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Sisko fights to keep the wreckage of a crashed Jem'Hadar fighter.



"Captain's log, Stardate 50049.3. We're conducting a mineral survey of Torga IV, an uninhabited planet in the Gamma Quadrant believed to contain vast deposits of cormaline. Our mission is to determine the feasibility of establishing a mining operation on the planet's surface."

As the away team conducts their planetary survey, Chief O'Brien and young Crewman Muniz tease one another. They appear to be forming a close working relationship. Captain Sisko determines that, despite being a long way from supply lines, the planet is a good place to mine cormaline. He and Lieutenant Commander Dax are discussing the matter when a ship of some kind crashes on the planet's surface. Sisko asks Ensign Hoya to have the runabout beam Sisko and the others to the site of the crash, where they discover a Jem'Hadar attack ship. The away team, with their phaser rifles drawn, walk towards it.

Act One[]

The crew find that the warship has landed upside down and enter through a hatch that would normally be used to land troops. Inside, they find numerous corpses, but according to Dax's tricorder, the troops have been dead for hours. O'Brien suspects an inertial damper failure, which means that when the ship sped up, every bone in the men's bodies was crushed instantly. Although Sisko is excited about the discovery of the ship, he wonders what it was doing so far from Dominion space. Realizing the runabout's tractor beam will be insufficient to tow the ship, he sends for the USS Defiant to tow it back to the Alpha Quadrant.

Quark and Bashir in trouble

"What would you call yourself, doctor?"
"An idiot!"
"I'll buy that…"

Aboard Deep Space 9, Odo has arrested Quark and his "co-conspirator," Dr. Bashir. The trio enter Sisko's office, where Major Kira learns that Quark ordered a shipment of Regalian fleaspiders for Bashir without an import permit. Bashir intended to use the venom from the spiders to synthesize a drug to improve Major Kira's circulation. However, the Ferengi took the opportunity to smuggle illegal Regalian liquid crystals along with the spiders. An impatient Kira announces she is taking the Defiant to the Gamma Quadrant to retrieve Sisko and the others, and she will be back in a week.

Outside the Jem'Hadar vessel, Chief O'Brien tells Sisko he thinks they could get the ship out of the rock face by firing the main thrusters, but to do that, he'll have to calibrate the plasma injectors. Meanwhile, Commander Worf informs Sisko that they have buried the bodies of the warship's crew, 42 Jem'Hadar and 1 Vorta field supervisor in all. Suddenly, Ensign Hoya contacts Sisko from the runabout and announces that another warship has just suddenly come out of warp; within seconds, the runabout is destroyed over Torga IV killing Hoya, Rooney, and Bertram.

Act Two[]

Immediately after the runabout's destruction, Jem'Hadar soldiers beam to the surface. There is a shootout in which another away team member, T'Lor, is killed and Sisko and the others take shelter inside the crashed ship, but Muniz is shot along the way.

Oddly, the Jem'Hadar do not follow the Starfleet team into the ship. O'Brien dresses Muniz's wound by ripping one of the sleeves of his uniform undershirt and using it as a bandage while they regroup and formulate a plan. The crew explores the ship and find it minimalistic at best. Among other things, there are two headsets – one for a Vorta and another for the Jem'Hadar First – which seem to be the Dominion equivalent of viewscreens. They are interrupted when Kilana, the Vorta in charge of the newly-arrived ship who contacts Sisko over the Dominion comm system. She offers to meet Sisko face to face with one guard each.

Sisko agrees to meet Kilana, who is quite amicable in person. However, she does not recognize Sisko's claim to Salvage rights for the ship and wants it back. As she and Sisko talk, a lone Jem'Hadar beams into the ship and camouflages himself.

Act Three[]

The Jem'Hadar is carrying a piece of surveillance equipment. Meanwhile, Kilana offers to take Sisko and the others back to Federation territory, but Sisko firmly refuses. O'Brien finds the Jem'Hadar and there is a brief struggle before Muniz manages to shoot the soldier, saving the chief from being stabbed.

