Jan 28 2014 4:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “The Way of the Warrior”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior“The Way of the Warrior”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 4, Episode 1
Production episode 40514-473
Original air date: October 2, 1995
Stardate: 49011.4

Station log: Sisko and Kira are moving through the corridors with phaser rifles. They break into guest quarters and use phasers on wide beam to try to find a changeling. In another room a piece of chair changes into a bird, and Sisko and Kira give chase to the Promenade. Bashir and a security team set up, but then the display face of a Promenade directory turns out to be Odo. O’Brien comes up to Odo and says, “Bang, you’re dead.”

It was a drill, and it took way too long for them to flush Odo out. And the Founders are better shapeshifters than he is. They need to do it again and find him faster next time.

Sisko and Yates have a date. Yates approves of his new bald head. They exchange gifts: he gives her a scarf of Tholian silk and she gives him a baseball cap from the Pike City Pioneers, her brother’s baseball team. He also prepared a huge meal for them, which their attempt to enjoy is interrupted by a call from Dax in Ops.

The new Klingon flagship, the Negh’Var, has arrived at DS9 and General Martok wishes to speak to Sisko, asking for shore leave for his warriors on the station. When Sisko agrees, dozens of Klingon ships decloak.

Quark’s is packed full of Klingons amidst all the other customers. It’s also incredibly quiet. Quark is disconcerted: the ambient noise level is less than 30 decibels. It’s usually in the 60s, and when Klingons are in the bar, it’s above 80. He’s nervous—he’s never heard of a quiet Klingon before.

Sisko and Kira meet with Martok. The general insists on blood screenings to make sure that none of them are changelings and then says that the High Council has sent them to help their Federation allies against the Dominion. Sisko’s pointing out that the Jem’Hadar have given the wormhole a wide berth of late falls on deaf ears.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Over breakfast, Garak and Odo discuss news from Cardassia. The Cardassian Union has sealed their borders. Odo’s heard nothing, and neither has Garak from the one or two friends he still has back home. Their conversation is interrupted by a Klingon named Drex harassing Morn. Odo gets him to move along, but only after a lot of posturing. When Garak returns to his shop, Drex is there with four other Klingons, who then beat the crap out of him. Garak insists on not pressing charges, to the chagrin and surprise of Bashir, Sisko, and Odo.

Kira’s report to Sisko on the number of Klingon ships—they think it’s twenty, but it’s hard to tell with them constantly cloaking and decloaking—is interrupted by a distress call from the Xhosa, which is Yates’s ship. She only left the station an hour ago, and now she’s under attack. Sisko takes the Defiant to her location: they find a Klingon Bird-of-Prey holding the Xhosa in a tractor beam.

Sisko hails Commander Kaybok, who says that he’s under orders from the High Council to search ships and determine if there are any changelings on board. Kira tartly points out that this is a violation of Bajoran law—they’re still in Bajoran space—but Kaybok says he has his orders and signs off.

So Sisko fires a warning shot. Kaybok is outraged, and so is Sisko. Kaybok disengages, but says that Gowron will hear of this.

Unfortunately, this just means that the Klingons have moved to unclaimed space and are checking vessels there instead. Tellingly, they’re avoiding Federation and Bajoran ships, but they’re still performing random unwarranted searches.

Martok then comes into Sisko’s office, glowers at him, slams a d’k tahg down on his desk, and leaves. Dax identifies the dagger as belonging to Kaybok, and interprets Martok’s actions to mean that Martok had Kaybok killed for his actions. Concerned that this is getting out of control, Sisko sends for the only Klingon in Starfleet to help him out: Worf, son of Mogh, who is greeted at the docking ring by his former shipmate, O’Brien. (Quark sees him board and mutters, “Just what this station needs—another Klingon.”)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Worf reports to Sisko, and promises to get some answers as to what the Klingons are really doing here. His first stop is Quark’s, where he briefly joins O’Brien and Bashir in a game of darts and meets Kira and Dax before he finds who he’s looking for: Drex who, it turns out, is Martok’s son. Worf introduces himself, backhands Drex, takes him down, and leaves with Drex’s d’k tahg. (Dax is impressed, and O’Brien proudly says, “What’d I tell ya?”)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

While in his quarters unpacking his stuff—his mek’leth, a picture of him and Alexander—Worf is greeted by Martok who demands his son’s d’k tahg back. Worf gladly gives it back—he just wanted the general’s attention. He demands to know why Martok and his troops have behaved so dishonorably—attacking Garak, detaining ships without provocation, executing a commander who refused to fire on an ally—and all Martok will say is that his orders come directly from Gowron and his mission will determined the fate of the empire. So not ominous at all...

Worf goes to the holosuite and after a bat’leth fight with Dax that probably isn’t foreplay, Worf explains that not only was Martok not forthcoming, but attempts to contact Gowron, Emperor Kahless, and his brother Kurn have failed. Dax suggests that maybe there’s someone on board who owes his family a favor—and sure enough, there’s an old comrade of Mogh’s on board named Huraga. After a great deal of drinking and singing and headbutting, Huraga tells Worf the truth: the Klingons plan to invade Cardassia. The Central Command, apparently, has been overthrown and the civilian Detapa Council is now in complete control. Gowron and the High Council believe that the Dominion engineered the coup, as they don’t believe civilians could overthrow the military without help.

Sisko calls Martok to the wardroom, after talking to the Federation Council. The Federation doesn’t support this invasion, and if they go through with it, it will jeopardize the alliance. By the time Sisko and Worf get back to Ops, Martok’s entire fleet heads directly to the Cardassian border.

The Federation Council’s orders to Sisko are to do nothing. They’ve tried to contact Gowron to no avail. They can’t warn Cardassia that the invasion fleet is coming because that would be a betrayal of the alliance with the Klingons. There’s also the concern that the Klingons won’t stop at Cardassia—they may hit the Federation or Bajor next. Sisko’s solution to the conundrum is to summon Garak to the wardroom to fit Sisko for a new suit while they talk casually about the invasion. Garak immediately contacts Dukat, which enables the Cardassian military to respond.

In response to the Federation Council’s condemnation of the invasion, Gowron has ordered all Federation citizens expelled from the empire, all ambassadors recalled, and he’s withdrawn from the Khitomer Accords, ending the treaty between their governments.

Then, to everyone’s surprise, a single Klingon ship decloaks. Gowron’s on board, and he’s asking to speak to Worf in person. Worf beams over to find Gowron happy to see him. He wants Worf to come with him to invade Cardassia, by way of making up for his betrayal. But Worf refuses, citing his oath to the Federation. Gowron refuses to accept an oath given to the people who turned their back on the empire, and threatens to strip Worf of his name, his lands, his titles, everything. Worf says he’ll still have his honor and beams back to DS9.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Later, O’Brien joins him for a drink in Quark’s, where they reminisce and Worf tells O’Brien that he intends to resign. Staying in Starfleet will serve only to remind him of his disgrace. However, Sisko refuses to accept his resignation. He needs Worf on the station as long as the fighting between the Cardassians and Klingons continues.

Kira informs Sisko that Bajoran Intelligence has learned that the Klingons have broken through the fleet and will occupy Cardassia Prime in 52 hours. Sisko contacts the civilian government—only to speak to Dukat, who is now the chief military advisor to the Detapa Council. (Dukat insists that as a loyal Cardassian officer, he serves the legitimate government, whoever that might be. Sisko translates that to, “You saw which way the wind was blowing, and changed sides.”) Sisko offers to get the members of the Detapa Council to safety, so he and Dukat agree on a rendezvous point, where he’ll meet Dukat and the council with the Defiant.

Sisko leaves Kira and O’Brien behind to check on the tactical upgrades they’ve been making to the station, and gets a chance for a quick goodbye and a quicker smooch with Yates before heading out under cloak to the rendezvous point.

When they arrive at the rendezvous, they find Dukat’s ship under fire by three Birds-of-Prey. Reluctantly, Sisko orders the cloak dropped, the shields raised, and the weapons readied. “We’re going in.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Dukat’s engines are down and weapons lost, so Sisko needs to beam him and the councilors on board. The Defiant does well in the battle, especially with some tractor beam tricks that Worf pulls, but they have to lower the shields to beam Dukat and the councilors over. Once that’s done, they turn and head home, but the cloak has been damaged by the battle and it won’t engage. They’re being pursued by two ships. Bashir performs blood screenings on all the Cardassians, a procedure Dukat finds offensive, to which Bashir, speaking for the entire viewership and every Bajoran ever, replies that he finds Dukat offensive.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Several dozen Klingon ships arrive at the station. Bashir prepares his medical staff for boarding parties, and also refuses Odo’s offer of a deputy assigned to the infirmary. He doesn’t want his patients distracted by a firefight in his doorway.

