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Klingon Dahar Master Kor, Jadzia Dax, and Worf search for the fabled Sword of Kahless on a remote planet in the Gamma Quadrant.



O'Brien, Kira, Bashir, and Odo listen to Kor

O'Brien, Kira, Bashir, and Odo listen to Kor tell his story

Dahar master Kor is seated in Quark's, regaling a crowd with the story of the glorious battle between Kor, Kang, and Koloth and the forces of T'nag. Almost the entire bar is gathered around the old Klingon, except Worf, who huddles uncomfortably nearby at the bar, quietly listening. When Kor finishes, Jadzia Dax notices Worf sitting alone and invites him to meet her old friend. Worf declines, reminding her that he is considered an outcast by most Klingons, but she insists. Introduced by Dax anyway, Kor calls Worf a traitor and a pariah, "the lowest of the low," followed by a long uncomfortable pause – after which he smiles, extends his hand, assures a visibly upset Worf that anyone so disliked at the highest levels of the Klingon Empire is a friend of his.

Shroud of the Sword

Kor shows Dax and Worf the Shroud of the Sword

Kor invites Worf on a mission to recover the Sword of Kahless, the mythical, millennia-old weapon of the Klingon Empire's legendary first leader – an artifact missing for centuries. A Vulcan geological survey team mining bakrinium discovered evidence of the sword's presence without realizing its significance and gifted the Shroud of the Sword to Kor when he was ambassador to Vulcan. Dax, feeling the effects of all the bloodwine she has consumed, decides to check that the shroud is genuine the following morning. She leaves to go to bed, while Kor and Worf continue drinking.

When the drunken Kor finally retires to his quarters after first speaking with Worf, he is attacked by a Lethean named Soto, who reads his mind.

Act One[]

The next day, Dax finds Kor passed out following the attack and assumes he is merely hung over. He obviously doesn't remember his encounter with the Lethean, but does recount being thrown out of Quark's and spending some time in Worf's quarters drinking Yridian brandy Worf was saving for a special occasion. Turning to the cloth, Dax explains that she has verified the authenticity of the Shroud, particularly since it shows evidence of Hur'q DNA. Kor, becoming very excited, is ready to go, but she asks him where he got it, first.

Later, Captain Sisko is listening to the explanation in his quarters. Apparently a Vulcan geological survey found it accidentally in ancient ruins on an uncharted planet in the Gamma Quadrant, where it must have been left by the Hur'q. Hoping to restore Federation/Klingon relations, Sisko allows them the use of the USS Rio Grande.

On the way, Kor stops to make a speech, clearly excited about the journey and feeling fortunate to be accompanied by Dax and Worf. The trip takes several hours, so Kor rests and Worf does some mok'bara exercise, pausing to thank Dax for introducing him to Kor. Kor has a fantastical dream of returning the Sword in the Hall of Heroes to Gowron, where the statues of Kang and Koloth come alive, reuniting with him. Soon, though, the team reaches the planet. Since the Vulcans had mapped out the ruins well, Kor knows where to look – an area that once was the Hur'q Central Museum. However, there is a force field that Dax needs to spend time on to break through.

Beaming down, they set up force field destabilizers. They successfully create an interference pattern and the field is gone. Upon arrival in a subterranean vault, the three get into a deserted chamber, but find that all the artifacts hidden there have been removed.

Act Two[]

The three are very disappointed, but Worf, unwilling to give up, discovers another chamber. Hidden by a holographic projection, it has a sensor which seemingly only admits Hur'q life signs. Using the Starfleet tricorder to fake them, they enter and finally find the Sword of Kahless. Worf, dumbstruck at seeing the actual sword in person, reaches out to hold it, but lets Kor hold it first.

When they exit the chamber, they are confronted by several Klingons led by Toral, son of Duras, who hired the Lethean to attack Kor and learn about their plans to recover the Sword. Worf initially thinks that Toral wants to be the one to bring back the Sword to restore their family's seat on the Klingon High Council which they lost a few years earlier, however, he says he can lead the Empire himself. Toral also challenges Worf, mentioning the fact that Worf spared his life. Though outnumbered, Kor, Worf, and Dax brawl their way past Toral's group and escape into the caves. Toral's ship was jamming their communications with the runabout, though. Worf suggests that they try going to the surface, so Dax has Kor make sure no one follows.

After a while, Kor asks Worf about his encounter with Toral. When he learns Worf declined the Right of Vengeance, he has second thoughts about him, even calling him not a real Klingon. He blames him for their current predicament, and Worf retorts that Kor earlier boasted about the mission in public, leading Toral to him. Worf goes onward, and Kor expresses regret bringing him along to Dax.

