanwhile, inside his closed bar, Quark counts bars of latinum with Rom. Rom complains that the division is unfair because he only gets one bar to every six Quark gets. Quark agrees with his brother that it is very unfair then proceeds to count out one more bar for Rom and seven for himself. A frustrated Rom leaves the bar and Quark continues counting latinum when a group of strangers come in. Quark says the bar is closed but all of a sudden he is attacked by three masked figures in robes, who force him to the floor and burn the flesh on his forehead with what looks like a small branding iron, leaving behind the insignia of The Circle.

Act Five[]

When Quark comes to sitting at a barstool, Dr. Bashir heals his scar with a dermal regenerator. When the good doctor is done, Quark asks Kira how he looks. She offers a polite non-answer by saying he's as handsome as always and he grins contentedly.

Quark with Circle branding

Quark is assaulted and branded by the Bajoran agitators

Li is told that Quark's assailants are members of an extremist group from Bajor who call themselves The Circle. Li is appropriately shocked that Bajorans have done such a thing. Sisko explains that many Bajorans are turning to The Circle because they have grown impatient with their floundering government. Kira adds that The Circle is more organized than the government so the Bajorans look there for a leader. She adds that they need someone who will speak out against reactionaries, causing all eyes to zero in on Li.

With the troubles of the station abating, Ben heads for the comfort of his quarters only to find Jake still awake. When Ben asks what's wrong the dejected youth tells his father that his Bajoran girlfriend couldn't make their date. Her dad refused to let the girl see Jake because he is not a Bajoran. Sisko tries to console his son by telling him about some of the problems Bajor is having and that he's sorry Jake has become a victim of the unrest. Nobody deserves it.

Sisko then gets interrupted by a com message. Romah Doek, a Tygarian freighter captain, found a Bajoran stowaway aboard his vessel, the Nanut. As the captain moves aside Li Nalas steps into view. When Sisko retrieves him a short while afterward, the Bajoran hero is forced to explain he was secretly headed for the faraway Gamma Quadrant. Li painfully reveals that he was hardly a hero – the bravery he is so famous for is based entirely on rumors.

Li tells Sisko his story. When all but three of the members of his cell were killed he was the only one with a phaser so he became the point. He came to an embankment by a lake. However, he fell down and landed by the edge of it when suddenly Gul Zarale, one of the most hated Cardassians on the planet responsible for destroying several villages, emerged from the water having been bathing. After a few seconds of almost embarrassed silence, Zarale went for his weapon only for Li to then remember that he had his own phaser and shot the Gul dead. When Zarale's body landed on top of Li and when the other members of his cell found him, they were convinced he'd killed the Cardassian in a savage hand-to-hand fight and told everyone they encountered, despite Li trying to tell them the truth that it was entirely accidental. The story spread, and Li was soon a hero with almost every resistance victory attributed to him. His reputation was so well-known, it followed him into the labor camp where his mere presence inspired the prisoners. Li laments the fact that all his did was shoot an unarmed Cardassian in his underwear, and he is not the man the Bajorans think him to be.

Sisko tells Li that despite this, Bajor does need him and that he isn't expected to perform heroic feats but just to be there for them as the Bajorans look at him and see the best they can be. Li argues that his reputation is built on a lie, but Sisko argues that instead it is a legend and that is exactly what Bajor needs now.

Realizing that Sisko is right, Li agrees to assume whatever role is necessary. When Li returns from a trip to Bajor he is accompanied by Minister Jaro. Jaro announces that by a unanimous vote Li has been named Navarch. It is a new title because there were no suitable titles available. Jaro also mentions in passing that the Navarch is now the Bajoran liaison officer to Deep Space 9 – the position currently held by Kira. "I already have a liaison officer," Sisko complains. Jaro states, "Not anymore, you don't. Major Kira is no longer assigned to this post. She's been recalled to Bajor."


Memorable quotes[]

"I can see you're not ready to have this conversation."

- Jake Sisko, to Benjamin, regarding a discussion of what to do about his first date

"Major, I can't loan you a Starfleet runabout without knowing where you plan on taking it."
"To Cardassia IV, to rescue a Bajoran prisoner of war."
(Whistles) "You're right. I wish you hadn't told me."

- Benjamin Sisko and Kira Nerys

"Would you mind if I addressed the crowd? You can't expect a politician to give up an opportunity like this."

- Minister Jaro Essa, to Li Nalas

"You and I are going to be friends."
"You are up to something."
"Why would you say that?"
"Because you are always up to something."

- Quark and Odo

"Commander, you and I both know the provisional government is made up of political opportunists, too busy fighting amongst themselves to care about what happens to Bajor. Since the loss of the Kai, the situation has only gone from bad to worse. There are reports of factional fighting in half a dozen districts. Religious riots have spread throughout the southern islands. Bajor needs a leader - someone the people will listen to, someone they can trust."
"And you think that Li Nalas is that leader?"
"I know he is."

- Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko, on the State of Bajoran politics

"If we don't leave now, major, we never will!"

- Miles O'Brien

"What you did today, major, was declare war on Cardassia. Thankfully, they declined the invitation."

- Minister Jaro Essa, to Major Kira Nerys

"The government better get organized, because I intend to sue them for financial compensation!"
"Not now, Quark!"

- Quark and Benjamin Sisko

"Tell me, major. Who is this Gul Marayn?"
"Don't ask me, I just made him up!"

- O'Brien and Kira, on Kira's cover story

"One for you and six for me..."

- Quark, to Rom

"The Navarch has returned to assume his new post. He's been made the Bajoran liaison officer to Deep Space 9."
"I already have a liaison officer."
"Not anymore, you don't. Major Kira is no longer assigned to this post. She's been recalled to Bajor."

- Minister Jaro Essa and Benjamin Sisko

Background information[]

Story and script[]


  • Frank Langella's performances in this episode, "The Circle" and "The Siege" are uncredited at the actor's own request as he did the show for his children, not for exposure or money. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
    • The same happened to John Fleck but for unknown reasons.
  • The scenes in the labor camp on Cardassia IV were shot in Soledad Canyon, north of Los Angeles. The area was known as somewhat inhospitable, and on the call sheet for the first day's shoot was a warning to be on the look-out for bees, snakes and various unspecified bugs. The services people were even told to bring plenty of 'Sea Breeze', which takes the sting out of bug bites. The biggest problem with shooting there however was the extreme heat. According to Nana Visitor, "Colm and I were sick to our stomachs. We were seriously wondering if we were going into heat prostration. It was the perfect Cardassia IV, because it was like hell." Unfortunately, the producers liked the look of the canyon, and the fourth season episode "Indiscretion", the fifth season episode "The Ship" and the sixth season episode "Rocks and Shoals" would all be shot there. In the case of "The Ship" and "Rocks and Shoals" however, the heat would prove to be even worse than during the shoot for "The Homecoming". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • Filming began on July 7th 1993. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)



Remastered version[]

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt double[]


2360; 2372; address; algebra; Alliance for Global Unity; assailant; Azna; back; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran earring; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran Resistance; Bajoran wormhole; baseball; bathing; bearing; bioscan; Black hole; bluff; Boslics; Boslic freighter; branding; Cardassia; Cardassia IV; Cardassians; Cardassian High Command; Cardassian phaser rifle; Cardassian repair ship; Cardassian sun; Cardassian territory; career; Chamber of Ministers; clothes; Constable; courage; crossover bridge; dabo; dabo girl; Daedalus-class; Danube-class (Esso's transport); Dax, Curzon; day; Deep Space 9 levels; deflector shield grid; dermal regenerator; dermal residue; district; DNA; dozen; embarrassment; executive officer; extremist; face; fastball; Federation; Ferengi spore pie; field buffer; formal apology; freighter captain; Galor-class (Galor warships); Gamma Quadrant; genetic analysis; Gibson, Bob; gold-pressed latinum; gul; holosuite; homecoming; Hutet labor camp; icoberry torte (icoberry); I'danian spice pudding; inferior species; insignia; International Space Station; jacarine; kai; killed in action; Klingon skull stew; Kohlanese stew; labor camp; Laira; Laira's father; lake; Lamenda Prime; leader; leadership; liaison officer; Lissepian transport; maintenance worker; Marayn; Martuk; massacre; massacred villages; minister; Miranda-class; mooring clamp; mountain; Nanut; Navarch; navigational control post (Post 24); Occupation of Bajor; old man; Opaka; opportunist; ore processing plant; overseer; payday; phase modulator; phaser; power signature; prefect; prisoner of war; Promenade; Prophets; Quark's; raktajino; repair ship; Replimat; reputation; resistance cell; Rionoj's freighter; Risa; rock; Rules of Acquisition; rulot; runabout; Sahving Valley; shivering; scanner range; slave; Southern islands; stardrifter; Starfleet; story; strip; subspace emitter coil; subspace field emitter; Subytt; Subytt freighter; freighter crew; sue; Supreme Directive 2645; synchronous orbit; tube grub; Tygarians; Tygarian freighter; underwear; village; visual contact; vote; Vulcan's Anvil; water; xenophobia; Yelikan transport; Zarale

Unused production materials[]

"A Picnic with the Pleasure Goddess of Rixx"; Bajoran sector; Phalonia Prime; Phalonian; Pleasure Goddess of Rixx; Rixx

External links[]

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"In the Hands of the Prophets"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 2
Next episode:
"The Circle"