Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999): Season 4, Episode 17 - Rules of Engagement - full transcript

When Worf destroys a civilian shuttle during an engagement with the Klingons, an extradition hearing is held to see if he must face charges.

You all right?

What time is it?


Your hearing starts
in four hours.

I suggest trying
to get some sleep.

You've got a big day
ahead of you.

This hearing will come to order.

We are here to consider the
request of the Klingon Empire

that Lieutenant Commander Worf

be extradited for trial
on charges of murder.

Advocate Ch'Pok.

You may present your charges.

The Klingon Empire makes
the following allegations

against Lieutenant
Commander Worf:

That on stardate 49648

while commanding
the Starship Defiant

he knowingly fired upon

and destroyed a Klingon
civilian transport ship

near the Pentath system.

That as a result of that action

441 Klingon civilians
were killed.

It is my intention to prove

that Mr. Worf was
grossly negligent

in his command of the Defiant.

That his lust for combat
overrode his good judgment.

I ask only that he
be returned to us

to face the judgment
of his own people.

Thank you.

The Advocate
neglected to mention

in his opening statement
that at the time in question

the Defiant was under attack
by two Klingon warships.

This was a combat situation
with hundreds of lives at stake.

It was at that moment,
when suddenly

the transport ship de-cloaked
in front of the Defiant.

Worf gave the order to fire.

Not because he was
reckless or negligent

but because he believed
he was firing on a warship.

We intend to show that the
destruction of the transport

was a tragic
but unavoidable accident.

I will hear formal evidence

beginning tomorrow afternoon
at 1500 hours.

I want to know everything
there is to know

about the Klingon who was
commanding that transport ship.

You suspect it wasn't
just an innocent passenger run.

I'm going to argue
that he saw the battle

and then decided to join it

that he de-cloaked in order
to attack the Defiant.

Not the smartest decision
he ever made.

That's where you come in.

Use your contacts in the Empire

and find out something
about this Captain I can use.

Was he reckless?

Did he have a reputation
for drinking?

Did he have a death wish?

I'll see what I can do.


The witnesses I intend to call.

Thank you.

A remarkable station, Captain.

Thank you.

We don't get many Klingon
visitors anymore.

After this case is over

you might be seeing
a lot more of us.


When Worf is extradited

the Federation
will be forced to admit

that one of its officers
committed a massacre.

That will put you
on the defensive

throughout the Quadrant.

And while you're busy
trying to repair

a badly damaged reputation

we'll find ourselves
with certain...


An opportunity to annex
more Cardassian space

and set up additional
military bases in this sector?


But in any case,
Worf is about to present us

with something we never
could have won in battle.


Any move we make against you

will be seen
as a legitimate response

to an outrageous slaughter.

You're presuming an awful lot.

Worf maintains his innocence.

And you're about to remind me

that the burden
of proof is mine.

It's an interesting system
ofjustice you have, Captain.

It does have its flaws, however.

It emphasizes procedure
over substance

form over fact.

I'm sorry if you feel it
puts you at a disadvantage.

On the contrary.

I look forward
to fighting on your terms.

This is not a fight.

It's the search for the truth.

The truth must be won.

I'll see you
on the battlefield.

I have studied
Commander Worf's reports

the Defiant's sensor logs

and the reports of the
other officers on the Bridge.

And I believe every word of it.

It's a matter of pride
for the Federation

that Starfleet officers
never lie or commit fraud.

So I will accept
the facts of the case

as they have been submitted.

Admiral, if there are
no facts in dispute

then this hearing would
appear to be at an end.

We Klingons are not concerned

with matters of fact
and circumstance.

What matters to us
is what was in Worf's heart

when he gave the order to fire.

Was he just a Starfleet officer

doing his duty,
or was he a Klingon warrior

reveling in the battle?

That is why I am here.

Because if he was a Klingon

Iost in the bloodlust
of combat

only we can judge him, not you.

We can't put a man's
heart on trial.

It's a subjective issue

that cannot be reasoned
in a court of law.

I ask that the Advocate
be limited

to arguing the evidence
in this case.

Someone told me this was
a search for the truth.

Should we not follow that search
wherever it takes us?

The question of Commander Worf's
motive is relevant.

I will allow you
to explore this issue

but only as far
as logic permits.

