(written from a Production point of view)
Sisko takes an untested Starfleet warship into the Gamma Quadrant in an attempt to find the Founders of the Dominion. (Season Premiere)
Kira, Dax, O'Brien, Odo, and Bashir are in Ops, having a discussion about the possible invasion by the Jem'Hadar, the soldiers of the Dominion. Dax says the only two options are to abandon the station and make a stand on Bajor, or to collapse the wormhole. Just as Kira rejects both ideas, a subspace surge activates the security sensors. The possibility of it being a cloaked ship is identified. Suddenly, the ship uncloaks, and hails the station. It is Benjamin Sisko, with an experimental vessel called the USS Defiant, a warship originally designed to fight the Borg. He says he has "brought back a little surprise for the Dominion."
Sisko and the senior officers discuss the Defiant in the station's wardroom. Sisko says it is a prototype; the idea was abandoned after design flaws were found during testing. When Kira complains at being sent this to fight the Dominion with, Sisko tells her that they are not going to fight the Dominion – yet. Their mission is to find the Dominion's founders, in the Gamma Quadrant, and to convince them that the Federation is not a threat to them. The Defiant is to be used in order to show the Dominion that the Federation can, and will, defend themselves should there be an attack.
At this point, Lieutenant Commander Michael Eddington and Sub-Commander T'Rul enter, informing Sisko of the new security measures they have implemented. When Odo objects, Sisko introduces the sub-commander, and says she is here to operate the cloaking device, loaned by the Romulan government. She says her role is to keep unauthorized persons away from the cloaking device. When Sisko tries to introduce his officers to her, she interrupts, saying she is not here to make friends. She then leaves, abruptly. Eddington then says he is here to make friends, and introduces himself to Kira. Odo is more than a little put out by Eddington being from Starfleet security, and asks what exactly Eddington is doing here. Before he can reply, Sisko tells them that there will be a full station briefing at 1800 hours, and dismisses everyone.
Odo comes to a conclusion. He informs Sisko that there is no need to brace himself to tell him unpleasant news, and that he already knows he has been replaced as head of security. Sisko runs to catch up, telling him that he will still be head of all matters concerning non-Starfleet security. For Odo this is not enough, and he asks why. Sisko says he has even been to the head of Starfleet Security herself, but the decision was final, due to concerns about recent security breaches on the station. Odo blames it on the restrictions caused by Starfleet regulations, and Sisko tells him that his reluctance to follow those regulations is a problem as well. Odo thinks it is to do with his being a shapeshifter, and assures that his resignation will be logged shortly.
Inside the Sisko quarters, the commander finds Jake eating again, even though he is supposed to be unpacking. Sisko finds he now thinks of the station as home, and wonders aloud when he began to think of "this Cardassian monstrosity" as that. Jake suggests it was last week, when the commander brought some of his items, including a 2,000 year old Yoruba mask, to the station, out of storage on Earth. The two have a comforting moment together.
Kira comes up to Odo as he looks out of a window on the Promenade. She says that the provisional government has asked for his presence on the mission. Odo says he highly doubts that, and he thinks it is just an attempt to make him feel better. Kira almost acknowledges that it is, and says that she is his friend, and is trying to make him see that he is still needed on the station. She leaves, after telling him that the Defiant leaves at 0700 hours.
Quark is in Sisko's office, confused as to why he has just been asked to come on the trip to find the Founders. Sisko says it is because he helped the Grand Nagus establish trade links with the Karemma, who are part of the Dominion. They may help to establish contact with the Founders. Quark tries to find excuses not to go, but Sisko will have none of it. Quark then flat out refuses, saying he has no intention of repeating his last experience with the Jem'Hadar. Sisko gets out the Grand Nagus' staff, saying that the Nagus has already agreed to Quark's going on this mission. Quark is forced to accept it, and is made to kiss the staff before leaving.
Dax tells Sisko that O'Brien's checks indicate the ship will be ready at 0700. The two discuss the chances of succeeding; Sisko says the chances are slim, but better than the chances of surviving a Jem'Hadar attack on the station. Dax says she thought she'd never see him so passionate about something since Jennifer died. Sisko says it was going back to Starfleet Headquarters, and being inspired by the admirals that made him passionate again. Dax says that Curzon never thought Sisko would be an admiral – he thought that Sisko would always have to be in the thick of things, and not behind a desk. Dax leaves, after they both agree that they need to sleep.
