According to Memory Alpha's original in Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
Parallax : Defiant : Life Support.
In the Tom Riker story arc, the story sequence is
Second Chances : Defiant.


Kira takes Commander William Riker of the Enterprise on a tour of the Defiant. But suddenly Riker stuns her with a phaser. Two more people, Tamal and Kalita, are beamed aboard, and after a feigned malfunction the Defiant escapes. The hijacker is actually Thomas Riker, Will's duplicate who came to life in a transporter accident several years ago and who is now with the Maquis. Sisko and Odo reluctantly inform Dukat of the hijacking. In the eyes of the Cardassians the search for the warship may justify a brutal invasion of the Demilitarized Zone between them and the Federation. Working with Dukat and Korinas from the Obsidian Order, Sisko has to reveal that the cloaked ship may be detected with the help of an antiproton beam. But Kira manages to disable the cloaking. During the repairs Riker reveals that his target is the Orias system where the Cardassians supposedly build an invasion fleet. When Sisko, too, suspects that the Defiant's destination is Orias, Korinas denies Dukat's vessels the admission to the system. Suddenly three warships of the Obsidian Order, which is not even supposed to have ships, enter the scene. Dukat, who is just as surprised as Sisko, agrees to a deal with the Starfleet officer. Dukat's ships of the Central Command grant the Defiant a safe passage, in exchange for the Defiant's sensor data about the Obsidian Order's clandestine armament. Thomas Riker is captured by the Cardassians, with Dukat's pledge that he would not be sentenced to death.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Paul C. Jensen of La Grange, Illinois, states that during his Navy days, a ship never had fewer than 25 percent of its personnel on board no matter what was happening. Yet when Kira gives Tom the tour, it appears that the ship is deserted—aside from the soon-to-be-leaving O'Brien. (Nit Central) inblackestnight on Sunday, July 29, 2007 - 9:28 am: In the Guide Phil paraphrases something from Paul Jensen who states that naval vessels never had fewer than 25 percent of personnel aboard. While this is true for most surface ships and pre-nuclear subs, the reason for this is not only security but to maintain ship's systems as well. In other navies, besides US that is, on their diesel subs, when they're done working for the day everbody goes home and they simply lock the doors/hatches before they leave. With a guarded entry and a computer lockout in place, I would think leaving the Defiant unmanned is okay, especially since a warp reactor doesn't seem near as volatile as a fission one. (Nit Central) David (Guardian) on Sunday, July 29, 2007 - 4:55 pm: I agree that there wouldn't be much of a problem leaving the ship unmanned. I think Trek technology is supposed to be more resilient and easier to maintain than our modern-day equipment (which would explain how computer consoles still function after being blown up, phase-shifted, dimensionally warped, etc.). Also, I would think that space would act as a natural preservative of sorts. A naval vessel is continually in contact with the ocean, salty air, and other environmental factors, whereas space is a vacuum. There isn't much around to damage the ship, especially in the confines of DS9.
  2. After admitting that the Defiant has a cloak, Sisko is quick to inform Dukat and the Obsidian Order observer Korinas that the Jem'Haddar were able to penetrate the cloak using an antiproton beam of some type. This seems to be a very handy piece of information, and the Cardassians use it to their benefit. Strangely enough, Sisko fails to mention that a cloaked ship travelling at warp emits a slight subspace variance (a fact revealed in The Search Part 1). He obviously feels it necessary to hold some information back.
  3. Apparently Sisko is bilingual. On Cardassia Prime he asks to see sensor information on a ship that the Cardassians believe is the Defiant. The information comes onto the screen in what looks like Cardassian script, yet Sisko can read it and deduce that the ship is not the Defiant! (Actually, the ability to read Cardassian would be very helpful in Sisko’s present position. Still, I found this revelation surprising—given that the creators have never had a bit of dialogue to-support this proposition.) The ability to understand Cardassian script would be an essential requirement for anyone assigned to DS9.
  4. Having unhappily discovered that the Cardassians can penetrate the cloak of the Defiant with an antiproton beam, Tom tells the woman at the helm to adjust the cloak so this won’t be possible. Evidently she does this with ease. Maybe she would be available to give O’Brien a few pointers. In The Search Part 1, this antiproton beam seemed to confound everyone. Perhaps the Federation and the Maquis have been simultaneously conducting research into how to detect cloaked ships.
  5. To gain control of the Defiant, Tom asks Kira to release the bridge stations. She does so with a simple verbal command. Later, however, Tom allows her to sit behind him on the bridge, free as a bird and apparently free to speak her mind anytime she feels like it..Did Tom change all the emergency codes for this ship? Did he actually have the clearance to do that? Wouldn’t there be a possibility that Kira could pull the same thing Riker did in Power Play (TNG) and Rascals (TNG) when he gave the computer a simple order that thwarted the Enterprises presumed hijackers? The Maquis may have put a temporary block on Kira’s command codes. Note also that a bit later Tom allows Kira to walk up beside his chair and actually place her fingers on the control panel that sits on the port side of the captain's chair. This does not seem wise. He’s in a position to stop here trying anything.
  6. Disclosing his real plan, Tom whispers it to Kira. Why? ls there anyone on this ship who doesn't know what he or she is there to do? They may not be happy about Kira knowing too much about what they are actually up to.
  7. At one point Sisko deduces that Tom and the Defiant are heading toward the Orias System. He suggests that Dukat send a ship there just in case. Dukat agrees. Then Obsidian Order observer Korinas tells Dukat that any ship entering the Orias System will be destroyed. Dukat’s reaction? He asks if the Obsidian Order would really fire on Cardassian ships. This seems a very strange response, given a titbit of information revealed several minutes later. According to Dukat—in dialogue toward the end of the episode—the Obsidian Order is “expressly forbidden” from having military equipment of any kind. lt the Obsidian Order is forbidden to have military equipment, they shouldn't be able to fire on ships entering the Orias System in the first place, right? So instead of amazement that the Obsidian Order would tire on Cardassian ships, shouldn't Dukat be stunned that Korinas would claim that the Obsidian Order even has the ability to fire on anything in the first place? He may have suspected that the Obsidian Order were illegally using military equipment, but didn’t have any solid proof.