I bow to your judgment.

You may call your first witness.

You are considered
something of an expert

on Klingon society,
aren't you, Commander?

My previous host, Curzon, would
have called himself an expert.

I tend to think of myself

as having a passing familiarity
with your culture.

In your opinion,
as someone with a...

passing familiarity
with our culture

wouldn't you say the Klingons
are a violent, warrior race?

Yes, there is that aspect
to your people.

Would you agree
that one of the things

that makes a Klingon warrior
so formidable

is his predatory instinct,
his blood lust, if you will?

I'd agree with that.

Now, when Worf
was on the Defiant

engaged in combat,
don't you think

his predatory instinct
took over?

I think that instinct
was present

but I've seen Mr. Worf
restrain it before.

How do you know so much
about how he behaves in battle?

In the holosuite,
we've fought many times.

You mean you practiced
with Mr. Worf.

You played with him.

Oh, no.

When we fight, we fight.

I've made it very clear
to Mr. Worf

that I never want him
to take it easy on me

because I'm a woman or a Trill.

Have you ever been injured?

A few bruises here and there.

A broken finger once.

Nothing serious,
and I've given him

a few lumps of his own.

So you're not afraid
of Mr. Worf.

I'm no fool.

I can see the killer instinct
in his eyes.

And I know he could
kill me if he wants to.

But that look always goes away.

He knows when to stop.


Admiral, at this time

I would like to enter into
evidence files I obtained

from the defendant's private
data base this morning.


There's been no search order
issued for those files.

This is a violation
of Mr. Worf's privacy.

The Captain is correct.

Without a properly
executed search order

or the permission of the
defendant, any information

you have accessed
from his private data base

may not be admitted
into evidence.

Ah. I see.

Well, I obviously
have no search order

so I'll ask you, Worf.

May I enter this file
into evidence

or do you have
something to hide?

Don't play his game.

I have nothing to hide.

Use whatever you wish.

Commander Dax, are you familiar

with the holosuite program known
as "The Battle of Tong Vey"?

It's one of the programs

Mr. Worf brought with him
from the Enterprise.

Describe it for us.

It's an historical reenactment

of one
of the epic Klingon battles.

10,000 warriors under the
command of Emperor Sompek

conquer the city of Tong Vey
after a long siege.

A glorious battle.

When Worf recreates it
in the holosuite

what role does he play?


Of course.
The conqueror's role.

One of our greatest heroes.

Tell me, Commander.

What was the final order
Sompek gave to his men

once they had conquered
the city of Tong Vey?


He told them to burn
the city to the ground

and kill everyone in it.


Not just the soldiers,
but the people of the town, too?





Now, Commander

when Mr. Worf runs this program,
does he give the final order

to destroy the city
and kill all of the inhabitants?

It's not the same thing.

It's a simulation...

Answer the question.

That's the way the program
is supposed to end.

You have to give that command...


I ask that the witness
be instructed

to answer the question
"yes" or "no."

Yes or no, Commander.


Of course he does.

Because he is
a Klingon warrior.

He doesn't have

the same moral code
as a Starfleet officer.

He is one of us--
a killer, a predator

among sheep.


Restrain yourself, Advocate.

I have only one more
question for this witness


Commander Dax

when was the last time
Worf used that program?

The day before he left
on the convoy mission.

The day before.
The day before.

I have nothing further.

Captain, you ordered Worf
to command the Defiant

on the mission in question,
did you not?

That's right.

How did you describe
the mission to Worf?

An outbreak of Rudellian plague

has struck the Cardassian colony
on Pentath Ill.

The Cardassians are
preparing several convoys

of medical supplies
and relief workers

but the Pentath system
borders Klingon territory

and the Cardassians
are worried about raids.

Well, Pentath is a strategically
important system.

The Klingons will
try to stop them.

The problem is the Cardassians
don't have enough warships

available to protect
the relief convoy.

They've asked
for Starfleet protection

and because of the humanitarian
nature of the request

we've agreed.

There will be seven convoys
headed for Pentath Ill

in the next week.

Each of them protected
by a Federation starship.

The Defiant has been assigned
to escort convoy six

and I've chosen you
to be in command.

Why did you select Worf
for this mission?

