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When a Cardassian freighter explodes at Deep Space 9, the Cardassians blame Federation colonists in the new Demilitarized Zone.



While a Cardassian freighter, the Bok'Nor, is docked at Deep Space 9, a Human posing as a Starfleet maintenance worker tampers with a nearby wall panel. At Ops, Jadzia Dax tells Major Kira that she has a dinner date with the Gallamite Captain Boday. Kira expresses unease at dating someone with a transparent skull, through which she can see his brain, and the two have a brief verbal exchange over choice of dates and aesthetics. The docking clamps in upper Pylon 1 are released, but Dax picks up an anomaly. She tells the Bok'Nor to shut down their engines. Suddenly, the freighter explodes while leaving the station. Kira orders engineering personnel to report to rescue stations, but a stunned Dax informs her that there is nothing left of the freighter – and no one to rescue.

Act One[]

Kira and O'Brien subsequently investigate the incident in a runabout, and initially detect traces of kelindide and rhodinium, materials used in the construction of Cardassian vessels. Kira asks if there may have been a malfunction in the impulse generator, but O'Brien tells her it’s too soon to be sure. He then informs Sisko that there is no evidence of explosive devices. Frustrated, Sisko tells him several Starfleet admirals are pressing him for answers, but O'Brien advises him not to pass on that it looks like an accident. Traces of mercassium are then found in the debris, which should not have been there at all. Odo asks if mercassium is an explosive but Sisko tells him it’s a synthetic composite used in shield generator construction by the Federation, one they do not share with others. Dax then expounds her belief that the explosion was an implosive protomatter device attached to the Bok'Nor's impulse engines, based upon a sudden increase in the vessel’s fusion rate she detected just prior to the explosion. Her belief is supported by the total lack of evidence of an on-board malfunction. O'Brien supports the theory by stating that a protomatter device attached to the Bok'Nor's crossfeeds could have caused an undetectable explosion, but is forced to inform Sisko that he needs to perform a high resolution spectra of the debris to be sure.

Cal Hudson

Cal Hudson

Commander Calvin Hudson, the ranking officer and attaché in the Demilitarized Zone along the Cardassian border, arrives on the station to investigate the possibility of retaliatory attacks. After a few introductions, they talk in Sisko's office. He briefly catches up with Sisko, but the gravity of the situation comes back. He admits his belief that his presence on the border is a joke; his assignment has been to help colonists, whose land the Federation gave to Cardassia, adjust to the new circumstances. He believes the Federation is abandoning them due to a bad treaty, clearly in disagreement. Contrary to Starfleet's belief, Hudson is sure the Cardassians will not retaliate, but he guarantees a response will come, since the Cardassians never show anyone what they are really planning.

Meanwhile, a covert meeting takes place between the saboteur and a Vulcan on the Promenade. Pretending to read a directory sign, the Vulcan whispers that he has quarters while a ship arrives for him to escape. The Vulcan then visits Quark to offer him a business proposition. He assumes it's due to an earlier bad deal he made with the Vulcans, but, when she assures him that's not the case, he's immediately excited. Introducing herself as Sakonna, she insists it should be a private meeting, so they plan to meet later for dinner.

However, Sakonna and the saboteur were observed from above by a Pelian couple. Later, they abduct him in the habitat ring as he goes to his quarters.

Act Two[]

Arriving at his quarters that evening, Sisko finds Gul Dukat waiting for him. Sisko immediately asks where Jake is, implying Dukat may have done something to him. Dukat is shocked by this but Sisko bluntly states he believes the Cardassian to be capable of anything, further wounding Dukat with the remark. Sisko then calls Kira to find Jake, without alerting her to Dukat's presence. Dukat explains that he came aboard DS9 as an unregistered passenger on a Kotakian ship, and has used his knowledge as the station's former commander to move around stealthily. Kira then contacts Sisko to reassure him that Jake is fine and with Nog, observing women disembark a Bajoran transport at Docking Bay 1. Dukat states he has come unofficially, without the Cardassian Central Command's knowledge, to help Sisko find the truth about the destruction of the Bok'Nor, for he believes he knows what happened – renegade Starfleet officers. In order to find the truth, the two of them must take a runabout to the Volan colonies in the demilitarized zone, which Dukat describes as "not so demilitarized I'm afraid."

