Stardate 48212.4: Preparations are being made aboard DS9 for an inevitable visit from the Dominion, but no one can escape the fact that the station would wither under an attack from the Jem’Hadar. Commander Sisko, having gone to Earth for Starfleet briefings on the threat from the Gamma Quadrant, arrives in the experimental Federation vessel Defiant, a small ship originally created to do battle with the Borg. Carrying more firepower than any other Starfleet ship and a cloaking device loaned by the Romulans, the Defiant is to go to the Dominion before the Dominion arrives in the Alpha Quadrant; if need be, the ship is also to take the fight to the other side of the galaxy. Another innovation brought about by Starfleet Command is the transfer of a Starfleet security officer to the station, relieving Odo of all but station-bound security matters. The shapeshifter withdraws in anger while Sisko assembles a crew for the Defiant’s mission to seek out the Dominion for negotiations, but joins the Defiant crew at the last minute. A trade contact of Quark’s offers some information but little help in the search for the Founders of the Dominion, but does point the crew out to a planet through which most Dominion communications pass. When the Defiant arrives there, Dax and O’Brien beam down and find the possible coordinates of the Dominion command center – and are captured by the Jem’Hadar, who have also arrived in force in orbit. The Defiant manages to take out only one Jem’Hadar ship and barely survives the withering assault of the remaining attackers. The Defiant is boarded and Kira is blasted unconscious in the ensuing melee. Odo takes her and evacuates in an escape shuttle, heading not back to the station, but to a planet in the Omarian Nebula with which he has been preoccupied since arriving in the Gamma Quadrant. The planet turns out to be the home of a race of life forms very like Odo himself, one of which welcomes him home.
Season 3 Regular Cast: Avery Brooks (Commander Benjamin Sisko), Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Siddig El Fadil (Dr. Julian Bashir), Terry Farrell (Lt. Jadzia Dax), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), Colm Meaney (Chief O’Brien), Armin Shimerman (Quark), Nana Visitor (Major Kira Nerys)
teleplay by Ronald D. Moore
story by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
directed by Kim Friedman
music by Jay Chattaway
Guest Cast: Salome Jens (Female Shapeshifter), Martha Hackett (SubCommander T’rul), John Fleck (Karemma), Kenneth Marshall (Lt. Commander Eddington)
Notes: Salome Jens had previously appeared in a very Odo-esque makeup in the sixth season Next Generation episode The Chase; no connection was intended between the two characters. Martha Hackett would later surface on Voyager in the recurring role of Seska. This episode introduces the Defiant to Deep Space Nine; the new ship was intended to convince disgruntled Next Generation fans that the series’ action wasn’t simply confined to the station.
LogBook entry by Earl Green