Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 01 E 12 Vortex
Odo is parked in his usual spot at Quark's, grilling the crooked Ferengi over his supposed connection a ship of Miradorn raiders who have docked at DS9.
Quark insists he's not affiliated with them (and that they aren't raiders). He then questions him over a suspicious customer at the end of the bar. Before they can discuss him at length, the Miradorn twins Ah-Kel and Ro-Kel enter the bar, and offer a nod Quarks way. Though he says it's just common courtesy to the bartender, he and Rom quickly shuffle off to the back with 5 glasses.
The twins are trying to pawn off a valuable egg shaped bauble. Quark questions if it was stolen, but the party is crashed before they can make a deal. The quiet customer, an alien from the Gamma Quadrant named Croden, enters them room with a phaser, demanding to be given the item. A gunfight breaks out, and Ro-Kel is killed in the scuffle. The fight is interrupted by Odo, who was disguised as one of the glasses Rom took into the room.
Quark: Five glasses for four people?!
Ah-Kel is out for blood. Miradorn twins share a deep connection, and he's not going anywhere until he has Croden's head. Odo orders him back to his ship, and drags Croden off to the brig.
Back in the brig, Croden manages to snag Odo's attention when he refers to him as a Changeling. He assumed Odo had come here through the wormhole from the Gamma Quadrant, where these Changelings supposedly come from. He further piques his interest when he shows him a pendant with a strange morphing material in it. A material revealed to be identical to Odo's DNA. A "distant cousin" as Bashir puts it.
Meanwhile, Sisko and Dax head through the wormhole for Croden's home planet. The very cross Exarch demands Croden be returned immediately for numerous crimes on his home world. No trial, just bring him back. After a short back and forth, Sisko reluctantly complies.
Odo is ordered to return him. But Ah-Kel is waiting in the wings to strike. Piloting a runabout being masked by a Rigelian freighter, Odo leaves through the wormhole.
While traveling, Croden reveals why he's wanted. Back on his home world, he was declared an enemy of the state. A crime which is punished by the execution of ones family. Seeing his two wives murdered, Croden murdered the security officers with a fowl beheading knife. Odo is naturally skeptical, but he insists it's true.
Back at DS9, Ah-Kel finds out Croden is gone by threatening Quark for the info. Despite several attempts to stall him, he leaves in hot pursuit of revenge.
Catching up to Odo's runabout, he allows Croden to take the controls and pilot them into a nebula. Setting down on a barren plaentoid, there are no Changelings in sight. Odo is pissed, and Croden reveals his stories about the Changelings are myth and legends. He didn't even know they were real. His real purpose in steering them into a nebula was a stasis pod.
Which contains the last surviving member of his family, his daughter Yareth. The pendant was basically a key to get her out of the pod.
Ah-Kel tracks them down on the planetoid, and opens fire from orbit. Odo is knocked out by a collapsing rock, but is saved from his doom by Croden.
Ah-Kel is battering the runabout. But Odo has a plan. Steering the ship into a volatile pocket of nebula gas called a toh-maire, he goads Ah-Kel into opening fire. At which point, they book it out of the gas pocket, Ah-Kel's larger ship being destroyed in the resulting explosion.
Croden, realizing he's still going to be returned to his home planet for execution, asks Odo to watch over Yareth at DS9. Before Odo can accept or decline, a passing Vulcan science ship hails the runabout. Odo seizes the opportunity, and requests the Vulcans give Croden and Yareth a lift to Vulcan. After all, it was a big explosion. He could just say Croden perished in it. Croden thanks him for this second chance, and leaves him the pendant.
Beaming them to the Vulcan ship, Odo is left alone to return home.
Odo: "Home? Where is it? Some day we'll know... cousin."
This episode provides examples of:
- All Crimes Are Equal: As Croden tells Odo, on Rakhar there are no minor crimes.
- Crapsack World: Croden's homeworld Rakhar, from what we see and hear of it, is an apparently authoritarian nightmare that would make Cardassia blush; Croden's not even sure why he was declared an enemy of the state, since the security agents who showed up to kill him and his family never bothered to tell him. He says Odo's assumption that he talked too much is as good a reason as any on his world, though he really doesn't know. The Exarch also informs Sisko that Croden has been tried in absentia and that he is to be returned immediately for execution and gets very angry when Sisko tries to mediate the situation. It's entirely possible (though never confirmed) that this a Dominion world, given its rather draconian policies.
- Croden tells Odo that the Changelings who used to live on his world left many years ago due to persecution (which is a lie) and when confronted by Odo's unflinching dedication to the law, laments that "the Changelings are harsh in their judgements". Croden's going off of very old legends, but fast forward two seasons and we learn that Odo's people founded the Dominion as a way to escape persecution by solid species by controlling them and are very harsh in their judgements against people who act against them.
- Also, Quark figures that everyone from Odo's species is as paranoid as he is, and that nobody's ever seen them because they're all hiding. He's right.
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder:
Odo: I'm a security chief, not a combat pilot!
- Insistent Terminology: Croden doesn't lie. He "Dissembles".
- Karma Houdini: Sympathetic backstory aside, Croden still gets away with the murder of Ro-Kel.
- Manipulative Bastard: Quark tells the Miradorn he has a buyer lined up for an item they "procured" in a raid, but when Ah-Kel and Ro-Kel show up to make the trade, Quark starts quibbling about the object possibly being stolen and needed authentication. This buys time for Croden, a desperate Gamma Quadrant refugee Quark has entered into a separate arrangement with and given a Ferengi weapon to as part of a plot to secure the artifact without having to pay the Miradorn for it before things go bad and Ro-Kel is killed. Odo's able to figure the attempted double-cross out afterward, but even with Rom almost blabbing it, Quark's kept his hands just clean enough for there not to be enough hard evidence for him to do anything about it.
- Single-Minded Twins: Apparently what all "twinned Miradorn" are. Ah-Kel explicitly says he and Ro-Kel were two halves of a single being and seems to be in actual pain while Odo is interrogating him following Ro-Kel's death, saying he is now "incomplete" and lives only to avenge his brother by killing Croden.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: Basically Croden's response to Odo's You Talk Too Much comment below. It's not because it's a lie, but since he was never actually told why he had been labeled an enemy of the state, it's as good a reason as any.
- You Killed My Twin: Ah-Kel's motivation for pursuing Croden, for the murder of his twin/other half Ro-Kel becomes his only reason for existing.
- You Talk Too Much:
Odo: I think I finally figured out what crime you were found guilty of on your world.
Croden: What's that?
Odo: You talk too much.