> EPISODES >
THE ALTERNATE >
In his bar, Quark waxes eloquent as he praises a late, great
Ferengi named Plegg who, he says, developed the modular
holosuite industry. He happens to be holding a disc containing
some of Plegg's desiccated remains, and his eulogy is also a
sales pitch to another Ferengi who is listening. But Odo
arrives at that moment, asking the price, and hearing it, the
other Ferengi walks off. Odo, though, claims to want to
acquire a piece of Plegg: he says humanoid death rituals are
an interest of his. Quark listens skeptically, until Odo
actually produces some latinum.
When Quark goes to give him a disc, though, Odo expresses a
concern about authenticity. Then, he delivers his coup de
grace: he has contacted Plegg, who is still alive and was
rather amused to hear of Quark's little scheme. Quark protests
that he bought the discs in good faith, and Odo promises an
They are interrupted by a Bajoran man who calls to Odo from
across the room. Suddenly uncomfortable, Odo endures the man's
appraisal of his form, and reluctantly explains to Quark that
this is Dr. Mora, the scientist who studied him. Quark is
delighted by the opportunity to taunt his nemesis: "So this is
a family reunion! I had a hunch. Well, Odo's dad is always
welcome in Quark's." Odo glares at him and steers Mora out of
Mora chides Odo for his rudeness. "Still having trouble with
social integration." "I integrate as much as I want to," Odo
growls, not pleased to be reunited with this man. Mora
unthinkingly disparages Odo's choice of career, and asks if
Odo misses their work together; Odo says, "Never." Mora
doesn't believe it. "You were unhappy in the lab. I can't
blame you for that. But the work, Odo, the work -- the
exploration of you, what you are, where you came from --
that's never far from your mind, is it?" Odo is forced to
admit that that much is true, and Mora says, "Good. Because I
came here counting on that."
As Sisko is handling a parental disagreement with his son over
his Klingon opera homework, Odo comes to the commander's
quarters to ask for the use of a runabout. He tells Sisko that
Dr. Mora wants to investigate something in the Gamma Quadrant.
A Bajoran science probe recently scanned a planet there and
found DNA patterns similar to Odo's. Mora may have found Odo's
Dax pilots the runabout taking Odo, Mora, and another Bajoran
scientist, Dr. Weld Ram, to the planet known as LS6. Mora
dominates the conversation, reminiscing about Odo's early days
in his typical patronizing manner, interrupting Odo and not
noticing the way his former charge chafes at his remarks. They
reach the planet, which has a lot of seismic activity on the
surface, and beam down to where the DNA was found.
There, they find what looks like a ruined stone village, with
one structure intact -- a pillar with some unknown lettering
on the sides. It could contain the answers Odo has sought all
his life, but he doesn't recognize the pillar or the writing.
Dax suggests that they take it back to the station so that the
computer can study it. Then Weld finds the apparent source of
the DNA patterns: a silicate but vegetative lifeform that
resembles a kind of moss. Odo looks at Weld's sample, then Dax
beams up the pillar. Almost immediately, a quake hits, and as
they look for shelter, gas starts pouring into the air from
fissures in the ground. The three humanoids become
incapacitated with coughing, leaving Odo to call for a beamout.
After Odo has gotten the others back to DS9 and the infirmary,
Bashir examines them. Dax is the least bad off; the two
Bajorans are in more serious condition. Odo seems to have
taken no effect at all from the gas. Without apparent emotion,
he asks if Mora will be all right; Bashir thinks the
instability of the gas's molecules might indicate that the
effect is temporary. Odo leaves, and Sisko follows. He recalls
to Odo his feelings when his own father was bedridden with a
critical illness, but Odo interrupts. "I appreciate your
thoughts, Commander. But Dr. Mora is not my father."
Odo visits the science lab, where the pillar has been set up,
and O'Brien is studying the lifeform sample. The computer is
having a hard time analyzing it; it changes whenever it
reproduces, and it reproduces like crazy. Already he has had
to transfer it to a bigger container. Odo gazes at the pillar
for a moment and leaves, after telling O'Brien it may be a key
to his past.
