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The Jem'Hadar redirects here; for the species, please see Jem'Hadar.

On a camping trip in the Gamma Quadrant, Sisko, Jake, Nog, and Quark encounter the ruthless soldiers of the Dominion, the Jem'Hadar. (Season finale)



Quark eagerly inquires about Sisko's answer

Jake Sisko brushes a small plant as Commander Benjamin Sisko enters their quarters. He tells his father he is growing Bajoran katterpods for a science project to see which hybrid yields the largest root. "That's it? You're just going to watch them grow?" Benjamin asks. Jake seems content with the project, but Benjamin thinks he can find something more challenging and asks what Jake would do if he could choose any science project he wanted. After thinking it over for a second, Jake says he would learn how to pilot a runabout. As that would not be a science project, Benjamin asks for his second choice and Jake suggests he would visit the Gamma Quadrant to conduct a planetary survey. "All right, let's do it," Sisko declares, calling the proposed trip a working vacation.

As Major Kira reviews the arrival roster for Sisko in his office, she suggests he visit New Bajor while in the Gamma Quadrant, as she has heard the new irrigation system is impressive. He tells her he hopes to spend time alone with Jake and notes with amusement that he will miss a reunion between Jadzia Dax and a rival of hers, Captain Keogh. When she mentions that Keogh is arrogant, Sisko notes that Keogh had said the same of her. Jake enters and announces that he has invited Nog to come along on their trip, at which point Dax and Kira sense the awkwardness of the moment and quickly leave. Sisko reminds Jake that the two of them were supposed to spend time together, but Jake says Nog plans to drop out of school if he fails the project. Mrs. O'Brien has given her permission for the two of them to team up. Reluctantly, Sisko agrees to let Nog come along.

In Quark's bar, the Ferengi notes that Morn has been glumly sitting with the same drink all day and asks him to talk about whatever is bothering him. "I'm not just your bartender – I'm your friend. Whatever it is that's wrong, I'm here for you." However, Odo walks by as Morn is about to speak and Quark immediately loses interest. He anxiously follows Odo and inquires about Sisko's response to a request that he use the station's monitors to sell merchandise. Odo informs him it is a firm "no," and as Quark wonders why, Odo suggests that perhaps Sisko does not like him. Quark dismisses the idea. He asks if there is any way to change Sisko's mind, to which Odo simply laughs and walks away.

Nog interrupts his uncle's scheming to announce that he will be unable to work for the next few days. Upon hearing about the trip with Sisko and Jake, Quark grins and puts his arm around Nog.

Act One

Sisko does not find Nog's joke amusing

As he and Jake enter the cockpit of the runabout, Nog eagerly asks how to fire the phasers. Sisko begins to worry, but Jake reassures him it was a joke. Sisko enters behind the boys and suggests the two of them go in back and store their luggage. Nog volunteers to take Jake's bag for him, and once he is gone, it is clear Sisko did not find his joke humorous. "Fire the phasers?" he asks rhetorically. Jake promises his father he will hardly know Nog is along, but Quark enters the cabin and asks where he should put his bag, surprising even Nog. Quark declares that Nog needs proper supervision, explaining innocently that Rom does not trust "hew-mons" and has requested he go along. Although Sisko obviously does not like the idea, he agrees at Jake's request.

In the Gamma Quadrant, the motley crew visits an M-class planet similar to Earth, with lots of vegetation, fish, and insects but no large animals or predators. Sisko describes the planet as Paradise, but Quark fails to see the beauty of it and describes what he sees in two words: exploitable resources. He claims to have an allergic reaction to nature, although he declines an invitation to sleep on the runabout as he supposedly wants to get to know Sisko better. Later, once Quark puts ointment on his earlobes and begins to feel better, he comments on how there is nothing like facing the wilderness to bring people closer; Sisko immediately tells him the answer is no. Quark dispenses with the flattery and claims that with access to the station's monitors he could offer "collectibles" such as Andorian jewelry, Bolian crystalsteel, and Vulcan IDIC pins at a significant discount with low overhead. He even offers to donate 2% of his net profits to the Bajoran fund for orphans but realizes he wasted his time in coming along. Quark tells Sisko he could increase it to 3% as he walks away.

Jake and Nog begin their survey and conclude that the planet's atmosphere is 77% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 2% carbon dioxide. They find traces of various elements in the water and inform Sisko that they plan to check other water sources, but Sisko suggests taking a break until tomorrow as he is about to cook dinner. Jake immediately knows what his father is getting at: jambalaya, which excites him but confuses Nog. Jake is sure Nog will love it, and he is right. As they sit around the campfire eating jambalaya, Jake and Nog both decline a second helping and Nog remarks that he is gaining an appreciation of Human food. On the other hand, Quark does not share his sentiments, disgusted by the fact that there is dirt in the sauce and bugs continue to land on his food. A somewhat confused Sisko says he was under the impression Ferengi liked eating bugs, but Quark corrects him: only certain Ferengi bugs.

