(written from a Production point of view)
Sisko takes an untested Starfleet warship into the Gamma Quadrant in an attempt to find the Founders of the Dominion. (Season premiere)
Kira, Dax, O'Brien, Odo, and Bashir are in Ops, having a discussion about the possible invasion by the Jem'Hadar, the soldiers of the Dominion. Dax says the only two options are to abandon the station and make a stand on Bajor, or to collapse the wormhole. Just as Kira rejects both ideas and demands a third alternative, a subspace surge activates the security sensors; O'Brien is shocked that a cloaked vessel somehow approached the station's shield perimeter completely undetected. Suddenly, the ship decloaks, and hails the station. On Ops' viewscreen, Commander Benjamin Sisko appears, standing on the bridge of an experimental vessel called the USS Defiant, a warship originally designed to fight the Borg. He says to Kira that he has "brought back a little surprise for the Dominion."
Sisko and the senior officers discuss the Defiant in the station's wardroom. Sisko says it is a prototype; a warship originally designed to fight the Borg. With the Borg threat becoming less urgent over the years, the idea was abandoned after design flaws were found during initial testing. Sisko avoids the technical details, but sums up the situation: the Defiant is overpowered and overarmed for a ship of her size, and almost tore herself apart when tested at maximum impulse. When Kira complains at being sent this from Starfleet to fight the Dominion with, Sisko tells her that they are not going to fight the Dominion – yet. Their mission is to go into the Gamma Quadrant, locate the Founders whom are believed to be the Dominion's leaders and to convince them that the Federation is not a threat to them. The Defiant is to be used in order to show the Dominion that the Federation can, and will, defend themselves should there be an attack.
At this point, Lieutenant Commander Michael Eddington and Sub-Commander T'Rul enter, informing Sisko of the new security measures they have implemented. When Odo objects, Sisko introduces the sub-commander, and says she is here to operate the cloaking device, loaned to Starfleet by the Romulan government. She says her role is to keep unauthorized persons away from the cloaking device. When Sisko tries to introduce his officers to her, she interrupts, saying she is not here to make friends. She then leaves, abruptly. Eddington then says he is here to make friends, and introduces himself to Kira. Odo is more than a little put out by Eddington being from Starfleet Security, and asks what exactly Eddington is doing here. Before he can reply, Sisko tells them that there will be a full station briefing at 1800 hours, and the Defiant will depart at 0700. He dismisses everyone.
Odo comes to a conclusion. He informs Sisko that there is no need to brace himself to tell him unpleasant news, and that he already knows he has been replaced as head of security. Sisko runs to catch up, telling him in a corridor that he will still be head of all matters concerning non-Starfleet security. For Odo this is not enough, and he asks why. Sisko says he has even been to the Chief of Starfleet Security herself, but the decision was final, due to concerns about recent security breaches on the station. Odo blames it on the restrictions caused by Starfleet regulations, and Sisko tells him that his reluctance to follow those regulations is a problem as well. Odo thinks it is to do with his being a shapeshifter, and assures the Commander that his resignation will be logged shortly.
Inside the Sisko quarters, the commander finds Jake sitting at the dinner table eating an I'danian spice pudding, even though he is supposed to be unpacking. Sisko finds he now thinks of the station as home, and wonders aloud when he began to think of "this Cardassian monstrosity" as that. Jake suggests it was last week, when the commander brought some of his items, including a 2,000 year old Yoruba mask, to the station, out of storage on Earth. The two have a comforting moment together as the elder Sisko looks for a place to hang the mask.
Kira comes up to Odo as he looks out of a window on the Promenade. She says that the provisional government has asked for his presence on the mission. Odo says he highly doubts that, and he thinks it is just an attempt to make him feel better. Kira almost acknowledges that it is, and says that she is his friend, and is trying to make him see that he is still needed on the station. She leaves, after telling him that the Defiant leaves at 0700 hours. Odo continues to quietly look out the Promenade's viewports.
Quark is in Sisko's office, confused as to why he has just been asked to come on the trip to find the Founders. Sisko says it is because eight months ago, he helped the Grand Nagus establish trade links with the Karemma, who are part of the Dominion. They may help to establish contact with the Founders. Quark tries to find excuses not to go, but Sisko will have none of it. Quark then flat out refuses, saying he has no intention of repeating his last experience with the Jem'Hadar. Sisko gets out the Grand Nagus' staff, saying that the Nagus has already agreed to Quark's going on this mission. Quark is forced to accept it, and is made to kiss the staff before leaving, to Sisko's amusement.