Sisko is awakened that night by Kira, who calls him to the
science lab. When he gets down there, he finds that the lab
has been trashed. The lifeform sample's container is broken,
and the sample is gone. The security seal was still in place.
Sisko calls for yellow alert and a security scan of the
station, while Odo asks Kira to review the camera records and
sensor readouts. O'Brien picks up trace elements near a
ventilation duct, as Dax enters, having snuck out of the
infirmary. Sisko tells her the working theory is that the
lifeform did this somehow. Dax delivers a message to Odo, that
Mora is awake and wants to speak to him.
Mora is conscious but weak as Odo enters the infirmary. Odo
tells him about the disappearance of the lifeform sample, and
has to restrain Mora from getting out of bed to help in the
hunt. Mora is intensely curious about the lifeform, though he
says that he feels responsible for Dr. Weld's condition, as
the other scientist has yet to wake up. He falls asleep with
his hand on Odo's arm; Odo gently removes it and leaves the
O'Brien crawls through a conduit a little later, following the
trace elements he found in the duct. Odo and Sisko tell him
over the com line that the security cameras stopped operating
for 43 seconds when the alarm sounded, probably due to a power
failure. There was also a six-degree increase in temperature
during that time period. O'Brien speculates that they're
dealing with something that absorbs low-frequency RF energy,
and feeds off their power, but Odo points out that an energy
drain should be showing up on the scans. O'Brien begins
hearing a noise he can't identify, and crawls on to
investigate. He finds a structural breach, and then the
lifeform sample itself, falling onto him from the hole. It's
Fifteen hours later, with no more evidence of the alien
lifeform having been found, and no further incidents, yellow
alert has been canceled. Dax and Bashir come to the conclusion
that the lifeform died because it couldn't survive out of its
own environment. It's possible, though, that the impact might
have taken time to set in, giving it time to have destroyed
the lab. Bashir flirts a little with Dax before she leaves.
Then he hears a noise in the other room, where the patients
are. He goes to look around, and is attacked by a tentacle of
something that has dropped down through an overhead vent. Mora
wakes up and watches as Bashir frantically fires a laser
scalpel at the creature, which disappears back up the vent.
Mora is up and dressed when Odo and Sisko speak with Bashir as
the investigation goes on around them. It all happened too
quickly for Bashir to be able to describe much, but he does
note, at Odo's prompting, that it was a bit warm. Dax reports
that she's found a slight organic trail; she will test the
residue. Sisko has Kira restrict nonessential personnel to
quarters, and Odo suggests closing down the Promenade.
It is the first time Mora has seen Odo at work, and he can't
help but be impressed. He follows Odo to the science lab,
trying to find a way to express his feelings by likening
police investigation to the scientific method. "You do it very
well. I'm very proud of you, Odo. Do you know that?"
In the lab, Dax tells Odo that the computer is having trouble
breaking down the DNA chains of the organic residue, and also
hasn't had any success decoding the writing on the pillar. Odo
leaves to shut down the Promenade, and Mora suggests looking
for commonalities between the residue and the lifeform from
the planet. As Dax sets things up, Mora talks to her a little
about his relationship with Odo. He has missed him, though
they did not part on good terms: Mora hadn't wanted him to
leave, with so much work still to do. But now he sees the
progress Odo has made. "I never thought he could do it.
Integrate successfully. If you could have seen him before --
he was so ill-prepared to be on his own. I was sure he'd come
back. I told him when he left he'd come back. And all these
years I was so certain that eventually one day he'd show up at
the lab. Well," he adds sadly, "I guess I'd better get used to
the idea he's not going to."
They look at the computer's analysis of the two samples, side
by side, and Mora notes that the nucleotide sequences are
different. They are distant cousins at best. When the computer
breaks down the DNA chain on the newer sample, Mora gives a
slight start of recognition, which is unseen by Dax. She tells
him it will take two or three hours to check for matches in
Mora leaves and goes to the security office, where Odo notices
that he seems preoccupied, and Mora realizes for the first
time how skilled Odo is at reading people. "You are truly a
remarkable life form, Odo. But there's so much about you we
still don't understand." Odo asks what he's getting at, and
Mora tells him about the DNA chain. He has seen it before.