Changed Premises

  1. During The Maquis Part 2, Sisko made a deal with Gul Dukat. Dukat would help Sisko stop the weapons smuggling from Central Command to the Cardassian colonists inside the demilitarized zone; in return, Sisko would stop the Maquis. Apparently Sisko has yet to live up to his end of the bargain because the Maquis are still viable. They are obviously proving harder to stop than Sisko expected.
  2. This episode provides some background concerning the relationships of the Detapa Council (Cardassian civilian leadership), Central Command (the Cardassian military), and the Obsidian Order (the Cardassian spies). After Korinas threatens that any ships entering the Orias System will be destroyed, Dukat consults with Central Command, but no one can get any information out of the Obsidian Order. After receiving. this report from Dukat, Sisko asks to whom does the Obsidian Order report. In theory, Dukat says, they report to the Detapa Council, but in reality everyone just runs their own show. Sisko comments that the system doesn't seem very efficient. Dukat replies that it had functioned for more than five centuries. Dialogue from Chain of Command Part 2. (TNG) seems to contradict this statement. During Gul Madred’s torture of Picard, we learn the following: Two hundred years ago, the burial vaults of the First Hebitian civilization were unearthed. They contained many beautiful artifacts made of jevonite—-a rare, breathtaking stone. Madred says that the tombs were plundered because Cardassia was an impoverished society. Also, when Picard comments that once the Cardassians were a peaceful race with a rich spiritual life, Madred counters that people starved by the millions, bodies went unburied, disease was rampant, and the suffering was unimaginable. When Picard notes that hundreds of thousands have died since the military took over, Madred ‘angrily asserts that the military is feeding the people, has acquired territory and new resources, and has instituted building programs and mandated agricultural programs. The picture Chain of Command Part 2 paints is of a peaceful society that has recently turned militant--with “recently” being defined as within the past two hundred years (since Madred considered Cardassia “impoverished” at the time the First Heibitan burial vaults were unearthed). But the “recentness” of the rise of the military can be brought even closer to the time of the episode by examining further comments by Madred. At one point he tells Picard of living as a starving six-year-old child on the streets of Lakat. Since Madred earlier claims that the military feeds the people, his starvation as a child would seem to indicate that the military has risen to power within his lifetime. Since Picard describes the Cardassian people as peaceful with a rich spiritual life prior to the rise of the military," this would seem to contradict Dukat’s statement that Central Command and the Obsidian Order have functioned separately and efficiently for five centuries. Not necessarily – just look at the situation in North Korea, where the people are subjegated while the elite rule with a rod of iron.
  3. Obviously someone forgot to tell Kira about the new warp speed limit imposed on all Starfleet vessels at the end of Force of Nature (TNG). At the end of this episode she sets course for the Federation at warp 8. There’s no emergency and no dialogue to show that the Defiant has been given some special dispensation when it comes to this rule that no starship should exceed warp 5. See entry for The Search Part 1 for a possible explanation.

