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Garak is viciously attacked by a Cardassian boy who is visiting the station with his Bajoran father. Investigating, Doctor Bashir discovers a web of deceit that includes Gul Dukat...
A great episode that really showcases what Deep Space Nine is / will be about... telling stories that make the audience think. This is where, I think, the series started to grow and where the writers began to work out what it was they wanted to tell in this setting...
On the replimat, Bashir sees Garak, the tailor, drinking Rokassa juice. The two begin their usual tit-for-tat dancing around the obvious fact that the good Doctor is trying to ascertain whether Garak is really a spy. As the airlock opens from the docking ring Garak sees a Cardassian child walking with an older Bajoran man and another man, they approach the replimat and Garak introduces himself, complimenting the young boy, Rugal... who grabs his hand and bites hard.

A short time later, Bashir arrives in Ops and informs the senior staff of the attack... Odo leaves to investigate while Sisko takes a call from Gul Dukat who is already aware of the incident. Dukat is dismayed to hear that the rumour is true - a war orphan is responsible... a supposed 'great shame' of the Occupation.

Sisko and Bashir go to the Bajoran's quarters to investigate further, Proka Migdal tells of how he and his wife decided that the children shouldn't suffer for their parents acts and decided to take him in. Proka says that he only told Rugal the truth about the occupation, and now he isn't Cardassian - he's Bajoran and they love him. Sisko and Bashir share a glance knowing that this isn't going to be easy.

In Quarks, the Ferengi is dismayed at the winning streak being enjoyed by a trader named Zolan who knows the Bajoran family well. Bashir enters and continues the investigation, querying him about how well he knows the family... Zolan says that he offered Proka a job, visiting their home on Bajor several times - and whenever he did he saw Rugal being treated very poorly, called 'worthless Cardassian scum.'

Armed with this allegation, Sisko and Bashir return to Proka's quarters to take the boy to stay with Keiko for a while. After being told that the humans won't hurt him, Rugal is convinced to leave. A short time later, in the infirmary Bashir updates Garak on the investigation... eventually telling him about Dukat's interest in the war orphans. The tailor doesn't buy it for a second, convincing Bashir that the most apt trait of the Cardassian's is their attention to detail.

In Ops, Sisko is talking to Dukat via subspace as Bashir arrives and interjects asking why Dukat decided to leave the orphans behind, through gritted teeth the Gul says that he was ordered to do so by the civilian government. Bashir presses further, stating that the civilian government has no direct authority over military officers. The tension rising Dukat reasserts his statement that the civilian leaders ordered the withdrawal of the occupation forces and the abandonment of the children.

Ending the conversation, Bashir turns to a bewildered Sisko telling him that Garak thinks there is more going on but Sisko isn't buying Bashir flimsy 'between the lines' interpretation of his conversations with Garak. Dax asks why Garak would want to undermine Dukat... Bashir's not sure. Sisko asks to see Garak later, turns and enters his office.

In the O'Brien's quarters, Miles enters to find Rugal on the couch and Keiko setting the table. The Chief isn't too impressed that Rugal and Molly played all day, his feelings made clear to the dismay of his wife - Miles sits down to dinner to discover that she has prepared a Cardassian stew. Both men turn their noses at it.

Later on, Miles is working on a console in the living area when Rugal enters from the bedroom. After a moment, the pair begin to talk about Rugal's parents and the Cardassians in general... the Chief dilutes his true feelings saying that he met some he didn't like. Rugal says that his parents never hurt him, but they hate Cardassians and wishes he wasn't one.

In Bashir's quarters, the Doctor is sleeping when he is woken by his door opening. He is startled to see Garak standing over him insisting on a trip to Bajor. The Doctor goes to wake Sisko in his quarters... who is starting to lose patience with Julian's obsession with the Cardassian, he's interrupted by a call from Ops... Gul Dukat is waiting on subspace. Dukat informs him that the the DNA sample came back as a match to a prominent politician - Kotran Pa'dar. Sisko informs the Gul that Rugal wants to return to Bajor.

Sisko now believes it's worth taking the trip to Bajor and Bashir and Garak arrive at a Resettlement Centre, and with some convincing a woman allows them to fix the computer to check the records. Bashir is surprised to learn Garak's mastery of isolinear subprocessors and has access to the records in no time - but there is no record of Rugal. Several Cardassian children hear their voices and enter the courtyard, asking if they have come to take them back to Cardassia.

On board the runabout, Bashir is upset at the plight of the children and orders the computer to shut down, insisting Garak tell him exactly what his motivations are. The tailor heps Bashir see that it is no coincidence that Rugal is Pa'Dar's son... and that it must have been Pa'Dar who ordered the evacuation of the occupation, costing Dukat his prefect position.

In O'Brien's quarters, Miles greets Pa'Dar and informs him Rugal and Keiko will return soon. The pair sit and Miles prepares him for what to expect. Pa'Dar insists that Rugal will return with him, family is everything... now Pa'Dar feels he has disgraced everything a Cardassian believes in. Keiko enters with Rugal, the father and son share a moment but the boy doesn't remember him. Pa'Dar softens his tone and tells him about the attack on the house, the loss of his wife. Rugal storms off, saying that he will never return.

In Sisko's office, Pa'Dar, Proka and the Commander are discussing the custody battle. Pa'Dar refusing a Bajoran court to rule on the matter - insisting on a Cardassian ruling, while Proka refuses that, but offering a third alternative be Sisko. Pa'Dar agrees as Odo calls informing them of Gul Dukat's arrival on the station.

As Bashir and Garak continue to search the records, Sisko convenes a hearing in the classroom. Dukat, Pa'Dar, Proka, Rugal and Miles are all in attendance. Sisko begins his stall tactics asking the Cardassian civilian to recount the events leading to Rugal's disappearance eight years ago.

Meanwhile, in the infirmary... after searching 7, 420 files for a misspelling, Garak realises that Dukat would never leave a file to be found, it must've been purged. Garak already has the name of the woman who wrote the file, they contact her and learn that Rugal's name was told to the resettlement center and this woman remembers Rugal because he was the only boy at that time. Further questioning uncovers that a female Cardassian military officer brought the boy in.

The pair walk to the hearing and Sisko hands questioning over to Bashir. O'Brien says that Pa'Dar admitted humiliation, Pa'Dar says that the government hasn't revealed the information yet - and when they do his career will be over. The timing of all of this is convenient, because there is a hearing about to begin investigating the attempted military coup on Bajor... of which Gul Dukat is a key witness.

Dukat insists on returning the line of questioning to the children, Bashir obliges and questions the Gul about the Tohzat Resettlement Centre, the female officer who handed Rugal over and how it was all a plot to embarrass Pa'Dar someday. Dukat storms out as Bashir reveals his final card - that Terok Nor is the Cardassian name for Deep Space 9, and that Dukat was the commanding officer eight years ago.

Sisko makes a note in his log that he has decided to allow Rugal to return to Cardassia. On the Promenade, Pa'Dar thanks Sisko for his help in salvaging his career. Rugal and Pa'Dar exit to the docking ring. On the Replimat, Bashir tries to get more truth about Garak, but he's not giving anything away... he leaves Bashir with his drink.
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:
Marc Alaimo
Andrew Robinson
Robert Mandan
Terrence Evans
Vidal Peterson
Dion Anderson

Rosalind Chao
Teleplay By:
James Crocker

Story By:
Gene Wolande and John Wright
Directed By:
Cliff Bole
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