The elections for Kai are just around the corner. And Kira and Vedek Bareil have been spending the time as expected: Banging each others brains out.
And since Bareil is on DS9, that means a certain slimy Bajoran is hot on his heels as usual. Yes, Vedek Winn is back again. And no one around the station is thrilled about it.
Between accusations and not so veiled contempt between her and Kira, an old Bajoran enters the stations, harmlessly bumping into another. He waves it off for a moment, but then notices the man. He's not just any Bajoran. He's Kubus Oak, former Cardassian collaborator during the occupation.
A burgeoning lynch mob of Bajorans surrounds the man before Odo steps in. And instantly places him under arrest. As he's dragged off, he catches the eye of a nearby Vedek Winn.
Locked inside a cell, Kubus tries defending his actions as a traitor. Claiming the situation on Bajor would have been even worse without the collaborators. He also tries using his age, claiming there's no harm in letting an old man live his final years on his home world.
That's when Kira comes in. Slapping down every excuse he tries. His name is number ''four'' on the banishment order named the Ilvian Proclamation. She also reminds him of his clerical work. Effectively signing death warrants when he sent Bajorans to die in the ore processing mines.
Vedek Winn meanwhile is doing her usual thing. Namely trying to get Sisko to speak with her at the Vedek Assembly. Sisko is smarter than that, knowing this is just a ploy to try and sway votes in the coming election.
She's not done causing people misery just yet. As Kira finds out when Kobus Oak tries leaving on a ship for Bajor. Turns out Winn has granted the traitorous Bajoran sanctuary. Heading for Odo's office, she finds out Winn spent ten minutes talking with Kobus before accessing something on Odo's console.
That something was information on the Kendra Valley Massacre, the death of 42 Bajoran resistance members when a collaborator named Prylar Bek sold them out. Winn saunters into the office again, asking to speak to Kira alone.
Kira is of course pissed about her offering a collaborator sanctuary. Well, the shifty Vedek has her reasons. Kobus has given her the name of the collaborator who caused the Kendra Valley Massacre. Turns out it wasn't Prylar Bek after all. The traitor is none other than ''Vedek Bareil''.
Kira naturally doesn't buy a word of this. Between a traitor like Kobus and a snake like Winn, she has little reason to. The two strike a tentative deal. Kira will investigate these claims, and she'll report her findings to Winn.
Questioning Kubus in the cargo bay, he claims Bek was just a simple messenger between the Cardassians and the Vedek Assembly. In the time leading up the massacre, Bek became panicked and erratic. Along with being in constant communication with a then-unknown source within the Assembly.
The day after the massacre, however, Vedek Bareil visited Bek for several hours, during which time Kubus could hear shouting coming from Bek's quarters. Bek hanged himself on the Promenade shortly thereafter. Based on this, Kubus believes that Bek wanted to confess his betrayal but Bareil forbid him to do so which led to his suicide, a theory Kira regards as incredible.
Kira insists there could be any number of explanations for this. And Winn informs her it's her job to find out.
Kira contacts Bareil, who admits coming to the station to meet with Bek on the day in question. While he denies any involvement in the massacre and seems sure Winn will not be able to prove anything, Bareil cannot reveal what he and Bek talked about due to confidentiality between monks and their Vedeks.
She tries going for Cardassian logs next, but the communications between them and the Bajorans were wiped during the withdrawal. Odo accesses the Bajoran Central Archives for any more info. And info he finds. Specifically, the records between Prylar Bek and the Assembly for the week prior to the Kendra Valley Massacre have been sealed.
And the security seal placed on them could only come from a Vedek. And when there's possible illegal data to obtain, there's only one person to go to: Quark.
Quark rather reluctantly assists the two of them. But there's not much to show for it. The file has been blanked. With some assistance from O'Brien next, Kira searches for any shred of data leftover. He's got one thing: Tidbits of residual data from a retinal scan.
This is pay-dirt. Piecing it together, the eraser of the logs is revealed: Vedek Bareil.
It's time to confront Bareil over this. With as much reluctance as can be expected, he reveals why he sold the resistance out. It was either sacrifice 42 resistance members, or let 1200 civilians perish.
Kira relays this information to Winn. But she knows already, due to Bareil withdrawing from the choosing. But something about the situation is still irking Kira.
With Bareil out of the running, the expected happens. Vedek Winn becomes ''Kai'' Winn. After some hollow platitude from Winn, Kira confronts Bareil with new evidence. Namely, the transit files he forgot to erase. He was stowed away in a monastery in the weeks leading up to the massacre. And there's only one transmission log. Made a week ''after'' the incident.
Bareil took the fall for the real collaborator. The one person who he cares for more than Kira. The true collaborator in the massacre was none other than ''Kai Opaka''.
Her faith in Bareil renewed, the two of them walk away together to go pay their respects to the new Kai.
* TheBadGuyWins: Treacherous, backstabbing and manipulative Vedek Winn becomes the new Kai.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: How Kubus lives with his actions working for the Cardassians.
* LesCollaborateurs: Several Bajorans worked for the Cardassian government during the occupation. Their punishment for this is permanent exile from Bajor. Kira thinks that's ''way'' to generous.
* TheNeedsOfTheMany: Between 42 resistance members and ''1200'' innocent villains, Kai Opaka made the hard choice.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Rule of Acquisition #258.