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The Die is Cast (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"The Die is Cast"
DS9, Episode 3x21
Production number: 40513-467
First aired: 1 May 1995
66th of 173 produced in DS9
66th of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 173 released in DS9 Remastered  
363rd of 728 released in all
Lovok and tain
Written By
Ronald D. Moore

Directed By
David Livingston
Unknown (2371)
Arc: Tain's plot (2 of 2)  
  Arc: Changeling infiltration (1 of 8)
  Arc: {{{wsArc2Desc}}} ({{{nArc2PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc2PartCount}}})  
  Arc: {{{wsArc3Desc}}} ({{{nArc3PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc3PartCount}}})  
  Arc: {{{wsArc4Desc}}} ({{{nArc4PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc4PartCount}}})  

The Cardassian-Romulan fleet enters the Gamma Quadrant; Sisko tries to rescue Odo. (Part 2 of 2)


Teaser Edit

Dr. Bashir finds Chief O'Brien to be a less conversational lunching companion than Elim Garak, who is still missing with Odo as they are investigating the bombing of Garak's tailor shop. Bashir misses his friend and O'Brien is confident they have not been destroyed because debris from their runabout hasn't been found.

O'Brien is called to Ops where tetryon emissions preceded the decloaking of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet. The fleet ignores the station's hails and proceeds through the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant.

Act One Edit

On the lead ship of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet, Enabran Tain and Garak reflect upon their times together in the Obsidian Order. Garak says that he intends to "look up" a number of people once he returns to Cardassia Prime, including Gul Dukat. Tain feels that Garak will be able to "eliminate" anyone after the current mission is completed. Romulan Colonel Lovok is introduced to Garak, of whom he is immediately suspicious. Lovok informs them that the fleet has recloaked and are setting course to the Founders' homeworld at warp 6 (any faster could make them detectable through their cloak by the Jem'Hadar). Tain tells Garak that his first assignment is to extract all information that is possible from Odo, who is being held in quarters surrounded by a force field.

Back at DS9, the senior staff (along with Security Chief Michael Eddington) is shown an intercepted video in which Tain lays out his plans to destroy the Dominion. Neither the Romulans, Cardassians nor Starfleet are eager to try to stop the rogue attack on the fleeting chance that it might succeed, which Vice Admiral Toddman believes is a very real possibility. Noting that his tone of voice seems hopeful, Kira says that she thinks he (and, by extension, Starfleet Command) does want the operation to succeed, which the admiral doesn't really deny - he certainly isn't hoping for war, but should there be one, he unquestionably preferred that the Dominion lose it. Toddman then explicitly instructs Sisko to keep the USS Defiant guarding Bajor. Directly after the meeting, Sisko instructs the senior staff that as a "volunteer mission" he is going to go to the Gamma Quadrant with the Defiant to rescue Odo.

Act Two Edit

Pressure is again put on Garak to extract information from Odo about the Founders and their planetary defenses. The Obsidian Order has developed a device that emits a quantum stasis field which should inhibit Odo's shapeshifting ability. Garak does not seem pleased with this news and Tain suggests the Tal Shiar should continue the interrogation. Garak is visibly upset and insists that Odo is his prisoner and that it is his duty to question Odo further.

Suddenly, the Defiant loses its cloak.

Act Three Edit

Security chief Eddington admits that he has sabotaged the cloaking device under direct order by Admiral Toddman. Despite Sisko's noticeable frustration with Eddington's betrayal, Eddington requests to continue his duties in the current mission. Further, he gives his "word" that he will not again betray the captain. Sisko immediately observes that it is his policy to not question the "word" of a Starfleet officer, and he promptly grants Eddington's request. Sisko gives Chief O'Brien a two-hour deadline to fix the cloak.

Garak begins questioning Odo and using the quantum stasis device. Odo is about ready to return to liquid form and is discomforted at being forced to maintain humanoid form. As time passes, Odo begins to lose cohesion and taunts Garak. It is clearly bothering Garak to see Odo in pain and he encourages Odo to confess anything – even to lie – as long as he gives up some information. Odo admits his deep-seated desire to return to the Great Link, which is information Odo hadn't shared with Starfleet, allowing Garak to deactivate the device and end the interrogation. While Odo returns to his natural state and pours himself into the container, Garak holds his head in his hands, showing deep regret at what he's done.

Act Four Edit

Despite learning about the Great Link, Garak informs Tain and Lovok that Odo never broke, and that there is no new information that can be learned from him. Tain then decides Odo has outlived his usefulness, and orders him executed, but Garak suggests that killing Odo might cause problems with the Bajoran government, since Odo is an officer of their militia. Lovok agrees that Odo must not be executed, but based on the fact that not all Founders might be in their homeplanet, and Odo could be useful in future engagements, and that he wants to take Odo to Romulus for further studies. Tain concedes, and when they're alone, Lovok tells Garak that he knows he's protecting Odo out of friendship.

