Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999): Season 6, Episode 19 - In the Pale Moonlight - full transcript

To save the Federation in a critical scheme, Sisko comes to realize that he must violate its fundamental principles to do so.

Captain's personal log,
stardate 517...


4? Computer, what day is it?

- Stardate 51721.3.
- It's only been two weeks.

I need to talk about this.

I have to justify what's happened,
what I've done.

At least to myself.

I can't talk to anyone else.
Not even to Dax.

Maybe if I lay it all out in my log,
it will finally make sense.

I can see where it all went wrong.
Where I went wrong.

It started two weeks ago while I was
posting the weekly casualty list.

Every Friday morning,
I post the official list

of Starfleet personnel killed,
wounded or missing in the war.

It's become a grim ritual.

Not a week goes by that someone
doesn't find the name of a loved one,

A friend or an acquaintance
on that damned list.

I've grown to hate Fridays.

Who is it, Dax?

- Leslie Wong.
- The skipper of the Cairo?

- She was an Academy instructor.
- What happened to the Cairo?

She disappeared on patrol
in the Romulan neutral zone.

I'm sure it's the same old story.

The Jem'Hadar crossed the Romulan
border and caught them by surprise.

I can't believe the Romulans
allow them to violate their territory.

The Romulans have a treaty
of non-aggression with the Dominion.

They're willing to turn a blind eye
to almost anything.

We need to bring them into the war
on our side.

With the Klingons and Romulans,
we could go on the offensive.

That's the last thing the Romulans
want. They're in the perfect position.

They get to watch as their rivals
slug it out in a long, bloody war.

Why should they risk their necks?

There's simply no reason for them
to get involved in our war.

That was the moment
I made the decision.

I was going to bring the Romulans
into the war.

It's in their own best interest
to join the war.

That's the reason the Romulans
will finally take action -

to protect themselves
from the Dominion.

Let's say I'm the Romulan Proconsul.
The Dominion isn't a threat to me.

I have a non-aggression pact with them.

- You put your faith in a piece of paper?
- Not at all.

I've been watching them very closely

and so far they've kept their part
of the bargain.

They're violating your territory
almost every day.

They cross my backyard
to give the Federation a bloody nose.

That doesn't make me sad.

The Dominion won't stop
with the Federation.

- They'll come after you.
- That's speculation.

The Founders see it as their duty
to bring order to the galaxy.

You think they'll sit by with your chaotic
empire next to their perfect order?

If you watch us go under,
you're signing your death warrant.

Before I plunge my people
into a conflict

that will kill millions
of loyal Romulan citizens,

I need more than the self-serving
argument of a Starfleet officer.

I need proof of Dominion duplicity.
Not more words. Proof.

Very good, old man. You would have
made a decent Romulan.

I prefer the spots to the pointed ears.

OK, you've convinced me.
They're going to need evidence.

But if there is evidence of a Dominion
plan to attack Romulus,

it's probably buried deep in their
headquarters on Cardassia Prime.

Not exactly the most accessible
place in the galaxy.

There is someone on this station

who specialises in gaining access
to places where he is not welcome.

I'm flattered, Captain.

I had no idea you held
such a lofty opinion of me.

Your faith in my ability to retrieve
classified information is most gratifying.

Let's dispense with the repartee
and concentrate on the issue.

Can you do it or not?

No one wants to see the Dominion
destroyed more than I do.

But to go to Cardassia Prime,
penetrate a heavily guarded facility,

steal top secret war plans
and return them safely to you

is not just another job.
It's more like a suicide mission.

And that is well outside
my field of expertise.

I didn't say you had to go there

I have to believe that a man like you
still has a few contacts at home.

A colleague from the Obsidian Order,
an old friend, a reliable informant.

- Someone who owes you a favour.
- Perhaps.

- I'd say it's time to call in a favour.
- It would mean calling in all my favours.

To do what you're asking

would use up every resource
I have left on Cardassia.

And it may be a very messy,
very bloody business.

Are you prepared for that?

I posted my 14th casualty list
this morning.

I'm already involved in a very messy,
very bloody business.

The only way I can see to end it
is to bring the Romulans into the war.

I will do whatever it takes
to accomplish that goal,

but I can't do it alone.
I need help.

Now, are you in or out?

I'm in.

My father used to say that the road
to hell is paved with good intentions.

I laid the first stone right there.

I'd committed myself. I'd pay any price,
go to any lengths,

because my cause was righteous.

My intentions were good.

In the beginning,
that seemed like enough.