Soon after in a runabout, Dukat notes that his controls are not illuminated meaning he will be unable to pilot the vessel in the event of an emergency, and assures Sisko he does not intend to steal technical information. Sisko responds by reminding him of Cardassians' photographic memories, drawing the quip from Dukat that having the controls unilluminated will prevent him from taking a photograph. Sisko asks him if what he has heard about Cardassian children undergoing mind training programmes from the age of four is true; Dukat proudly states the Cardassian education is unparalleled in the quadrant. Sisko opines this method takes the joy out of growing up; Dukat counters, "Education is power. Joy is vulnerability." He then receives a distress call from a Federation merchant vessel, attacked by two Cardassian attack vessels. Dukat says they are not authorized to violate the treaty, and must have come from Cardassian colonies. He tries two direct hails, but they do not disengage. Before the runabout can intervene, another Federation vessel arrives and quickly destroys the Cardassians. Sisko doesn't recognize the ship, as it appears to have been modified to carry photon torpedoes. Dukat asks if Sisko now realizes the infighting that has been going on amongst the colonists, without either of their governments knowing about it.

Act Three[]



Back on the station, Quark has arranged a "business" dinner with Sakonna. She is eager to begin negotiations but he quotes one of the Rules of Acquisition: "Never begin a business negotiation on an empty stomach." When he describes the Rules of Acquisition, she finds them logical and "quite reassuring." Once Quark is ready to discuss business, he is surprised to hear she is looking to acquire weapons: she wishes to acquire a continuous supply of "guns, phaser banks, photon torpedoes, troop transports, and a number of cobalt-thorium devices," among others. "You're not like other Vulcans, are you?", Quark says.

In the demilitarized zone on Volan III, Gul Evek, the Cardassian attaché to the demilitarized zone, is in a heated debate with Cal Hudson and the colony's council when Dukat and Sisko enter the room. Evek appears to not have been aware of Dukat's involvement. When they describe the incident they observed, both sides seem to feel that their colonists were justified. Evek then produces a confession from the Bok'Nor saboteur, William Patrick Samuels, but claims that Samuels committed suicide shortly after giving it. One of the colonists present named Amaros attacks Evek and must be restrained.

Act Four[]

Dukat caught

Dukat is abducted

Later that night, Hudson warns Sisko that the Cardassians have no intention of allowing the Federation colonists to stay and tells him the Bok'Nor was likely transporting weapons to Cardassian colonists. He concedes that Samuels might have destroyed the freighter but claims the colonists have the right to defend themselves. Furthermore, the authorities themselves are involved in the conflict, arming their civilians. Sisko says if it's true, the Federation can use diplomatic channels, but Hudson scoffs at that, saying they'll find discreet ways of supplying them. Sisko then mentions the Cardassian's supply of weapons to Bajoran extremists, suggesting the Bok'Nor could have carried the weapons to a third party before it was destroyed at Deep Space 9. Hudson has to leave to tell Samuels' wife about his death, and briefly reminisces about their time at New Berlin, specifically the fun they and their wives had at the Mazurka Festival. Sisko then asks if something bigger is going on, but Hudson says he's not aware.

On the way back to Deep Space 9, Dukat otes that Sisko is quiet; he is angry at the reckless actions taken that will eventually hurt the treaty. Sisko then guesses that Dukat knew of Samuels' confession. Dukat admits it, but claims he knew nothing of the "suicide", and that he told Evek he was a fool for letting Samuels die. Sisko is further angered by his assertion that Samuels' death had no advantage for the purpose of interrogation, but Dukat counters by reminding him of Samuels' murderous actions. However, he swears on the lives of his seven children that the Bok'Nor was not transporting weapons, despite the fact that it could have rendezvoused with a third party in order to do so.

