(written from a Production point of view)
Sisko attempts to prevent more Dominion ships from entering the Alpha Quadrant by mining the wormhole; Gul Dukat responds by launching a massive assault fleet against the station. (Season Finale)
On Deep Space 9, Rom and Leeta study a PADD with images of various wedding dresses from Tellarite modern to Risian traditional, but dislike all of them. Tora Ziyal persuades them to let Elim Garak design one for them. Garak tells her that he finds her adoration both "flattering and disturbing". Rom and Leeta see Captain Benjamin Sisko walking along the Promenade and approach him.
Miles O'Brien is telling Sisko that his wife and children Molly and Kirayoshi have left for Earth due to the dangers of being on the front line. Rom and Leeta ask Sisko to officiate at their wedding that is to be held in two weeks time, to which Sisko agrees. After they leave, Sisko and O'Brien move to one of the Promenade windows where a large crowd has gathered. O'Brien states that "maybe they're not coming", to which Sisko replies "that would be a nice surprise". Suddenly, the wormhole opens and several dozen Dominion starships enter the Alpha Quadrant on their way to Cardassian space. This is the fifth Dominion convoy to enter the Alpha Quadrant in as many weeks. O'Brien wishes that they would just attack already, to which Sisko predicts his wish will occur soon.
Act One Edit
Jake Sisko arrives at his father's quarters for his first home-cooked meal since the last time he visited his father. Sisko curtly hands Jake a PADD, telling him to read the headline. It reads "Bajorans Continue Negotiations with the Dominion", "station commander opposes non aggression pact" and the by-line reads "by Jake Sisko". Jake reveals that this is his first article for the Federation News Service.
Meanwhile Jadzia Dax, Kira Nerys, and Odo are in a cargo bay checking several crates. The crates hold several thousand wrappages of yamok sauce, a condiment popular among Cardassians. Kira realizes that Quark has smuggled them in, believing the Cardassians will soon retake the station. Odo asks what they want to do with it, to which Kira makes no reply. Dax tells him to dump it. Dax asks her what is going on between her and Odo, to which Kira reveals that Odo has feelings for her and that she only found out about a month previously.
As Nog brings Sisko his morning beverage, he asks if the rumors about the Romulans are true. Sisko has no idea what he is talking about and inquires further. Nog tells him that he was talking to several Orion free traders in Quark's the previous night and they said they heard from a Vulcan diplomat that the Romulan Star Empire had signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion. Sisko tells Nog not to believe the rumors and to remember the one hundred and ninetieth Rule of Acquisition – "Hear all, trust nothing." However, after Nog leaves, Sisko contacts Dax and tells her to put him through to Starfleet Intelligence.
Later, in the wardroom Sisko reveals that the Romulans have indeed signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, joining the Tholians and the Miradorn who have already done so. The Bajorans are still debating the pact as they were also recently offered it, but Kira assures everyone that they will never sign it or any form of agreement with the Dominion. Sisko also reveals that Starfleet Command has decided no more Dominion ships can be allowed into the Alpha Quadrant. A minefield will be deployed at the mouth of the wormhole to stop the Dominion convoys. Odo comments that by doing so they could start a war, to which Sisko replies that "Maybe so. But one thing's for certain: we're losing the peace, which means a war could be our only hope."
Act Two Edit
In Dax's quarters, Dax, O'Brien, and Rom are trying to come up with the best type of mine to deploy in the minefield. O'Brien suggests using pulse mines but the Dominion ships could simply wait at the mouth of the wormhole and destroy them. He then suggests cloaking them, but it would weaken the mines. Rom, while in the midst of complaining about his upcoming wedding, then realizes that if the mines are to be small they will need a lot of power and a way to replace them. Each mine could be equipped with a replicator unit and would swarm detonate, with at least twenty mines homing in on one ship. The main draw back is that the entire minefield will have to be deployed before it can be activated, or premature detonation could occur.