Quark insists on defending his bar with the disruptor pistol he had from his days on a Ferengi freighter. Odo thought he was the cook, and he was—and everyone on that ship was a food critic. But it turns out that Rom used the disruptor parts to fix the replicators. (“I will kill him,” Quark declares, and Odo smirks and asks, “With what?”)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Gowron and Martok demand that Sisko turn the council over to them. Sisko points out that they were all tested, and they’re not changelings. Sisko also says he has 5000 photon torpedoes armed and ready.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

The battle is joined. The station takes out eight Klingon ships and heavily damages more before they manage to take out the shields, enabling boarding parties to come into Ops, the Promenade, and the Habitat Ring. Odo’s people contain the ones on the Promenade, and Dukat and Garak are keeping the ones going for the council at bay. In Ops, Worf, Sisko, Dax, and Kira kick major ass, and O’Brien is badly hurt (Worf saved him from being killed).

Once Ops is secure again, and Dax reports a Starfleet task force less than fifteen minutes away, Sisko calls Gowron. The chancellor’s interpretation is that Sisko’s shields are compromised, he’s been boarded, and more Klingon ships are on the way—he should surrender. The captain counters that his shields are holding and the boarding parties are contained—and his reinforcements are closer. Between them, Sisko and Worf convince Gowron to stand down, Sisko by reminding him that this is what the Founders want, for the Alpha Quadrant powers to be at each others’ throats, so the Dominion can waltz in; Worf by quoting Kahless: “Destroying an empire to win a war is no victory, and ending a battle to save an empire is no defeat.”

Gowron stands down, the Detapa Council is safely returned to Cardassia Prime, and DS9 is getting back to normal. Worf has changed his mind about resigning thanks to a pep talk from Sisko, and he’s now DS9’s Strategic Operations Officer. However, it’s not all sweetness and light: the Klingons have refused to give up the outlying Cardassian colonies they conquered in the first wave of the attack and they’re fortifying their positions there. This conflict is not over.

Can’t we just reverse the polarity? O’Brien has upgraded the crap out of the station’s tactical systems, giving them some serious weaponry and shield power. Martok scans them and assumes it’s just duranium shadows and thoron fields—the very same thing that Kira and O’Brien used to fool the Cardassians into thinking they were better armed than they were in “Emissary.”

The Sisko is of Bajor: The newly promoted captain has a newly shaven head, which meets with the approval of his new girlfriend. He brings Worf on board to find out the truth behind the Klingon task force, and is further proactive in rescuing the Detapa Council. He also has completely gone back to looking like Hawk from Spenser: For Hire, and as an added bonus, the first shot we get of him, he’s holding a big gun. Only thing missing is the shades...

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Kira gets stabbed when Ops is boarded, but she waits until after she takes down the guy who stabbed her before collapsing onto the deck. Because she’s just that awesome.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

The slug in your belly: Dax has a calisthenics program for the holosuite very much like the one Worf had on the Enterprise-D (seen in “Where Silence Has Lease,” “The Emissary,” and “New Ground”). Worf assumes it was Curzon’s program, but Dax insists its hers, and she holds her own against Worf, though he does win the fight.

Amusingly, Dax takes down a Klingon in Ops with a bat’leth in the exact same way Worf took her down in the holosuite earlier.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Preservation of matter and energy is for wimps: Odo and Garak have breakfast together, as Odo suggested back at the end of “The Die is Cast.” Odo has also mastered the trick of faking drinking coffee via his shapechanging ability, to help make him look like he’s participating.

Odo also tells Bashir that if a Klingon kills him, he expects an entire opera on the subject to be composed, and Bashir agrees, but says he doesn’t particularly want to listen to it.

Rules of Acquisition: Quark gives Garak a bottle of kanar on the house. He regrets not going into weapons like his cousin Gaila, but he wanted to open a bar because he’s a people person. Selling weapons would be a waste of his charm and love of conversation. He makes Garak drink root beer, which is cloying and bubbly and happy—just like the Federation. But if you drink enough of it, you get to like it. It’s insidious—just like the Federation. They both hope that the Federation can save them, which ends one of the single best conversations in any Star Trek series ever.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

There is no honor in being pummeled: Worf was meditating on Boreth when Sisko called for him. He’s considering resigning his commission, feeling lost after the Enterprise’s destruction and being once again kicked out of the empire, just as Sisko did in “Emissary,” and just as the wormhole experience convinced Sisko to change his mind, Sisko convinces Worf to change his and come on board as strategic operations officer. He’s also now back in command red, as he was in TNG’s first season before moving to security.

Plain, simple: Once again, the crew decides to use Garak’s spy past for their own purposes, in this case using him as a back-channel method of contacting Cardassia to warn them about the invasion. He also fights alongside Dukat while defending the Detapa Council from the Klingon invaders of DS9, but in the end Dukat gets to go home while Garak is stuck in his tailor shop.

For Cardassia! The Detapa Council has overthrown the Central Command, since the Obsidian Order is no longer a factor in keeping the civilian council in check. Cardassia closed its borders at the time of the coup, so no one knows what’s happening at first.

Victory is life: Gowron insists that the Founders are behind the coup on Cardassia. It will be revealed in “Apocalypse Rising” that it is, in fact, Martok who has been replaced by a changeling. “By Inferno’s Light” will reveal that Martok was captured some time prior to this episode (because he doesn’t recognize Worf), which means that the Martok we see in this episode is truly a Founder in disguise. The fact that he passes a blood screening in the very episode after the policy was established shows that the Founders didn’t take long to figure a way around it.

Tough little ship: The Defiant has new ablative armor, which enables them to withstand a Klingon onslaught while beaming Dukat and the Detapa Council (which is totally the name of my next band) on board.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Do not detain Sisko’s girlfriend. Sisko will own your ass. As Kaybok learned to his eternal regret.

What happens on the holosuite stays on the holosuite: Dax takes Kira to a re-creation of the Hoobishian baths on Trill in a difficult attempt to get her to relax. Later, they go to a re-creation of King Arthur’s court, with Kira as Guinevere, which leads to an entertaining first meeting of Worf for the pair.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

Keep your ears open: “I didn’t know you spoke Klingon.”

“Oh, you’d be surprised at the things you can learn when you’re doing alterations.”

Odo and Garak after Garak understood Drex’s insult directed at Odo in Klingon.

Welcome aboard: Robert O’Reilly returns as Gowron, firmly establishing him as a recurring guest on this show, having already been so on TNG. Last seen in “The House of Quark,” he’ll be back at season’s end in “Broken Link.” Also back are Penny Johnson as Yates, Marc Alaimo as Dukat, Andrew J. Robinson as Garak.

We get a new recurring regular as well, in J.G. Hertzler as Martok. Last seen as the Vulcan captain of the Saratoga in “Emissary,” Hertzler will continue to recur on the show through to the end, mostly as Martok.

Patricia Tallman, a regular stuntperson on both TNG and DS9 (and probably best known in genre circles as Lyta Alexander on Babylon 5, and who also guest starred on TNG’s “Starship Mine”) gets a rare shot at a billed speaking part, as the Defiant weapons officer.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: The Way of the Warrior

In addition, Obi Ndefo gets to be obnoxious as Drex (he’ll next appear in Voyager’s “Blink of an Eye” as Kelemane), Christopher Darga gets to be outclassed by Sisko as Kaybok (he’ll appear in Voyager’s “Think Tank” as Y’Sek and Enterprise’s “Unexpected” as another Klingon, Vorok), and William Dennis Hurt gets to croon drunkenly with Worf as Huraga.

Trivial matters: In this episode, Michael Dorn joins the opening-credits cast as Lieutenant Commander Worf, making Dorn the only person to be an opening-credits regular on two different Trek shows. The character was last seen on screen in Star Trek Generations. In addition, the characters of Dax and Bashir were promoted to, respectively, lieutenant commander and full lieutenant. Starting with this episode, the actor playing Bashir is credited as Alexander Siddig (though he will return to the use of Siddig el-Fadil as a director credit). And, finally, Avery Brooks has shaved his head and kept the goatee he grew for “Explorers,” thus giving Sisko the look he’d maintain for the rest of the series.

