> EPISODES >
THE RECKONING >
Episode Synopsis by Tracy Hemenover
Sisko gives a briefing to his senior staff, updating them on the war:
the Dominion is attempting to establish a supply line through Betazoid
space to the Argolis cluster, but Starfleet is going to try to stop them
at the Tibor Nebula. The Romulans have driven the Dominion from Benzar,
which is good news, though Odo wonders if the Romulans will be willing
to leave there after the war. Sisko says they'll worry about that later.
He also announces that he, Kira, and Jake will be leaving for Bajor
soon; the archaeologists excavating the lost city of B'hala (found last
year by Sisko) want the Emissary to look at something there.
After everyone else files out, Kira and Odo hang back; she teases him
affectionately about his always bringing up the worst case scenario.
"Everyone expects me to be dour and suspicious," Odo tells her. "I don't
want to disappoint them." She smiles. "If only they knew the real you."
"That is the real me," he says. "At least, as far as everyone else is
Later, under the surface of Bajor, Kira and Jake trail after Sisko, led
by Ranjen Koral, the monk in charge of the excavation. "My dad seems to
be taking his role as the Emissary very seriously these days," Jake
comments to Kira; he hopes the monks' find really is significant, or he
won't have a story. Kira tells him to try to look like he's enjoying the
trip. "Your father needs this. It's good for him not to have to think
about the Dominion for a few hours."
They come to a chamber directly below the temple of B'hala, predating
the city by 10,000 years. There, Koral indicates a tablet, over 30,000
years old, with writing on it that the monks have been working on
translating. When the monk points out two characters in particular,
Sisko and Kira both recognize them as reading, "Welcome, Emissary."
Sisko touches the tablet -- and suddenly finds himself in an altered
reality. Three Prophets, in the forms of Kira, Koral, and Jake, are
discussing him. "The Sisko has come." "The circle is complete." "The
Reckoning must begin." And apparently, they believe Sisko will be the
one to bring it about. "It will be the end." "Or the beginning." Sisko
protests that he doesn't understand. "The Sisko will know," they say.
The vision ends; Sisko is tossed across the room and lands, unconscious.
He is out for only a few seconds, though, and tells the others about the
vision. Koral doesn't recall any prophecies about a "Reckoning". Sisko
feels a need to know what the rest of the inscriptions on the tablet
So he brings the tablet to DS9, where it is set up in the science lab.
After much scanning and analysis, Dax pronounces what she has learned
about it so far: "It's a slab of stone with some writing on it." There
are no residual energy readings, or anything else to explain how it
threw him across the room. Sisko puts her to work translating the
Out in the Promenade, Sisko finds himself drawn to the temple, where
services are about to begin. But as he's about to enter, Worf calls with
word that Kai Winn is on her way.
When Sisko greets her at the airlock, Winn gets right to it. She's not
pleased that he removed the tablet from the archaeological site without
consulting the Vedek Assembly. Sisko assures her that the artifact will
be returned after he's finished studying it, though Winn wonders why not
leave it in the hands of the scholars who have devoted their lives to
such things? "I brought it here because I believe that's what the
Prophets want," Sisko says, but he admits that they didn't actually tell
him that, in so many words. "The Prophets are not always clear." "Since
they have never spoken to me, I'll have to take your word for it," Winn
replies, but she seems to back off. "Who am I to argue with the Emissary
of the Prophets?"
However, Winn then promptly lodges a formal protest with Starfleet, and
Sisko hears from Admiral Ross on the matter. He discusses it with Dax,
admitting that he no longer feels uncomfortable in his role as religious
icon. "I guess the Prophets have spoken to me one too many times." The
Prophets, or wormhole aliens, do exist out of time, and they've given
the Bajorans glimpses of the future, which the Bajorans have written
down. Sisko feels that if the prophecies can help him make the right
decisions, he would be a fool to ignore them. "All I know is that they
have a relationship with Bajor that stretches back over a thousand
years. They care what happens to the Bajorans. They proved that when
they kept the Dominion fleet from coming through the wormhole."