I felt that he was
an experienced officer

who was ready to take on
greater responsibilities.

He had a distinguished record

and obviously understood
the Klingons.

Weren't you a little worried,
Captain, that Worf--

a famed Klingon warrior--

might jump at the chance
for combat

and forget about
the plague victims?

If I were, I wouldn't
have given him the assignment.

And you're sure you
made your instructions

perfectly clear--
that Commander Worf

knew he was
on a humanitarian relief mission

that he was not being
sent out to seek combat?


Thank you, Captain.

I have nothing further for you.

Captain, since you are
also acting as defense counsel

if you wish to add anything
to the record

you're free to do so.

Not at this time, Admiral.

Call your next witness.

It was about 1700 hours.

I was doing some cleanup work.

Dr. Bashir was at the bar
talking to Etheria

one of the dabo girls.

Have you ever seen
the wormhole open?

No, wait.

It wasn't Etheria;
it was Glidia.

Have you ever seen
the wormhole open?

Or was it... Midia?

Mr. Quark, is this necess...?

No, no. No, it was Ralidia,
and she was with Morn

and he was the one
who turned to her and said...

Can we get back
to the matter at hand, please?

Oh, right.

Um... well, as I said

I was cleaning up,
and I saw Mr. Worf come in.

Was there anything unusual
about that?

No. He comes in here
all the time.

But he was in a good mood.

And that's unusual?

Well, he's a Klingon

and you people are rarely
in what I would call good moods

not that you're anything
but a pleasant, charming race.

Let's get back to Mr. Worf.

Describe what happened next.

He came in, he ordered a drink--
prune juice, I believe--

and we started to talk.

I'd heard
about the convoy mission

so I asked him about it

and he said he was going
to be commanding the Defiant.

What was his attitude?

Hard to say.

He's a very private man.

He doesn't share a lot
with his bartender.

Did he seem...

afraid of the mission?


Did he seem excited
by the mission?

Not excited exactly.

Then what exactly?

I just remember asking him...

What happens if the Klingons
go after the convoy?

And then he got this
funny look on his face.

He put down his prune juice

Iooked me right in the eye,
and then he said...

I hope they do.

"I hope they do."

Well, it would appear

Commander Worf's hopes
were answered.

I have nothing further.

What do you have
for me, Constable?

Background on
the Klingon transport captain.

He'd never been in the military

and he was known
to his family and friends

as a quiet, efficient man
who was content in his position.

Doesn't sound like a man

who'd suddenly decide
to take on the Defiant.


What about this story of theirs
that the transport ship

just wandered off course
into a combat area?

I checked the flight plan
the Captain filed

and the projected course
was near the border.

It would have taken only a
very slight error in navigation

for the ship to stray
into the fight.

But why did he drop his cloak
right in front of the Defiant?

Ah, that's the question
no one seems able to answer.

No one seems able,
or no one seems willing?

Oh, they're too willing

to answer questions--
that's the problem.

I'm always suspicious of people

who are eager to help
a police officer.

Start looking into
the passengers on that ship.

Maybe someone with a grudge
against Worf

or the Federation was aboard--

someone who could have
seized control

of the ship and taken
it into the battle.

I'm reaching, I know.

But at the moment,
it's all we have.

I'll keep looking.

There were two Klingon ships--

a bird-of-prey
and an old battle cruiser.

One would engage us while
the other went after the convoy.

Then they'd switch.

The first ship going
after the Cardassians

while the second ship
came after us.

We've lost the number three
starboard shield.

Come about.

The cruiser has taken us
too far away from the convoy.

Try to keep our port side
to the Klingons.

Aye, sir.

This went on for-- I don't know,
maybe five minutes.

They'd come at us, try to draw
us away from the Cardassians.

We'd head back.

Then the bird-of-prey came
toward us off the port bow.

I have phaser lock.


We damaged them but not much.

We'd seen them do this cloak-
and-run maneuver a few times

and Commander Worf
thought he saw a pattern.

We have them now.

Come to course 185 mark 278.

Stand by quantum
torpedoes, full spread.

Aye, sir.

I ran a quick sensor sweep
then I reported.

I'm picking up a tachyon surge
directly ahead.


When did you realize
it wasn't a bird-of-prey?

As soon as it exploded.

Oh, my God.