With Kilana aboard her ship and Sisko back inside his, O'Brien continues to tend to Muniz, who suspects he is dying. They realize there is an anticoagulant in his blood, an apparent side-effect of the Jem'Hadar weapon, which is preventing his otherwise minor wound from healing. As a result, Muniz is bleeding to death and requires immediate attention. Worf and O'Brien have a difference of opinion over this; while the Klingon believes Muniz should be told to prepare for death, O'Brien is convinced that Muniz's only chance is to keep fighting. Dax then changes the subject and asked Worf to help her take a look at an ion exchange matrix they found as Muniz begins going into shock.

Kilana contacts Sisko again and apologizes for her deception, offering to meet him unarmed and alone (a condition to which she does not hold him) as a show of good faith. When they meet again, Kilana acknowledges the obvious: there is something aboard Sisko's ship she wants. However, neither trusts the other and Sisko refuses to let Kilana retrieve it, while Kilana refuses to tell Sisko what it is. She realizes their conversation is going nowhere, so she beams off the surface as her ship begins to bombard the surface.

Act Four[]

Before long, the crew realizes Kilana is not trying to hit the ship, as the ultritium concussion shells her ship is firing should destroy them in one hit. They continue to search for whatever Kilana wants, while Muniz's condition continues to deteriorate and he becomes delirious. Tensions continue to mount as the Starfleet group, tired, hungry, and filthy, become increasingly apprehensive. Sisko becomes fed up with the bickering between Worf and O'Brien and Dax's misguided attempts to lighten the situation with humor and sharply orders everyone to stop wasting time and start acting like professional Starfleet officers who know what they're doing. He then tells Worf and O'Brien to try and get the engines and weapons working, and orders Dax to search the ship no matter how many times it takes to find whatever Kilana wants. As the three chastened officers leave to do their work, Sisko turns to Muniz and orders him to stay alive.

"Captain's log, supplemental. The Jem'Hadar barrage has continued on and off for ten hours. Chief O'Brien has restored main power and helm control. If we can bring the ship's engines online, we may be able to lift off and escape from here."

O'Brien does his best to get the ship up and running, but when they attempt to take off from the planet, the power circuits overload and the condition of the ship's systems becomes even worse leaving them with no choice but to wait for the Defiant to arrive. O'Brien tells Muniz they could really use his help, only to find that the young engineer has died from his injuries, causing a deafening silence to wash over the crew. Dax later comforts Sisko, who tells his friend that they need to get the ship back to Starfleet so that the families of the five dead officers won't feel that their loved ones died for nothing. The gloomy mood is interrupted when something begins to drip from the ceiling. They look up to realize one of the bulkheads is actually a Founder.

Act Five[]

The Changeling is not attacking, but dying, no longer able to hold its form and apparently injured from the accident that killed the ship's crew. As it dies, it cries out, loud enough for Kilana and her men to hear.

With the Changeling dead, Kilana beams directly aboard Sisko's ship, alone. She informs him that her soldiers killed themselves for allowing one of their gods to die. She says Sisko should have trusted her, but he says she was lying to him from the beginning, this wasn't her first mission outside the Dominion. She says she regrets lying, but all that mattered to her was rescuing the Founder. Sisko says she should have told him the truth. She says she was afraid they would kill the Founder if they knew about him. Sisko tells her all he wanted was the ship. Muniz and all the others died because neither Sisko nor Kilana was willing to trust the other. Dax confirms that the soldiers outside have killed themselves. Sisko allows Kilana to take some of the Founder's remains with her.

Just before she leaves, Kilana asks Sisko if he has any gods that he believes in. He says he believes in some things. She asks "Duty, Starfleet, the Federation? You must be pleased with yourself, you have this ship to take back to them. I hope it was worth it." Kilana then leaves, as Sisko can only hope that the ship was worth the lives that were lost for it.

The Defiant arrives and tows the Jem'Hadar ship back to DS9. Starfleet is of course very pleased with the find and awards the crew medals. Sitting alone in the Defiant's mess hall, Sisko laments the death of Muniz, Hoya, and the others while writing a report for Starfleet Command. Joining him at his table, Dax reminds Sisko that, while their deaths were certainly tragic, they all knew the risks when they joined Starfleet, and each officer was proud to wear the uniform and serve under him. Dax also notes that, while it may sound cold, from a practical standpoint, the captured ship might have cost five lives, but could help save thousands or millions more. Sisko says he knows, and he would do the same thing all over again… but it is still unfair to those who died on a lonely planet so far from home.

