In the Enabran Tain's plot story arc, the story sequence is
Improbable Cause : The Die is Cast.
In the Changeling infiltration story arc, the story sequence is
The Die is Cast : The Adversary.



An explosion shatters Garak's tailor shop on Deep Space 9. Partially due to Garak's unwillingness to talk, Odo does not find any solid evidence against the main suspect, a Flaxian named Retaya. Upon leaving the station Retaya's ship explodes, apparently because of Romulan sabotage. Odo surmises that Garak himself is responsible for the explosion in his shop to get the security chief involved. When he tells Garak that five Cardassian agents died in unfortunate accidents the same day that the shop was blown up, Garak becomes uneasy that someone might kill his mentor Enabran Tain, the former head of the Obsidian Order, likewise. Odo and Garak take a runabout to investigate Tain's recent disappearance when they are pulled inside a Romulan Warbird. To their surprise they find Tain who has forged an alliance between the Obsidian Order and the Romulan Tal Shiar under Colonel Lovok. A combined fleet of Warbirds and the ships that the Obsidian Order secretly built in the Orias system is going to destroy the Founders' homeworld in the Delta Quadrant. Garak was actually on Tain's assassination list as he could know too much, but now Tain grants him an opportunity to redeem himself - by torturing Odo in order to find out more about the Founders.


Sisko is warned by Starfleet of the imminent military operation, and is ordered to stand by to be prepared for retaliatory attacks of the Jem'Hadar. But Sisko takes the Defiant to the Gamma Quadrant, hoping to find Odo on one of the attacking vessels. Commander Eddington, however, disables the cloaking under orders of Starfleet Command. On the Warbird, Garak finally disables the restriction device and allows Odo to return to his fluid state. In orbit of the planet known to be the Founders' homeworld, all 19 Cardassian and Romulan ships open fire and devastate the surface. But the planet has been evacuated, and a fleet of 150 Jem'Hadar vessels ambush the Romulan-Cardassian fleet which is totally destroyed. With the help of Lovok, who is actually a Founder, Garak and Odo manage to escape and are rescued by the Defiant.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpickers Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Shortly after the armada heads for the Founders' home planet, Admiral Toddman calls DS9 to advise Sisko and company of their responsibilities during the crisis. He says he wants the Defiant to guard Bajor. (l would agree wholeheartedly with this idea. In fact, we'll learn in a few moments that Starfleet is sending a fleet of nine ships to DS9. All I can say is: It's about time! Toddman then goes on to say that the Romulan/Cardassian armada has a good chance for success. He specifically notes that the armada has modified their cloaks so the Founders cannot detect their approach! I must have really misunderstood the first few minutes of this episode because I could have sworn that DS9 detected their approach. Didn't they? Didn't Dax track the approach of this wave of tachyon particles? Didn't this wave alert the station that something was coming? That was due to sensors detecting the change triggered by the ships preparing to decloak prior to travelling through the wormhole!
  2. The term "officer ' seems to be very generously applied in this episode. Admiral Toddman tells Sisko, "I'm sorry about your officer." Moments later, Sisko says he's not going to abandon one of his officers. Strangely enough both men are talking about...Odo! I don't believe Odo ever went to Starfleet Academy, and I've never seen any dialogue to indicate that Odo is actually part of the Bajoran militia. As I understand it, Odo was drafted by Dukat to solve a murder (see Necessary Evil) on Terok Nor. Then Dukat kept him on as Security chief. (For what reason I'm not sure, because he didn't solve the murder!) Then Sisko kept him on when Starfleet took command of the station. When has this guy ever had any military training? Or doesn't that matter anymore? If you're part of the senior staff, do you automatically get the term "officer" applied to you? (l realize you can use the term "officer" to refer to a policeman— which, of course, is Odo's occupation. But in the context of this dialogue— between Starfleet officers—the term "officer' takes on a different connotation, especially when spoken by Admiral Toddman.) Odo was probably classified as one of Sisko’s officers when Starfleet took over the station.