On the Defiant the next morning, Bashir tells Sisko that the medical facilities are severely lacking. Dax enters, informing the commander that Quark has settled into his quarters, despite being disappointed by the decorations. All systems are online, and they are about to depart, when they alerted to someone's presence in the airlock. It is Odo. He requests to come aboard, and Sisko agrees. Bashir volunteers to find him some quarters, as he has to go down to sickbay. The ship leaves, and cloaks once it enters the Gamma Quadrant. It begins to head for the Karemma system.
Odo has been forced to share a bunk with Quark, as it is the only remaining space with life support. Odo sits in a corner, as Quark begins to complain about almost everything there is to complain about. Odo says he needs to revert to his original form, and that he does not want Quark to watch. When Quark continues, he gets angry, and tells him to stay out of his way. Odo then shifts into a liquid, and goes into his bucket.
A Jem'Hadar ship is detected in the vicinity. Sisko orders the ship to remain on course, as this will be a good time to check if the cloaking device is effective. The ship appears to have detected them, as it turns round. The sub-commander disagrees, saying it may be subspace fluctuations that a cloaked ship emits at warp, and suggests dropping out of warp. Sisko gives the order to do so. The ships scan the area with antiprotons, and it is unknown whether they will detect the ship. The ships almost seem like they have detected the Defiant, but they fly off into warp.
On arriving on the Karemma homeworld, Quark tries to persuade the first minister Ornithar into putting them in contact with the Founders in exchange for trade advantages (namely a three percent increase of tulaberry wine purchases). However, stating that their only contact with the Dominion leadership is through the Vorta race, who didn't instruct them how to deal with the newcomers, Ornithar is reluctant to help them. He also points out that the Jem'Hadar will intervene at the smallest sign of insubordination, prompting Sisko to notice that losing an important trade agreement with the Alpha Quadrant might also displease the Dominion.
Compelled by Sisko's argument, Ornither directs them to an unmanned subspace relay station in the Callinon system, where the Karemma send all communications for the Dominion. While looking at the star chart, Odo recognizes a familiar form, the Omarion Nebula and feels inexplicably drawn to it. Quark chooses to remain with the Karemma to continue trade negotiations and Sisko agrees.
When the Defiant arrives at Callinon VII, the site of the subspace relay station, Dax and O'Brien beam down and manage to tap into the main computer suspiciously easy. However, before they upload the information to the Defiant, they trigger an alarm which activates a shield around the facility, trapping them inside. As Jem'Hadar warships approach the planet, Sisko is forced to flee and abandon the two of them on the surface with T'Rul's approval and despite Bashir's objections.
Bashir wonders what will happen to Dax and O'Brien. Sisko assumes they will be interrogated, and hopes they will also try to contact the Founders. Just then, T'Rul reports that three more Jem'Hadar vessels heading in their direction. Sisko decides to drop out of warp, cut off main power, and wait until they pass just like last time. Meanwhile, a troubled Odo refuses to report for duty, and Kira goes to confront him in his quarters. Odo reveals to her his strange obsession with the Omarion Nebula, and begs her to let him go there in a shuttle. Confused, Kira insists on carrying on their mission just as the ship comes under fire from the Jem'Hadar, who have managed to penetrate the cloak.
Act Five Edit
The Defiant decloaks and destroys one of the attacking vessels, but sustains heavy damage, and soon loses shields and main power, enabling Jem'Hadar soldiers to beam aboard. Kira is knocked unconscious, but Odo rescues her and escapes. After a brief fight, the bridge crew is overwhelmed.
Kira wakes up on a shuttle with Odo, who informs her that the Defiant was captured by the Jem'Hadar. When she finds out the shuttlecraft is heading for the Omarion Nebula instead of back to DS9, Kira protests energetically, but Odo is unmoved. They finally arrive in the nebula, and discover a habitable rogue planet. They land the shuttlecraft on the surface, and discover a strange mass of viscous liquid. As they are watching, several humanoid forms resembling Odo's appearance rise from the liquid. One of them, a female Changeling, approaches Odo and greets him: "Welcome home".
"I've brought back a little surprise for the Dominion."
- - Sisko, referring to the Defiant
"She may have flaws, but she has teeth."
- - Sisko, talking about the Defiant
"(Growls) I HAVE NO INTEREST IN SPEAKING TO YOU, OR LISTENING TO YOUR WITLESS PRATTLE! SO STAY OUT OF MY WAY, OR YOU'LL REGRET THE DAY YOU EVER MET ME!
- - Odo, to an overly chatty Quark
"Rom only has his son to think about. I have a business!"