Quark, en flambé

Talking in private, Sisko tells Jake to get some sleep because tomorrow will be another big day. The two of them reminisce about a camping trip on Itamish III when Jake's mother was still alive and taught him how to water ski. Jake says he cannot remember a time when the three of them were happier, reminding Sisko of how much he misses his late wife. Despite the rocky start their trip has had, they are both glad to have the rare opportunity to spend time together. When Sisko suggests that they do so more often, Jake says he'll be ready and jokingly adds that Nog will be too; as the two of them laugh, a shrill cry from Quark brings them back to reality.

The sleeve of Quark's shirt is on fire and he waves it around in a panic until Sisko grabs him with a blanket and extinguishes the flame. Once Quark calms down, Sisko asks if he is all right. A frustrated Quark declares he has not been all right since the trip began, to which an equally frustrated Sisko takes on a condescending tone as he tells Quark to sit down and be quiet. Nog hisses angrily and storms off into the forest, followed closely by Jake. Quark claims this is Sisko's fault because Nog could not stand to see his uncle insulted. He accuses Sisko of being bigoted toward the Ferengi, which Sisko denies, but when he asks Sisko to name a single Ferengi who Sisko likes, the commander is unable to do so. The two of them bicker until a panicked humanoid female enters the campsite, apparently running from something.

Similar to a Human in appearance, the alien has elongated ears and a light complexion, but before Quark or Sisko can react, she emits a telekinetic energy discharge that knocks Sisko to the ground. She looks at Quark threateningly but he cowers in fear and tells her not to hurt him. She asks how many of "them" there are and Quark tells her there is only Sisko and himself. Confused, she tells him she meant the Jem'Hadar. Sisko assures the alien they are not her enemies and she warns them to run. At that moment, several armed reptilian humanoids appear, seemingly out of thin air, and surround them. "It's too late. You're done running," the lead one smirks to the runaway alien. "This has not been a good day," Quark observes.

Act Two

Traversing the foliage, Jake and Nog return to the campsite to find it deserted and the fire recently extinguished. Nog insists something has happened to their chaperons, suggesting a wild animal attacked them, but Jake reminds him that there are only insects and plants on the planet. "Maybe they were attacked by a vicious tree!" Nog exclaims seriously. Jake dismisses Nog's comment but notes the presence of boot-shaped footprints below them. A visibly shaken Nog wants to beam aboard the runabout to plan their next move, but Jake insists that Quark and his father are in trouble, as he knows his father would not leave without telling him first. They decide to track the adults with their Starfleet tricorders.

Quark calls out for help

Quark, Sisko, and the alien are placed in a large cave, surrounded by a pinkish circle that appears to be emitting a force field. While his companions sit quietly on the ground, Quark wanders around the interior of the circle yelling for help. Sisko tells him to shut up, but he blames their situation on the alien, urging her to tell the Jem'Hadar she has never seen him or Sisko before. As Quark denounces any association with the alien to the surrounding darkness, Sisko stands and again tells him to be quiet; when the Ferengi claims he is entitled to his opinion, Sisko threatens to put his fist in Quark's "opinion." However, Quark informs Sisko that he is incapable of being scared of him, as he is already more scared than he has ever been. Sisko tells Quark he's not helping, to which Quark points out that the alien is doing nothing but sit on the ground. Sisko thinks she is more scared than he or Quark is, although Quark reassures him this is not the case.

The two of them sit as Quark begins to calm down and Sisko observes that their companion has probably been through a lot. They wonder what the boys are doing; Quark is certain that Nog will "find the nearest dark hole and climb in it," but Sisko thinks Jake will search for them. Shifting focus to the force field surrounding them, Sisko reaches toward the pinkish circle but the alien intervenes, informing him that the security barrier is lethal. Sisko thanks her for the warning and comes closer to her, eager to find out how she knew this information. She says everything about the Jem'Hadar is lethal and on learning that Sisko has never heard of the Jem'Hadar, she seems surprised. Sisko introduces himself, explaining about the Federation and the wormhole. The alien says her name is Eris and she uncertainly shakes Sisko's hand. Introducing Quark somewhat dismissively – the Ferengi returns the favor by simply nodding with a hint of annoyance – Sisko focuses again on the Jem'Hadar.