Dax tells Sisko that O'Brien's checks indicate the ship will be ready at 0700. The two discuss the chances of succeeding; Sisko says the chances are slim, but better than the chances of surviving a Jem'Hadar attack on the station. Dax says she thought she'd never see him so passionate about something since Jennifer died. Sisko says it was going back to Starfleet Headquarters, and being inspired by the admirals that made him passionate again. Dax says that Curzon never thought Sisko would be an admiral – he thought that Sisko would always have to be in the thick of things, and not sitting behind a desk. Dax leaves, after they both agree that they need to get some sleep.
On the Defiant the next morning, Bashir tells Sisko that the medical facilities are severely lacking. Dax enters, informing the commander that Quark has settled into his quarters, despite being disappointed by the decorations. All systems are online, and they are about to depart, when they alerted to someone's presence in the airlock. It is Odo. He requests to come aboard, and Sisko agrees. Bashir volunteers to find him some quarters, as he has to go down to sickbay. The ship leaves, and cloaks once it enters the Gamma Quadrant. It begins to head for the Karemma system.
Odo has been forced to share a bunk with Quark, as it is the only remaining quarters aboard with life support. Odo sits in a corner, as Quark begins to complain about almost everything there is to complain about. Odo says he has been holding his humanoid shape for 16 hours and needs to revert to his original form. Odo does not want Quark to watch. When Quark continues, he gets angry, and tells him to stay out of his way. Odo then shifts into a liquid, and goes into his bucket.
Jem'Hadar fighters are detected in the vicinity. Sisko orders the ship to remain on course, as this will be a good time to check if the cloaking device is effective against Jem'Hadar sensors. The ship appears to have detected them, as it turns round. The sub-commander disagrees, saying it may be subspace fluctuations that a cloaked ship emits at warp, and suggests dropping out of warp. Sisko gives the order to do so. The ships scan the area with antiprotons, and it is unknown whether they will detect the ship. The ships almost seem like they have detected the Defiant, but they fly off into warp.
On arriving on the Karemma homeworld, Quark tries to persuade the first minister Ornithar into putting them in contact with the Founders in exchange for trade advantages (namely a three percent increase of tulaberry wine purchases). However, stating that their only contact with the Dominion leadership is through the Vorta race, who didn't instruct them how to deal with the newcomers, Ornithar is reluctant to help them. He also points out he doesn't even know if the founders are real, and that the Jem'Hadar will intervene at the smallest sign of insubordination. Quark then threatens to discontinue buying the wine altogether, prompting Sisko to point out that losing an important trade agreement with the Alpha Quadrant might also displease the Dominion.
Compelled by Sisko's argument, Ornithar directs them to an unmanned subspace relay station in the Callinon system, where the Karemma send all communications for the Dominion. Interestingly, while looking at the star chart on the viewscreen, Odo recognizes a familiar form, the Omarion Nebula and feels inexplicably drawn to it. Quark, with his job now done, chooses to remain with the Karemma to continue trade negotiations and get a ride home and Sisko agrees.
When the Defiant arrives at Callinon VII, the site of the subspace relay station, it engages the cloaking device and enters orbit. Dax and O'Brien beam down and manage to tap into the main computer suspiciously easy. However, before they upload the information to the Defiant, the two are interrupted as a hand grabs Dax's shoulder while an alarm is triggered which activates a shield around the facility, trapping them inside. As Jem'Hadar warships approach the planet, Sisko is forced to flee and abandon the two of them on the surface with T'Rul's approval and despite Bashir's objections.
Bashir wonders what will happen to Dax and O'Brien. Sisko assumes they will be interrogated, and hopes they will also try to contact the Founders. He moves on and calls Odo to the bridge to talk through security measures, but, oddly, Odo refuses, saying he's busy. Kira leaves to talk with him when T'Rul reports that three more Jem'Hadar vessels heading in their direction. Sisko decides to drop out of warp, cut off main power, and wait until they pass just like last time.
Kira finds Odo obsessed with the map on the computer in his quarters. She confronts him but also wants to repay the friendship he's shown her when she needed him. Odo then reveals to her his strange obsession with the Omarion Nebula, and begs her to let him go there in a shuttle. Kira is very confused by Odo's attitude, and tells him that they can consider taking him once they've finished their mission to find the Founders. Odo however angrily and desperately tells her he needs to go there right now. As Kira insists that the mission comes first, the ship comes under fire from three Jem'Hadar ships, who have managed to penetrate the cloak.
The Defiant decloaks and destroys one of the attacking vessels, but sustains heavy damage, and soon loses shields and main power, enabling Jem'Hadar soldiers to beam aboard. Kira is knocked unconscious, but Odo rescues her and escapes. After a brief fight, the bridge crew is overwhelmed.