Equipment Oddities

  1. In this episode we discover that the Defiant still has a cloak! I had assumed that the Romulans removed the cloak after their officer disappeared from the show (last seen at the end of The Search Part 2). Evidently not! After disclosing its existence to Dukat, Sisko says that their agreement with the Romulans dictates that they can use it only in the Gamma Quadrant. Does this seem right‘? With the recall of the Romulan officer assigned to the Defiant, have the Romulans really said, “Sure you can keep using the cloak! In fact, you can study it all you want: Just make sure you don’t use it unless the ship is in the Gamma Quadrant”? The agreement was obviously amended to remove the need for a Romulan officer to be present, with the Romulans trusting the Federation to continue passing on intelligence about the Dominion, while only using the cloak in the Gamma Quadrant.
  2. The first time we saw. the Defiant’s phasers in action during The Search Part 1, they devastated a Jem'Haddar warship in no time flat. Oddly enough, a Cardassian warship takes pounding from them in this episode but loses only 30 percent of its shields! Does that mean that Cardassian ships are tougher than Jem'Haddar ships?! (Nit Central) Thande on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - 7:44 am: Two explanations.

    1) In The Search the Defiant was being operated by a trained Starfleet crew. In this episode, though these Maquis clearly know what they're doing weapons-wise, they haven't used the Defiant's unique technology yet and might not be applying the pulse phasers correctly (e.g. using a firing pattern which works with a standard phaser but not so well with the pulse phasers).

    2) The Jem'Hadar ship was a small gunship-fighter about 60m long; the Cardassian ship was a heavy cruiser something like 500 metres long. Saying the Cardassian ship is 'tougher' is like saying that a WW2 aircraft carrier is more powerful than a modern gunboat. It is...but that doesn't mean it's more advanced.

Continuity And Production Problems

  1. At one point—according to the dialogue--the Defiant has ten Cardassian ships chasing it from behind and three Cardassian ships approaching from the front. Neither the Cardassians’ nor the Defiant’s displays show this. On both displays there are three ships closing from the front, but the number of ships chasing from behind is off. Perhaps the other two or three ships are far enough back to be outside the area shown on both screens?