Eris, a Vorta female

Eris tells him the Jem'Hadar are the most feared soldiers in the Dominion and upon hearing the Dominion's name, Quark interjects himself into the conversation. He mentions Ferengi efforts over the past year to open trade negotiations with the Dominion and he seems to doubt Eris' credibility, as he has never heard of the Jem'Hadar in all that time. When Eris says that negotiations with the Dominion are dangerous, Sisko wonders why anyone does business with the Dominion at all. However, doing business is not a choice; the Dominion decides a civilization has something it wants and then takes it, as was the case with Eris' people. Eris tells of how her homeworld, Kurill Prime, was offered entry into the Dominion. When they refused, the Dominion sent in the Jem'Hadar and seized the planet by force, conquering the planet almost immediately. At the time, she was on a freighter, which fled in light of the Dominion invasion. The Jem'Hadar tracked her down because her mother was an outspoken opponent of the Dominion and wanted to make an example of her.

A suppression collar is around Eris' neck, suppressing her telekinetic abilities, and without it she says she might be able to break through the force field. However, she believes that escape would be impossible even if she did break through, as no one escapes from the Jem'Hadar. Sisko points out the limited number of guards, indicating overconfidence on the Jem'Hadar's part. He attempts to take the device off, believing it is the only thing between them and freedom. Meanwhile, Jake and Nog have aimlessly wandered through the forest for hours when Jake picks up humanoid life signs on his tricorder. They spot the Jem'Hadar camp and while Jake wants to get a closer look, Nog points out the Jem'Hadar probably will not look any friendlier close up.

Act Three

Having resumed his attempts to attract attention, Quark continues to yell into the darkness as Sisko and Eris talk. Eris asks whether they have to take Quark with them if they escape and as he works on the suppression collar, Sisko points out that Quark's seemingly useless chatter is in fact serving a purpose. After all, he points out as a Jem'Hadar officer named Talak'talan enters, if there's one thing Quark is good at, it is attracting attention.

Talak'talan, the first Jem'Hadar encountered by Humans

Quark and Eris stand behind Sisko as Talak'talan deactivates the force field and steps into the circle. He refuses to discuss why they are being held, stating only that "the Founders" do not want them released. Quark intervenes and offers Talak'talan a thousand cases of tulaberry wine; his response is to grab Quark by the chest forcefully, nearly crushing the Ferengi's rib cage. Sisko begins to intervene, but pulling out a phaser, Talak'talan tells him not to bother and throws Quark to the ground. When Sisko demands to speak with the Founders, Eris defiantly claims they do not exist. Talak'talan insists they do and reveals that the Founders created the Dominion. However, he refuses to allow Sisko to speak with them.

Looking down at Quark with disdain, Talak'talan says he had hoped the first race he would meet from the other side of "the anomaly" would be the Klingons. Sisko sarcastically apologizes and Talak'talan warns him it is too late for apologies and the Dominion will not allow ships from the Alpha Quadrant to violate its territory. He says he has heard the Klingons are effective warriors and mentions the bat'leth, demonstrating his knowledge about the Alpha Quadrant; when Sisko is not interested in discussing the Klingons, Talak'talan brings up the Cardassians. After asking somewhat rhetorically if Sisko is satisfied with the Federation-Cardassian Treaty, he calls it a "tactical error" on the Federation's part. Sisko asks how he knows all of this, and Talak'talan informs him that the Dominion gains more knowledge every day. He refuses to give the Dominion any information, but Talak'talan says he will not be asking the questions. Asked who will be asking them, he remarks, "I was really hoping to meet a Klingon." Reactivating the force field, he leaves.

Jake and Nog beam aboard the runabout and scan the planet's surface for Human and Ferengi life signs. They attempt to beam Quark and Sisko up, but the computer is unable to do so due to what it calls a spatial distortion field. Jake suggests that they fly back to Deep Space 9 to get help and Nog agrees, telling the computer to plot a course back to the station. It asks him to restate the command, so Jake tells it to disengage the autopilot system; however, neither of the boys knows the authorization code. An alarm sounds and a red light flashes as the computer announces that a vessel is approaching, which causes them to panic. "Computer! Evasive maneuvers! Fire phasers! Launch torpedoes! And escape pods!" Nog yells frantically, although the computer is still locked and does not comply. When they tell the computer to display the ship, it disappears, having gone to warp. Left with no other options, Jake says he will have to disengage the autopilot manually.

The first of many Jem'Hadar ships to come through the wormhole

On the station, the Galaxy-class USS Odyssey is due to arrive in eight hours when something begins coming through the wormhole. Kira tells Dax to display it on the viewscreen and it is a Jem'Hadar attack ship. Dax hails the vessel and raises the station's shields, but a Jem'Hadar beams into Ops despite the shields. O'Brien activates a containment field around the intruder and Kira introduces herself before telling the Jem'Hadar it is "customary" to identify oneself before beaming into someone else's command center.