Dax points out that he had to talk them into it, and they said they
would exact a "penance" for their help. "Yes, but they listened," Sisko
replies. "And they saved Bajor and the rest of the Alpha Quadrant. Now
they're asking me for something in return. I don't know what it is yet,
and I'm not going to return the tablet until I do. It's the key. I can
Then Dax finds something in the ancient Bajoran ideograms being analyzed
by the computer. "I hope you're wrong about that, Benjamin," she says
ominously. The computer has translated part of the inscription into
modern Bajoran. "'The time of Reckoning is at hand,'" Sisko reads. "'The
Prophets will weep. Their sorrow will consume the Gateway to the
Temple.'" "Tell me I'm wrong," Dax says, "but isn't the Gateway to the
Temple Deep Space Nine?"
Odo, Bashir, and Worf discuss this development later at Quark's. Bashir
declares that he's not worried; the Bajoran ancient texts are generally
vague and contradictory, but Odo reminds him that the prophecies have an
odd way of coming true. Quark grumbles that business hasn't been this
slow since the Dominion was here. Seeing the troubled looks of both Odo
and Worf, Bashir says, "This is ridiculous. Nothing's going to happen.
Someday we're all going to look back on this and laugh." But then,
suddenly the station rumbles, and everyone looks out to see the wormhole
open for the third time in ten minutes, without anything coming through.
"How did that Prophecy go again?" Bashir asks, shaken.
Later, Odo sits with Kira as she eats. She wishes they knew more about
the Reckoning, so they would have a better idea what the Prophets want.
Though Odo thinks the Prophets should be more specific with their
directions, to Kira it's a matter of faith. "I just don't know how
people make it through the day without it." "We manage," Odo tells her.
"Besides, I do have faith in some things." "Such as?" she asks. He looks
at her warmly. "You." "I'll try not to disappoint you," Kira says with a
Bajor is being affected by the instability of the wormhole, causing a
number of natural disasters, and Winn takes this as a sign that the
Prophets are angry over the tablet being taken from the planet. She asks
Sisko again to return it. "As the Emissary of the Prophets, I will ask
you to give me more time to study it," Sisko says. "I believe it is the
will of the Prophets." Winn disagrees, and produces a PADD containing a
formal request from the First Minister to return the relic. She
threatens that if he doesn't, it will damage relations between Bajor and
the Federation. So Sisko tells her the tablet will go back to Bajor on
the morning transport.
Dax assures Sisko that she can work off holo-recordings of the tablet.
She has almost translated another phrase, but there is some confusion
over a particular ideogram: "During the Reckoning, the Bajorans will
either 'suffer horribly,' or 'eat fruit'...Given the tone of the rest of
the inscriptions, I would bet on the horrible suffering." There's
another phrase which goes, "'Once the Reckoning begins, the Emissary
will -- '" But the rest of that inscription is damaged. "If you talk to
the Prophets again, ask for a dictionary."
A later conversation between Sisko and Kira in Ops turns to the subject
of the Kai. "In a way, I feel sorry for her," Kira muses. "She spends
her whole life in service to the Prophets. And then one day, after years
of self-sacrifice and commitment, she gets her reward. She's elected
Kai. It should have been the greatest moment of her life." "But my being
the Emissary spoiled it for her," Sisko realizes. Kira believes that
Winn will never forgive him for her having to share spiritual leadership
with him, especially since he's a non-Bajoran. "She's jealous of you,
and of your relationship with the Prophets. I'm a little envious
myself...You speak with the Prophets. They listen to you. That's a rare
gift." "It's certainly nothing I asked for," Sisko says. Kira observes
that that's why she doesn't resent him. "But the Kai does."
Kira later speaks to Winn on the upper level of the Promenade; the Kai
claims that she is relieved that the Emissary has decided to "do the
right thing", and that she didn't enjoy forcing his hand. She then
admonishes Kira to go to services more often.
That night, Sisko has a talk with Jake, who is troubled. "It's this
Emissary stuff. It scares me a little. Twice now, twice in one year, Dr.
Bashir's called me down to the infirmary to tell me something was wrong
with you. And there you were, lying unconscious on a bio-bed, having
visions or something. All I could do was stand there, and wonder if you
were ever going to wake up." Jake doesn't want to be in that position
again. Sisko does his best to comfort him. "I didn't ask to be the
Emissary. But for better or worse, I guess that's what I am. Except for
being your dad."