Act Three[]

As they trek through the caves, Kor grows increasingly bombastic about plans for the Sword and the Empire when they return. Stopping to kill and cook a rat they find, Kor jokingly exaggerates their encounter with it. Worf is not amused, and further objects to Kor's use of the Sword to hold the meat. Kor ridicules him, and says Kahless used it to skin the Serpent of Xol. Painting Worf as an idealist, he scoffs at the idea of giving the Emperor the Sword instead of Gowron. He expresses that it would require a true warrior to unite the Klingon people, not someone like Gowron or even the reborn Emperor Kahless. Worf disapprovingly supposes Kor wants to take that role, and Kor says the Empire could do much worse. Dax tries to settle the conversation by moving the group along.

Later, Worf decides that it is his destiny, not Kor's, to possess the Sword and lead his people. While Kor gets more food, Worf explains his newfound meaning of his vision of Kahless when he was younger to Dax. Dax is caught in the middle, but it also appears that Kor has been listening from around the corner.

Act Four[]

The long journey takes the three of them to an abyss, though there is a ledge they can use to continue. Kor slips and loses his footing, but still gripping the Sword. Worf saves Kor by grabbing the other end. Straining, he tries to convince Kor to let go and land on a ledge below, but Kor refuses, believing Worf is deceiving him. Dax helps pull up Kor and they both look down, seeing the ledge, which is dangerously small. Kor then confronts Worf, saying he tried to kill him. He demands the Sword, but Worf instead raises it against him, and they almost start fighting. Dax holds on to the sword herself as the other two squabble over it.

Later, they stop to take a break. Kor and Worf continue to bicker while Dax observes and tries to stop it. She holds the Sword and a phaser even as she sleeps.

Act Five[]

Dax is awakened by the sound of Worf and Kor, ready to fight to the death. They are interrupted when Toral's party catches up to the trio and begins another battle. Kor enthusiastically takes the Sword and engages them. Worf is confident in him, as he has the Sword, and joins him. They soon subdue the whole group, however, Worf and Kor turn on each other, and Worf is on the verge of killing Kor when Dax stuns each of them with her phaser. She turns to Toral and forces him to deactivate the jamming signal, then transports the three of them back to the runabout.

Kor and Worf regard the Sword of Kahless

Kor and Worf view the Sword one last time

Later, on board, Worf and Kor realize that the Sword turned the two of them against each other, and will probably divide the Klingon people as well. Worf ponders if they really were meant to find it; Kor firmly asserts that it was so… but sadly notes that they just were not meant to keep it. They make the decision to beam the sword into space, leaving it to destiny to decide when it should be revealed to the Klingon people.

Memorable quotes[]

"You know what I like about Klingon stories, commander? Nothing. Lots of people die, and nobody makes any profit."

- Quark, to Worf

"Which of us had slain him? No one could say for certain, so we cut out his heart and all three of us feasted on it together!"
"Big heart."

- Kor and Jadzia Dax, poking holes in his story about his, Kang, and Koloth's battle against T'nag

"Kor! I have someone I'd like you to meet."
"I'd like you to meet our strategic operations officer, Commander Worf."
"Ah, Worf the traitor, the pariah, the lowest of the low. (big pause then a grin) It's a pleasure to meet you. Any enemy of Gowron and the High Council is a friend of mine."
"This is a great honor."
"No doubt."
"Worf is a great admirer of yours."
"Yes. Please. (they sit) I have heard stories about you since I was a child. Your confrontation with Kirk on Organia, your attack on Romulus, your defense of the Korama Pass…"
"Everything I have done pales in comparison to what I am about to achieve. I am on a quest. A quest for the most revered icon in Klingon history…"

- Jadzia Dax, Kor, and Worf

"Damn that Ferengi and his replicated bloodwine!"

- Kor

"A true warrior has no need to exaggerate his feats."
"You'd better hope that I exaggerate, or else when they start singing songs about this quest and come to your verse, it will be "and Worf came along.""

- Worf and Kor

"This is the Sword of Kahless! It is not something to shovel food into your mouth!"

- Worf, to Kor

"The sword will unite us if it's held in the hands of a true Klingon, not a politician like Gowron, or some toothless figurehead like the Emperor. The sword must rest in the hands of someone who has been hardened by battle, pure of heart, who understands loyalty and honor. A warrior like Kang and Koloth."
"Someone like you?"
"The Empire could do far worse."

- Kor and Worf

"Did you see the look on the face of that Klingon that I killed? It was as if he understood the honor bestowed upon him. The first man in a thousand years to be killed by the Sword of Kahless."
"I'm sure he was very proud."