There's one thing I've learned:

Bad news comes
in the middle of the night.

- Kira to Captain Sisko.
- Go ahead, Major.

We just received a communication
from Starfleet Command.

The Dominion has invaded Betazed.

According to reports, the invasion
force came from the Calandra Sector.

Did Starfleet know about the build-up?

They believed it was too far from the
Dominion supply lines to be a threat.

The Tenth Fleet was supposed
to be protecting Betazed,

but it was on a training exercise.

Betazed's defence systems
are obsolete and undermanned.

The planet was theirs
in less than ten hours.

The Dominion is in a position to threaten
Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, Alpha Centauri.

If we ever needed a new ally,
it's right now.

Mr Garak. It's been three days.
Have you made any progress?

That depends on how you look at it.

Betazed has fallen. We need to get
this operation under way.

I share your desire for swift action.
After our last conversation,

I made a few inquiries among
my former associates on Cardassia.

They shared my loathing
for the current government

and were willing to take on
any assignment to destroy it.

- That sounds like progress.
- Doesn't it?

- Unfortunately, they're all dead now.
- What?

Yes. All killed within one day
of speaking with me.

That's a testament to the effectiveness
of Dominion security.

- One should admire such efficiency.
- I'm sorry.

I hope you're not giving up.

The stakes are much higher
than a few dead operatives.

The fate of the entire quadrant
hangs in the balance.

- That's the case you made to me.
- Do you have another plan?

As a matter of fact, I do.

- But I suspect you won't like it.
- Try me.

If you want evidence of a Dominion
plot to attack the Romulans,

I suggest that we manufacture
that evidence ourselves.

Maybe I should have said,

"Thank you, Mr Garak. I will take
your suggestion under advisement”,

and forgotten the whole thing.
But I didn't.

Because in my heart, I knew
what he was saying made sense.

His name is Vreenak.

He's a key member
of the Romulan Senate.

He is Secretary
of the War Plans Council

and a trusted advisor
to Proconsul Neral.

He negotiated the non-aggression
pact with the Dominion.

I'll skip the rest of his biography.

He is one of the most ardently
pro-Dominion voices in the Senate.

If we convince him that the Dominion
is a threat, the entire Senate will follow.


In ten days, Vreenak will visit Soukara
for a meeting with Weyoun.

I am certain that he can be persuaded
to make a secret detour to DS9

if he were invited by one
Captain Benjamin Sisko.

- How do know he's visiting Soukara?
- Some things I'd rather not discuss.

When Vreenak arrives,

you will show him a recording
of a secret meeting of the Dominion

in which the invasion of Romulus
is being discussed.

You will tell the senator
that this information was obtained

at great cost to the Federation.

Ten good men lost their lives
bringing it across the line.

He will suspect it's a forgery,
but you assure him that's impossible.

"Senator, this is an official
Cardassian transcript.

"It was recorded
on an optolythic data rod.

"These rods are manufactured only
as needed on Cardassia Prime.

"Information can be transcribed
on them once and cannot be altered.”

- He'll want to examine it.
- Of course.

And he will discover
that it is completely genuine.

- At least, so it will appear.
- But in reality?

You will hand him a genuine data rod,

but it will contain the most perfect
forgery ever fashioned.

I'm working on the data rod,

but I have the man to create
the recording.

I can't authorise this.
I have to clear it with Starfleet.

Of course,
but with the fall of Betazed,

they'll do whatever it takes to bring
the Romulans into the war.

- I'll let you know.
- One last thing, Captain.

The man we need to forge
this holo-program

is in a Klingon prison
awaiting execution.

To save time and, incidentally, his life,

perhaps you could contact Chancellor
Gowron and arrange a pardon?

- What's his name?
- Grathon Tolar.

I cannot tell you how grateful
I am, Captain.

The Klingons were going
to execute me tomorrow.

They say that every day.
It's one of the games they like to play.

You do understand the terms
of your parole?

I have to promise to stay away
from the Klingon Empire.

That'll be tough.

And I have to create some kind
of a special holoprogram for you.

I can hardly wait. I've never worked
for Starfleet before.

You're not working for Starfleet.
This entire matter is off the record.

As far as you're concerned,
you're working for me.

Oh. A personal matter.

Something special, for your eyes only?

Something with, perhaps, five or six
Orion slave girls and...

Mr Tolar, I suggest you go
and wait in your quarters.

Mr Garak will provide you
with the information you need.

- Garak is here?
- That's right.

Well, that's different.

I'll wait in my quarters.

