(written from a Production point of view)
A fugitive from the Gamma Quadrant attempts to trade evidence about Odo's people for freedom.
Odo arrives at Quark's, suspecting that he's doing business with the Miradorn raider that just docked. They also discuss a quiet customer who is sitting at the other end of the bar. Just then, Ah-Kel and Ro-Kel, a pair of Miradorn twins, enter the bar and nod in Quark's direction. Quark heads up to a holosuite and asks Rom to bring up some drinks. Odo morphs into one of the glasses to eavesdrop on the upcoming meeting.
Act One Edit
The twins are offering to sell a small egg-shaped object to Quark, who expresses concern that it was stolen but just as he does, the quiet customer, named Croden, enters and demands to be given the item at gunpoint. Rom drops his tray of glasses, one of which reforms into Odo as it hits the floor. Ah-Kel throws the table at Croden, then Ro-Kel fires at him, but misses. Croden fires back, killing Ro-Kel. Before Ah-Kel gets a chance to fight back Odo hauls Croden away to the security office.
Ah-Kel, furious about his twin's death, vows vengeance against Croden. However, as Croden is still being held in the brig, Ah-Kel returns to his ship in frustration. Odo visits Croden who tells him stories he'd heard about Changelings, something which piques Odo's attention.
Act Two Edit
Croden goes on to tell Odo that the Changelings live in an unusual nebula in the Gamma Quadrant. Croden then shows Odo an unusual pendant containing a miniature Changeling that shapes into what could be described as an unusual "chess piece".
Odo takes the pendant to Dr. Bashir who examines it and tells him that it's organic. The only other living creature he'd encountered with a remotely similar genetic makeup is Odo. Jokingly, Bashir says that the pendant could be considered Odo's distant cousin. Odo returns the pendant, at Croden's request.
Act Three Edit
Using the Rio Grande, Commander Sisko and Lieutenant Dax locate Croden's homeworld and speak to Hadran, the Exarch of Nehelik Province. It transpires that Croden is wanted for multiple crimes on his planet and Hadran demands his immediate return to face execution. Sisko agrees.
Odo is ordered to return Croden to his homeworld. They use a Rigelian freighter to mask their departure from Ah-Kel's raider.
Aboard the runabout Croden tells Odo that on his homeworld he was declared an enemy of the state, the punishment of which is the execution of his family members. His two wives were killed and in response Croden killed the security officers responsible. Odo is suspicious of the story but Croden reassures him that it's true.
Act Four Edit
Ah-Kel discovers that Croden is gone. After threatening Quark's life, Quark uses his security access to give Ah-Kel Croden's whereabouts. Rom is excited over the prospect of Ah-Kel killing both Odo and Croden, but Quark does not share his enthusiasm. Ah-Kel eventually catches up with Odo's runabout in the Nebula and opens fire. Odo agrees to let Croden take the controls, since he is familiar with this area of space. Croden directs Odo to a small planetoid, telling him that he may end up meeting one of his people after all.
Act Five Edit
When they arrive there are no Changelings present. Croden heads to a stasis chamber hidden deep in a cave where he uses the "chess piece" as a key to open it and revives his daughter Yareth, seemingly proving his story to be true. On the way back to the runabout, the Miradorn vessel fires upon the planetoid which causes a cave-in and Odo is knocked out. Croden considers leaving him but ultimately goes back for him and rescues him when his daughter questions what he's doing.
Odo regains consciousness on the runabout and is surprised to find that Croden didn't leave him behind. However Ah-Kel is still pursuing them. Odo takes the controls from Croden and leads the Miradorn ship into a pocket of volatile toh-maire gas. Just before the runabout is fired upon, Odo moves the ship out of the way. The gas ignites, destroying the Miradorn ship.
As Croden is preparing to be returned to his people, he asks Odo to take care of Yareth, saying that they're both going to be outsiders and they'll need each other. Odo is looking for a way to decline the request when a Vulcan ship, the T'Vran, detecting the explosion, intercepts the runabout Ganges and asks if they can be of any assistance. Odo asks if they would take the two Rakhari "survivors" back to Vulcan with them. Odo tells Croden that he will say Croden was killed during the Miradorn attack on the planetoid. Croden gives Odo his pendant as a way of thanking him for his kindness and for saving his life as well as the life of his daughter before beaming over to the Vulcan ship. Odo warns him that he will be an outsider living in an alien culture, but Croden says as long as he has his daughter he has a home. After they depart Odo, holding the pendant, tells his "cousin" that one day they'll find home as well.
"The shapeshifters are harsh in their judgment."
- - Croden to Odo
"The usual, Odo?"
- - Quark and Odo
"Whoever you are--you're making a mistake."
"Well, it wouldn't be the first and probably won't be the last. Give that to me."
- - Ro-Kel and Croden
"The fact that you just killed a man doesn't affect your appetite?"
- - Odo, to Croden
"The next time you lie, I'll save Ah-Kel the trouble of killing you."
- - Odo, to Croden
"Five glasses... for four people... !?"