The Jem'Hadar introduces himself as Third Talak'talan of the Jem'Hadar and informs Kira that Commander Sisko has been detained indefinitely. Sisko, he says, will serve as an example to anyone who interferes with the Dominion by coming through the wormhole. Dax defiantly tells him that idle threats will not stop the Federation from exploring the Gamma Quadrant, so he walks through the force field and gives Kira a Bajoran PADD with a list of vessels he says have been destroyed for violating Dominion territory. The PADD came from New Bajor, he tells her, adding that they fought well for a "spiritual" people. He beams back aboard his ship and O'Brien attempts unsuccessfully to lock on with a tractor beam as it re-enters the wormhole.

Act Four

Sisko finally pries the casing on Eris' collar loose to reveal a locking mechanism. She asks what he plans to do if she breaks through the barrier and he tells her he can contact his son and the runabout, inviting her to come back to the Federation with them. When Sisko asks Quark to help him with the collar, Quark turns around angrily and tells Sisko he is tired of being ordered around. Eris watches them with interest. He claims he has realized why Humans dislike Ferengi: They used to be a lot like them. As Quark points out, however, events in Earth history such as slavery, concentration camps and interstellar wars are far worse than anything committed by the Ferengi; therefore, he claims, the Ferengi are better. With that, he begins to work on the locking mechanism.

"Warning: Warp core collapse in ten seconds"

Sitting on the floor of the runabout surrounded by isolinear chips, Jake and Nog continue to work on the autopilot system. Jake claims he watched Chief O'Brien work on the navigational array of the Mekong a couple of weeks ago, but Nog is skeptical. As they pull out another chip, the computer announces that the warp core will collapse in ten seconds and begins counting down. Once he realizes what is happening, Jake hurriedly replaces the chip. A burst of inspiration comes to him and he searches with his hand for something in the control panel; he removes a small device and the computer tells him the autopilot system is offline. The boys are elated until they tell the computer to lay in a course for the wormhole at warp 8 and it again reports that the autopilot system is offline. They prepare to attempt to fly the runabout manually, although neither of them knows what they are doing.

The Odyssey docks at DS9

Meanwhile, the Galaxy-class USS Odyssey has arrived at Deep Space 9 and Captain Keogh informs the crew that traffic through the wormhole has been suspended until the Odyssey can investigate what kind of threat the Jem'Hadar pose. Dax insists that the remaining runabouts go with him and he notes the lack of combat experience among most of the crew. When Bashir reminds him that they have fought the Maquis before, Keogh tells him he expects the Dominion to have "sharper teeth." Kira points out that in that case he needs all the help he can get and Keogh reluctantly agrees to let them come along. O'Brien reports that he has already begun to refit the runabouts with extra banks of photon torpedoes and that they will be ready within a few hours; Dax notes that it will take at least that long to offload nonessential personnel from the Odyssey.

"Odo? Keep your head down."
"Make sure you do the same."

Walking through a corridor with a Bajoran deputy on one side and a Starfleet one on the other, Odo reviews additional security protocols, which he plans to implement in preparation for a potential Jem'Hadar attack. When he sees Kira approach him, he dismisses the deputies. She reminds him that his duties do not require him to go along on the mission, obviously worried for his safety. He acknowledges this as they walk toward the runabout pads but tells her that someone should be there to look after Quark while the others worry about Sisko. A surprised Kira says she was under the impression he hated Quark. He does, he tells her, but he would rather see Quark in jail than in the hands of the Dominion. Odo believes that they would all miss Quark if something happened to him. "I'd be willing to take that chance," Kira responds. "But not today."

The Odyssey and DS9 crew awaiting the Jem'Hadar

The Odyssey, Mekong, and Orinoco travel to the Gamma Quadrant to find it surprisingly void of Jem'Hadar activity. Tachyon scans show up negative, but Keogh notes the Dominion might have cloaking technology. As the other ships search for them, Jake attempts to fly the Rio Grande manually – and, as Nog points out, very slowly at impulse. Nog impatiently presses him to go to warp, but Jake is still learning how to fly at impulse; Nog urges him to at least go a little faster and he points out how difficult it is to make manual course corrections without the aid of a computer. In any case, at their current speed Jake estimates it will take them five years to reach DS9.

The Odyssey and DS9 runabouts reach Jake and Nog

The boys are thrilled when they see the Odyssey and the other runabouts drop out of warp and O'Brien beams aboard the Rio Grande. He reassures Jake that they plan to rescue Sisko.