This episode was originally aired as a two-hour movie, thought it was split into two parts for reruns. It’s the only time Trek has done a mid-series two-hour episode that was written and created as such—all the others were series premieres (“Encounter at Farpoint,” “Emissary,” “Caretaker”), series finales (“All Good Things...,” “What You Leave Behind,” “Endgame”), or two-part episodes that were aired in a single two-hour block (“The Killing Game,” “Flesh and Blood”).

Sisko makes reference to the Khitomer Accords, the first time the treaty between the Klingons and the Federation—the existence of which was implied back in the first season of TNG both by Worf’s presence generally and the episode “Heart of Glory” in particular—has been named. The peace talks between the Klingons and Federation were established as being on Khitomer in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Bashir and Garak’s brief mention of the Betreka Nebula Incident was enough for your humble rewatcher to base an entire book around: the Lost Era novel The Art of the Impossible spells out the specifics of that eighteen-year “incident.” It is also in that novel that Curzon Dax (one of the main characters in the book) comes to the conclusion that Sisko quotes in this episode about how the only people who can handle the Klingons are Klingons. It also has a mention made by Mogh of his good friend Huraga.

Drex is never seen or even mentioned again on screen, despite his father becoming a recurring charater, but he does appear in several novels, including The Left Hand of Destiny Books 1-2 by J.G. Hertzler and Jeffrey Lang, and your humble rewatcher’s novels Diplomatic Implausibility and A Singular Destiny—in the latter, Drex dies a warrior’s death.

Sisko makes reference to the destruction of the Enterprise-D in Star Trek Generations, and O’Brien’s prediction that they’ll build another one comes true, as seen by the Enterprise-E in Star Trek: First Contact. Worf and O’Brien also discuss the events of “The Best of Both Worldstwo-parter, as well as the propensity on TNG for the holodeck to go wrong (“11001001,” “The Big Goodbye,” “Elementary, Dear Data,” “Ship in a Bottle,” “A Fistful of Datas,” etc.).

Worf’s time between the destruction of the Enterprise-D and his going to Boreth to meditate is chronicled in the novel Triangle: Imzadi II by Peter David. Boreth itself was established in “Rightful Heir.” Worf’s affinity for prune juice—which gets a very abortive laugh from Quark—was established in “Yesterday’s Enterprise.”

The closest TNG ever came to an ongoing story arc was the Klingon political shenanigans that ran through “Sins of the Father,” “Reunion,” “The Drumhead,” “The Mind’s Eye,” the “Redemptiontwo-parter, the “Birthrighttwo-parter, and “Rightful Heir.” The arc is carried over to the spinoff here, and will continue until one of the final episodes of the show, “Tacking Into the Wind.” Gowron reminds Worf of the favors he did for him in two of those episodes, restoring his family name (seen in “Redemption”) and putting his brother Kurn on the High Council (established in “Rightful Heir”).

Worf says he’s never been on a Federation starship with a cloaking device, which isn’t strictly speaking accurate, as the Enterprise was fitted with a modified cloak in “The Pegasus.”

Quark’s cousin Gaila was first mentioned in “Civil Defense,” as was his ownership of a moon. This episode establishes his past as a weapons dealer. Gaila will be seen in “Business as Usual.”

The drinking song crooned by Worf and Huraga will be heard again twice on Voyager, in “Barge of the Dead” and “Prophecy.”

This is the third DS9 episode to be novelized, and the second straight season premiere to be novelized by Diane Carey, who also novelized “The Searchtwo-parter a year ago (and which your dumbass rewatcher forgot to mention in his piece on same back in October). In an amusing bit of trivia, I actually wrote the back cover copy for The Way of the Warrior novelization, in which I provided the line: “Sisko must risk destroying the Federation-Klingon alliance to prevent a full-scale war!” which is hilarious because Sisko actually did destroy the Federation-Klingon alliance...

The road from the destruction of the Obsidian Order in “The Die is Cast” to the overthrow of the government in this episode is chronicled in Una McCormack’s novel The Never-Ending Sacrifice.

Walk with the Prophets: “This we do not forgive—or forget!” What an exhilarating thrill-ride of an episode. This fourth-season premiere kicks everything up a notch. You thought we got status quo changes in “The Die is Cast”? This time we get the Cardassian government overthrown and the Klingon Empire abrogating the Khitomer Accords. The Dominion threat is ramping up, and they don’t even appear in this episode (well, at least not overtly) and they still succeed is stirring up some serious chaos, sundering an alliance that has been a cornerstone of 24th-century Trek and was the plot of the last full-on original series movie. Where the Dominion threat was starting to seem like all bark and no bite for much of the third season (only “The Die is Cast” and “The Adversary” indicated that they were doing anything at all), now it feels aggressively real because just the paranoia they’ve sowed is enough to significantly change the political face of the quadrant and cause a lot of ships to fire on a lot of other ships.

Even without the shifts in the balances of power, this would be a great episode. The entire cast shines brightly, from Dax’s continued attempts to get Kira to enjoy life for once, to Odo and Garak sharing breakfast, to Sisko’s deepening relationship with Yates, to Bashir’s bantering with Odo and snarking off Dukat, to Garak and Dukat’s mutual loathing society, to Quark and Garak’s magnificent root beer conversation (seriously, best two-person scene ever), to, of course, the arrival of Worf.

There aren’t a lot of people from other Trek shows who would fit into the ensemble of DS9. It’d be fun to have the Emergency Medical Hologram from Voyager around (as the fifth season episode “Dr. Bashir, I Presume?” will show), but aside from that, the only person who’d really fit into the messier world of DS9 is Worf. Always the outsider, he slides in perfectly to a show that includes outsiders up the kazoo. Of all the characters on TNG, Worf was the only one who had to regularly make hard choices that had awful consequences (Picard often made hard choices, but they weren’t that hard because, well, he was Picard and he was always effortlessly right, and while he suffered plenty of awful consequences, they were generally externally imposed), and that puts him right at home in the Bajoran system.

And he has to do it again here. It’s to the credit of scripters Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe that Worf has to make the same choice he made in “Sins of the Father,” with the same consequences, but this episode never feels like a rerun of the TNG episode. But Worf still has to be the one honorable person in a sea of Klingons who claim honor in theory a lot more than they do in practice, and he’s the only one who suffers for it.

Gowron has been moving along nicely as an opportunist. He was described way back in “Reunion” as an outsider who challenged the High Council often, and his self-serving ways were established soon after in “Unification I” when Worf mentioned his rewriting of history to exclude Picard and the Enterprise from their role in his ascension. Here, Gowron berates the Federation for not supporting his invasion, for not being willing to die alongside Klingons who are trying to protect them. Of course, he went to all that trouble to not tell the Federation ahead of time, probably because he knew they would, in fact, condemn the invasion. But then he holds that over Worf’s head, giving him an impossible choice: go back on his oath to Starfleet, which would be a victory for Gowron, as it would be a poke in the eye to the Federation, or stay with Starfleet and be condemned, thus crippling a thorn in his side. (Never mind that Gowron owes his chancellorship to Worf—nobody has a shorter memory than a politician, and that’s what Gowron has proved himself to be over and over.)

Worf also begins to be integrated nicely into the cast. They keep it simple at first, limiting his interactions to Sisko (who’s the lead), Dax (who groks Klingons), O’Brien (whose friendship with Worf is long-established), and Odo (who shares Worf’s outsider status, and who gets a great scene with Worf where he tries to be friendly and understanding, and when Worf blows him off, he turns on the Odo snideness). Plus, there’s his first meeting with Bashir, Kira, and Dax—I particularly like how proud O’Brien sounds when Worf kicks Drex’s ass, like he’s been talking up Worf’s awesomeness to the rest of the crew for days. Plus Worf gets to put his tactical-officer chops to work on the Defiant (which is a ship Worf was born to serve on; not surprisingly, Sisko will put him in charge of the day-to-day of the Defiant going forward).

On top of that, we get a lovely little “Emissary” redux, only this time the station isn’t the gutted husk the Cardassians left behind and they don’t need to bluff anybody. The grishnar cat has teeth, to use the metaphor that Sisko threw back in Gowron’s face, and it’s very satisfying to see that the wormhole and Bajor has a station that can truly serve as a useful line of defense. And we get the guy-about-to-resign plot, which feels like it should be more annoying than it actually is. Maybe it just feels right for Worf to be so out of sorts, and just as right for Sisko to pay forward the lessons he learned in the premiere episode...

In the end, though, it isn’t brute force that wins the day, it’s reason. Sisko and Worf are able to convince Gowron that continuing the violence will only make a bad situation worse, and so he retreats.