Sisko talks with Starfleet Command and relays their judgment to Kira and Worf that Starfleet's forces are needed elsewhere and will be unable to assist in the deployment of the minefield. Their orders are to deploy the minefield and prepare for a Dominion attack. DS9 will also have to defend the USS Defiant, as she will be alone while deploying the minefield.
Kira meets with Odo and agrees to his plan of stopping all outgoing communications. They also decide to put their personal feelings for each other aside until the crisis has abated.
The Defiant begins to deploy the mines but the Dominion becomes aware of it almost immediately.
- "Captain's log, stardate 50975.2. The next Jem'Hadar convoy is due in five days, but our efforts to mine the wormhole have already provoked a response from the Dominion, who have sent their Vorta Ambassador, Weyoun, to speak with me."
A Dominion ship arrives with Weyoun aboard. He leaves behind all of the false pleasantness that he has always used before in his meetings with Sisko, and bluntly issues an ultimatum – remove the mines, or the Dominion will take control of Deep Space 9 and remove them themselves.
Act Three Edit
Sisko stubbornly tells Weyoun that the mines will stay and he will not allow any more ships through the wormhole. Weyoun then returns to his old ways – a mask of reasonableness and sincerity. Weyoun tells Sisko that it is the Cardassians who are pushing for the convoys, saying that they want the security that the Dominion brings, as well as a boost to their economy after their costly war with the Klingons. Weyoun then offers to limit the convoys to cargo ships, construction units, and civilian aid if Sisko will remove the mines.
Later, Sisko tells his senior officers and General Martok that the Dominion will attack as early as tomorrow. He tells them that his conversation with Weyoun was all words and an attempt to lure the other side into a "false sense of security". Sisko did not believe it and is sure Weyoun didn't either. Sisko asks Martok to take the IKS Rotarran to the Cardassian border and watch for the Dominion fleet. Sisko also tells Kira to contact the Bajoran Council of Ministers for an immediate meeting, as he plans to use his position as Emissary of the Prophets to endorse the nonaggression pact. Kira doesn't understand why he would want the Bajorans to sign the pact, so Sisko tells her that the only way Bajor will survive the war will be to do what the Romulans did, and sign the pact to keep them out of the fighting. He is convinced that by not doing so, the past five years of their work will be undone.
- "Captain's log, supplemental. Bajor has signed the non-aggression pact with the Dominion. All Bajoran personnel have been ordered to evacuate the station. As someone once said, these are the times that try men's souls."
The Bajorans sign the pact and First Minister Shakaar orders all Bajorans to leave Deep Space 9 for their own safety. Kira arranges for Ziyal to stay with several of her friends. Later, Sisko marries Rom and Leeta in a traditional Bajoran ceremony. Rom then tells her to go to Bajor, and not look back.
As Sisko prepares Program Sisko 197, General Martok contacts the station with a report of a large Dominion fleet heading their way. However, his transmission is jammed by the Dominion and Dukat, Weyoun, and Damar appear on the station's viewscreen. Dukat asks Sisko if he wants to surrender and avoid "unnecessary bloodshed". Sisko tells him no, to which Dukat happily replies that he was hoping Sisko would say that. Sisko orders his crew to battle stations.
Act Four Edit
The Dominion fleet will enter weapons range in twenty minutes. Unfortunately, the Defiant has an hour of work left before the minefield can be activated. Jake helps Doctor Bashir and his medical staff with medkits. He tells Bashir that he promised the Federation News Service a firsthand account of the battle. Bashir tells him he will get it and that his name is spelled with an "I".
Garak meets Odo on the Promenade, praising his composure and calling him "an island of tranquility in a sea of chaos." Odo's entire Bajoran staff has been evacuated to Bajor. Garak tells Odo that during the Klingon attack on the station, almost two years previously, when he and Dukat were defending the members of the Detapa Council, Dukat turned his back to him. Garak considered killing him but realized he could not fight the Klingons by himself. He tells Odo that by the time this day is over, everyone on the station will regret his failure to kill Dukat.