Why didn't I listen to the voice
telling me not to believe a word?

But it didn't take long for me to realise
that I'd made a mistake.

- Odo to the Captain.
- Go ahead.

Do you know a man
named Grathon Tolar?

- Yes. Why do you ask?
- He just tried to kill Quark.

Sit still, Quark. You'll be fine.

All right, keep an eye on him.

What happened?

Mr Tolar came in two hours ago,
ordered a bottle of Whelan bitters.

15 minutes later he ordered a second
bottle and then a third.

Halfway through his fourth,
he decided to dance with M'pella.

She was running the dabo wheel
and declined his invitation.

He decided to force the issue.
A brief struggle ensued

and Quark, in an uncharacteristic
display of chivalry,

attempted to intervene,
so Tolar stabbed him.

He'd be sitting in a cell,
but he claims he's a friend of yours.

He's no friend,
but he is working for me.

It's a sensitive matter
concerning Federation security.

I can't have any record
of him being on the station.

I see.

I am aware of the need for special
security measures during wartime,

but as a matter of law, if Quark chooses
to press charges against Tolar,

I have to make an arrest.

May I speak to Quark?

- How is he?
- I just had a brush with death.

His ribs deflected the knife.
Bleeding was superficial.

Do you know how much this shirt cost?

- Will you excuse us, Doctor?
- I'll check on you tomorrow.

- Do you intend to press charges?
- You bet I do.

What will it take... convince you otherwise?

Are you offering me a bribe?

I knew it.
Captain, I've always liked you.

I suspected that deep in your heart
there was a tiny bit of Ferengi.

- What's your price?
- Well...

Let's start with my clothes
and M'pella's clothes.

- All right.
- I'm not finished.

I should be compensated for the loss
of business I suffered today,

which I calculate as no less than...

five bars of gold-pressed latinum.


I'm also having a problem
with station security.

They're holding some cargo containers
I'm waiting for

because of some missing
import licence or something.

I'll handle it. Anything else?

No. I think we can call it a bribe.

And thank you for restoring my faith
in the 98th Rule of Acquisition:

"Every man has his price".

That was my first moment
of real doubt,

when I started to wonder
if this whole thing was a mistake.

So then I went back to my office

and there was a new casualty list
waiting for me.

People are dying out there every day!

Entire worlds are struggling
for their freedom

and I am still worrying
about the finer points of morality.

No, I had to keep my eye on the ball.

Win the war, stop the bloodshed.
Those were the priorities!

So every time another doubt
appeared before me,

I found another way to shove it aside.

- Mind if I join you?
- Be my guest.

- Ops.
- Hold. The less seen there, the better.

- I couldn't agree more.
- You seem angry.

- Who's watching Tolar?
- I've locked him in his quarters.

I left him with the impression that
if he forces the door, it may explode.

- I hope that's just an impression.
- Best not to dwell on such minutiae.

We have far more important matters
to discuss.

I've located a gentleman willing
to sell us a genuine data rod.

- How do you know it's genuine?
- I trust the source.

I will confirm the rod's authenticity
before I make payment.

- How much does he want?
- He's not interested in latinum.

The gentleman
requested to be compensated

with 200 litres of biomimetic gel.


One would assume it has something
to do with genetic experimentation.

- Offer him something else.
- I wouldn't relay this request

if he'd take something else.

Biomimetic gel is strictly controlled
and not for sale at any price.

Find someone else to sell us a rod.

I wasn't exaggerating
about the near impossibility

of obtaining a genuine Cardassian
data rod.

It's a miracle
that I was able to locate this source.

I'm virtually certain I won't find another.

I'm afraid we either give him
what he wants

or forget the whole enterprise.

Then let's forget about it. Ops.

200 litres is out of the question.

There's not that much gel in the sector.

I believe the quantity
is open to negotiation.


Biomimetic gel is an extremely
dangerous compound, as you know.

It could be used to make biogenic
weapons, organic explosives...

Doctor, this is not a request.
It's an order.

You will package 85 litres
of biomimetic gel

and deliver them to cargo bay 3.

Yes. I'd like this order in writing,
please, sir.

I thought you might.

I shall note this in my log
and file an official protest.

That is your right. But I want the gel
by the end of the day. Dismissed.

The Founders have decided
to implement stage two.

The invasion of Romulus?
It's too soon.

We're engaged in heavy fighting
with the Federation. The Klingons...

The Founders have better vision
than you.

They see the opportunities
when you cannot.


The Romulans don't expect
an attack from Cardassia.