Getting there, though, has been a great deal of the fun. This episode is just the perfect season-opener, giving everyone a moment in the sun, introducing a new character to the ensemble, and kicking the storyline from a year ago into high gear. Points also to every single actor, each of whom just kills it, from little things like Nana Visitor’s righteous indignation at Kaybok for violating Bajoran law and Alexander Siddig’s complete confidence in a much more mature Bashir and Andrew J. Robinson’s general snottiness, to bigger things like the sparkling chemistry between Avery Brooks and Penny Johnson, the beginnings of the chemistry between Michael Dorn and Terry Farrell (“I’ll go easy on you”), the competition between Robert O’Reilly and Marc Alaimo to see who can twirl their moustache most effectively (Alaimo wins by a ridged nose, but only because he gets Robinson to play off of a couple times), the triumphant debut of J.G. Hertzler as Martok, and Armin Shimerman playing Greek chorus commenting on what’s going on from the Quark’s bar (culminating in the great root beer discussion, and yes, I keep harping on it, but damn, it’s brilliant).

But the star of the show, in more ways than one, is Avery Brooks. Sisko comes into his own, being magnificently proactive. Brooks’s charisma truly shines through here, perhaps best seen in the wardroom where he and Worf confront Martok. He’s in a room with two badass Klingons, but there’s no doubt who’s the biggest badass in the room. Sisko started out as the guy who got the crappy backwater assignment. Now, if the Federation is going to save everyone, as Quark and Garak ask each other, it’s going to be because Sisko’s at the heart of the conflict.


Warp factor rating: 10

Keith R.A. DeCandido reminds everyone that you can preorder The Klingon Art of War (out in May, and which has mentions of the events of this episode) from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (in either hardcover or eBook).

Uncle Mikey
1. Uncle Mikey
In many ways, this episode comes across -- and really serves -- as a second pilot for the series. It's not quite a full-blown reset, by any means, but it changes the game considerably. For viewers that might have walked away during the more mediocre 2nd and 3rd seasons, this is an excellent re-entry point.

However, the only reason I would disagree with Keith's 10 score and only give it an 8 or 9 is that it feels a little bit like a pilot. Worf is almost unnatrually focused upon, for example. There's such a strong need to establish who he is and how he fits into the Federation-Klingon relations for viewers who may not have followed TNG that it almost (but thankfully only almost) bogs things down.

That fantastic battle scene near the end also feels just a little bit like an excuse to pay for a lot of special effects shots up front so they can be reused later -- a not-uncommon thing to do with pilots. This doesn't make it any less awesome, of course!

But all in all, I agree with Keith. This is not quite the best two hours of Star Trek ever, or even of DS9... but it's way-the-hell up there on the best-of list.
Uncle Mikey
2. J25
"It’s the only time Trek has done a mid-series two-hour episode—all the others were season premieres (“Encounter at Farpoint,” “Emissary,” “Caretaker”) or season finales (“All Good Things...,” “What You Leave Behind,” “Endgame”)."

Uh, Keith? Unification, Chain of Command, Birthright, Gambit (TNG)?
Jonathan Crowe
3. mcwetboy
Uh, Keith? Unification, Chain of Command, Birthright, Gambit (TNG)?
Those were two-part episodes, broadcast over two weeks, not two-hour episodes broadcast in one go.
Rob Rater
4. Quasarmodo
I can't tell from the screen caps, but I thought I remembered that a lot of the cast, besides just Sisko, were sporting new hairdos.
Rob Rater
5. Quasarmodo
Looking at epguides.com, it appears Improbable Cause and The Die Is Cast aired back to back on the same night, although they each aired as 2 complete episodes (each with its own opening credits and theme song)despite being a story continuation.
Uncle Mikey
6. Eduardo Jencarelli
"It’s the only time Trek has done a mid-series two-hour episode—all the others were season premieres (“Encounter at Farpoint,” “Emissary,” “Caretaker”) or season finales (“All Good Things...,” “What You Leave Behind,” “Endgame”)."

Technically, there were also Dark Frontier and Flesh and Blood, on Voyager. Both were two hour events.
Don Barkauskas
7. bad_platypus
J25 @2: What mcwetboy @3 said, (possibly as modified by Quasrmodo @5 and Eduardo jencarelli @6). Although, I believe in the paragraph you quoted, krad meant "series premieres" and "series finales."
Uncle Mikey
8. kiranat
This is indeed a great episode!

Although, if I remember correctly, "The Killing Game" and "Dark Frontier" were both broadcast as two hour episodes. Possibly "Year of Hell" also?
Andy Holman
9. AndyHolman
It's been a while since I saw this episode (I'm a bit behind in my own rewatch; should be catching up within a couple weeks), but I recall feeling like this episode is where DS9 starts to feel like The Worf Show sometimes (mostly in season 4). I don't feel like Worf integrates all that well with the rest of the cast -- it always feels a bit like the DS9 cast + Worf. Don't get me wrong, I like Worf a lot, and he does integrate a bit better as the show goes on, but I always felt like he was a bit of a drag on what the show was building up by the time he arrived.

I may feel differently when I catch up to this episode, though!

Uncle Mikey
10. BrandonH
@2 Those were aired as two-parters, not two-hour movies. However, there should be at least one Voyager show in that list (Dark Frontier and Flesh and Blood play in one shot on the DVDs).

I had this episode recorded on VHS tape (in two parts, alas), and it thrilled me every single time I watched it. The writing, acting, music, effects, and everything else is at the highest level. On my last rewatch, I ranked this episode 3rd behind the Purgatory/Inferno two-parter.

The opening shot launches the viewer straight into the action. Every scene following that builds the characters or delivers on the spectacle. I would not recommend skipping the prior three seasons, but "The Way of the Warrior" does a great job bringing someone up to speed on the most important elements of the show and being a standalone thriller.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
11. Lisamarie
"all the others were season premieres" - wasn't this a season premiere? Or do you mean series premiere?

Anyway, totally agree with what you've said here, but, you have failed to mention one crucial thing, and that is Kasidy's kick ass turquoise dress!

I was really surprised to see Worf in the opening credits - I knew he joined the show at some point, but it seemed like kind of a 'spoiler' to just have him in the credits of the first episode before he even got there, and in a way kind of killed any of the suspense regarding if he would stay or go (or would have, if I didn't already know). For people who were watching in real time, was this all known before hand anyway?

I definitely suspected the Klingons of being changelings, although my money was on Gowron. In fact, I was at first wondering if, when Gowron showed up, he was the real Gowron fleeing from the changeling government. But then I just figured he was the changeling Gowron.
Uncle Mikey
12. Dan Styer
I think Keith meant SERIES premieres and SERIES finales. Those were the only episodes that ran as a 2 hour episode on their original airing, other than this one.
Uncle Mikey
13. Nix
I speculate, in the total absence of textual evidence, that the blood screening thing is something the Founders were *expecting* -- that, in fact, they arrange for their own infiltrators to give races who suspect they are infiltrating the idea. After all, when did we first see blood screenings used? Oh yes, _The Adversary_, and it was a changeling who did it. Quite possibly this specific method was chosen not only because it was easy for the screener to fake it out (and as a callback to _The Thing / Who Goes There_) but just in case his mission failed: a successful "changeling-detection" method that they know how to fool would then get spread around, along with a false sense of security. And now we see *other* changelings doing the same thing!

Given the near-group-mind linked changelings have got, I don't know if this sort of thing counts as Founder policy, but clearly the Link thought it would be useful against the Federation -- and they were right.

(It is quite possible that there is no textual evidence for all this because the writers had no idea Martok was a changeling at this stage. I don't know if they did or not, but it seems more plausible that they thought that, if anyone was a changeling, it was Gowron. After all, we already knew who he was, so when revealed it would have a bigger emotional punch. Next season they got to have it both ways.)
David Levinson
14. DemetriosX
This really started the new season off with a hell of a bang. As Uncle Mikey said @1, it's almost a pilot episode in that it takes the show in a very new direction with a very different tone. And the next 3 seasons live up to this start in many ways. And everybody really steps up their badassery to keep up with Sisko, where Brooks managed to both live up to the Hawk jokes that were made when he was first announced and still make it work within character.

The only problem with Worf joining the crew is that they wound up going through such incredible hoops to get him onto the Enterprise for the movies. LisaMarie @11, it was no secret at the time that Michael Dorn had joined the cast, so it wasn't all that spoilery.