As the Cardassian-Romulan fleet fires on the Founders' homeworld, they are initially pleased with the damage they are doing to the planet, but Garak quickly discerns that the Founders are using an automated transponder to send back false life sensor readings from the planet. Suddenly, 150 Jem'Hadar fighters emerge from the Omarion Nebula and engage the fleet. Garak realizes that it was a trap and that the Jem'Hadar had been waiting for them all along.

Act Five Edit

The Battle of the Omarion Nebula begins and the Jem'Hadar begin to annihilate the fleet.


The Jem'Hadar attack the Cardassian-Romulan fleet

During the battle, contact is lost with engineering, which Lovok goes to investigate, leaving Tain in command of the bridge. Garak, seeing the battle not going well, makes his way off the bridge to locate and save Odo. They run into Lovok, weapon drawn, who reveals himself to be a Changeling. He confesses that the Founders viewed the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order as threats and helped push this plan forward in order to destroy them. As far as the Founders are concerned, only the Klingon Empire and United Federation of Planets remain as threats. Odo is again presented with the choice of joining the Great Link, which he declines, and "Lovok" allows them the chance to escape, explaining that no Changeling has ever harmed another.

Garak makes his way back to the bridge in an attempt to save Tain, but he refuses to leave. Tain feels that he has become old and let his pride override his instinct. Odo has to knock Garak out to force him onto the runabout and escape. They are pursued by the Jem'Hadar and they lose shields. When all seems lost, Garak sincerely apologizes and Odo accepts the apology, saying that he understands Garak's desire to return home. The Defiant decloaks and is able to transport Odo and Garak on board. The Defiant attacks and destroys a number of Jem'Hadar fighters, clearing itself a path back to the wormhole.

Speaking with Admiral Toddman, Sisko states that it appears no Romulan or Cardassian ships survived the battle. Toddman likens it to the Battle of Wolf 359; a comparison that visibly rattles Sisko, but one that he agrees is fundamentally accurate. The admiral tells Sisko that he won't file charges against him or the crew, but warns him that next time he will have to either court martial him... or promote him.

Standing in the charred remains of his shop, Garak reflects on past events and begins to clean up the mess, when Odo appears in the doorway to thank Garak for leaving his confession out of his report. The two agree that the whole conversation is best left forgotten, and as Odo leaves he asks Garak if they could have breakfast together sometimes. Garak admits he thought that Odo didn't eat, and Odo simply responds that he doesn't before exiting.

Memorable QuotesEdit

"Odo, talk to me! Tell me something, anything! Lie if you have to but just say it, please!"
"Home, I want to go home!"
"And you will, as soon as this is over I promise I will take you back to Deep Space 9."
"No, not the station."

- Garak and Odo

"Do you remember getting that confession out of Dr. Parmak?"
"I never even touched him..."
"That was the beauty of it!"

- Enabran Tain and Garak

"It sounds like you're hoping Tain will succeed!"
"I never hope for war, Major – but if it comes, I'd rather see the Dominion on the losing side."

- Kira, sensing Starfleet's tacit support of the invasion, and Admiral Toddman, more or less admitting as much

"You've turned us into sitting ducks for the Jem'Hadar!"

- O'Brien to Michael Eddington for sabotaging the Defiant's cloaking device

"So much for the Dominion! Open fire!"

- Tain, moments before the fleet starts firing at the Founders' homeworld

"Why are you helping us?"
"Because no Changeling has ever harmed another."

- Odo and Lovok

"They're using an automated transponder to send back false sensor readings! The planet's deserted!!"

- Garak

"It's a trap! They've been waiting for us all along."

- Garak

"Of course! This whole plan was the Founders' idea in the first place - you wanted the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order to combine forces, and come in to the Gamma Quadrant, so you could wipe them out!"

- Odo, after discovering that "Lovok" was a Changeling

"The Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order are both ruthless, efficient organizations, a definite threat to us."
"But not after today?"
"No. After today, the only threat remaining to us from the Alpha Quadrant are the Klingons and the Federation. And I doubt either of them will be a threat for much longer."

- Lovok and Odo

"It appears I have underestimated the Founders. I should have seen it coming. There was a time when nothing got past me. You remember, don't you, Elim?"
"Yes, I do, but now, we have to go!"
"Go where? Back to Mila and my quiet retirement? I don't think so. I must be getting old. I let my pride override my instinct. Wouldn't have played it that way in the old days. In the old days, I would have kept Lovok at arm's length. He was too cagey, too smart."
"I can't just leave you here!"
"I always did have a soft spot for you, Garak. Another one of my flaws."
"These Founders, Elim, they're very good. But next time... we should be more careful."

- Tain and Garak

"Sounds like Wolf 359 all over again."

- Admiral Toddman, referring to the annihilation of the Cardassian-Romulan fleet at the Battle of the Omarion Nebula

"If you pull a stunt like that again, I'll court martial you... or I'll promote you. Either way you'll be in a lot of trouble."

- Admiral Toddman

"Do you know what the sad part is, Odo? I'm a very good tailor."