Act Five

Picking at the collar around Eris' neck, Quark remarks that the device is very sophisticated and much slimmer than most telepathic suppressors he had seen. Eris complains that he is hurting her, but seconds later he manages to break through the lock and she removes the collar. She tells Sisko and Quark to stand back and disables the force field using the same telekinetic attack that she previously used to shock Sisko, prompting a nearby Jem'Hadar to run toward them. Sisko tackles the soldier and manages to take his weapon, shooting him and tossing the weapon to Quark. Stuffing the telekinetic suppressor in his pocket, Quark shoots a second Jem'Hadar as it decloaks and attempts to shoot Sisko. The three of them leave the cavern together.

The Odyssey and a Jem'Hadar ship

The Odyssey and the runabouts assume an attack formation as they detect three Jem'Hadar attack ships on long-range sensors. However, O'Brien informs Keogh that he will have to break formation as half of the runabout's systems are nonfunctional. Keogh tells him to head for the wormhole but gives him ten minutes to try to locate Sisko. The Jem'Hadar ships come within firing range and Keogh orders them to use attack pattern delta, but when they engage the ships, the Jem'Hadar use a phased polaron beam to penetrate the Odyssey's shields. In their first pass, they knock out the forward torpedo launcher and port nacelle. After rotating through the entire spectrum of shield harmonics, Keogh realizes the shields will be of no use and has his crew divert shield power to the weapon systems. The Jem'Hadar seem intent to focus on the Odyssey, despite the Mekong and Orinoco's attempts to draw fire away from it.

Oblivious to the events transpiring around them, Eris, Quark, and Sisko run through the woods looking for Jake and Nog. Quark is out of breath and must rest but Sisko refuses to leave him behind, noting that they would not have escaped from the Jem'Hadar without him. They are transported off the surface as they talk. Once in the runabout, Sisko greets Jake warmly, while Quark grabs Nog's ear and tells him he is never going on a field trip again.

As the Mekong, the Orinoco, and the Odyssey concentrate their fire on a single Jem'Hadar fighter, it returns fire on the Mekong's sensor array, disabling it, and it is forced to initiate evasive maneuvers as the Federation forces appear to be losing the dogfight. Fortunately, O'Brien contacts the Odyssey to inform them he has rescued Sisko and the others. Keogh tells the runabouts it is time to leave, but as the ships retreat, one of the Jem'Hadar ships heads straight for the Odyssey. Kira and Bashir try to intercept it with no success, but rather than fire at the larger vessel, the Jem'Hadar intentionally ram the Odyssey's secondary hull at the deflector dish, initiating a chain reaction that causes the ship to explode. There is a momentary silence, as no one can believe what they have just seen. O'Brien, still stunned, wonders aloud why anyone would ram a retreating vessel. Sisko realizes the unfortunate answer: The Jem'Hadar were sending the Federation a message about the Gamma Quadrant. With the other Jem'Hadar vessels gone, the runabouts solemnly return to the Alpha Quadrant.

Quark reveals a minor discrepancy in Eris's story

Quark pulls Sisko aside as the others exit the runabouts, holding up the telepathic suppressor and telling him they need to talk. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew greets Eris in Ops. She comments on how disorienting it is to think she is on the other side of the galaxy, but Sisko enters, armed and tells her she will have to get used to it. The rest of the crew backs away from Eris as Sisko approaches her, accompanied by Quark, still holding the collar. Quark explains that he believed there might be a market for the suppressor in the Alpha Quadrant — until he realized the collar was nothing but a sophisticated locking device. Sisko notes that she could have used her telekinetic abilities at any time and asks why she did not; as Eris points out, he already knows the answer.

The Jem'Hadar wanted Sisko and the others to escape in order to plant Eris as a spy. "Well done, Commander," she replies arrogantly as he hypothesizes. However, she is not a Founder. As Odo moves to arrest Eris, she transports off the station, although to where it is uncertain. As she did not rematerialize on the station and there are no nearby starships, there is no way to track the Vorta. Only one thing is certain: the Dominion will be back, and since the space station is the most likely location of contact, Sisko resolves to be ready for them.

Memorable quotes

"Pretty isn't it?"
"I don't see what's so pretty about it."
"I think they mean the trees and stuff."
"Quark! This is as close to paradise as you're going to get. All you need to do is allow yourself to see it!"
"I'll tell you what I see, in two words: exploitable resources."

- Sisko, Quark, and Nog

"I get a mild reaction now and then."
"To what?"

- Quark and Sisko

"You Federation types are all alike: You talk about tolerance and understanding, but you only practice it toward people who remind you of yourselves. Because you disapprove of Ferengi values, you scorn us, distrust us, insult us every chance you get."
"Quark, I don't have to stand here and defend myself."
"Tell me, Commander, would you allow your son to marry a Ferengi female?"
"I never thought about it!"
"Exactly my point!"