- - Quark
"We'd all feel a bit better with [Odo] here to watch over Quark."
"I take that as a personal insult, doctor!"
- - Bashir and Quark, aboard the Defiant
"Can I speak freely?"
"What the hell is wrong with Starfleet?"
- - Kira and Sisko
- - Female Shapeshifter, to Odo
- This episode takes place eight months after "Rules of Acquisition" and two months after "The Jem'Hadar".
The USS DefiantEdit
- Of the creation of the USS Defiant, Robert Hewitt Wolfe points out, "Bringing in the Defiant was based on our own internal perceptions of something that would make the show better. It was not based on ratings." There was also a practical reason, as Ira Steven Behr explains, "We'd created villains who were that powerful, and all we had floating around as the thin red line of defense against this possible invading army were three runabouts." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Rick Berman was initially against the idea of the ship having a cloaking device because one of the tenets of Gene Roddenberry's universe was that Starfleet "did not believe in sneaking around." However, Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe were able to convince Berman that the Defiant was a unique ship in a unique situation and, with the added stipulation that the cloak could only be used in the Gamma Quadrant, Berman agreed. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Of the fact that the Defiant had a number of design problems, science consultant André Bormanis says, "I liked the idea of getting away from the concept that all Federation technology was squeaky clean and perfect. The Defiant has its problems because it's a prototype. it was hastily put together in the face of the Borg threat." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- As his first contribution to the show, Ronald D. Moore was charged with naming the ship. He originally wanted to call the Defiant the USS Valiant, but was unable to, as the USS Voyager also began with a "V". As such, he decided to call it the Defiant after the ship seen in the Original Series episode "The Tholian Web": the USS Defiant. Moore later created a Defiant-class USS Valiant for the sixth season episode "Valiant".
- After deciding not to make T'Rul a recurring character (see below), the producers also decided not to use the cloaking device beyond "The Search, Part I". Indeed, they actually planned to mention early in the season that the cloak had been returned to the Romulans. So certain were they that it wouldn't be used again that they even informed production designer Herman Zimmerman and director of photography Jonathan West, and told them that they didn't need to design an elaborate lighting rig because the dimming effect seen when the ship is under cloak would only ever be seen once. As such, Zimmerman's set design didn't allow room for West to construct a rig which could contain the set-up necessary for both normal lighting and cloaked lighting. Instead, West had his crew simply manually change the lights for the scenes under cloak. Of course, only a few episodes later, in "Defiant", the cloak was once again employed, and many times after that, but the set and the lighting rig were never redesigned, so every time the ship went under cloak, West had to have his crew manually change all of the lights, something which he was quite annoyed about. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The USS Defiant's weapons in this episode feature a heavy, machine-gun type of sound effect. All other episodes in the series involving the Defiant firing her weapons use a different sound effect resembling a cross between a phaser and a cannon.
Story and scriptEdit
- This episode is a continuation of the events portrayed in "The Jem'Hadar" and the first of a two-parter concluding with "The Search, Part II".
- In The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond featurette found on the DS9 Season 3 DVD, Robert Hewitt Wolfe explains the structure and organization of the Dominion: "The Gamma Quadrant isn't empty, it isn't just a bunch of planets. It's bound together by the Dominion, a very very tough, very smart, very old civilization, run by the mysterious Founders, who are experts in genetic engineering, and who turn out to be Odo's people, the Shapeshifters. They then go and engineer these slave races that do their bidding. Essentially, the two main slave races were the 'carrot' and the 'stick'. The carrot being the Vorta, who would come to your planet and say "Hey, you're nice people, here's some M-16s and some popcorn, and whatever else you want baby, alcohol, fire-water? All you have to do is sign this little contract and we'll make you cool". Then there's the Jem'Hadar. So the Vorta say "Oh, you don't want to play ball? Then meet these guys. They're gonna kick your ass"."