Miscellany: I could have sworn that Alexander Siddig had changed his name a lot earlier than this. I also thought it was weird that he dropped the El-Fadil because people were having trouble with his name, when Siddig seemed stranger to me. Not to mention that his friends called him Sid. And shouldn't the Defiant have had 5000 quantum torpedoes on board, or did they forget that little detail?
Uncle Mikey
15. TBGH
I have used that root beer metaphor more than once in regards to different things in everyday conversation. I can't make it fit anything as well as it fits here, but I'm so glad someone else geeks over it just as hard as I do!
Christopher Bennett
16. ChristopherLBennett
Voyager episode list:


As stated above, "Dark Frontier" and "Flesh and Blood" did, in fact, air as 2-hour episodes, and "The Killing Game" was aired as two back-to-back 1-hour episodes. So "Way of the Warrior" was the first of the three 2-hour episodes that were not series premieres or finales.

This was a pretty good one overall, but it feels a bit like a ratings grab -- bringing in Worf and Klingon stuff to boost interest from TNG fans. To some extent, I gather, it was mandated by the studio, and forced the producers to postpone their plans for the Dominion storyline. It's to the producers' credit that they managed to make it feel like the first stage of the Dominion infiltration, but it still feels like a digression of sorts.

And there's a lot about the Klingons that I'm not crazy about. In particular, I can't get over how ridiculous it is that a technologically advanced starfaring military engaging in combat with other technologically advanced starfaring militaries uses swords and knives in actual combat. That's just idiotic. How many battles throughout history have been decisively won by superior weaponry? Blades and armor became obsolete when guns were invented. Guns initially had bayonets because they took forever to reload and a backup weapon was needed, but that's not a problem with modern guns. And futuristic energy weapons should be an even more decisive advantage. Sure, the episode tried to rationalize it by saying the Klingons initially used disruptors but would then close to fight with blades, but that doesn't make a lot of sense. Against an enemy force armed with phasers, it seems unlikely they'd ever get close enough to deploy those blades.

(And seriously, why does no one ever realize the immense weapons potential of the transporter? If your station has been boarded by enemy troops, just bloomin' beam them into space, or into the brig. Or just don't rematerialize them at all -- in principle, the transporter is the ultimate disintegrator ray. You can't beam off the crew of an enemy ship whose shields are up, but once they're on your own turf, they don't have that protection anymore. The whole idea of boarding parties should've been rendered obsolete by transporters -- unless those parties begin by beaming into the transporter rooms themselves and taking control of them.)

So while there was a lot to like about this episode, the climactic battle was just a silly waste of time for me. It was action that got in the way of the story and that didn't make a lot of sense.

Ratings grab or not, though, I think joining DS9 was the best thing that ever happened to Worf as a character. He grew a lot more and gained a lot more nuance and depth on DS9 than he ever did on TNG.

@14: Whatever type of torpedoes they were, it was DS9 itself that had 5000 of them. You couldn't fit that many on the Defiant.
Dante Hopkins
17. DanteHopkins
God, what a great episode! I watched it twice the other night, because it kicked so much ass. I'd forgotten how easily Worf fit in with the already established DS9 ensemble. I was actually a bit worried that it was a bit forced or scripted but no! Worf came right in and fit perfectly.

Then there's the episode. Such a great story, abandoning the status quo established in TNG with the Klingons and going in a whole new direction and it worked! This episode really felt like the launch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 2.0, and the two-hour movie format really drove that home.

And I agree that conversation between Quark and Garak is a really great one between two outsiders looking in on the happy-clappy Federation, respecting it and resenting it at the same time.

Poor Worf just can't catch a break. Help a guy become Chancellor of the Klingon Empire and he strips your family of everything. In TNG, you kinda forget Gowron is a politician. Here, you're reminded of it with a vengeance.

And finally, right from jump, Captain Sisko truly comes into his own with the fourth pip on and shaved head. Like Sir Patrick Stewart before him, Avery Brooks truly shines and is without question the center of of show, and the cast shines with him every moment.

Well, I'm off to watch it again :-)
Christopher Bennett
18. ChristopherLBennett
Wasn't this the episode where they introduced the new main-title sequence and theme arrangement? I liked the new images, finally showing DS9 as a hub of activity rather than the lonely outpost of the original titles. But I have mixed feelings about the rearranged theme. It's mostly good, but the added drumbeat feels tacked on and clashes with the rhythm of the rest.
Dante Hopkins
19. DanteHopkins
@18, Yes it is CLB, and the new arrangement for the theme is my favorite in all of Star Trek. The arrangement seemed almost hopeful, rather than deep and thoughtful like the other themes (which I love all). It was finally nice to see stuff happening on the station in the opening theme, and finally including the Defiant.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
20. Lisamarie
Yeah, nice to see some action. Although, funny thing is, my two year old son LOVED the TNG theme and would do these big jumps every time the Enterprise flew by. So when we started on DS9 we figured he'd be less than enthused with the new opening sequence. One day we decided to skip through it to get to the episode and he got pretty mad and demanded we put the 'Space Show' theme back on. Since then we have never made the mistake of skipping through the opening credits!

He also recognizes 'Space Show' when I read the posts at home :)
Uncle Mikey
21. James2

Ah, the Betreka Nebula Incident -- the throwaway piece of exposition which spawned my favorite Star Trek novel. I think I already said this a couple of years ago on the Pocket Books board, but I'll repeat it here. Keith, it was amazing how you connected the dots and tied in so many seemingly unrelated threads from the TNG era. To me at least, you did for Star Trek literature what James Luceno's Darth Plagueis did for Star Wars literature.
Uncle Mikey
22. Alright Then
The thing I like about the new DS9 theme is the deep BRAAAMMM sound that opens the show. Yes, it's overused now by the likes of Hans Zimmer and others, but I remember being taken aback by it at the time. I wonder, was it a deliberate nod to the V'ger sound of TMP?

Anyway, this is a fantastic episode, silly Klingons and all. And I'm happy to see heaps of praise for the root beer conversation. Sarsaparilla philosophy at its finest.
Percy Sowner
23. percysowner
I'm not sure at this point they intended any Klingon to be a Changeling. Mostly because

Spoiler Space for an almost 20 year old episode

in The Visitor having the Klingons take charge of DS9 and guard or close down the wormhole seems to have worked remarkably well, since the war with the Dominion is never really mentioned. Which I will go on about when we hit The Visitor.
Bill Stusser
24. billiam
Great episode. This is where I started my regular veiwing of DS9 and yes it's all because I knew Worf, my favorite TNG character, was coming onboard. I had watched the series premiere when it aired but thought it was boring and didn't watch it again until this one here. I watched DS9 every week from here on out.

Also @ 16: because swords and knives are cool. Plus, even in modern day warfare a fight can come down to hand to hand combat.
Uncle Mikey
25. McKay B
Chalk me up as another complaint about the opening credits theme changing. The slightly faster-paced theme music of the earlier seasons was better.

But it's easy to forgive that in the face of SO MUCH AWESOME from this episode. The root beer conversation. Rom's apology note. Advancing plotlines; Gowron really showing his politician sliminess. A preview of how good DS9 would get at high-budget battle sequences. Subtle throwbacks to older episodes. The Dominion doing a great job of causing trouble without even showing their faces. MARTOK, who (when he's the real Martok) will become the Klingoniest Klingon who ever Klingoned. A brilliant means (the Kahless quote) for Worf's presence to indeed be crucial at the end of the episode. Bashir mouthing off to Dukat.

Any two of the above would have made for a good Star Trek episode.
Uncle Mikey
26. McKay B
Oh, and I forgot Sisko's shameless methods of passing info to the Cardassians. "I've been meaning to have you take my measurements ..."
Uncle Mikey
27. Eoin8472
So Gowron, your stated purpose is to make the Alpha Quadrant safer from the Dominion Right? So you fly your fleet over to Cardassia to attack it. Probably flying right by that big vulnerable wormhole-thingie that is the only way you know of that the Dominion can actually get there to hurt anyone in the AQ. Was the Martok-founder scrambling the logic brains completedly on you? Hmm...

So Sisko, you still worried about the Dominion and wasting AQ resources with the Feds and Klingions fighting each other when the Dominion could be coming. But you can't spare one of those thousands of torpedos to just..blow up the wormhole? Hmm...

(Ya, I know, Bajor would not like it, and the Star Trek is about eventualexploration and peacful co-existance with adverseries and the Klingions are just hypocrites who wanted a fight and were not concerned about AQ safety...but its absurd logic. And it will get more and more absurd the longer the AQ turmoil goes on. By the start of Season 5, its going to be untenable to justify )
Keith DeCandido
28. krad
I forgot about those Voyager episodes -- I wasn't watching the show regularly by that point -- so will adjust accordingly.