Back on the station, Sisko gives Dukat quarters and security before he is transported back home. In Ops, O'Brien has confirmed what Sisko believed: the bomb that destroyed the Bok'Nor was of Federation origin. As Sisko prepares to contact Starfleet, Kira starts a heated argument in his office, as she believes that the Federation should be protecting their own colonists ahead of their treaty with the Cardassians, which she believes will be violated by the Cardassians at every opportunity. Sisko then opens the door to his office, asking Kira to leave.

Meanwhile, Sakonna requests that Quark move the weapon shipment schedule forward to that night and he complies greedily. Later on, she and a man posing as a Starfleet security guard subdue the guard posted to Dukat's quarters with a Vulcan nerve pinch. They lead him to an airlock under false pretenses and are joined by Amaros and another of the colonists. They kidnap Dukat by rendering him unconscious with a phaser.

Act Five[]

Sisko and the rest of the crew determine the course the kidnappers most likely took. A Galador freighter left, but Dax confirms the registry was forged, as the Galadorans don't have a ship in the sector. It was heading toward Farius Prime, but now they know it is a false route. Just as he, Kira and Bashir leave Ops to go back to the demilitarized zone, Kira reports an anonymous transmission from there attributing the bombing of the Bok'Nor and the recent kidnappings to a group calling itself the Maquis.

Bashir, Sisko, and Kira captured

"I'm glad to see you had no trouble finding us, Ben."

On the runabout, O'Brien reports that fortunately a Klingon freighter reported the freighter's location. They follow the Maquis into an area called the Badlands with which Bashir is unfamiliar. Kira explains that it is an area of the Cardassian border with frequent plasma storms, which pilots generally try to avoid. "Sounds like the perfect place for a hideout," he observes. They beam to the surface of an Class M asteroid, where the armed Maquis members emerge from nearby foliage – followed by Hudson, now out of uniform.


Memorable quotes[]

"He happens to be brilliant, his brain is twice the size of yours and mine."
"I know, I've seen it."
"It's not his fault Gallamites have transparent skulls."

- Jadzia Dax and Kira

"Do you deny that the Federation is engaging in organized terrorist activities against the Cardassian people? Deliberately attempting to undermine this treaty?"
"The Federation does not conduct secret wars."
"Then perhaps you can explain where the Federation ship came from, the one outfitted with photon torpedoes."
"Explain why your ships were armed with Galor-class phaser banks."
"They have a right to defend themselves against organized terrorist activities."

- Evek, Benjamin Sisko, and Cal Hudson, about the situation in the Demilitarized Zone

"If Starfleet is unwilling to defend their people in…"
"They chose to live with the Cardassians!"
"Well, I didn't! But I lived with them for 26 years before the liberation came! Every Bajoran lived with them in constant fear! I know what those colonists are going through. Most of all, I know that the Cardassians can't be trusted to keep their side of the bargain in this treaty."

- Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko, about the Federation colonists on the Cardassian border

"Education is power. Joy is vulnerability."

- Dukat

"Commander, we just received a general subspace transmission from somewhere in the Demilitarized Zone. A group there is taking credit for the kidnapping of Dukat. They're calling themselves the Maquis."

- Kira Nerys

"I'm glad to see you had no trouble finding us, Ben. It seems that one disaster after another keeps bringing us back together again."

- Calvin Hudson, to Benjamin Sisko, emerging out of uniform with the rest of the Maquis

"I've got every admiral within subspace range on my back. Can I at least tell them it looks like an accident?"

