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Sisko tries to rescue Gul Dukat, stop the Maquis terrorists, and prevent a new war with the Cardassians.



With phasers trained on Sisko, Kira, and Bashir, Calvin Hudson comments with amusement upon Sisko's shock at seeing him. Sisko says that he had hardly recognized Hudson out of his uniform, which Hudson claims has felt a little tight recently. Hudson’s casual discarding of it causes Sisko to reminisce about the day he put it on, when they graduated from Starfleet Academy. The pair then recall their aspirations to become captains and admirals by the ages of thirty and forty respectively. However, Hudson claims to now have a better cause: the Maquis. He feels he cannot turn his back on the settlers, as he considers the Federation has done. Sisko counters that Hudson's joining the Maquis has actually endangered lives and the treaty, but Hudson believes the Cardassians aren't honoring the document, though he has no evidence to support this. Sisko demands the return of Gul Dukat, to which Hudson accuses Sisko of siding with the Cardassians over him. According to Hudson, the Maquis's top priority is peace but insists the Cardassians' crimes cannot go unpunished, and Sisko points out that it is revenge, not peace, they seek. "I prefer to call it retaliation," Hudson smirks. After Sisko declines his offer to join the Maquis, the Maquis stun him, Kira, and Bashir. Hudson tells his fellow compatriots that they should leave immediately; knowing Sisko's temper, he doesn’t wish to be around when his friend regains consciousness.

Act One[]

Admiral Nechayev is waiting for Sisko in his office when he returns to Deep Space 9, and Dax informs him that a Legate Parn of Cardassian Central Command will be arriving soon as well. As well as expressing concerns that Odo is not suitable for the position as head of station security, Nechayev refers to the Maquis as "a bunch of irresponsible hotheads" and tells Sisko to talk to them as, since they're still Federation citizens, they should be willing to listen to reason. Nechayev's views leave Sisko fuming and he tells Kira what he feels is the real problem: Earth. Kira is confused, as Sisko explains that on Earth there is no crime or poverty nor war and it is easy to be a good person in paradise. For the people in the demilitarized zone, however, there are still many problems and they're doing whatever they have to in order to survive, all while Starfleet Command still expects them to be 'saints'. Kira appreciates and supports Sisko's true understanding of the situation, and informs him that Legate Parn has just arrived on the station. He is on his way to greet the Cardassian leader when Odo reports that he has caught "one of the Vulcan's accomplices."


Legate Parn

Sisko arrives in the security office to find Quark in a holding cell. Quark attempts to evade discussion of his business with Sakonna but eventually reveals that he arranged for the Maquis to acquire weapons from the Pygorians. While he had not heard of the Maquis at the time, he is sure Sakonna plans to execute her plans within the next few days. Legate Parn, upon meeting with Sisko, informs him and Kira that the Cardassian Central Command has discovered Dukat to be the leader of "a small group of misguided officers" who were smuggling weapons to the demilitarized zone. However, neither Sisko nor Kira believe him. Sisko concludes the Command is, in fact, arming their colonists. Hudson was right.

Afterward, Dax reports that three Federation citizens have been killed on Hakton VII in retaliation for the destruction of the Bok'Nor. Focusing on Dukat, Chief O'Brien discovers the subspace distortion of the Maquis ship's warp drive and reconstructs their probable course. Sisko immediately leaves on the USS Rio Grande to rescue Dukat, along with Bashir and Odo. Kira however believes Sisko should leave Dukat at the mercy of the Maquis with him "getting exactly what he deserves". Sisko tells her before he leaves that "the Central Command wants him dead. That's reason enough for us to want him alive".