"The organic sample -- it's from you, Odo."
Odo is stunned as Mora makes his case. The attacks in the lab
and the infirmary were roughly 16 hours apart, which is Odo's
rejuvenation period. Odo says he was in his pail during both
events. But Mora tells him, "I think, Odo, that you have been
placed in the ironic position of having to track down
yourself." He asks if this has happened before, and Odo
vehemently denies the possibility; he doesn't commit criminal
It occurs to Odo that the gas on the planet may be
responsible. He starts to leave in hopes that Bashir can fix
this, but Mora gets in his way, saying that Bashir will only
understand that Odo turned into a creature that tried to kill
him. No one will understand, Mora argues. They will confine
Odo on an asteroid or put him in a zoo. At the mention of that
word, Odo flinches. Seeing a chance to get Odo back, Mora
drives home his point. "What other humanoid have you been able
to trust except me?" "What makes you think I trust you?" Odo
snarls back. Mora resents this. "After all the time I invested
in you -- after the education I gave you, the attention I gave
you -- you would not be here today if it weren't for my
guidance! I gave you more than anyone else in my life. You
were my life! And then you walked away. And now, you don't
trust me. Fine. Put yourself in their hands. You always had to
learn your lesson the hard way, didn't you?"
Odo, now looking a little moist around the edges, is
determined not to go back to the lab. Mora pleads with him,
saying they can solve this together, working together as they
used to. "No!!!" shouts Odo, slamming his hands down onto his
desk. Absorbing energy from the computer console, he begins to
shapeshift uncontrollably. Mora backs out of the office.
In Ops, O'Brien notes a power failure in Security, and Kira
orders deputies there. O'Brien tracks the power drain to a
life support conduit above the office, and shuts off the
primary flow to the entire core section. A deputy calls to say
that no one is in the office. "No sign of Odo?" Kira asks. "I
can help you with that, Major," Mora says as he enters Ops.
"The creature you're after is Odo." He believes it's a
metamorphic reaction to the gas. The "creature" is separate
and independent from Odo, yet it seems aware of Mora, who
thinks the lab incident was an attempt to rescue the lifeform
sample he placed in containment. He was sleeping in the
infirmary during the attack there, and just now he and Odo
were having a heated discussion in Security. The creature's
intentions seem definitely hostile toward him.
Sisko has O'Brien set up a forcefield to trap the creature on
the Promenade, where there is room to operate. They will lure
it out of the conduits by using RF energy bursts. Mora
volunteers to act as the final bait.
The scene is set, and O'Brien tracks the creature, which is
following the energy bursts. Sisko tells Kira that phasers
will be on maximum stun, and he will fire as soon as Mora
appears to be in danger. If that setting doesn't work, they
will have to set phasers to kill. Everyone but Mora hides;
Mora stands in the middle of the Promenade alone. The creature
drops down from a vent behind him and looms over his former
mentor, banging against the forcefield in an attempt to get at
him. Mora stares at it, full of remorse. "I've done it to you
again, haven't I, Odo? Made you a prisoner. Dear God, what
have I done?"
When the creature weakens, Sisko orders the forcefield
dropped, and suddenly Odo is himself again, collapsing in
exhaustion. Mora kneels beside him. "We have a lot to talk
Odo recovers in the infirmary, where Bashir tells him that
although he has no idea exactly what happened to him, he has
managed to remove all traces of the gas, with Mora's help.
There's not much else he can do other than prescribe rest.
Bashir leaves Odo alone with Mora, who says he's going home.
Odo speaks haltingly. "Dr. Mora -- I want to be sure you
understand. I had no idea."
"You had to speak in a voice loud enough for me to hear," Mora
tells him. Odo still regrets what occurred. Mora says,
hesitantly, that he would like to be part of Odo's life again,
and offers to just talk to him now and then. "I'd like that,"
Odo says simply. And as Mora pats his hand, Odo covers Mora's
with his own.