Kira wakes up on a shuttle with Odo, who informs her that the Defiant was captured by the Jem'Hadar. When she finds out the shuttlecraft is heading for the Omarion Nebula instead of back to DS9, Kira protests energetically, but Odo is unmoved. They finally arrive in the nebula, and discover an class M planet ahead, but no star system. They land the shuttlecraft on the surface, and discover a strange mass of viscous liquid. As they are watching, several humanoid forms resembling Odo's appearance rise from the liquid. One of them, a female Changeling, approaches Odo and greets him: "Welcome home".
"I've brought back a little surprise for the Dominion."
- - Sisko, referring to the Defiant
"She may have flaws, but she has teeth."
- - Sisko, talking about the Defiant
"I have no interest in speaking to you, or listening to your witless prattle! So stay out of my way, or you'll regret the day you ever met me!"
- - Odo, to an overly chatty Quark
"Rom only has his son to think about. I have a business!"
- - Quark
"We'd all feel a bit better with [Odo] here to watch over Quark."
"I take that as a personal insult, doctor!"
- - Bashir and Quark, aboard the Defiant
"What the hell is wrong with Starfleet? How could they do this to him?"
"This has been a long time coming, Major. Starfleet has never been happy with the Constable. They've been pressing me to replace him for the last two years."
"Because he worked for the Cardassians."
"No, it goes deeper than that. Odo is not what you'd call a team player."
- - Kira and Sisko
"Who's your contact in the Dominion regarding administration, trade, defense?"
"Our only contact with the Dominion has been through the Vorta. I have no idea who they report to. All I know is that the Vorta say to do something and you do it."
"Because if you do not, they will send in the Jem'Hadar, and then you die."
- - Sisko and Ornithar
"Ever since we've come into the Gamma Quadrant, I've had this feeling of being drawn somewhere, pulled by some instinct to a specific place. The Omarion Nebula."
- - Odo, to Major Kira
"Where are we?"
"Approaching the Omarion Nebula."
"You should have taken us back to the wormhole."
"You didn't object at the time."
"I was unconscious!"
- - Kira and Odo, aboard a Defiant shuttlecraft taking them to the Omarion Nebula
- - Female Shapeshifter, to Odo
Story and script
- In devising this episode, the DS9 writing staff decided to introduce a pair of characters which they intended to feature as recurring roles: Michael Eddington and T'Rul. According to Ronald D. Moore, Eddington was initially conceived merely to fill in when Colm Meaney was away doing a film. (citation needed • edit) Likewise, T'Rul was originally conceived to be a recurring character who would be in charge of operating the cloaking device on board the USS Defiant. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Of the creation of the USS Defiant, Robert Hewitt Wolfe pointed out, "Bringing in the Defiant was based on our own internal perceptions of something that would make the show better. It was not based on ratings." There was also a practical reason for its introduction, as Ira Steven Behr explained, "We'd created villains who were that powerful, and all we had floating around as the thin red line of defense against this possible invading army were three runabouts." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Rick Berman was initially against the idea of the ship having a cloaking device because one of the tenets of Gene Roddenberry's universe was that Starfleet "did not believe in sneaking around." However, Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe managed to convince Berman that the Defiant was a unique ship in a unique situation, and, with the added stipulation that the cloak could only be used in the Gamma Quadrant, Berman agreed. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- As his first contribution to the show, Ronald D. Moore was charged with naming the ship. He originally wanted to call the Defiant the "USS Valiant", but was unable to, as the USS Voyager's name also began with a "V". As such, Moore decided to call the new ship the "Defiant", after a ship seen in the Star Trek: The Original Series third season episode "The Tholian Web": the USS Defiant.
- A couple of the story points in this episode were written into the episode due to a season-long campaign to make the DS9 main characters more of a family. "Even in 'The Search', we were trying to get that feeling," commented Ronald D. Moore. "Sisko comes back to the station and Jake says to him, 'DS9 is becoming home,' and Quark is showing that he actually cares about what happens to these people when he says good-bye as they go off to the Gamma Quadrant in the Defiant." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 79)
Cast and characters
- Rene Auberjonois initially felt that the decision to have Odo find his people was a bad idea; "I thought if we solved that mystery about Odo's character, I didn't know where we'd go with him." Auberjonois felt it would be the dramatic death of the character and that fans would lose interest in him. However, after being told that Odo would indeed find his people but would almost immediately alienate himself from them, Auberjonois came to see the potential; "What it did was make the character more complex. It just added to Odo's angst and to his depth, and it made him more challenging and interesting to play. And the fact that he ultimately comes to understand that he can't go back to his people, that he can't go home again. They opened up more avenues for me to travel as an actor." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Hence, Auberjonois was pleased by the way this installment developed his character of Odo. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 332)
- Armin Shimerman hated the scene where Sisko makes Quark kiss the scepter of the Grand Nagus; "Despite the Federation's lip service to their Prime Directive, which says they're not supposed to apply their standards to any culture's attitudes, it seems to me that this was another example of the Federation making fun of, taking advantage of, and ridiculing the Ferengi way. So kissing the scepter was a bit irksome to both the actor and the character." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- T'Rul was played by Martha Hackett, who later went on to play the recurring role of Seska on Star Trek: Voyager.