- This episode features the first on-screen appearance of the Karemma. They were mentioned in the season 2 episode "Rules of Acquisition", but they were not seen at that time. This episode also establishes that Quark was obviously successful in opening trade negotiations with the Karemma after being referred to them by the Dosi, and it suggests that Grand Nagus Zek's plan to get in touch with a higher ranking member of the Dominion by making demands which the Dosi couldn't fulfill was successful.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Rene Auberjonois initially felt that the decision to have Odo find his people was a bad idea; "I thought if we solved that mystery about Odo's character, I didn't know where we'd go with him." Auberjonois felt it would be the dramatic death of the character and that fans would lose interest in him. However, after being told that Odo would find his people, but would almost immediately alienate himself from them, Auberjonois came to see the potential; "What it did was make the character more complex. It just added to Odo's angst and to his depth, and it made him more challenging and interesting to play. And the fact that he ultimately comes to understand that he can't go back to his people, that he can't go home again. They opened up more avenues for me to travel as an actor." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Armin Shimerman hated the scene where Sisko makes Quark kiss the scepter of the Grand Nagus; "Despite the Federation's lip service to their Prime Directive, which says they're not supposed to apply their standards to any culture's attitudes, it seems to me that this was another example of the Federation making fun of, taking advantage of, and ridiculing the Ferengi way. So kissing the scepter was a bit irksome to both the actor and the character." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Jadzia Dax's new "up" hairstyle is unique to this episode and part II.
- According to Ronald D. Moore, the character of Michael Eddington, who is introduced in this episode, was initially conceived of merely to fill in when Colm Meaney was away doing a film, but over the course of the season, the writers decided to expand the character and even went so far, towards the end of the year, as to set Eddington up as a possible Founder infiltrator. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) Of course, the pay-off for this would be in the season finale, "The Adversary", where Eddington is set up as something of a red herring.
- Sisko's reaction on how bad the coffee is on the Defiant is similar to his disgust with the replicated coffee on DS9 in the first season episode "Babel".
- T'Rul was originally conceived to be a recurring character who would be in charge of operating the cloaking device on board the USS Defiant. However, after the initial two-parter, the producers realized that the character would not offer enough story material to warrant keeping her around. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) T'Rul was played by Martha Hackett, who later went on to play the recurring role of Seska on Star Trek: Voyager.
- This is the first episode in which Sisko expresses a love for Bajor and the first time he voices his refusal to allow it to fall, under any circumstances. The theme of Sisko's love for the planet would become more and more important as time went by, and would be one of his character's primary motivating goals in the series finale "What You Leave Behind".
- Odo's reaction to Lieutenant Commander Eddington is almost identical to his reaction to Lieutenant Primmin in the first season episode, "The Passenger" on both occasions he tells Sisko that he will be handing in his resignation.
- This episode sees the first appearance of Salome Jens as the Female Changeling, the Founders and the Founders' homeworld. It is also the first time we see Romulans in Deep Space Nine.
- The new style combadge that was used up to and including Star Trek Nemesis is first seen in this episode, after it was designed for Star Trek Generations.
- Odo's slightly altered makeup and uniform debuts in this episode, at the request of Rene Auberjonois. He liked the way his mirror version of Odo looked in "Crossover" and he lobbied the producers to keep this design. His uniform would remain like this for the rest of the series. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 144)
- This is the first episode with Jonathan West as Director of Photography. He served as such for every episode of the series run, except for the ones he directed, starting from this episode.
- This is the first of eleven DS9 episodes, the last being "Past Tense, Part I", that premiered without another Star Trek series also on the air. All episodes of DS9 before this premiered while The Next Generation was still running, and after "Past Tense, Part I", Voyager had begun.
- This is also the first appearance of the Wardroom.
- "Empire" Magazine cited the whole two-parter, "The Search" as the best episode of Deep Space Nine when they ranked the series #47 on their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time". 
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- At this point, CIC Video dropped the previous continuous volume numbering, introducing a season-specific volume number, which is displayed at the top of the front cover.
- As part of the DS9 Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
Guest stars Edit
- Salome Jens as Female Changeling
- Martha Hackett as T'Rul
- John Fleck as Ornithar
- Kenneth Marshall as Michael Eddington
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Brian Demonbreun as science division officer
- Unknown performers as
Stunt double Edit
Alpha Quadrant; Africa; antiproton beam (antiproton); Bajor; Bajoran; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran wormhole; beritium; Callinon system; Callinon VII; Cardassian; caterer; Changeling; cloaking device; Constable; Dax, Curzon; Defiant, USS; Defiant-class; diamide; dirak; Dominion; Dominion cold war; Earth; escape pod; evasive pattern; Federation; Ferengi; Gamma Quadrant; Grand Nagus; Grand Nagus' staff; inertial damper; interior decorator; Jem'Hadar; Karemma; kilometer; latinum; Nog; ODN matrix; "Old Man"; outpost; phase inducer; Promenade; Romulan Bird-of-Prey; Romulan Star Empire; sub-commander; Sisko, Jennifer; subspace variance; transporter; Tulaberry wine; type 18 shuttlepod; Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards; Vorta; Yoruba mask; Zek
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"The Search, Part II"