I never liked the DS9 theme in any of its versions, so I rarely feel the need to mention it because regardless of which version it is, it's just a warmed-over rehash of "Fanfare for the Common Man."

Christopher: Actually, in close-quarters hand-to-hand combat, a blade can actually be more useful (in the hands of someone who knows how to use it) than a pistol-type weapon, which is really more for distance. Having said that, carrying around big-ass bat'leths was never sensible, as that's too big a weapon for the purpose. Worf's mek'leth or the d'k tahg daggers would've made more sense.

(Right there with you on Star Trek's inability to recognize the tactical usefulness of transporter technology....)

James2: Thank you. I remain, a decade later, inordinately proud of The Art of the Impossible. I still consider it my best novel to date. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Keith DeCandido
29. krad
Eoin8472: "Bajor would not like it" is the greatest understatement ever. We're talking about something they consider holy. Plus it could possibly murder the wormhole aliens (we don't know what effect blowing up the mouth of the wormhole would have on them). That's committing a religious outrage, and at the very least doing harm to innocent aliens. That's not something that the Federation would do.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Keith DeCandido
30. krad
Actually, I'm standing by what I said -- "The Way of the Warrior" was the only non-series premiere or series ender that was intended as a two-hour episode. Both "The Killing Game" and "Flesh and Blood" were written as separate episodes, with separate production numbers for the two parts, separate scripts for the two parts, separate budgets for the two parts, and separate directors for the two parts. That they were aired as two-hour units was a decision made by the network after the fact, but they were created as two-parters.

"The Way of the Warrior" was always intended to be a single episode. The Voyager episodes were not.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Uncle Mikey
31. Bobby Nash
I love The Way of The Warrior. Such a fantastic movie that grabs you quick and doesn't let go. I think Worf truly shines on DS9 moreso than on TNG. The character seems to fit quite well with the DS9 crew. Great action. I really enjoy the hand to hand combat at the climax of the episode. It feels very much like something Klingons would do.

Uncle Mikey
32. Alright Then
Yeah, the Federation destroying the wormhole would be like the US nuking the Middle East to solve all the problems there. It's not a realistic option... even in a fictional universe.
Joseph Newton
33. crzydroid
I liked that there were still k'tinga class cruisers in the Klingon fleet.

I had a little bit of a problem with them using the cloaking device. Yes, I get the urgency of needing to rescue the council, and the idea of "hey, we have a cloaking device, so let's use it." But that just shows how easy it is to use something just because you have it, and it's a slippery slope. Here, they determined that the situation was urgent enough that it warranted violating their pact with the Romulans, but from here on out, how many other times can the crew determine that the mission is urgent enough? It's an act that renders the Federation's word no good. It violates the agreement for the use of the cloaking device, and therefore also violates the Treaty of Algeron. As came up in "The Pegasus," it may have been a tactically dumb treaty for the Federation to sign, but nevertheless, it is one that they signed in good faith. The point of this episode seemed to be that if the Alpha Quadrant powers fought among themselves, then victory would go to the Dominion. Yet Sisko risks war (or at least a more splintered relationship) with the Romulans.

Other Federation ships don't have cloaking devices, and they would have to resort to other means here, and face the consequences of the situation. Other tricks could be tried, such as masking or disguising the warp signature and shutting of the transponder--tricks which have been used several times in the past on Star Trek. Then, only as a last resort could the cloaking device be considered.

There's also the added issue of a situation where there might be crewmembers who wished to object to the course of action. They are left to make an objection in their log, which puts them in a difficult situation. Making an objection in one's official log means that it would be seen by Starfleet, which means it could be made known to the Romulans. At best, it puts some Starfleet higher up in the difficult position of telling the Romulans about it or trying to cover it up.

I think the Kahless quote about destroying an empire to win a battle could fit here as well...as they use the cloak to rescue the Detapa council, but give up some of their Federation ideals. It's like the "when the chips are down" question à la "In the Pale Moonlight."

I feel I could also start a discussion about Worf's uniform style in the beginning, but meh.
Christopher Bennett
34. ChristopherLBennett
@27: Remember, there's more in the Delta Quadrant than just the Dominion. By now the Alpha Quadrant nations have had three years to establish trade relationships with other powers in the Gamma Quadrant, and many probably have citizens in the Gamma Quadrant as part of ship crews, trade missions, research teams, and the like. So blowing up the wormhole would not be an ideal solution. It would end the Dominion threat, but it would also have a high economic cost and strand a lot of people.

Besides, Gowron's real priority wasn't the safety of the quadrant, it was his own political career. He wanted to start a war so he could lead the empire to glorious victory and go down in history -- and probably so he could muzzle his political enemies or distract from scandals or all the usual reasons that politicians start unnecessary wars.

@28: A blade may be useful in close quarters, but if people are firing super-high-tech ray guns at you and all you're wearing is some Ren-faire leather and metal armor that doesn't even protect your head, what are the odds that you'll ever reach close quarters with them in the first place? Seriously, a lot about Klingons is just absurdly portrayed. Samurai Vikings do not work in the Space Age. You want to make them a warrior culture, fine, but give them armor and weapons that aren't medieval. Something like the Hirogen on Voyager, say.

Then again, I'm second-guessing myself because I'm remembering my own rationalization for why the characters in my novel Only Superhuman engage in hand-to-hand superhero-style action rather than just shooting: because in space habitats or ships, weapons fire could be rather damaging to vital equipment or bulkheads. So maybe there's some justification for a lower-tech approach -- but not the consciously retro armor and weapons the Klingons use. Tradition and nostalgia have their place, but the thick of combat is probably not it.
Uncle Mikey
35. LeftoverBeefcake
@CLB #18: I was wondering when someone would mention the new theme and opening sequence... I agree that the change in the music doesn't sound the best, but seeing ships whizzing about the station makes it feel more integrated with the rest of the show.
Uncle Mikey
36. James2
@28, The funny thing is that The Art of the Impossible wasn't my most anticipated entry of the initial Lost Era novels back in 2003.

It was David R. George III's Serpent Among the Ruins since I love the Romulans and was dying to see the mysterious Tomed Incident finally explored.

Incidentally, I did love how you tied in (and resolved) elements from Serpents regarding the post-Gorkon and pre-K'mpec Klingon politics. It all flowed naturally and worked given both books were released back-to-back.
Uncle Mikey
37. peachy rex
Martok has the perfect blend of honour and pragmatism (not to mention a genuine sense of humour) - he really makes you believe that the Klingon culture is viable and not just a planet of hats viking/samurai mash-up.
Keith DeCandido
38. krad
James2: That was the result of serious coordinating among myself, DRG3, and editor Marco Palmieri. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Uncle Mikey
39. Eoin8472
Sure, sure, no-one likes murder of wormhole aliens, I would say that its much better to just mine the entrance after giving everyone from the AQ/GQ say 6 months leeway. (Though I notice that Sisko didn't seem to care about their murder in The Search simulation. And of course the Klingons have no connection to the Bajorans so I'd assume they would be readier with the torpedos). Stargate SG1 were able to take care of the tactical advantage of a single beachhead into tgheir "space" after the first episode. Its been 3 years and the AQ is begining to fall apart, ostenstionsably due to actions/reputation of the Dominion. And no actual substantive action has been taken to make the AQ citizens safer. Gowrons warmongering may have happened even in the case of the wormhole closure, but at least he would be more honest about it and say "hey, we just want a fight, ok!"

But this is a theme I shall return to, don't worry.
Its only...800+ million reasons to worry about this. So no rush right?
Tick, Tock.
David Levinson
40. DemetriosX
I can accept Klingons using blade weapons to settle personal disputes, but CLB makes a good point as to their impracticality in modern combat. In fact, IIRC TOS Klingons mostly used disruptors and about the only time they really went for swords was in "The Day of the Dove". OTOH, early SF had a trope of swords coming back into fashion because of the risk of hull breaches with slug-throwers (and sometimes high energy beam weapons). That doesn't really apply when you've got structural integrity fields and whatnot, but it is a part of our sfnal DNA.

The main reason for the change in the theme was the greatly increased activity at the station. The original theme used a single horn at the beginning to indicate the isolation and loneliness that was supposed to be characteristic of this outpost on the edge of nowhere. That was no longer the case. Everybody was coming through DS9 now and it was essentially the forewardmost base of operations for the war. McCarthy wanted the theme to reflect that, hence the changes.
Uncle Mikey
41. Captain Sheridan
One of my favorite DS9 episodes to be sure (even though there are many many favorites!)- Definitely got that sense that this was a second pilot too- the tone seems to change quite a bit.

