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Favor the Bold (episode)

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"Favor the Bold"
DS9, Episode 6x05
Production number: 40510-529
First aired: 27 October 1997
127th of 173 produced in DS9
127th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 0 released in DS9 Remastered  
486th of 728 released in all
Sisko outlines operation return
Written By
Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler

Directed By
Winrich Kolbe
Unknown (2374)
Arc: Dominion invasion (7 of 8)
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Tired of being on the losing end of the war, Captain Sisko convinces Starfleet Command to launch a fleet of starships to retake Deep Space 9. Meanwhile, time may be running out for Rom.



Somewhere in space, the USS Defiant is venting plasma. Her weapons are off-line and her shields are at 30%. Two Jem'Hadar fighter ships approach and attack. A Klingon bird-of-prey decloaks and destroys one of the Jem'Hadar ships. The Defiant brings its weapons online and destroys the other. The Klingon ship is the Rotarran. The Rotarran and the Defiant have been playing this game for a while. Just then they receive new orders from Starfleet to fall back. The crew complains that it seems that all they've been doing lately is retreating. According to Chief Miles O'Brien, engage, retreat, engage, retreat is becoming the Federation's favorite tune. Julian Bashir adds on that they might end up singing "Hail the Conquering Dominion". Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax, captaining the Defiant, and her fiance, Lieutenant Commander Worf, captaining the Rotarran, agree to meet at Starbase 375. There, Dax, echoing her crew's sentiments, confronts Captain Benjamin Sisko about Starfleet's strategy, which has left morale so low that even the Klingons don't know if the war can be won. When Sisko tells Dax that he's in complete agreement, she forcefully tells him to do something about it, at which point he reveals his plan to retake Deep Space 9.

Act One

The next day, Sisko describes his plan to a roomful of admirals. Elements from the Second, Fifth, and Ninth Fleets will be peeled off the front lines and sent to retake Deep Space 9. Admiral Sitak tells Sisko that the Dominion will send a large fleet to stop them, but Sisko counters that it will slow their advance into Federation territory. Admiral Coburn objects that the plan leaves Earth exposed. Admiral William Ross responds that the Third Fleet will still be there to protect Earth. Coburn still isn't convinced, but Sisko says confidently that the Dominion won't attack Earth. Earth isn't the key to the Alpha Quadrant; the wormhole is. And whoever controls Deep Space 9 controls the wormhole.

On Terok Nor, the Dominion/Cardassian name for Deep Space 9, Quark and Major Kira Nerys attempt to see Odo about releasing Rom from his Dominion holding cell. But Odo's quarters are guarded by Bajoran and Jem'Hadar security, and Odo won't see anyone. The Bajoran informs them that Odo has been with the Female Changeling for three days.

Inside, the Female Changeling and Odo have just had sex in the manner of solids. The Female Changeling observes that the solids' version of intimacy pales in comparison to the changelings' linking. They discuss Odo's previous experiences with sex. The Female Changeling guesses that Odo regrets not having had it with Kira. But Odo doesn't want to talk about Kira. He says that he has a Ruling Council meeting to attend. The Female Changeling says that that meeting took place three days ago. Odo is shocked at the passage of time. The Female Changeling tells him not to worry anymore about solids' meetings and schedules: we're changelings; we're timeless. They link again.

Act Two

Weyoun and art

Weyoun the aesthete

Kira next goes to see Weyoun about Rom. He's in the wardroom examining a gift given to him by Gul Dukat: a prize-winning painting by Dukat's daughter Tora Ziyal. But as the Founders made the Vorta without a sense of aesthetics, Weyoun cannot appreciate it. Weyoun tells Kira that the Dominion is planning to execute Rom on charges of terrorism for attempting to sabotage the Dominion's move to bring down the minefield. He also notes that Rom is the one who came up with the self-replicating mines in the first place. Seeing that Weyoun won't be of any help, Kira threatens to involve the Bajoran government since Rom is married to a Bajoran citizen, but Weyoun is not impressed.

Rom, his wife Leeta, and his brother Quark discuss Rom's future, or lack of one, from his Dominion holding cell. After Rom shoots down the possibility that the Bajoran government can arrange his release, or that Grand Nagus Zek can buy his freedom from the Dominion, Quark pledges to do whatever it takes to get him out. But Rom is much more interested in having Quark take out the anti-graviton beam, to finish what Rom started. Quark protests at first, because he doesn't want to die, but he knows that he has no choice. As Rom tells him, the fate of the entire Alpha Quadrant is in Quark's hands.