- Quark and Sisko

"I hear the Klingons are effective warriors. What's that weapon they're so fond of, the… Bat'leth?"
"I am not interested in discussing the Klingons."
"All right. Then what about the Cardassians? Are you satisfied with the treaty your Federation made with them? It seems a tactical error."
"How do you know so much about our side of the galaxy?"
"We gain more knowledge every day. And now we have you to help us learn more."

- Talak'talan and Benjamin Sisko

"If the Founders are the ones who give the orders, I want to meet them."
"Those aren't my orders."
"He can't take you to the Founders because they don't exist. They're a myth."
"The Founders exist! They created the Dominion."
"And the Jem'Hadar are their servants?"

- Benjamin Sisko, Talak'talan and Eris

"I don't plan on telling you anything."
"I won't be the one asking the questions."
"Then who will?"
"I was really hoping to meet a Klingon."

- Benjamin Sisko and Talak'talan

"I'm Third Talak'talan of the Jem'Hadar. I am here to inform you that your commander has been detained for questioning by the Dominion."
"Detained? For how long?"
"Indefinitely. Commander Sisko will serve as an example of what happens to anyone who interferes with the Dominion."
"What kind of interference are you talking about?"
"Coming through the Anomaly is interference enough. Unless you wish to continue to offend the Dominion, I suggest you stay on your side of the Galaxy."
"You're making a mistake if you think that detaining Commander Sisko will stop us from exploring the Gamma Quadrant."
"We anticipated that response."

- Talak'talan, Kira, and Dax

"Here is a list of vessels we've destroyed for violating our territory."
"Where did you get this data PADD?"
"From the Bajoran colony on our side of the Anomaly. You should be proud. I hear they fought well for a spiritual people. I hope we won't have to repeat this lesson."

- Talak'talan and Kira

"The way I see it, hew-mons used to be a lot like Ferengi: greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We're a constant reminder of a part of your past you'd like to forget."
"We don't have time for this…"
"But you're overlooking something: Hew-mons used to be a lot worse than the Ferengi. Slavery. Concentration camps. Interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We're nothing like you. We're better. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a lock to pick."

- Quark and Sisko

"Starfleet's orders are simple. Traffic through the wormhole will be suspended until the Odyssey can investigate the Jem'Hadar's threat."
"What about Benjamin and the others?"
"Don't worry, Lieutenant. Commander Sisko's return is a top priority."
"If you're going to try to rescue them, then we're coming with you."
"Are you sure that's wise? With the exception of Major Kira and Mister O'Brien, none of you've had much combat experience."
"We fought the Maquis."
"All the Maquis had were a pair of lightly-armed shuttlecraft. I expect the Dominion to have sharper teeth."
"Well then, you're gonna need all the help you can get!"

- Keogh, Dax, Bashir and Kira Nerys

"I've been looking over this collar of yours. I thought if I replicated it, I might be able to turn a tidy profit. Imagine my surprise when I discovered there's nothing in here. It's just a complicated locking device."
"Which means you could have used your telekinetic abilities at any time. So the question is, why didn't you?"
"You seem to already know the answer."
"The Jem'Hadar wanted us to escape, didn't they? That was the plan all along, for us to bring you back here so that you could spy on the Federation."
"Well done, Commander."
"You're one of the Founders, aren't you?"
"You think the Founders would waste their time with you?"

- Quark, Benjamin Sisko and Eris

"We were retreating. There was no need for a suicide run."
"They're showing us how far they're willing to go."

- O'Brien and Sisko, after the destruction of the USS Odyssey

"She'll be back. The question is who she'll bring with her."
"If the Dominion comes through the Wormhole, the first battle will be fought here. And I intend to be ready for them."

- Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko

"A Ferengi and a Human. I was hoping the first race I'd meet from the other side of the Anomaly would be the Klingons."
"I'm sorry to disappoint you."
"It's too late for apologies. The Dominion will no longer stand by and allow ships from your side to violate our territory."

- Talak'talan and Benjamin Sisko

"You have no idea what's begun here."

