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Kira asks Tekeny Ghemor to come to Deep Space 9 to provide information about the Cardassian government and the revitalizing dissident movement; Gul Dukat arrives and demands Ghemor's extradition.



Dax, Worf, and Kira are waiting at an airlock, awaiting the arrival of Tekeny Ghemor, Kira's Cardassian pseudo-father. The two have become very close in recent days. The legate is not secure on Cardassia since the takeover by Gul Dukat and the recent alliance with the Dominion. Kira is hoping Ghemor will lead the political opposition on Cardassia when he tells her that he came to DS9 because he is terminally ill. He has Yarim Fel Syndrome and will probably die soon.

Act One[]

In the infirmary, Julian Bashir confirms Ghemor's diagnosis. He can't estimate how much time he has left, but there are some treatments Bashir can try.

Dukat contacts Captain Benjamin Sisko about an arrangement for Ghemor's extradition. Sisko has no intention of negotiating with him since the Federation doesn't even recognize the new Cardassian government and abruptly ends the transmission.

Major Kira offers to spend the next few days with Ghemor, replacing the daughter he doesn't have anymore. He holds Kirayoshi for a bit, feeling a bit like a grandfather. He asks if Kira wants her own child, and she's surprised he knows about Shakaar Edon. He explains she has her own section in the Cardassian Central Archives, as she's a public figure. He adds she should be proud. Then, Ghemor states he knows many secrets about the Cardassian Union that could be helpful. He wants to commence the Shri-tal with her, a Cardassian ritual in which a dying person reveals their closest secrets to the rest of the family, for use against their enemies. Since Kira is the closest thing Ghemor has to a family, she agrees to participate.

Later, in the captain's office, Kira tells Sisko about the responsibility this ritual entails. She will need to ask the right questions. She wonders if she's the right person, but, thinking back about her own father who suffered a critical injury in the Occupation of Bajor, she knows she is all Ghemor's got.

Act Two[]

Bashir instructs Kira on operating the medical equipment in Ghemor's quarters and leaves. Then begins a series of long interviews. They are exhausting for Kira, but she doesn't complain. Her attention is drawn, though, thinking of her injured father on a cot, unable to get medical help and explaining he tried to reason with the Cardassians in the attack. He talks sadly about how the Cardassians destroyed his beloved garden he had spent so much time caring for. Kira assures her father that they will make another one together some day. Turning her attention back to the present, when Ghemor becomes unable to talk, Kira concludes for the day.

Later, she relates what she's found to Sisko. He says Starfleet Intelligence will be pleased, but then Bashir calls Kira back to his quarters. He's not responding to the treatment and wants to continue the interviews, while there's still time.

In Ops, Worf reports to Sisko that a Jem'Hadar battle cruiser is approaching the station. Its weapons are armed and the targeting systems are active. Sisko orders a red alert and all crew members to battle stations. Receiving a transmission, it is revealed that Dukat and Weyoun have arrived at DS9 on the battle cruiser to reclaim the fugitive.

Act Three[]

Dukat and Weyoun, or rather the fifth Weyoun, as Sisko saw the fourth die, are brought aboard the station. Dukat uses standard Cardassian strategies, saying Ghemor is cleared of any wrongdoing on Cardassia, and asks Sisko to see him to ask if he wants to come home. There, Dukat first offers to bring Ghemor's daughter Iliana back. Ghemor doesn't believe Dukat, especially now that the Dominion are involved. They leave, promising to linger for a few days.

Kira Nerys and Dukat, 2373

"I promise you Dukat… I will make you pay for all of this one day."
"Maybe – but not today."

Kira continues another long stretch of interviews and caring for Ghemor. Then, Dukat goes to Kira's quarters, trying to turn Kira against Ghemor, giving her his official record on a PADD which mentions the Kiessa Monastery massacre. Without reading it, she throws a teacup at his head and promises she will make him pay one day. He leaves, and she picks up the record and begins reading it.

Act Four[]

Kira angrily confronts Ghemor while cleaning up after him. He admits he kept that from her, and explains why it happened, but insists he doesn't believe it was right. He regrets ever joining the Cardassian military or volunteering for duty on Bajor, but Kira is angry and does the bare minimum to care for him and leaves.