- Kor and Dax

Background information[]

Story and script[]



  • Showrunner Ira Steven Behr was pleased with the episode. Behr commented: ""The Sword Kahless" was an interesting show to conceive. I thought it was a good Worf show, with the idea of taking Worf to that place where he crosses the line, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The goal consumes you, so that it wraps your mind up and you can't shake free of it. I thought that was a lot of fun, and I thought that it worked well. I thought the acting was nice – John Colicos was terrific and Michael was wonderful. I think the episode suffered a little bit production wise. Those caves got a little boring and the action scene at the end was okay, but could have been better. Recently, I've been reading a lot of things that said we didn't use Worf enough, but I thought that the shows that we did use Worf in were all interesting shows, and were definitely interesting takes and interesting riffs on that character. By the time we brought Worf into the mix, we had half the season conceptually. Not stories yet, but we knew what we were going to do in these shows and since we had those ideas, you better believe that we were going to do them, since ideas are tough to come by!" ("The Producer's View", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 8)
  • This episode was somewhat unpopular with some viewers when it first aired, something which disappointed writer Hans Beimler and producer René Echevarria. What particularly disappointed them was the fact that many viewers were unable to accept the notion that the bat'leth itself had no actual power. According to Echevarria, "A lot of fan reaction was that there must be a tech explanation, that the sword must be emitting something. I was astonished." Beimler explains Echevarria's astonishment when he says, "the sword itself doesn't have any magic. It's the concept of the sword that has the power. We wanted to explore the notion that there were some dark streaks to be revealed within these characters. The minute anyone starts talking about the sword it starts infecting them, so Worf gets caught up from the very beginning." Both men were disappointed that many fans missed this point, instead assuming that the Sword of Kahless had some mysterious power that simply wasn't revealed in the episode. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. ?)
  • The episode has become more popular in recent years and was voted by fans to be part of the Klingon Fan Collective DVD release.
  • John Colicos greatly enjoyed the episode, commenting: "I absolutely loved it. I thought this was a marvelous kind of tour de force, and I loved all the baiting with Worf – the fight that we had together – all of that was really quite fun to play. I enjoyed that tremendously. Hans Beimler wrote it specifically for me, and he gave me glorious opportunities – in fact he put the word 'glorious' in, too, which seems to have gone down in Klingon history". ("The Sword of Colicos", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 8)
  • Upon the opening of the wormhole, Kor remarks that their quest for the sword, "will be glorious." He says something similar to Kirk towards the end of "Errand of Mercy" regarding the possibility of facing the USS Enterprise captain in war.
  • "The Sword of Kahless" was the second episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to be directed by LeVar Burton after "Indiscretion" and the first to have Michael Dorn in a main role. Burton was pleased with the final episode, commenting: "Great episode. Good Klingon stuff. I think that was the first episode I directed last season that had Michael Dorn in it so it was great to hook up with him again. That was a lot of fun for me. I thought John Colicos was terrific, too. It was also a show that was memorable for me because we spent so much time in the caves on Stage 17. of the seven-or-eight-day schedule, we had about four in the caves, I enjoyed it. I thought that was a good episode". Burton also coined the name "Action Barbie" for Farrell during the filming of the episode. He explained the origin thusly: "Action Barbie – that's my girl. Because she is. She's Action Barbie. She's this incredibly statuesque woman who doesn't mind throwing a kick or punching you in the groin. She's Action Barbie to me". ("Directing The Sword of Kahless", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 8)
  • Terry Farrell commented: "["The Sword of Kahless"] was great because it was the first time I did action for LeVar Burton. He didn't expect me to do well at it. When I did, he called me 'Action Barbie'. So "Sword of Kahless" was my Action Barbie episode, and I've been Action Barbie on the set ever since". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 18)


Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]


9th century; 14th century; Alvanian cave sloth; ambassador; amusement; Bajoran wormhole; bakrinium; bat'leth; battle cry; blister; blood; blood brother; bloodwine; Cardassia; cave-rat; Caves of No'Mat; chant; cleric; clone; cup; Dahar master; Degebian mountain goat; disruptor pistol; d'k tahg; DNA; dozen; Earth; electrostatic charge; Emperor's Crown; Federation; Fek'Ihri; Ferengi; field destabilizers; figurehead; First Empire; force field; foster parent; Gamma Quadrant; geological survey; Gowron; Great Domes of Qo'noS; Hall of Heroes; heart; holographic projection; House of Duras; Human; Hur'q; Hur'q Central Museum; Hur'q planet; icon; "in comparison"; Invasion of Cardassia; jamming signal; Kang; Kirk, James T.; Kahless; Kahless the Unforgettable; Kahless' father; kilometer; Klingon; Klingon-Cardassian War; Klingon Empire; Klingon High Council; Klingon history; Klingonese; Koloth; Korma Pass; legion; Letheans; Lukara; mek'leth; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; mining; mining operation; Mogh; Mok'bara; Molor; "Old Man"; Organia; Pakled; phaser; pariah; pillage; poison; polarity; politician; plunderer; pretender; Qo'noS; Quark's; razor; red; Right of Vengeance; Rio Grande, USS; river; Romulus; Rozhenko, Helena; Rozhenko, Sergey; runabout; Sabak; Sabak's armor; Serpent of Xol; Shroud of the Sword; skinning; sleep; slit; snoring; square meter; standard orbit; Starfleet; statue; strategic operations officer; Sword of Kahless; survey team; T'nag; tavern; throat; toad; Torch of G'boj; Torna IV; tour guide; traitor; tricorder; vat; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan geological survey team; water; Worf's cousins; Yridian brandy

Unreferenced material[]

K'Tanco, IKS; Mekong, USS

External links[]

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