The Rotarran approaches Deep Space 9 and Sisko tells Martok to protect the Defiant. Worf then activates the weapons array. Kira arrives in Ops and offers a perfunctory protest to Starfleet's refusal to turn the station over to her government. Sisko notes her protest and Kira reports for duty.
The Dominion fleet approaches the station. On the flagship, Dukat tells Damar he has been waiting for this moment for five years. Damar tells him that they will reclaim both Terok Nor and Bajor. Weyoun chastises them, reminding them of the nonaggression pact. The fleet enters weapons range and Dukat gives the order to fire.
The battle begins and the station manages to destroy several Dominion ships plus several that were closing on the Defiant. Damar and Weyoun are surprised that Deep Space 9's shields are holding, to which Dukat tells them he has found it wise never to underestimate the Federation's technical skill and Captain Sisko's resourcefulness.
The Defiant comes under attack but is saved by the Rotarran. The enemy fleet targets their weapons on the outer docking ring, penetrating the station's shields. Main power to the shields is lost and the auxiliary power will not last long. However, the Defiant reports in, telling Sisko the minefield has been deployed. Jadzia activates the field and returns to the station. The Dominion fleet prepares for a final assault on the station, with Dukat calling the activation of the minefield a "minor setback". Sisko decides there is nothing more they can do and orders all Federation personnel to evacuate.
Act Five Edit
As the evacuation begins, Dax says goodbye to Worf, who has been assigned to the Rotarran, and agrees to marry him when the war is over. Sisko addresses the station population who are remaining behind. He tells them that although the station has been lost, the attack on the station allowed the Federation and the Klingons to attack and destroy the Dominion shipyards on Torros III. He also tells them that no victory can make this moment any easier for him, and promises he will not rest until he stands with them again. Sisko is then transported to the Defiant.
Garak is already aboard, and asks Captain Sisko for permission to remain and for once tells the very simple truth — he has nowhere else to go. Captain Sisko agrees, and heads for the bridge. The Defiant and the Rotarran leave the station, fire a few last shots, and cloak before they can be destroyed.
Kira and Odo arrive in Ops and transmit a message to the Dominion fleet, welcoming them to Deep Space 9. Kira then activates Program Sisko 197, which sets off a series of explosive system overloads that cripple the station.
Quark, removing all aspects of the Federation's presence, tells his staff to break out the kanar and find some yamok sauce. Rom reports for duty in his old job as Assistant Manager of Policy and Clientele. He claims he is now a spy for Starfleet. As Rom starts work he finds Jake, sitting nearby. He has stayed behind to report on the Dominion occupation. Rom is concerned for his safety, but Jake assures him that if Dominion harms him, the son of the Emissary of the Prophets, they risk alienating their new Bajoran friends.
On the Defiant, Sisko finds out and is naturally angry, but he cannot risk the entire crew for one person, even his own son. Jake is a grown man and capable of making his own decisions. The Defiant and the Rotarran continue on their course to rendezvous with the Federation/Klingon task force. Nog states that now they will make the Dominion "sorry they ever set foot in the Alpha Quadrant."
The Dominion boards what is once again called Terok Nor and Odo, Kira, and Quark arrive to meet them. Weyoun tells Odo he is honored that he remained behind. Dukat and Weyoun visit Ops and the station commander's office where Sisko has removed all of his personal items, except one. Dukat finds Sisko's baseball still on the desk, a promise from Sisko that he will return to reclaim Deep Space 9.
On the Defiant, Sisko sits in contemplation of the impending war that will sweep across the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The Defiant and the Rotarran de-cloak and move to join the large Federation and Klingon fleet.
The Dominion War has begun.
Memorable quotes Edit
"Any marriage where the female is allowed to speak and wear clothing is doomed to failure."
- - Quark
"We've just barely said our vows, and we're already having our first fight! We're really married!"
- - Rom
"You've got to go, Leeta. The problems of two newlyweds are but a small thread in the tapestry of galactic events. You might not understand that today, or even tomorrow. But someday you will. So get on that shuttle. And don't look back."
- - Rom, explaining to his wife why she must leave
"Captain, as a major of the Bajoran Militia, I must officially protest Starfleet's refusal to turn this station over to my government."