USS Defiant cargo hold Ak'voh

Worf and O'Brien perform the ak'voh for Muniz

In the Defiant's cargo hold, O'Brien holds his own vigil over Muniz's casket. Worf enters and notices O'Brien's activity and tells him that it's similar to an old Klingon tradition called ak'voh, or keeping the body of a warrior who died in battle safe from predators while they make their journey to Sto-vo-kor. He offers to help O'Brien protect Muniz, to which the chief responds, "I'm sure Quique would have liked that."

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"In case you haven't noticed Dax, no one is laughing!!"

- Sisko

"We have you completely surrounded. And outnumbered. Would you like something to eat, Captain? Or maybe something to drink?"

- Kilana, to Sisko

"How many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me "sir"? I'm not an officer."
"No, you know more than they do."

- O'Brien and Muniz

"Don't you trust me?"
"I'd like to, captain. But I can't, not under these circumstances. There's simply… too much at stake for us."
"We've got a lot at stake, too. I won't risk the lives of my crew."
"It seems we're approaching an impasse."
"We've already arrived."

- Sisko and Kilana

"It is only a matter of time."
"So we should just kill him, right?"
"If you truly are his friend, you will consider that option. It would be a more honorable death than the one he's enduring."
"I'm not some bloodthirsty Klingon looking for an excuse to kill my friend."
"No. You are just another weak Human, afraid to face death."

- Worf and O'Brien, on Muniz

"What is it?"
"It may have been the Vorta's computer console. I found it in one of the upper compartments, but the power grid is offline in that part of the ship."
"So you ripped it out of the wall. Very nice. So, what do we do with it now, use it for a door stop?"
"I do not care what you do with it."

- Worf and Dax

"I know it's hot. We're filthy, tired, and we've got ten isotons of explosives going off outside. But we will never get out of this if we don't pull it together and start to act like professionals!"

- Sisko

"My offer was genuine. All that mattered to me was the Founder."
"Then you should have told me about him."
"You might have killed him, or made him a hostage."
"No! All I wanted was the ship."
"And I was willing to let you take it."

- Kilana and Sisko

"Do you have any gods, Captain Sisko?"
"There are… things I believe in."
"Duty? Starfleet, the Federation? You must be pleased with yourself. You have the ship to take back to them. I hope it was worth it."
"So do I."

- Kilana and Sisko

"We will both keep the predators away."
"I'm sure Quique would have liked that."

- Worf and O'Brien, as the former joins the latter in guarding Muniz's body

Background information[]

Story and script[]

  • The character of Kilana was written to be Eris, the female Vorta from the second season finale "The Jem'Hadar", but actress Molly Hagan was unavailable. This was the second time the producers had tried to bring Eris back. They had originally written the role that became Borath in "The Search, Part II" for her, but, again, Hagan was unavailable. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • The few audible parts of Spanish Muniz was speaking translated into "The stars… look, beautiful… in the night, beautiful". Presumably he was talking about the night of the fireworks show.
  • Sisko wonders aloud what the Jem'Hadar ship was doing near Torga IV, at least three weeks away from the nearest Dominion outpost. This question is never resolved, however.


