(written from a Production point of view)
A Bolian transport prepares to depart Deep Space 9, when the wormhole flares open, and a severely-damaged USS Defiant emerges. Considering the ship is currently docked at DS9, its appearance is met with shock by the senior staff. With the ship on the verge of a warp core breach, O'Brien beams the sole occupant to the infirmary. Commander Sisko is shocked to discover that the pilot of the Defiant is none other than Curzon Dax, who died over four years earlier. Curzon reveals that he comes from a parallel dimension – and needs Odo's help to avert all-out war between the Federation and the Dominion.
Curzon explains that negotiations had been set up between the two sides, after the Dominion made overtures of peace – Curzon had been sent as the Federation's chief negotiator. However, the talks soon broke down, and a force of Jem'Hadar fighters swarmed through the wormhole and attacked DS9. Although eventually repelled by a Starfleet task force defending the station, heavy casualties were suffered, and that universe's versions of Sisko, Kira and Bashir taken captive.
With another assault imminent, Curzon – assisted by that universe's O'Brien – modified the Defiant to travel between dimensions via the wormhole. After encountering numerous universes – including the mirror universe – Curzon came across ours, the first in which existed the person he was looking for – Odo. In his universe, Odo had been murdered by persons unknown, causing the peace talks to collapse. Curzon needs Odo's help in impersonating his counterpart, in order to find the killer and prevent the invasion of the Alpha Quadrant.
However, Sisko believes that any intervention would violate the Prime Directive, and forbids Odo to go. He orders Curzon confined to quarters until he can be returned to his own dimension. Curzon manages to gain access to the station's access tunnels, incapacitate Odo, and steal this universe's Defiant, firing on DS9 in the process. Using the station's access codes against the crew, he escapes into the wormhole.
Curzon emerges in his own dimension, with the now reconstituted Odo, who demands to be taken back. However, when Curzon tells him that is no longer possible, Odo agrees to go along with the subterfuge, appearing before a stunned Lt. Commander Eddington. Odo and Curzon begin investigating the murder, taking time to give Quark "the shock of his misspent life". Examining the corridor where the alternate Odo was apparently slain, Odo notices an unusual residue pattern on the floor. In his quarters, he finds an identical smear on his bucket, which holds a Bajoran flame plant – a plant which, on first encounter, causes a painful rash to spread on the victim. Noone on the station has reported such a rash – a fact which doesn't surprise the Changeling.
Having repaired Curzon's Defiant, the DS9 senior staff enter the wormhole and make the dimensional transit. Upon entering the other universe, they find their Defiant heading straight at them. As it cloaks, both ships emerge in the Gamma Quadrant, to face a large force of Jem'Hadar ships. Sisko orders their cloak to be engaged, but a fluke hit causes them to reappear, allowing the Jem'Hadar to tractor the ship in. O'Brien and Jadzia are ordered below, so that it appears as if the other universe's captives have escape. The Jem'Hadar, pursued by Odo and Curzon, take the Defiant to a cloaked base over Callinon VII. Odo disguises himself as a Jem'Hadar, as the captured DS9 crew encounter the counterpart of the Jem'Hadar they recovered earlier that year.
The alternate Defiant crew, with the disguised Odo, beam onto the station, and encounter O'Brien and Dax while taking control of a medical lab, the two almost killing Odo with a phaser blast. The two crews get to work on a chemical of unknown description – a plan independently devised by both Odo and Bashir. Meanwhile, Sisko, Kira and Bashir manage to overpower their guards during the attack, and free their counterparts. They reinforce the others at the lab, as Dax completes the chemical, a derivative of the isogenic enzyme found in ketracel-white, which incapacitates the station's crew.
With both crews returned to their correct ships, and heading back to DS9, Odo reveals who his counterpart's murderer was. To prevent Bajor from being overrun following the peace accord, Kira killed Odo in his quarters and transported the remains in his bucket to where they were found. Since Kira had been raised on Bajor, she would not have contracted the rash from the plant in the bucket. Kira seizes control of the other Defiant, and orders her crew into the ship's escape craft. The Defiant takes the escape craft in a tractor beam, and pulls it through the wormhole, activating their transdimensional drive only seconds before the self-destruct sequence destroys the other Defiant and that universe's wormhole.
"… treachery, like hope, springs eternal. Even as we offered the Dominion the hand of peace, their hands carried knives — to stab us in the back."
- - Curzon Dax
"Good evening, all. Try to hold the quadrant together without me."
- - Benjamin Sisko
"…two of them!"
- - Kira Nerys and her counterpart, about Bashir
- A three-page "behind the scenes" look at alternate universes in Star Trek was featured at the rear of the issue, including costume designs for the alternate crew.
- This story was serialized in Star Trek Monthly issue 8, Star Trek Monthly issue 9, and Star Trek Monthly issue 10.
- Based on:
- Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in Malibu DS9 characters.
Regular and recurring characters
- Odo is apparently capable of shifting into a more accurate Jem'Hadar form than his Human form, noting that their faces, being more symmetric, are easier to duplicate.
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