- The making of this episode involved changes to the makeup and costume used to portray Odo, at the request of Rene Auberjonois. Having liked the way his mirror version of Odo had looked in "Crossover", he had lobbied the producers to keep this design. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 144)
- There were also some behind-the-scenes changes. For example, this was the first episode with Jonathan West as Director of Photography.
- Doug Drexler cited the Dominion relay station in this episode as an example of a set whose look and feel were created using many brightly lit graphics, saying that the set was too dark to see any of the set otherwise. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., p. 193)
- Empire magazine cited the whole two-parter "The Search" as the best episode of Deep Space Nine when they ranked the series #47 on their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time". 
- In Star Trek: Communicator (issue #100, p. 68), writer Pamela Roller commented, "In the two-part 'The Search', fans got a taste of what is an exciting shift to a more 'defiant' attitude for both the show and Sisko."
- The New Trek Programme Guide reviewed this episode thus; "A new focus, DS9 going 'out there' for just about the first time in an attempt to turn Sisko into a 'proper' Star Trek captain. The Jem'Hadar attack on the Defiant is breathtaking, and there are some great Odo/Quark scenes. Various racist undertones concerning Odo are also explored. A promising new direction."
- One aspect of this episode that Science Consultant André Bormanis approved of was how it portrayed the clunkiness of the Defiant's systems. "I liked the idea of getting away from the concept that all Federation technology was squeaky clean and perfect," he said. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The DS9 writing staff's attempt to introduce, in this installment, two new recurring characters paid off with mixed results. After this episode's two-parter, the DS9 producers realized that the T'Rul character would not offer enough story material to warrant keeping her around. However, Eddington did proceed to recur as the series continued, and, according to Ronald D. Moore, the DS9 writers decided, over the course of the third season, to expand his character and even went so far, towards the end of the year, as to set Eddington up as a possible Founder infiltrator. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Following his work on this episode, Jonathan West served as Director of Photography for every subsequent episode of the series run, except for the ones he directed.
- This was the first of eleven DS9 episodes, the last being "Past Tense, Part I", that premiered without another Star Trek series also on the air. All episodes of DS9 before this premiered while The Next Generation was still running, and after "Past Tense, Part I", Voyager had begun.
- After naming the new ship introduced in this episode as the "Defiant" rather than the "Valiant", Ronald D. Moore later created a Defiant-class USS Valiant for the sixth season episode "Valiant".
- This episode is a continuation of the events portrayed in "The Jem'Hadar" and the first of a two-parter, concluding with "The Search, Part II". This episode takes place eight months after "Rules of Acquisition" and two months after "The Jem'Hadar".
- The USS Defiant's weapons in this episode feature a heavy, machine-gun type of sound effect. All other episodes in the series involving the Defiant firing its weapons use a different sound effect, resembling a cross between a phaser and a cannon.
- The Defiant was built to fight the Borg, which it does for the only time during the Battle of Sector 001 in Star Trek: First Contact.
- This episode features the first on-screen appearance of the Karemma. They were mentioned in the season 2 episode "Rules of Acquisition", but they were not seen at that time. This episode also establishes that Quark was obviously successful in opening trade negotiations with the Karemma after being referred to them by the Dosi, and it suggests that Grand Nagus Zek's plan to get in touch with a higher ranking member of the Dominion by making demands which the Dosi couldn't fulfill was successful.
- Jadzia Dax's new "up" hairstyle is unique to this episode and part II.
- Sisko's reaction on how bad the coffee is on the Defiant is similar to his disgust with the replicated coffee on DS9 in the first season episode "Babel".
- This is the first episode in which Sisko expresses a love for Bajor and the first time he voices his refusal to allow it to fall, under any circumstances. The theme of Sisko's love for the planet eventually became more and more important as time went by, and went on to be one of his primary motivating goals in the series finale "What You Leave Behind".