Later, Sisko wakes from a restless sleep and goes down to the science
lab, where the tablet seems to mock him. "Why do you always have to be
so damned mysterious? Answer me! I am tired of your riddles. If there's
something you need me to do, say so!" There is no response. Suddenly, as
if compelled by instinct, Sisko takes the tablet and smashes it to the
floor. It shatters, releasing two strands of energy, one blue and one
red, which vanish into the ceiling.
Sisko has a hard time explaining to Dax and Odo what he did. Dax doesn't
read any residual energy signatures, and the internal sensors don't pick
up anything. Then there is a brief stationwide power drain, which might
be related to the energy discharge. Sisko picks up two fragments from
the tablet. "Benjamin, you're not getting another urge, are you?" asks
Dax. "No," Sisko says slowly. "I've done what I needed to do. I know
this might sound strange, but I think the Prophets wanted me to shatter
the tablet." "Try explaining that to Kai Winn," Dax reminds him.
Winn, predictably, is not happy, and is skeptical of Sisko's explanation
that the Prophets wanted him to smash the tablet for some reason. "You
and I haven't always seen things eye to eye," Sisko tells her, trying to
make her understand. "But we have one thing in common. We both believe
that the Prophets have a plan for Bajor. Sometimes it's not easy to see
the path they've laid out for us. Right now, I don't know what they want
from me. But I'm willing to take a leap of faith, and trust that they're
guiding me. I'm asking you to take that leap with me." Winn, however,
says the Prophets have made themselves quite clear, through the floods
and earthquakes on Bajor. "Bajorans are suffering because of you.
They're paying the price for your act of sacrilege." The power flickers
again at that moment, and goes out. Then Odo calls Sisko down to the
There, a strange breeze is blowing as the monitors crash with static.
Kira is standing in the doorway of the shrine; the fluctuations seem to
be emanating from her, as energy passes into her body. Odo reports that
she wouldn't talk to him. Finally Kira walks slowly toward them, glasses
shattering and lights fritzing out as she passes; her eyes, oddly, are
now blue. "You are the Sisko." Sisko realizes that she's possessed by a
Prophet, and asks why it has taken this woman's body. "This vessel is
willing," the Prophet pronounces. "The Reckoning. It is time."
It won't say what the Reckoning is, except "the end, or the beginning",
but it says it awaits Kosst Amojan, which Winn says is the Evil One, a
pah-wraith. "The battle will be joined," and after this battle, "Bajor
will be reborn." Winn realizes with awe that Shabren's Fifth Prophecy is
coming true: "If the Evil One is destroyed, it will bring a thousand
years of peace." It is not known who will prevail, however. Sisko asks
if he's supposed to help in some way. "The Sisko has completed his
task," the Prophet tells him. Winn appeals to the Prophet, pleading for
some recognition, but it ignores her. "I await their vessel." Everything
goes still, and so does Kira's body.
Sisko announces to his officers in Ops, along with Winn, that they will
have to evacuate the station, which could be destroyed in this battle.
Dax and Bashir advocate flooding the Promenade with chroniton radiation,
not enough to kill the Prophet, but ramping the levels up slowly to give
it a chance to leave Kira's body without being harmed. Everything is
rigged and ready to go on Sisko's command. But Sisko refuses. Worf
objects; they can't risk the station being destroyed. "When the Dominion
fleet was about to come through the wormhole," Sisko explains, "I asked
the Prophets for their help. They gave it to me. Now they're asking for
my help. They need to fight this battle here, now. I'm not going to
jeopardize my crew, but I'm not going to stand in the way of the
Prophets, either." Bashir asks if he's willing to sacrifice Kira in the
event that the Prophets lose. "The Prophet said she was willing to be
their instrument," Sisko replies. Worf expresses skepticism.
Then Odo speaks up. Even though it may mean he'll lose Kira for good, he
tells the others, "I know how important her faith is to her. And I have
no doubt that she would allow the Prophets to use her as their
instrument." That seems to settle it. Sisko orders the evacuation to
As they're supervising the exodus, Worf tells Odo he should have helped
change the Captain's mind, but Odo is certain he had to honor Kira's
wishes. "If it were Dax, I am not sure I could have done the same," Worf
admits. "Just be grateful you didn't have to make that choice," Odo
replies, and Worf looks at him with new respect. "For your sake, I hope
the Prophets are victorious." "They will be, if Kira has anything to do
with it," Odo says.