"Your protest is duly noted."
"Good. Now that that's over with... Kira Nerys reporting for duty."
- - Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko
"I have been waiting for this moment for five years."
"First we reclaim Terok Nor, and then onto Bajor."
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Or must I remind you that the Dominion just signed a non-aggression pact with Bajor?"
"The Dominion might have. I never did."
"The Dominion will honor its treaty. And as a member of the Dominion, you will honor it as well."
"Where the Dominion leads, I will follow."
"I never doubted it."
- - Dukat, Damar, and Weyoun
"You may continue your work, commander. I will handle the Jem'Hadar."
"Who says there's never a Klingon around when you need one?!"
- - Martok and Dax, after the Rotarran defends the Defiant as it mines the wormhole
"When I first took command of this post, all I wanted was to be somewhere else. Anywhere but here. But now, five years later, this station has become my home. And you all of you have become my family and leaving this station, leaving you, is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But this war isn't over yet. I want you to know that, while we were keeping the Dominion occupied, a Starfleet/Klingon task force crossed the border into Cardassia and destroyed the Dominion shipyards on Torros III. Your sacrifices, our sacrifices, made this victory possible. But no victory can make this moment any easier for me and I promise, I will not rest until I stand with you again. Here. In this place. Where I belong."
- - Benjamin Sisko, saying his goodbyes to Deep Space 9
"We should rendezvous with the Federation task force in 48 hours."
"And then what?"
"And then we make the Dominion sorry they ever set foot in the Alpha Quadrant."
"Cadet, you took the words right out of my mouth."
- - Dax, Bashir, Nog, and Sisko
"I assume Captain Sisko removed or destroyed everything of value?"
"What is that?"
"A message from Sisko."
"I don't understand."
"He's letting me know... he'll be back."
- - Weyoun and Dukat, in regards to the baseball Sisko left behind in his office
Background information Edit
Story and scriptEdit
- Ronald D. Moore commented that historical parallels brought up during the story discussions included the events depicted in the 1865 Leo Tolstoy novel War and Peace, the fall of the Philippines to Japan in 1942, and the evacuation of Dunkirk by the British army in 1940. (AOL chat, 1997)
- The idea for Sisko to leave his baseball behind as a message to Dukat that he planned to return was Ronald D. Moore's. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Interestingly, Sisko's baseball played a pivotal role in the final scenes of both seasons six (where he takes it with him to Earth) and seven (where Kira carries it out into Ops).
- According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe, the Deep Space Nine writers preferred non-cliffhanger season finales that left things open as to how they could begin the following season, as opposed to cliffhangers which locked the writers into tackling a specific problem. Open-ended non-cliffhangers left the writers free to change things around if they wished come the start of the next season, and the writers liked this sense of freedom; "It's like setting a table for yourself. You're not setting up a cliffhanger where you have to solve a certain problem. You just have to put out some beetlesnuff. You know, something to set up the solution." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Sisko's insistence (under the influence of the Prophets) that Bajor not join the Federation in "Rapture" is finally explained in this episode. If they had signed the Federation treaty at that time, they would not have been in a position to sign a non-aggression pact with the Dominion, and Bajor would have been very likely to be the first world to fall.