- Odo's reaction to Lieutenant Commander Eddington is almost identical to his reaction to Lieutenant Primmin in the first season episode "The Passenger": on both occasions, he tells Sisko that he will be handing in his resignation.
- Further, while talking to Sisko about Eddington, Odo references his frustration with having to adhere to Starfleet procedures being a key reason why he can't keep the station safe. These concerns were previously raised in "The Maquis, Part I", following the explosion of a ship and two kidnappings, where Odo says, "If you [referring to Starfleet] will let me be in charge of security, I will give you a safe station."
- This episode sees the first appearance of the Female Changeling (played by Salome Jens), the Founders and the Founders' homeworld. It is also the first appearance of Romulans in Deep Space Nine.
- This is also the first appearance of the wardroom.
- The new style combadge that was used up to and including Star Trek Nemesis is first seen in this episode, after it was designed for Star Trek Generations. (citation needed • edit)
- Odo's uniform remained like it is in this episode for the rest of the series.
Video and DVD releases
- At this point, CIC Video dropped the previous continuous volume numbering, introducing a season-specific volume number, which is displayed at the top of the front cover.
- As part of the DS9 Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
- Salome Jens as Female Changeling
- Martha Hackett as T'Rul
- John Fleck as Ornithar
- Kenneth Marshall as Michael Eddington
- Majel Barrett as Narrator
- Steve Diamond as Bajoran officer
- Christopher Doyle as
- William Frankfather as male Changeling
- Kevin Grevioux as Starfleet operations officer
- Sue Henley as civilian
- Tom Morga as
- Tami Peterson as female Changeling
- Unknown performers as
- J. Suzanne Rampe as stunt double for Martha Hackett
- Patricia Tallman as stunt double for Nana Visitor
alloy; Alpha Quadrant; Africa; antiproton beam (antiproton); Bajor; Bajoran; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran wormhole; bearing; beritium; boarding party; Borg; bunk bed; bunk mate; business partner; Callinon system; Callinon VII; Cardassian; caterer; central computer room; Changeling; chief of security; Chief of Starfleet Security (individual); Class M; cloaking device; Constable; central computer room; Dax, Curzon; Defiant, USS; Defiant-class; design flaw; diamide; dirak; Dominion; Dominion cold war; Earth; emissary; escape pod; evasive pattern; explorer; Federation; Ferengi; Founders; Founders' homeworld; Gamma Quadrant; Grand Nagus; Grand Nagus' staff; heart; I'danian spice pudding; inertial damper; interior decorator; Jem'Hadar; Jem'Hadar fighter (two unnamed, three unnamed); Karemma; Karemma system; kilometer; latinum; lead ship; "lining one's pockets"; meter; military expert; Nog; ODN matrix; "Old Man"; Omarion Nebula; outpost; phase inducer; polyduranium; Promenade; Romulan Star Empire; security officer; security protocol; Starfleet; Starfleet General Orders and Regulations; Starfleet Headquarters; Starfleet Security; sub-commander; Sisko, Jennifer; subspace variance; Thursday; transporter; tulaberry wine; Type 18 shuttlepod (Shuttle 01); user interface; Vorta; wardroom; Yoruba mask; Zek
- USS Defiant dedication plaque: Ahern, Terry; Antares Ship Yards; Bajor sector; Baxter, Michael; Behr, Ira Steven; Berman, Rick; Blackman, Bob; Brown, Judy; Cameron, B.C.; chief of staff; Clancey, Pat; Curry, Dan; DeGaetano, Dave; della Santina, Bob; Elkins, Judy; Echevarria, René; Fleet Operations; Fredrickson, Anthony; Gocke, Bill; Herbertson, Scott; Hutzel, Gary; Jein, Gregory; Krosskove, Chris; Lauritson, Peter; Lawrence, Paul; Livingston, David; Martin, Jim; McIlvain, Randy; Longo, Joe; Masefield, John; Meininger, Tony; Monak, Gary; Moore, Ronald D.; Nash, Erik; Okuda, Denise; Oster, Steve; Piller, Michael; Research and Development; Richarz, Laura; Roddenberry, Gene; Science Operations; Smothers, Heidi; Starfleet Command; Sternbach, Rick; Tactical Ops; Takemura, David; Unsinn, Jim; Van Over, James; West, Jonathan; Westmore, Mike; Whitley, Brian; Wilkinson, Ron; Wolfe, Robert; Yard Engineer; Zimmerman, Herman
- "The Search" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Search" at Wikipedia
- "The Search, Part I" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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"The Search, Part II"