- Eris

Background information

Story and script

  • A working title of this episode was "Dominion". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
  • The second season finale was one of the first episodes to be put in development for DS9 Season 2. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, 3/4, p. 109) This installment had its roots in an idea that was intended to serve as the first season finale. It would have involved a crossover between Star Trek: The Next Generation and DS9 in which both crews faced a ruthless intergalactic invasion force. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 36)
  • The original script for this episode mentioned that the Jem'Hadar shroud was intended to be similar to that employed by the Tosk. It also noted that the Tosk were engineered as a gift to the Hunters as a reward for their loyalty to the Dominion, thus establishing that the Hunters and Tosk were Dominion members. Writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe confirmed this connection, saying, "'You want some Tosks that you can hunt, the Vorta will provide them for you.' The thought behind this is that the same people who breed the Tosks as gifts to the hunters, breed the Jem'Hadar as well." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?)) However, none of this is actually mentioned in the episode itself.
  • According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe, the Dominion knew about the Federation long before the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole and had plans to deal with it when the time came. However, the Dominion did not expect contact with the Alpha Quadrant for another 200 years, which is explained in "The Search, Part II". With the wormhole providing immediate access between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants, Wolfe said the Dominion's plans for the Federation were disrupted, which explains why it chose to observe and gather information until the end of the second season.
  • Of the organization of the Dominion, Robert Wolfe explained, "The businessmen, the Vorta, were the negotiators, the friendly guys who show up with the carrot. 'Hey, we're your friends. Have some phaser rifles, or space travel, whatever the hell you want. We'll arrange it. All you'll have to do is owe us.' Then, if you don't toe the line, they kick your ass with the Jem'Hadar." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
  • Writer/producer Ira Steven Behr admitted that mistakes were made in the process of defining the personality and nature of the Vorta. This is most evident in the lack of telekinetic powers among later Vorta characters, and the fact that Eris did nothing to acknowledge Odo as a Founder, as the idea of the Founders being Changelings was not conceived of yet.
  • In an early version of the script, Quark cited the Hundred Years' War, the Auschwitz concentration camp and the Tarsus IV massacre as barbaric events that nothing in Ferengi history could match. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
  • After Quark's speech in which he concludes that the Ferengi are less barbaric than Humans and thus better, the stage directions said that, while Sisko is not at all convinced, Quark's words give him food for thought. According to Ira Steven Behr, "We were going into the end of the second season and it was time to lay to rest this long-time feeling that the Ferengi were the 'failed villains' of the Star Trek universe. I wanted people to see them as something else. And if we could show that Sisko, whose character has a lot of weight, would take what Quark says seriously, then the audience would take it seriously." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?))
  • The choice to make the Odyssey a Galaxy-class starship was to demonstrate that the Jem'Hadar could have destroyed the Enterprise-D, had the ship appeared in the episode, and to make the Dominion threat all the more terrifying. According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe, "We wanted to show the long-term fans how dangerous these guys were. And it's my belief that if that had been the Enterprise and not the Odyssey, and Picard rather than Keogh in command, it still wouldn't have survived." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. ?)) Wolfe also stated, "We had this crazy idea to blow up a ship that looked just like the Enterprise as our season two finale, and that kind of implied something." (What We Left Behind)

Cast and characters

  • Eris actress Molly Hagan commented, "I love the Ferengi, so any time they had a lot to do I was happy. Armin particularly is so damn funny I could watch him read the phone book. I loved the episode and I loved all the quirky head gestures I made and I looked so beautiful. It was a terrific cliffhanger." [1]
  • The actor who portrayed Captain Keogh, Alan Oppenheimer, was seen previously in the TNG episode "Rightful Heir" as Koroth, the Chief Cleric of Boreth responsible for the cloning of Kahless, and later played a Nezu ambassador in VOY: "Rise".



  • Mark A. Altman wrote that he thought the episode: "an uneasy mix of broad comedy, soapbox polemic and ominous foreboding. The episode amounts to little more than a simple concoction of "Captain's Holiday" meets "The Best of Both Worlds" when Sisko and son along with Quark and Nog come across the Dominion's footsoldiers in the Gamma Quadrant. The episode culminates with some first rate pyrotechnics although the show takes much too long to get going. Thankfully, the Jem'Hadar promise both to be worthy antagonists for the Federation as well as a welcome addition to what has amounted to be very sparse Gamma Quadrant lore". Edward Gross wrote: "Despite the fact that there is much about this episode to suggest "Q Who" and 'The Best of Both Worlds' it works because it establishes a new Federation enemy who has the ability to kick some intergalactic ass. Already we can tell that our people are going to have their backs to the wall and it will be interesting to see how they ultimately respond. In a way, the Jem'Hadar represent what the Borg should have been in "Descent" but weren't. Some great special effects as well". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 50)
  • This episode inspired the introduction of the USS Defiant in DS9's third season. "At one point, [executive story editor] Robert Wolfe and I were sitting around after the 'Jem'Hadar' episode had been filmed," recalled Ira Steven Behr. "We were looking at dailies and said, 'Jesus, we're blowing up Galaxy-class starships; these guys are tough, and all we have are these freaking runabouts that no one likes and are very difficult to shoot in.'" (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 79)