Act Two[]

On one of the Maquis worlds, Sakonna attempts to establish a Vulcan mind meld with Dukat, however, it is unsuccessful. Dukat attributes it to his mental discipline and boasts about Cardassian methods of information extraction. He starts to openly mock his captors for thinking themselves renegades, and considers they lack the commitment required to do what is necessary. Amaros cites the Bok'Nor's destruction as proof of their resolve, but Dukat remains unimpressed. He counters that anyone can destroy a ship, but to look their enemy in the eye, "knowing you'll remember his face for the rest of your life", takes a stomach that the Maquis don't have. Sakonna concurs with Dukat's assertion that the Maquis lack the Cardassians’ "gift" for inflicting pain, one which they wouldn’t want. Amaros loses patience and comes down to continue the interrogation himself. Just then, Sisko, Bashir, and Odo arrive, wanting to talk and work together on revealing the Cardassian plot. There is a momentary standoff, during which Dukat grows impatient. "Shoot them!" he yells and knocks Sakonna over, triggering a firefight. The Maquis are arrested, but Sisko allows Amaros to go free with a message to Cal Hudson that it is not too late to settle things peacefully, as he has not informed Starfleet of Hudson's actions. Sisko also tells Amaros to inform Hudson that Sisko still has his uniform and that he can have it back whenever he wants.

Act Three[]

They bring Dukat back to Deep Space 9, where he enjoys a fulfilling meal in his quarters. Sisko arrives to talk to him. Discussing the fate of the prisoners, Sisko tells they'll be tried for their crimes under the Federation Code of Justice and released if acquitted. Dukat finds this barbaric and says that in a Cardassian trial the verdict is known beforehand. He responds to Sisko's inquiry that they may mistakenly try the innocent by claiming "Cardassians don't make mistakes." Dukat then inquires about the fact that Federation, not Cardassian, forces rescued him. Sisko tells Dukat about Legate Parn turning him into a scapegoat to be executed "after a comforting trial." Dukat processes this briefly, and mentions he predicted this strained relationship with the Command since the end of the Occupation of Bajor. Dukat then offers to help Sisko stop the smuggling if he helps to stop the Maquis, and he agrees, believing for the moment that Dukat didn't know about the Command's plan. He invites Dukat to their next staff meeting.

Drofo Awa

The Xepolite captain, who becomes much more cooperative when Dukat threatens to destroy his ship

The next day in Ops, Odo has obtained an extensive list of weapons Sakonna bought from Quark, but he has been unable to find out more from Sakonna herself. The crew focus on the weapons smuggling instead for the time being. With Dukat's help, they find a Xepolite Free Trader, impervious to scanners and with a faster engine than the runabout. After initially not responding to hails, O'Brien fires off its bow, and a trader named Drofo Awa hails them with a phony story involving his large shipment of Regreein wheat husks. After Sisko tries to convince him to let them search the ship, Dukat interjects, using his authority and forcefulness to talk the man down. He lowers his shields and allows them to detain a shipment of weapons from him, finally obtaining proof of the conspiracy. Dukat sits back down, pleased to gain a small amount of trust from the group.

Act Four[]

Back on the station, Quark and Sakonna are sharing a holding cell. He calls her position with the Maquis illogical; she scoffs at the idea that a Ferengi can display superior logic to a Vulcan, but Quark quotes the Third Rule of Acquisition to her, "never spend more for an acquisition than you have to." The Maquis, and Sakonna, want to "acquire" peace in the Demilitarized Zone, and now that the Central Command's plan has been exposed, the two sides – the Maquis and the Cardassian settlers – are in stalemate, and "peace can be bought at a bargain price." But if the Maquis escalate the conflict, then peace with the Cardassians will become that much more "expensive". Quark challenges her to fault the logic in his argument. To her (muted) astonishment, she cannot.

Meanwhile, Sisko explains that the Maquis are going to attack what they believe to be a weapons depot hidden in a civilian center on one of the colonies, though Sakonna doesn't know which one. Sisko believes her, as Vulcans don't lie as a rule. Dukat challenges that, but takes it for granted for the moment. He ensures the Cardassian Central Command is not aware of this, and takes it on to find out where the depot is located himself.

In the meantime, Sisko visits Cal Hudson one final time, interrupting a council meeting. He bluntly says if they attack the depot, they endanger the treaty, and therefore become enemies of the Federation. He will stop the Maquis if they approach the depot. He tells Hudson they stopped the weapons smuggling, and that there's no need for the Maquis, but Hudson ignores it, saying they're in a war, and he intends to win even if he has to fight Sisko. Sisko brings along Hudson's discarded Starfleet uniform, which Hudson vaporizes with a phaser before he leaves the room, letting Sisko know definitively where he now stands.