The bulk of the Romulan fleet is
still deployed along the neutral zone.

The Founders estimate we could be
on Romulus in three weeks.

I heard the same estimate
before we attacked the Federation.

Those plans were ruined
by your predecessor.

- Gul Dukat is a great man.
- He is an egotist and a fool.

We offered him the Alpha Quadrant

and all he could think about
was his daughter.

Shall we get back
to the business at hand?

That's it. Freeze program.

That's the new material. The rest plays
exactly as you saw before.

- What do you think?
- It's better. They seem more real.

All I had to do was add a little petty
bickering and mutual loathing.

So, you are happy.

It's satisfactory.

You may record the program
onto the data rod now.

I received a message.
Senator Vreenak is on the way.


Done. Who gets it?

Just put it in the case.

Well. It has been a pleasure doing
business with you, gentlemen.

- Call me if...
- You're not going anywhere.

What do you mean?

You're not leaving until your work
is accepted by our client.

You can't keep me here
against my will.

I haven't done anything wrong.
We had an agreement!

If that program passes inspection,
you walk free.

But if there is the slightest flaw,
I will send you back to prison

and tell Gowron to take his time
while he executes you.

All right. It will pass. You'll see.

- It will pass.
- I sincerely hope so.

Go back to your quarters.
I'll be along shortly to say hello.

Maybe I was under more pressure
than I realised.

Maybe it was really starting
to get to me.

But I was off the hook.

Starfleet Command had given
the plan their blessing.

I thought that would make
things easier.

But I was the one
who had to make it happen.

I was the one who had to look
Senator Vreenak in his eye

and convince him that a lie
was the truth.

While you're entertaining the senator,

I'll make a quick search
of his ship's database

for any information he may
have picked up on the Dominion.

- What if you get caught?
- That's unlikely.

The senator will be travelling
with four bodyguards.

Two will stand watch outside
the wardroom, two in the landing bay.

They'll never know
I was near their ship.

Just make sure you don't get caught.


Sections 52 Baker through 62 Baker
have been secured.

I have scanned all compartments
for surveillance equipment.

Very good. Maintain current security
measures until further notice.

No one is to enter this area
except Mr Garak and myself.

Always a pleasure to see you,
Mr Worf.

- Ops to Captain Sisko.
- Go ahead, Major.

We've received the signal you were
waiting for. Should I reply?

No reply, Major. Sisko out.

I'll take my leave of you now, Captain.
One last thing.

Vreenak believes
he's on the winning side

so you may have to put up
with a certain acerbic attitude.

Mr Garak, after having spent
a week with you,

I have developed a very thick skin.

Good luck.

Welcome aboard, Senator.
I'm Captain Benjamin Sisko.

So you're the commander
of Deep Space 9,

Emissary to the Prophets,

decorated combat officer,
widower, father, mentor.

And the man who started
the war with the Dominion.

- I thought you'd be taller.
- Sorry to disappoint you.

My opinion of Starfleet is so low

you'd have to work hard
to disappoint me.

I'll show you to your quarters.

I look forward to seeing your station.
While it's still here.

The way the war's going,
it may not be around much longer.

A fair approximation,
but somewhat lacking in aroma.

Real kali-fal should forcibly open
one's sinuses before the first sip.

We don't have much experience
in replicating Romulan beverages.

All of that would change if we became
allies instead of cold warriors.

You are persistent, Captain,
I'll grant you that.

But dogged determination won't change
the reality of your situation.

Time is definitely not on your side.

The Dominion shipyards are operating
at 100% capacity.

Yours are still being rebuilt.

The Dominion is breeding legions
of Jem'Hadar soldiers every day.

You're experiencing a manpower

But most important,

the Dominion is resolved to win
the war at any cost.

We both know the Federation
has put out peace feelers.

If you were in my position,
which side would you choose?

I'd pick the side most likely to leave us
in peace when the dust settles.

Maybe the Dominion will win
in the end.

Then the Founders will control

the Klingon Empire and the Federation.

Instead of facing three opponents
with three separate agendas,

you'll be facing the same opponent
on every side.

There's a word for that:

It really is a good replica.
The aroma's starting to grow on me.

I almost forgot it wasn't the real thing,
but only for a moment.

You make some very good points,

but it's still speculation and theory,

nothing that would warrant plunging
the Empire into war.

What if I told you that the Dominion
is planning an attack

on the Romulan empire
at this very moment?

I'd want proof.

With the Cardassians protecting
their flank,

the Jem'Hadar will begin their thrust
across the Glintara Sector.