It think it was the right move the bring Worf on board, though I still wish they had kept the Romulan character in charge of the cloaking device from The Search and made her a main character instead. Having a Romulan main character would have been a pretty awesome way to discover more about Romulan culture and create more conflict between main characters (which I recall fading as the series went on).

Are there any other episodes in all of Trek where we see several main characters injured in a single fight (like here during the Klingon raid on Ops)? That was just awesome and showed just how dangerous the Klingons are.

When Sisko tells Gowron that the Klingons and Federation fighting each other is just what the founders want- all I can think is, if Picard was there, he would have said that BEFORE the big battle broke out in order to avoid it. But that might be more a TNG factor than anything else.

Loved the battle scene, but I can never stop myself from pausing and pointing out one part to everyone in the room whenever I see it – there's one shot of a Vor'Cha-class ship exploding and the entire bottom of the model peels off in one piece. (It's just a model. Sush!)

Sorry for the long post!
Uncle Mikey
42. Eoin8472
41: I remember that shot exactly! And I always remember comparing it unfavourably to the contemporary Babylon 5 explosions as a result. Its in the background but that Vor'Cha explosion looks dodgy!
Mike Kelmachter
43. MikeKelm
The one thing about Klingons is that they are great Warriors, but are terrible soldiers. It's like the difference between a gladiator and a legionnaire in Roman times- the gladiator is a tremendous fighter individually, but he can be defeated (easily) by well disciplined troops. The Klingons actively using their batleths and d'k tahgs in battle basically mean that they go into berzerker mode and lose discipline which would allow them to be cut down by well disciplined troops, at least until the point where they get to hand-to-hand fighting range.

One thing I noticed about Star Trek weaponry is that they tend to be used in a "semi-automatic" rather than a "fully automatic" (yes I know these terms don't really apply to beam weapons. There doesn't seem to be any sort of rapid firing weapons, nor do phasers just have the trigger pressed down and are used to "sweep" an area. It probably makes better television to have single beams shooting out, but a good machine gun would probably have really devestating effects against a charging Klingon horde, especially if you had prepared obstacles to slow them down. Some barbed wire, a few forcefield projects, some pre-planted charges and the promenade would be a killing field.

Also, it appears that all you have to do in order to get any Klingon's most secret information out of them is to get them drunk and they talk- I know the noble warrior thinks little of spies, but seriously, it's almost too easy to get information out of a Klingon.
Michael Walton
44. tygervolant
Wow. I never really watched DS9, but this article makes me want to.
Christopher Bennett
45. ChristopherLBennett
@40: The risk that bullets pose to spaceship hulls is greatly overstated in a lot of fiction, because there are "bullets" flying through space all the time in the form of micrometeoroids, and thus spaceship hulls have to be sufficiently robust to handle that kind of damage. (Not to mention spacesuits. Remember that scene in Doctor Who's "The Impossible Astronaut" where Amy shot at a figure in an Apollo EVA suit and the bullets bounced off? That's actually what would happen. Those suits were meteoroid-proof and therefore bulletproof.)

However, the main characters in Only Superhuman are, well, superhuman, and thus conventional bullets wouldn't do them a lot of damage. The kind of weapons powerful enough to take them down might well do damage to a ship or habitat, hence the preference for more hand-to-hand, martial-artsy sort of stuff.

It's hard to evaluate how much damage handheld phasers or disruptors would do to the hull or equipment of a ship or station, since it tends to be situational; if the plot calls for a beam to blow out a console or whatever, they'll rig it with pyrotechnics, but often if it's just hitting a bare wall, they'll just animate a bit of a glow when it hits and it will do no apparent damage. So it's hard to say whether there's any situational advantage to using old-fashioned bladed weapons in that context.

Of course, I should point out that the portrayal of the Starfleet personnel is just as silly as the portrayal of the Klingons, because they're just fighting in their usual cloth uniforms, no body armor, no helmets. It frustrates the hell out of me that ST:TMP and the later TOS movies did provide helmets and body armor to security guards (as well as seat restraints on the bridge!), but the TNG-era shows ignored it and had security and other characters constantly going into battle without any kind of body protection. The only way that would make sense in-universe is if a) the apparent cloth uniforms are some high-tech ultrathin armor (which still wouldn't account for the bare head) or b) the characters themselves have been genetically or cybernetically enhanced to be ultra-durable. But we know that b) was emphatically not the case and there was never any indication of a).
Thomas Thatcher
46. StrongDreams
Actually, I kind of liked the space combat tactics they played around with on Andromeda, at least the first season. Although no body armor, I recall that the ships were equipped with clouds of nanites to disable attackers, who carried their own defensive nanites. The ships manipulated artificial gravity in self defense, and I'm pretty sure the ships went into combat without active sensors (which give your position away) but instead using sensor drones as "whiskers."

Of course, for various reasons I never watched much Andromeda, and I think they totally re-booted the format in season 2. Oh well.

I really like the idea of using the transporter as an offensive weapon in a boarding situation, although I expect there would be an emotional reaction to disintegrating your enemies (as if it was somehow different than shooting them with the equivalent of a small nuclear weapon). At least until the attackers started carry jamming devices for the transporter lock.
Uncle Mikey
47. Cybersnark
@46. Yeah, transport inhibitors are an available piece of tech. And just because the Klingon uniforms look low tech, doesn't mean they can't be laced with ablative or dissipating armour.

(Also, remember that Klingon tech comes from the Hur'q, who conquered them and were then overthrown. 1000 years ago, they were pre-industrial, which might explain their idiosyncratic culture --they're walking Prime Directive violations.)

(And yeah, Andromeda completely changed format mid-S2, when the producers fired the show-runner --DS9's own Robert Hewitt Wolfe.)
Christopher Bennett
48. ChristopherLBennett
@46: Yeah, Andromeda early on was the most hard-SF space-opera series we've probably ever had on television, thanks to science-savvy producers like Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Zack Stentz, and Ashley Edward Miller, plus JPL propulsion engineer Paul Woodmansee as their science advisor. Back in the day, they were all active on the Andromeda fan boards, and I and others had some marvelous conversations about the science behind the show. Unfortunately, it all started to fall apart when they retooled the show and fired Robert.

@47: Given that Klingon armor doesn't even seem to defend them adequately against pointy pieces of metal, I doubt it's some kind of high-tech material. It's like Imperial Stormtrooper armor -- more decorative than functional. A Stormtrooper's armor can't even deflect a wooden arrow fired by puny little Ewok arms. Hell, a good silk shirt could do that. Armor in TV and movies rarely seems to serve any purpose other than making characters look intimidating.
Uncle Mikey
49. RobinM
Worfs here! Yay Klingons. There will be mayhem and explotions.
Uncle Mikey
50. Ginomo
All I have to say is:

Yay!!! Worf's here!! DS9S4!!!

I was one of those who started watching DS9 because they brought Worf on, having been a big fan of his on TNG. I was super skeptical at first but save for a few misteps, DS9 Worf > TNG Worf .

I will say that I had been a casual DS9 viewer in season 3 and I was concerned that having Worf come on would have no choice but hurt another character. I figured Kira or Odo would get the short end of the bat'leth. In the end, I think it was Dax that suffered. Cause aside from Rejoined, I don't think she gets another story of her own that isn't dependent on her being Worf's sidekick.
Keith DeCandido
51. krad
Quoth Cybersnark: "(Also, remember that Klingon tech comes from the Hur'q, who conquered them and were then overthrown. 1000 years ago, they were pre-industrial, which might explain their idiosyncratic culture --they're walking Prime Directive violations.)"

Nope. The Hur'q did plunder Qo'noS, but there's nothing to suggest in "The Sword of Kahless" that the Klingons actually got their tech from the Hur'q. Besides, that was 1000 years ago -- if they were only using Hur'q tech, they never would've made it long as a spacefaring empire.....