We were all stunned.

I scanned for survivors,
but there were none.

Chief, do you believe

Worf was correct
in giving the order to fire?

I stand by his decision.

Is there any question
in your mind about his motives?

No, sir.

I've known Commander Worf
for nine years.

He's an honorable man.

He would never intentionally
fire on an unarmed ship.

Thank you, Chief.

I'm curious, Chief.

You say you stand by
Commander Worf's decision.

Do you agree with it?

I completely support him.

That's not my question.

Do you agree with his decision?

I wasn't in command.

It's not my place
to question his judgment.

What if you were in command?

What would you have done?

I don't know.

Chief, how many years have
you been in Starfleet?


And how many combat
situations have you been in?

I couldn't even guess.


100, 150.

For the record

Chief O'Brien has been
in 235 separate engagements

and Starfleet
has decorated him 15 times.

I would like to have him
declared an expert

in the area of starship combat.

Any objection?


Chief O'Brien,
if Mr. Worf had been injured

could you have taken over
command of that ship?

I would have.

Let's say that happened.

You're in command.

You're chasing the bird-of-prey.

It cloaks.

You anticipate
your opponent's maneuver

so you give the order.

Come about to 185 mark 278.

Stand by quantum torpedoes,
full spread.

The crew obeys.

The ship comes about.

And then your helm officer
tells you...

I'm picking up a tachyon surge,
directly ahead.

Now, stop right there.

Freeze that moment in time.

Everything rides
on your next decision.

Do you give the order to fire?

This isn't a fair question.

It didn't really happen
this way.

I wasn't in command.

I'm not interested
in whether you think

it's a fair question or not.

You're in command.

There's a ship out there

You don't know what it is.

Do you fire?


But that's just my opinion now,
after the fact.

I wasn't in command that day.

Things look a lot different when
you're sitting in that chair.

I'm sure they do.

Captain Sisko

mind if I sit down?

I understand
you're going to put Worf

on the stand this afternoon.

That's right.

May I make a suggestion?


Let me take him back
to the Empire

and I'll make sure
he's not put to death.

In fact, I'll defend him myself.


What matters to me

is the thrill of the fight,
not which side I'm on.

And I think we both know
the extradition fight is over.

You're not making
this offer out of kindness.

You want the Federation
to concede

so the convoys will stop

and the Klingons can move in
on the Pentath system.

As humans would say,
that would be icing on the cake.

I wouldn't try eating that cake
just yet, if I were you.

But you have told me one thing
I needed to know--

you're worried about what Worf
might say on the stand.

I'm not worried,
but you should be.


Good news or bad?

Bad. I checked the backgrounds

of every passenger
on that transport.

None had any connection
with Worf

or grudge against the Federation

or any motive
for seizing control

of the ship
and attacking the Defiant.

But I'm still not giving up.

I appreciate that

but I get the feeling
that at this point

the only one who can
help Worf is Worf.

The escort mission had
proceeded smoothly for two days.

We detected
several subspace distortions

which might have been
cloaked ships

but nothing definite.

So, what was the first sign
of trouble, Mr. Worf?

There was no warning.

A bird-of-prey just de-cloaked
off the port quarter.

Raise shields.
Arm phasers.

Commander, another
ship's de-cloaking.

It's an older battle cruiser.

She's going after the convoy.

Bring us about.

How did you feel
when the Klingons attacked?

Were you excited?

Of course.

I am a Klingon.

We live for battle.

So that's all
that mattered to you--

the chance to fight?

No, sir. Whatever
my personal feelings may be

I do not allow them
to interfere with my duty

or my professional judgment.

Chief O'Brien says
that he disagrees

with your decision to fire.

How do you respond to that?

I respect the Chief's opinion.

He and I have served together
for many years

and I consider him a friend.

However, he was not
in command that day.

What difference does that make?

It makes all the difference.

He is looking back at a decision

analyzing it weeks later.

As the Commanding Officer
of the Defiant

it was my duty to look forward

to anticipate
every possible situation.

Did you anticipate

encountering a civilian ship
on this mission?

I knew our convoy
would be passing

through civilian
shipping lanes, but...

in my judgment, the chances
of a civilian vessel

de-cloaking in the middle
of a battle were remote.