They should begin the invasion
of Romulus on the following day.

Resistance will crumble as outlying
colonies look out for themselves.

Consolidation of the entire empire
will take three months at most.

What if they pull forces from the border
at the first sign of attack?

I place my faith in the Founders.

They say the Romulans will not react
fast enough once war begins.

Do you wish to dispute their judgment?

No, of course not.

- I serve the Founders.
- As do we all.

Meeting adjourned.

I'd like to examine that data rod.

So all I could do was wait

and see how masterful
Tolar's forgery really was.

So I waited,
tried to catch up on my paperwork.

But I found it very difficult to focus
on criminal activity reports,

cargo manifests,

so I went back to pacing
and staring out of the window.

I'm not an impatient man.

I'm not one to agonise over decisions
once they're made.

I got that from my father.
He always says,

"Worry and doubt are the greatest
enemies of a great chef.

"The soufflé will either rise
or it won't.

"There's not a damn thing
you can do about it

"so you might as well sit back
and wait and see what happens.”

But this time the cost of failure
was so high.

I found it difficult to take his advice.

If Vreenak discovered
that the data rod was a forgery,

it could push the Romulans
even farther into the enemy camp.

If worst came to worst,
they could join the war against us.

I felt that victory or defeat would be
decided in the next few minutes.

It's a fake!

So it all blew up in my face.

And all the lies and compromises,

the inner doubts and rationalisations,
all for nothing.

Vreenak was furious.

I can't say I blamed him.
I'd have reacted the same way.

After telling me that he would expose
this deception to the entire quadrant,

he got back in his shuttle
and headed home.

There didn't seem to be more to do,
so I went back to work.

Two days later, I got the news.

- No one for me today.
- I had one. Wounded in action.

Friend of a friend.
I only met her once.

Friend of a friend.
I'd say we're off to a good start today.

Captain, we just received word
that a Romulan shuttlecraft

carrying a senator has been destroyed.

- Which senator?
- Senator Vreenak.

He was returning to Romulus from
Soukara when his shuttle exploded.

Preliminary reports point to sabotage.

The Tal Shiar believe
that the Dominion is responsible.

The Dominion assassinated
a Romulan senator.

- On a diplomatic mission.
- That changes everything.

It could even bring the Romulans
into the war.

Excuse me.

Get up!

You killed him!
That's what you planned all along.

You just wanted to get him on the
station to plant a bomb on his shuttle!

I did have hopes that the rod
would pass inspection,

but I suspected Tolar
may not have been up to the task.

Did you kill him too?

Think of them both
as tragic victims of war.

If you let your anger subside,
you'll see that they did not die in vain.

- The Romulans will enter the war!
- There's no guarantee of that!

There is. When they finish examining
the wreckage of Vreenak's shuttle,

they'll find the burnt remnants
of a data rod

which somehow survived the explosion.
After forensic examination,

they'll discover that it contains
a recording of a Dominion meeting

at which the invasion of Romulus
was being planned.

- They'll discover that it is a fraud!
- I don't think they will.

Any imperfections will appear to be
a result of the explosion.

So, with a seemingly legitimate
rod in one hand

and a dead senator in the other,
I ask you, Captain.

What conclusion would you draw?

That Vreenak obtained the rod
on Soukara

and that the Dominion killed him
to prevent him from returning with it.

The more the Dominion protests
its innocence,

the more the Romulans
will believe they're guilty

because it's what the Romulans
would have done in their place.

That's why you came to me,
isn't it, Captain?

Because you knew I could do
those things

that you weren't capable of doing.

You'll get what you want: War between
the Romulans and the Dominion.

Soothe your conscience
with the knowledge

that you may have saved
the entire Alpha Quadrant

and all it cost was the life
of one Romulan senator,

one criminal,

and the self-respect
of one Starfleet officer.

I don't know about you,
but I'd call that a bargain.

At 0800 hours, station time,

the Romulan empire formally declared
war against the Dominion.

They have already struck 15 bases
along the Cardassian border.

So this is a huge victory
for the good guys.

This may even be the turning point
of the entire war.

There is even a "welcome to the fight"
party tonight in the wardroom.


I lied.

I cheated.

I bribed men to cover the crimes
of other men.

I am an accessory to murder.

But the most damning thing of all,

I think I can live with it.

And if I had to do it
all over again...

...I would.

Garak was right about one thing.

A guilty conscience
is a small price to pay

for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant,

so I will learn to live with it.

Because I can live with it.

I can live with it.


erase that entire personal log.