Later, Odo calls Sisko down to the Promenade again; a group of Bajorans
is refusing to leave the station. Winn is at their head, leading them in
prayer, and Sisko manages to convince them to go. "Where is your faith,
Emissary?" Winn asks, throwing his own words back at him. "You don't
think the Evil One will be victorious, do you? Rest assured, the Golden
Age is upon us. The Prophets and the people will be as one. Think of it.
There will be no need for Vedeks or Kais, or even Emissaries." Suddenly
Kira's body stirs, as does the energy around it. "Kosst Amojan has
chosen its vessel," the Prophet announces, looking up to the second
level, where Jake stands at the railing, his eyes glowing red as energy
crackles into his body. "Let it begin," the pah-wraith within him says.
As the Prophet and pah-wraith face each other, Sisko cries out, "Leave
my son and take me instead!" "Your Emissary offers himself to us," the
pah-wraith taunts the Prophet. "His faith wavers." Sisko tries to
intervene, but a wave of telekinesis from Jake's hand hurls him
backward. Energy shoots out from the bodies of Kira and Jake, the two
columns meeting in the middle and struggling against each other. The
station shakes beneath them. Winn tries to get Sisko to leave, but he
Dax arrives and tells Sisko that Worf is standing by in Ops, to trigger
the chroniton generator. "You can still end this, Ben." "No," Sisko
decides, despite what it costs him. "I've got to play this thing out."
He clings to the belief that the Prophet won't hurt Jake. Dax then tries
to convince Sisko to get out of here before the energy buildup explodes;
Sisko refuses to leave his son. He orders Dax to leave; she finally
does, taking the Kai.
Dax calls Worf to tell him to meet her at the airlock. On the way there
with Winn, she stops to help a woman with a couple of children, telling
Winn to go on ahead. But Winn deliberately takes the wrong turn.
As the battle continues, suddenly the Promenade is bathed in blue light,
and both combatants look up in alarm. "No!" screams the Prophet. In Ops,
Winn has engaged the chroniton generator. "May the Prophets forgive me,"
she whispers. Finally the Prophet and pah-wraith are forced to leave
their vessels, their battle unresolved. Kira and Jake both collapse to
the floor; Sisko cradles his son in his arms.
After examining Jake, Bashir informs Sisko that he will be all right
after a few days. Sisko goes in to see his son, his conscience weighing
heavily on him for having been willing to sacrifice Jake's life. But
Jake tells him gently, "You don't have to explain. When the pah-wraith
was inside me, I could feel its hatred. And I knew that no matter what,
it couldn't be allowed to win. Even if it meant I had to die. You did
the right thing." They embrace.
Kira has recovered as well, and emerges from services to find Odo
waiting for her. She's trying to make sense of what happened; she's also
somewhat in awe of the fact that she was chosen as the Prophet's
instrument. "Perhaps that's why you were chosen," Odo says. "You have
faith and humility." Kira has something she wants to say to him, knowing
that he told the Captain she was willing to give her life for the
Prophets. "I appreciate that you respect my beliefs." "Just the same,"
Odo admits, "I wouldn't have minded if the Prophets had chosen someone
else." Kira smiles, kisses him, and leaves to take the Kai to her
Winn is a bit resentful that she hasn't been thanked for saving the
station, Sisko, and his son. She claims that she did it for Bajor, and
points to the fact that the instability has stopped; she takes it as a
sign that she did the right thing. But Kira isn't buying it. "You defied
the will of the Prophets. And you did it because you couldn't stand the
fact that a human, an infidel, had a stronger faith than you. The
Emissary was willing to sacrifice his own son to serve the Prophets."
"My faith is as pure as the Emissary's," Winn replies. "...The Prophets
chose you as their instrument. That doesn't mean you can speak for
"Because of your interference, the Reckoning was stopped," Kira tells
her in no uncertain terms. "The evil still exists. And I'm not sure if
even the Prophets know what that will mean for Bajor." Winn stares at
her, realizing she's right but unwilling to admit it. Finally she turns
and wordlessly leaves the station.