I decided that if I were
engaged in combat

I would not hesitate
to fire at a de-cloaking ship.

Mr. Worf, I want you to think

about the civilians who died
on that transport ship

and answer one question.

Under the same set
of circumstances

would you do it again?

Yes, sir.

If I had hesitated,
I would have been negligent.

I would have been risking
my ship, my crew

and the entire convoy.

Thank you.


why are you considered
an outcast among Klingons?

I sided with the Federation

during the invasion
of Cardassia.

For that, Chancellor Gowron

stripped me of my name
and my family honor.

So you acted out of conscience
and you were punished for it.

How do you feel about that?

Angry? Bitter?

I am angry about the treatment
I have received.

I felt it was unjust.

Of course you are.

Who wouldn't be?

What happened affected
your entire family.

The House of Mogh
was brought down.

Your brother was ejected

from the High Council
in disgrace

your lands seized

and now your son, Alexander,
has to bear the stigma

of being the son of a traitor.

Did I miss anything?


In your opinion

what do they think of you
in the Empire, Worf?

I am hated.

Because of what you did?


Are you sure
it's not something more basic?

What is that supposed to mean?

Isn't it obvious?

You were raised by humans

on Earth

and now you wear their uniform.

Haven't you really always been
a traitor in your heart?


Are you telling us

that you live with humans,
but your heart is Klingon?


But if your heart is Klingon

how could you fire
upon your own people?

They fired the first shot.

And when that happened,
they became my enemies.

Then why aren't you glad you
destroyed that transport?

It was filled with your
enemies and their children.

There is nothing honorable

about killing those
who cannot defend themselves.

Are you telling me
that you would never

attack a defenseless opponent?

No. I would not.

Maybe I was wrong about you.

Maybe you aren't really
Klingon in your heart.

A true Klingon rejoices
at the death of his enemies--

old, young, armed, unarmed.

All that matters is the victory.

Tell me, Worf--

did you weep for those children?

I grieve for them.

Grieve for them?

A Klingon does not grieve.

They died in glorious battle.

They are with the honored dead
in Sto-Vo-Kor.

They do not want your grief.

You dishonor their memory.



You will say anything.

You have no honor.

I say this--
you live with humans

because you're afraid
to live with Klingons.

I fear nothing

and if you would like
to pick up a bat'leth

and face me with weapons
instead of words

I will prove it to you.

You'd like that,
wouldn't you, Worf?

You'd love to prove
that you are as strong

and courageous
as any Klingon warrior.

I am a Klingon warrior.

Advocate, you are stepping

well beyond
the bounds of protocol.

And that is why
you told the Ferengi

you hope the Klingons
do come for you.

You wanted to prove
yourself in the eyes

of the only people
that matter to you--

other Klingons!

This will stop, or I will hold
both of you in contempt.

I apologize, Worf.


I pity you.

But the person I pity most
is Alexander--

because one day,
he will come to you and ask

"Father, who am l?"

And you will have to tell him

that he is the son
of a small, frightened man

who destroyed
a ship full of children

just to prove his own courage.

Worf, no!

I thought you told me you'd
never attack an unarmed man.

Perhaps you should have said

"not unless I get angry."

"Not unless I have
something to prove."

I rest my case.

Captain's Log, Stardate 49665.3.

The hearing is in recess
and Admiral T'Lara

has retired to her quarters
to begin deliberations.

I wish I could be more
optimistic about her decision.


Good news.

Captain Sisko.

Admiral, I apologize

for interrupting
your deliberations

but I have some new evidence
I'd like to present.

Very well.

I'd like Advocate Ch'Pok
to evaluate the evidence

as an expert witness
on the Klingon Empire.

I will not compel you
to testify, Advocate.

Care to step
onto my battlefield?

Advocate, how would you describe
the current relationship

between the Federation
and the Klingon Empire?

There is no formal relationship
between our two governments.

What would you call us?

Informal friends?
lnformal enemies?

I would say

there is potential
for either label.

But at the moment,
neither is entirely accurate.

Hmm, interesting.

Would you agree that,
at the moment

it is difficult for us
to trust each other?

Difficult, but not impossible.

There are things that transcend
our differences.

For example, we trust
that this case

can be decided fairly.

We have faith
in Admiral T'Lara's judgment.