Sisko finds Dukat and Weyoun at the dabo table in Quark's, where Weyoun takes to a few games, clearly enjoying himself. With a bottle of kanar, Sisko acts as though he had forgotten his manners and offers some to Dukat, but the Cardassian refuses. The captain then reveals that the kanar had been poisoned with voraxna– and had just been delivered to Ghemor; clearly a murder attempt. Dukat acts insulted at the barely-veiled accusation, and warns Sisko he should not make such a threat to the head of a government. Weyoun breaks the tension and chuckles, remarking how entertaining he finds their interplay. Then, he shocks both Dukat and Sisko by drinking the entire glass of poisoned liquor. He is able to detect the poison (of which there is quite more than a lethal dose), but suffers no ill effects, explaining to the others that the Vorta have an engineered immunity to most types of poison. Sisko leaves Dukat embarrassed and Weyoun amused.

Dukat's strategy to turn Kira away from Ghemor proves to have some success. Kira, at the Bajoran temple, goes inside to try to think and finds Odo standing outside looking for her since he heard she stopped seeing Ghemor. She claims she thought Ghemor was different from the other Cardassians, but Odo points out he was only in the military for less than a year, only 19 years old, and he may not have even fired his weapon. She says he shouldn't have even been there, but Odo challenges that view in his usual style, pointing out she already knew his record before Dukat gave it to her. She supposes she should forget about it and go back to him, but Odo says he's not saying anything, implying she already knows her general anger toward the Cardassians is keeping her from this new relationship.

She flashes back to when her father was in pain, saying the Prophets were calling to him. Furel says they found the troops that executed the attack and are going to hit them back. Kira insists on going with them to get revenge, despite her father's objection.

Bashir comes to Kira's quarters to inform her that Ghemor's condition is deteriorating and will be dead within the hour.

Act Five[]

Kira thanks him, but she obviously doesn't intend to go to him, set on her view of his betrayal. Bashir tries to convince Kira that even if Ghemor's past is stained by the Occupation, he doesn't deserve to die alone. He leaves, and she flashes back to that counterattack she helped with. They were successful, but she comes in the camp to find her father dead and informed he was calling her out name in the end. Without betraying emotion, she calls for another attack on the Cardassians to make them pay and starts digging his grave. Furel tries to get Prylar Quen to say a few words, but Kira says there's nothing left to say, intent on continuing digging.

Ultimately, Kira decides she will not do the same thing she did when her father died and won't find a last minute excuse to miss his death. Afterwards, Bashir finishes the paperwork in the infirmary. Kira dwells on the experience, supposes he gave her something she needed instead of the other way around – since she missed her own father's death. She admits she could have stayed with him, but saw a chance to avoid the pain of losing her father and her own strength.

Kira mourns for Ghemor

Kira mourns for Ghemor

After Ghemor passes away, Dukat informs Captain Sisko that he intends to tell the general public that Ghemor decided on his deathbed to embrace the Dominion and insists on having the body brought back to Cardassia so he can be buried with full military honors. Sisko informs him that the funeral arrangements have already been taken care of. Kira has Ghemor buried on Bajor, right beside her father, under the same tree.

Memorable quotes[]

"Cardassian politics are very complex."
"I think they like it that way."

- Worf and Dax

"Major Kira – friends with a Cardassian. It seems wrong."
"You should have known her five years ago. Back then, I never thought she'd be friends with anyone."

- Worf and Dax, on Kira's relationship with Tekeny Ghemor

"I have Yarim Fel Syndrome. It's terminal, Nerys. I'm dying."

- Ghemor

"Still calling yourself gul? I'm surprised you haven't promoted yourself back to legate by now."
"I prefer the title 'gul'; so much more hands-on than legate. And less pretentious than the other alternatives: president, emperor, chancellor, first minister… emissary."
"How about Dominion puppet?"

- Sisko and Dukat

"Oh, my… that is quite toxic, isn't it?"
"Are you… insane?"
"Oh, Vorta are immune to most forms of poison; it comes in handy when you are a diplomat."

- Dukat and Weyoun (knowingly drinking a glass of poisoned kanar)

"DABO! That is dabo, isn't it?"
"I don't see why you insist on playing this ridiculous game."
"I like games."

- Weyoun and Dukat

"You are really enjoying this, aren't you? Hm? All your sick little games."
"I must admit, I do get a certain… perverse pleasure out of it."