Act Five[]

Dukat says he believes the depot is on the Bryma Colony. They'll have to intercept outside its sensor range, so the colony doesn't call for reinforcements. O'Brien says they'll need to establish sensor probes in the system's Oort cloud to detect them, since they don't know what route they will take.

Kira speaks to Sisko

"You prevented a war."
"Did I? Or did I just delay the inevitable?"

The crew is waiting in runabouts Rio Grande, USS Mekong and USS Orinoco when the Maquis arrive at the depot. As neither Hudson nor Sisko wants to hurt the other, the resulting dogfight is relatively slow paced and targets are only auxiliary systems. Soon, the Mekong, Orinoco and one of the fighters are out of the fight. Sisko's runabout and Hudson's fighter are alone, and each try to disable the other. Hudson manages to knock out Sisko's engines, but his own phasers are disabled. Despite Sisko's plea, Hudson flees and, over, Dukat's strong objections, Sisko allows him to escape, refusing to kill someone for trying to defend his home. Dukat expresses his disappointment, but Sisko curtly tells him he will not lose sleep over it.

In his office, he confides in Kira after reading his congratulatory message from Starfleet. Kira says he deserves credit for preventing a war. But Sisko can only wonder if this is true, or whether he has merely delayed the inevitable.

Memorable quotes[]

"On Earth, there is no poverty, no crime, no war. You look out the window of Starfleet Headquarters and you see paradise. Well, it's easy to be a saint in paradise, but the Maquis do not live in paradise. Out there in the Demilitarized Zone, all the problems haven't been solved yet. Out there, there are no saints — just people. Angry, scared, determined people who are going to do whatever it takes to survive, whether it meets with Federation approval or not!"

- Sisko, on Nechayev's suggestion that he "establish a dialogue" with the Maquis

"Commander, you know there's no reason to go after Dukat. I mean, you heard Legate Parn; they don't want him back."
"Are you suggesting we leave him to the Maquis?"
"Why risk our lives over someone who's caused so many deaths? The way I see it, he's getting exactly what he deserves."
"The Central Command wants him dead. That's reason enough for us to want him alive."

- Major Kira and Sisko, about rescuing Gul Dukat from the Maquis

"The Maquis are a bunch of irresponsible hotheads!"

- Alynna Nechayev

"Look, I know the Cardassians can't be trusted. I know the Central Command would like nothing better than to wipe out all the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone."
"Then you agree with our position."
"Not for a second. Because your position is illogical."
"Do you propose to lecture me on logic?"
"I don't want to, but you leave me no choice."

- Quark and Sakonna

"They have weapons, you have weapons – everyone has weapons, but right now, no one has a clear advantage! So the price of peace is at an all-time low. This is the perfect time to sit down and hammer out an agreement. Don't you get it? Attacking the Cardassians now will only make peace more expensive in the long run! Now, I ask you, is that logical?"

- Quark, to Sakonna

"I don't understand; you're a Cardassian!"
"I'm not just any Cardassian. I'm Gul Dukat, Commander of the Second Order."

- Drofo Awa and Dukat

"Legate Parn's ship just put in at Docking Bay Five. Maybe you'd like to give the same speech to him."

- Kira, to Sisko

"I don't know how many of you here actually belong to the Maquis. Those of you who don't probably have friends who do. So please make sure you pass along what I'm about to tell you. There is a treaty currently in place between Cardassia and the Federation. If you make yourself an enemy of Cardassia, you make yourself an enemy of the Federation."

- Benjamin Sisko, to the Maquis about the treaty between the Federation and Cardassia

"A very rousing speech, Ben. I suppose my best rebuttal would be to kill you."
"But you won't."