Kira next appeals to Ziyal to speak to her father Dukat about Rom. Ziyal goes to Dukat, but he says he can't do anything. Ziyal appeals to his vanity; this is Dukat's opportunity to show Bajor what a great man he is. Dukat suspects that Ziyal was involved in the attempted sabotage. Ziyal says that if Dukat truly regrets the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, then this is his chance to prove it to the Bajorans, and to her. He again refuses and Ziyal, angry, says that Dukat is a true Cardassian. She storms out.

In Quark's, Damar confronts Kira about her attitude. Kira says that if Damar doesn't like her attitude, he's welcome to try and change it. Damar later tells Quark that they've begun to deactivate the mines. The minefield will be down within a week.

Act Three

On Starbase 375, General Martok tells Sisko and Admiral Ross that Klingon Chancellor Gowron doesn't like Sisko's plan. Gowron is concerned that it will leave the Klingon Empire exposed to Dominion attack. Martok and Worf agree to see Gowron in person to convince him that the plan is worth it. As Martok says, if Gowron's most trusted ally and his worst enemy tell him the same thing, he will have no choice but to agree.

Federation fleet departs Starbase 375

The Federation task force

Quark tells Kira about Damar's estimate that the minefield will be down in a week. Quark says they have to let Starfleet know. They use Jake Sisko's courier, Morn, who happens to be going away for his mother's birthday, to get the message out. Sisko receives it. Ross and Sisko agree that the plan has to proceed right away, even though the Ninth Fleet and the Klingons won't be able to make it in time, because if the wormhole opens up and Dominion reinforcements come through, then all is lost. They'll have to take out the anti-graviton emitter, even if they can't retake the station.

Act Four

In the wardroom, Dukat and Weyoun observe the slow, but steady, deactivation of the mines. As the graviton beam strikes a mine, a brief flash is visible as its replication unit fails. Weyoun comments that he is unable to see them, as the Vorta have poor eyesight, but is assured by Dukat that he will most certainly see the final destruction of the minefield. Damar enters with the latest movement of the Federation Fleet: the Second and Fifth Fleets have disengaged from the Kotanka system and Vulcan border respectively and have converged at Starbase 375. But they don't know what the Federation is up to. Dukat asks Damar to talk to Ziyal to convince her to talk to Dukat again. Damar thinks this is inappropriate and beneath him, but Dukat says that it is important to him, so Damar agrees. In a cargo bay, Damar confronts Ziyal, who is speaking with Kira. Damar tries to convince her to come with him, to no avail. He explains that Dukat knows their alliance with the Dominion is a dangerous one and thus cannot afford to show weakness. When she still refuses, he grabs her. Kira objects and knocks Damar unconscious. Ziyal is shocked.

On Starbase 375, Ross stops by Sisko's office to see him off and wish him good luck. Sisko is reviewing ancient Bajoran texts. Sisko says that when the war and his career are over, he plans to retire to Bajor. It is his home. On the Defiant, Nog and O'Brien talk about Nog's field promotion to ensign. Sisko takes command of the Defiant from Dax. The fleet departs for Deep Space 9.

Act Five

Odo and kira argue

"We are way, way past 'sorry'!"

Back on Terok Nor, Dukat tells Weyoun that the Federation Fleet is on the move and headed towards the station. Weyoun isn't concerned. He's sure the Dominion will crush them. They arrange to have ships taken off the front lines and repositioned at Terok Nor; once the wormhole is reopened, there will be more than enough ships to take their place. Damar enters, with his face bruised, demanding that Major Kira be arrested for assault. He tries to explain what happened with Ziyal to Dukat, but Weyoun overhears their conversation (the Vorta's poor eyesight is compensated by excellent hearing), chiming in that family squabbles can wait until the enemy has been crushed. He reminds Dukat of their immediate priorities, and is told that enough ships will be redeployed to halt the Federation Fleet. Weyoun leaves to inform the Female Changeling. While Damar is shocked that the Federation is making a move against them, Dukat demands to know exactly what happened between him and Kira.