- - Quark, after he realizes that Odo was masquerading as a glass
"Have you known any twinned Miradorn, commander?"
"I'm afraid I haven't met any before now."
"In my species, we are not just twin brothers... together we are a self... two halves of one being. I am incomplete now."
- - Ah-Kel, to Sisko
"You could've left me behind."
"Don't thank me, I already regret it."
- - Odo and Croden, after Croden decided not to leave Odo on the planetoid
"Oh, you are clever, brother. Now, Ah-Kel will rid us of both Croden and Odo."
"Unless Odo is sensible and gives up his prisoner."
"Oh, no! Then Croden will tell Ah-Kel the truth about our plan. We're dead. We're dead. You shouldn't have told him how to find them."
"Be quiet! Odo would never give up his prisoner. He'll just get himself killed."
- - Rom and Quark, about Ah-Kel's plan to kill Croden and Odo
"Home? Where is it? Some day we'll know... cousin."
- - Odo, looking at Croden's pendant
Story and scriptEdit
- Peter Allan Fields' original idea for this episode was based upon the 1953 Anthony Mann movie The Naked Spur and, as such, Fields hired that movie's writer, Sam Rolfe, to do the teleplay. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Odo's line "I'm a security chief, not a combat pilot" is a tribute to Leonard McCoy's running line in Star Trek: The Original Series, "I'm a doctor, not a...." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Morn is first identified by name in this episode. It is also in this episode that the notion that he talks too much is introduced, something that became a running joke for the duration of the series even though he never speaks onscreen. Morn is also an anagram for a well loved character from the television series Cheers, who, like Morn, spent a lot of time sitting at the bar. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The script specifies that two of Ah-Kel's crewman were Gatherers, who were first seen in the other Star Trek episode that Sam Rolfe wrote, TNG: "The Vengeance Factor". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- In the shot in which Rom places the bottle of langour onto the drinks tray, we see that there are now five glasses instead of four. The script highlighted the change, and directed that the camera focus on the fifth glass in homage to Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 film Notorious. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- The Miradorn makeup was one of makeup supervisor Michael Westmore's favorite designs from the first season of Deep Space Nine. In particular, Westmore liked the throat area. Originally, the throat had been designed with a loose flap of skin hanging down over the Adam's apple. However, costume designer Robert Blackman wanted to use a necklace as part of the Miradorn costume, but Westmore felt that to place a necklace over the flap of skin would render it useless and spoil the effect. As such, it was decided to let the necklace run under the flap of skin, and glue the skin down at the bottom, so it was no longer loose. (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season One, DS9 Season 1 DVD, special feature)
- The exterior visuals of the Chamra Vortex are re-used shots of the Mutara Nebula from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, recolored slightly and flipped upside-down.
- Michael Piller thought "Vortex" was: "a very effective episode. I was mostly concerned that the sentimentality of the little girl on the planet was not going to play and that it was a little hokey. Frankly, I think it did play and I found it quite touching. I was intrigued with the mystery, and the special effects they did in the vortex were sensational". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 51)
- This episode marks the first time that we see Odo smile. Actor Rene Auberjonois felt that this scene was an important one in the development of the character, believing that "a smile is sort of a gift that Odo gives only on very special occasions." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Randy Oglesby portrays both of the Miradorn twins. He played several other characters in various Star Trek series, including Silaran Prin in the DS9 Season 5 episode "The Darkness and the Light" and the recurring role of Degra in the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise.
- This is also the first episode in which the term "Changeling" is used to describe Odo.
- Croden did speak some truth about the Changelings – they did live in an unusual nebula in the Gamma Quadrant, on a rogue planet within the Omarion Nebula ("The Search, Part II")
- Gordon Clapp's costume from this episode was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay and may have been re-used in Star Trek Generations. 
- Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 6, 4 October 1993
- As part of the DS9 Season 1 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
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
Guest stars Edit
- Cliff DeYoung as Croden
- Randy Oglesby as Ah-Kel and Ro-Kel
- Max Grodénchik as Rom
- Gordon Clapp as Hadran
- Kathleen Garrett as Vulcan captain
- Leslie Engelberg as Yareth
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Frank Collison as Dolak (display graphic)
- Jeannie Dreams as a Human operations division ensign
- Jeffrey Hayenga as Orta (display graphic)
- Randy James as Lieutenant Jones
- Norman Large as Romulan criminal (display graphic)
- Mark Lentry as a Human command division lieutenant
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Robin Morselli as Bajoran officer
- April Rossi as Andorian criminal (display graphic)
- Mark Allen Shepherd as
- Michael Zurich as a Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
Stunt doubles Edit
- Dennis Madalone as stunt double for Cliff DeYoung
- Buck McDancer as stunt double for Randy Oglesby
- Tom Morga as stunt double for Rene Auberjonois
- Randy James as stand-in for Colm Meaney
- Mark Lentry as stand-in for Rene Auberjonois
- Unknown actor as photo double for Randy Oglesby
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- "Vortex" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Vortex" at Wikipedia
- "Vortex" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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