- Kira and Dukat

Background information[]

Story and script[]

  • This episode introduces Weyoun 5 after his "death" in "To the Death" and reveals that the Vorta clone themselves (a premise which was created specifically so Jeffrey Combs could reprise his role). As Ira Steven Behr explains, "When we first saw Jeff Combs do the role in "To the Death", we were wishing we could find a different ending to the episode, because we really didn't want the character to die. But we couldn't think of anything. The next thing you know, they're out in Griffith Park, shooting the fight, and he's dead. I knew immediately that he had to come back. There was no way he couldn't." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 442)


Avery Brooks directing 'Ties of Blood and Water'

Avery Brooks directs Lawrence Pressman and Nana Visitor on the set of "Ties of Blood and Water"

  • Of the montage sequence, director Avery Brooks says, "There is a suspension of time. Time is kind of irrelevant. Each shot was, for me, like a portrait. I was very interested in creating portraits, in terms of composition and lighting. Still portraits. Not photographs, but paintings." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 441)


  • This episode is a favorite of Nana Visitor's; "I like playing the truth of things. I love that they did this with my character, that they wrote that Kira isn't Miss Perfect Saint. It wasn't about her not loving the person she cared for. It was about 'This is tough.' And that it required more of her than she had at the moment. And it was a learning experience for her." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 441)
  • Lawrence Pressman was impressed by Avery Brooks's direction of the episode. Pressman commented "Avery's a man who keeps to himself, not somebody who chats easily, but as a director he was right there and extraordinarily helpful. Somebody said to me 'Avery talks like jazz'. It's true, he does. What's more, its brilliant jazz, wonderful stuff. He gives you images, and he does it through eye contact with you, so you get the feeling of what he wants. He gave me a lot courage. It would be so easy to go the wrong way with the character. He pushed me constantly in other directions, then pushed me even further in that direction. You can't ask for anything more than that". ("Back for Ghemor", Star Trek Monthly, issue 30)
  • For Robert Hewitt Wolfe, the most important scene in the episode is the scene where Kira introduces Tekeny Ghemor to Kirayoshi O'Brien; "This is her family. The father that is not her father. The baby that is not her baby. That's Kira's family." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 441-442)


Remastered version[]


  • It is revealed in the novel Fearful Symmetry that Dukat did in fact know Iliana Ghemor's location, meaning that his offer was at least partially honest. Given his treatment of her, however, it is doubtful that he would have followed through.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]


2368; accusation; advisor; alien freighter; alliances; Alpha Quadrant; attempted murder; Bajor; Bajorans Bajoran ale; Bajoran vessel (alien transport ship); Bajoran Intelligence; Bajoran Militia; Bajoran Resistance; Bajoran Security; Bajoran temple; barrowbug; black hole; Bolian; Borven; bracelet; callous; Cardassia Prime; Cardassians; Cardassian Central Archives; Cardassian Central Command; Cardassian dissident movement; Cardassian government; Cardassian military; Cardassian sun; central nervous system; Chief Archon; clone; Constable; counselor; dabo; debriefing; diplomat; Dominion; Dopterian; dose; dozen; Emissary of the Prophets; emperor; Enyak's milk; Excelsior-class (starships); exile; Federation; First Minister; Fourth Order; frost; funeral; garden; Ghemor's wife; Ghemor, Iliana; glinn; government; gul; head of state; heart; hexadrin therapy; immortality; incarnation; insanity; Jem'Hadar battle cruiser (Dukat's battle cruiser); kai; kanar; Kiessa Monastery; leader; legate; medic; military installation; monk; mortar; names; neuro-regeneration procedure; Ninth Order; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; Occupation of Bajor; opportunist; pagh; plots; poison; political system; postmortem; president; progenitor; Promenade; propaganda; Prophets; prylar; Quark's; Quen; red carpet; Shakaar Edon; science officer; Shri-tal; skimmer; Starfleet Intelligence; strategic operations officer; Supreme Tribunal; surgically altered; Tempasa; terminal condition; toxic; triptacederine; Trepar; uniform code; village; vole; voraxna; Vorta; war record; Winn Adami; cargo management unit (unnamed); Yarim Fel Syndrome

Unreferenced mterial[]

Dax, Leyla; mountain climbing

External links[]

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