  • The exterior scenes for this episode were filmed at Soledad Canyon, a gravel pit north of Los Angeles, which had also been used for Cardassia IV in the second season episode "The Homecoming" and for Dozaria in the fourth season episode "Indiscretion". Soledad was also used for the sixth season episode "Rocks and Shoals". As had happened during the shoot for "The Homecoming" however, temperatures became much hotter than anticipated, reaching as high as 124 °F/51 °C. According to director Kim Friedman, "We had bottles of water to pour over our heads. I'd call 'Action,' and by the time the take was over and I'd call 'Cut,' our clothes and hair were totally dry. I felt sorry for the actors. The rest of us were wearing shorts and almost nothing, and we couldn't stand it. About five o'clock someone said 'Oh my God, the temperature's gone down a little bit.' It was like ninety-nine or one hundred, and we'd noticed!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?) During the shoot for "Rocks and Shoals", it was even hotter.
  • Kaitlin Hopkins recalled filming in the desert: "We shot in the middle of the desert and it was, I think, close to 113 degrees that day. The ship that we were standing on was metal. I can’t even imagine what the temperature was with the sun beating down onto that metal and these waves of heat would waft up and smack us in the face. I remember every time they yelled cut, they would bring water, trying to keep us hydrated and had shammy cloths soaked in ice water to put on our necks and wrists during breaks. So, the poor actors who were the Jem’Hadar standing behind me, their head pieces covered their heads almost completely in rubber, and we were in the middle of a scene and all of a sudden I hear a big “clunk” behind me, and the director yells “Cut!” One of them had fainted from the heat. I have to say it was one of the funniest things I have ever watched, the playbacks, and all of sudden one of my Jem’ Hadar just falls out of frame. He was fine, just overheated, but that was one of those moment you were like 'Oh, the things I do for love of acting!'" [1]
  • Hopkins was honored to get to work with Avery Brooks. She commented: "Wow, well, I was young actress who had been raised in the theater, and there was this great actor who I knew his work in the theater outside of his success in television. It was incredible to work opposite him in those scenes. He has such incredible focus and plays strong intentions with high stakes. Nothing is ever causal in his work. I knew that going in and really took the time to study a few of the more-recent episodes in terms of style and tone, so I could match whatever he gave me in the scenes. I knew to hold my own with him, I was going to have to work hard on this character and be very specific with every word I said. I have to say, it was also a little intimidating to be (one of) the first female Vorta. I knew the network executives and creative team on the show, were extremely invested in everything being perfect when introducing a new character, so there was a pressure there to do it well. Even though I was a small part of the Star Trek legacy, I felt a responsibility to make sure I really fit into the world, if that makes sense. The acting style on the shows was so specific and you see that reflected in the number of actors who came from classical Shakespearean backgrounds. Anyway, it was an honor to work with Avery. He is a consummate professional, a gentleman and a great, great actor". [2]
  • Ensign Hoya is the first Benzite female seen on Star Trek, and the first Benzite seen without visible breathing apparatus. Mike Okuda explains the absence of the apparatus by pointing out "there's been some advances in Benzite technology!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 372) The Benzites were introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Coming of Age".


  • Although this was a popular episode among fans, the producers were less than thrilled with the final product and felt that the episode could have been so much more than it was. According to Ira Steven Behr, "the whole point of doing that show was that we wanted to make everyone tense. We wanted to see our people hot, and uncomfortable, but it didn't come off quite as well as we would have wanted. We wanted to do the Alamo thing, thirteen days of constant bombardment gets your nerves on edge, but somehow we weren't doing it. We weren't rocking the boat enough." Similarly, Hans Beimler reflects that "the one thing we shouldn't have done was go outside the ship. I would like to have stayed inside and just kept the female Vorta as a voice, saying 'Come out captain, you've got to trust me. You've got to trust me.' The pressure, the steam, would have built up a little more on the ship. But in the episode. Sisko actually beams out and has a confrontation with the female Vorta, causing the tension to dissipate." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • Similarly, the producers didn't feel that bringing back the character of Enrique Muniz fulfilled what it was supposed to; as Ira Steven Behr explains, "the whole idea was to show that the engineers, the tech guys, have a brotherhood. We wanted to bond O'Brien with this guy and have it mean something. But the scenes didn't play the way they should have. They didn't play like two guys who were really comfortable with each other. It wound up being about O'Brien and a guy who's dying. The audience never came to care enough about Muniz because they didn't see O'Brien's investment in Muniz." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • Despite feeling that the tension didn't live up to expectations, Hans Beimler was extremely proud of one aspect of this episode: the penultimate scene, with Sisko and Dax, where Sisko reads the list of casualties. According to Beimler, "It's amazing that in all these years of Star Trek no captain had ever sat down and talked about those consequences. In the Star Trek universe, where we blow people up cleanly with phasers, war seems almost antiseptic. But I think it's nice to periodically remind ourselves that the casualties are real people, and that when our characters discuss them, they're talking about people who exist for them. That, to me, was one of the most important moments in that episode, and a great moment for the series." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?) The theme of real people behind a list of casualties and the loss of life during times of war was revisited several times over the rest of the show's run, in episodes like "Nor the Battle to the Strong", "The Siege of AR-558", "What You Leave Behind", and "In the Pale Moonlight".
  • Ronald D. Moore commented that he thought that the episode "had some problems. It's a fairly solid episode, but I don't think the relationship with Muniz quite plays as strong as it could have done. I was a little disappointed with some of the location work". ("Writing Across the Universe", Star Trek Monthly issue 29)
  • Kaitlin Hopkins was very pleased with the episode, commenting: "I just loved that the writers were willing to take a risk and trust that basically two people just standing still for the large majority of the episode, negotiating, was going to be compelling enough to sustain the audience. I have to say, and not because I was in it, but I thought the writing on DS9 was incredible, but most especially I thought the structure of the storytelling and writing on that episode was both unique and brilliant." [3]
  • A writer for Cinefantastique wrote: "This powerful episode showed the effect of the loss of men on a commander The. Captain Sisko grieves for the four crew who died, O'Brien for Muñiz, who we have come to know. The script was so well written and acted that their grief seemed very real". (Cinefantastique, Volume 29, p. 27, 1997)
  • The writer Keith DeCandido rated the episode 9/10. [4]