- The script mentions that the discussion between Jadzia, O'Brien and Rom should be considered to be like the Manhattan Project, the attempt to develop atomic bombs during the Second World War. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- This episode is the last of the series to be co-written by the departing Robert Hewitt Wolfe (although he would also write the seventh season episode "Field of Fire" as a freelancer). He appears as an injured Starfleet officer boarding the USS Defiant as Dax tells Worf she will marry him, an image of which is seen in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. Also in the Companion, as well as in an issue of Star Trek Communicator, is a photo showing the DS9 cast (in character) sitting around a table in the wardroom. They are all looking at the camera and holding little signs that say "(sad)" (except for Michael Dorn, who's holding his upside down). Ronald D. Moore explained: "This was part of a gag we did for Robert Wolfe when he left the show. We re-wrote a scene from the final episode where the entire cast was talking in the Wardroom about Robert leaving the show. The final bit in the scene was each of them holding up a sign saying "(sad)" which is an inside joke having to do with our use of parenthetical instructions to the actors (i.e. (with feeling) or (with humor) or (angry)). They were all supposed to be (sad) about Robert leaving the show." (AOL chat, 1997)
- The massive final shot for this episode proved to be exceptionally popular among viewers, who felt that it really set the stage for the upcoming season. The producers however, reacted differently. According to Ira Steven Behr, "What we'd written for that scene was, 'Lots of ships, two little ships coming to join them.' But what the effects people shot was, Lots of ships, two little ships coming, turning around, joining them, and then coming back together. It went much farther than we wanted. It told the audience that we were attacking now, like, 'Okay, we're marshaling our forces and here we are to join up,' which was never the idea. That changed the entire opening to Season 6. We'd already written the opening of the first show, and René said, 'Guys, this doesn't work, because the effects people have made the audience think that something a lot bigger has happened. We have to address that.' Anyway, we changed the opening of Season 6 to have all those ships we saw in "Call to Arms" battered and beaten and leaking plasma." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The mass scene was also one of the last where physical studio models were used in scenes of this kind (the last one occurring in the follow-up episode "A Time to Stand") before complete transition to CGI for scenes of this kind. David Stipes, the visual effects supervisor for the episode, has broken down the scene as follows: Defiant-class, Klingon Bird-of-Prey, Galaxy-class, Saber-class, Steamrunner-class, and Akira-class, the latter three making their first appearances since Star Trek: First Contact (ILM was requested to hand over their CGI models made for that film for remapping, though rumor has it that the model of the Norway-class was lost during transfer to Digital Muse), were done in CGI; Excelsior-class, Miranda-class, K't'inga-class, and Vor'cha-class (the latter three were either AMT/Ertl model kits or Playmates Toys) were still physical models. 
- The fleet scene at the very end of this episode was the very first indication that the Defiant-class had entered production, as two other unnamed Defiant-class vessels are seen among the Federation and Klingon vessels – they are, however, definitely not either the USS Valiant, which was caught behind enemy lines, or the USS Sao Paulo, which had not been commissioned at that point in the series. This scene is also the first of three times that more than one Defiant-class vessel appears on-screen at any one time – the others being the Star Trek: Voyager episodes "Message in a Bottle" and "Endgame". Both the Defiant and the Valiant are featured in "Valiant", but the ships never actually appeared together.
- In an apparent production error, both of the two Galaxy-class ships seen at the end of the episode have the registry number NCC-1701-D on the bottom of the saucer section.
- This is one of Ira Steven Behr's all-time favorite Deep Space Nine episodes. He sums the episode up as being simply about goodbyes, and he wanted to make sure that the audience understood this so that they would be ready for what was to come in season 6 ; "It was the big hint to the audience. I knew that we were going to do something very bold the following season, and I wanted to prepare people for it, because we were already thinking of having this multipart episode the next year that was going to turn the show around." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Indeed, the episode contains four major farewell scenes: 1) Sisko's heartfelt farewell to the crew remaining on Deep Space 9, 2) Dax's romantic farewell to Worf, 3) Rom's rushed farewell to Leeta, and 4) Garak's gentle farewell to Ziyal.
- This episode is also a personal favorite of Ronald D. Moore, who ranks it as his favorite season finale of any Star Trek show, "The Best of Both Worlds" included. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Jeffrey Combs enjoyed filming the scene between Weyoun and Sisko, commenting that the characters "both know, like good diplomats, that what we're saying sounds good but it's complete and utter nonsense and that the exact opposite is true. It takes a lot of bravura to look at someone and appear absolutely genuine in your conviction that you mean them no harm and yet you're just waiting to slip a knife into their ribs when they're not looking. It's honorable yet dishonorable at the same time". (TV Zone, issue 109/TV Zone Special #44 – Villains Special)
- This episode features the Second Battle of Deep Space 9 and the start of the Dominion War.