Nit Central

  1. Keith Alan Morgan on Saturday, May 08, 1999 - 6:48 am: A big deal is made out of the Maquis having control of the Defiant and how some believe that Starfleet is sanctioning the Maquis' actions, but not one word is said about the recently 'vanished' starship Voyager.There has been no trace found of Voyager anywhere in that part of the galaxy.
  2. Kira says that if she had this ship when she was fighting Cardassians, she would have destroyed Deep Space Nine, but wasn't the station called Terek Nor then? ROBMAN on Friday, June 11, 1999 - 5:29 pm: That may be true, but DS9 must have been Tom's Enemy. Further, if it was about Terok Nor, then she wouldn’t destroy it anyway....the slaves would all be killed.Seniram She has become accustomed to referring to the station by it’s current name.
  3. So why didn't the Obsidian Order ships fire on the Defiant when Dukat and Sisko were talking to Riker? They had probably been ordered to hold their fire.
  4. Why did the Cardassians allow the Defiant to head for the border without an escort? This was probably part of the agreement to resolve the incident.
  5. Len on Monday, June 28, 1999 - 11:22 am: There's a question I've always hed about this episode that I never seemed to figure out: At the start of the ep, there's sort of a nasty exchange/look between Riker & O'Brien. I don't think it's ever explained or even referenced again in the ep. Does anyone remember/know what this was all about? Keith Alan Morgan on Monday, June 28, 1999 - 11:32 am: I think Phil had an explanation in the DS9 Guide. Basically he felt Riker was bluffing and assumed, or hoped, that O'Brien was too Starfleet to argue with a superior officer. After O'Brien leaves the Defiant you can see him looking puzzled, indicating that he doesn't know what Riker is talking about either. ROBMAN on Monday, June 28, 1999 - 12:25 pm: Yes I remember. I think Phil suggests that Tom did this to throw O'Brien off. I guess this would keep him from wanting to discuss 'old-times'
  6. Chris Thomas on Saturday, January 15, 2000 - 1:27 am: Anyone notice that Tom was wearing the old-style uniform, not the current one? I wonder why Sisko didn't consider the fact that the first officer of the Federation flagship (whom Tom was impersonating) wasn't keeping up to date with the dress code? Sven of Nine on Saturday, April 07, 2001 - 4:47 am: Chris, about uniforms. Generations would have taken place around this time perhaps, so it's probably fair to say that the uniforms were in a major stage of transition around this time. IN Generations, remember, there was a lot of transition going on between the old-style and the new. Maybe clothes are expensive to replicate in the 24th Century, such that they aren't easily torn.
  7. Ratbat on Friday, July 12, 2002 - 7:58 am: NANJAO: Strange that they used the 'tear off bits of beard' sequence to build up to it being Tom - whose beard was bushier last time! Maybe he trimmed it to better resembles Will’s beard as part of the deception.
  8. John A. Lang on Saturday, November 01, 2003 - 10:11 pm: What I'd like to know is how everyone on DS9 figured out it was T. Riker instead of W. Riker so quickly...without contacting W. Riker on the Enterprise. (unless that part happened when we weren't looking) Dan Gunther on Sunday, November 02, 2003 - 11:36 pm: Well, yes, I'd assume that they had contacted the Enterprise, if only to let Captain Picard know that his first officer has stolen the Defiant... or they could've contacted Starfleet, and Command could have contacted the Big E... Either way, if definitely would have happened.
  9. At the end Kira says, "Set a course for the Federation" specifically? The Federation has well over 100 planets. Presumably the closest point to their current location.
  10. Thande on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - 7:44 am: Did no-one think Thomas Riker got this idea after perusing Will's logs and finding The Wounded? "Let's go into Cardassian territory and prove they're massing for war, boys and girls, even though the Feds will catch us and prosecute us for doing it!" Maquis: "Yay!" That would make sense.
  11. Chronicler on Saturday, July 23, 2005 - 12:10 am: When Riker begins the attack, he calls red alert while all the Maquis we ever see are on the bridge. Don't they already know what's going on? Why send a red alert throughout the ship? Or is he just following procedures out of habit? There may be other Maquis running other parts of the ship, such as the engine room.
  12. Any word on what ever happened to Dukat's son by the end of the series? Joel Croteau (Jcroteau) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 12:13 am: Dukat mentions in Return to Grace that after he made Ziyal public his wife took his children and left, so possibly his children disowned him or somesuch.

Deep Space Nine Season 3
The Search Part 1 I The Search Part 2 I The House of Quark I Equilibrium I Second Skin I The Abandoned I Civil Defense I Meridian I Defiant I Fascination I Past Tense Part 1 I Past Tense Part 2 I Life Support I Heart of Stone I Destiny I Prophet Motive I Visionary I Distant Voices I Through the Looking Glass I Improbable Cause I The Die is Cast I Explorers I Family Business I Shakaar I Facets I The Adversary
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