  • Jem'Hadar weapons induce cellular disruption with the explicit intention of killing anyone they hit slowly, so that they will be a distraction for their comrades.
  • The Jem'Hadar attack ship captured here later reappeared in "A Time to Stand" and "Rocks and Shoals", where it is used to enter Cardassian space to destroy a ketracel-white installation.
  • The nickname Miles O'Brien uses for Crewman Muniz is spelled "Quique" (pronounced KEE-kay), a common Spanish nickname for Enrique.
  • The scene in which Muniz teases O'Brien about Ireland having only hills but no mountains seems to be a nod to the 1995 film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, which starred Colm Meaney.
  • The idea of Klingons keeping vigil over the bodies of the dead seems at odds with prior portrayals, wherein a corpse was considered a worthless shell immediately upon death. (TNG: "Heart of Glory"; VOY: "Emanations") However, Worf calls the ak'voh an "old Klingon tradition"; perhaps it is no longer commonly practiced, but Worf was familiar with it due to his studies of ancient Klingon culture. It is also worth noting that in "Lower Decks", Worf "invented" a Klingon ritual (the Gik'tal test) to help Sito Jaxa. O'Brien's vigil is an example of the Irish tradition of holding a funeral wake throughout the night. Star Trek: Discovery introduced the Klingon Sarcophagus ship, so clearly some Klingons wanted to honor their deceased comrades.
  • Sisko's suspicion that Kilana may be immune to any poison potentially present in the food offered to him is later implicitly confirmed in "Ties of Blood and Water", when Weyoun reveals that the Vorta are immune to most forms of poison.
  • Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode, though he is mentioned to Sisko by Kilana and Sisko mentions to Dax that Jake and Muniz share the same birthday.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]



acceleration; access point; ak'voh; anticoagulant; aphrodisiac; ash; Bajoran; bandage; bedside manner; Benzites; bulkhead; Carnival; "catch your breath"; Changeling; class 5 pyroclastic debris; co-conspirator; conspirator; constable; cormaline; Danube-class (runabout); Deep Space 9; Defiant-class; Defiant, USS; delirium; DNA; Dominion; Dominion language; Dominion outpost; doorstop; dying Changeling; expression; Ferengi; fireworks; flattery; Founder; Gamma Quadrant; Garak, Elim; hills; hyper spanner; impact; import permit; inertial damper; ion exchange matrix; ion regulator; Ireland; isoton; jefe; Jem'Hadar; Jem'Hadar attack ship; Jem'Hadar crew; jets; Klingon; lieutenant; magnetic flux coupler; meter; microfusion initiator; mineral survey; morphology; mountain; mountain man; "Old Man"; osteonecrosis; "out of breath"; Papa; Phase-conjugate graviton beam; plasma conduit; plasma injector; poison; professor; pyroclastic; Q'lava; Quark's; "Quique"; Regalian fleaspider; Regalian liquid crystal; Salvage; Salvage rights; shivering; Sisko's attack ship; Somak; Space salvage laws; Spanish language; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet uniform; Sto-vo-kor; suicide; Terok Nor-type; Tiburon; Torga IV; tourniquet; transporter burn; triangular; tricorder; ultritium; ultritium concussion shell; vein; ventral; virtual sensory display (aka virtual display interface); vole; Vorta; Vorta supervisor; wake; Weyoun 4; wedding

External links[]

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