Oh, I'm glad to hear you have

such a profound respect
for the Admiral.

But would it be fair to say
that outside this hearing

you do not entirely trust us?

Well, it is only prudent
that we question your motives

now that we are
no longer allies.

Of course, and it is only

prudent of us
to question your motives.

After all, aren't there times

when you feel it's in your
best interest to deceive us?

I object to the question.

It is vague and hypothetical.

Well, can you imagine
any circumstance

in which the Empire
would deceive the Federation?

I have a poor imagination.

Let's see what we
can do to spark it.

Do you recognize these names?

These are the people who were
killed on board the transport.

You're positive?

There are 441 of them.

The names and faces
of these people

are seared into my heart.

This is a list of heroes

who died at the hands
of a coward.

It is a list I can never forget.

They are an interesting group
of people, aren't they?

From every walk of life--

merchants, soldiers,
artists, shopkeepers...


We've done some checking
in their backgrounds

and in our opinion

they all appear to be
a random group of people

who shared only one thing
in common:

They all traveled
on the same ship.

Is that your conclusion as well?


And it was just fate

that led these particular people
to board a doomed ship?

Fate is a human concept.

They simply boarded the wrong
ship at the wrong time.

And then... they did it again.

I don't, uh...
think I understand

your line of...

Three months ago

a Klingon transport ship

in the mountains
of Galorda Prime.

Of course, everyone
assumed the worst--

that the passengers and the crew
had all been killed.

But then, miraculously...

everyone survived.

Do you know anyone
who was on that ship?


Are you sure?

You have the names
of the survivors right there.

I can understand your confusion.

The names in front of you
are identical

to the names on this list.

The people who were killed
in the Defiant incident.

So what does this mean?

441 people somehow survived
a crash on Galorda Prime.

And then a few weeks later

they all decide to take
another trip on the same day

on the same transport ship,
under the same Captain and crew.

And then that ship
is destroyed, too.

This is a very unlucky group
of people, wouldn't you say?

I am not an expert on luck.

No. You are an expert
on the Klingon Empire.

So, tell me, Advocate

isn't it possible
that there were no civilians

on the transport Worf destroyed?

Isn't it possible
that the ship he saw

was sending out
false sensor images

and that this whole affair
was staged

so that the only Klingon
officer in Starfleet

would be accused of a massacre,
and the Federation

would be forced to stop
escorting the convoys?

Tell me, Advocate...

isn't it possible?



I thought you should know

O'Brien and Bashir are throwing
a party for you at Quark's.

Looks like quite a bash.

I am aware of it.

But I have much on my mind.

Ch'Pok was right.

I did have something to prove

when I took command
of the convoy.

And I did not realize it

until I stood there,
looking down at him

blood trickling from his mouth.

In that moment,
I remember thinking

finally, he had given me
what I really wanted--

a reason to attack him.

And I had that same feeling

when the Klingon ships
first attacked.

Finally, a chance for vengeance.

I should not have
accepted the mission.

I am glad you realize that.

That was your first mistake.

What was your second?

When the ship de-cloaked

I should have checked
the target before I fired.

You're damned right
you should have checked.

You knew there were
civilian ships in the area.

You fired at something
you hadn't identified.

You made a military decision
to protect your ship and crew.

But you're
a Starfleet officer, Worf.

We don't put civilians at risk,
or even potentially at risk

to save ourselves.

Sometimes that means
we lose the battle

and sometimes our lives.

But if you can't make
that choice

then you can't wear
that uniform.

Yes, sir.

At ease, Commander.

Now, all that being true

the reality is
no harm's been done.

There are no dead children
on your conscience.

You got lucky.

I do not feel lucky.

And that's why, despite
everything that's happened

you're going to make
a hell of a Captain someday.

Now, let's go.

They'll all be waiting.

Look, this party isn't for you
as much as it is for them.

Things got a little tense
there for a while.

They need a release,
a chance to celebrate.

But I do not feel
like celebrating.

Part of being a Captain
is knowing when to smile.

Make the troops happy--
even when it's

the last thing in the world
you want to do.

Because they're your troops

and you have
to take care of them.

Life is a great deal more
complicated in this red uniform.

Wait till you get
four pips on that collar.

You'll wish you had gone
into botany.