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Kira "borrows" a runabout to rescue Bajor's greatest resistance leader from a forced labour camp. What she discovers sends shockwaves through the Provisional Government, meanwhile a xenophobic movement gains momentum as they begin vandalising the station...
This is the season that Deep Space Nine found it's footing, and started to lay threads for stories to come, unlike any Trek before it. This is also the first three part story arc... and would serve as the template for other such arcs to come.
We open the second season in Quarks, panning through the establishment as various people sit, talk and play games. Odo enters and immediately calls for the Ferengi. The Constable mentions the Subytt freighter that Quark tipped him off about was actually carrying defective isoliner rods to Bajor.

Odo is baffled by Quark's help, and he can't explain it. Quark suggests a truce, and that the pair will be friends (!) Odo is dubious about this, and he walks off. Rom scurries up to Quark who queries him, who quotes the seventy sixth rule of Acquisition - Every once in a while, declare peace... it confuses the hell out of your enemies!

Quark heads upstairs but is stopped by a female Boslic freighter captain... who shows him a Bajoran earring, from Cardassia IV, which a maintenance worker gave her and said that any Bajoran would know what it meant. Quark takes the earring and leaves. He heads to Kira's quarters, who is repulsed at the sight of him. After some banter between them, he shows her the earring. Kira recognises it and heads out the door.

On the Promenade, Jake catches his Dad and asks for his advice about a first date with a Bajoran girl. Jake ends with telling his father that Sisko isn't ready for this conversation and leaves. Kira enters from the turbolift and the Commander and Major head to the replimat. Kira asks for a runabout, but won't tell him where. So she tells all, she wants to head to Cardassia IV to rescue a prisoner war. The earring is Li Nalas' - the greatest resistance leader.

Before Sisko can give her an answer, he's called away by O'Brien who asks him and Odo to join him in the habitat ring. As he walks away he says he'll have to think about giving her the ship.

In the Habitat Ring, O'Brien has found an emblem that's been spray painted on the bulkhead. Sisko recognises it as the emblem for The Circle - a xenophobic faction of Bajorans, who believe in Bajor for Bajorans. Sisko asks Odo to step up patrols.

In his office, Dax sits down with Sisko... and they discuss the worsening situation on the planet. He seeks his old friend's advice about whether he should give Kira the runabout - something Dax is already aware of. Sisko asks about what to say to the Cardassians, but Dax says what do should they say? They swore they released all prisoners of war.

Sisko thinks for a moment, then comes back into Ops and nods to the first officer. The Commander asks O'Brien to prep a runabout - and he's already aware too... He mentions a way to fool the Cardassian sensors for as long as possible.

A short time later, in Kira's quarters, Sisko and O'Brien enter. Sisko tells her that Chief O'Brien will be accompanying her. Not overly thrilled, she agrees. The pair board a runabout and with the knowledge that they may not make it back, they depart the station.

As they enter Cardassian space, a navigation control post calls... who identifies a problem with their subspace field emitters. To their surprise, the post offer to help - but Kira says that the Gul on Cardassia IV is waiting on a shipment, which will spoil with any delay. She's bluffed their way through!

Once in orbit, sensors identify about a dozen Bajoran lifesigns. With the limitation of transporting two at a time, they decide to land. At the labour camp's perimeter, Kira approaches the guard as a prostitute, who lowers the forcefield to "inspect" her. She beats him senseless and they make a beeline for Li Nalas.

Following a fire fight, where a couple of prisoners are killed, most of them make it back to the runabout. They wait for any more to make it... but are forced to leave as two Galor class warships enter orbit.

In Sisko's office, he's on the comm to Gul Dukut as Kira barges in. Dukut mentions that the High Command has issued a formal apology and that they weren't aware of the labour camp. The remaining prisoners are on their way back to Bajor. Sisko and Kira are dumbfounded... what are the Cardassian's up to?

On the Promenade, as Sisko, Kira and Li walk along a crowd gathers. He talks to them, but feels very uncomfortable. First Minister Jaro arrives and introduces himself. A while later, Quark is assaulted in his establishment by masked men who brand him with a cattleprod like device with their emblem.

Bashir repairs the damage, and Li gets a full briefing on The Circle... and what his role is going to be in all this. Someone to speak out against the violence. Meanwhile, Jake is sulking in his quarters - turns out the father of the Bajoran girl he was to go out with tonight told her not to go, because Jake isn't a Bajoran.

Sisko is called by a freighter, who says they've found a stowaway... Li Nalas. In his office, Li tells Sisko the truth of how he become the hero. But, it's a tale of opportunity - not a savage struggle as the story grew to become. Sisko says Bajor needs a symbol, not a leader... and that's what he is.

A while later, Minister Jaro and the now Navarch Li (a new title, created just for him) enter Ops... and Jaro informs Sisko that Kira has been reassigned, with Li to take her place...

To Be Continued...
Starring:
Avery Brooks as Commander Sisko
Nana Visitor as Major Kira
Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Dax
Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Bashir
Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
René Auberjonois as Odo
Armin Shimerman as Quark
Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
Guest Cast:
Richard Beymer
Michael Bell
Max Grodénchik
Marc Alaimo
Teleplay By:
Ira Steven Behr

Story By:
Jeri Taylor and Ira Steven Behr
Directed By:
Winrich Kolbe
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