Remember, the Klingons aren't really a "warrior culture," but rather a culture in which the warriors are the elite class -- and since Trek mostly only gives us the military and the politicians, the elite class are all we see. (This will come up in "Once More Unto the Breach" and Enterprise's "Judgment.") The point being, that they do have scientists and engineers and such (we even met one, Kurak in TNG's "Suspicions") and have come up with their own technology. They had to have in order to be what they are.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Uncle Mikey
52. Matt Doyle
Actually, for a transporter-assisted boarding action, a drawn dagger is more effective than a firearm. According to US law enforcement, at least, a combatant can close to melee range and attack from 21 feet in the time it takes to draw, aim, and fire a gun, iirc, so for any engagement where you appear closer than 21 feet from your target, especially when there are a lot of combatants involved, there ought to be a tactical advantage to using a bladed weapon. Especially if your opponents are likely to have firearms and to be unwilling to shoot into close combat & risk friendly fire, in a fast-moving situation like that...

I've always assumed that the use of a transporter as a direct offensive weapon was banned by treaty, the same way that chemical weapons might be. As with chemical weapons, the decision is visceral and emotional as much or more than logical... but it's also true that basic shielding or jamming could very effectively block transporter offensives, or at least render their targeting unreliable, and they seem to be even more complex and high energy-cost devices than most star trek weapons systems.

That said, totally with you on at least starting a boarding action by transporting a few grenades over.
Uncle Mikey
53. James2
@38, Yeah, that makes sense.

I remember you also set up the events of Ilsa J. Bick's Well of Souls with the brief mention of the Enterprise-C's scuffle with the Cardassians.

As to Marco Palmieri, he's one of the great unsung heroes of Trek for me. His idea to continue the saga of DS9 in prose form back in 2001 gave me something to look forward to during a dark period in my personal life.
Uncle Mikey
54. Ginomo
@51. Krad

This post reminds me how much I loved reading your books that gave insight into Klingon culture.
Brendan Guy
55. bguy
@39: The most ruthless element of the Federation (Section 31) already has its own plan to wipe out the Founders well underway by this point, so it's not surprising that they don't see any need to blow the (one of a kind, very valuable) wormhole. They're confident they already have the Dominion situation under control. (It also wouldn't surprise me if they are deliberately keeping the Federation from taking any provocative actions like mining the wormhole or stationing a large fleet at DS9 since they won't want to goad the Dominion into striking until their anti-Founder virus is ready to be unleashed.)

As for the Klingons, they have their own political reasons for not blowing the wormhole. Doing so would basically be an admission that they are afraid of the Dominion. That would be political (and probably literal) suicide for Gowron.
Uncle Mikey
56. Eoin8472
S31 may have plans, but there is no guarrantee at this time that Odo will ever go back to the Great Link. So their solution is not guarranteed to get all of the changelings. Which still leaves the AQ vulnerable to incursion. Its an idea in progress, but in the here and now the AQ is having huge instability.

"provocative actions like mining the wormhole"
What could the Dominion do right now if the Federation did mine the wormhole, or collapsed it? Nothing, unless there was an infiltrator around who could blow up the mines from the AQ end. But aside from that, the Dominion could get as riled up as they want, but they could do nothing about it.

But I am somewhat in agreement with you on the Klingons. I've long suspected that their politial structure, as opposed to individual warriors, is in fact cowerdly . Notice that they went after the weaker power,the Cardassians, rather then the direct enemy, the Dominion, or even their old enemies, the Romulans. Probably because the Romulans would put up too much of a fight and they were sure they could at least beat the Cardassians.
Uncle Mikey
57. Nix
"Oh, you'd be surprised at the things you can learn when you're doing alterations" is not even an evasion: it's 100% true. The 'alterations' in question generally involved altering live people into dead people, or altering people's positions with regard to talking to you, but that doesn't mean they're not alterations.
Uncle Mikey
58. bmac
I actually didn't like the theme music change - I have a soft spot for the previous slightly-mournful version - but it was nice to see more actual ships in the credits

But I loved the space battle effects - first battle that really felt like something big (though watching it again it's not quite as impressive).

The one thing about Klingons is that they are great Warriors, but are terrible soldiers.

I agree - I assumed that they got beaten (relatively) easily in the (admittedly not sensible) boarding because the Klingons haven't fought a real actual war in a substantial time - but the Bajorans like Kira have, and don't play around.
Uncle Mikey
59. FelixSout
@34- The thing is, knives and other close melee weaponry are still standard issue in modern militaries because there is a time and place for it. A good historic analogy for is trench raiders in WW1 who geared up with grenades and pistols but also knives, clubs, and hatchets. This mix worked very well for them since it gave them ranged options, area effect options, and close in options. Fighting in trenches and clearing bunkers with these teams required a great deal of close in work so the knives and the like were relied on as much as the pistols and genades.

Now lets transpose this to the ST universe: an assault team transports into a ship or station corridor where you are expected. However you end up within 20 feet of a security team who takes out a couple of you in the first few seconds but then you're in play. Your relatialtion involved returning fire and moving so you stop being a stationary target, one great direction is right at them. One can cover 20 feet at a run in 2 seconds or less, if youre covering this distance and shooting until you get inside their range you may make a hole to insert yourself in their lines. Even if not you're in ther face and they can't shoot since you're mixed in their troops so hand-to-hand is the order for fighting you. Now in this confustion your compatriots can close and engage with firearm or melee weapon. But if this were an open field or open area this mix wouldn't work unless they closed in the face of organized fire.
Christopher Bennett
60. ChristopherLBennett
Okay, I'll concede the usefulness of knives, but big fancy crescent-shaped broadswords, not so much. And there's still the body armor problem, but that's an issue on both sides of the battle.

Of course, no matter how practical the combat tactics are, I'll still insist it would make so much more sense just to sit down and talk it out...
Uncle Mikey
61. Friend of Fwiffo
I'm so happy Martok is here. One of my favorites, if not my single favorite character on DS9. Before Martok I did not believe in Klingons, and I don't believe the Star Trek writers really did either; they were always shown as being basically crazy and impossible, and only right when they abandoned their Klingonness. I am not interested in Proud Warrior Races as a concept, either. Before Martok, I groaned whenever it was a Klingon episode (not counting TOS, where they were fun villains.) "Sins of the Father" was a good episode, but other than that I hated all the Klingon episodes of TNG.

But then came Martok! And Martok is so great! He's treated with respect by the writers, and he doesn't "earn" that respect by giving up his Klingon values. He's not a Federation guy--he's a Klingon. And that's OK! It's amazing in a series of shows where generally speaking more human = more good, and really, this is the big difference between DS9 and the rest of Trek. The root beer conversation is another example--taking Quark and Garak seriously enough to consider how they might feel about the Federation, complex and ambiguous feelings. (Root beer is an interesting choice, because it--unintentionally?--emphasizes that the Federation = the USA. My Venezuelan sister-in-law absolutely cannot stand the stuff, and that's my experience with people from outside America generally.)

As peachy rex says, thanks to Martok you can finally believe that there could actually be a Klingon society.
Uncle Mikey
62. FelixScout
CLB- Agreed on the swords since they are so damn flashy in use that they really show they were designed for the screen. As for body armor which I really think the Klingons don't wear regularly, and we'll see the Federation have this season, I feel is covered by a form of this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AlmostLethalWeapons

And talking would be great but the qusetion is: does that make good television?
Christopher Bennett
63. ChristopherLBennett
@62: Lots of good television is about people talking. Twelve Angry Men is one of my favorite plays and it's all about people talking. "Duet" is one of DS9's finest episodes and it's mostly conversation.
Keith DeCandido
64. krad
Twelve Angry Men is a great play as long as you know absolutely nothing about how juries, or indeed our entire justice system, work. The events of that story couldn't possibly happen and would result in a mistrial, and likely a re-trial with a jury who actually paid attention to the judge's instructions.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Uncle Mikey
65. James2
@61. Yeah, Martok is my favorite Klingon in the entire franchise too. J.G. Hertzler just played him so well.

I especially loved what we learn about his backstory in Season 7 -- how he's basically a working-class grunt who fought his way up to the totem pole to become one of the Empire's senior military officials.
Christopher Bennett
66. ChristopherLBennett
@64: No question, but it's still a nifty drama. The events of Star Trek couldn't happen either, given the laws of physics, evolutionary biology, etc.

And hey, if there were a retrial, maybe the defendant could actually manage to get a competent lawyer who'd make the same case in the courtroom that Henry Fonda made in the jury room.
Keith DeCandido
67. krad
Christopher: Yeah, I know, it's just -- I loved the play the first time I saw it, and then I served on a jury, and it all just went into the toilet. :)

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Stefan Raets
68. Stefan
No mention of maybe my single bit of dialogue in the series so far? The look on Worf's face as Kira and Dax exit the holosuite in Arthurian regalia, followed by his dry "Nice hat." Classic.

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