- Hudson and Sisko

Background information[]

Story and script[]

Visual effects[]

  • For this episode, the DS9 visual effects team was asked to make it look as though Odo turned his arm into a fluid, stretched it across a room, and then pulled someone off a ladder. Never having done that before, the team had to write special computer software in order to accomplish the assignment. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 165)



  • Ira Steven Behr considered this to be one of the most important early episodes in establishing the darker Star Trek ideology for which Deep Space Nine ultimately became famous. In particular, he referred to Sisko's speech to Kira, and the line "It's easy to be a saint in paradise," as expressing a much less optimistic view of Humanity than had ever before been presented in Star Trek, stating, "Sisko's speech in this episode was the beginning of our really starting to question some of the basic tenets of Star Trek philosophy." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?) This theme of examining the most basic elements of Star Trek philosophy returned in: a speech Quark gives about the Federation in the episode "The Jem'Hadar" as well as a speech he delivers about Humans in "The Siege of AR-558"; the third season two-parter "Past Tense, Part I" and "Past Tense, Part II"; the fourth season duology "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost"; Michael Eddington's comparison of the Federation to the Borg in the episode "For the Cause"; the character of Richard Bashir in the fifth season episode "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"; and ultimately the creation of Section 31 for the sixth season episode "Inquisition".
  • This is the first episode to introduce some ambiguity to the character of Gul Dukat. Dukat had appeared five times prior to this episode (in "Emissary", "Duet", "The Homecoming", "Cardassians", and "Necessary Evil") but had predominantly been depicted as a villain. In this episode, his character is fleshed out, particularly in the scene where he is speaking to the Xepolite hetman. After his conversation, Dukat notices that Kira is looking strangely at him, and he smiles to himself. This ambiguity as to Kira's attitude toward Dukat remained a recurring theme for the duration of the show, perhaps seen at its most ambiguous in the fourth season episode "Return to Grace". However, despite this ambiguity, Nana Visitor herself never wavered from maintaining that there could never be any kind of romantic relationship between Kira and Dukat, since, in Visitor's opinion, Kira would never be able to forgive Dukat and stop hating him. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • Admiral Nechayev says the Maquis on the Cardassian side of the DMZ are still Federation citizens when telling Sisko to establish a dialogue with them. However, in "Journey's End", Picard made it clear that colonists that chose to remain on the Cardassian side of the border would give up Federation citizenship and be under Cardassian jurisdiction.
  • Sisko later discovered, in the fifth season episode "Blaze of Glory", that Cal Hudson had been killed by the Jem'Hadar. That episode also saw the last activity of the Maquis, which had been wiped out due to the increased military presence in the DMZ brought about by Cardassia joining the Dominion.


  • Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #3 ("Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to")
  • Dukat's line that "on Cardassia, the verdict is always known before the trial begins" became the basis for the episode "Tribunal".
  • Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
  • This was the final episode of Star Trek directed by Corey Allen.

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Also starring[]

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ability; accomplice; admiral; asteroid; Attack on Bryma; Bajor; Bajorans; Bolian; Bryma; Bryma Colony; Bryma system; captain; Cardassia; Cardassian; Cardassian border; Cardassian Central Command; confiscation; constable; crime; deflector shield; Demilitarized Zone; deuterium; discount; disruptor; docking bay; dozen; Earth; evasive maneuvers; expression; Federation; Federation Code of Justice; Ferengi; graduation day; gun runner; Hakton VII; Hetman; intermediary; kiloton; Kressari; landing pad C; leader; Lissepians; lobe; maintenance facility; maneuvering thruster; Maquis; Maquis planet; M-class; M-class planets on Maquis ship course; mind meld; nacelle; navigation array; navigational array; Oort cloud; outlaw; paradise; particle accelerator; photon torpedo; piracy; poverty; primary fusion core; Promenade; propulsion system; pulse cannon; Pygorians; Regreein wheat; renegade; replicator; retaliation; Rules of Acquisition; runabout; Saint; Saltah'na clock; Second Order; sensor range; shapeshifter; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Headquarters; subspace distortion; supply depot; tractor beam; Umoth VIII; Volan; Volan III; Volan III moon; Vulcans; war; warp drive; warp engine; weapons array; Xepolite

Starship references[]

Bok'Nor; Danube-class; Federation attack fighter (Hudson's and Niles' ships); Mekong, USS; Orinoco, USS; Parn's ship; Rio Grande, USS; Xepolite Free Trader

External links[]

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