  • The interaction between Sisko and Quark in this episode proceeded from that relationship having been set up in the series pilot "Emissary". Armin Shimerman observed that, in "The Jem'Hadar", their relationship "finally gets back on track a little." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 59)
  • This episode features the first appearance of the Jem'Hadar and the Vorta.
  • The trade negotiations to which Quark refers began in the episode "Rules of Acquisition", which was the first episode to mention the Dominion. Behr has said this was an intentional way of hinting at future events in an otherwise inconsequential episode. There was also an indirect reference in "Sanctuary" to the fact that the Dominion invaded the Skrreea homeworld, as well as in "Shadowplay".
  • Bashir cites the crew's experience fighting the Maquis in "The Maquis, Part II" in response to Keogh's observation that the crews lacked any real combat experience.
  • The Odyssey was the third Galaxy-class starship destroyed on-screen, following the USS Yamato, in TNG: "Contagion", and the USS Enterprise-D. The latter ship had been destroyed several times during the run of TNG, in the episodes "Time Squared", "Cause and Effect", "Timescape", and "All Good Things...".
  • This is the last episode to regularly feature the 2360s combadges from TNG and early DS9, which were first used in the Star Trek: The Next Generation premiere episode, "Encounter at Farpoint".
  • A good deal of research and technical upgrading presumably took place sometime after this episode, as Federation starships are far less vulnerable than the Odyssey to Dominion weapons in later engagements. When the Dominion attempt to take over Deep Space 9 at the end of season five, Weyoun is surprised to learn that the station's shields hold despite the fact that they previously had been useless against Dominion weapons. (DS9: "Call to Arms")
  • Although Sisko denies Quark's request for posting advertisements on the station monitors, Quark proceeds to do it anyway (without permission) nearly two years later, in "The Quickening".


  • This was the last episode for which Michael Piller served as the writing supervisor. While he nominally continued as co-showrunner with Ira Steven Behr until later in the following season, Behr essentially took over all show-running duties after this episode.
  • This episode is the season finale of DS9's second season and marked the start of the producers' strategy of leaving the audience in suspense and building on events in previous seasons without the use of cliffhangers. This strategy later led the show to take on a serial-like feel, and became quite common for DS9 in later seasons.
  • During the rescue mission with the Odyssey, none of the regular characters are present onboard the station.
  • Morn speaks in the German version of this episode. In the Spanish and Italian versions, he sighs instead (all three at the same point just before the intro).
  • Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #102 ("Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever").

Remastered version

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also Starring

Guest Stars



Uncredited Co-Stars

Stunt Double


2369; Alpha Quadrant; Andorian jewelry; atmosphere; attack formation; attack pattern delta; autopilot; Bajoran; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran sector; Bajoran War Orphans Fund; Bajoran wormhole; bat'leth; bearing; birythium; Bolian crystalsteel; bug; camping; carbon dioxide; Cardassians; Cardassian border; casualty report; communications array; concentration camp; constable; containment field; cooking; copper; damage control team; datapadd; Devonian; direct run; discount; Dominion; Dominion cold war; Dominion planet; Dominion planet sector; Dominion territory; ear; Earth; ETA; evasive maneuvers; exercise program; Federation; Federation-Cardassian Treaty; Ferengi; field trip; First; freedom; Galaxy class decks; Gamma Quadrant; guidance and navigation relay; holosuite; IDIC; irrigation; Itamish III; itch; jail; Jake-o; jambalaya; Jem'Hadar; katterpod; Klingon; Kurill Prime; latinum; lead; leader; liberal; Maquis; Milky Way Galaxy; nacelle; New Bajor; nickel; nitrogen; nonessential personnel; O'Brien, Keiko; ointment; orbit; oxygen; phased polaron beam; phaser; photon torpedo; planetary survey; plasma leak; preliminary survey; profit; Promenade; Quark's; question; red alert; Rom; round; Rules of Acquisition; runabout; runny nose; security barrier; security personnel; sensor; Sisko, Jennifer; slavery; square; starship; stench; strip mining; suicide run; suppression collar; tactical control system; targeting control; telekinesis; telekinetic ability; telepathic suppressor; third; trade negotiation; transporter signature; tricorder; underbrush; Vorta; Vulcan; water; water skiing

Starship references

Bolian freighter; Danube-class; Federation attack fighter; Galaxy-class; Jem'Hadar fighter (Talak'talan's attack ship; unnamed); Mekong, USS; Odyssey, USS; Orinoco, USS; Rio Grande, USS; shuttlecraft

Deleted references

External links

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 2
Next episode:
"The Search, Part I"
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