Elsewhere on the station, Odo and the Female Changeling are observing the solids from the upper deck of the Promenade. Odo pities the limits of the solids, but the Female Changeling states that the Founders must guide the solids, not pity them. The Female Changeling says that the solids must be broken of their love for freedom for their own good. Odo is taken aback. His eyes are beginning to open again to what the Founders really are. He leaves as Weyoun interrupts. Odo spots Kira and chases her down. He tries to explain that he's been "occupied." Kira says she knows; while he's been occupied, the minefield's coming down, the Federation is about to lose the war, and Rom has been sentenced to death. He tries to apologize, but Kira won't have it. She says "we are way, way past 'sorry'".

The Federation task force, en route to DS9, detects 1,254 Dominion ships ahead. The Federation is outnumbered 2 to 1. On the Defiant's bridge, everyone is quiet. Sisko breaks the silence by activating the comm-system and ordering the fleet into Delta-Two Attack Formation. He says there's an old saying: "Fortune favors the bold". They're about to find out if that's true.


Memorable quotes

"Can you believe it? They made me an ensign."
"I didn't realize that things were going so bad."
"Scary, isn't it?"

- Nog and O'Brien discussing the sad state of the Federation

"I don't know what all you brass hats in Starfleet command are thinking, but take it from a simple field officer - we're not going to win this war by running away from the enemy."
"I know that."
"Benjamin, troop morale is at an all-time low. Even the Klingons are starting to wonder if we can defeat the Dominion. We need a victory - a big victory - and we need it soon."
"I couldn't agree with you more."
"Then do something about it!"
"I already have. In fact, I'm presenting a plan to Starfleet Command at 0800 tomorrow."
"What plan?"
"We're going to retake Deep Space 9."

- Dax and Sisko

"What if you're wrong, and the Dominion doesn't commit its forces to protect Deep Space 9? What if instead they launch a full-scale assualt on Earth? If we follow the plan you're proposing, we'll never be able to get reinforcements there in time!"
(Confidently)"The Dominion won't attack Earth."
"How can you be sure?"
"Because Earth isn't the key to the Alpha Quadrant; the wormhole is - and whoever controls Deep Space 9 controls the wormhole."

- Admiral Coburn, Sisko and Admiral Sitak

"It should be obvious, even to you, Damar, that I am not a true daughter of Cardassia!"
"What's obvious to me is that your father should've left you to rot in that Breen prison camp. But he didn't. He took pity on you, and it's your duty to repay him. Now come with me!"
"Let her go!"
"And if I don't? What happens then?"
"I was hoping you'd ask!"

- Ziyal, Damar and Kira (who proceeds to KO Damar)

"Don't you think resolving family squabbles can wait until after we've won the war?"
(Dukat and Damar look at him in disbelief.)
"Weak eyes, good ears."

- Weyoun, after hearing Dukat and Damar's conversation

"One week... and the Alpha Quadrant is ours!"

- Damar

"What if I get caught?"
"Then we'll die together, brother."

- Quark and Rom on having Quark stopping the deactivation of the minefield.

"Would this be more aesthetically pleasing if it were blue?"

- Weyoun

"I don't want you to try to save me.'"
"What are you talking about?! They must have done something to his mind!"
"What mind?"

- Rom, Leeta and Quark

"General...perhaps you should return to Qo'noS and make your plea in person. The Chancellor has great respect for you - if you can not convince him, no one can."
"I will go to see Gowron...and you will come with me!"
"No - the Chancellor no longer considers me a friend."
"I know. But what could be better? An ally and an enemy telling him the same thing; he'll have no other choice but to agree!"

- Worf and Martok

"If those Dominion reinforcements come through the wormhole we will have lost everything."
"Then we take the ships we have, fight our way to Deep Space Nine and destroy the anti-graviton emitter. It's our only hope."
"...Do it!"

- Ross and Sisko

"I must say, you're doing a wonderful job with Odo.'"
"Meaning what?!"
"Meaning that he's always posed a potential threat to our plans, but you seem to have neutralized him quite nicely."
"Neutralize Odo?! Is that why you think I'm here?! Odo is a changeling - bringing him home, returning him to the Great Link means more to us than the Alpha Quadrant itself. Is that clear?"

- Weyoun and the Female Changeling

"There's an old saying: Fortune favors the bold. Well, I guess we're about to find out."

- Sisko, on Operation Return (last line of the episode)

"Rom is an enemy of the state and enemies of the state do not deserve mercy."
"Spoken like a true Cardassian."
"I am a Cardassian! And so are you."
"No, I'm not!! I could never be like you!"

- Dukat and Ziyal

"You're sorry?! That's what you wanted to tell me? You're sorry?! Well, let me tell you something, Odo, we are way, way past 'sorry'."