  3. Sisko tells his senior staff that if they go on a mission to rescue Odo—and they are fortunate enough to return— they probably will all face a general court-martial. And why not? They are leaving Bajor undefended in the middle of an aggression against the Dominion. There are no doubt billions of lives at stake. Of course, Sisko goes anyway, and Toddman conveniently decides not to press charges. (Granted, the Defiant couldn't do much if a fleet of Jem'Haddar ships attacked Bajor anyway, but that's not really the point.) Toddman probably realised that pressing charges would cause more problems.
  4. On the way to the Founders' home planet, Lovok explains that there are no Jem'Haddar bases anywhere near their destination. The first time I saw this episode I thought, "It's a trap. Nobody is that stupid. Nobody would leave his or her home planet undefended." Yet the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order seem to think this is perfectly reasonable. (On the other hand, I have always been less than impressed with the defenses for Earth. Maybe the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order have grown soft while fighting the Federation.) Perhaps everyone thought that any large force would not be able to reach the Founder’s Homeworld without being detected and stopped by long range patrols.
  5. Garak's torture of Odo raises a few questions. After the Romulans set up the little quantum stasis gizmo, Garak acts as if Odo no longer poses a threat because the Changeling can no longer change. Yet at the end of the episode Odo open-palms Garak - knocking him unconscious and leaving a nasty bruise - all without shape shifting. Wouldn't you say that even as a humanoid, Odo poses a considerable threat? They probably expected the device would incapacitate Odo by reducing his energy levels.
  6. Also, one wonders why Odo didn't just walk over to the silly little machine and knock it over. (Would it violate some sort of Cardassian torture code that Odo has sworn to uphold?) He may not have had the strength for that.
  7. The graphics of the Jem'Haddar attacking the Romulan/Cardassian fleet are truly gorgeous. But why aren't the Romulans and Cardassians firing back? They're just sitting there getting pummeled. They might have a better chance if they'd launch a few photon torpedoes and fire a few phasers! The Jem’Hadar could be jamming the weapons systems.
  8. I referenced this episode in my discussion about the Changelings' ability to perfectly imitate a humanoid face at the end of "The Search, Part l" and the beginning of 'The Search, Part 11." Just an additional note: Obviously the Changeling who plays Lovok in this episode has no problem creating a humanoid face. Granted, he's a more skilled Changeling than Odo, but Odo has been practicing. Shouldn't we start to see some improvement in Odo's humanoid features? Or has he gotten used to the way he looks by now? Odo may not be permitted to change his face too much for security/identification reasons.
  9. Providing for Odo and Garak's escape, Lovok says that no Changeling has ever harmed another. Yet, as Odo and Garak leave the battle scene, the Jem'Haddar attack their runabout. As I see it, there are two possibilities here. Either that little statement "No Changeling has ever harmed another" applies only to personal injury and the Changelings have no problem with the Jem'Haddar killing Odo, or the Jem'Haddar are like sharks. Once you get them in a feeding frenzy, you can't stop them. (Even with these explanations it still seems odd to me that the Changeling would provide for Odo's exit from the warbird and not ensure safe passage through the war zone. What was Lovok going to tell the others if the runabout had been destroyed? 'Well, it wasn't my fault. I got him off the ship. How was I supposed to know that he couldn't fly to safety through a pitched battle between 150 frenzied Jem'Haddar attack craft and a fleet of Alpha Quadrant warships??) They probably decided to fire on it after detecting Garak’s lifesigns on board.
  10. Its very considerate of the Jem'Haddar not to attack the Defiant while her shields are down and she's transporting Odo and Garak to safety. I wonder if Sisko sent them a thank-you card. They realise that any attack on the Defiant could endanger Odo.