- Kira's comments about Odo's feelings establish that this episode takes place about a month after "Children of Time".
- This episode shows Weyoun clearly overruling Dukat and reminding him that as a member of the Dominion he has to abide by their rules, the first time it is clearly shown that Cardassia is no longer autonomous. This trend would continue and worsen with Weyoun telling Damar that he can give him orders independently of Dukat in "Rocks and Shoals", reminding him that he rules at the Dominion's pleasure in "Statistical Probabilities" to finally stating that the Founders own Cardassia in "Strange Bedfellows". Cardassia's declining independence served as a catalyst for the rebellion led by Damar later in the Dominion War.
- Some of the damage and battle footage during the Second Battle of Deep Space 9 was re-used from "The Way of the Warrior", "Emissary", and VOY: "Caretaker", with different ships or backgrounds. Some shots of the USS Defiant being attacked by Jem'Hadar attack ships were re-used from "The Search, Part I".
- In a captain's log entry, Sisko says, "As someone once said, 'These are the times that try men's souls." This quote is from The American Crisis the revolutionary pamphlet by Thomas Paine (after whom the starship USS Thomas Paine was named), published in 1776. In the original 1983 V mini-series, a character says these same words while comforting another character.
- Rom's farewell speech to Leeta is a paraphrase of Rick Blaine's (Humphrey Bogart) final speech to Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in the 1942 Michael Curtiz film Casablanca: "If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."
- The non-aggression pact signed between the Romulan Star Empire and the Dominion in this episode would be in place until the sixth season episode "In the Pale Moonlight", where Sisko would lie to the Romulans about the Dominion's intentions so as to ensure they enter the war on the side of the Federation.
- Leeta looked at over 150 designs for a wedding dress. She liked #38.
- Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #190 ("Hear all, trust nothing")
- The final moments of this episode are novelized in book two of Star Trek: The Dominion War.
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.13, 20 October 1997
- As part of the DS9 Season 5 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Commander Worf
- Terry Farrell as Lt. Commander Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
Guest stars Edit
- Andrew J. Robinson as Garak
- Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun
- Marc Alaimo as Dukat
- Max Grodénchik as Rom
- Aron Eisenberg as Nog
- J.G. Hertzler as Martok
- Chase Masterson as Leeta
- Melanie Smith as Tora Ziyal
- Casey Biggs as Damar
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Uriah Carr as an Human operations division officer
- Cathy DeBuono as M'Pella
- Brian Demonbreun as a Human science officer
- Kathleen Demor as a Human security officer
- Judi Durand as the Computer Voice
- Leslie Hoffman as a Human Defiant crewmember
- Randy James as Jones
- Charlie-Olisa Kaine as Kelly
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Dan McGee as an Human operations division lieutenant
- Tom Morga
- Mark Allen Sheperd as Morn
- James Lee Stanley as a Bajoran security deputy
- Susie Stillwell as a Bajoran security deputy
- Robert Hewitt Wolfe as a Human science officer
- Unknown performers as:
Alpha Quadrant; asparagus; Bajor; Bajoran; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran language; Bajoran Militia; Bajoran system; Bajoran transports; Bajoran wormhole; battery; Battle of Torros III; battle stations; Bolians; byline; Cardassia; Cardassians; Cardassian border; Celsius; closet; Constable; Council of Ministers; dermal regenerator; Dominion War; Earth; Emissary of the Prophets; evasive maneuvers; Federation; Federation News Service; Ferengi; Gamma Quadrant; handkerchief; hypospray; kiss; latinum; loincloth; medical tricorder; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; Miradorn; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; O'Brien, Molly; Occupation of Bajor; "Old Man"; Orion traders; Prinadora; Program Sisko 197; Promenade; Quark's; Risians; Second Battle of Deep Space 9; self-replicating mine; Shakaar Edon; spacedock; strategic operations officer; swarm; reporter; task force; Tellarite; Tholian; virtual display device; Vulcan; wedding dress; yamok sauce; Yridian
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