- Garak

Background InformationEdit

Story and scriptEdit


  • This episode was the first with Ira Steven Behr as Executive Producer. One of the major changes he made to the series was that action sequences, specifically space battles, had to be shown on-screen more often and not just referred to, as TNG had repeatedly done. As the episode budget of DS9 shows could now accommodate more extensive battle sequences than TNG could do during its series run, starship fights became more commonplace in later seasons – especially during major Dominion War episodes. This particular episode marks the first signs of this change, as it features the biggest on-screen battle in Star Trek history up to that point (the Battle of the Omarion Nebula).
  • Visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel was instructed to come up with a way to do the battle scene without going over-budget. His solution was to create transparencies of the models of the Romulan warbirds and the Cardassian ships, and to use those transparencies in the background. Coupled with the fact that they were in the background, Hutzel ensured that the camera never lingered on one of them too long, so as to ensure viewers didn't spot the effect. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • The shot where the USS Defiant destroys a Jem'Hadar fighter and then flies through the debris took 4 days to film. (Deep Space Nine Chronicles)


  • Writer Ronald D. Moore, director David Livingston, composer Dennis McCarthy and actor Rene Auberjonois were all extremely proud of the scene where Garak tortures Odo. Livingston says, "I think the scene is the best in the episode. It's very intense, very dramatic, very powerful;" McCarthy explains, "I had to express the horror of what Garak was doing to Odo and yet still put some shred of humanity into the music to show that Garak was suffering too, because Garak was having a hard time doing this. It was an opportunity to get very atonal musically. I don't believe that we ever heard a major chord on that show;" and Auberjonois notes, "I felt like some character from King Lear. The acting method I used was very Shakespearian." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)


  • This episode is the halfway point of Star Trek's current run of 726 episodes.
  • There are many references to ancient Roman Dictator Julius Caesar in this episode. The title "The Die is Cast" is taken from a rallying speech Caesar delivered to his troops in 49 BC before they crossed the Rubicon river to wage battle. Garak also quotes Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to Tain ("I'm afraid the fault, dear Tain, is not in our stars but in ourselves"). Garak and Dr. Bashir had discussed the play in the teaser of "Improbable Cause". Fittingly, in "Family Business", which aired two weeks later, Sisko christens the runabout that replaces the one lost in "The Die is Cast" the Rubicon.
  • The Changeling says to Odo at the end of the episode that the Dominion already has plans for the Klingon Empire and the Federation. This single line turns out to be a powerful foreshadowing of the story arc the series would undertake during its fourth season, as the Changelings insert an infiltrator to turn the two powers against one another, setting up the Federation and Klingon war. Due to the actions of the regular characters of the series, it also later becomes the Dominion's first defeat, as their subterfuge is discovered and the Federation-Klingon alliance against them becomes stronger than it would originally have.
  • This episode contains the second reference to the fact that the Jem'Hadar are genetically engineered to be addicted to a particular drug. The first reference was in the episode "The Abandoned", however the drug remained unnamed until the fourth season episode "Hippocratic Oath". It also contains the first reference to the communications array established in the Gamma Quadrant in the episode "Destiny".
  • Odo's revelation to Garak that he wants to go home to his own people is the first time which Odo had admitted to this. His desire to return to them became a major theme throughout the sixth and seventh seasons.
  • In the fifth season episode "In Purgatory's Shadow", it was revealed that Enabran Tain was not killed in the battle, but taken prisoner.
  • The musical soundtrack during the Cardassian-Romulan battle with the Dominion is used again in "The Way of the Warrior"
  • This was the first Star Trek episode to have a two-parter with different names.
  • This episode (along with "Improbable Cause") was broadcast by the BBC in a feature-length format on its first airing on 13 March 1997.
  • Neither Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) nor Armin Shimerman (Quark) appear in this episode. Quark is referred to by Odo at the end of the episode.
  • A script from this episode was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [1]
  • Admiral Toddman has the distinction of being the first 24th century era Admiral to wear the operations gold colors.

Video and DVD releasesEdit

Links and references Edit

Main Cast Edit

Guest Stars Edit


Co-Star Edit

Uncredited Co-Stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

References Edit

Algira sector; Alpha Quadrant; Argelians; arms dealer; Bajor; Bajorans; Bajoran Militia; Bajoran sector; Bajoran wormhole; Barton; Belak, IRW; Cardassia; Cardassians; Cardassian Central Command; Chow-Yun; Cardassian space; court martial; Dominion cold war; Dukat; Earth; Federation; Gamma Quadrant; ion storm; Keldon-class; Ketracel-white; Klingons; Koranak; Makar, IRW; meter; Mila; Milky Way Galaxy; Obsidian Order; Omarion Nebula; orbital bombardment; Parmak; plomeek soup; poison; Porania; Portland, USS; Promenade; Replimat; Romulan; Romulan Senate; Romulan Star Empire; Romulus; runabout; Tal Shiar; task force; tetryon; tetryon compositor; treason; quantum stasis field; sabotage; swimming; Willemheld

External linksEdit

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
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