Equipment Oddities

  1. At the beginning of the episode, the Romulan/Cardassian armada makes a close pass-by of the station on the way into the wormhole. just before entering, the ships decloak and then recloak on the Gamma Quad- rant. Several nitpickers found this odd. Why not just enter the Gamma Quadrant invisible? (I'm guessing that there's some reason you can't fly a cloaked ship through the wormhole. Maybe if the wormhole can't see you, it won't open?) The interaction between the wormhole and the cloaking field could cause serious harm to the ship.
  2. As Garak and Tain reminisce, Lovok enters the room to say that the armada has recloaked in the Gamma Quadrant and is travelling at warp 6 toward the Founders' home planet. When Garak finds this a bit slow, Lovok explains that they cannot travel any faster without the warp drive being detected even with the cloak. Yet at the very beginning of the episode, Dax picked up the approach of the armada well before they decloaked. Granted, she wasn't reading their warp signature, but there was so much stuff flashing across her screen that Sisko called O'Brien to the bridge to get his opinion. (Of course, they couldn't figure out what it was before the armada decloaked, but I doubt the Founders would have that problem!) That could be due to the sensors detecting the fluctuations caused by the ships preparing to decloak!
  3. Shortly after arriving at the Gamma Quadrant, Sisko cloaks the Defiant and sets course for the Founders' home world at warp 8. Remember our discussion above about the Romulans going only warp 6 so the Jem'Haddar couldn't detect the warp drive through the cloak? (And remember, that was with a specially modified cloak.) The Defiant has a Romulan cloak, right? Doesn't it seem likely that if the Romulan warbirds are detectable when going faster than warp 6, the Defiant will be detectable when going faster than warp 6? Does it seem like a good idea to go warp 8? Time is of the essence in their attempt to locate/rescue Odo and Garak, and they expect to be detected by the Jem’Haddar anyway.
  4. Romulan computer analysis leaves much to be desired. On the way to the Founders' home planet, Lovok explains that the armada should be able to destroy the planet's crust in one hour according to computer analysis. When the amada actually arrives, the first volley—lasting only a few seconds—destroys 30 percent of the planet's crust. (l would project total destruction of the planet's crust in substantially less than an hour!) Perhaps Lovok was referring to the entire crust, and the first volley only destroyed 30 percent of the uppermost layer?
  5. After the armada completes its first volley, a female Romulan reports that she is still reading life signs on the surface of the Founders' home planet. Garak somehow concludes that the Founders must be using an automated transponder to send this signal. Does that mean there's a transponder on the surface of a planet that just got pulverized by enough force to destroy 30 percent of the crust but it's still working?! Wow! These Founders know how to build hardy machines' The automated transponder could be located away from the initial impact point of the first volley.

Continuity And Production Problems

  1. Admiral Toddman bears a striking resemblance to the commander in chief at the beginning of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The Admiral could be a direct descendant of the commander in chief.

Nit Central

  1. Chris booton on Wednesday, December 09, 1998 - 10:04 pm: Why do the Jem'Hadar shoot at Odo's runabout?!? Would they really be a brazen as too shoot a runabout with one of their gods on just because it's another target for them? Cableface on Monday, February 22, 1999 - 12:40 am: Maybe they just didn't know he was onboard.
  2. BrianB on Wednesday, April 14, 1999 - 2:25 am: Why haven't we seen the reuse of that "no shapeshifting allowed" device used on Odo? I know, it was a prototype, but still...Mark Stanley on Wednesday, April 14, 1999 - 2:53 am: Who would construct it? It was Tain's device, and it was destroyed along with everyone who knew how it worked. Garak just used it, he didn't get an in-depth lecture on its inner workings. Omer on Sunday, April 18, 1999 - 2:41 am: still - this is something they SHOULD'VE re-invented
  3. Bill M on Tuesday, April 20, 1999 - 5:51 pm: Why are the Romulans and Cardassians risking their fleet arms of their intelligence services with this armada. It's only a few years after Soran and his trilithium weapons, it's understandable that neither have this weapon yet. But it's 90 years after Carol and David Marcus invented Genesis. Kruge saw it as a super weapon...was he the only one in the galaxy to see it this way? Are the Romulans and Cardassians so technically inept? Or do they have some moral code against using one ship, one Genesis torpedo? It may not have been possible for them to recreate either the trilithium weapon or the Genesis torpedo.
  4. Keith Alan Morgan on Saturday, May 08, 1999 - 8:06 am: Why is Admiral Toddman wearing a gold uniform instead of a red uniform like every other Admiral we have ever seen? Personal preference?
  5. eb on Thursday, June 22, 2000 - 7:42 am: Garak tells Colonel Lovok that he doesn't want to be "psycho-analyzed" by a Romulan. Psycho-analysis was a term first coined in 1906 by Sigmund Fruend in his writings to describe a particular technique invented by Freud to cure his patients of their neuroses. Did Garak visit the holodeck for psycho-analysis? Otherwise, "the talking cure," as psycho-analysis has also been called, hardly seems the sort of thing to enjoy a wide vogue on Cardassia, and I wonder how he knew the term. TomM on Thursday, June 22, 2000 - 9:45 am: Perhaps Garak used a Cardassian word for some Obsidian Order interrogation technique and it was the UT that translated it as "psycho-analyzed." Chris Thomas on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 1:36 am: Garak's exiled on the station, living among a plethora of races, and has plenty of exposure to a variety of words and their meanings. Given he is such good friends with Bashir, a HUMAN doctor, it doesn't suprise me at all that Garak would have come across the term "psycho-analyse" TomM on Friday, June 23, 2000 - 6:26 am: If Garak picked up the term from Dr. Bashir, then UT or no UT he associates it with excruciating torture. <wink!>


  1. According to the episode list, the provisional stardate for this episode is 48756.

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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