- Benjamin Sisko, to Kira Nerys and Miles O'Brien

Background information[]

Story and script[]



In a section about the Maquis in Star Trek and History, Nancy Reagin comments: "More intriguing were the efforts of a Vulcan woman named Sakonna, who attempted to buy black-market weapons from Quark on behalf of the Maquis. Since viewers often equated Vulcans with pacifism, Sakonna's actions further complicated Star Trek's portrayal of terrorism". (Star Trek and History, p 151)


Video and DVD releases[]

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Also starring[]

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21st century; 2327; 2343; 2350; 2356; 2358; 2360; admiral; Alpha Quadrant; attaché; Badlands; Badlands asteroid; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran border; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran sector; Bajoran space; Bajoran wormhole; Bardeezan; bearing; beer; Bergen; Boday; business negotiation; Cardassian; Cardassian border; Cardassian Central Command; cobalt-thorium device; co-conspirator; code of behavior; Dax, Curzon; Deep Space 9 levels; deflector grid; Demilitarized Zone; distress signal; dogma; Dukat's children; Earth; engineering personnel; explosive device; extremist; Farius Prime; farmer; Federation; Federation territory; Ferengi; Ferengi wine; freedom; frisking; Galadoran; Galador freighter; Galador II; Gallamite; Galor-class phaser bank; golside ore; gun runner; hat; heart; Hudson, Gretchen; gun; impulse drive system; impulse generator; impulse signature; Jake-o; jumbo Romulan mollusk; kelindide; kidnapper; Kressari; latinum; Lissepians; long range sensor scan; marriage; mass murder; Mazurka Festival; mercassium; metric ton; New Berlin; Nog; Norway; Occupation of Bajor; old man; phaser bank; photographic memory; photon launcher; photon torpedo; plasma storm; plomeek soup; Promenade; proprietor; protomatter; proximity scan; Quark's; R&R; ramscoop; ranking officer; receipt; Regulon system; retaliatory strike; rodinium; Ropal City; rulebook; Rules of Acquisition; Saltah'na clock; Samuels, Louise; Samuels' daughters; sausage; searching; Second Order; security guard; sensor range; shield generator; Sisko, Jake; Sisko, Jennifer; slip of the tongue; Soltok IV; SID; Starfleet; Starfleet Command; subspace transmission; suicide; three-dimensional chess; toast; tummy; Volan colonies; Volan II; Volan III; Volan III moon; Vulcans; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan Bill of Rights; Vulcan port; warp signature; "wee small hours"; wild woman; Yridians

Starship references[]

Bajoran transport; Bardeezan merchant ship; Bok'Nor; Bok'Nor-type; Bolian vessel; Cardassian attack vessel/Cardassian shuttle (unnamed); Cardassian pursuit vessel; Danube-class; Federation merchant vessel/Federation merchant ship; Klingon freighter; Kotakian ship; Maquis ship; Rio Grande, USS; runabout; support courier; troop transport

Other references[]

Promenade Directory: Amphitheatre; Andorian Fast Food; Bajoran Consulate; Bajoran Customs Office; Banzai Institute; Berman's Dilithium Supply; Bowling Alley; Cargo Loading and Transfer; Cavor's Gravity Devices; Chief Engineer's Office; Curry's Martial Arts Training; Del Floria's Tailor Shop; Diet Smith Corporation; Diva Droid Corporation; Dock Master's Office; Federation Consulate; Fredrickson's Squid Vendor; Garak's Clothiers; Geological Assay Office; Gocke's House of Mirrors; Klingon Consulate; Import Protocol Office; Infirmary; Jacobson's Used Photons; Jupiter Mining Corporation; Lodging and Accommodation; Milliways; Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club; Quark's Bar; Replimat Cafe; Richarz' Accessories; Rush Dilithium Crystals; Schoolroom - Mrs. Keiko O'Brien; Sirius Cybernetics Corporation; Spacecraft Resupply; Spacely Sprockets; Station Operations; Subspace Communications; Tom Servo's Used Robots; Vince's Gym; Vulcan Embassy; Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems; Chez Zimmerman

External links[]

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 2
Next episode:
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