- Kira to Odo

"I always hope for the best. Experience, unfortunately, has taught me to expect the worst."

- Garak

Background information

The six-episode arc

  • When the multi-episode arc was originally conceived, it was four episodes long, but once the writers started to develop ideas and decide where specific plot points needed to go and how things needed to develop, Ira Steven Behr changed it to a five-episode arc. For a considerable amount of time it remained a five-episode narrative, even getting to the stage where titles were being assigned. At that point, "Favor the Bold" was the final episode, and encompassed the final space battle, the rebellion on Deep Space 9 and the Federation's reacquisition of the station. After Behr and co-writer Hans Beimler began to run into trouble trying to fit everything into forty-four minutes however, Behr realized that one episode simply could not contain all that was needed to finish off such a large narrative arc. As such, he and Beimler basically split the last episode into two, and began to fill it out, thus creating a mini two-parter to conclude the overall six-parter. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)

"Favor the Bold"

  • The title of this episode is a paraphrase of a line from the narrative poem The Aeneid, written by Virgil in Ancient Rome. The poem is a 'sequel' to Iliad by Homer and it describes how the wanderings of the Trojan soldier Aeneas bring him to Italy, and ultimately to lay the foundations of Rome itself. The actual quote, as spoken by Sisko in the episode, is "Fortune favors the bold" ("audentes fortuna iuvat") and is found in Book 10, line 284 of the poem.
  • The phrase would show up again in Star Trek: Enterprise as the motto of the Columbia NX-02, Earth's second Warp 5 vessel, captained by Erika Hernandez.
  • Sisko's Yoruba mask, introduced in "The Search, Part I", is seen hanging on a wall in his office during his briefing with Admirals Sitak and Coburn.
  • James T. Kirk utters a similar line in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, "May fortune favor the foolish," before launching the HMS Bounty on a time warp; in the novelization, Spock catches the reference shortly before the ship's warp drive is engaged.
  • This episode began life as based on the 1961 J. Lee Thompson film The Guns of Navarone, a film about a mission behind enemy lines to destroy a German weapons depot. Originally, the plot of the episode was to involve a covert mission to destroy a ketracel-white facility deep in Cardassian space. However, during the early stage of rewrites, that mission was relocated to "A Time to Stand", and "Favor the Bold" was reformulated.
  • Admiral Coburn's character is similar to James Coburn's character in the film Midway, where his character tells Chester W. Nimitz not to go through with his plan of attack because it would leave Hawaii open to attack.
  • Sisko's passionate speech to Admiral Ross about the beauties of Bajor indicates the first time that he has openly revealed his love for the planet. However, it is not the first time he has spoken passionately about Bajor. In the third season episode "The Search, Part I", Sisko vehemently declares that he will not allow Bajor to fall at the hands of the Dominion. Dax even comments in that episode that she hasn't seen him so passionate about anything since Jennifer died. His plan to live there however, represents a new stage in his affection for the planet. He would put his plan into action in the seventh season episode "Penumbra", where he designs a model for the house and purchases land in the Kendra Province on which to begin building.
  • The above scene was added "at the last minute" when the episode was running short. Ronald D. Moore stated: "Sisko's desire to build a home on Bajor was something we'd been talking about within the writing staff for quite some time." (AOL chat, 1997)
  • In this episode, Nog is promoted to Ensign.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars



Uncredited co-stars


adjutant; Gamma Quadrant; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran prophecy; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran wormhole; Breen; Cardassia; Cardassians; Cortez, USS; Council of Ministers; courier; Dakeen Monastery; Delta 2 attack formation; Earth; Emissary of the Prophets; Federation; Ferengi; field officer; Fifth Fleet; Fortune favors the bold; Gowron; Great Link; holosuite; jambalaya; Kanar; kilometer; Klingons; Klingon Bird-of-Prey; Klingon Defense Force; Klingon Empire; latinum; medical tricorder; Nausicaan; Neural transponder; Ninth Fleet; Occupation of Bajor; Obsidian Order; poison; prison camp; Promenade; Prophets; Quark's; R&R; Raktajino; Reporter; Rotarran, IKS; Second Fleet; Sisko, Joseph; Sisko's house; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Intelligence; task force; Vulcan; War; Sarek, USS

External links

Previous episode:
"Behind the Lines"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 6
Next episode:
"Sacrifice of Angels"

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